Every year, roughly 14 billion tons of waste are swept out to our oceans via rivers and canals - an environmental catastrophe, since much of this pollution is made up of petroleum-based plastics. Such accumulations also present a great opportunity, however, to not only restore the health of our waterways, but also to unlock some of the latent energy that lies within all that waste! James Dyson, Founder and Chief Engineer of the renowned vacuum cleaner company of the same name, has sketched a design for a river barge that can harvest some of the waste that our rivers carry. The M.V. Recyclone would be equipped with a massive net that would collect the debris, and then it would sort the waste into different grades using the same cyclone technology found in the company's vacuum cleaners. Once harvested, the materials could be transported to recycling facilities and repurposed in any number of ways. Inhabitat interviewed Dyson about the genesis of his fascinating barge concept—read on to learn more.
Danny Hess has spent the last decade turning surfboard design on its head by designing from the outside-in, rather than inside-out. Most shapers start with a non-recyclable foam blank, and work outwards; Danny instead uses sustainably harvested wood, and builds a frame of poplar and amapolato wood to create an outer shell by sealing the frame with a deck and a bottom. He is one of the world's premiere wooden surfboard shapers. Even with global recognition and distribution partnerships with Mollusk Surf Shop and Patagonia, this innovative designer is far from declaring victory, and still strives to make the ultimate sustainable surfboard, as he shared in this exclusive Inhabitat interview.
You may have heard the riddle about mushrooms being the only rooms with no walls, but David Benjamin is flipping the script on the old joke with some incredible mycotecture built from mushroom bricks! The architect and his firm, The Living, are pushing the boundaries of design by experimenting with biotecture, blurring the lines between biology and built environments. Their latest efforts have culminated in the world’s first tower made from fungus, which debuted at MoMA PS1 in Queens, New York last week. We recently had the chance to pick Benjamin’s brain about the future of mycotecture (mushroom architecture), the benefits of biological buildings and what inspired this innovative new Hy-Fi tower in Queens. Read on to see what the biotect, innovator and director of the “Living Architecture Lab” at GSAPP has to say.
Green homes are on the rise, but a world dominated by green real estate is far from reality. In this interview with ECOBroker John Beldock, we thought we’d take a look at ways to locate green homes that have already been built. We’ve covered lots of strategies that go into sustainable home design and construction, but how can you find a green home in your area? And how can we raise the demand for these properties?
Could you live in just 320 sq. ft. of space? How about with 3 other people? The Tiny House Family does it, and the DIY, money-saving way they went about it is attracting them a lot of attention. Hari, Karl and their son and daughter's small living adventure began when the sour economy caused their award-winning restaurant in Florida to close. Knowing they needed to save money, but still wanting to live mortgage-free, they bought a parcel of land in the Blue Ridge Mountains and built a salvaged (mostly from Craigslist) new home for just $12,000. Now this smart family of four enjoys their abode without owing any money on it whatsoever, allowing them to live completely off of Karl's salary and save all of Hari's salary for their future dreams. Read on to see Hari's insightful small-space living tips and see photos of the Tiny House's wonderful living spaces, which include a loft sleeping space, a lovely porch and a sunny kitchen.
The term ‘building science’ is used quite often now in sustainable building circles, but much of what we understand of it can be traced back to the work of Dr. Joe Lstiburek, founder of Building Science Corporation. He is anything but your typical engineer or scientist who spends time crunching numbers or hiding away in a lab. Lstiburek has spent most of his career out in the field, testing and examining what works and what doesn’t. Many of the building standards today — from building codes to ASHRE to testing methodology — have his finger prints all over them, and his tough love criticism of building design is undercut with his wry humor and, of course, an encyclopedic knowledge of building construction. Read on to learn where buildings go wrong and what we can do about it.
In light of all the dire news related to climate change, rising sea levels and the natural disasters which have stricken numerous coastal areas around the world, we here at Inhabitat would like to highlight an interview Inhabitat Editor-in-Chief Jill Fehrenbacher conducted with architect Koen Olthuis of Waterstudio.nl. A studio focused on designing for a future water world, Olthuis has been at the forefront of this once unconventional, yet now timely design vernacular. Olthuis says that despite our civilization’s history of trying to drain and fight against wet landscapes for the past thousand years, our best move for the future would be to “let water in and even make friends with the water.” Read on for the fascinating interview where Olthius describes his what designing for water landscapes worldwide really means.
We’ve featured many a tiny house on Inhabitat, but did you know that one trailblazing lady was the inspiration behind many of those miniature homes? Meet Dee Williams: an early pioneer and sustainability advocate of the tiny house movement, she downsized from a three bedroom home into an 84 square foot house she built herself for $10,000 after she was diagnosed with a heart muscle disease. Ten years later, she’s inspired countless others to pursue big dreams in tiny spaces and has just recently published her first book and memoir, “The Big Tiny: A Built-it-Myself Memoir.” Unlike the typical how-to construction manual–Williams has already published a DIY tiny house e-book called “Go House Go”–“The Big Tiny” delves into Williams’ motivations and life lessons learned from building and living in a tiny house the size of an area rug. Click through to read our interview with Dee Williams.
We recently reported on the Lumio lamp, an innovative LED lighting fixture that folds out of a portable and stylish wood hard-bound book. The Lumio was designed by Max Gunawan, a San Francisco-based designer with a penchant for multi-faceted, multi-functional products. To jumpstart the production of his Lumio lamp, Gunawan recently launched a Kickstarter campaign. In just two weeks, Gunawan has already been met with success, pulling in over $330,000 — nearly six times his target goal. Just last week, we visited the designer at his studio where he spoke to us about the inspiration for his design, his efforts to bring his idea to market, and his future plans.
Obesity has reached epidemic proportions in America, and countries around the world are quickly following suit. One thing most health and nutrition experts can agree on is that there’s no one solution for rapidly growing obesity rates—it’s a problem that must be tackled simultaneously on multiple fronts. While some fight to eliminate sugary drinks, increase fruit and vegetable intake, or reduce portion sizes, Hollywood-based 5+Design is working to combat obesity with its approach to architecture and landscape design. Inhabitat recently sat down with 5+Design’s Michael Ellis to learn more about anti-obesity architecture, and how the built environment can get people to adopt healthy habits without having to think about it. Keep reading for what he had to say.
The California State Bear has left his usual spot on the flag to teach us how to conserve our energy, water, and other precious resources in this new video. A recent national study says the effects of climate change are already being felt throughout the nation, and California specifically is a prime example as the state faces a near-record drought and a hotter-than-expected summer. In the video, the California State Bear demonstrates some of the energy-saving techniques he’s learned from EnergyUpgradeCA.org; tips we can all learn from and integrate into our daily lives. With the looming deadline to meet energy goals, we can all do our part to try and fight climate change today and protect the state for generations to come.
If you’ve always dreamed of having a little herb garden in your kitchen, here’s a video DIY from our friend Summer Rayne Oakes that can bring that fantasy to fruition today. Follow along as Summer and her dad use just a few components to create a mason jar herb garden that not only provides fresh seasonings for cooking but also looks fantastic.