Tiny meditation shelters are the perfect place for hikers to connect with the forest

February 20, 2017 by  
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These tiny  meditation shelters offer protection and a place to rest for hikers exploring the Lithuanian forests. The shelters are a place where people can find solitude to reconnect with nature and find harmony with the environment. A slithering stone pathway that weaves throughout the forest garden was inspired by a Lithuanian fairy tale about serpents. The project, named Gapahuk, is part of a larger Meditation Garden designed by Bjørnådal Arkitektstudio which won the American Architecture Prize 2016. Used for individual meditation and as a place where hikers can rest and get warm, this cluster of shelters was built during the Human Birdhouse Workshop in Lithuania last August. The team cleared a forest clearing and shaped pathways that naturally weave in and around the garden. Two fireplaces installed in front of the shelters are surrounded with sitting areas. Holy stones added to the site look like totems of masculine and feminine origin, while a symbolic stone pathway represents a Lithuanian fairy tale about serpents. Related: FORÊT II is a Meditation Pavilion Made from 810 Reclaimed Shipping Pallets The workshop took place on the property of famous Lithuanian children books author, poet and film/theatre director Vytautas V. Landsbergis. The idea was to design and build architecture in the style of Constructive Shamanism, which brings together architects, builders and spiritual practitioners to strengthen and reveal the connection between humans and nature. References to Lithuanian mythology dominate the project, with visitors participating in spiritual ceremonies and singing mantras around a bonfire. + Bjørnådal Arkitektsudio Via v2com Lead photo by Lidija Kaleinikovaite

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Architects use earthen berms to tuck a central reservoir inside tiered office space

February 20, 2017 by  
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Mumbai-based Sanjay Puri Architects have designed an office space concept with a beautiful reservoir as the heart of the design. Inspired by the traditional stepped wells that provide water for India’s severely parched communities, the design incorporates a natural recess found in the landscape to optimize the Reservoir’s natural water collection  abilities. As part of a 95-acre planned community development, the Reservoir is designed to connect a residential and commercial area in India’s arid Rajasthan state. Like most of India, water is a precious resource, and more so in this region where temperatures reach an excess of 100 ° F for eight months of the year. Related: Ghostly ruins of a 400-year-old church rise from the waters of a Mexican reservoir Using the natural topography of the landscape, the architects planned the design around an existing cavity in the ground. This was strategic to let the reservoir naturally fill with water almost year round, eliminating the need for additional water source. Any runoff  water is collected and supports the water supply for the entire complex. The structure itself is supported into green-covered earthen berms, which create the perimeter of the design. Solar panels are installed on these berms, which have cutouts that lead to underground parking. Six floors of office space follow the site’s natural rising topography surrounding the pool, creating a natural open-air terrace for each office. The recessed water design actively lowers the temperature of the immediate microclimate, creating a pleasant work environment while minimalizing energy use. On the interior, large floor-to-ceiling windows allow for optimal natural light, which also reduces the need for artificial lighting. + Sanjay Puri Architects Via Architect Magazine Images via Sanjay Puri Architects

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Architects use earthen berms to tuck a central reservoir inside tiered office space

High school students are building tiny homes to give to flood survivors

February 20, 2017 by  
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In West Virginia, students that would normally be constructing birdhouses or bookshelves are instead contributing their labor and newly acquired skills to help give those who lost everything a new start. Last year, historic floods devastated the state, destroying over 5000 homes and killing over 20 people. So students from across the state have gathered together to build compact, energy efficient tiny homes for victims of the flooding. West Virginia has struggled to provide adequate housing for those thousands made homeless by the storm. So high school students attending 12 vocational schools throughout the state are demonstrating that they may have a promising solution. The participating vocational schools, such as Carver Career and Technical Education Center in Charleston, traditionally teach practices such as carpentry and plumbing.  A new, first of-its-kind partnership between the West Virginia Department of Education and the Greater Recovery and Community Empowerment initiative enables students to access hands-on learning to design and build homes for local flood survivors from concept to completion. Each unique  tiny house i s just 500 square feet. Related: Studio H launches Kickstarter Campaign to Build a Shipping Container Classroom at Berkeley’s REALM Charter school 15 homes have been built so far, thanks to funding from the state’s Board of Education and regional community supporters. All of the homes are unique and some are designed to be portable.  Unlike trailers that are supplied by FEMA in post-disaster zones , each of the tiny homes will have individual design accents. Each home includes a bathroom, kitchen, living room and laundry room.  The ground-breaking program has potential to be scaled to serve communities in other post-disaster zones. + WV Public Broadcasting Via NPR Photos Courtesy of West Virginia Department of Education  

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De Stijl-inspired home in Kiev features massive pergola wall for privacy

January 27, 2017 by  
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RBN House stands out from its surroundings as a sleek, modern residence that makes use of wood in a variety of ways. The house, designed by Kiev-based Workshop Grynevich Dmitriy , features a series of trendy statements, including a wooden pergola that continues down the side of the home to act as a huge screen. The house is surrounded by a large garden which features wooden walkways , pebbled beds for shrubs and lush grass. The wooden deck on the ground floor offers the residents a partially sheltered space where they can relax and enjoy the outdoors. The slated wooden structure offers protection from the sun. Red and black-painted windows act as accents that remind of De Stijl and Gerit Rietveld’s designs. Related: YOD Design Lab’s modern cabins mirror the forest in Ukraine Inside, casual furniture pieces create a laid back atmosphere. Natural light floods the open-plan living room, where wood is also prominently featured. The customized wooden decorative panel above the modern fireplace and a similar piece that holds the TV provide warmth and make the space look more cozy. Space-saving design features such as the storage space underneath the staircase add functionality to the building. + Workshop Grynevich Dmitriy Via Homify

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De Stijl-inspired home in Kiev features massive pergola wall for privacy

3 ways to clear your space for Lunar New Year using Feng Shui

January 27, 2017 by  
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The Lunar New Year, fondly known as Chinese New Year , falls on Saturday, January 28th   in 2017. The year of the fire monkey will come to a close and the year of the fire rooster will begin. According to the lunar calendar, this occasion marks the beginning of spring. Similar to the solar new year, it is a time to celebrate new beginnings and start fresh. In feng shui tradition, we don’t look backwards so much as forwards. How can we welcome the best energy at this time? The best way to do this is to do a little new year space clearing. Here I’ll share with you three steps to clear your space and make room for some positive chi! 1. Open all your windows and doors I know it might still be really cold, but the first step to clear your space is to open up all the outside windows and doors at the same time. Walk around your home starting at the front door, and go clockwise. Open all the windows and doors to the outside as you go around, then wait for 9 minutes. While the windows and doors are open, visualize that all the old stagnant energy in your space is being swept out with the breeze and into the outside air. Then go back around the same way and close them all. All the stuck energy from all the dark corners and hidden areas in your home and life have exited your space and being. Picture bright white sunlight filling your home with positive and fresh, clean life affirming energy. 2. Get some oranges The most traditional feng shui method for space clearing uses oranges. Oranges are very auspicious in Asian cultures because they represent prosperity and luck. In ancient times, fruit was very precious and not so easy to obtain. Fortunately, in modern times fruit, including oranges, are readily available. In feng shui, oranges are yang; bright and strong energetically. This means that the scent of oranges, especially the peels have the power to clear spaces.  That’s why you see so many non-toxic green cleaning products with orange essential oil as an ingredient. It has the energetic and physical properties to really clean. The smell is also uplifting and bright—it just makes you happy! There a few ways you can use oranges to clear your space. First you can simply get some oranges and peel them. Nine is a good feng shui number, so get nine oranges. You can keep the orange peels in bowls around your home for a few days. When they start to dry out you can toss them into your compost pile . Another option is to use some organic orange essential oil and use an aromatherapy diffuser or make your own spray with water and a few drops of oil in a spray bottle. Try 27 drops of essential oil.  Orange essential oil spray is also easy to find at the store, just make sure they use pure orange essential oil, and it’s not an artificial fragrance. Be sure to get the orange essence all around your home, in the dark corners as well as the center of each room. An easy way to make sure you get every area is to walk around clockwise then to the center of each room. 3. Re-dedicate your space Finally, the third step to clear your space is to formally rededicate your intention for it. What exactly does this have to do with clearing space, you ask? Once you have cleared your space with oranges and fresh air, you have a blank slate to start with. How wonderful to be able to start over with new beginnings! I recommend you sit down at a table and write down 9 wishes for this new lunar year. Dedicate these wishes to your space, so that your space can help you manifest these intentions. I encourage each of you take these three simple steps based on feng shui principles to celebrate Chinese new year ! Make some space in your life to welcome all the new and fantastic things that the year of the wood horse has to offer! Anjie Cho is the founder of  Holistic Spaces and Anjie Cho Architect, integrating beauty, spirituality and green design.  She creates and enhances balance and harmony by designing spaces with an understanding of sustainability and informed by the ancient practice of feng shui.  Her focus is to create a nurturing and supportive environment for each of her clients. Anjie is a registered New York State Architect, Interior Designer, LEED Accredited Professional, and certified Feng Shui consultant.  For over 14 years, she has been creating beautiful and nourishing environments. A graduate in Architecture from the University of California at Berkeley, Anjie is a sought-after expert in the fields of feng shui and green design. You can follow her on twitter @HolisticSpaces

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Beautiful Woodman’s Treehouse in England combines traditional craftsmanship and luxury design

October 20, 2016 by  
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The structure encompasses and meanders around the tree trunks, but doesn’t touch them at all, thus leaving the existing ecosystem undisturbed. A large boardwalk leads to the main entrance of the tree house, high up among the branches. Though it may seem small, the structure includes an entrance lobby where visitors can leave their coats and muddy boots. The interior features a king-sized bed, a double-ended copper bath and a rotating fireplace . Related: This clever treehouse was designed to dodge natural obstacles and local building codes The original plans to build a spiral staircase that would connect the rear deck to the ground level have been scratched and instead, a stainless steel one-meter-wide slide was installed. The rear deck features a wood-fired pizza oven and barbeque , as well as an outdoor shower . A hot tub and sauna located on the roof deck are accessible via a small spiral staircase. + Guy Mallinson Woodland Workshop Via Fubiz

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Beautiful Woodman’s Treehouse in England combines traditional craftsmanship and luxury design

The world’s first wind-hydro turbines will generate energy even when there’s no breeze

October 20, 2016 by  
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One of the biggest challenges wind farms face is how to generate power when there’s no wind. Max Bögl Wind AG and GE Renewable Energy are attempting to solve that issue by combining wind turbines with hydropower technology . The wind-hydro plant will be the first of its kind, and it’s set to be fully operational by 2018. The innovative renewable energy plant is designed to generate power even when wind isn’t blowing. It will feature the tallest wind turbines in the world, according to GE Reports, which stand 584 feet tall. The turbine bases serve as reservoirs containing 1.6 million gallons of water, and the wind farm will be surrounded by an additional reservoir containing 9 million gallons of water. Related: World’s first typhoon turbine could power all of Japan for 50 years To function, the wind-hydro plant must be located on a hill. Water will flow down the hill to generate hydro electricity, and it will be pumped back up the hill when energy is not needed. This enables the wind-hydro plant to continually produce power. GE Renewable Energy and Max Bögl Wind AG found an ideal location in Germany ‘s Swabian-Franconian Forest. GE Renewable Energy onshore wind general manager Cliff Harris told GE Reports, “Germans in this area are known as tinkerers and inventors. So the mentality of this technology really fits with the population. It’s a bit risky, and it can’t work everywhere. But the plant will run for several decades, and we expect the benefits will be felt over that time.” The wind farm will generate 13.6 megawatts of energy, and the hydroelectric plant can generate 16 megawatts. A pilot project with four wind turbines is slated to connect to the grid in 2017, and the hydropower plant will be operational in 2018. The project will help Germany achieve its goal of generating a minimum of 45 percent of its energy via renewable sources by 2030. + Max Bögl Wind AG + GE Renewable Energy Via GE Reports Images via GE Reports and Max Bögl Wind AG

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The world’s first wind-hydro turbines will generate energy even when there’s no breeze

Tiny House Nation’s Zack Giffin will teach veterans to build their own homes

July 15, 2016 by  
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There are nearly 50,000 homeless veterans every night, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Nonprofit Operation Tiny Home (OTH) decided to help veterans find a solution through tiny homes . Now they’re teaming up with Tiny House Nation ‘s Zack Giffin to offer a three-day workshop in Wisconsin to build homes for the James A. Peterson Veterans Village . The Wisconsin workshop will teach veterans how to construct their own tiny homes, in addition to giving them valuable job skills. The workshop is aimed at all skill levels. Not only will attendees be taught carpentry skills necessary to build their own homes for the James A. Peterson Veterans Village, they’ll learn about design concepts and how to read blueprints. Milwaukee Tools, USA will supply the tools for the workshop . Through the veterans village, Veterans Outreach of Wisconsin aims to give veterans the chance to have stable housing and become ” productive members of society ” again. Related: How Tiny House Villages Could Solve America’s Homeless Epidemic Zack Giffin said in a press release, “Veterans need quality, yet affordable homes, that provide dignity with their living situation, security, and an opportunity to be supported by their country…It’s about recognizing that financial stress and housing insecurity play a huge part in the mental well-being of many of our nation’s veterans.” OTH said tiny homes can offer “a high level of independence and dignity” for veterans who have struggled with finding housing in the past. This will will take place July 22-24, but Giffin and OTH hope to “jumpstart” more workshop programs around the United States. Other collaborative workshops are in the works for Washington, Tennessee, California, Texas, and Indiana. OTH Executive Director Gabrielle Rapport said, “These workshops are powerful and provide veterans with a sense of purpose and connection to their community.” + Operation Tiny Home + Veterans Outreach of Wisconsin Images via Zack Giffin Facebook and Operation Tiny Home Facebook

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Biotrap is the world’s first 100% biodegradable mosquito trap

July 15, 2016 by  
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If you’re concerned about the Zika virus or simply keen to prevent pesky mosquito bites, you may not have to use DEET-filled sprays or citronella candles anymore. Canada-based Greenlid Envirosciences decided there had to be a better alternative, so they designed Biotrap, a mosquito trap that is both biodegradable and compostable . Biotraps are designed to help protect against mosquito-borne diseases, and they’re easy to use. All a person needs is to add water and the trap takes care of the rest. Greenlid Envirosciences even recommends using dirty water for convenience in both rural and urban areas, and no upkeep is required. Related: This billboard imitates human sweat to snare mosquitoes Biotraps include ” both attractant and environmentally safe insecticide ,” drawing in female mosquitoes, according to the company. There’s only about 0.0125 grams of the insecticide Bifenthrin in each Biotrap, and Greenlid Envirosciences said the minimal concentration means the trap is non-toxic. The trap acts as a ” simulated breeding ground ” that kills off both the female mosquito and the larvae. It’s highly effective too. According to Greenlid Envirosciences, the Biotraps eliminate more than 95 percent of the larvae. The waterproof, compostable containers are made with ” end-life recycled cardboard ” and will break down in four to six weeks. They’ve already been deployed to Brazil, Colombia, Florida, Pakistan, and Hawaii. The Australian government has also ordered Biotraps to protect against Queensland dengue outbreaks, and Greenlid Envirosciences is seeking to work with other agencies and governments to help people in regions with outbreaks of mosquito-borne illness. Soon you can order your own Biotrap via an Indiegogo campaign that launches July 18. Greenlid Envirosciences will donate one Biotrap for each trap purchased through partners Direct Relief and the International Medical Corps . You can sign up for updates here . + Greenlid Envirosciences Images via Biotraps Facebook

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Biotrap is the world’s first 100% biodegradable mosquito trap

Mexican university annex is a breezy open-air workshop for sustainability students

April 20, 2015 by  
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Read the rest of Mexican university annex is a breezy open-air workshop for sustainability students Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: air flow , guadalajara , ITESO University , mexico , Sustainable Building , TID Annex , Workshop

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