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Sustainability

Seedlings did eight times better in New York City's Central Park than at comparable suburb...

Many people view urban areas as hostile for plants – concrete stifles root growth, and pollution from vehicles makes it difficult to gain nutrients. A study conducted by The Earth Institute at Columbia University not only discredits those theories, however, but suggests that urban environments have a lot to offer plants to promote growth.  Read More

The 16,000 m2 building, which is due to be completed in 2015, is comprised of a theater an...

An international design competition has been won by architectural firm Henning Larson in collaboration with the Van den Berg Groep to create a unique entrance building at Emmen Zoo in the Netherlands. The theater and zoo entrance incorporates a number of innovative features within its passive solar design including floating walls that allow the spaces within it to be reconfigured according to their required use.  Read More

The Nomad solar lamp has been created primarily to meet the needs of families in developin...

Although the 21st Century has seen the dawn of 3D printers, the discovery of new Earth-like planets and seen the rise of the convenient smart phone, approximately 1.5 billion people around the globe remain without access to a stable or safe source of light. Commonly in some of the world's poorest regions, kerosene lanterns are the standard form of night time lighting, which leads to the possibility of fires, explosions, asphyxiation and toxic fumes. Safe and renewable solar lighting presents an obvious solution to this problem and the NOMAD solar lamp has been created for just that.  Read More

A Hong Kong company is selling 100% biodegradable fast food containers, made from waste st...

Not only are polystyrene fast food containers usually not recyclable, but they also take eons to break down in a landfill, can emit harmful compounds, and require petroleum to create. Using paper is one alternative, but Hong Kong-based company Innovasians is now offering another – 100% biodegradable containers made from waste straw left over after wheat harvesting.  Read More

The Friend House ecohotel was built entirely of wood, clay, stone and reeds

Nature (and its preservation) evidently played a major role in the unusual design of the Friend House, an innovative ecohotel situated on the banks of the Ukraine's Orel River, a tributary of the Dnieper. Actually in development for a number of years, the single story structure sits on 7.4 acres (3 hectares) of forested land about 19 miles (30 km) from the large city of Dnipropetrovs'k. Constructed exclusively of what its designers call "ecologically harmless" materials - clay, reed, wood and stone - this eye-catching edifice is also a contender for the World Architecture News (WAN) Awards 2012 Hotel of the Year.  Read More

Ideabox prefabricated homes

Ideabox, an architectural firm from Portland, Oregon, has launched its "Aktiv" line of prefabricated homes which will be equipped with IKEA furnishings and appliances. The one-bedroom modular homes are claimed to be eco-friendly, and are designed with no wasted space.  Read More

The Veliac Three has hauling capacity and more natural handling

Typically the terms "tight handling" and "electric three-wheeler" are mutually exclusive, particularly when you are talking about the "two-at-the-back, one-at the-front" designs. Joining Adiva and a number of other manufacturers we've looked at in recent times, London-based electric bike manufacturer 50Cycles is looking to marry the two by introducing tilting functionality into the equation. The company's Veliac Three electric tricycle uses a new lean mechanism designed to ease maneuvering around corners and curves.  Read More

Hotels and Restaurants category winner: Tori-Tori Restaurant, Polanco, Mexico City (Photo:...

For some, architecture is considered "the will of an epoch translated into space" (Mies van der Rohe), for others, it's "frozen music" (Goethe), but for most of us, the topic remains quite subjective. Now, top online architecture review site ArchDaily has finally sifted through over 65,000 votes to come up with the winners of their 2011 Building of the Year awards - a fascinating selection of innovation and creativity that will wow some and challenge others. Numerous images for each structure are available in the gallery.  Read More

Laser 'un-printers' would allow paper to be re-used, reducing the need for virgin wood pul...

If you’re concerned about deforestation, you likely blue-bin the no-longer-needed sheets of paper that have been run through your printer. You should keep in mind, however, that even though the recycling of that paper saves trees, the process still requires considerable energy, and most recycled paper still contains some virgin wood pulp. What would be better is if there were an “un-printer” that took the toner off of the used paper, so you would be left with a blank sheet that you could reuse. Well, thanks to research being conducted at the University of Cambridge, there soon may be.  Read More

The Delta Shelter provides secure living with low impact and a small footprint (Photo: Ols...

What do you do when you want to build a worry-free home on land that also happens to be a 100-year flood plain? If you're smart, you'll do what the owner of Delta Shelter did and have Olson Kundig Architects build you a metal fortress to withstand the elements in style. The compact 1,000 sq ft (93 sq m) steel-walled hideaway with a footprint of only 200 sq ft (18.6 sq m) looks ready to handle whatever the Washington wilderness can throw at it - even, perhaps, a 1,000-year flood.  Read More

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