Prefab Morgan Motor Company Experience Centre uses sustainable timber

November 27, 2020 by  
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Bath, U.K.-based Hewitt Studios has given a stunning makeover to Morgan Motor Company’s aging café, museum and showroom with the new Experience Centre, a prefabricated visitor center made from sustainably sourced timber . Designed with reusability in mind, the building takes cues from the British motor car manufacturer’s hand-built sports cars that are constructed from three recyclable core elements: ash timber, aluminum and leather. The sustainably minded building also reduces its carbon footprint with high-performance insulation, daylighting and a responsible stormwater management strategy. With more than a century of experience working with local craftsmen to construct its handmade cars, the Morgan Motor Company has built its reputation on ethical sourcing, natural materials and a focus on longevity. As a result, Hewitt Studios wanted the new Experience Centre to reflect the company’s sustainable values and used three prefabricated structures built of timber in a nod to the company’s historic ash body frames. These structures include the Jewel Box, a display space for the company’s hero car and customer handovers; a sculptural visitor entrance foyer; and an external covered car canopy that is large enough to shelter the demo car fleet. The car canopy features an undulating profile evocative of the Malvern Hills’ rolling topography. Related: Visitor center disguised as a hill to welcome visitors to Denmark’s historic Kalø Castle Ruins The architects also put new cladding and roofing atop the existing buildings and built out the internal spaces. Timber and easily recyclable aluminum flashings were used for the cladding and are detailed for easy dismantling and recycling. Metsawood Kerto laminated veneer lumber, an inexpensive off-the-shelf industrial product made with certified timber from sustainably managed forests, was also incorporated into all of the new structures, particularly in the sculptural canopies.  The architects explained, “This strategy of using a single conventional product in a number of unconventional ways delivers terrific value for Morgan, creating the impression of an expensive bespoke outcome using readily available ‘stock’ timber sections — maximum bang for their buck!” + Hewitt Studios Images via Morgan Motor Company

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Prefab Morgan Motor Company Experience Centre uses sustainable timber

Architects envision a lush, solar-powered oasis to cool Abu Dhabi

November 13, 2020 by  
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Abu Dhabi’s Department of Municipalities and Transport (DMT) has named European architecture firm Mask Architects’ palm tree-inspired Oasys proposal one of the 10 winners in ‘Cool Abu Dhabi’ . This global design competition sought sustainable solutions for mitigating the urban heat island effect . The winning design calls for a solar-powered refuge with modular, palm tree-like structures that would provide protection from the elements and respite from the heat with solar-powered misters and lush landscaping. The multipurpose, pop-up spaces could also be used for a variety of functions, from cafes and and retail stands to exhibition spaces. Mask Architect’s Oasys proposal draws the eye with its massive palm tree-inspired structures that the architects said would be topped with solar panels and integrated with lights and nozzles that spray a cooling mist into the air. Dubbed the Artificial Breathing Palm modular structure system, the design includes a “foundation base” that conceals all of the technical equipment — including water and electric lines as well as solar batteries — as well as five triangular module types of varying sizes. The modules can connect together in different configurations to fit a variety of settings, while lush landscaping would be planted around the modules to give the space more of an oasis-like feel. Related: Abu Dhabi Flamingo Visitor Center blends into the landscape “The ‘Oasis’ design concept has been influenced by the need to create a greener city as well as creating a real oasis in the middle of the city,” Mask Architects explained. “Besides the the flexible and replaceable design line, any outdoor functions are adapted easily into ‘Oasys’ conceptA mechanism that can be replicated easily to form a network of hubs and centre points in which they act as islands of rest places, socialising and sociable communal for the collective and community.” The ‘Cool Abu Dhabi ’ global design competition concluded earlier this year and received over 300 entries from nearly 70 countries. The 10 winning entries were announced online and each received $10,000 each in prize money.  + Mask Architects Images via Mask Architects

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Will gene editing and cloning create super cows that resist global warming?

November 13, 2020 by  
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Livestock emit about 14.5% of all greenhouse gases , and now their gassy ways are coming back to haunt them. Dairy cattle are increasingly suffering from debilitating heat stress due to global warming. While vegan activists might suggest this would be a good time to lessen our dependence on animal products, scientists have another solution — use gene editing and cloning to produce a heat-resistant race of super calves. Heat-stressed cows eat less, produce less milk and find it hard to conceive. Sometimes, they can even die because of the heat. Heat stress costs the U.S. dairy industry alone at least $900 million a year. On many small farms in the developing world, families don’t have cows to spare. Related: Impossible Foods is testing revolutionary plant-based milk “ Rising temperatures and predicted longer and more intense periods of warm weather can only mean that the problems with heat stress and fertility will increase,” Goetz Laible, PhD, an animal scientist at New Zealand’s AgResearch, told Future Human . Because darker colors absorb more light and heat, Laible and a group of other scientists used genetic engineering to lighten the coats of Holstein-Friesian cattle. These are the iconic white cows with big black spots. The scientists used the gene-editing tool CRISPR to alter a pigmentation gene in cattle embryos. Then, they cloned the embryos and implanted them in 22 normal cows. Only two cows managed to carry their super calves to term. Unfortunately, one died almost immediately and the other lived to be only four weeks old. Laible attributed the deaths to common complications of cloning rather than to the gene editing. Acceligen, a Minnesota-based company, is experimenting with gene editing to give cows a “slick” trait. This is a genetic variant for a sleek, short coat which cools down cows in subtropical heat. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has helped fund this work, hoping to someday introduce these cows to farmers in sub-Saharan Africa. Scientists are aware of the possibility of editing mistakes and what they call “off-target” effects of CRISPR. But one wonders exactly how much they’ve learned from the past, as documented in popular entertainment. Film classics like Them!, Night of the Lepus and The Killer Shrews all clearly demonstrate the potentially deadly off-target effects of science on ants, rabbits and shrews, respectively. While we wait for the technology to be perfected, it’s not a bad idea to stock up on oat milk . Via Future Human Image via Michael Pujals

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Abu Dhabi Flamingo Visitor Center blends into the landscape

September 25, 2020 by  
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Prague-based architecture firm Petr Janda / brainwork studio has won an international competition with its design of the Abu Dhabi Flamingo Visitor Center, a proposed center that would service the Al Wathba Wetland Reserve located southeast of central Abu Dhabi. Dubbed “To See and Not to be Seen,” the winning proposal blends in with the landscape with an organically shaped building made of a pink concrete material that mimics rock formations in the Arabian desert . To mitigate the region’s intense heat, the proposed visitor center would feature liquid coolant integrated into both the inner and outer building shells as well as lichens that cover the surface of the building to significantly reduce operational costs. Organized by the Abu Dhabi Environment Agency in partnership with Bee Breeders, the Abu Dhabi Flamingo Visitor Center competition sought building designs that could accommodate a wide range of programming — including an information center, cafe, terrace, souvenir shop, display area for specimens, training center, bathrooms and a car park — and complement the Al Wathba Wetland Reserve. The reserve is a 5,000-square-kilometer protected area that is home to around 260 species of birds and other wildlife. Every autumn through spring, the reserve welcomes 4,000 pink flamingos. Related: Touring restored wetlands at a Wisconsin nature conservancy The architects’ winning proposal envisions a visitor center with a circular floor plan that eschews the traditional layout of individual rooms boxed in by orthogonal walls. Instead, the barrier-free interior emphasizes the building’s dynamic rounded shape with curved walls throughout the three floors, from the basement level to the roof, where a “pink lake” biotope is located. The unusual design encourages visitors to explore the building much like they would the reserve. “The main idea is to connect the visitor centre with the reserve’s nature at all levels of the project,” the architects explained. “To create an autonomous environment with the distinct genius loci. Using material and shape mimicry, the building organically connects its appearance with the environment of the reserve. It looks very old and, at the same time, contemporary or even futuristic. It works with the natural connection between the organic and inorganic components of nature, which permeates not only the technical part of the building (cooling and condensation system) but also all exhibition and didactic strategies (living parts of the facades, water elements and indoor life organisms).” The jury has praised the project for its site-sensitive design; however, it did note that the complexity of the building may prove to be prohibitively expensive to build in its current form. + Petr Janda / brainwork studio Images via Petr Janda / brainwork studio

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Abu Dhabi Flamingo Visitor Center blends into the landscape

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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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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