Friday, December 21, 2012

Waterbank Schools

Kenya's educational system could revolutionize with this new design for their schools. British architects
David Turnbill and Jane Harrison along with Atopia research designed the WATERBANK school in Nigare Nyiro, which mainly harvests water and eventually stores that in a reservoir on the school property. Not only does this ingenious system provide upto five liters per day to each student, it also enables girls normally responsible for collecting water outside of the home to receive education and attend the classes.

The school has four classrooms designed to accommodate upto 60 students. Most of the construction was facilitated from afar and on Skype.This modest school has for 200 schools has been built with locally - sourced materials and by the local community. It has also been encircled by a garden wall designed to keep out thirsty elephants.

The reservoir which is located in the center of the school courtyard stores water-harvested from a catchment system installed on the schools's 600 meter roof. An integrated filtration system ensures that the water is clean and pure. The design team also predicted that depending on the weather, the reservoir could provide upto 350,000 liters of clean water each year.The initiative is produced by PITCHAfrica founded in part by Harrison an Turnbull, who have similar projects  in the works in the same region.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

FDI in Retail Today

FDI in retail is being discussed in Lok Sabha today. The retail sector,one of the largest contributors to the GDP is one of the main topics of discussion currently. Should FDI, also known as the 'sunrise' sectors of Indian economy allowed in retail? This topic continues to be a rage in among the academicians and researches all over the world.

To begin with, Indian retail landscape reveals to be made up of two sharply contrasting segments - traditional small stores and big chain outlets. It has been confirmed that the Indian retail sector comprises mostly of local 'kirana' shops that being compared with the retail sector in other countries that have low labour productivity. One of the main reasons that attribute to this are low skilled and inefficient supply chain processes. Other than having high labour productivity, big chain outlets are more  organized and result in creating more jobs and providing employment to the population in the sector. One of the main conerns that SME businesses in India has is that they might not be at par when the agressive global players arrive in India whose main motive is to capture the Indian market by reducing the cost of goods resulting in a direct impact on the profit margins. On the other hand, government goodwill for SME businesses far outweighs this downside as we look at it today. The investment climate with its complex tax structure and legal framework penalizes large stores that operate across different states while SME businesses are more relaxed in that aspect. Although the cost of goods is lower for large chains, the profit margins of small retailers is higher.

When it comes to challenges being faced , one of them is establishing global quality standards.Globalization is bringing new challenges to retail-quality-control. With the globalization of production, supply- retailer chains, it is vital to ensure the quality and safety of the products.To be able to participate fully in global markets, exporting countries in return have to acquire the the capability to adhere to globally accepted standards in terms of quality, safety, health and environment.

Once FDI is allowed in retail, the better buying experience, product choice, quality, adherence to labelling laws are imperative to get the support of Indian consumers. The huge Indian consumer market should not turn into a ground for sub- standard products. It is about time that stringent quality standards emerge.

December 5 is also when the matter will be put to vote in both houses of the parliament. Emphasizing that FDI in retails would impact shop owners, farmers and small scale industries, Mayawati appealed to the Central Government not to implement the policy in haste. She said that the Congress- led United Progressive Alliance government needs to consider the adverse effects of allowing FDI in retail. According to her, a good FDI deal should be to allow value addition to local produce, which could then be sold in local and overseas markets. "Allowing FDI into India without any condition will not be good for the economy. India needs to identify the sectors in which FDI should be allowed."

Monday, November 26, 2012

Solar powered floating schools

A non-profit organisation callled shidhulai swanirvar sangstha, has a goal to provide year-round education to Bangladeshi elementary students living in the areas prone to flooding due to monsoons. During rains,hundreds of schools get shut down to their detriment. Due to the torrential downpours,some parts are flooded for 3-4 months in a year, becoming an obstacle for people to continue their education.

Shidulai swanivar sangstha developed solar- powered floating schools to be used during those periods,which travel right up to the mainland to pick-up students. Around 30 students can be accomodated in each boat-cum-classroom and is equipped with an internet-linked laptop, electronic resources, library, providing basic education up to the grade IV level.
With the help of solar energy via panels installed on their rooftops,the computers and overall electricity of the vessels are powered. The use of this sustainable source offers flexible school schedules. After the day is over, students can take home a recharged-low-cost solar lantern, offering them a light source which would help them to continue their studies, while women on the other hand, may continue to stitch quilts after dusk to generate more income for their family.The solar powered lamps are given to families for free providing their children to go to school regularly, and better off households pay only a small monthly fee to receive one of the devices.
Not only for students,but outside elementary school lessons, the boats also act as venues for conducting training sessions for children's parents on such subjects as agriculture, finance, health, hygiene and nutrition.
70,000 children have benefited from this project which was first started in 2002, and is a 2012 WISE (world innovation summit for education) awards winner. It is funded through various resources which includes crops, fisheries as well as conversion of kerosene lanterns into solar ones.Other than education, the venture has also been advantageous in developing solar water farming to safeguard food supplies,improving the nutritional and health status of children,ensuring a year round income for families in flood prone areas.

(Image source:

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The library design moving away from tradition

It is a well known fact that library designs are becoming more and more popular in the interior design sector of the world. Many designers are taking strides to revolutionize the modern design of these builidings as libraries are community spaces which serve both education and communication.

Instead of simply rehashing the stark, institutional library motif, the 21st century library places focus on collaborative learning, features abundant natural light, inverts institutional design and is founded on a strong basis of environmental responsiblity.

Located at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, which was recently officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II, moves completely away from the traditionalist buildings of the past, demonstrating an incredibly modern aesthetic and ideology. Designed by architectural firm Schimdt Lassen, the 15,500 square metre library will replace the previous library which was earlier built in 1965.

"The building is a bold and affirmative statement from the University," said University of Aberdeen librarian and director of special collections and museums Chris Banks. "Its says 'We mean business' and it also says 'You are welcome here.'"
The building's facade consists of a mass of insulated high-performance panels while the interiors are a testament to topology, fluidity and light.
From the central atrium, aptly dubbed the 'dynamic vortex', visitors - of which there have been more than 700,000 over the last 12 months - can see through thte centre of the entire building, giving a sense of extreme space without being overwhelming to the point where patrons feel disconnected. 
"I'm also delighted that the building has attracted so many more students to use the library and the way in which it provides for both social and formal meeting spaces," Banks said. "It has, for the first time, allowed us to truly showcase our very significant special collections."
The designers set out to achieve BREEAM certification for the building, a goal they achieved through the implementation of several key sustainable features.
According to architect Morten Schmidt, the building stands as a modern icon for the university and area, offering all the positive elements that are now commonplace with modern library design.
"The University of Aberdeen New Library functions as a meeting places and a cultural centre for the students of the University as well as the Aberdeen community." he said. "The facade of the building shimmers during the day and glows softly at night, creating a luminous landmark - a beacon - for the city of Aberdeen."
Importance of library design being lost on architects? Surely not, with the buildings now becoming more than ever aesthetically pleasing modern community icons.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Designing the world's greatest stadium

With an intention of fulfilling Japan's 2020 Olympic game ambitions, the Japaneses sports council held an international design competition open for architects from across the globe to redesign the new National Stadium located in Tokyo.The new 80,000-seat stadium will replace the existing Kasumigaoka National Stadium in Tokyo and could become the host for 2020 Olympic Games if Japan is successful in its bid to host the event.

The arena is also earmarked to host the 2019 Rugby World Cup and will be offered to FIFA as a possible venue for future World Cup football matches.

Zaha Hadid Designs won by their modern interpretation of the sporting arena. According to the lead competition Tadao Ando, the modern aesthetic and cultural significance of the UK firm's designs earned Zaha Hadid the win. A foreign designer to Japan, her win is more impressive as the site is of big significance to Japanese history. Runners-up included Australian architectural firm Cox Architecture and Japan's Kazuyo Sejima of SANAA and Nikken sekkei.

"I have worked in Japan for 30 years. Our three decades of research into Japanese architecture and urbanism is evident in our winning design and we greatly look forward to building the new National Stadium, "says Hadid. "The design is both light and cohesive, seamlessly connecting the stadium's different elements to create a silhouette that intergrates with the city."

The new building will also feature a retractable roof and is scheduled for completion in 2018.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Concrete that heals itself!

Now here’s an invention that could revolutionise construction technology as we know it and set your home repair requirements back by years! Doesn't that sound like good news all round?

Scientists in the Netherlands claim to have created a bio-concrete blend that allows concrete to …yes! Heal itself! Anybody who’s in the construction industry or has ever tried to repair cracked concrete knows what a nightmare it can be. Dry and cracked concrete can begin to disintegrate and be messy and nearly impossible to repair. Which, of course, is why this new technology is so exciting! reports that the Dutch scientists have created a bio-concrete blend with built-in bacteria that patch up on small holes and cracks in concrete. The bacteria basically feeds on the food provided in the concrete when activated by water to combine calcium with carbon dioxide and oxygen. What would be the result is essentially limestone.

In order to find bacteria that could survive in the high-pH environment of the concrete mix as well as lie dormant for years, the scientists looked especially in the soda lakes of Russia and Egypt. Fortunately, the bacteria they found were the perfect match.

Meanwhile, researchers at the University of Newcastle in UK have actually created a new type of bacteria that release glue that can mend concrete! There is, however, no news yet on when these bacteria will be ready for commercialization but the hope is it will be sometime soon.

Mo' mo' store!

This is definitely one way to advertise. Let your store speak for itself. And the MOMO Shop, a pop-up store in the atrium of a busy shopping mall in Hong Kong definitely seems to be making use of that.

Designed by Andy Tong, the glass-encased store is made entirely of recycled materials, with its glass exterior seeming to be a coming together of multiple windows. The result, however, is ingeniously eye-catching. Resembling a misshapen childhood fort, the independent store stands out from all the regular box stores and boutiques surrounding it. Put together with MDF board, wood and bubble wrap, the tent-like slanting exterior of the  structure is made of dozens of variously sized disused windows, while t-shirts doubling up as funky lamps hang inside. The store has also been designed to be easily disassembled and pop up at its new location!

The shop has no sign announcing its name but we're sure its eye-catching enough to not need one, while its many entrances make visitors feel like they just happened to discover the store. We're sure it would be hard to walk out of there without buying anything!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Cars of transparency - 007 style!

There's something definitely 007-ish about this technology. Perhaps, because it's so reminiscent of the invisible car chase scene on a frozen lake in Iceland from the Die Another Day franchise. While this technology being designed in Tokyo doesn't quite allow you to  shoot down your arch enemies with sophisticated weapons. However, if you have trouble parallel parking, this might be exactly what you've been looking for.

The idea behind the technology as we understand it is to make the driver feel his car is transparent from the back by providing him a panoramic view and allowing him to see the lay of the land, literally, right behind his car. It could include children in the way or a boulder or anything else that might hamper the movement of the car.

How it works is, apparently, two camera fitted to the back of the car capture a full view of the scene behind it and combining it, reflect it on to the back seat of the car, making the driver feel as though the car's transparent from the back. The technology has reportedly already been tried in a Toyota Prius. If the technology works as well in real time, it could prevent thousands of accidental deaths that take place around the world.

007 ice chase scene

Here's hoping for the best and a little more Bond-ishness. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Inspired design!

This place of worship is inspired and inspiring in more ways than one! In an attempt to bring all 27 Latin American Virgins together under one roof, the Fernando Romero EnterprisE (FREE) has proposed a spectacular design for a chapel in Miami, USA. It's unsurprising that they won the competition. Designed to resemble the folds of the robe of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a Roman Catholic image of the Virgin Mary, the soaring structure of the chapel is awe-inspiring. 

With the 27 Virgins accommodated in the niches of the billowing concrete structure and forming a ring of sanctuary around the congregational space with one central figure in the presbytery, the idea, says FREE was to invite all the Latin American cultures to be part of the creation. A twisted tower will provide a spire over the chapel’s altar and will feature a stained-glass skylight decorated with an image of the Lady of Guadalupe which will be projected around the chapel according to the directions of the sun. The soaring form will also act as an acoustic filter. The structure is rotated towards one corner and designed to flood the interiors with natural light.
Additional rooms will be located beneath the seating areas which will feature the offices, library, sacristy, changing rooms etc. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Renaissance Architecture - Types of Architectural Moldings

When you enter a home or business that has been creatively trimmed with tasteful architectural molding, it would give you the feel of having entered into a world of timeless elegance and grace. Architectural molding has been the distinguishing highlight of finer homes throughout the world. However, in recent years, wide variations in new home styles have made architectural molding less common. But for those who still long for the stately beauty and grace of traditional homes from America's past, few can deny that adding the right combination of architectural molding to an otherwise plain room can easily add stature and style, transforming the room into a place seemingly built for royalty. There's nothing that can transform a plain drab room, or an entire home, from average to awesome like architectural molding. Finishing your home with a high quality trim molding is an investment that you will enjoy day in and day out for as long as you live in the home. It may be enjoyed for generations, so it is well worth taking the time to make sure you choose a product that you will love living with for a long time.

Architectural molding is available in many different styles and many different materials, from metal to Styrofoam. Often made of wood or plaster, interior molding defines a space, hides unsightly wall seams, and adds visual interest to otherwise plain walls. You can install molding along walls, on the ceiling, around the floor, around fireplaces, around windows and doors and in all those special places that you can create in your imagination. While there are many types of molding, the most common types found in homes today include Crown molding, Dentil molding, Base molding, Shoe molding, Door and Window Casing, Chair Rails and Panel and Base Caps moldings

Whatever your taste, you can usually find just the right molding to give your home the exact look and feel that you prefer. However, until recently there was a distinct gap in the decorative molding market. Between the traditional look and the castle look, there was a need for a decorative molding that was classier than traditional, but did not make a home look like a medieval castle. What was missing was a decorative molding that gave a look and feel of true elegance without arrogance. Imagine, if you can, a molding so elegant that it grabs your attention the moment you walk in the door and takes your breath away when you see it for the first time. Imagine that the feeling of elegance lingers with you long after you've seen it and that you tell everyone about it. This may be difficult to imagine, because such a molding never existed until now. A new line of architectural molding has been developed that gives you that pulse-quickening feeling of elegance when you see it installed.

This new product is called Renaissance Architectural molding. It is unlike anything else available and it is just now being introduced to the market. Not only is Renaissance stunningly elegant, it is a solid hardwood product enhanced with a special proprietary compo formula that produces beautifully detailed 3-D relief patterns that are an integral part of the molding. This special molding is not brittle, will not crumble and can be cut and installed on site as easily as if it were plain wood. Unlike traditional decorative molding made from plaster, Renaissance needs no special handling, so it saves time and money during installation. Installers love this new product due to its ease of handling, workability and easy installation. Homeowners love it because it is very elegant, it costs much less than most other decorative molding and is available in beautiful matching collections that enhance your surroundings from floor to ceiling.

A Touch of Technology to Your Shopping Spree - Online Shopping Trends

In this age of information technology, the growth in the trend of online shopping among the upper and middle class has received an immense boost. The concept of online shopping gained popularity with the ever increasing access to the Internet. Instead of shopping for your necessities at a mall or store, you can avail a range of products delivered at your doorstep. The advent of online shopping made the task of shopping easier and hassle free. A range of associated services makes online shopping a favorable option for both men and women.

The trend of online shopping started gaining popularity in the 1990s. Initially, the online shoppers were the higher middle class who had enough money to spend and knowledge and access to the Internet. The search engines on the Internet help you in finding the products you are looking for from the online stores. The online stores advertise their products and also offer catalogs of their products for easy search. However, the word of mouth publicity of online stores is the best way of popularizing the products on sale. Online shopping gives you the freedom of selecting from a wide range of products.

The most popular items of purchase among online shoppers are books. You can also buy other objects like clothes, accessories, bags, cosmetics and so on from online stores. With time online shopping has also encompassed shopping for groceries, nutritious products, medicines, and such others. You can also purchase unique antiques and jewelry from online boutiques and shops.

Whilst online shopping gives us convenience of shopping at home, the advantages to retailers may not be so obvious. Marketing costs for online sales are generally higher than for store or catalog sales. This is because the retailers need to spend higher on promoting their products to attract more customers to do online shopping. There will be a lot of discounts and bargain prices to be offered to customers so that they are willing to shop online. Nevertheless, with the rapid development of technology and much easier availability of broadband throughout the world, online shopping will spread onto the world of shopping in future.

Updating Visual Appeal of Your Home - Enhancing the Look with Windows and Doors

Updating your windows and doors can make a dramatic difference in the exterior design of your home and can greatly enhance your curb appeal. In addition to this, an update can also significantly reduce your monthly energy bills by improving the efficiency of your home and reducing heat loss from your current rickety and old casements. There are many different styles of windows and doors in Milton to choose from; therefore it is worth investigating several options in order to decide which choice is best for you and your home.

Exterior front doors can be made from a variety of materials, including wood, steel and glass. Wood front doors offer an elegant and traditional appearance to your home and are one of the best options currently on the market for energy efficiency. The natural properties in wooden doors both insulate the home and cut down on the heat loss and air transfer that can occur along the joining seams of doors made from other materials, including steel and glass. Wooden doors however require maintenance in order to preserve their natural beauty and structure. It is best if wooden doors are sheltered from precipitation and harsh elements, by either a covered porch or recessed entrance.

Outer doors made of steel are very durable and can withstand the harshest of temperatures and climates. Unlike wooden doors, steel does not run the risk of dry rot or damage. However, unlike wood, steel has a high probability of heat and air loss, resulting in low energy efficiency. Steel doors can be custom fit with windows and wrought iron to create a whimsical and romantic appearance. Steel can also tolerate oil or acrylic paint, without chipping or peeling. Doors made of glass, such as sliding doors or French doors make a beautiful entrance to your home, or addition to your living room. They allow for natural sunlight to pour into your home and create an open and airy feel.

Glass can be customized in a wide variety of designs and styles, including beveled, stained or inlay with wrought iron grilles. French doors feature panes of glass, separated by wood or steel and unlike most others, have two doors that open inwards, requiring a wider passageway and allowing radiant natural light to fill your vestibule. Sliding doors are the perfect solution for areas that lack adequate space for a door to swing outwards. These doors are cleverly designed so that one pane of glass slides along a track in front of the other pane, saving precious space.

Sliding patio doors also offer superb protection again precipitation, as the glass is double paned and extremely durable and the surrounding casing is made of hard wearing vinyl. There are many different styles of windows and doors to choose from; therefore it is worth investigating several options in order to decide which choice is best for you and your home. Updating your windows and doors can make a dramatic difference in the exterior design of your home and can greatly enhance your curb appeal and energy efficiency.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Temple for the Lord of the Sky - Ambernath Temple

Located by the bank of Vadavan (Waldhuni) river, the Ambernath temple is a towering structure surrounded by a fenced wall. Richly carved and decorated out of a single black stone, the intricate carvings are inspired from Hemadpanti style of architecture. The name Ambernath literally means Lord of the sky. Ambernath is the site of a very old temple, the ancient Ambreshwar Shiva Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, the construction of which dates back to 1060 AD in the 10th century.

One belief suggests that the temple was constructed by the Pandava brothers of the epic Mahabharta fame for taking a night refuge during their period of exile (vanvaas). They could not complete the structure which is reflected even today in the missing roof directly above the main sanctum area (Garbha Griha) of the temple. It is also said that there is a km–long passageway which was used by the Pandavas to escape which lies shut and locked today. There is another official version that advocates that this temple was constructed by Shilahara king, Chittaraja and later rebuilt by his son, Mummuni. However, the saddening part is that a historical monument like this with such an exquisite past is gradually decaying with some of the sculptural carvings falling off due to neglect and poor maintenance by the authorities.

Inside the temple, the main sanctum housing the Shivling is situated at a slightly lower level and one has to descend a few of steps to take the blessings of Lord Shiva. There are a couple of other smaller temples too in the temple premises that you will come across around the place. One can’t help but marvel at the beauty of the religious place of worship which not only opens the window to the state’s rich past but also brings alive the time-honored stories from our ancient texts. And then, whichever way you may deem these stories to be, true or false; one can’t deny the peace and calm and the sense of spiritual energy that one is filled with when one visits such places and that also outlines one of the prime reasons to pay a visit to.

Home.... Sweet Home! - Choosing the Right Gift for House-warming Party

Nothing is as exciting, or as exhausting as moving into a new home, and the perfect house warming gifts are the ones that allow the new movers to have a quiet moment of reflection. Many times, you want to give a house warming gift to someone moving in next door, or to someone you love who is moving away. While not expected, traditionally it is proper etiquette to arrive at a housewarming party with a thoughtful gift as a token of appreciation and warm wishes. A house warming gift, however, can be elevated to a higher level with just a little bit of thought.

Buy gifts that are practical and useful for the one you are giving them too. Hence it is also important that you know what type of people they are. It will be useless to buy them a muffin tray if neither one of them bakes. You want to make sure that your gift will be put to good use. The closer you are to the new homeowner, the easier it becomes to make just the right selection.

If you're purchasing for a childhood friend, a favorite photograph of the two of you as kids is perfect for framing in a beautiful silver or ceramic picture frame. If you're looking to memorialize and celebrate the first home for newlyweds, you might consider locating a candid shot of the two of them together on their wedding day and placing in a frame. Better still, you can go for candid photos and choosing a frame with multiple slots. Another idea for newlyweds as they move into their first home might include baby pictures of the two of them in side by side frames.

Planning, packing, moving and unpacking can be an exhausting process and the housewarming party concludes that process with a much-needed celebration. The most important consideration to remember when selecting a housewarming gift is the recipient. Taking the time to be thoughtful and sincere will result in a housewarming gift that is long remembered and appreciated. If you can keep in mind the goal is unique house warming gifts, recognizing the many ways to personalize your choice and keeping the recipient's tastes and lifestyle in mind, you might see that you've enjoyed choosing it as much as the homeowner will enjoy owning it.

Cooking in Style - Designer Kitchens

Designer Kitchen speaks about who and what you are depending on the styles and design you choose. Since it's a designer's or your own idea- you still cook in style. There are a lot of kitchen designs that you can think of but, there's one that you really wanted and is an extension of your character and personality. Redesigning, rebuilding or a new one still requires rigorous planning to come up with a kitchen that you can not only boast of but is actually making your life easier when working in your kitchen. As how much you love cookery so is your desire to couple your skills with a nice and functional kitchen - inspires you even more.

Outdoor kitchens much the same as indoor only here you have a lot of fresh air and natural lighting and I would say easier to clean plus the fact no unwanted fishy odors inside the dining area. Typical outdoor cooking uses a grill with or attached to worktops for easy reach of utensils and there's a table for plating the food and the usual spice racks. You may also have proper installation of electrical lines and fittings to run gas. You may also include storage for cooking equipments as well as entertainment system.

Modern Kitchens uses modular's or ready made fixtures and it creates a minimalist look. Often geometric in style and not much decoration. Materials range from laminates, frosted glass, chrome or lacquer, concrete and stainless steel. Old world design uses natural materials. Think of the Mediterranean, Tuscan or an Italian Villa - medieval things or look where you usually see big pots and not as organized as other kitchen styles. This type of kitchen usually has those big cabinets and uses big hooks for hanging cooking equipments. Traditional kitchens brings you back to the Early American Times, neo-classical where antique fixtures are what you see even the appliances. It has a formal feel and is elegant. Think of dining and cooking in a Victorian home and see if the colors and fixtures suit your taste.

Transitional kitchens has the combination of traditional and modern like wood and concrete together and this is where you start to think of how it complements the appliances as well as the finishes. Rustic kitchens often resemble a log cabin. Very American - a characteristic from the regions of the South, Mountain West or Pacific Northwest. Here warm rich shades of earth colors are used and high ceiling beams. Country kitchens are mostly bright and have that homey feel. It resembles a garden as mostly handcrafted designs like woven baskets and floral motifs are all over. Like a farmhouse cottage where you'd see cheery colors and panels and is very much into moldings.

Your kitchen is the heart of your home don't forget to consider each of the family member's opinion and ideas as to how they would want the kitchen to look and work for the family.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

MIT to the rescue!

The planet is afire. Well, not literally. Not yet, anyway. However, with all the things that are constantly going wrong all over the world, perhaps, that day isn't far. And what we need more than anything else right now is a way to undo things.

In that light this new technique developed by  MIT to magnetically separate oil and water is going to go a long way to help in the cause of our oceans that are suffering from increasing amounts of oil spill every year. The team claims their method to be so efficient that the oil can even be reused after separation. There has, of course, been a good deal of research that has been undertaken in the field before. However, this team contends that while the research so far was good, it would be unlikely to work in situations of oil spills in oceans etc as they fundamentally depend on the concentration of the ferrofluids remaining constant and being known in advance which is likely to differ widely in an oil spill.

The new method developed by the scientists from MIT which uses magnets to separate the ferrofluids, by their contention, sounds much simpler just as its meant to and promises to be a lot more effective. They also contend the method can be implemented on a larger scale and employed at sea for days or weeks even in places where there's no electricity and no maintenance available.

And we can almost hear the oceans sigh in relief. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

World of Chlorophyll - A conceptual Building by an Egyptian Architect

World of Chlorophyll, a project by IAMZ Design Studio, is an idea for a conceptual skyscraper containing the form of residential units in the near future. Their main concept involves the units taking the form of leaves, stemming mainly from the columns, based upon all residential units. This way, the building mimics nature, and in conformity with it, also makes for an easy configuration. With the main functions of the project including commercial, residential, administrative, hotel and entertainment, they also made sure to implement environmental considerations. These features included natural ventilation with the penetration of sunlight through the units and the creation of indirect lighting.

The Egyptian architect's concept, a mixed-use building called "World of Chlorophyll," features individual units stemming from central columns that "imitate the ‘branch and leaf’ structure" of plants, according to the architect. Just as a plant's chlorophyll would utilize sunlight for photosynthesis, the unique design of Elseyofi's building would harness the elements to power his experimental edifice. Each level of the building would include 10 residential units, and each unit would contain five floors, according to Elseyofi. The staggered, leaf-like orientation would maximize exposure to sun and wind.

Although the architect did not go into detail about the types of systems his building would employ, Elseyofi's comments seem to indicate the use of passive environmental design elements. Passive solar design, for instance, seeks to trap and use energy from the sun to heat and cool buildings without the utilizing active mechanical systems. Passive solar design as a key component of creating affordable, zero-energy housing in cold climate.
This conceptual building would be including residential, commercial, administrative, hotel, and entertainment spaces and incorporate eco-friendly features like natural unit ventilation, direct sunlight exposure, and the creation of indirect lighting.

Settling For The Right Settee - Choosing A Settee For Your Home

Choosing settees and sofas can be quite a tricky prospect nowadays with a large array of styles colors and fabrics to choose from. There are a number of things that you might wish to consider when selecting settees and sofas. The vast selection of settees and sofas that are offered in the shops and on the Internet may be fairly daunting therefore it is increasingly vital that you plan properly for the purchase. Whatever style you decide on it will be important that the settees and sofas you opt for is likely to last and suit your family's needs.

You will need to think about the space that you have available to you for your new settee or sofa. You should be aware of the sizes available to you and how they will look in a room. To be certain you should always get the sizes of any settees and sofas you are interested in and take them home with you. You can then produce a floor plan with pieces of paper and place them on the ground just like a map. This will give you the visual representation you will need to see how far the settees and sofas will come out into your room. This tip is also useful if you're changing from a traditional three seat sofa to a corner settee as it will help you visualize how it will interact with your room.

The selection available nowadays is phenomenal and there are style and colors to accommodate every possible taste. You will want a settee or sofa to last a long time, so it is worthwhile considering that you may change your decor in that time so its worth choosing a design which is appropriate for different styles. It'll be rather costly to change sofas and settees every time you decorate but a luxurious settee is worth an awe from the guests visiting you!

Saving Energy at Work Place - Designing An Eco-friendly Office

Out of all the energy produced by a country, almost a fifth is used up by industrial buildings and offices. An office which is designed according to the purpose of utilizing energy in a resourceful way would not only be able to decrease its impact on the environment, but would also be able to improve the bottom line of the business over the course of time. An eco-friendly office design happens to be a combination of a number of factors such as equipment, location, building features as well as usage. Energy-saving procedures may even be implemented in order to make the cleverest use of effective tools.

When designing an eco-friendly office, it is better to begin from the top. You need to weigh the pros and cons of setting up a green roof which conceals the top of a building with a living deposit of grass, plants or other kinds of foliage that functions similar to an insulator. These roofs adjust extreme outdoor temperature during the summer season and allow the warmth present inside the building to be retained during the cold winter. Installing green roofs can prove to be more expensive, but you need to keep in mind that by decreasing the use of energy throughout the building they are actually able to recover their price and turn out to be profitable in the long run, depending on the climate and the building.

You can achieve the same effect by installing modern shades and windows which are actually much more cost-effective than green roofs. In summer, they successfully prevent the outdoor heat from streaming into the building while they prevent heat from escaping in the winter. Choose the features of your window after considering your climate and requirements. South-facing windows are usually known for admitting the greatest amount of outside heat. Shades may be employed to regulate the access of light and heat during the workday. Different sorts of windows prove to be advantageous for various locations in an office building.

Better climate control features are always welcome in an office. You can install variable thermostats in order to allow executives and staff members to manage temperature settings according to the time of day and the room. The atmosphere in vacant areas like empty offices or conference rooms need to be switched off or lessened or monitored. You should also set the climate control system to shut itself down during the night and at other times when the office building remains bare. You should always make a note of the Energy Star certification when fixing new climate control gear.

Energy saving computers are a great way to ensure that your office is eco-friendly. Computers should come with the Energy Star label. You should also be careful to install them in such a manner, that they function capably. Make use of the power-management settings so that the monitors are ready to turn off after extended periods of idleness. All desktop systems should be placed in hibernate mode after the day is over. Smart power organization allows you to save a considerable amount of money every year.

You could also try and install smart lighting in your office. There are now automated systems available in the market which are able to initiate lighting according to necessity right through the workday, while switching the lights off when not required as well as when the rooms are clear. Fluorescent bulbs are preferable to regular incandescent. Natural daylight can also be used to your advantage. Offices which are outfitted with windows can diminish their dependence on man-made lighting during daylight hours.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


If you were to visit this artificial lake in Hanoi, Viet Nam you’d find the stunning structure called Bamboo Wing created by the bamboo masters Vo Trong Nghia. Comprised of two structures one which is the restaurant and the other which is meant to be a bar and events centre, the complex is large and airy and one of their most striking projects to date.

Situated next to an artificial lake the buildings are an excellent example of eco-friendly architecture that showcase the talent and handcrafting skills of the artistes as well as the brilliant use of ecologically sustainable materials. The surrounding water body not only adds a beautiful, mystical element to the structure but also does an excellent job of keeping it cool.

The entrance to Bamboo Wing promises the visitors a scenic experience as they walk across a pathway of stepping stones in water and little pockets of growing bamboo. Bamboo Wing itself is shaped to look like a bird’s wings.

 Next to the Wind and Water Cafe stands the bar. In contrast to the cafe which is open, the bar is an enclosed whole with a dome soaring 10 m upwards with an opening on the top, 1.5 m in diameter, which helps keep the place cool. Aside from the foundation the structure does not use steel anywhere and is wholly made of bamboo.

It’s no surprise that these two stunning architectural structures have become widely famous inHanoi’s urban landscape.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Talk about smooth sailing!

This one’s definitely a step-ahead in design as well as conservation! I wonder if the sailors of yore would have ever thought of seeing their beloved sails put to this use. But today, between Spanish company DVELAS and Spinnaker, the sails return from their maritime journeys to feature in entirely stunning makeovers. Both companies are recycling used sails that have reached the end of their life and putting them into use in a series of innovative furniture designs. The group of architects and designers from DVELAS launched their Living Sails line with the purpose of recovering materials that hold unique histories, and give them a fresh new life through art and expert craftsmanship.

Much like the stylish and extremely comfortable Spinnaker chairs. With a frame made out of spring steel, the chair is ergonomically designed with a curvature that allows for optimum circulation in the body. To add an interesting spin to it Spinnaker encourages people to design and customize their own chairs helping them save on the waste from over manufacturing.

 And the idea has to be applauded for its ingenuity. After all what could be better raw material for all-weather outdoor furniture than sails used by ships. Even once it’s too deteriorated to be used for navigation, the tough, weather-resistant fabric is the perfect material for outdoor furniture.

DVELAS sources its sails from JTX Sails and has launched six different lines of modern outdoor furniture.  Each piece is created from one of many different types of sails, and is accompanied by information on the sail’s history, details on the port and boat it came from, and the name of the original sailmaker. Washed and waterproofed, the fabric still features the marks and designs printed on the original cloth. So you not only have a piece of stylish and comfortable furniture in your house but also a piece of history.

The DVELAS’ website accepts donation of sails, which will be transformed into chairs, cushions, shade structures, and floating rafts.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Small wonder!

As our number becomes larger spaces available to us become smaller and the challenge today in some of the biggest and busiest cities of the world is to ... well, of course find some kind of space to call your own and then to make the most of what is usually a small space. The challenge, of course, being to not just us the space intelligently but also making sure its well-equipped and presentable.

So coming to the rescue of small-home owners it would seem to IKEA. The Swedish furniture manufacturer is now boasting a new small number on its sign-boards and this time they don't claim them as prices. Advertising their 391 sq. ft. apartments in their Brooklyn stores, their designers have come up with some rather well-designed and assembled living units.

"It might be compact but its more spacious than you can imagine. Its our 391 sq. ft. home" - reads the billboard. And from the images it looks like they're not just boasting. They've managed to carve out quite a decent bit of utility space in their professed 391 sq ft apartments with a bedroom, a bathroom, a kitchen and even a small-sized living room!

And since there's no better way to lead than by example, the little demo spaces they've designed and dressed up at their Brooklyn stores is sure to get plenty of attention as well as give lots of fresh ideas to small apartment owners on what they can do with their living space. And this, of course, will translate into lots of sale for the Swedish furniture manufacturer. Talk about keeping abreast of the times!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Artistic Spectacle: Egyptian Temples

One of the most beautiful and impressive aspects of architecture of an Egyptian temple are the spectacular columns, resembling groves of stone trees. These columns, especially at Karnak and Luxor, dwarf human beings and bear inscriptions, carved relieves, and a weighty majesty unequaled anywhere else in the world. 

Columns held special significance for the Egyptians, representing as they did the expanses of nature. Columns alluded to the times when vast forests dotted the land, forests that disappeared as the climate changed and civilization took its toll upon the Egyptian environment. They also represented the Nile reed marshes. The columns were introduced in order to simulate nature, and to identify man again with the earth. The first tentative columns are still visible in the Step Pyramid of Saqqara, but they are engaged columns, attached to walls for support and unable to stand on their own. Imhotep designed rows of such pillars at the entrance to various buildings and incorporated them into corridors for Djoser's shrine (2600 B.C.E.).

In the Fourth Dynasty (2575-2465 B.C.E.) masons experimented with columns as a separate architectural entity. In one royal tomb built in GIZA in the reign of Khufu (2551-2465 B.C.E.) limestone columns were used effectively. In the tomb of Sahure (2458-2446 B.C.E.) of the Fifth Dynasty, the columns were made of granite, evincing a more assured style and level of skill. Wooden columns graced a site in the reign of Kakai (2446-2426 B.C.E.) in that same dynasty, and another king of the royal line, Nisuerre (2416-2392 B.C.E.), had limestone columns installed in his Abusir necropolis complex. 

At Beni Hasan in the Eleventh Dynasty (2134-2140 B.C.E.) local nomarchs, or provincial chiefs, built their own tombs with wooden columns. The same type of columns was installed in tombs in the Twelfth Dynasty (1991-1773 B.C.E.), but they were made of wood set into stone bases. With the coming of the New Kingdom (1550-1070 B.C.E.) the columns become part of the architectural splendor that marked the capital at Thebes and at the later capital of Per-Ramesses in the eastern Delta. Extensive colonnades stood on terraces, or in the recesses of temples, opening onto courts and shrines. Most people who have some interests in ancient Egyptians will identify immediately the shape of Lotus and Papyrus style columns, but actually no less the about 30 different column forms have been isolated from temples of the various periods!!

Home décor: Embellishing the Interiors of Your Home

The art of decorating your home interiors is an expensive and a complicated, so to say. However, with a little thought and imagination you don't have to live with bare walls because you can't afford great works of art or even reproduction prints. You can create a number of stunning wall displays by simply using wall picture frames and your own photos to make your walls come alive. There are numerous ways that you can use your own photos as part of your home décor. Even the worst photographer amongst us has a few exquisite pictures we have managed to take of that colorful sunset, that cloudy sky, the gaily colored field of flowers or the squirrel sitting in the tree. Add to that family photos going back a generation or two and you have the makings for various wall art. All you have to do is choose the right photos, the right wall picture frames and put them together. Here are some great ideas on how to use hanging picture frames to enhance your homes décor.

Wall collages are a way to decorate using photos of that special camping trip, anniversary party or even different members of your family. Placed over the fireplace with wall candle holders on either side this type of frame adds a homey yet, sophisticated touch to your living or family room. You can also use these frames for giving a room a more whimsical touch by using photos of various birds, flowers or other items found in nature. A picture frame tree is a great way to display different generations of your family as part of your wall decorations. This wall picture frame actually looks like a tree and holds several picture frames. What could be better than using this frame to show off your own family tree. These frames look great on any wall from that empty hallway, to above the couch, to the entry way or the dining room. Bringing with it a feel of family and unity while adding a beautiful and sentimental touch to your homes décor.

Trapeze hanging picture frames look great hanging over the long bathroom vanity or that serving sideboard in your dining room. All you need to do is choose the right set of pictures to place inside these frames to create the kind of atmosphere and décor you want. When used in your child's room, pictures of their favorite pet will add a child like touch to their room's décor. While an older child may prefer pictures of flowers, angels or even their favorite sports hero. Triple wall hangings are three vertical frames and are great to use when you want to display photos on smaller wall areas. These hanging wall frames work well in small bathrooms where wall space is limited, in hallways and even in the kitchen. Using wall picture frames and your imagination is a great way of decorating the walls of your home without spending a fortune. It also allows you to use your own pictures to create interesting and wonderful creations of art for your home.

We accessorise in home decor for two main reasons. One is to complete a room that is just being set up, say, in a new home. The second is to update a room to change the look and feel, without having to purchase new furniture. In either instance, you are creating a home decor environment that looks cozy and inviting, comforts your instincts. Surround yourself with things you consider beautiful. In doing so, you will create an environment in your home decor that expresses your individual style.

Color the Right Ambiance: Coloring Innovations for Your Home

Walls can indeed do a lot more than just hold up the ceiling. They are the largest expanses of decorative surfaces you have to work with, and they set the stage for the rest of furnishings. What you do with your walls can make up for construction shortcomings, so don’t treat them lightly. Do treat them warmly, coolly, quietly, lively, cleverly. whatever the mood you want to achieve and whatever the room problems you need to overcome, you’ll find a universe of possibilities in a can of paint.

Color and pattern are two of the most powerful forces in the visual world. Harness them and you can move walls, raise or lower ceilings, stretch floor space, and entirely reshape your home environment. To expand a room, you need to apply only one basic principle light colors and unbroken expanses of small patterns make space look larger; this is true because unless an object calls attention to itself, it recedes in your mind. when you are not conscious of a wall, space "feels “more expansive. 

Seeing is believing, if you make the most of that maximum, you can "remodel” many problem rooms without ever reaching for a hammer. Paint will do the work for you. Begin by sizing up your room’s space. If its dimensions are not pleasing, you can fool the eye into believing that they are closer to ideal. Reshape your room by emphasizing or eliminating contrast. Use bold, bright colors selectively to draw in a wall or lower a ceiling. Or avoid contrast and let walls and ceilings fade quietly into the background. 

Through paint you can dramatize a room's architectural features; you can emphasize oddities or camouflage them. If you want to accent he quirky charm of angles, woodwork, or windows, paint them with deliberate contrast. Or you can minimize architectural oddities by avoiding contrast completely by painting walls and ceilings in a same solid color, so that undesirable corners and angles blend into the walls. 

If you're a good cook, you already understand the importance of varying textures of the foods you prepare for a meal. The same holds true for your visual diet. Texture enriches any decor. Playing strong textures against subtle ones creates variety in rooms dominated by one color. Texture whether slick or dull, smooth or rough, gives a room surface appeal and decorative interest. Paint stays pliant long enough for you to work it into the desired pattern. Experiment with combing, stippling, or working with your finger tips.

If you are bored with the solid or textured look, you can add graphics in paint, tape or cutouts. You can use graphics to enliven dead wall space, to accent architectural details, or to divert attention from unwanted features. There is a lot more to learn about color than simply what colors go together or what stands out among the rest. In fact, there is an entire field of psychology dedicated to the study of colors and their effects on human beings. Different colors can put us in different moods or shape how we approach a particular place or item. Understanding how colors affect us can help make your home more inviting.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

It's all topsy-turvy!

Finally, India can boast of an upside down building of its own!

The Caracella Club, named after the first building created as a club by the Romans, has been inspired by the WonderWorks’ ‘inverted amusement parks’ in the USA. Perched to look like it’s about to tip over, it’s been built by the Meriton Group as a part of the Indirapuram development in the NCR region, as a centrepiece for the development. Though, it’s the first of its kind in India, the building is now on the short list of upside down buildings existing the world over. 

Japan’s Nagano Prefecture, aside from hosting the 1998 Winter Olympics, also has the pretty pink Sakasa Resoto to its credit. Looking like a house that stumbled across a tripwire in the dark and landed on its head, the entire structure is perched on its roof. From an upside down bicycle rack to (inside) to upside down buckets acting as lampshades and even slippers stuck to the ... umm ... floor, the restaurant owners have gone to great lengths to make sure their diners get an authentic upside-down experience.

Other equally bizarre looking structures on this list are Norman Johnson’s Upside-Down House called ‘Sunrise’ in Florida (well, nobody lives here, for sure!) The house that is a model home outside the Sunrise Golf Village is enough to give anybody vertigo. A very faithful reproduction of a 1960’s Florida home ... umm, sort of the house is entirely upside down. Even the furniture inside is mounted upside down and a whole car’s parked upside down in the carport! Look at the house for a little while and you’re sure to start feeling wrong-footed!

And of course, the list goes on with ‘The Device To Root Out Evil’ in Calgary, Alberta which is designed to look like a church that’s poised on the tip of its steeple and ‘The World Stands on Its Head’ in Germany (well...) as well as (this one probably wins the award) the upside down house in St. Petersburg, Russia. If you’re wondering why there are no caps there, it’s because the house simply is upside down! (Except, very considerately, its doghouse)Who knows why!

Then there is the very ornate House of Katmandu in (er...) Spain as well as another called ‘House- Attack’ (!) in Austria etc.

Who knows why the architects or, in some cases, home-owners decided to tip their worlds upside down, but whatever their motivation that’s definitely one short cut to the history books!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

GiraDora and how!

I know from personal experience that washing clothes without a machine is one of the most dreary, time consuming, exhausting and, often likely to be, thankless job ever! So when I read the news of this super cool eco-friendly washer and spin-dyer I just had to talk about it! Created by Alex Cabunoc and Ji A this rather brilliant invention called the GiraDora is powered by a foot pedal!

Priced at $40, the GiraDora looks like an old fashioned ice bucket or water camper or perhaps ice cream maker! All you have to do is fill it with soap and water put the lid on top and then sit on it. Yes, sit on it! And start pedalling! It’s portable so it can be kept anywhere and you can sit on it (I really can’t get over that) and just start pedalling. No more sore backs or cramping legs or wrist strain or anything else! Much like a washing machine the GiraDora can wash loads of clothes at a time. And the amazing little machine dries them too. Now anybody in a family can wash clothes as long as their feet reach the pedal. It saves time, energy, water and your muscles!

Not just that, the machine might well be a source of income through providing laundry services or giving the machine out on rent. It could definitely be a great boon for many, many families, particularly in developing countries and those living in far flung areas and  has been rightly recognised by both the Dell Social Innovation Challenge and the International Design Excellence Awards.

Currently being field tested in Peru there are plans to make the machine available in other parts of the world like South America and India too. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Green on wheels!

Now this is what we call Smart Greens! Artist Matteo Cibic has come up with a rather clever way to put the green back in the dense concrete jungle that is modern day Milan. In response to Inhabitat Editor, Jill Fehrenbacher’s question posed on Smart Urban Stage – ‘In crowded cities, how do we create better and more public green space to improve quality of life?’ - the artist came up with what is a rather ingenious idea of a ‘tree trolley wifi bench’.

What it is, is a mobile bench and garden combined. So the bench is equipped with wheels and has its own little garden behind it. And not just that, the tree trolley also doubles as a mobile work station for those to enjoy the idea of working outdoors, considering it is wifi enabled and also has charging dockets. And as if that isn't enough, these super functional trolleys will also sport street lights, making the area well-lit and safer giving, in the artists view, a boost to the nightlife of the area.

Making use of the ample parking space around the city, the artist said if people pay to park their cars in front of their homes or work spaces the question is would they pay to park a tree too? It is definitely a greener alternative to automobiles.  

However, what is of immediate though slight concern is all the creepy crawlies the miniature garden will attract. But then, it’s likely every home area will have at least one pair of green thumbs between them!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Taipei 101 - Architectural Landmark of Taiwan

Taipei 101 is a renowned skyscraper in Taiwan and a famous landmark in Taipei. This skyscraper is considered as an architectural wonder by the people of Taiwan for the architectural skills it has been made using. After its dedication in 2004, this eye-catching tower was for a brief moment the world’s tallest building. It measures 1,474 feet not including its spire, and Taiwanese insist it still ranks as the globe’s loftiest, as Dubai’s Burj Al Arab tower owes its dominant height to its sail-like crown.

Composed of 101 stories above ground and five below, Taipei 101 embodies the King Kong-luring Art Deco glamor of a New York skyscraper. But Taipei 101’s silver-screen looks are further reinforced by an ingenious spherical safety device called a tuned mass damper that corrects for any swaying caused by earthquakes or typhoons.

The main tower features a series of eight segments of eight floors each, an obvious association to abundance, prosperity and good fortune. Its shaped like an Asian pagoda, while numerous motif of the ruyi - an ancient symbol associated with heavenly clouds appear throughout the structure. The structure was engineered to be able to withstand gale winds of 60 mps, and the strongest earthquakes likely to occur in a 2,500 year cycle.

The tower’s summit flaunts a spacious 360º observatory reached by a vertiginous elevator that is in itself like an amusement-park ride. The panorama of bustling Taipei is perhaps at its best at sunset, when rosy clouds dramatically silhouette distant mountains and neon-hued light shows dance across other building facades. Taipei 101 is notable for its striking postmodern architecture, which combines elements of both the pagoda and bamboo plant.

On The Go..... Hire A Portable Toilet & Rest Room

Most of the people these days have been into the usage of portable restrooms for outdoor events and celebrations of all kinds. If you are planning for any outdoor event, hiring a portable restroom based on the number of people attending the event would really help them in meeting their sanitary needs in clean and hygienic environment. You can hire portable toilets for any kind of event like celebrations, birthday parties, outdoor events, outdoor weddings, and all other occasions. If you plan to rent a restroom then you must consider few factors that depend on hiring restrooms.

The first thing to consider while renting a restroom is the size of the outdoor event. If it is for a large outdoor event, then you are likely to need more portable toilets. This ensures that there are sufficient cleaning facilities for all your guests and other visitors. If you are organizing a smaller outdoor event, you may require less number of portable restrooms. It is better to rent separate restrooms for male and female individuals. This will make sure they don't feel discomfort in using them.

There are a wide range of portable toilets available in the market place to choose from, like standard portable, ADA complaint movable, VIP self-contained portable restroom, with deluxe restroom flushing system,  mobile restroom shower, mobile shower trailer and the likes. Each and every restroom is specially designed for us to use it in the events. Every mobile toilet is accommodated with basic sanitary needs like tissue paper, holding tank, towel hook. There are few restrooms that are specially designed for guest and VIP's for which the sanitary facilities are more than the basic needs.

Few selected restrooms come with washing station, mirror, music system, and many more facilities. Hiring these movable toilets in any of your outdoor event will bring more comfort to your guests. There are some benefits of hiring a restroom in an outdoor event. One can provide clean and hygiene sanitary facilities to all your guests and VIP's. There are many companies that offer discounts on portable restrooms and rent them at affordable prices. The cost of these restrooms is based on the amenities provided. The cost of these movable toilets is cost effective and affordable to everyone. One can even purchase one of those restrooms on permanent basis.

The portable restroom industry is gaining importance all over the world and is a forming a good platform for the companies who look out for diversification into various segments. With the increasing demand of the mobile toilets the portable owner companies are extending their services by offering toilet rental service and these companies are finding it more profitable venture with unlimited growth potential.

Drip Traps! - Waterproofing Basements

Basement of your home is prone to the forces of nature, particularly water as they are situated below the normal floor area of the house. It is very common in most houses in rainy season, water seeping through the cracks that occur in the walls. Basement walls tend to produce cracks and leaks overtime and if not treated immediately, it can cause major damage and money for repair at the same time. With time to time inspection, these predicaments can be achieved by waterproofing basement walls.

There are certain measures to follow in order to prevent cracks and leaks. You can start by inspecting the walls of your basement to see if there are evident cracks or holes. If you see some or those attempting to go beyond those of normal cracks, safeguard it by using waterproof products available at your local hardware store or home improvement shops. These materials are paint-like that will require you to paint the substance over the cracks to seal it from leaking. This may come in as dry or wet agents and instructions for applications should be followed without most care as they may also require mixing and other procedures.

Allow the cracks to be fully coated and allow it to dry. Second coating is essential to make it more water tight. If the waterproof material is in contrast to the color of your basement wall, paint can also be applied provided that the paint is not abrasive enough to terminate the effects of the waterproof application. Installing flood drains and funnels are also alternatives to prevent rain water to come in direct contact with your basement wall.

By installing these, they move the water past your walls so that they will not accumulate that can also be a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Modern houses are constructed with pre-installed footer drains and these should also be cleaned as these can accumulate leaves and dirt that can cause it to clog. Gutters and downspouts can also be installed provided that it comes with an external drainage system.

In such cases when water already seeps in through you basement walls, immediately clean you basement and dry any wet spots around it. This will prohibit molds from spreading as this will also cause some allergic reactions and makes the basement floor slippery. In extreme cases, a contractor or a carpenter is needed to waterproof your basement.

Waterproofing basement walls is best done when the sun is high or during the summer as the heat will also make the applied material to quickly dry. This will also be a precautionary step in the anticipation of the rainy season. Time to time inspection is also advisable to prohibit the severity and the also as a preventive measure. Reapplying the waterproof material over the cracks and holes can be done annually avoid leakage and stopping the crack from growing furthermore.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Aragon Convention Center Building

The Aragon Convention Center Building, Spain portrays a fractional and varied profile ascending and descending in dialog with the different spaces housed in its interior and manifesting expressively the presence of natural light and the meeting point of the building with the ground. Like a white shining cover, a great roof gently envelopes the different structures sheltering a large interior space which demonstrates the public and institutional character of its purpose.

Three main blocks to house an auditorium, a multi-purpose pavilion and modular halls will be connected to each other via a large common vestibule which links the different areas. The convention hall was conceived with the intention of leaving upper tier and mezzanine independent of each other which will mean a hall for 1500 persons will also be compatible with conventions for smaller numbers. The exhibition pavilion will be used during Expo 2008 as the Water Platform since its location, with the possibility of independent access, will allow it to be used for exhibitions, for seminars or diverse events, simultaneously.

The modular halls comprise an area which can be used during the International Exhibition as a press centre, offices or meetings rooms if required, whereas later it can be subdivided into multiple halls or seminars of greater or lesser size. A large subterranean storey will house the service areas, installations, dressing rooms, storage areas, kitchens… which will guarantee operation as a centre with the necessary characteristics without interfering in the public spaces of the building.

Geometry, structure and construction are part of this proposal for a single combined concept. The necessity for rapid execution does not present a problem for our project, rather it is the reason for the architectural concept itself. Strict geometric modulation, the preference for using prefabricated building structures which lend themselves to being repeated, the choice of a structural solution based on metallic girders with powerful lights and finally, voluntary restriction in the range of materials, are all arguments for a strategy which will allow us to dominate the structural, geometric and construction preconditions which impact on the process.

The interior spaces of the Convention Centre will respond to the same gradation of textures and color. Metal and concrete cladding in vestibules and public areas will coexist with continuous tiling and glass divisions. The main auditorium will also contribute to the drive for luminosity and clarity with its materials. To the exterior, large glass fronts will alternate glazed panels and metal lattices integrated in the facade with transparent sections for the elevation to the square which will enhance the perception of the open and public character of the building.