Sleek fiberglass visitor center is a beacon for wind energy in Denmark

April 25, 2018 by  
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The wind turbines at Thisted, Denmark don’t just generate renewable energy—these massive structures are among the world’s largest offshore wind turbines and have become a big draw for tourism too. In light of the site’s popularity, Cubo Arkitekter was tapped to design the Østerild Visitors and Operation Center that offers insight on wind energy and other sustainable technologies. Completed last year in the National Park Thy, the nearly 7,000-square-foot Østerild Visitors and Operation Center was designed for minimal site impact . Raised on stilts, the visitor center features a long and rectangular form clad in a lightweight fiberglass facade and topped with a curved roof. “The new Visitors and National Test Center gently inserts itself into the surrounding landscape as a slightly raised linear structure with a hovering appearance, which only lightly touches the terrain in order to preserve the local biodiversity ,” wrote the architects. Related: General Electric to debut world’s largest wind turbine in UK The wood-lined interior features a flexible layout that can adapt to a variety of uses, from exhibition space to meeting rooms. Glazing wraps around the building to let in light and views. The curved roof gradually slants upwards towards one end of the building, creating incrementally taller ceiling heights and culminating in a covered outdoor terrace . + Cubo Arkitekter Via ArchDaily Images by Martin Schubert

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Sleek fiberglass visitor center is a beacon for wind energy in Denmark

Yurt-inspired visitor’s center in China blends into its exceptional surroundings

February 9, 2018 by  
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This gorgeous visitor center in China was inspired by Mongolian yurts . Architecture firm HDD combined locally sourced stone and wooden beams to create a multi-functional space where local children can play and read. The Mulan Weichang Visitors Center also offers overnight accommodations and a great spot for astronomy enthusiasts to observe the night sky, all nestled within the stunning Mongolian grasslands. The building is located in the northeast of Hebei province, an area connected to inner Mongolia grasslands where ancient Chinese emperors used to hold autumn hunting festivals. Blending into its grassy surroundings, the building resembles the traditional Mongolian yurt. This layout creates a series of round, semi-public spaces that fit perfectly with the modern lifestyle. Related: A Firsthand Look at the Magnolia 2300 Yurt – the First Energy Star Home in British Columbia The middle of the library is a sunken living space, and the kitchen and dining area located off to the side. Large windows fill the interior with natural light and offer views of the landscape. This openness toward the exterior dominates every corner of the interior, including the bathroom, where a freestanding bathtub sits in front of another large window. Related: Trakke Transforms Ancient Yurt into a Packable Round House That Pops Up Anywhere for the Everyday Adventurer The architects used local materials including old stone and used wooden beams in order for the building to blend seamlessly into its natural surroundings. The main structure of the building is steel framing, combined with triple layered low-e glass panels, while the exterior wooden frames double as an efficient shading system. + HDD Architecture Via Contemporist Photos by Shengliang Su

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Yurt-inspired visitor’s center in China blends into its exceptional surroundings

Scott Pruitt thinks global warming could be favorable for humans

February 9, 2018 by  
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Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Scott Pruitt has once again aired thoughts that depart from mainstream climate science , according to The Guardian . In a recent interview with Nevada TV station News 3 , Pruitt suggested global warming could be beneficial for people. He said, “Do we really know what the ideal surface temperature should be in the year 2100, in the year 2018? It’s fairly arrogant for us to think we know exactly what it should be in 2100.” Pruitt said in an interview with News 3’s Gerard Ramahlo, “No one disputes the climate changes , is changing, that’s, we see that, that’s constant. We obviously contribute to it; we live in the climate, right?…Now measuring that with precision, Gerard, I think is more challenging than is let on at times but I think the bigger question is…is it an existential threat? Is it something that is unsustainable or what kind of effect or harm is this going to have? I mean, we know that humans have most flourished during times of what, warming trends. I mean, so, so, I think there’s assumptions made that because the climate is warming that that necessarily is a bad thing.” Related: Pruitt met with Dow Chemical CEO before denying pesticide ban The EPA administrator echoed an idea that’s been raised in the past of a debate on climate change, to go over “what we do know and what we don’t know, so the American people can be informed and make decisions on their own.” A snapshot of the EPA website on January 19, 2017, the day before Donald Trump was sworn into office, was very clear that the impacts of climate change would threaten human health . They said people could be exposed to disease , be threatened by extreme weather events, or face food insecurity due to climate change impacts. Via The Guardian and News 3 Images via Gage Skidmore on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons

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Scott Pruitt thinks global warming could be favorable for humans

Three glass arms and a sunken visitor center enhance this renovated Dutch park

August 22, 2017 by  
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Some people have a wonderful knack for devising new ways of seeing the world – including Studio Maks and Junya Ishigami + Associates, who designed this sublime park expansion in the Netherlands . The new triangular-shaped visitor center in Park Vijversburg acts as an extension of the adjacent historical villa, while ensuring minimal impact on the parkland. Three sweeping glass corridors extend from the center, providing visitors with a more immediate perspective of the surrounding landscape. The addition to the recently refurbished park aims to accommodate the increasing number of visitors by providing new exhibition and meeting spaces. Studio Maks’ Marieke Kums and Tokyo-based architect Junya Ishigami designed the center as a partially sunken single-floor structure that has minimal impact on the site. Related: New light-filled learning center celebrates the food history of one of Denmark’s oldest towns Its three curved arms are fully glazed and free of columns and other structural elements. This creates an uninterrupted flow and views of the parkland , while giving a floating appearance to the roof. “We wanted to make a most subtle intervention,” Kums said. “Although the pavilion is an architectural project, it was designed and imagined as part of the landscape.” Rotterdam studio LOLA Landscape, Utrecht-based Deltavormgroep, Hummelo-based Piet Oudolf and Frankfurt-based artist Tobias Rehberger designed an additional 15 hectares of new landscape. + Studio Maks + Junya Ishigami + Associates Via Dezeen Photos by Iwan Baan

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Three glass arms and a sunken visitor center enhance this renovated Dutch park

Vance Tsing Tao Pearl Hill visitor center blends into the landscape with a rolling green roof

August 9, 2017 by  
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Prolific architecture firm Bohlin Cywinski Jackson crafted the Vance Tsing Tao Pearl Hill Visitor Center in Qingdao, China with a gorgeous rolling green roof . Located at the base of the Zhushan National Forest Park, the wooden building ‘s undulating canopy mimics the mountain range in the backdrop. At 223,000 square feet, the visitor center is certainly massive, however it was carefully designed to blend into its natural surroundings thanks to its subtle stature and verdant green roof. Additionally, the building is strategically oriented so that visitors can enjoy amazing views of the mountain range on one side and expansive sea views on the other end. Floor-to-ceiling glazed walls provide these views while illuminating the building with natural light . Related: Manetti Shrem Museum’s 50,000-square-foot canopy was inspired by the agrarian landscape The designers choose to use wood as the building’s principle material to create a strong connection to nature. The unique wooden truss roof structure uses large logs to support a layer of Canadian Class J SPF wood. At the center of the undulating roof is an abundance of lush greenery, further integrating the building into its environment. The green roof was strategically designed to insulate the interior and reduce the building’s overall carbon footprint. + Bohlin Cywinski Jackson Via Archdaily Photography by He Lian

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Vance Tsing Tao Pearl Hill visitor center blends into the landscape with a rolling green roof

New light-filled learning center celebrates the food history in one of Denmarks oldest towns

August 3, 2017 by  
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Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter just won a competition to design a new cultural center for one of the oldest settlements in Denmark . The winning proposal, called Kornets Hus (“Grain House”), will be an activity-based learning center in Hjørring focused on the importance of grain to Jutland—a region believed to have been populated 10,000 years ago. Kornets Hus will be of a minimalist and modern design built largely from brick and timber that takes inspiration from the region’s diverse landscapes, folk culture, and agricultural heritage. Commissioned by Realdania , the L-shaped 680-square-meter Kornets Hus is set on a site with an existing farm and bakery. The learning center will offer visitors as well as locals and employees engaging educational experiences about the region’s rich food and farming culture. In addition to educational and exhibition spaces, the building will also include a cafe, store, and offices. Related: Norwegian Mountaineering Centre mimics a dramatic snow-covered mountain The building features a simple and flexible plan to accommodate a wide variety of activities. Two brick-clad light wells , reminiscent of baker kilns, bookend the structure’s two ends. Skylights and large windows also help maximize access to natural light . Glazing on the west facade frame views of wheat fields and connect to an outdoor terrace. A large bread oven forms the heart of the public spaces. + Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter Images via Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter

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New light-filled learning center celebrates the food history in one of Denmarks oldest towns

LEED Silver visitor center is a portal to a historic American battlefield

December 12, 2016 by  
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Calling attention to a historic landscape can be difficult when there are few artifacts to differentiate it from its surroundings. New Jersey-based ikon.5 architects successfully brought renewed attention to a historic battlefield from the American Revolutionary War with their design of the Monmouth Battlefield State Park Visitor Center in Manalapan Township, New Jersey. Located on a high point, the building is a glazed LEED Silver -certified pavilion that frames views of the battlefield while maintaining a minimal energy footprint. The Monmouth Battlefield State Park Visitor Center replaced an underutilized structure built for the Bicentennial and comprises office space, a theater, museum store, exhibition space, classrooms, an archeology lab, and restrooms. Though the pavilion features many programmatic features, its thoughtful design keeps the focus on the landscape thanks to its custom-fabricated “mullion-less” glass curtain wall . The largely glazed building appears to float on the landscape and offers unobstructed views of the battlefield from the museum . “Sited at the top of Combs Hill overlooking the Battlefield, the pavilion is conceived as a modern day primitive hut, templar in its siting, but diminutive in its appearance,” write the architects. Related: University of Pennsylvania’s green-roofed New College House targets LEED Silver The building achieved LEED Silver certification thanks to the installation of triple-glazed low-e laminated glazing that wraps around the building and minimizes heat gain and loss. The roof features long eaves to shade the interior and further minimize unwanted solar heat gain. The new visitor center was built within the bounds of the existing property to minimize site impact and incorporates renovated portions of the original building. Rainwater collected on the roof is reused in a rain garden . A geothermal system is used to heat and cool the building. + ikon.5 architects Images via ikon.5 architects , by Jeffrey Totaro and James D’Addio

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LEED Silver visitor center is a portal to a historic American battlefield

Extreme rain storms in the US could increase by 400% due to climate change

December 12, 2016 by  
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The forecast of America’s future includes a 400 percent increase in the number of extreme rain storms if climate change has its way. Six scientists from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) found the frequency of intense rainstorms could increase by 2100, and could dump 70 percent more rain, in the absence of powerful action on climate change. The frequency of very extreme rainstorms leading to flooding or destruction could ramp up from once per season to five times per season before the end of this century, an increase of 400 percent, according to the NCAR scientists. Even worse, when those storms do come, they could hit harder, damaging infrastructure and homes that aren’t equipped to handle the deluge. Lead author Andreas Prein told The Guardian these rainstorms could be one of climate change’s worst consequences in the United States. Related: Winter storms will hit new extremes as the planet gets warmer every year The increase in rain could mainly affect the Atlantic and Gulf coast areas, but even the central part of America, which could get drier under warmer temperatures, might see extreme rainfall. The problem is that for dry areas, moderate rainstorms that nourish the land wouldn’t happen as much as drastic downpours that would damage crops. Other analyses have revealed extreme rainfall is more likely to happen already because of climate change. Prein said the extreme rainstorms we see now could intensify in the future if we don’t step up and do something. He still seems to hold out hope these increased extreme weather patterns aren’t a done deal in the future. He told The Guardian, “It’s really in our hands to change that if we want to.” By limiting emissions, there might still be more extreme rain, but not as much as the NCAR scientists predict. The journal Nature Climate Change published the scientists’ study online this week. Via The Guardian Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

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Extreme rain storms in the US could increase by 400% due to climate change

This green-roofed visitor center will be nestled under a hill in Denmark

November 28, 2016 by  
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The green-roofed Skamlingsbanken Visitor Center near Sjølund in southern Denmark will blur the line between nature and architecture. CEBRA Architects ‘ winning proposal envisions a series of exhibition and gathering spaces formed under a softy curving hill. The project is designed to serve as a gateway to the area’s historic legacy. The center will be located at the highest point of an undulating moraine landscape in southern Denmark, with spectacular views over the Little Belt strait. It will articulate the natural surroundings and provide a contemplative space where visitors can explore the history of the area, which acted as a cultural gathering point during the most politically and culturally turbulent times in the country’s history. The site functioned as a natural stage for advocates for the Danish language, front-runners of the feminist movement, and a celebration marking the end of WWII. Related: CEBRA’s Smart School Meadow is an inclusive learning space that doubles as community center in Russia By lifting a single point within the landscape along a linear cut, the architects created an addition to the landscape in the form of a hill which accommodates the visitor center. From the starting point for hikes, visitors are guided into the landscape or can explore the exhibition and educational facilities within. Various routes provides by the project allow people to freely explore the area, joining a long list of historical events that shaped the nation. + CEBRA Architects Via Archdaily

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This green-roofed visitor center will be nestled under a hill in Denmark

Swiss pilot plans to fly solar airplane to the edge of space

November 28, 2016 by  
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It might sound like the stuff of science fiction, but a Swiss pilot is preparing to fly to the edge of space in a solar-powered aircraft . According to Wired , Raphël Domjan is planning to fly his plane, SolarStratos , higher than any plane has gone before. His goal is to prove that renewable energy is not only equal to, but potentially greater than fossil fuels. Check out the video below. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jw1TYssfSCg That goal, it seems, is a lofty one in both the literal and figurative senses. When the planned date arrives in late 2018, Domjan hopes to hop into SolarStratos and fly 25,000 meters into the sky, to the edge of space. After flying for two and a half hours, he is planning to spend 15 minutes in the stratosphere before slowly ascending back to terra firma. “Our goal is to be the highest plane ever, not only solar and electric,” Swiss pilot, Domjan told Wired . With this project, we take technology you can find in the supermarket and we put it to the limit. He adds that showing solar technology can take humans as far or further than petroleum fuels will send a strong message about the potential that clean technology holds. “We still have so many things to explore,” he adds. “Maybe exploration can be used to protect our planet.” Related: World’s first piloted solar-powered helicopter lifts off in Maryland But he needs more funding to make his mission happen. Since founding SolarStratos in 2014, Domjan has raised $5 million to make his experimental plane , which is expected to be released by solar aviation specialist PC-Solar by the end of this year. The finished plane will weigh just shy of 1,000 pounds, including two 19kw motors that produce about 50 horsepower. That much weight and power is just barely light enough to complete the missions; according to Wired, Domjan will have to lose about 20 pounds before he can attempt the feat. There’s also the problem of how he will breathe at 25,000 meters, where there’s only two percent of the oxygen available at sea level. Also, despite the funds already raised, the team needs another $5 million in the bank before they’re ready to take flight. Still, it’s a worthy mission – let’s hope the project lifts off the ground. Via Wired Images and video via SolarStratos , Youtube

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