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

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

Fact-checking Trump’s State of the Union speech on energy and climate change

January 31, 2018 by  
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Last night, President Donald Trump took to the podium to address a nation historically divided, framing his speech as a call for unity. Despite an advertised unified front, the specific details of Trump’s speech hewed closely to the partisan positions of the Republican Party while his trademark loose relationship with facts and truth revealed itself throughout the address. Trump focused his speech on the economy, energy, and immigration, with a brief shout-out to his long-promised, still-undeveloped infrastructure plan. Read on to learn more about what was said and left unsaid (like how climate change is impacting the US) in the President’s speech. Trump’s economy – and reputation – took a hit from the devastating hurricane and wildfire season in 2017. “To everyone still recovering in Texas, Florida, Louisiana, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, California, and everywhere else — we are with you, we love you, and we will pull through together,” said Trump on the same day that his Administration announced that it is ending food and water aid to Puerto Rico. “If we’re giving free water and food, that means that families are not going to supermarkets to buy,” FEMA’s director in Puerto Rico Alejandro De La Campa told NPR . “It is affecting the economy of Puerto Rico.” Still, some communities do not feel ready to go without FEMA food and water aid. “There are some municipalities that may not need the help anymore, because they’ve got nearly 100 percent of their energy and water back,” Morovis Mayor Carmen Maldonado told NPR . “Ours is not so lucky.” Related: Trump bewilders scientists, says ice caps are “setting records” While it is not possible to say with any certainty that any particular extreme weather event is caused by climate change, the increasing frequency and intensity of extreme weather events is precisely what scientists expect in a rapidly warming world. The historic flooding in Houston during Hurricane Harvey broke the all-time record daily rainfall accumulations on both August 26 and 27. It seems likely that this record will be broken soon enough as the planet’s climate continues to be drastically altered. To avoid the worst, the United States must rapidly transition to a clean energy economy. Unfortunately, Trump infamously withdrew the United States from the landmark Paris agreement, an international effort spearheaded by Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama, and has pursued anti-environmentalist policies at seemingly every turn. Related: Trump’s 30% solar tariffs could kill thousands of jobs and harm industry growth Trump became President in part because of his economic call to arms to defend manufacturing workers and coal miners. “Many car companies are now building and expanding plants in the United States — something we have not seen for decades,” said Trump, disregarding the fact that automotive employment is actually lower than it was a year ago . “We have ended the war on American energy — and we have ended the war on beautiful, clean coal,” Trump boasted. “We are now very proudly an exporter of energy to the world.” Related: US CO2 emissions declined during Trump’s first year as president In fact, the United States still is a net importer of energy, though it is expected to become a net exporter in the 2020s as a result of long-term trends that, you guessed it, developed under President Barack Obama. More importantly, coal is not clean. Efficient clean-coal technology has not yet been developed, though the fossil fuel seems likely to fade away anyways as competition from natural gas and renewable energy becomes more pronounced. Meanwhile, coal miner deaths in the United States nearly doubled in Trump’s first year in office. Related: Ai Weiwei to build 100 fences in NYC to shed light on immigration issues Trump at times seemed to be describing a very different country than the one he now leads. “A new tide of optimism was already sweeping across our land,” said Trump, reflecting on the early days of his presidency. Optimistic we are not. As of early January 2018, 69% of Americans believe that the country is heading in the wrong direction. Although this is consistent with numbers seen during the second Obama Administration and earlier in the Trump Administration, it is a far cry from widespread optimism. This strong pessimism regarding the country’s future comes at a time when a majority of Americans are now optimistic about the economy. Related: $30M contract canceled by FEMA after supplies to Puerto Rico fail to arrive Finally, Trump spoke about the hottest issue on Capitol Hill right now: immigration. When the President explained his plans to limit legal immigration to the United States, he was greeted with boos and hisses. Immigration to the United States has proven to be an important ingredient in the country’s economic success. More than 40% of Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants or children of immigrants to the United States. Studies have shown that immigration has resulted in a net positive economic impact in the United States, with negative impacts of immigration most felt by native-born adults without a high school education. In light of Trump’s push to limit legal immigration and deport Dreamers (undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children), business and tech interests have responded with opposition. It remains to be seen whether industry opposition can persuade Congress to protect their Dreamer employees. Absent from Trump’s speech: any mention of the sprawling Trump-Russia investigation which has consumed his presidency. At least Trump did not mimic Nixon, who urged the nation to end the Watergate investigation during his 1974 State of the Union Address . Seven months later, President Nixon resigned from the office in shame. + The White House

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Fact-checking Trump’s State of the Union speech on energy and climate change

Dumping ground reborn as beautiful bamboo and rammed-earth community space

January 26, 2018 by  
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H&P Architects dramatically transformed an informal dumping ground in Mao Khe, Vietnam into a beautiful pavilion built mainly of locally sourced bamboo and earth. Named BE (bamboo & earth) friendly space, the structure comprises a zigzagging rammed-earth wall punctuated with multiple openings and topped with bamboo roofing. The project was created as part of a series of projects to create a “friendly space in suffocating urban areas” increasingly dominated by concrete. Located in the center of the populous Vietnamese town of Mao Khe, BE friendly space is a 220-square-meter pavilion made of local natural materials and constructed by local labor. “The objective of BE friendly space is to help raise social awareness of the need for friendly spaces for community in the context of urbanization and concretization which is gradually suffocating Mao Khe – one of the most populous towns in Vietnam, thereby making contributions to shaping actions of community in the process of creating sustainable spaces for the future immediately from today’s friendliness,” said H&P Architects in a design statement. Related: Plant-covered bamboo structure in Vietnam offers low-cost sanitation and food A 40-centimeter-thick zigzagging rammed-earth wall forms the spine of the project and its short, asymmetric form stands out from the skinny modern apartments that surround it. Randomly placed windows connect the various spaces enclosed by the wall and promote natural ventilation . BE friendly space comprises several multifunctional open areas, while the service room, kitchen, and toilets are located in the fully enclosed rammed-earth building on the east side of the site. + H&P Architects Images by Nguyen Tien Thanh, Doan Thanh Ha

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Dumping ground reborn as beautiful bamboo and rammed-earth community space

This low-cost forest house on stilts is a minimalist dream in Vietnam

January 3, 2018 by  
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This charming forest house on stilts allows two people to experience the beauty and simplicity of living in a remote mountain setting. Architect Chu V?n ?ông designed the structure as a low-cost dwelling that is easy to build and that places focus on the surrounding environment, rather than on interior luxuries. The house is nestled in the lush wooded landscape of Northern Vietnam . As a simple, temporary residence, the Forest House offers a minimalist space that draws the eye toward the surrounding greenery. Large glass surfaces blur the line between the interior and the exterior and allow natural light to bathe the living area. Related: Incredible daylit house in Vietnam is filled with living trees The building can accommodate two people. Its interior is stripped down to the essentials and includes a wood-burning stove , a bed that doubles as a bay window bench, and a wooden table top that can be used for dining and work. The designer hopes that the project, which was built on a small budget, will inspire other temporary housing projects in the area. + Chu V?n ?ông Via Plataforma Arquitectura Photos by Handyman

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This low-cost forest house on stilts is a minimalist dream in Vietnam

Flexible greenery-covered prefab pops up in just 3 months in Vietnam

December 14, 2017 by  
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Brick and concrete dominate Vietnam’s built landscape, but Module K is helping to usher in a new contemporary building type that’s prefabricated, flexible, and transportable. The Vietnamese design studio recently completed Serene House HCMC, a modular steel structure in Ho Chi Minh City that only took three months to realize from concept to completion. Located in the hipster district Thao Dien, this modern building mixes modernist style with Indochine influences. Nestled between classic and French-inspired villas, the three-story Serene House HCMC is a mixed-use building with built-in flexibility to cater to the changing needs of the tenants. “We chose a prefabricated steel structure solution, quite uncommon in Vietnam where the traditional construction is bricks and concrete,” said Jade Nguyê?n Kim Ngo?c, design director of Module K. “It’s cost effective, easy to erect and disassemble, extremely flexible and very light and airy. We can easily break it up when our ten-year lease ends and move it to a new location for another serene house of our own. It also helps preserve the initial capital investment.” Related: Giant bamboo planters protect a Ho Chi Minh City home from the sun and rain Described as a “three-dimensional puzzle,” the interior features both double-height ceilings and lower mezzanines and currently houses a coffee shop, furniture showroom, apartments, and office space, as well as a rooftop terrace. Glazing wraps around the operable facade to let in plenty of natural light and blur the line between inside and out. Tropical plants punctuate the interior and grow around the building from the climbing plants that drape down from the roof and window planters to the ground-floor garden. Locally produced LAVA -designed furnishings and lighting are featured in the rooms. + Module K Images by Hiroyuki Oki

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Flexible greenery-covered prefab pops up in just 3 months in Vietnam

Beautiful bamboo archways add dramatic flair to a Xiamen restaurant

December 6, 2017 by  
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Our favorite Vietnamese architecture firm is nearing completion on a gorgeous bamboo restaurant in Xiamen, China. As reported in ArchDaily , Vo Trong Nghia Architects is close to finishing the Ting Xi Bamboo Restaurant, a striking building with capacity for 200 people. The sculptural restaurant champions the beauty and strength of bamboo, used in its 14 fan-shaped support columns. Bamboo is a favorite material of Vo Trong Nghia Architects. The firm’s eco-friendly work is helping to increase popularity of a renewable material that many Asian architects and developers dismiss as flimsy. At Ting Xi Bamboo Restaurant, the bamboo used is treated with traditional Vietnamese techniques to naturally improve the material’s strength and durability. The reinforced rods are grouped into 14 “quadrilateral” columns that fan out near the top to create dramatic archways down the center of the restaurant . The sculptural columns, spaced eight meters apart, support a pitched roof with a maximum height of 6.4 meters. Long overhanging eaves provide extra protection from the elements. The restaurant will also be slightly curved in plan so that a person standing at one entrance wouldn’t be able to immediately see the entrance on the opposite end. A smaller green-roof ed building that sits behind the restaurant will be built of local brick and house the bathrooms, kitchen, staff room, and storage. A pond is located to the south of the main building. Related: Luxurious bamboo beach bar and restaurant bolsters spa in Vietnam Despite its open-air appearance and the architects’ proclivity for breezy buildings, the restaurant will rely on air conditioning, not natural ventilation , for cooling, per the client’s request. Custom-cut glass will be fitted into the archways and skylights installed to let in extra light. + Vo Trong Nghia Architects Via ArchDaily Images via Vo Trong Nghia Architects

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Ole Scheeren unveils designs for a stunning sky forest in Vietnam

November 15, 2017 by  
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International architecture firm Buro Ole Scheeren just unveiled designs for Empire City, a greenery-infused skyscraper set to rise in Ho Chi Minh City . Expected to become Vietnam’s tallest building at 1,093 feet, the development softens its monolithic presence with sinuous, organic-inspired lines and abundant greenery that references the tropical environment. Empire City’s eye-catching highlight is the “Sky Forest,” an elevated garden that juts out of the building in a series of rice paddy-like terraces. Set on a peninsula in the Saigon River, Empire City comprises three towers that rise from a “ mountain-shaped ” podium. The buildings eschew hard corners for soft, organic shapes and landscaped terraces. Glazing wraps around the building and trees are planted inside and out of the mixed-use development, which will contain residences, a hotel, retail, offices, and public spaces. Related: Thailand’s tallest building opens with new green spaces for Bangkok Empire City will stand out from the skyline, not only because of its incredible height, but also due to the shape of the Sky Forest observation deck that breaks from the sleek columnar shape of the high-rise into a series of staggered amoeba-shaped terraces. The Sky Forest will be located on the upper half of the Empire 88 Tower, the development’s tallest structure at 88 stories and topped with a top-floor events space called Cloud Space. + Buro Ole Scheeren Via Dezeen

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