Urban Farming

This is an interesting video about urban farming in Tokyo, Japan. A recruitment firm in the centre of the city has integrated greenery into its office space, even using the harvested produce in the staff canteen. Fruit sprouts from the ceilings, while other plants serve as partitions in the open plan areas. The subtitles are a little difficult to see, so I would advise to watch the video on a larger screen.

A very green bus stop

This bus stop in central Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city, is arguably one of the most beautiful bus stops in the world. The long winding road leads straight into the CBD from the beachfront suburbs of St Helier’s and Mission Bay. Dwarfed by two huge towering trees and with great sea views this little shelter is not a bad place to wait.

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The Exbury Egg: A Floating Art Studio

Exbury Egg Photo courtesy of Nigel Rigden

The Exbury Egg which is now floating in the Beaulieu Estuary, is possibly the first water born artist’s studio. It was designed to combine art, architecture and sustaining a fragile marine environment. Artist, Stephen Turner, who specialises in long term artistic explorations of environmental settings, worked with the designers to create the Egg.

Exbury Egg. Photo courtesy of Nigel Rigden

Exbury Egg. Photo courtesy of Nigel Rigden

He is using the wooden structure as a floating ‘residency’ for a year, to allow him to examine the changing patterns of its marine ecology and to produce artwork that raises awareness of the importance of protecting such fragile places.

“I wanted to intervene in the landscape at a key moment when climate change is already creating new shorelines and habitats. Established salt marsh is being eroded by a combination of rising sea levels and falling landmass and the entire littoral environment is in a state of flux. The implications for wildlife and flora as well as people are challenging and raise awareness of a particularly 21st century sort of tension.”

Steven Turner. Photo courtesy of Nigel Rigden

Steven Turner. Photo courtesy of Nigel Rigden

The project is led by the Space Placemaking and Urban Design (SPUD Group). SPUD project manager, Phil Smith explains:

“Everything about this project looks to the value of our environment and sustainability; from the design and build of the Egg, to working with Stephen Turner to raise awareness of environmental change, to creating a cross curriculum education programme for schools and colleges.”

Interior of Exbury Egg Photo courtesy of Nigel Rigden

Interior of Exbury Egg Photo courtesy of Nigel Rigden

The inspiration for the Egg came from nesting seabirds on the shore and was designed by Stephen Turner in conjunction with PAD studio. It was built locally, by boat-builder Paul Baker, the cold moulded cedar plywood sheathed structure is approximately 6 metres long and 2.8 metres in diameter. The ageing of the wood will also be tracked by Turner.

Exbury Egg Photo courtesy of Nigel Rigden

Stephen explains his pivotal role in the project:

“My contribution to the design concept of the structure itself was its symbolic egg form, that will decay and change during my occupation; turning the egg into a calendar revealing the impact of 365 days of changing weather and tides upon its surface. My idea is to show that nothing is forever and that understanding and welcoming such change should be part of our sustainable relationship with the rest of nature.”

Interior of Exbury Egg Photo courtesy of Nigel Rigden

Interior of Exbury Egg Photo courtesy of Nigel Rigden

Interior of Exbury Egg showing the bathroom unit Photo courtesy of Nigel Rigden

Interior of Exbury Egg showing the bathroom unit Photo courtesy of Nigel Rigden

Power will be provided from a series of photovoltaic panels which will trickle feed into several domestic car batteries that the artist will change over on a weekly basis. This will allow him to run a computer and charge a mobile phone so that some contact with the outside world is maintained. Monitoring devices will provide daily data readings of the amount of energy being generated and consumed which will be displayed on the project website.

Exbury Egg. Photo courtesy of Nigel Rigden

Exbury Egg. Photo courtesy of Nigel Rigden

Grey and black waste will be fed into holding tanks which will have to be carried by the artist to a local septic tank, and fresh water will be brought on board on a daily basis.

The project architect, Wendy Perring, explains:

“It was our intent to explore the creation of a minimal impact live/work structure, using materials with a low embodied energy sourced within a twenty mile radius, and put together by a team of local craftsmen using centuries old techniques. We want to test the minimum someone needs to live quite comfortably, and how we can minimise the impact on the environment.”

Exbury Egg Photo courtesy of Nigel Rigden

Inspired by the estuary and its ecology, Stephen Turner will incorporate the Egg into his artwork; a developing record of his work will be available for the public to see at Exbury Gardens and on the project website.

Exbury Egg Photo courtesy of Nigel Rigden

All photos courtesy of Nigel Rigden.

The DO School Sustainable Cup Challenge

Disposable cups make a huge contribution to the amount of waste we produce, it is probably not something many of us think about when we’re finishing our morning coffee. However, how could we create a product that will be both recycled and easily recyclable?

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Are you a budding designer? In our previous post we talked about the DO Fellowship opportunity.

The DO Sustainable Cup Challenge  aims to help the selected Fellows to create an innovative and sustainable to-go cup.  They will also be expected to develop the related infrastructure and create a campaign for New York City. The Fellows will have the opportunity to learn about a variety of topics from leading experts,  including the environmental impact of packaging and materials as well as about recycling systems.

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By tackling the Challenge, Fellows will have to learn how to turn an idea into action by using a hands-on approach. Fellows will also work on developing their own venture idea into a viable plan, that is ready for implementation during the following ten months in their home countries.

Calling all young entrepreneurs!

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The DO School is offering a unique one-year program for emerging social entrepreneurs that will provide training, mentoring and empowerment to young entrepreneurs to help them start their own ventures. Selected Fellows will receive a full scholarship covering the tuition fee for the year.
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The DO School invites applications from motivated individuals from around the world to participate in the DO School Sustainable Cup Challenge. Applications are now open to young people aged between 21 and 28 and will close on September 15th 2013. Successful applicants will show exceptional motivation to contribute to solving the Challenge and will be encouraged and supported to develop their own social venture and in the areas of eg. sustainable product design, campaigning and branding, environmental activism, recycling and waste management.

The DO School Fellow Group

The DO School Fellow Group

The programme will run from February to May 2013 and the selected Fellows will spend the first 10 weeks of this one-year program on the DO School pop-up campus in New York City! The following 10 months will be spent in their home countries implementing their own ventures.

Huts for Humanity on Film

A lovely little video of Huts for Humanity created by the London Chapter of Architecture for Humanity for Clerkenwell Design Week that took place earlier this year. This shows how the huts worked in practice and features short explanations for each hut.