Blood-powered lamp: think twice about turning the lights on

from DVICE by Adam Frucci
Blood-powered lamp: think twice about turning the lights onNormal lamps run on electricity, so you probably don’t think much about having them on all day. But a lamp that runs on human blood? Yeah, you’ll think twice about turning that on.

In order to use the Blood Lamp, you need to break the glass top. Then you drop the included tablet into the liquid, stab yourself with the broken glass and let a drop of your blood fall in. And then you get your precious light. Not so glib about light now, are you?

MAD Unveils Taichung Convention Center With Solar Skin

image
Beijing-based MAD Architects recently recently unveiled their design for a new convention center in Taiwan with a �skin� that will naturally ventilate the structure and generate energy from solar power. The Taichung Convention Center center is intended to become a new local landmark and help redefine the cultural landscape of the city, while also drawing attention to sustainable development and growth. Inhabitat.

Green Watch turns you into a walking environmental sensor

from DVICE by Michael Trei
Green Watch turns you into a walking environmental sensorBig cities use sensors in strategic spots to monitor environmental conditions, but they’re not much help when there’s a localized problem far from the nearest monitoring station. La Montre Verte (The Green Watch) from a French group called Fing, turns regular citizens into walking sensors, by sending data by cellphone about noise and ozone levels, which can then be compiled and mapped to show trouble spots. A pilot program was completed in Paris earlier this year, followed up by a much larger test last week at the Picnic ’09 conference in Amsterdam. And yes, it even tells the time.

My only question is what happens to the noise sensor if you go out clubbing? Not to mention how the ozone readings looked around some of Amsterdam’s famous “coffee shops”.

ZEROprize for green buildings – Times Online

Flickr: Breakmould
Flickr: Breakmould

ZEROprize for green buildings
Times Online
If, after a year, it is zerocarbon, $1 million is yours. But the brief throws up all sorts of problems. Do you retrofit from the inside or outside? 

Google climate change tools for COP15

from The Official Google Blog by A Googler
In December of this year, representatives from nations around the globe will gather in Copenhagen to discuss a global agreement on climate change. The objective is to reduce global warming emissions sufficiently in order to avoid the most severe impacts of climate change and to support the global community in adapting to the unavoidable changes ahead. Denmark will act as host for this fifteenth Conference of the Parties under the United Nations’ Climate Change Convention, known as COP15.

In collaboration with the Danish government and others, we are launching a series of Google Earth layers and tours to allow you to explore the potential impacts of climate change on our planet and the solutions for managing it. Working with data from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), we show on Google Earth the range of expected temperature and precipitation changes under different global emissions scenarios that could occur throughout the century. Today we are unveiling our first climate tour on Google Earth: “Confronting Climate Change,” with narration by Al Gore. Stay tuned for more tours in the coming weeks!

Together with the Danish government, we’re also launching our YouTube COP15 channel. On the channel, you can submit your thoughts and questions on climate change to decision-makers and the world through an initiative called “Raise Your Voice.” These videos will be broadcast on screens around the conference in December and rated by viewers of the channel. The top-rated contributions will be aired globally during the COP15 CNN/YouTube debate on December 15th, and the top two submissions will win a trip to Copenhagen. We look forward to seeing your videos!

Posted by Benjamin Kott, Green Business Operations and Jonas Vang, Industry Analyst

Massive dust storm transforms Sydney into an alien world

from DVICE by Kevin Hall
Massive dust storm transforms Sydney into an alien worldEver wonder what it’d be like to live on Mars? Australians got a little taste of it on Wednesday, as a massive dust storm 310 miles wide and 620 miles long swept over the country’s eastern states, carrying over 75,000 tons of red dust in a gale that was visible from space. The skies turned orange and everything turned red from the dust, and luckily there were some intrepid photographers on the scene in Sydney to bring us the alien-looking landscape. It’s the worst dust storm Australia’s experienced in 70 years.

Ultrasonic dishwasher cleans your plates with waves of sound

from DVICE by Michael Trei
Ultrasonic dishwasher cleans your plates with waves of soundOwning a dishwasher may have been a hallmark of modern living 40 years ago, but French appliance maker De Dietrich thinks it’s overdue for a 21st century update.

Traditional dishwashers are one of the biggest energy hogs in most homes, using plenty of electricity and water to get your dinner plates clean. They also use detergents that can be harmful for the environment. Ultrasonic cleaning on the other hand, uses a process called cavitation where tiny bubbles created by bombarding an object with ultra high frequency sound literally scrub the surfaces clean.

Ultrasonic cleaners have been around for years, but they are used mostly in the jewelry and electronic industries. De Dietrich’s Oris dishwasher moves the process into our daily lives, saving both water and electricity, while using no polluting detergents.

Emergency Climate Control: Geoengineering Risks

from Green Options by Michael Ricciardi

Earth\'s upper atmosphere_NASA

With the news that climate change is occurring at a faster rate than climate models have predicted, geoengineering solutions have been brought to the fore and are being taken more seriously. The main focus of these emergency geoengineering strategies is a reduction in “shortwave” radiation entering the Earth’s atmosphere via the solar wind.

The short-term goal here is an overall reduction in global atmospheric temperatures to slow, or even reverse, warming trends. These solutions include increasing the amount of reflective particles surrounding the Earth by placing reflective particles (”mirrors”) outside the atmosphere. Such a solution may be justified to quickly curtail an emergent crisis–such as the rapid disintegration of the polar icecaps. Another strategy is to blanket the upper atmosphere with sulfur particles to block shortwave energy from reaching the Earth’s surface, thus producing a pronounced cooling effect (of variable duration).

However, in a recently published paper, Climate Engineering Responses to Climate Emergencies by Blackstocket al, this and other controversial strategies are analyzed in terms of feasibility, short-term impact, and also, the potential risks and dangers. The authors are also calling for a study phase. The major criticism in the paper is that current geoengineering strategies focus on a reduction of temperature without due consideration of the impact on precipitation, which also drives climate change. The cooler the surface temperature, in general, the less overall precipitation ( due to the fact that there is less energy for evaporation). Focusing only on temperature reduction, via incoming solar radiation, could backfire, leading to a shift in global hydrology cycles and, possibly, drought. Also, sulfur in the atmosphere combines with water to form sulfuric acid–the primary source of “acid rain”–a problem dramatically reduced since the passage of the Clean Air act.

Read more of this story »

What’s wrong Frank?

imageIs Gehry pissed? slate

Fab2Farm Could Be the Next ‘Beatles’ of Solar

from Green Options by Jeff Kart

Fab2Farm


The idea looks like a cool new version of the old SimCity computer game. You link a city to a solar manufacturing plant to a solar farm. The plant employs the people, the farm collects the energy and the city is up and running.

But this isn’t a game, it’s a pitch from Applied Materials, a Fortune 500 company known for making computer microchips.

They call it the best idea in the last 4 billion years.

Read more of this story »

The Daily Dig – Temporary Vertical Algae Bio-Reactor Edition

. The leaders of the world’s two biggest carbon emitting countries both talked about global warming yesterday. But Hu Jintao talked about the importance of nuclear power–which almost certainly has to play a major role in a low-carbon economy–while Obama omitted all mention of it. (Env. Capital) [SButtonZ button=”digg”] The current transportation bill …

Floor 124 of Burj Dubai to be Open to Tourists

Floor 124 of Burj Dubai to be Open to Tourists Sept 23, Dubai

There will be an observation deck on the 818-metre Burj Dubai, on the 124th floor of the 160-floor building, officials have announced.  In addition to a 360-degree glass observation deck, an open-air balcony will also be available for those who have no fear of heights.  Shaun Killa, a Dubai architect and member of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, said that observation decks were the most important part of any giant skyscraper...more.

Beacon of US$7billion project revealed

Beacon of US$7billion project revealed Sept 23, Jeddah

At 60 m tall, the Breakwater Beacon provides an unmissable centerpiece for the US$7billion King Abdullah University for Science & Technology (KAUST), inaugurated at Thuwal Point in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.  Designed by HOK, KAUST encompasses a total area of more than 36million sq m, the University campus occupies about 16 million sq m on land, and the remaining area is a vibrant offshore ecosystem...more.

Different sources of danger and their impacts to the environment

from Random graphic of the day: UNEP/GRID-Arendal Maps and Graphics Library by UNEP/GRID-Arendal <mapmaster@grida.no>
Different sources of danger and their impacts to the environmentContaminated groundwater can adversely affect animals, plants and humans if it is removed from the ground by manmade or natural processes. Depending on the geology of the area, groundwater may rise to the surface through springs or seeps, fl ow laterally into nearby rivers, streams, or ponds, or sink deeper into the earth. In many parts of the world, groundwater is pumped out of the ground to be used for drinking, bathing, other household uses, agriculture, and industry.

U.S. Air Force Ditches Toxic Paint, Goes Green with PreKote

from Green Options by Tina Casey

The U.S. Air Force is using PreKote, a nontoxic coating, to replace harsh chemicals in its corrosion control efforts.

The U.S. Air Force, which has been soaring into the wild green yonder on alternative fuels and othersustainability measures, has added paint to its roster of more earth-friendly maneuvers.  At Robins Air Force Base in Georgia, the Air Force has been easing away from toxic formulas, using PreKote to protect its aircraft from corrosion.  PreKote is a propriety nontoxic base coating manufactured by Pantheon Chemical of Phoenix, Airizona.

The new coating replaces highly toxic and potentially carcinogenic anti-corrosion products based on chemicals such as hexavalent chromium, which the Department of Defense has targeted for elimination throughout the armed forces, using the force of an urgently worded memorandum issued last spring.

Read more of this story »

WHY  Wally-Hermes Yachts


WHY Wally-Hermès Yachts
all images courtesy
Hermès

WHY Wally-Hermès Yachts is the new company created by french luxury brand
Hermès and monaco based yacht maker Wally, dedicated to a new lifestyle of living
on the sea.

designing a boat with a new concept is not an utopia.
at every turn the yacht offers maximum space, durability and cutting-edge technologies.
the exchange with Wally and Hermès was rooted deeply in terms of know how and sharing
the same philosophy of this new concept.

Hermès was involved in every step of the process from concept to realization, considering
both the outside and inside were just one of the many things. as always just like with all
their designs they paid special attention to detail, developing the overall architecture
of the vessel evaluating issues of speed and spaciousness.


WHY Wally-Hermès Yachts


WHY- photovolatic panels which cover the roof surface

the boat is contained in a triangular hull measuring 58m x 38m. there is no superstructure.
the initial idea of this hull was confirmed by the ramform hull which they discovered,
redesigned and adapted to fit the concept of the wheel house that emerges from the silhouette
of the ship. the interior of the yacht is fitted out with water resistant buffalo leather using
the calpinage technique.

the yacht which took years in the making has been tested in gotebourg, sweden,
in a specialised tank testing facility, to see how it would perform in big seas.
the outcome is that, in full swell, the bow moves a tiny bit and the stern stays
completely still. anchored, the boat creates a totally flat surface behind it, like an
olympic-size pool where you can swim in total peace. on the bow, there’s a seawater
pool 25 metres long that follows the curve of the bow.

the environmental and ecological advantages are a strong point of the boat WHY.
different sources of energy are managed by a central computer.

the yacht is powered using a diesel electric engine. a surface of the photovolatic
panels which measure approximately 900 square meters provide the solar electricity
generated which covers part of what is needed to subsist the boat.

an encounter,
… the concept was developed by president and CEO of Wally luca bassani antivari,
artistic director of Hermès, pierre-alexis dumas and design director of Hermès
gabriele pezzini.

a special WHY team has been built to reply to any needs.

http://www.why-yachts.com


WHY – when sunlight is let in


‘everybody’s dream is to live on an island, in complete freedom, without constraint,
with the independence that only self-sufficiency can provide. a piece of land with
a beautiful villa partly fulfils this aspiration because it is static. a yacht offers the freedom
to move, but does not have the space of a property. WHY has it all: space, stability, movement,
independence, peace. WHY goes even further. this revolutionary concept of the moving island
is developed with the latest and most advanced sustainable technologies, recycling thermal
energy, as well as any organic and inorganic waste. the architecture of the whole project
fits perfectly in the environment – there are no excesses, nothing is superfluous, the impact
on the sea is minimum. a new and unique way to live on the sea while caring about it,
protecting it, and loving it. all this has always been my dream too, and when I met
pierre-alexis dumas I realised that this dream could come true thanks to the common values
and ethical principles we share.’

luca bassani antivari, president and CEO of Wally

‘from the invention of the compass to block capitals, from the rudder to the first steps on
the moon, man discovers and pursues his dreams. with its feet on the ground and its head in
the stars, Hermès, since its creation in 1837, has grown, generation after generation, through
innovative projects, executed with high standards and an artisan spirit.I have always thrived on
the dreams of great visionaries like magellan, jules verne, saint-exupéry and paul klee.
like theirs,
the path of Hermès is to pursue its dreams… excelling itself, learning, pushing
ever further
the quest for excellence and the celebration of beauty in the world. a world we
must protect.
today, Hermès steps into the marine world with Wally. we quickly recognised
our common values,
the values of well-made, singular, functional, refined and elegant objects.
this encounter was just
what we needed to inspire us to brave the open seas. together, with
luca bassani antivari, we
hope to open a new path, to offera new lifestyle that is different,
serene, contemplative and respectful
of the environment, moving slowly on the water,
combining the pleasure of sailing and absolute
comfort. Wally Hermès Yachts – WHY – is the
union of our dreams, the green path that carries
us away in its wake…’
pierre-alexis dumas, artistic director of Hermès


WHY Wally-Hermès Yachts


WHY – deck

‘over the course of your discussions coasting against the current,
how did you come up with the idea of a triangular hull?’

pierre-alexis dumas: my inspiration is still the greek caïque, roomy, generous and slow.
this eulogy to slowness is demonstrated in such a magnificent way.
a pared-down craft with nothing superfluous about it. we needed a stable hull in order
to hold the sea comfortably. the idea of a triangular hull, which doesn’t exist in the world
of leisure boating, came from the utilitarian merchant marine.

luca bassani antivari: I came across a picture of a supertanker while reading a professional
magazine. a cable-handling vessel, used in the geo-mining and seismological industry in
the north sea, invented by a norwegian naval engineer, roar ramde, and fully patented.
there was nothing new about this ship. it had been in use for twenty-five years.
as soon as I saw it, I picked up the phone and called my consultant naval architect,
mauro sculli. he looked in the RINA, the italian naval classification registry: never seen or heard
of before in the world of yachting! it was perfect. we had our hull. we bought exclusive rights
to the concept, patented strictly for yachting.


WHY – deck




‘did this new territory require you to come up with a new way to design a boat ?’

pierre-alexis dumas: WHY addresses the very real problem of consumption, which is
today exacerbated by the global context. we provide an answer in a field where clients
are responsible for setting an example, embracing a new ethic. what this market needs is
a boat designed with the environment in mind. this new way of moving on water must give
way to a new way of managing energy, its sources and uses, how to recycle it, etc.
the same goes for the choice of materials; we have to limit the effect on the environment.

gabriele pezzini: we didn’t design a boat, we gave shape to an idea. the sea is one of the last
spaces where people can indulge in absolute freedom. deciding to live on the sea means
rethinking everything that’s been done before. you need to start from scratch! for example,
we provide a real jogging track inspired by coastal paths running around the ship.
above all, we had to transpose and translate functions into forms, and vice versa, by merging
the viewpoints of Hermès and Wally.

‘what are the environmental and ecological advantages of WHY ?’

pierre-alexis dumas: ours requires less power at cruising speed than a boat of equal size.
its diesel-electric motorisation is the most efficient motorisation out there today,
and the surface of the photovoltaic panels, almost 900 square metres, covers part of what’s
needed to subsist on the boat! we’re also looking into a telescopic wind-turbine system
and a retractable mast with a computer-operated sail measuring over 200 square metres
that will produce at least 30 % of the energy used to propel the boat.


full size scale model rear


full size scale model front

NASA’s return to the moon ‘unsustainable,’ says review

from DVICE by Kevin Hall
NASA's return to the moon 'unsustainable,' says reviewThe budgetary review of NASA ordered by President Obama has found that the program needs quite a bit more money than previously thought to reach its goal of getting back to the moon by 2020: $3 billion more yearly is needed, the panel of experts say, on top of NASA already contested annual budget of $18 billion. The goal of “back to the moon within the next decade” was set during the Bush administration.

The panel has thus deemed the trajectory NASA is currently following “unsustainable” and calls for a “flexible path.” NASA was already hoping to reduce its operating budget by retiring its fleet of space shuttles in 2010 and — in a most radical step — ceasing operations on the International Space Station in 2015.

It’s not like NASA itself is about to shutter its doors, but what happens next is anyone’s guess. The review board proposed a series of alternatives along said “flexible path,” including going to one of Mars’s moons instead (and not by 2020), seeking more help from foreign nations, redesigning the Ares lunar rockets, or more seriously pressing the challenge of space exploration into the private sector.

News.com.au, via redOrbit, via Fast Company

sander architects: edible restaurant

los angeles based sander architects recently unveiled their design for a restaurant with an edible facade. grace restaurant will be located in the rectory of the decommissioned st. vibiana’s cathedral, LA.

the proposal features the addition of a triangular piece of property adjoining the rectory, which will include a new kitchen on the first floor with cooking facilities and a private chef’s table on the upper floor.

Tilt Shift Photograpy

from Design + Build by Jordan

Tilt Shift photography refers to taking photographs using a tilt/shift lens – a lens that can change angle in relation to the sensor/film in a camera, rather than being parallel to it. Traditionally the lens is used to take full length photos of buildings without having the lines in the building converge towards the top. The lens would adjust to bring the lines into parallel again.

In recent times there has been a shift towards use of the lens to force the focus onto a specific spot within the photo, and also provide really, really shallow depth of field. The result of this is photographs in which the scene actually looks like a miniature model of the scene.

It has even become so popular there are various tutorials showing you how to fake the effect in photoshop for those who can’t afford the (admittedly expensive) lens.

Here’s  few examples of the effect… what do you think of it? Does it have potential as a graphical presentation technique for architectural work?




jacques herzog, ricky burdett, stefano boeri, william mcdonough: milan expo 2015 – conceptual masterplan


masterplan for the milan world exposition 2015
image © herzog & demeuron

yesterday the conceptual masterplan for the milan world exposition 2015 was unveiled.
the challenging project is dedicated to the theme ‘feeding the planet, energy for life’.
the five architects stefano boeri, richard burdett, mark rylander, jacques herzog
and william mcdonough illustrated the development, stylistic lines and creative principles
that will shape the area where the expo is to be held.

the expo they envisioned will be a planetary botanical garden open to the citizens of milan
and the world. a place for a fresh encounter between farming and the city that will feed
milan literally, spiritually and intellectually. a vast agrofood park built on an orthogonal
grid, surrounded by water ways and punctuated by striking landscape architecture.


masterplan for the milan world exposition 2015
image © herzog & demeuron


masterplan for the milan world exposition 2015
image © herzog & demeuron


masterplan for the milan world exposition 2015
image © herzog & demeuron

BMW: augmented reality to help with car repairs

BMW have developed a concept for augmented reality glasses, which assist mechanics in performing maintenance on the company’s cars. the glasses point out the part that needs replacing, the screws that need turning, while an audio track talks the mechanic through the steps of the repair.

Monopoly board game uses Google Maps in its latest incarnation

from DVICE by Addy Dugdale
Monopoly board game uses Google Maps in its latest incarnationMonopoly, perhaps the most time-consuming board game in the history of board games, is about to go online. On September 9, Hasbro is launching Monopoly City Streets, a live, worldwide version of what may or may not be what The Donald used to play as a nipper.

Players will get a nifty $3 million to start with, and will be able to put just about any type of building anywhere they want, thanks to the wonders of Google Maps. I particularly like the fact that the owner of the board above has erected a football stadium slap-bang in the the middle of Mayfair, probably London’s most exclusive barrio. This is definitely one for renegade town planners.

Monopoly City Streets Via Daily Mail

Workers Of The World, Meet Your Robot Replacements

from TechCrunch by Erick Schonfeld

Popout

Industrial robots are nothing new, but they are getting more and more sophisticated. Watch the video above of the swarming robot warehouse pickers made by Kiva Systems. They are like orange industrial Roombas that go out and find inventory in a warehouse and bring it back to human workers to pack for shipping. Don’t fear them. Really, they are just here to help.

Zappos and Staples use the systems, which are dispatched and controlled by a central computer, and can also detect each other to avoid collisions.

Speaking of Roombas, Kiva Systems might soon have competition from MIT Robotics professor and iRobot co-founder Rodney Brooks. (iRobot manufactures the Roomba robot vacuum). Brooks recently got $7 million in funding from Jeff Bezos and others for his latest venture, Heartland Robotics. The company is still in stealth, but its homepage hints at what it is working on:

Heartland Robotics is combining the power of computers – embodied in robots – and the extraordinary intelligence of the American workforce, to increase productivity and revitalize manufacturing.

They sound so friendly!

When are they going to create a blogging robot so I can take day off?

(Hat tip to Hizook. Video by IEEE Spectrum Online).

International Treaty Establishes Plant Arks around Globe

from Green Options by Kay Sexton

corn varieties

The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) may not sound snappy, but its long-term aim is easily expressed: to act as a vegetable ark.  Part of the treaty requires the developed world to fund the preservation of diverse species of food crop around the world.

The funding is provided by richer nations, which have often become variety poor, and given to other nations, which are often poorer but have a wide range of plants which could act as an ‘agricultural insurance’ by maintaining biodiversity in essential crops.

The crops being preserved in this way include potatoes in Peru, corn and beans in Cuba and oranges in Egypt. The varieties need to be preserved to ensure that the planet has a range of foods that are more likely to be able to adapt to challenges ranging from climate change to pollution, from salination to the loss of pollinators like insects to the ability to resist diseases and predators.

Can the Internet Help Fight Climate Change?

from Green Options by Govind Singh

Internet and Climate Change

Last week, the Internet celebrated its 40th birthday! Forty glorious years that saw not just the transition from ARPANet to the now popular Internet but also Web 2.0 and what not! The Internet has been a revolution–in the making! The Internet that we know of today has been around for a little over a decade. That is also the time period when awareness and action on the “global” climate crisis has been phenomenal. And the link, evident!

herzog & de meuron: elbe philharmonic hall in hamburg

the elbe philharmonic hall, hamburg will include 2 concert halls, a 5 star hotel
and apartments. the design of the new building was produced by herzog & de meuron
in conjunction with höhler and werner kallmorgen

like a large glassy wave, the concert hall seems to float above the former
kaispeicher warehouse. two large auditoriums capable of holding 2,150
and 550 visitors will be created in the new glass structure. the almost 100 meter
tall performance place will host concerts of classical music, music of the 21st
century and sophisticated entertainment music.

California Adds 8,600 MW New Renewable Power: Meets RPS Goals

from Green Options by Susan Kraemer

Since the Renewable Portfolio Standard began in 2002, the California Public Utilities Commission has now approved contracts for more than 8,600 megawatts of new renewable energy, nearly all of it solar, signed with the state’s largest utilities. Most of the state’s renewable energy already on the grid till now has been wind power.

Read more of this story »

Steel ‘Velcro’ Made By Germans Supports 35 Tons, 800 Degree Heat

from Gizmodo Australia by Jason Chen

If your Velcro jacket fasteners were made of this German-engineered steel “Velcro”, you’d be able to withstand 35 tons worth of force—provided your skin and bones don’t tear first. (more…)

La Grande Architecture of Hollywood

image Curbed LA talks to Morphosis’ Kim Groves about their design for the Hollywood extension campus of Emerson College. Curbed LA

Total population: access to an improved water source

from Random graphic of the day: UNEP/GRID-Arendal Maps and Graphics Library by UNEP/GRID-Arendal <mapmaster@grida.no>
Total population: access to an improved water sourceThe 2004 global image sadly shows that the lack of access to clean water remains a burden for the poorest countries, preventing them accelerating their development. Essentially handicapping most sub-Saharan African countries, the map shows some curious trends, such as Romania, which remains far behind all other European countries.

India Continues to Argue Against Emission Cuts Even as Emissions are Set to Quadruple by 2030

from Green Options by Mridul Chadha

The Indian government released a report recently which predicted a fourfold increase in carbon emissions output in the next two decades. According to the government report, India’s carbon emissions would increase to 4 to 7 billion tonnes from last year’s level of 1.4 billion tonnes by 2031.

India’s environment minister, however, preferred to point out another finding in the report. The report predicts almost 100 percent increase in per capita emissions but the minister noted that even with a 3.5 to 4 tonnes per capita output it would remain below the global average. The globally agreed limit of per capita emission for sustainable development is 2 tonnes.

That is the argument that the Indian government has put forward frequently in order to dodge international pressure to reduce its carbon emissions. India maintains that its per capita carbon emissions are way below those of the developed countries and thus it would be unfair to ask it to set mandatory emission reduction targets.

Read more of this story »

Vultures Killed and Sold as Roasted Chicken

from Green Options by Rhishja Larson

Barbecue chicken image for roasted vulture article

A disturbing incident in Eket, Nigeria reveals that unsuspecting roadside barbecue patrons may have been eating vulture meat instead of chicken.

Hungry buyers tempted by the scrumptious sizzle of meat cooking over a charcoal fire may want to think twice before buying a snack from one of these outdoor roasting vendors. What they think is chicken could actually be … vulture.

Read more of this story »

Where The Hell Is Waldo, The $130,000 Red Algae Hunting Robot?

from Gizmodo Australia by Jesus Diaz

$130,000. That’s how much Waldo—an autonomous underwater robot from the Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Florida—costs. Now they have to find it, and the bloody thing doesn’t even wear a white and red striped sweater. (more…)

BIG to Design Shenzhen International Energy Mansion

from Bustler.net News by Vanilla Hustler

Copenhagen-based BIG, in collaboration with ARUP and Transsolar, was awarded the first prize in the international competition to design Shenzhen International Energy Mansion, the regional headquarters for theShenzhen Energy Company.

Shenzhen International Energy Mansion by BIG

Click above image to enlarge
Rendering of the competition-winning design for the new Shenzhen International Energy Mansion by BIG, ARUP, and Transsolar

Americans Want More Fuel-Efficient Cars, US Hybrids Up 48%

from Green Options by Susan Kraemer


Total US hybrid sales jumped 48.6% in August from last August, buoyed up by Cash for Clunkers.

We Americans did the right patriotic thing with our clunker money last month, it turns out. We bought more American. And we bought more hybrid cars.  Ford was the big winner, making a big dent in Toyota’s hybrid sales.

Consumer reports tells us that 80% would rather buy US cars and 46% of us now prefer fuel efficient cars.

Read more of this story »

Extreme Environments

from BLDGBLOG by Geoff Manaugh
Opening today in Paris is a new exhibition called Uninhabitable? Art of Extreme Environments. Featured artists include Catherine RannouConnie Mendoza, and Studio Orta, among many others.

[Image: From Numerical Desert by Connie Mendoza].

Rannou’s work has ranged from speculative building projects for spatially challenging sites in the city (seen below) to her work Colonisation 2041, featured in the exhibition. This latter project is “an installation reflecting the active and actual occupation that the development of scientific stations in Antarctica represents; energy dependence, waste management, roads and tunnels, planes, tractors, helicopters, and building materials all point to a form of ‘urbanisation’ that is clearly in progress.”

[Image: Parentheses, an “habiter dans les interstices de la ville,” by Catherine Rannou].

Meanwhile, Connie Mendoza produces diagrammatic artworks, analyses of the optical landscapes of mirages, and fascinating quasi-documentary photo-projects, including the stunning Moon Landscapes and Numerical DesertNumerical Desert, which will be on display in Paris, explores the Atacama Large Millimeter Arraythrough black-and-white photos; it comes with “drawings based on the data of the astronomical observation of stars and galaxies in coverage of the whole southern celestial hemisphere.” She’s also got a blog.

[Image: Antarctic Village by Studio Orta].

Studio Orta’s work touches on political questions associated with empty landscapes – including the question of whether or not one could ever be a citizen of Antarctica. Their Antarctic Village, for instance, pictured above, falls somewhere between an experiment in extreme camping and a stab at temporary utopian space unaffiliated with national governments.

    Antarctic Village is emblematic of Ortas’ body of work, composed of what could be termed modular architecture and reflecting qualities of nomadic shelters and campsites. The dwellings themselves are hand stitched together by a traditional tent maker with sections of flags from countries around the world, along with extensions of clothes and gloves, symbolising the multiplicity and diversity of people.

For more information about the exhibition, check out the website.

(Thanks to William Fox for the tip!)

Lotus Has Big Plans for a Small Engine

from Wired: Autopia by Keith Barry

lotus_range_extender

The guys at Lotus Engineering have built an itty-bitty engine that runs on just about anything and is, they say, perfect for range-extended hybrids.

Rather than modify a current engine, as General Motors is doing for the Chevrolet Volt and Fisker Automotive is doing with the Karma, Lotus started from scratch and designed an engine specifically for series hybrids. Technical Director Simon Wood says the 1.2 liter three-cylinder Range Extender is better than anything the competition might have because it offers high thermal efficiency, low fuel consumption, multi-fuel capability and low cost. The aluminum engine also is super light, weighing just 123 pounds

mike and maaike: atnmbl

the atnmbl by designers mike and maaike is a vehicle concept for the year 2040 that is an autonomobile,
a title that merges autonomy and automobile. the concept is an automated vehicle that instead of driving,
the user simply answers the question ‘where can I take you?’ while this seems futuristic, the technology
exists to have cars think for themselves. GPS, sophisticated sensor, and navigation databases will allow
driverless vehicles to operate on the same roads we have today. the vehicle is electric with solar cells on
the roof to assist in producing energy. inside there is a large wrap around seating bank for seven with no
driver’s seat or steering wheel. the car focuses on allowing users to enjoy quality time on the road,
with the option to socialize, watch movies, work, sleep or surf the web. the car has large windows that
allow the rider to enjoy the view and an interior that is designed more like a domestic space than
a traditional car interior.

http://www.mikeandmaaike.com

Freshwater alkalinity: 1976-2008

from Random graphic of the day: UNEP/GRID-Arendal Maps and Graphics Library by UNEP/GRID-Arendal <mapmaster@grida.no>
Freshwater alkalinity: 1976-2008Alkalinity is commonly used to indicate a water body’s capacity to buffer against acidity; that is, the ability to resist, or dampen, changes in pH. Thus, alkaline compounds in water, such as bicarbonates, carbonates, and hydroxides, lower the acidity of the water and increase the pH. Alkalinity (as CaCO3) was analysed for all sampling stations available at the continental level. Concentrations remained reasonably steady between the two decades for Africa, Asia, South America and Australasia, but significant increases were noted for European and North American rivers, which may indicate a shift towards reduced acidic impacts at the continental scale. Overall, during the last 30 years , alkalinity has decreased in North America and Europe, but has significantly increased in Asia. Examination of the outflow stations in 82 monitored river basins indicate a decrease in bicarbonate concentrations between the two decades , in the northern latitudes, including North America, Europe and Asia. For the period 1976-1990, European rivers displayed the highest concentrations of calcium at a continental level, with concentrations varying between 2 mg and 50 mg per litre for major rivers. Comparing the two decades, observations of surface water showed an increase in calcium concentrations in the Laurentian shield region of North America, and in the rivers of the north central European region.

This Is The World’s Oldest, And Perhaps Slowest, Air Race

from Wired: Autopia by Jason Paur

bennett_cup

A pair of French aeronauts touched down yesterday in western Portugal less than three miles from the Atlantic to win the oldest, and perhaps simplest, aeronautical race in the world.

The two men left Geneva on Saturday and traveled 984 miles in 85 hours and 12 minutes — an average speed of just over 11 mph — to win the 53rd running of the Gordon Bennett Cup. The race is straightforward: everyone departs from the same location and, once airborne, is free to go wherever the winds carry them. Whoever goes the furthest wins.

Sigg Company Shamefully Admits Its Aluminum Sigg Bottles Contain BPA

from Green Options by John Chappell

The Sigg Company recently admitted that its aluminum bottles, long touted as an alternative to chemical leaching plastics, actually contain bisphenol-A (BPA) in their liner. The announcement has left customers around the world outraged.  Especially damning is evidence that the company knew as far back as 2006 that the bottle liners contained BPA, yet failed to disclose this fact to consumers.

Radical BMW Land Yacht uses a sail to steer

from DVICE by Kevin Hall
Radical BMW Land Yacht uses a sail to steer From designer Stefan Radev comes a wind-powered vehicle called the BMW Blue Dynamics Land Yacht. It’s got a huge sail in back for steering, seats one and all-in-all is appropriately reminiscient of a boat. We have to say, we’re loving the concept vehicles flying the BMW flag this week — not to mention that swanky “augmented reality” space for mechanics.

Military testing out fancy new airless tires

from DVICE by Adam Frucci
Military testing out fancy new airless tiresWhat you’re looking at might just be the tire of the future. At least that’s what the military thinks, as it’s testing out prototypes of this new airless tire.

The advantages of airless tires are obvious: they can’t be punctured and they never go flat. But it clearly takes a lot of science to get the proper material that can stand up to the pressure of a multi-ton military vehicle sitting on top of it. I look forward to when these things are the standard on normal cars we see on the highways.

Scientific American via Make

Moulin Rouge Competition Paris Presents the Winners

from Bustler.net News by Vanilla Hustler

The winners of the Paris 2009: Dance School for Moulin Rouge competition have recently been revealed. Competition organizer Arquitectum invited architects to design a reinterpretation of the ‘new Moulin Rouge’, the most famous cabaret in the world and a symbol of what is an important piece of Parisian life. The new facilities should enhance the quality of the show and the performance of the dancers. The competition presented an opportunity to propose a new vision for a long standing tradition.

The jury reviewed 290 proposals from all around the world and decided that the winner of the first prize was the team comprising Andrew FortuneIsaac Cobo i Displs, and Daniel Coll i Capdevilla from the UK. Second prize went to David Mulder Van Der Vegt and Max Cohen De Lara from The Netherlands, the third prize was awarded to Walter Sánchez and Dario Rodríguez from Argentina. The judges also selected nine honorable mentions.

An exhibition of the winning entries and honorable mentions will open to the public at the Moulin Rouge, 82 Boulevard de Clichy in Paris on October 6.

These are the three winning projects:

1st Prize: Andrew Fortune, Isaac Cobo i Displs, Daniel Coll i Capdevilla (United Kingdom)

Moulin Rouge Competition Paris

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1st Prize: Andrew Fortune, Isaac Cobo i Displs, Daniel Coll i Capdevilla (United Kingdom)

2nd Prize: David Mulder Van Der Vegt, Max Cohen De Lara (The Netherlands)

Moulin Rouge Competition Paris

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2nd Prize: David Mulder Van Der Vegt, Max Cohen De Lara (The Netherlands)

3rd Prize: Walter Sánchez, Dario Rodríguez (Argentina)

Moulin Rouge Competition Paris

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3rd Prize: Walter Sánchez, Dario Rodríguez (Argentina)

Following are the nine honorable mentions:

Moulin Rouge Competition Paris

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Honorable Mention: Stanislas Elluin, Clemence Gauchet, Stephane Girard, Catherine Segonzat (France)

Moulin Rouge Competition Paris

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Honorable Mention: Alfredo Favio De León Méndez, Carolina Gisella Patino Acosta (Ecuador)

Moulin Rouge Competition Paris

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Honorable Mention:Juraj Karasek, Viktor Fucek (Slovakia)

Moulin Rouge Competition Paris

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Honorable Mention: Anton Shatalov, Boris Shatalov, Evgeny Kovalev, Artyom Elli, Anton Kulakovsky (Russia)

Moulin Rouge Competition Paris

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Honorable Mention:Jean Baptiste Andre, Remy Poux (France)

Moulin Rouge Competition Paris

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Honorable Mention: Denise Ampuero Carrascal, María Fé Aguirre Alvarez, Gloria Andrea Rojas Oliveros (Peru)

Moulin Rouge Competition Paris

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Honorable Mention: Everardo Riestra, Jaime Salas, Eder Martínez, Isabel Ortega (Mexico)

Moulin Rouge Competition Paris

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Honorable Mention: Hideaki Nishimura, Sarah Takemura (Japan)

Moulin Rouge Competition Paris

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Honorable Mention: Calabro Manuel (France)

Images: Arquitectum

Japanese Dolphin Slaughter to Continue Despite Current Suspension

from Green Options by Daniel Hohler

Last Tuesday, EcoWorldly Staff Writer Bryan Nelson wrote an article on the suspension of dolphin slaughter in Taiji, Japan. The suspension came off of Japanese local media swarming on Taiji, after the award winning documentary film “The Cove” put the spotlight on the small Japanese village that slaughters thousands of dolphins every year.

Ric O’Barry, the dolphin trainer and activist who brought the location to the attention of filmmakers, returned to the site of the slaughter this week, just as the annual “hunt” would normally begin. However, this time with all of the media attention, no dolphins were killed in the first 2 days of the season.

Read more of this story »

Historical trends in carbon dioxide concentrations and temperature, on a geological and recent time scale

from Random graphic of the day: UNEP/GRID-Arendal Maps and Graphics Library by UNEP/GRID-Arendal <mapmaster@grida.no>
Historical trends in carbon dioxide concentrations and temperature, on a geological and recent time scaleThe most recent geological history, in the last hundred thousand years, has been characterised by cycles of glaciations, or ice ages. The historic temperatures, through these times, have been low, and continental ice sheets have covered large parts of the world. Through ancient air, trapped in tiny bubbles in the Antarctic ice, we have been able to see what the temperature cycle was at that time, and also the concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2). The more recent history, from the middle ages and up until now, show increasing temperatures, rising as the world emerged from the Little Ice Age (LIA), around 1850. With the industrial era, human activities have at the same time increased the level of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere, primarily through the burning of fossil fuels. Carbon dioxide is one of the main greenhouse gases, and scientists have been able to connect human activities as one of the drivers to climate change and global warming. The top part of the CO2 measurements, the observations, are what is referred to as the ‘Mauna Loa curve’ or the ‘Keeling curve’.

Lazy Fail

fail owned pwned pictures

Picture by: fnc777. Submitted by: fnc777 via Fail Uploader

VeruTEK’s Got the Green Nano-Clean for Toxic Dumps

from Green Options by Tina Casey

VeruTEK\'s patented plant extracts can dissolve and oxidize toxic substances.

Cleaning up a toxic dump the conventional way is a messy business, and VeruTEK Technologies, Inc. is one company that offers a more sustainable path to remediation.  Instead of excavating and trucking the contaminated soil to landfills, Connecticut-based VeruTEK has developed plant extracts, nanometals produced from plant extracts, and other natural substances that dissolve and oxidize contaminants in place.

Last summer VeruTEK announced the latest in a string of successful remediation projects.  The site was contaminated with up to an inch of toxic chemicals such as volatile organic compounds and petroleum hydrocarbons.  Three months after completion of the project, the contamination was reduced to non-detectable limits.  With an estimated 294,000 more toxic sites in the U.S. waiting for remediation, alterna-clean companies like VeruTEK have their work cut out for them.

Read more of this story »

Stunning Shanghai Corporate Pavilion Made From Used CD Cases

from Gizmodo Australia by Sean Fallon

With the Shanghai World Expo 2010 fast approaching, architects are jumping in on the “Better City, Better Life” theme with concepts like this Shanghai Corporate Pavilion. The plans include many green features, including a structure made from recycled CD cases. (more…)

Reality-Augmenting Terminator Vision Contact Lenses Nearly Here

from Gizmodo Australia by Matt Buchanan

Amazing and terrifying all at once, reality augmenting contact lenses are nearly real. Like, they’re almost here. Circuits and antennas and LEDs in a contact lens, generating virtual imagery, Predator style. In your eyeball. (more…)

John Wardle Architects and Office dA to Design Melbourne’s New Architecture School Site

from Bustler.net News by Vanilla Hustler

John Wardle Architects and Office dA have been named the winners of the competition to design thelandmark new Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning site at the University of Melbourne.

Architecture Faculty Building University of Melbourne by John Wardle Architects and Office dA

Click above image to enlarge
Winning design for the new Architecture Faculty Building of the University of Melbourne by John Wardle Architects and Office dA

Japan To Spend $US21B On A Power Plant In F%#king Space

from Gizmodo Australia by Adam Frucci

Holy shit, Japan is getting prepped to drop $US21 billion on a solar power station in space, one that will beam enough energy back to Earth to power 294,000 homes. With no cables. (more…)

Mercedes Launches its First Ever Production Fuel Cell Vehicle

from Green Options by Andrew Williams

Mercedes has dipped its toes into the world of hydrogen power (video) with the launch of its first-ever production fuel-cell vehicle, the B-class F-cell.

An initial fleet of 200 zero-emission models will be finished by the end of the year and delivered to lease-only customers throughout the US and Europe in early 2010.

Speaking about the launch, a Mercedes spokesman said, “2009 is the year in which we are establishing further milestones where sustainable mobility is concerned. The B-Class F-cell is taking on a pioneering role as the world’s first fuel cell powered automobile to be produced under series production conditions.”

Read more of this story »

BMW’s New Vision: 155-MPH Plug-In Hybrid

from Wired: Autopia by Tony Borroz

bmw_concept

We were as shocked as anyone when BMW announced it was quitting Formula 1 to devote more resources to developing cleaner, greener automobiles. There was some skepticism, but BMW wasn’t blowing green smoke. It’s serious about building eco-friendlier pavement-peeling cars.

First up is a slick 356-horsepower all-wheel-drive plug-in diesel-hybrid concept that BMW claims accelerates like an M3, sips gas like a Toyota Prius and can go 31 miles on battery power alone. It’s called the Vision Efficientdynamics Concept, and we’ll see it later this month at the Frankfurt auto show.

No, Vision Efficientdynamics Concept doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. But the name aside, BMW has a dynamite idea on its hands here.

The EfficientDynamics is a 2+2 four-door hybrid that combines M Series performance with better fuel efficiency and less emissions than you see in many compacts. BMW performs this magic by marrying its ActiveHybrid technology with an extremely economical engine and excellent aerodynamics. The result is a concept car with a top speed governed at 155 mph and a zero-to-62 acceleration time of 4.8 seconds. More impressive, the car gets 62.2 mpg and emits a Prius-like 99 grams of CO2 per kilometer.

Power comes from a 1.5-liter direct injection 3-cylinder turbodiesel engine and an electric motor on each axle. The engine was small to squeeze in between the rear seat and the rear axle, which should make the Efficientdynamics Concept very agile. The diesel puts out 163 horsepower and 214 pound-feet of torque. Add in the motors and total output is 356 ponies and a stump-pulling 590 pound-feet, though you can only get that much power in short bursts. The car has all-wheel-drive when running in electric mode. BMW says the car can run on the diesel engine, either one of the electric motors or any combination of the three.

The lithium-polymer battery pack sports 98 cells. It delivers 8.6 kilowatt-hours for driving the car, and BMW says the serial arrangement of cells has gross storage capacity of 10.8 kilowatt-hours. The pack weighs 187 pounds and BMW says it doesn’t need an active cooling system. BMW says the battery recharges in 2.5 hours at 220 volts.

All that tech is housed in a body designed with some serious inspiration from BMW’s Formula 1 cars. BMW says the Vision has a drag coefficient of 0.22, aided in part by the myriad vanes and ducts. People are going to love it or hate it, but you’d expect nothing less from BMW even without controversial designer Chris Banglearound anymore.

So far the Vision is just a concept. Still, BMW has made it clear it plans to make sustainability a cornerstone of its lineup, so we’re sure to see some of the technology in road cars before long.

Images and video: BMW

Pump Hydro Underground to Store Wind Power

from Green Options by Susan Kraemer


Pumped hydro storage is a simple technology already in wide use. Pump water up a hill when you have available energy, let it fall when you need its power.

But Riverbank Power; a new start-up founded by a former wind developer who wants to develop large-scale energy storage, is trying out a new idea. Instead of using hills for the height, it will go the other way. Down into the ground.

Their Aquabank would let gravity drop water underground to turn turbines and make hydro electricity. That electricity would be sent from underground to the grid day time. At night, when excess wind is available; wind powered electricity would gently push the water back up to replenish its surface source.

Video after the jump:

Read more of this story »

Sep 2, 2009 (yesterday)

LAVA Architects Win Masdar Eco City Center Competition

from Bustler.net News by Vanilla Hustler

German-Australian practice Laboratory for Visionary Architecture (LAVA) recently won the first prize in theMasdar Eco City Center Competition for Masdar, United Arab Emirates.

LAVA already succeeded in the first stage of the competition earlier this year, and collaborated with Kann Finch GroupArupTranssolar, and a team of international experts for the second stage challenge.

This is how LAVA explains its concept for ‘Masdar Plaza, The Oasis of the Future’:

The City of the Future

The future well being of cities around the globe depends on mankind’s ability to develop and integrate sustainable technology.

Masdar City is the city of the future; positioned at the forefront of integrating sustainable technology into modern architectural design. Rome, Athens, Florence; most great historical cities have had the plaza, forum, or square at their epicenter – where the life, values, ideals, and vision of the population evolved. Equally, the center of Masdar must be an iconic beacon that attracts global attention to sustainable technology.

Masdar Plaza by LAVA

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Perspective Plaza Day (Image: MIR)

Masdar Plaza by LAVA

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Perspective Plaza Evening (Image: MIR)

Masdar Plaza by LAVA

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Perspective Plaza Night (Image: MIR)

Oasis of the Future

We see Masdar Plaza as “The Oasis of the Future”: a living, breathing, active, adaptive environment; stimulated by the social interaction of people, and spotlighting the use and benefits of sustainable technology.

Masdar Plaza by LAVA

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Bird’s View Masdar (Image: Simon)

How Many Solar Panels Would It Take To Power The World?

from Gizmodo Australia by Jesus Diaz

After seeing how many nukes would it take to obliterate humanity instantly, I wanted some good news. Like, how many solar panels would it take to power the entire world? The entire surface of Africa, maybe? Actually, it’s surprisingly less.(more…

cox architects: melbourne rectangular stadium

the melbourne rectangular stadium by cox architects is the latest sports facility to go up in the sports
capital of australia. the stadium will have a capacity of 30,000 spectators when complete in 2010, when it
will house the melbourne victory soccer team and melbourne storm rugby club. designboom was lucky
enough to get a tour of the building under construction back in july. the building’s key design feature is
its bubble-like bio-dome which will be covered with thousands of LED lights. the roof is inspired by
buckminster fuller’s geodesic dome and its unique cantilevered design will provide excellent sightlines
while covering the seats. the stadium will also house a sports medicine facility and administration complex
for many of the city’s sports organizations.

Trends in capture fisheries and aquaculture

from Random graphic of the day: UNEP/GRID-Arendal Maps and Graphics Library by UNEP/GRID-Arendal <mapmaster@grida.no>
Trends in capture fisheries and aquacultureThe levelling off of the global fisheries catch reflects a growing decline in most major fishing areas. Today, these fishing areas are producing lower yields than in the past, and it is unlikely that substantial increases will ever again be possible (FAO, 2000). Inland and marine aquaculture production grew by about 5% annually during the 1950s and 1960s, by about 8% per year during the 1970s and 1980s, and by some 10% per year during the 1990s (FAO, 2000). Most aquaculture is developed in freshwater environments, primarily in Asia. The development of inland aquaculture is seen as an important source of food security in Asia, particularly in land-locked countries.

Equilibrium Concept Makes Our Hearts Beat Faster

from Wired: Autopia by Keith Barry

equilibrium1

A new concept aims to create an “intense” ownership experience by using emerging technologies to strengthen the emotional bond between man and machine.

Bob Romkes, a designer at Britain’s Royal College of Art, penned the Equilibrium concept as a luxury car for the future. In an era when customization equals personalization, Romkes sees a chance for an emotional connection with a vehicle that’s mass-produced.

“I wanted to create an emotional connection with the vehicle without using customization,” Romkes told Autopia. “So that even though it will be mass produced and your car can look the same as your neighbor’s car, you still feel strongly connected with yours.”

To achieve a strong attachment between car and driver, Romkes used sensors to connect with and respond to the driver’s heartbeat from the moment he or she approaches the car in the parking lot. On initial approach, the car’s interior lights begin to glow and the door opens slightly to invite the driver to step inside.

“The vehicle needs you to operate, by using your heartbeat as the driving source,” Romkes told Autopia. A database of user inputs help the car to nurture the relationship. “Over time it studies your driving characteristics and adapts itself to make the experience even more smooth and natural.”

The glowing, “breathing” light on Apple laptops and the startup sequence of Romkes’ Sony VAIO laptop were both subtle rituals that he observed as inspiration for the Equilibrium. “It is amazing how such small elements can bring an extra dimension to a product,” he told Autopia. “It moves the product from static to dynamic and it brings a human factor as well. It is very subtle and I think most people experience this unconsciously.”

Far from a kinder, gentler Christine, the Equilibrium is a technical tour de force that mimics animate objects using technology from the not-so-distant future. Romkes pointed out the paradox that so many would-be supercar owners face: at the time in your life when one has the means to buy a dream car, one is also constrained by the priorities of family and functionality.

With the Equilibrium, “it is possible to have best of both worlds: a spacious interior and still an aerodynamic and relatively compact exterior. I decided to emphasize these two points by making a ‘one volume’ architecture without a shoulder-line and with covered wheels.”

Floating seats allow for easy customization of the car’s interior and seats that absorb impact. It is with “Rubber Metal,” a  flexible mixture of rubber and glass made through nanotechnology, that the wheels can simultaneously be covered and connected with the steering mechanism.

“This made me think of an external steering mechanism, where the exterior ‘skin’ can function as ‘artificial muscle structure’ and pull the wheels from the center around their axes,” Romkes told Autopia. “This way, the body can be placed close to the wheels. Because the material is flexible and attached to the wheels it can function as an external suspension system as well.”

Images: Bob Romkes. The Equilibrium concept uses technologies from the near future to forge a connection between car and owner.


equilibrium2equilibrium3equilibrium4

Swiss Zinc-Air Battery Company, ReVolt, Chooses Portland, Oregon For US Headquarters – Wants $30M in Stimulus Funding.

from Green Options by Nick Chambers

Setting its sights on the burgeoning US market for car batteries, cutting-edge Swiss zinc-air battery company,ReVolt, has decided to take advantage of Oregon’s generous business tax credits for development of next generation car technologies.

Announcing that it has selected Portland, Oregon as the location for its US headquarters and manufacturing center, ReVolt said it expects to create as many as 250 new jobs there. The partnership represents a coup for Oregon and Portland in the race to be the future electric car capital of the world.

Read more of this story »

Reconnecting North and South Korea a Win For Foster+Partners

from Green Options by Susan Kraemer


With a startling green master-plan that will one day connect North and South Korea, Foster+Partners has won an international competition to design an extensive mixed-use scheme for two Korean islands near Seoul.

That it is bold, green and innovative is no surprise. Foster+Partners is known for visionary sustainable architecture – such as their Teatro Del Agua. It harvests sea spray and wind to naturally cool an outdoor amphitheater.

But this is perhaps their most extraordinary scheme ever. How often does an Architectural firm get to connect a communist and a capitalist country? With the world’s longest bridge? Incredible.

Read more of this story »

Water Scarcity Started 15 Years Ago

Canberra, Australia (SPX) Sep 02, 2009 – New analysis shows that the water scarcity being experienced in southeast Australia started up to 15 years ago. While the results from the work by senior CSIRO researcher, Dr Albert van Dijk, may not surprise many people, it provides scientific evidence of the shift.

Water requirements for food production 1960-2050

from Random graphic of the day: UNEP/GRID-Arendal Maps and Graphics Library by UNEP/GRID-Arendal <mapmaster@grida.no>
Water requirements for food production 1960-2050The requirements for water in agriculture in developing countries will need to increase in order to meet the Millennium Development Goal 1, target 2 ‘Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people who suffer from hunger’. To decrease hunger the outputs in agriculture will need to increase, and thus the water use. The data has been calculated for developing countries with minimum set of calories.

Growth in America’s ‘Dying Cities

image
Anne Trubek at Good Magazine has penned a piece on feral houses, inspired by James D. Griffioen’s beautiful photosFeral houses are no longer domesticated, having reverted to a different state, like horses in the west who roam free of any rider, stable, or whip. They are not, nor are their neighborhoods, as many like to call them, �dead.� These cities, as Griffoen shows us, are teeming. Growth is everywhere. – Good

Boeing Says 787 Will Fly This Year

from Wired: Autopia by Jason Paur

boeing_787_construction

It’s a headline we’ve read before, but Boeing says the oft-delayed 787 Dreamliner will fly before the end of the year and the first of them will be delivered to customers by the end of 2010.

Boeing claims this timeline will allow it to reinforce the area where the wing joins the fuselage. A structural problem was uncovered earlier this year during stress tests of the composite airframe, and it looked like it mightdelay test flights until next year. But Pat Shanahan, general manager of Boeing’s commercial airplanes business, says the problem has been solved, according to the Wall Street Journal. Boeing says the new timeline also adds “several weeks of schedule margin” to the testing and certification margin.

“This new schedule provides us the time needed to complete the remaining work,” Jim McNerney, the company’s chairman, president and CEO, said in a statement. “The design details and implementation plan are nearly complete, and the team is preparing airplanes for modification and testing.”

Boeing says the static test that uncovered the problem will be repeated to ensure the fix works, and fatigue testing will be conducted to ensure the long-term durability of the solution. Installation of the modification is expected to begin “within the next few weeks,” the company said.

The 787 has continued ground tests at Boeing’s Paine Field facility in Everett, Washington. One of test planes (Serial No. 2) seen taxiing around the field is painted in the livery of All Nippon Airways, Boeing’s first customer for the plane. But because of extensive testing and an “inordinate amount of rework and unique and extensive modifications,” Boeing says the first three aircraft off the assembly line will have no commercial value. Those airplanes must therefore be written off as an R&D expense.

Zaha Hadid’s Futuristic Burnham Pavilion for Chicago

from Bustler.net News by Vanilla Hustler

As part of the Burnham Plan Centennial celebrations, the Burnham Pavilion by Zaha Hadid Architectstriggers the visitors’ curiosity and encourages them to consider the future of Chicago. The design merges new formal concepts with the memory of Burnham’s bold, historic urban planning. Superimpositions of spatial structures with hidden traces of Burnham’s Plan are overlaid and inscribed within the structure to create unexpected results.

Zaha Hadid Architects - Burnham Pavilion

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The Burnham Pavilion by Zaha Hadid Architects, Photo: Michelle Litvin

Inside A Fish Hospital. Yes, A Fish Hospital

from Gizmodo Australia by Adam Frucci

Patit Paban Halder runs a hospital solely for fish in Chandannagore, India. Basically, he has 32 aquariums in his home, and he treats ailing fish with his wife and son. (more…)

INDEX design awards at code 09 preview


traditional stoves in india

the aim of the INDEX: award is to generate more design to improve life and enable
a higher quality of life all over the world.

based in denmark, the award comprises five categories – body, home, work, play
and community that together span the spectrum of human activity and are relevant
and understandable to people all over the world. as the biggest design award in the world,
the total award sum amounts to 500,000 euros financed by the state of denmark. this year,
there are 72 finalists chosen from 720 nominated designs from 54 countries.

the winners will be announced at a gala ceremony on 28 august 2009 at the newly
opened koncerthuset (concert house) of the danish national broadcasting corporation.
followed by an international traveling exhibition of winners and finalists.


‘chula’ smokeless stove

one of the finalists include ‘chulha’ a smokeless stove by philips design team in india
and the netherlands.

New Shipping Rules Agreed To Protect The Antarctic

from Green Options by Chris Milton

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has agreed new rules which ban the transportation and use of heavy grade oils by ships in the Antarctic Ocean.

MAD architects: ‘hutong bubble 32’, beijing


‘hotong bubble 32’
image © fang zhenning
courtesy MAD architects

old beijing is composed of hutongs, alleys of communal courtyard homes.
MAD architects has suggested a type of new urban lifestyle by inserting the modern
architectural structure ‘hutong bubble 32’ into a traditional hutong building.
‘hutong bubble 32’ includes a bathroom since residents of hutongs usually have limited space
with no indoor bathroom, and includes a staircase to the roof garden.
taking the shape of a bubble, it is attached to the wooden column and brick structure
of the old building.


the bubble latching onto the side of the old hutong building
image © fang zhenning
courtesy MAD architects


the bubble’s reflective surface
image © fang zhenning
courtesy MAD architects


image © fang zhenning
courtesy MAD architects


the walk-out to the rooftop garden
image © fang zhenning
courtesy MAD architects


stairwell to the rooftop garden
image © fang zhenning
courtesy MAD architects


image © fang zhenning
courtesy MAD architects


image © shuhe
courtesy MAD architects


image © fang zhenning
courtesy MAD architects


image © fang zhenning
courtesy MAD architects


image © fang zhenning
courtesy MAD architects

patrick morris: sky planter


‘sky planter’

designed by central saint martins graduate patrick morris, ‘sky planter’
provides a solution to fussy plants in small spaces or a way to use
plants as design elements. the ‘sky planter’ made of ceramics locks the
plant and soil into the place and hang from a ceiling or wall-mount.
a reservoir hidden in the top waters plants gradually.

World’s Most Efficient Solar Technology Coming Early 2010

from Green Options by Timothy B. Hurst

The long-awaited commercial deployment of the world’s most efficient solar technology looks like it will now be near Phoenix, in a 1.5-megawatt, 60-unit deployment of Stirling Energy Systems’ solar thermal collectors.

Announced late last week, the 60-dish Maricopa Solar project will be the first commercial-scale solar facility built using Stirling Energy Systems/Tessera Solar’s SunCatcher concentrating solar technology.

The SunCatcher consists of a solar concentrator in a dish structure that supports an array of curved glass mirrors. Iterations of the SunCatcher have been among the world’s most efficient machines for solar-to-grid electric conversion for twenty years, most recently breaking the record last year with the highest-ever conversion rate of 31.25%.

Read more of this story »

Philips Biotower Puts Farming In The Kitchen (With Style)

from Gizmodo Australia by Mark Wilson

According to Philips designers, if you’re the type who grows a bit of basil on the windowsill, you’ll be addicted to raising your own crustaceans in no time. (more…)

Robot Bear Holds You In Its Arms, Only To Rip You Apart Afterwards

from Gizmodo Australia by Jesus Diaz

Yes, that’s how these bots roll. I mean, look at it. All cute and nice, dressed up as a nurse bear, designed to hold you in his soft-skinned arms. And then tear you apart in little tiny bits. (more…)

City of Fees and Services

from BLDGBLOG by Geoff Manaugh
[Image: A parking meter photographed by shooting brooklyn, via a Creative Commons license].

A story I missed earlier this summer reports that Oakland, California, is making up for falling tax revenue by “aggressively enforcing traffic violations.”

    The decision is driven by the city’s budget woes, which deep cuts to city services alone did not solve. Falling sales and property, property transfer and hotel taxes have contributed to a $51 million decline in revenues.
It’s worth asking, though, whether paying “aggressively” increased fees and fines for our everyday use of the city – whether this means road tolls and garbage collection fees or suddenly unaffordable parking meters – is the best financial model for a post-taxation metropolis.

How Many Folding Bikes Does It Take To Fill A Parking Space?

from Gizmodo Australia by Sean Fallon

Forty-two. It takes forty-two Brompton folding bikes to fill a parking space. One of the world’s great mysteries is finally solved. [Boing Boing Gadgets(more…)

BIG: new national library in astana, kazakhstan


the new national library astana, kazakhstan by BIG architects
all images courtesy BIG architects

BIG architects were awarded first prize in an open international competition to design
kazakhstan’s new national library in astana, named after the firstpresident of the republic
of kazakhstan, nursultan nazarbayev, encompasses an estimated 33.000m2. the winning
proposal was chosen by the prime minister of kazakhstan k. masimov together with
astana’s  akim i.tasmagambetov and a council of architects. the circular organisation
of the archive at its inner core combines the clarity of a linear organisation
with the convenience of an infinite loop.

Climate Change Performance Index 2008

from Random graphic of the day: UNEP/GRID-Arendal Maps and Graphics Library by UNEP/GRID-Arendal <mapmaster@grida.no>
Climate Change Performance Index 2008The Climate Change Performance Index developed by Germanwatch is calculated using three weighted indexes: *Emissions trends for energy, transport, industry and residential account for 50 % of total rating; *A country’s current emissions level (CO2 emitted per primary energy unit, primary energy unit per GDP, primary energy unit per capita) is given a 30 % weight in the overall evaluation; *Climate policy (national and international) weighs 20 %.

Acacia Trees to Save Africa, and the World?

from Green Options by Zachary Shahan


Acacia trees, excellent for Africa’s depleted soil and helpful in counteracting climate change, may be the trees of the future for Africa. A very unique tree, it may help Africa in many other ways as well.

Read more of this story »

ensamble studio: house hemeroscopium


house hemeroscopium by ensamble studio
image courtesy ensamble studio

built in just seven days, house hemeroscopium by ensamble studio consists of seven
prefabricated elements. the combination creates an architectural space of alternating
heaviness and lightness, balance and instability.

house hemeroscopium embraces a domestic space and a distant horizon. this is done
through a combination of facilities, which contains the living spaces, bedrooms and kitchen.

based on the basic principle of the lever, the design reinterprets the concept of weight.
the counterweight is a 20-tonne block of granite which is entrusted with the task of
balancing the whole system, which also is an aesthetic characteristic.


house hemeroscopium
image courtesy ensamble studio


house hemeroscopium
image courtesy ensamble studio


construction of house hemeroscopium
image courtesy ensamble studio


construction of house hemeroscopium
image courtesy ensamble studio


construction of house hemeroscopium
image courtesy ensamble studio


construction of house hemeroscopium
image courtesy ensamble studio

HFCS and Mercury: An Interview with an FDA Whistleblower

from Green Options by Cate Nelson

I first heard of Renee Dufault through Mother Jones print magazine back in June. In their “Children of the Corn” article, they named her as the researcher who first uncovered mercury in high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).

Even before this news came out, you may have already cut the HFCS from your family’s diet. But manufacturers are sneaky. There is the corn sweetener in things you wouldn’t even suspect: ketchup, yogurt, salad dressing. Actually, condiments are the biggest culprits when it comes to the mercury/high fructose corn syrup link.

Beautiful Glass Shard Spire Set To Dominate London Skyline

from Gizmodo Australia by Danny Allen

Feast your eyes on these latest visualisations of The Shard (aka London Bridge Tower), a 310-metre skyscraper currently under construction. When finished in 2012, it will be the tallest building in the UK, and one of the tallest in Europe.(more…)

Russia’s Northeast Passage Open to Commercial Shipping

from Green Options by Tom Schueneman

Two cargo ships set out last week from the port of Vladivostok to traverse Russia’s Northeast Passage, marking the first time commercial ships have attempted the normally ice-bound route across Russia’s Arctic shore without the aid of icebreakers.The two ships, Fraternity and Foresight, owned by German shipper Beluga Shipping GmbH, received permission to travel the route last Friday.

Bound for the Netherlands from South Korea, the route will cut 4,000 nautical miles from the typical 11,000-mile route through the Suez Canal, helping realize a “considerable” reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, said Niels Stolbert, president and CEO of Beluga.

Read more of this story »

Are There Any Risks In Building Green?

from Green Options by Chris Bacavis

In a stark contrast with how construction used to be thought of, the green building movement has been a shift away from the traditional concerns about money and time. The betterment of our planet, as it turns out, is quickly becoming a bigger priority. Since March of this year, the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program has seen around 20,852 new LEED registered and certified projects.

Most of this can be attributed to the fact that builders view green buildings as more economical in the long run, and recent incentives on the part of the government have added an extra encouragement.  But while these positives have been talked about pretty often, there are some risks associated with going green that still leave many builders wary.

Read more of this story »

Concept Urbanistan: Void deck

void deck typically found under apartment blocks in Singapore. The void deck occupies the ground level, while apartments are usually on the second floor onwards. Sometimes, events like Malay weddings, Chinese weddings or even funeral wakes are held in such places. Void decks also facilitate the travelling through the apartment buildings on the ground level, rather than travelling around them. via
images via arkitera

artificial trees to cut carbon

imageEngineers say a forest of 100,000 “artificial trees” could be deployed within 10 to 20 years to help soak up the world’s carbon emissions. BBC

Eye Protection Fail

fail owned pwned pictures

Picture by: dunno source. Submitted by: dunno source via Fail Uploader

kevin cyr: camper cart


‘camper kart’ concept by kevin cyr
all images courtesy
kevin cyr

we recently featured the work of kevin cyr, here is another project of his titled ‘camper cart’.
the pop up camper is affixed to a shopping cart which can be pushed to a chosen location
and opened to serve as a functioning habitat for an urban camper.  the project investigates
habitats and housing, recycling and ecology; exploration and mobility.

How Much Water are You Really Using?

from Green Options by Zachary Shahan


In a press release by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) today, we can see that people in developed countries actually use several times more water than they “use” — the water used indirectly to create our products is several times more than the water we use ourselves. According to the WWF, “German households use 124 litres of water a day directly, individual Germans use 5288 litres of water a day when the water requirements of producing their food, clothes and other consumption items are included.”

Read more of this story »

Australia Award for Urban Design 2009

image Award Winner: Sydney’s Paddington Reservoir Gardens The winners of Australia�s most prestigious award for excellence and innovation in urban design were announced. The Australia Award for Urban Design highlights the best of design in the built environment and acknowledges the critical role of good urban design in the development of Australia�s towns and cities. Bustler

a.asadov architectural studio: olympic rings island, sochi

russian architecture studio a.asadov have designed a series of island complexes to be built in the city of sochi ahead of the winter olympic games there in 2014. among the proposals is this one made up of five round ‘islands’ each with a tower in the middle. from a bird’s-eye view they make the olympic rings emblem.

the dark blue tower is europe and the ‘cold of scandinavian winter’. the black ring africa ‘is based on african sculpture’. the shape of the red tower uniting south and north america ‘resembles brazilian carnivals, aztec sacrifice and indian conquest’. the tower of the yellow ring, asia ‘is like a chinese pagoda’. the last continent on the emblem, noted by green color, is australia and ‘it’s nature’.

Australian Parliament OKs 20% by 2020 Renewable Energy Target

from Green Options by Timothy B. Hurst

Compromise plan has some Greens opposing passage

The Australian government’s ruling coalition has come to terms on an agreement that would quadruple the renewable energy target set by the previous government in 2001 and is in line with the renewables target set by the European Union in 2008. The coal-centric Australia currently gets eight percent of its electricity from renewables, including hydroelectric power.

Read more of this story »

Gargantuan NOAH ‘Arc’ Proposed To New Orleans With Straight Face

from Gizmodo Australia by Mark Wilson

How do you know when your building plan has gotten unnecessarily crazy and pretentious? When it’s named after a Biblical figure who was fabled to save life as we know it…that might be a clue.(more…)

Driverless Taxi System To Make Air Freshener Trees Obsolete

from Gizmodo Australia by Mark Wilson

We’ve heard about automated transport pods for years, but London’s Heathrow Airport has just opened the first complete system, a $US41 million network to take air travellers to their cars.(more…)

emmanuelle moureaux architecture & design: ‘kaleidoscope’ exhibition


photo by hidehiko nagaishi

emmanuelle moureaux architecture + design designed offices and showrooms of
nakagawa chemical CS design center, in tokyo which displays 1100 colors in the space.
the ‘kaleidoscope’ exhibition which was recently held at the center focused on
one color at a time such as yellow, red, green, blue or black. every month, the space
displayed a different color, changing hues like a kaleidoscope. the exhibition
aimed to rediscover ordinary colors.


photo by hidehiko nagaishi

U.S. Energy Use Drops in 2008 [Infographics]

from Green Options by Timothy B. Hurst

Americans used more solar, nuclear, biomass and wind energy in 2008 than they did in 2007, according to the most recent energy flow charts released by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Read more of this story »

4 Million Pounds of Space Junk Polluting Earth’s Orbit

from Green Options by Timothy B. Hurst

space junk

Millions of nuts, bolts, pieces of metal and carbon, and whole spacecraft from thousands of missions and launches form an orbiting garbage dump spinning around the Earth at speeds up to 22,000 mph.

After the recent collision between a Russian and U.S. satellite, concern for the growing hazard of space junk is becoming even more acute within the international space community. In recent months, NASA and the European Space Agency have both diverted resources into monitoring space debris and researching ways of mitigating and—some day—removing it.

Read more of this story »

Handsome and thoughtful

image Jonathan Glancey provides his verdict on the proposed design for the new Terminal 2 at Heathrow airport, to be designed by Norman Foster Guardian. He also takes the opportunity to celebrate dashing designs of the jet age in this slideshow.

State Takes Lazy Way to Cut Carbon 13%

from Green Options by Susan Kraemer



Utah’s move to a four-day workweek of 10 hour days for government workers has cut energy usage by 13 percent, and once they figure out how to turn off giant office air conditioning and heating units while they’re out of the office, it could rise to the hoped for 20%. Out of a state budget of $11 billion, they have saved $3 million on electricity and gas for 125 state-owned buildings.

Read more of this story »

This Is Why They Make Travel Adapters

from Gizmodo Australia by Danny Allen

Future Darwin Award nominee or desperate genius? Maybe both. But shoving things into what looks like a UK 220V outlet is probably not going to end well. Just ask the guy in this retro UK electrical hazards PSA: (more…)

Clean Energy Technology has Arrived – Funding Stalled

from Green Options by Elizoebeth Jensen

The House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming recently heard from a panel of leading edge scientists and industry executives on the state of existing U.S. clean technology and the lack of funding for developing and scaling the technology into commercially viable products and services.

The primary technologies discussed were solar and carbon capture technologies. Dr. Brent Constantz, CEO ofCalera Corporation, which focuses on a transformational technology that converts CO2 into green building materials such as cement and aggregate, argues that this process is better than traditional CCS (Carbon Capture and Storage or Sequestration), as it represents a permanent CO2 conversion from gas to solid material.

Read more of this story »

IDSA Announces Winners of 2009 International Design Excellence Awards

from Bustler.net News by Vanilla Hustler

The winners of the 2009 International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA) competition—a celebration of year’s most innovative and exciting product and product concept designs and one of the world’s most prestigious and recognizable design competitions—exhibit a focus on sustainability, functionality and, in some cases, breathtaking aesthetics. Additionally, a recent trend toward designing products and concepts for underserved or underprivileged markets continued to be in evidence when BusinessWeek, the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA)Target and Autodesk announced the winners yesterday.

Out of 1631 entries, 31 were awarded the coveted Gold award, while 47 received Silver awards and 72 won Bronze awards, while 349 finalists were named in addition to the winners. This year’s jury, an international cross-section of design leaders led by Andrew Hartman, Philips Design’s design director, new business, bestowed this year’s “Best in Show” award to Nike’s Trash Talk, a performance basketball shoe made from manufacturing waste. This shoe, championed by NBA star Steve Nash, incorporates as many leftover materials—leather and synthetic leather, foam and rubber—as possible without sacrificing any of the performance that comes with shoes made from virgin materials.

Demonstrating the continued value of the IDEA program internationally, 66 designs from 15 countries outside the US were given an IDEA Award: Australia, Brazil, Canada, People’s Republic of China, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Italy, The Netherlands, Singapore, South Korea, Sweden, Taiwan and the United Kingdom. 2009 also marked the second year of IDEA/Brasil, organized by Objeto Brasil and endorsed by IDSA, to spur interest in design from Brazilian corporations as well as to heighten global awareness of Brazil’s rich design heritage. Six winners were honored with IDEA Awards this year, a testament to the exceptional design being created in Brazil as well as the remarkable success of the IDEA/Brasil program for another year.

image

Gold Award: NAVE building; Category: Environments; Client: Oi Futuro (Brazil); Design: Jair de Souza, Rita Sepulveda, Ana Carolina Montenegro, Vinte Zero Um (Brazil)

image

Gold Award: Nymphenburg Store; Category: Environments; Design: Alf Hackenberg, Martin Langkau, SIGNCE Design (Germany); Joerg Richtsfeld, Nymphenburg (Germany); Axel Hofstadt, Hofstadt Architekten (Germany)

image

Gold Award: Havaianas Flagship Store; Category: Environments; Client: Alpargatas (Brazil); Design: Isay Weinfeld, Domingos Pascali, Elena Scarabotolo, Marcelo Alvarenga, Luciana Siqueira, ISAY Weinfeld (Brazil)

image

Gold Award: iCASTS; Category: Interactive Product Experiences; Client: University of New South Wales (Australia); Mines Rescue (Australia); Design: UNSW iCinema Design Strategy & Research Centre (Australia); Mines Rescue (Australia)

image

Gold Award: Project Masiluleke Home HIV Test Kit; Category: Packaging & Graphics; Client: Pop!Tech (U.S.); iTeach (South Africa); Design: frog design (U.S.)

image

Gold Award: SEED transport system; Category: Student Designs; Design: Matthew Vergin, Ryan Callahan, College for Creative Studies (U.S.)

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Gold Award: ICON A5 Amphibious Sport Aircraft; Category: Transportation; Design: Steen Strand, Diego Miralles, Kirk Hawkins, Matthew Gionta, Jon Karkow, ICON Aircraft (U.S.); Randy Rodriguez, Steve Moneypenny, Jim McJunkin, Brenda Parkin, Bruce Campbell, Nissan Design America (U.S.); Troy Lee, Troy Lee Designs (U.S.); Bill Moggridge, David Kelley (U.S.); Stewart Reed, Art Center College of Design (U.S.)

image

Gold Award: Better Place Charge Spot; Category: Commercial & Industrial; Client: Better Place; Design: Gadi Amit, Mike Massucco, Chad Harber, Justin Porcano, and Barbara Stettler of NewDealDesign (U.S.); Nekuda DM (Israel)

image

Gold Award: Apple LED Cinema Display; Category: Computer Equipment; Design: Industrial Design Team, Apple (U.S.)

image

Gold Award: Human-Centered Design Toolkit; Category: Design Strategy; Client: International Development Enterprises (U.S.); Heifer International (U.S.); International Center for Research on Women; and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (U.S.); Design: Tatyana Mamut, Jessica Hastings, Fidel Calderon, Scott Tong, and Sandy Speicher, IDEO (U.S.)

The commitment to sustainability was the hallmark in products such as the Better Place Charge Spot, Dell Studio Hybrid, Energy Seed and Coca-Cola Refresh Recycling Bin. A sense of social responsibility drove the creation of winners such as the Kitten Scanner, the Project Masiluleke Home HIV Test Kit and The Next Generation Perkins/APH Mechanical Braille Writer®. And the striking aesthetics of Apple’s MacBook and 15-inch MacBook Pro, Samsung’s BD-P4600 Blu-Ray Disc Player and LED 7000 Series (the world’s slimmest LED TV) and the ICON A5 Amphibious Sport Aircraft were also among those products recognized by this year’s jury. The continually-increasing number of student entries and student winners from across the globe demonstrates the future of the design profession is in good hands.

Samsung of South Korea was the top winner from the corporate world, claiming eight awards, while Apple claimed seven, Dell Experience Design Group claimed six and GE Healthcare claimed five. The jurors were captivated by the WEDZE Virtuous, a ski jacket with a removable, inflatable vest that allows you to decide how warm you want to be; impressed by Teneo® Storage Furniture, a storage system whose 20 parts can be used to create 80 different products, and wowed by the BTS! Dual-Cooking Oven, which offers the versatility of a double oven in one oven, prompting juror Claudia Kotchka, Affiliate IDSA, to remark “this is an entry which falls in the ‘why didn’t I think of that?’ category.”

Among design firms, IDEO captured eight awards this year, while NewDeal Design received four awards, and ASTRO Studios, frog design and fuseproject each received three awards. Korea’s Samsung Art and Design Institute/Samsung Design Membership Program topped the list of college wins with a total of eight awards, while Art Center College of Design received five.

The 2009 jury, comprised of 20 world-renowned designers and design thinkers, spent weeks previewing entries online and two-and-a-half days of intense, face-to-face evaluation and debate on IDEA. Judging criteria for each entry focused on eight areas of industrial design excellence: design innovation; benefit to the user; benefit to the client/business; benefit to society; ecological responsibility; appropriate aesthetics and appeal; usability testing; rigor and reliability (Design Research category); and internal factors and methods, implementation (Design Strategy category).

A “People’s Choice” award will also be presented when the winners are honored in a formal ceremony at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel in Miami on Saturday, September 26, the final day of the anticipated 2009 IDSA International Conference, followed by a gala celebration. Winners will be displayed in the Conference Design Gallery. All 150 winners with descriptions, photos and contacts are now featured on BusinessWeek and IDSA’s web sites.

Eco-Docks Designed to Float in NYC’s Nasty Rivers

from Green Options by Bryan Nelson

Eco-docks

A professor and student team have designed a network of modular floating docks to harness clean energy for New York City.

The eco-docks would generate the energy by harnessing tidal power from the city’s rivers; they should also help to add much needed green space above the dirty waters.

Read more of this story »

nissan: new forest AC aromatherapy

nissan‘s new ‘forest air conditioning’ system controls cabin temperature and ventilation as well as aroma and humidity to help benefit the driver’s mental state while driving.

nissan worked with the tokyo university of science, to better understand the effects that aromas have on human mental activity. their findings resulted in the new ‘forest AC’ system which will be implemented into the new fuga model.

the ‘forest AC’, intermittently and alternately sprays two aromas, borneol (kapur wood, lavender and essential oil) and leaf alcohol, which is meant to ‘alleviate boredom and stimulate the driver’s brain.’the relaxed state allows the person to calm down from external conditions or the consequences of what he or she has done and achieves mental acuity, resulting in good work’ says professor kikunori shinohara of the tokyo university of science.

another feature of the ‘forest AC’ is ‘breezy air’, which fluctuates natural breezes by changing the volume of air flowing through the upper and front vent outlets. it can detect sunlight and outside temperatures and control the ventilation patterns accordingly. the AC system also incorporates humidity control and high performance filter for pollen, odors and allergens. the air inside the cabin is ionized by the deployment of plasmacluster ions, achieving 10 times higher ion densities than in current systems.

via autoevolution


nissan fuga

‘think outside the parking box’ international design competition
designboom and nissan motor company are looking for YOUR artwork that illustrate your perception within the theme ‘think outside the parking box’. challenge conventional urban parking! playful enhanced parking technology, robotic facilities, safety, dynamic services, green parking … creative solutions that address urban parking problems, statements of objections, creative-innovative-and-hilarious ideas in form of videos, art- design objects and illustrations can be submitted. register for free here

Small Wind Sucks, Test Finds

from Green Options by Susan Kraemer

Interestingly, while big wind can generate far cheaper power than big solar, small wind turns out to do quite the opposite.

A comparative turbine test performed over the last 12 months in Zeeland, Holland revealed that small wind turbines generate very little power for the money. The smaller the rotor, the less power. So I did some comparisons between small wind and solar. I found something surprising.

Small wind could cost 10 times the cost of residential solar to make the same power.

The energy yield was measured in an average wind speed of 8.5 mph over the year.
Here are the results, translated for the U.S. reader, with the comparative solar costs:

Read more of this story »

The Austonian: Dog friendly high-rise touted to become tallest residential building in North America

 The Austonian: Dog friendly high-rise touted to become tallest residential building in North America July 28, Austin

Luxury loving dog owners seeking a new abode that offers pet friendly amenities definitely need to visit the Austonian in Austin, Tex. The Austonian is a 56-story condominium development that is being developed by Grupor Villar Mir. A completely pet friendly luxury high-rise, it offers its dog loving prospective buyers an outdoor pet park, a pet grooming area and a staff of personal assistants available around the clock…more.

Milan Announces the World’s Largest Solar Rooftop Array

Milan Announces the World’s Largest Solar Rooftop Array July 27, Milan

Italy’s Milano Fiera trade fair facility announced that it will be getting a major eco update in the form of the world’s largest solar rooftop solar array! The massive photovoltaic system will cover 2.9 million sq ft of the roof, and carry a peak capacity of 18 megawatts. Due for completion in 2010, the project stands to snag the world title from Zaragoza, Spain’s General Motor’s factory, which currently holds the record for largest rooftop solar plant at 12 megawatts…more.

Coke Extends Commitment to Reduce Carbon Footprint

from Green Options by Ruedigar Matthes

In 2002 the Coca-Cola Company used 3.12 liters of water to produce every liter of poduct. The company, which has captured the taste buds of drinkers worldwide used .57 megajoules of energy and averaged 12.54 grams of waste per liter of product. It’s no wonder that the Coke Kingdom has been less than popular among environmental groups.

With concern for the environment rising among pop culture, however, Coke’s pop has begun to lose its fizz with more than just special interest groups.

Since 2002 the Coke Kingdom has made some changes in order to become more sustainable. In India, the company has worked to offset their water usage by establishing local rainwater harvesting facilities. Over the last two years, Coke has installed 320 rainwater harvesting structures across 17 states in India.

Read more of this story »

landor rebrand melbourne

the australian city of melbourne was recently rebranded by landor. the new ‘M’ logo replaces the leaf logo which had been in use for the past fifteen years. the city’s mayor robert doyle says ‘the new design will become an icon for melbourne, synonymous with the modern, vibrant, cool city melbourne is today and will continue to be in the future.’

the new design hopes to achieve better identification of services the city of melbourne is delivering, greater brand impact and flexibility, more cost and time-effective in-house design and brand management.

Popout

‘it was deemed necessary to rebrand when an extensive audit and review revealed the ‘leaf’ logo to be outdated. after 15 years this was understandable. the creation of one strong masterbrand is an opportunity to build a new identity that resonates with our staff, our community, our customers and for the city of melbourne as an local, national and international destination. looking at other cities such as london or new york you see the strength of their single brand.’

the ‘leaf’ was found to be weak when stacked up against other national and international city brands and there was also little understanding of what the ‘leaf’ represented. In addition, the proliferation of additional logos resulted in a lack of shared understanding of the city of Melbourne exposing a fragmentation of our identity.

the cost for the new design was 147,906 AUD in addition to developmental work which cost 91,652 AUD.

full details of the rebrand can be found here.

rafael vinoly architects: curve


image by peter cook

the curve theatre in leicester is the first building in the UK by rafael vinoly architects. the new building
turns the typical theatre configuration inside out, putting the backstage operations on show. through the
clear glass faced, the public is free to look at the theatre building up productions, involving them in the
process. the glass facade is also covered with a louvered curtain wall that covers the building’s four stories.
the two auditorium spaces are also visible from the outside, conceived as islands within the public foyer
around them. the offices and other facilities are all located in an l-shaped wing at the back, containing all
the spaces in a more private setting. the theatre also has a cafe on the ground level that is open outside
performance hours

http://www.rvapc.com

NASA Releases First Image of Mysterious ‘Night Clouds’

from Green Options by Andrew Williams

NASA has released the first ever images of mysterious polar night clouds that form 50 miles above Earth’s surface, and says that they might be linked to global warming.

The startling images were captured by NASA’s “AIM” satellite (Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere), and show night clouds above 70 degrees north latitude on May 25. Since then, eyewitnesses on the ground have reported seeing the formations on June 6 over Northern Europe (see image after the jump).

When viewed from space, the mysterious clouds are known scientifically as Polar Mesospheric Clouds, or PMCs, when seen from the ground they are called Noctilucent or “night-shining” Clouds.

Read more of this story »

Garbage Trucks to Troll the High Seas

from Green Options by Susan Kraemer

Shared by 

Here’s a real shifting baseline. Fishing catches may be decreasing, but inadvertent ocean litter pickups of mostly plastic debris are increasing. Fishermen don’t actually go out looking for plastic debris to pick up. These ocean garbage pick-ups are accidental. For now.

But soon, fishermen may be paid to bring garbage back to port.

Already, ocean garbage levels are damaging fishing catches. Dealing with garbage is now costing fishermen an ever increasing amount of time.

Everyone has read different estimates of the size of the giant plastic trash dump now swirling in the Pacific. The Air France crash added evidence of just how big of a problem ocean litter is becoming when oceantrash was mistaken for crash debris.

Currently several organizations are starting to pick up ocean litter:

Read more of this story »

Save Amazon With Nuke Waste, Says Environmentalist

from Green Options by Susan Kraemer


In desperate times, people look at desperate measures.

James Lovelock – – who is one of the leading environmentalists on the planet has made a startling proposal: that the best way to save the Amazon from being destroyed is to turn it into a repository for nuclear waste.

He argues in “The Revenge of Gaia” that animals and plants don’t perceive radioactivity as a danger. What is far more threatening to ecosystems are people — who create extensive farming or mining and construction sites.  So to keep humans out of valuable ecosystems, we could dump our nuclear waste there.

That will keep people out.

Oddly, both plants and animals have increased around the areas of Belarus that were heavily radiated after the accident at Chernobyl, although radiation reduces their lifespan.

The lack of human intervention may make nuclear wildlife refuges more beneficial overall:

Read more of this story »

Whole Foods Removes GMOs from Grocery List

from Green Options by Zachary Shahan


Whole Foods Market made a big step in food retail this month. The corporate giant that dominates the healthfood market is leading their customers away from GMOs. The company joined the Non-GMO Project’s Product Verification Program this month. The Non-GMO Project is a consortium of people, businesses, and organizations who are committed to cutting GMO’s out of our food stream. This non-profit organization has now established the first scientifically-based, third-party system in North America for identifying if a product is GMO-free — the Product Verification Program.

The fairly new Product Verification Program is what Whole Foods has been searching since GMOs came to the US, the company says.

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New Electricity 42% Wind Says DOE

from Green Options by Susan Kraemer

Last year almost half the new electricity capacity added to the grid (42%) was wind power, according to Secretary Chu of the U.S. Department of Energy.

Texas led all states with 7,118 MW of total wind capacity installed, followed by Iowa (2791 MW) and California (2517 MW). Seven states now have more than 1,000 MW installed, and 13 have more than 500 MW.

$16 Billion invested in wind projects in 2008 made the United States the world leader in added capacity last year, says  This the fourth consecutive year that the United States has been the world’s fastest-growing wind power market.

Wind power added 8,558 megawatts of new electricity to the grid – – and 8,400 new jobs to the economy.

The American Wind Energy Association estimates that now about half of the components needed for wind turbines are made in the United States.

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Experts surprised by audacity of proposed Hanoi master plan

Experts surprised by audacity of proposed Hanoi master plan July 21, Hanoi City

Hanoi authorities reviewed an ambitious plan for Hanoi’s development to 2030, with a ‘vision’ to 2050. The plan calls for the city’s evolution as ‘the first sustainable capital city.’ It is the work of PPJ, a consortium made up of the US design and architecture firm Perkins Eastman and Posco Engineering & Construction and Jina from South Korea. The Vietnam Institute for Architecture, Urban and Rural Planning (VIAP) also contributed. However, the draft plan is drawing fire from Vietnamese experts…more.

China Invests $30 Billion in Renewable Energy; Economy Rebounds

from Green Options by Susan Kraemer

China’s economy makes stunning rebound:

China’s economy grew nearly 8% in the second quarter of 2009, the government said, in a stunning turnaround for the Asian powerhouse that offered some hope for the rest of the world.

Analysts said the rebound in China would offer a boost of confidence for the global economy as it struggles out of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s. To fight the downturn, the government had begun implementing an internal infrastructure stimulus package from November last year.

China’s exports dropped 21%.
Yet its overall industrial output actually expanded 9%!

Wait. How can that happen?

Because China is investing in its own renewable energy infrastructure:

Read more of this story »

What we can Learn from China’s Heavy Investment in Solar Energy

from Green Options by Jeff Wolfe

Solar Energy in China

As I write this I am preparing to board a very long flight to China, where I’ll be talking to a few Chinese PV module manufacturers, as well as our existing inverter supplier, Motech, in Taiwan. This will be a chance to meet and greet potential future suppliers on their own ground, and review factories as we consider sourcing more materials from China, but there are many things I already know before embarking.

New York Times Columnist, Tom Friedman is right. China is investing heavily and preparing to leave the rest of the renewable energy world in the dust. In the past two weeks Suntech, currently the largest solar module manufacturer in the world, signed 2 GW (2000 MW) of projects in China. Those 2 GW represent merely the contracts of a single company. Last year – and likely this year – the total U.S. market is 350 MW (0.35 GW). Granted, not all the Chinese projects happen this year, but plans are on paper – there is a schedule.

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Timber is tops for environmentally friendly buildings – Teatro Naturale

Timber is tops for environmentally friendly buildings
Teatro Naturale
The study considered the full life cycle of the buildings including the initial embodied energyof the materials used, maintenance, transport, 

England’s homogenised woods are bad for biodiversity

The woodlands of lowland England are becoming less diverse, even though most woods contain just as many species as before.

4 New Eco-Design Rules for the EU — Saving as Much Power as Austria and Sweden Use Annually

from Green Options by Zachary Shahan

The EU is cutting electricity use equivalent to Sweden and Austria’s annual usage. In total, after previous ecodesign regulations, the savings will be greater than Italy’s total consumption by 2020.

The European Union (EU) agreed to cut carbon emissions by 20% by 2020 earlier this year. They stated: “The challenge is to spark a new industrial revolution that will deliver a low-energy economy, whilst making the energy we consume more secure.” In another move to spark this new industrial revolution, the European Commission added 4 new eco-design standards this week to the 5 they had previously set.

The four new eco-design measures will save as much electricity as Sweden and Austria use annually. Combined with the previous five measures, the electricity savings will be more than the total annual usage of Italy!

Read more of this story »

Solar plane to make public debut

Swiss adventurer Bertrand Picard is set to unveil a prototype of the solar-powered plane he hopes one day to fly around the world.

Australia greens up its hospitals – Construction Contractor

Australia greens up its hospitals
Construction Contractor
The Green Building Council of Australia’s (GBCA) new Green Star – Healthcare v1 environmental rating tool will help owners and operators of healthcare 

and more »

UNstudio: retreat exhibition at kunstfort asperen opening june 28th

retreat exhibition, kuntsfort asperen june 28th – september 20th, 2009
curators: ben van berkel and caroline bos/ UN studio
http://www.kunstbus.nl


UNstudio’s installation in the fort
photo © katrien franken
image courtesy UNstudio

on june 28th the exhibition ‘retreat’ curated by ben van berkel of and caroline bos/ UNstudio
will be open to the public at kunstfort asperen. 12 artists were invited to exhibit works which
provide surprising interpretations on the theme of retreat from differing disciplines
and perspectives.

participating artists include: tobias rehberger, frank havermans, ann lislegaard, pipilotti rist,
absalon, andrea zittel, a.p. komen/karen murphy, cosmic wonder, jerszy seymour, lucy orta,
hans op de beeck and sandra backlund.

here is a sneak preview.


exterior of kunstfort asperen
photo © katrien franken
image courtesy UNstudio

retreat – away from daily routine
for ben van berkel and caroline bos the kunstfort asperen and its surroundings was
the starting point for the theme retreat. the fortress has lost its original function, whereby
the perception of place and space has changed. this transition from defense post to idyllic
place forms the premise of the exhibition. the theme, although reflecting today’s
socio-economic realities, was in fact chosen prior to the current global crisis.


‘open my glade’, 2000 installation by pipilotti rist
photo © katrien franken
image courtesy UNstudio

according to ben van berkel en caroline bos, ‘each in their own way has invented solutions
for people in need of a refuge. but each also shows that the solution and the situation you seek
to escape are interwoven, and that there is a painful fragility to the human that no shelter
can cover up.’


‘retreat’ section
image courtesy UNstudio


‘retreat’ elevations
image courtesy UNstudio


‘retreat’ core
image courtesy UNstudio

unstudio has designed a spatial installation which reinterprets the organization of
the fort and forms the binding element between the exhibited works. the structure winds
through the fort like a ribbon, playing with the changing perceptions and experiences
of the space, both literally and symbolically. the material and the diamond structure
of the installation reflect the exhibited artworks which are installed around the fort.


UNstudio’s installation in the fort
photo © katrien franken
image courtesy UNstudio

credits:
architectural installation: ben van berkel and caroline bos
with christian veddeler and arndt willert, gary friedman
curating: ben van berkel and caroline bos
production: machteld kors, cas bool and eric otten
building and engineering: p&p gmbh fuerth, odenwald
graphics: bloemendaal & dekkers, amsterdam
advisory board: jan brand, jose teunissen, ole bouman,
tom van gestel, meta knol, catelijne de muijnck, anne van der zwaag

Sears Tower Reaches for Heights of Efficiency With $350 Million Retrofit

from Green Options by Leslie Berliant

sears towerThe Sears Tower loomed large during my childhood in the Chicago suburbs. I remember when it opened in 1973. We took a special trip downtown to see it. According to my aesthetics as a seven year old, it wasn’t very elegant and I preferred the John Hancock Tower with its swanky restaurant on the 95th floor and proximity to Marshall Fields. Then the company my dad worked for was bought by Coldwell Banker, a subsidiary of Sears at the time, and his office was moved to the Tower. I spent some quality daddy-daughter time there, and one memorable summer got paid the incredibly generous sum of $8 an hour to take the train to the city every day, do some filing and hang out downtown.

But the Tower, in my mind, never had much to distinguish it other than a great view from the 103rd floor, its height of 110 stories and the convenience of the train station. But now everything is changing.

By the end of the summer, it will no longer be the Sears Tower. It will be called the Willis Tower, named for the global insurance broker. But more importantly, the building will undergo a $350 million efficiency and renewable energy retrofit that will reduce the base building electricity use by up to 80 percent – 68 million kilowatt hours annually or 150,000 barrels of oil every year. The retrofit will also create more than 3,600 jobs in the Chicago area.

Read more of this story »

a- asterisk: ‘shanghai 2035’ concept design


‘shanghai 2035’ by a – asterik
all images courtesy a – asterik

‘shanghai 2035’ was developed by japanese firm a- asterik is a concept design for
the future of shanghai city.

in 2009, the population of shanghai increased to 24.5 million. the city today has
a rare situation that can not be seen in any other countries. their population is raised
by the pace of 3 billion every year causing an aging society  and a divide between
the rich and the poor, yet building construction is growing at a rapid rate.


estimated population increase by 2035


skyscrapers in shanghai

after the olympic games in 2008 an urban renewal planning project was established.

shanghai 2035 aims to enhance the city’s appeal and improve city life for the future.
the project features two elements an ‘air’ city and ‘ground’ city that will prevent the
loss of green and the land. the network will promote the correlation between the life
in the air level and the grand level.

making the most of the tall buildings and extending the verticality and the availability
of publicized facilities to 300m up in the air. while  preserving the current buildings
and historical buildings, the new city layers will function not only as the infrastructure
of the air level and the ground level, but also the high quality network refined by the
object and the operation of the city.


vertical plan of shanghai 2035


air level of ‘shanghai’ 2035


aerial view of ‘shanghai 2035’ concept design


aerial view of ‘shanghai 2035’ concept design


aerial view of ‘shanghai 2035’ concept design


aerial view of ‘shanghai 2035’ concept design


‘shanghai 2035’ positioned over the city’s skyscrapers

credits:
project name: shanghai 2035
location: shanghai china
principle use: urban concept
site area: 6 340km2
design: a – asterisk (nobuhiro nakamura)
collaboration with: ouvi inc (shin yokoo)
design period: oct 2008 – jun 2009
photographer: shuhei kaihara
perspective: gao dayong

The WWF living planet index for freshwater

from Random graphic of the day: UNEP/GRID-Arendal Maps and Graphics Library by UNEP/GRID-Arendal <mapmaster@grida.no>
The WWF living planet index for freshwater‘The over-exploitation and mismanagement of fisheries, particularly when combined with other man-made stresses, can lead to the collapse of regional fish faunas. In many countries, aquaculture is rapidly increasing in response to declining natural fisheries, often exacerbating the degradation of inland and coastal ecosystems through habitat alteration, pollution and the introduction of alien species’ (Revenga et al., 1998). The Freshwater Species Population Index measures the average change over time in the populations of some 194 species of freshwater birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and fish. Between 1970 and 1999, the Freshwater Species Population Index fell by nearly 50%, which is a very rapid decline in population indices. The harvest of freshwater fish is likely to increase either through capture fisheries or aquaculture (otherwise known as ’fish-farming’). In many developing countries, freshwater fish provide a significant contribution to the diets of local communities. In Africa and Asia, fish provide 21% and 28% of all animal protein, respectively (Revenga et al., 1998). The figures are more significant in landlocked countries, where data on the fish caught are often not formally recorded, and their importance is not fully known. In 1999, reported fish production from inland waters totalled 28 million tonnes, with contributions of 8.2 million and 19.8 million tonnes from capture fisheries and aquaculture, respectively. With major under-reporting from subsistence fisheries, these figures could be twice as high (FAO, 2000). ‘The introduction of the non-native Nile Perch to Africa’s Lake Victoria in 1954, combined with pollution loading and increased water turbidity resulting from agriculture and industrial development, has greatly reduced indigenous fish populations. Kenya, for example, reported only 0.5% of its commercial fish catch as Nile Perch in 1976. Five years later, the proportion was 68%. Lake Victoria, the second largest lake in the world, has lost an estimated 200 different endemic cichlid species found nowhere else, while the remaining 150 are endangered. Two-thirds of the freshwater species introduced into the tropics worldwide have become established’ (Revenga et al., 1998)

BIG: Tallinn’s New City Hall

from AMNP

big-tallinn-town-hall-7.jpg

The Bjarke Ingels Group has won an international competition to design Tallinn’s [Estonia] new city hall on a 35,000 square meter plot near the Linnahall building. The new design presents a cluster of volumes, housing different administrative offices and interconnecting to form atrium and/or courtyard spaces that would seem to connect to more public plazas surrounding the structure.

Bjarke Ingels, BIG, Partner-in-Charge:

There is a saying that success has many fathers. That is especially true when designing such a crucial public building and public space as a town hall. The design needs to be shaped by input from neighbours  and users, citizens and politicians. Paradoxically we architects often find ourselves isolated from this crucial dialogue at the moment of conception, due to the anonymity of the architectural competition. Since this was a 2 stage competition, we already had our first feedback from the jury – causing us to dramatically rearrange our design to fit the citizens’ needs. As a result we have envisioned a very elastic structure – capable of adapting to unexpected demands. We see it as the first conversation in a design dialogue we look forward to continue.

big-tallinn-town-hall-1.jpg

The design emphasizes openness, and connections with the surrounding city. Located within the tower/spire shown, the city council looks out onto the city and outdoor public spaces – while at the same time, those outside can get a glimpse at the inner workings or the city’s government. To give those inside, and out, a better/more interesting view, the ceiling of the tower is to be tiled with a reflective surface – creating a kind of ‘periscope’ effect. This gives the city council a reflection of the city overhead – maybe a constant reminder of who/what they’re working for – and possibly gives the average citizen the ability to look in on meetings as they’re taking place, as if looking over the shoulders of their representatives.

big-tallinn-town-hall-2.jpg

The periscope is a form of democratic tower, where even the average Tallinn citizen on the street gets to enjoy the overview from the top. From a distance the silhouette of the town hall tower enters the family of Tallinn’s historical spires including those of the Niguliste Museum-Concert Hall, Toomkirik, Kaarli Kirik, Pühavaimu Kirik, St. Olav Church and the current town hall.

big-tallinn-town-hall-3.jpg

big-tallinn-town-hall-4.jpg

::images + quoted text courtesy of the Bjarke Ingels Group::

China Heating Up Global Competition for Solar

from Green Options by Jennifer Kho

There’s no question that China is a force to be reckoned with in the solar industry. The country is the largest silicon-based solar-cell producer in the world, with Chinese and Taiwanese production accounting for 39 percent of global production last year, compared with 28 percent from Europe, according to a report the Worldwatch Institute released last week.

But while China had long been considered a potential game-changer in solar, companies’ growth had previously been slowed by a silicon shortage that hit newcomers more dramatically than incumbents. Even so, Chinese manufacturers overtook German and Japanese companies in 2007. Now that plenty of silicon is available, could the country’s dominance grow even larger? Or will some Chinese manufacturers struggle to differentiate themselves and suffer more than the rest of the market during an oversupply of panels?

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Water and Energy – A Crisis and An Opportunity

from Green Options by Paul O’Callaghan

This post was written by Paul O’Callaghan, founding CEO of the Clean Tech consultancy, O2 Environmental Inc. and lecturer on Sustainable Energy at the BC Institute of Technology.

inside renewable energy podcastAny plan to switch from gasoline to electricity or biofuels is a strategic decision to switch our dependence from foreign oil to domestic water’.

So says Dr. Michael Webber of the University of Texas at Austin in an interview with Steven Lacey on the Inside Renewable Energy Podcast this week.

Webber comments on the links between water and energy, the potential conflicts, but also about the potential opportunities which arise when you start to understand these links and realize that saving water saves energy, and saving energy saves water.

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The Opening of the Northwest Passage is Happening Today, not in 10 years!

from Green Options by Amiel Blajchman

Last week’s confirmation of climate change by the White House has only further raised the stakes for the Arctic. As detailed in formerposts, one of the significant effects of our changing climate is the thinning of the ice pack in the Arctic, and the subsequent opening of the Northwest Passage. As the Northwest Passage opens, so too will we see an upsurge in the demand for shipping and the rush to access oil, gas, and mineral resources. [More…]

Significantly for observers, commercial fleets are beginning to view the Northwest Passage as a viable option for getting from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

“The ice is more favourable than in past decades,” said Capt. Georges Tousignant of Nunavut Eastern Arctic Shipping, “It’s navigable, it’s not that high-risk.”

And it’s not just Nunavut Eastern Arctic Shipping that is interested in navigating the Northwest Passage, the Canadian Coast Guard has seen an increase in the number of ships that entered the Northwest Passage. The longer that good shipping conditions continue, the more companies that will view the Passage as a viable transit route.

Unfortunately for the polar bears and infrastructure built reliant on permanent ice in the north, the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center reported that ice melt rates have increased. In May of 2009, ice melted at a rate of about 54,000 square kilometers per day throughout the Arctic. Average May ice melt has traditionally been closer to 47,000 kilometers per day.

The implications of all this ice melt is that similar to the long-term melting of permafrost, there will be less of the dangerous multi-year ice that impedes shipping every year. And therefore every year there will be increased shipping, and increasing attention to the viability of the Northwest Passage.

With increasing attention being paid to the Northwest Passage, watch for its status under international law to become a point of contention along with other northern concerns such sovereignty and related territorial claims.

Image: ashatsea (Creative Commons)

menis arquitectos: jordanek music hall

spanish architecture studio menis arquitectos won the competition for the jordanek music hall in torun,
poland. the city is embarking on the project in an effort to win the bid to become the european capital for
culture 2016. the new music hall aims to bring a world-class venue to the UNESCO protected old town in
torun. the building site’s on a large plot, most of which will be used for park space. to keep the building
unimposing, the architects kept it as low as possible. brick will be used on the interior to recall the brick
facades of the historic buildings nearby and the exterior will be a light concrete that is intentionally cracked
to reveal the red brick inside. fernando menis designed the interior space to be very flexible, modelling it
after the polish dish zurek (a soup served in a hollowed out bread bowl). 2 halls dominate the space,
a smaller one seating 1000 and the main one, which seats 3000. however these two halls are parallel and
can be combined for big performances. the music hall is set for completion in 2012

Green timber scheme ‘discriminatory’ – Architecture and Design

Green timber scheme ‘discriminatory’
Architecture and Design
The new scheme is part of the GBCA’s ongoing review of the Green Star environmental rating tools for buildings. The framework was developed in consultation 

and more »


Human Health Endangered by Australian Drought

from Green Options by Susan Kraemer

Due to climate change; one of the now dried up lakes in Australia is gradually turning into Sulphuric Acid.
murrayriverdrought
The Age is reporting that there are fears people living in towns around the lakes may suffer from acid dust, blowing off the bare lakes as rising acidity threatens to wipe out ecology in the lakes. The lake-bed soils turn into sulphuric acid when exposed to the air, and record low flows down the Murray are exposing the beds.

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World’s largest solar array planned for the Sahara Desert

from DVICE by AdamFrucci
World's largest solar array planned for the Sahara DesertThe Sahara Desert gets a lot of sun. In fact, it gets so much that if a mere 0.3% of its area was used for a solar plant, it could power all of Europe. So it only makes sense that 20 German companies are looking into doing just that.

The plan would be to scatter solar collectors all across northern Africa in politically stable countries rather than putting them all in one spot. It’ll take years to build everything as well as $555 billion in funds, but in the long run it’ll be well worth it.

Next100 via Inhabitat

Chinese projects focus on the economics of heat recovery – Engineer Live

Chinese projects focus on the economics of heat recovery
Engineer Live, UK
To achieve that, and depending on the precise brief, in-house teams run emissions assessments, source and manage carbon portfolios, and design staff/customer engagement programmes. To meet net zero carbondioxide reductions, carbon offsetting is part 

moho architects: mixed use tower in san jose de costa rica


mixed used tower, san jose costa rica
image courtesy moho architects

rising above the skyline of san jose in costa rica, this mixed use tower by spanish firm
moho architects will be a new landmark, providing crucial amenities for the city, sheltered
from the local climate. the concept is driven by a progressive environmental strategy that
is expected to establish new benchmarks for the region.

the building offers an ideal model of sustainable urban living by reducing reliance on
transport and balancing energy consumption between its mixed-use program of day
and night time activities. program include  mixed commercial and retail spaces together
with a business centre, offices, conference rooms, hotel floors and casino. the tower rises
25 floors consisting of a viewing platform and restaurant providing panoramic views
over the city.

the tower splits and creases independently as it rises into the sky. this ‘head split’ configuration,
permits natural lighting, while sky courts filled with vegetation punctuate at intervals the tower
and mitigate the hot climate.

the development will take advantage of a number of sustainable energy strategies and key
to the energy performance of the building are its wooden brise-soleil facades, designed to
filter solar gain and to encourage daylight to permeate the complex.  the tower is intended to
be a paradigm for passive environmental control, providing an alternative to the more conventional models
of sealed and air-conditioned glass stumps. the layered facade cuts air-conditioning load
and the plan encourages daylight, reducing the need for artificial lighting.

the project is currently in the schematic design phase and is expected to be completed in 2012.


mixed used tower
image courtesy moho architects


mixed used tower
image courtesy moho architects


mixed used tower
image courtesy moho architects

Two Thirds of Americans Would Refuse to Give Up iPod – Even if it Ruined Environment

from Green Options by Andrew Williams

An astonishing new survey has revealed that more than 60% of Americans would refuse to stop using their iPods, even if they knew it was seriously damaging the environment.

The survey, which quizzed more than 1,000 people across the US, found that, whilst the majority of Americans are making efforts to buy greener products, most wouldn’t do so if it meant compromising on convenience or comfort.

Read more of this story »

Reforestation, town of Galma and surroundings, Niger 1975 and 2003

from Random graphic of the day: UNEP/GRID-Arendal Maps and Graphics Library by UNEP/GRID-Arendal <mapmaster@grida.no>
Reforestation, town of Galma and surroundings, Niger 1975 and 2003In 1970s and 1980s – years of environmental crisis, there were few trees remaining in Niger. Wind-blown sands razed farmers’ young crops and they often had to plant crops three times to succeed. Since the middle of the 1980s in the most densely populated parts of Niger farmers have begun to protect and manage young trees and bushes regenerating on their cultivated fields. This is natural farmer-managed forest regeneration. Some trees fix nitrogen from the air on their root system, which helps to maintain and improve soil fertility. Improved soil fertility leads to higher crop yields. The trees and bushes protect crops against wind and sand and farmers now often need to sow only once, which increases the length of the growing season. Women are perhaps the biggest winners. They spend much less time now on the collection of firewood than they did 20 years ago – about 0.5 hours/day now instead of 2.5 hours/day in 1984. They also now own 80% of the goats and sheep, which provides them with income. Fodder is much less of a problem now than 20 years ago as the trees produce seedpods and leaves, which are a major source of fodder in the dry season. The most important incentive for tree regeneration by farmers was a change in perception of ownership of the trees. In 1985 the perception was that trees were owned by the State, but farmers now perceive an exclusive right to their on-farm trees. Farmer-led tree regeneration has happened on at least 5 million hectares – once barren, sandy soils almost devoid of vegetation now has 20, 40 or more trees/ha. This is a spectacular scale, unique for the Sahel and probably even unique for Africa. It is not spread evenly. It is strongest in the regions with higher population densities.

Fire Evacuation Fail

fail owned pwned pictures

Submitted by: dunno source via FAIL Uploader