Watch out oil barons, Audi recently announced it has invented a new diesel fuel that could revolutionize the automobile industry and dramatically reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Even more remarkable, the synthetic ‘e-diesel’ is made with water, CO2 and electricity derived from renewable sources of energy. Run by a company called sunfire, whose tagline is ‘closing the carbon cycle’, a new pilot plant in Dresden churned out its first 42 gallons of CO2-neutral fuel. The ‘blue crude’ has successfully powered an Audi 8 belonging to Germany’s Federal Minister of Education and Research, Johanna Wanka. Curious? Hit the jump for more details and a video.
At some point, many of us have found ourselves in the unfortunate position of being willing to try just about anything to rid oneself of the morning-after curses of a night of excessive inebriation. So here’s an option to consider for the future: an ancient Egyptian hangover cure found on a recently translated Graeco-Roman papyrus. The only tricky part? You’ve got to be able to lay your hands on an Alexandrian laurel shrub, and be in such as state that you can twist its twigs together.
Yamazaki Kentaro Design Workshop completed the Hakusui Nursery School, a glass-enclosed structure that terraces down a slope in Chiba, Japan. Commissioned by local social welfare firm Seiyu-Kai, the nursery school was designed to accommodate 60 students and to take on the look and feel of a large house. In addition to overlooking views of the surrounding forested mountains, the terraced structure brings nature indoors with its warm timber materials palette and forest-like columns.
If you find yourself wandering the countryside north of Auckland, do not be alarmed if you encounter a very funky rubber tree. No, this forty foot folly is not a giant Wookiee or a rejected Muppet. Named Belly of the Beast, this tower of tires was built by postgraduate students at Victoria University in Wellington to demonstrate the use of recycled materials in architecture and sculpture.
Brazilian firm Gustavo Penna Arquiteto e Associados just completed their Forluz skyscraper in Belo Horizonte in Brazil. This 23-floor building combines an elegant monolithic design with sustainable design strategies like natural ventilation, reused materials and daylighting.
Homemade Dessert (HMMD) just launched their latest architecture competition: The Triple Bridge Waterfront, which seeks visions for a proposed development along the Liepaja Canal in Liepaja, Latvia. Approved for development, the Liepaja Canal area will be transformed into a mixed-use leisure avenue that will build upon existing landmarks including the famous Fontaine Palace and the Great Amber symphony concert hall. The competition, which is open to all, focuses on the Triple Bridge Waterfront, a site divided in four zones, each of which needs to be treated as a separate entity. Three winning proposals and six honorable mentions will be selected. A total of US $5,000 in prize money will be distributed to the top three winners. Last minute registration is July 30, 2015 and the submission deadline is August 14, 2015.
This breezy loft, designed by LEED-Laboratory for Explorative Architecture & Design, is the latest addition to Hong Kong’s up-and-coming Chai Wan neighborhood. Designed as a flexible event and community space, WING is meant to stimulate Hong Kong’s cultural scene and creativity and includes a number of spaces meant to be used for contemporary dance, exhibitions, performances and events.
A slow raid is raging across the United States, and its targets are not what you’d expect. They’re often tucked into local libraries, stocked in vintage card catalogs, and wear handwritten labels scrawled with names like green zebra tomato, brown speckled tepary, and purple tomatillo. They are locally-adapted seed varieties shared between backyard gardeners and organic farmers in communities from Boston, Massachusetts, to Oakland, California. According to recent rulings in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Illinois, the seed libraries that facilitate the free exchange of these rare legumes, vegetables, and fruits are “illegal seed distribution centers” under state law. In some communities, the libraries have been uprooted before even getting in the ground.
Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects just unveiled their competition-winning designs for the New Central Library in Christchurch, New Zealand. Designed to replace the badly damaged old Central Library, this earthquake-resistant and energy-efficient structure is one of the anchor projects for the city’s Recovery Plan created after the devastating 2010 and 2011 earthquakes. The new library will cover an area of 12,000 square meters—nearly double that of the old library.
Standing at a top of a hill, overlooking the Lake Constance and the Swiss mountains in the south, the Vineyard Schmidt doesn't go unnoticed. Designed by Elmar Ludescher Architekt, this architectural masterpiece in Germany shelters a wine cellar and bar with stunning views into centenarian vineyards and orchards. Its glazed skin is wrapped in vertical wooden ribs that passively filter the sun protecting its interiors.
EcoCasa Suyana is a project lead by a couple of young engineers and travelers that is the first ecological, economical and 100% open-source home in Argentina. Suyana means “hope” in Quechua language and idea of EcoCasa Suyana project is to build a green, sustainable, affordable home, that can be a model for the construction of community housing. The concept was created by Noa and Cristian, a couple who decided to change their life nine months ago. They sold their few possessions in Buenos Aires and began a trip in Latin America.
During their trip, they discovered social and environmental problems that appeared to have an easy solution given the right materials and know-how. Noa and Cristian realized that “in order to improve the quality of life and reduce the impact on the environment, we need to bring together various sustainable technologies and practices into one place: in a house that can be visited and serve as an inspiration for better housing.” Each stage will be documented and the project will be 100% open source in order to share the information with people in need. The design can be adapted depending on the climate, population and the materials available in order to adapt the model to other locations.
Designer Anatoliy Omelchenko of Triangle Tree, whose crop circle towels we featured a couple of months ago, has created a new, eco-friendly piece of home decor: the Cedar Aroma Pyramid. When warmed by a simple tea light, the natural oils in the cedar wood are released, filling the space nearby with a relaxing woodland scent. There are no added chemicals or fragrances; just cedar, warmed by flame. Like most of Anatoliy’s other creations, this aromatherapy piece is incredibly elegant in its simplicity—simple, basic shapes that snap together rather than being held by glue or screws. When the oils on one side of the pyramid have been burned off, it can be rotated or flipped to expose new wooden surfaces to the flame.
You wouldn’t think it, but these beautiful colorful flowers of the Scartell flowerbed are made from plastic waste. Italian artist and sustainability enthusiast Francesca De Marinis created this eco-flowerbed using discarded plastic bottles and turning them into a beautiful installation entitled “YES, IN MY BACK YARD!”.
The massive 7.8 earthquake that shook Nepal on Saturday, near Kathmandu, has devastated the region and left thousands dead. Rescue and recovery efforts are still underway in Nepal, India, China, and Bangladesh, as many people are missing. A natural disaster like this leaves people, their homes, and cities torn asunder, and tens of thousands of families have been displaced from their homes and have been left out in the cold, as medical facilities and emergency shelters are overwhelmed. Many of us who are safe and far from the quake’s effects wonder how we can help. We’ve compiled a list of organizations you can support to aid the victims of this traumatic event.
Mike Basich was one of the early innovators in professional snowboarding, and now he’s leading the way in stylish off-grid living. On his 40 acres of land near Truckee, California, Basich has built himself an incredible 250-square-foot off-grid cabin – almost exclusively from materials he found on his own property. Check out the video above from “Going Off Grid,” to get the webseries’ visual take on Basich’s unique cabin and way of life.