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Heritage-listed church repurposed into modern solar-powered home in Brisbane

Brisbane-based architecture studio DAHA merged old and new with the Church House, an eye-catching modern home and adaptive reuse project. The unusual combination attaches a sleek structure of concrete, steel, and glass to a brick church, known as the Church of Figuration that was built in 1924. While the church’s position wasn’t moved, the architects carefully positioned the new-build based on climatic site conditions and to optimize passive heating and cooling and conditions for a photovoltaic solar array and water harvesting.

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The Church of Figuration was originally purchased as part of a $2.4million AUD hillside property in Norman Park, the sale came with the condition that the heritage-listed Church of Transfiguration be preserved. Thus, the architects kept the church as the property’s focal point by retaining sight lines: the heritage building is flanked by a tennis court on one side and a manicured lawn and landscape on the other. The elevated site provides sweeping views of the neighborhood.

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Related: Old converted church hides gorgeous modern interiors in London

“The Church House extension is a sympathetic adaptation of an existing heritage church into a unique family home,” wrote the architects, who connected the church and extension with a dark zinc tunnel. “The extension responds to the grand scale and form of the existing church through robust materiality and formal gestures, creating balance between the old and the new.” Although the church’s facade has been kept intact, the interior character was changed to serve as the family’s entertainment room with a mezzanine-level home office. The extension houses three bedrooms and bathrooms. Interior designer Georgia Cannon carried out the minimalist aesthetic of cool-toned concrete, dark timber, steel, and glass.

+ DAHA

Via ArchDaily

Photos © Cathy Schusler

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Idyllic ecolodge tucked into remote Vietnamese mountainside is made of locally-sourced granite

Located in a remote region in northern Vietnam, the Topas Ecolodge could just be the ultimate off-grid getaway. Set in an idyllic location with stunning views of the lush green mountainside, the sustainable complex offers 33 one-bedroom bungalows constructed from local white granite quarried from the surrounding mountains.

The lodge is located in the remote village of Sapa in northern Vietnam, deep in the Hoang Lien Son mountain range. The area is quite popular for tourism and many people come to visit the traditional hill tribe villages found in the area. In the past, visitors to the region would stay in the villages, but as tourism grew, the area was in dire need of a sustainable lodging option that would not take away from the idyllic surroundings.

Related: Bolivia’s Ecolodge del Lago takes inspiration from traditional Lak’a Uta architecture

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The Topas Ecolodge was designed to provide rustic, but comfortable lodging that blends into the landscape. Situated atop two cone formed hills, the project’s construction was based on sustainable principles in order to create as low impact on the environment as possible.

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Created as a wellness retreat, thee bungalows have no TV and no internet. Visitors can spend their time hiking or biking through the mountainside and when they’re ready for a bit of relaxation, the infinity pool offers breathtaking views of the mountainside. Additionally, there is an onsite spa that specializes in the traditional Red Dao herbal bath.

+ Topas Ecolodge

Via Uncrate

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New satellite paves the way for full-color, full-motion video from space

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British company Earth-i just launched a new prototype satellite that paves the way for the “world’s first full-color, full-motion video satellite constellation.” CARBONITE-2 is a test version of the the Vivid-i commercial satellite constellation, and its imaging system “is designed to deliver 1m resolution images and color HD video clips with a swath width of 5km.”

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CARBONITE-2 (which the Earth-i team calls VividX2) blasted off from the Indian Space Research Organization‘s Satash Dhawan Space Center aboard the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle late last week. Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) manufactured the technology demonstration satellite. In their statement on the launch they said it “will demonstrate a low-cost video-from-orbit solution using Commercial-Off-The-Shelf technologies.”

Related: Teen creates world’s lightest satellite and NASA is sending it to space

An Ultra High Definition camera on CARBONITE-2 can snap high-resolution images and capture up to two minutes of video. The satellite weighs around 220 pounds, and it will orbit 314 miles, above the planet, moving at around 4.3 miles a second.

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European Space Agency Earth Observation Programs director Josef Aschbacher said in a statement, “The launch of VividX2 is a significant next development of Earth-i’s constellation, and welcomed by ESA. The Vivid-i Constellation will provide capabilities we haven’t seen before including full-color video, and an assured stream of high-quality data from space to help improve both our planet and lives on Earth.”

The company said such images and videos could help governments or businesses monitor assets, track activities or changes, and even “predict future events with more certainty.” Earth-i has already ordered the next five satellites for Vivid-i from SSTL.

Via Engadget, Earth-i, and Surrey Satellite Technology Limited

Images via SSTL/Beaucroft Photography

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The organic farm teaching sustainable growing techniques in Canada’s cold, dark north

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Tucked inside the lush boreal forest in Canada’s Northwest Territories, you’ll find something unexpected. There, cheek to jowl with the ever-encroaching trees sits a thriving farm with snuffling pigs, lush fruit trees, and acres of vegetables, all in an environment that is anything but hospitable to agriculture. But creating a flourishing, regenerative landscape perfect for establishing local food security is exactly what the Northern Farm Training Institute is all about. Their goal is to help people form their own holistic growing environments to support healthy, food-secure communities – even if they happen to be located above the 60th parallel.

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The Northern Farm Training Institute (NFTI) was founded in 2013 as a way to train people in isolated communities how to grow their own food and to restore northern environment-based food systems. Since then, the farm has taught 147 people from over 30 communities – half of those from First Nations/Metis/Inuvialuit communities – to create their own farms.

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NFTI grew as Jackie Milke, a local Hay River Metis woman, recognized the need to alleviate food insecurity in local communities. She quickly realized that there was a large demand for this type of learning, and the 260-acre farm has since hosted 30 intensive workshops in what they call a “living classroom.”

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The farm consists of outdoor gardens, a hoop greenhouse, and a geodesic dome greenhouse. On the farm live herds of sheep, cattle, pigs, goats, and chickens, with an animal barn, industrial kitchen and farm store. There are also 10 small yurts that act as student housing, and one large yurt for classroom learning. All of this is surrounded by the nearby Hay River, fields, forests and ponds.

Related: Utopian off-grid Regen Village produces all of its own food and energy

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Farming in the NFTI focuses on regenerative, holistically-grown food that improves the health of the land and wildlife. The farm is completely organic and uses tactics like minimal tillage, and supporting biodiversity and soil health to help maintain a healthy environment. The farm grows a variety of berries, cherries, herbs, greens, carrots, beets, beans, potatoes, radishes and cruciferous vegetables.

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To further support a healthy community, NFTI uses produce that is being thrown out by local grocery stores to feed their pigs. In the fall, they teach wool washing, felting and dying. Pigs are used to help clear land for farming, and sheep help weed and fertilize pasture areas. They also work with animals that are more comfortable in colder climates, like Iceland Sheep and yaks, rather than the Rambouillet sheep and Angus cattle so familiar in the US.

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During the winter, with just six daylight hours, aurora borealis overhead and a sunset at 3:45 pm, the Northern Farm Training Institute doesn’t sit back and take January off. They grow seedlings inside their greenhouses, using snow to water the plants. The sunlight bouncing off the snow outside creates an ideal lighting effect for the growing plants. And the farm collects and uses discarded shredded paper from local communities to keep the animals warm. They also teach cheesemaking classes and food storage classes.

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The farm’s goal can be summed up as this: “Together we can transform Canada’s north. Regenerative agriculture provides the key to our food security, economic growth, and environmental restoration.” If you’d like to check the farm out, you can stop on by, either as a visitor, student or volunteer. Head to their webpage for more information.

+ Northern Farm Training Institute

images via NFTI

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Massive underwater volcanic eruption spewed rock raft visible from space

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Passengers on a plane flight in 2012 saw something strange from the air: a raft of floating rock called pumice that grew to be roughly the size of Philadelphia, over 150 square miles, in the southwest Pacific Ocean. The raft hinted at an unusually large underwater volcanic eruption. In 2015, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and the University of Tasmania led an investigation to collect materials and map the volcano – and they found some surprises.

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Over 70 percent of volcanic activity on our planet happens on the seafloor, but scientists don’t always get a close-up view of events typically hidden by seawater. In 2012, the Havre volcano, northeast of New Zealand, erupted – and this time researchers got a chance to study the aftermath in what the WHOI described as “the first up-close investigation of the largest underwater volcanic eruption of the past century.” The eruption was so massive it generated a raft of pumice that could be glimpsed from space.

Related: Underwater Volcanic Eruption Creates a New Island in the Pacific Ocean

WHOI scientist Adam Soule said in the institution’s statement, “Heading to the site, we were fully prepared to investigate a typical deep-sea explosive eruption. When we looked at the detailed maps from the AUV [autonomous underwater vehicle], we saw all these bumps on the seafloor and I thought the vehicle’s sonar was acting up. It turned out that each bump was a giant block of pumice, some of them the size of a van. I had never seen anything like it on the seafloor.”

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Lava came from 14 volcanic vent sites 3,000 to 4,000 feet below the surface in the eruption. Scientists had thought the explosion would generate mostly pumice, but also found ash, lava domes, and seafloor lava flows, per WHOI. Soule said, “Ultimately we believe that none of the magma was erupted in the ways we assume an explosive eruption occurs on land.” According to WHOI’s video, such research could help us better understand the planet’s evolution.

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The journal Scientific Advances published the research last week. 20 scientists at institutions in Australia, the United States, New Zealand, and Japan collaborated on the work.

Via the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Images via Rebecca Carey, University of Tasmania, Adam Soule, WHOI, © Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution; Multidisciplinary Instrumentation in Support of Oceanography (MISO) Facility, © Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution; and the Sentry Group, WHOI

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Specially structured bird of paradise feathers function like a “black hole”

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Scientists have discovered that bird of paradise feathers are physically structured in such a way as to absorb nearly all light that reaches them, much like a black hole. Viewers of the acclaimed nature documentary series Planet Earth may recall the bird of paradise from its featured segment, in which male members of the species display their pitch-black feathers, punctuated with spots of vibrant color, while they dance in hopes of attracting a mate. These feathers are not simply a darker shade of black. In fact, their physical structure enables a level of near-total light absorption that is rare in the animal kingdom.

Optical measurements of the bird of paradise feathers indicate that they are capable of absorbing 99.95% of light that reaches it, a similar level of light absorption to man-made ultra-black materials such as the lining of telescopes. “Evolution sometimes ends up with the same solutions as humans,” said senior author and Yale professor Rick Prum, according to Phys.org. The super-black feathers, coupled with patches of bright color, function as an evolved optical illusion. “An apple looks red to us whether it is sitting in the bright sunlight or in the shade because all vertebrate eyes and brains have special wiring to adjust their perception of the world according to ambient light,” said co-lead author Dakota “Cody” McCoy. “Birds of paradise, with their super-black plumage, increase the brilliance of adjacent colors to our eyes, just as we perceive the red even though the apple is in the shade.”

Related: Birds that escape from captivity teach wild birds how to speak (and swear) in English

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The difference between regular feathers and super-black feathers is found in the structure of the main stem and barbs in the feather. Where regular feather has single barbs attached to the main stem, super-black feathers have many spines that serve to create a dense thicket of feathers. “When you have no flat surfaces, the light gets completely absorbed by the feather,” said McCoy, according to Gizmodo. While these feathers are unusually effective at absorbing light, the light-absorption effect is most strong when seen from directly ahead. Still, the biologically developed super-blackness may offer lessons to engineering humans. “Sexual selection has produced some of the most remarkable traits in nature,” Prum said, according to Phys.org. “Hopefully, engineers can use what the bird of paradise teaches us to improve our own human technologies as well.”

Via Gizmodo and Phys.org

Images via Ed Shoales/Birds-of-Paradise Project and Yale University

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Frank Lloyd Wrights final house hits the market for $3.25 million

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Frank Lloyd Wright’s final project, the Norman Lykes House, is back on the market for $3.25 million after failing to secure a buyer at a higher price. The residence, built into the side of a mountain in Phoenix, Arizona, offers stunning views of the city and includes some of Wright’s most celebrated design trademarks.

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The famous architect designed the house just before his death in 1959. His apprentice, John Rattenbury, was appointed the architect for the home following Wright’s passing and was hired by the current owners to update the property in 1994. Rattenbury converted the five-bedroom home into a three bedroom, three bath space with the approval by Taliesin West.

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Related: Frank Lloyd Wright’s mushroom-esque Usonia home hits the market for $1.5M

The design of the house is based on circular geometry, with rounded windows and walls. Its curves follow the topography of the rocky backdrop, while the main living area offers expansive views of Phoenix. The home will be listed via The Agency shortly.

Via Apartment Therapy

Photos via Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation

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Denmark is cleaning up US pollution in Greenland

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Denmark is cleaning up the United State’s mess – literally. Half a century ago, the US abandoned several military bases in Greenland, leaving behind toxic pollution. Now, the Danish government announced that it will foot the bill to clean it up, to the tune of $30 million dollars.

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After World War II, the US didn’t need it’s Greenland military bases anymore, so it abandoned them without cleaning up after themselves. Since then, Greenland has petitioned Denmark, which controlled the island as a colony during WWII, to clean up the pollution or request that the US do so. It appears that Denmark has opted for the former, and they signed a document last week committing to the cleanup process.

Related: Greenland’s ice is melting faster than previously thought

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Although the extent of the remaining pollution remains unclear, it includes things like 100,000 oil drums at one airfield. Other bases contain radioactive and toxic materials, but those bases aren’t covered under this agreement. The current funding likely won’t cover the entire cleanup efforts, but Denmark has stated that it will make more money available if necessary. For now, specialists will take a look at the sites and determine just how much cleanup is necessary.

Via Arctic Now

Images via Wikimedia (1, 2)

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Symbiotic Towers draw inspiration from desert oases to stay cool in Dubai

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Nature and architecture come together in this plan for a multi-use development in Dubai. AmorphouStudio designed the Symbiotic Towers using environmental data to ensure occupants would be comfortable during Dubai’s hot summers. Voronoi patterns found in nature and desert oasis formation also inspired the design. Inhabitat spoke with architect and AmorphouStudio founder Zayad Motlib to learn more.

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Warm weather prevails for much of the year in Dubai, and AmorphouStudio accounted for this in the Symbiotic Towers’ design. They incorporated contextual environmental data with the goal of reducing dependence on air conditioning.

Three towers – one for residential use, another for offices, and the third a hotel – are connected on the ground by a two-level shopping plaza. Zayad Motlib said the voronoi patterns that inspired the design team can be seen in plant leaves, rock patterns, or a dragonfly wing. “Nature developed a system that generates this pattern to produce variety of cells formation that adapt to different conditions,” he told Inhabitat. “We used that strategy when we were planning the plaza.”

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Related: Dubai plans huge pedestrian-friendly urban green space

The lower plaza deck offers a “lavish green semi-shaded oasis” with tree- and water-filled gathering areas for the summer. The upper deck is comprised of a “stretched voronoi perforated deck” partially shaded by trees. Photovoltaic umbrellas resting atop tree-like structures provide more cover, and the solar energy they generate powers a cross-ventilation system.

According to the studio, “This treatment, along with the shading provided by the upper deck level and the dense plantation, create a micro-climatic habitable environment that can be used during the hottest seasons in Dubai.” The lobby area inside the towers creates a “transparent atrium void that unites the floors.”

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“Different cells formations have been explored using a combination of attraction and repulsion system to generate a pattern that would adapt to the circulation and placement of buildings on the plaza, and be part of the cross-ventilation air movement between the lower plaza oasis level and the upper plaza level,” Motlib told Inhabitat.

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Radiation data from May through October – Dubai’s hottest months – aided AmorphouStudio in developing the skins of the towers. The designers mapped the data to the geometry of the buildings to inform their orientation and shape. The result is a trio of futuristic towers that twist to reduce surface area exposed to high radiation.

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“The building temperature is maintained through the design treatments of forms generation, balconies, and the skins,” Motlib told Inhabitat. “Building forms have been developed through a negotiation between site data and their exposure to radiation. An evolutionary solver has been used to minimize their skin exposure to the sun. Balconies vary in depth based on their orientation in order to provide deeper shaded zones in the areas that are exposed to higher radiation. Additionally, the building outer skin functions as an external shading device with varied opening sizes based on the sun exposure.”

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Motlib said they are still researching the best performance material for the skin, with clay-based terracotta panels or a fiber composite material as possibilities.

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The studio designed the Symbiotic Towers for Dubai’s Jumeirah Gardens, and the project made the shortlist of the 2017 MEA Awards for Concept Design of the Year.

The project is currently on hold and Motlib isn’t yet sure when it will move forward – but in the meantime, he says, they are working to “raise awareness of the design principles of this project and its ecological advantages that we achieved by incorporating contextual environmental data and natural landscape of Dubai to achieve a synthesis of forms, skins, and public spaces.”

+ AmorphouStudio

Images courtesy of AmorphouStudio

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Gorgeous live/work home in Melbourne is built with recycled materials

Austin Maynard Architects completed their latest project, a 12-month build that’s stunning, playful, and eco-friendly. Commissioned by a couple that works from home, the Kiah House is a live/work extension in North Fitzroy, Melbourne that comprises a master bedroom and a treehouse-like office stacked on top. The beautiful home draws inspiration from Japanese and Buddhist influences to create a modern sanctuary that embraces outdoor living and contemporary art.

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The Kiah House was constructed as an extension to an original 1927 Victorian-era house and to meet the clients’ desires for “a sanctuary” with a “strong and positive vibe.” The original weatherboard home was renovated with a new spacious kitchen and dining area that spills out to an outdoor deck. Two bedrooms, a lounge, and a bathroom are also located in the original cottage. The master bedroom en suite is placed in the extension’s ground floor and is screened with operable louvers from street view.

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“At Kiah House we were charged with the task of creating spaces, both private and shared, that spill out into the garden and yet adaptable enough to create solitude and privacy when needed,” wrote the architects. “The master bedroom ‘haven’ has a dedicated Buddhist prayer space and opens up to the garden and ponds via sliding double-glazed glass panels blurring the lines between inside and outside. The towering lemon scented gum tree is enclosed by a small deck area, a place for the owners to “sit and meditate”.” The bedroom roof is also covered in plants and edible vegetation that can be seen from the second-story office, which also overlooks the gum tree canopy. A colorful mural called ‘Awakened Flow’ by artist Seb Humphreys of Order 55 was painted on the office’s spotted gum cladding.

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Kiah House by Austin Maynard Architects, North Fitzroy Kiah House, Kiah House Melbourne, Awakened Flow by Seb Humphreys, recycled sugar mill timber, live/work architecture in Melbourne, green renovation in Melbourne,

Related: Swanky laneway house in Melbourne is built from recycled red brick

The renovation of the home and the addition of an extension were completed with sustainability in mind. Timber salvaged and recycled from the CSR sugar mills in nearby Yarraville is used throughout the kitchen, while the red clay bricks that line the bathroom were all reclaimed and hand-cleaned from demolition sites around Victoria. The home is optimized for natural light, passive solar gain, and natural ventilation. All windows are double-glazed and high performance insulation is used throughout. Collected roof water is reused for irrigation and to flush toilets. A solar array has also been installed on the roof.

+ Austin Maynard Architects

Kiah House by Austin Maynard Architects, North Fitzroy Kiah House, Kiah House Melbourne, Awakened Flow by Seb Humphreys, recycled sugar mill timber, live/work architecture in Melbourne, green renovation in Melbourne,

Kiah House by Austin Maynard Architects, North Fitzroy Kiah House, Kiah House Melbourne, Awakened Flow by Seb Humphreys, recycled sugar mill timber, live/work architecture in Melbourne, green renovation in Melbourne,

Kiah House by Austin Maynard Architects, North Fitzroy Kiah House, Kiah House Melbourne, Awakened Flow by Seb Humphreys, recycled sugar mill timber, live/work architecture in Melbourne, green renovation in Melbourne,

http://ift.tt/2DbQCpj Source: https://inhabitat.com




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