EMPOWERHOUSE is a community-based approach to sustainable urban development showcasing the design of two affordable, energy-efficient solar powered homes and a neighborhood learning garden for inner-city Washington DC and beyond.
An expanse of earth, adorned, improved, contoured, designed, and experienced. Architecture, travel, design, culture.
Twenty five hundred years ago, a group of peoples settled Tikal, surrounded by the lowland rainforests of the Petén Basin of northern Guatemala. Their descendants would create a remarkable civilization that populated cities and villages across much of southern Mexico, Belize and Guatemala. Today, it has returned to the forest but turned into a major archeological attraction.
The world’s population is expected to rise to 10 billion by 2050. Yet with 80 per cent of the planet’s usable farmland already cultivated, the effects of climate change wreaking havoc across large areas of existing farmland, and more than 10 per cent of humanity going to bed hungry every night, growing enough sustenance for three billion new mouths is not going to be easy.
I am on the trail of John Muir, intending to walk into the wild high country, his “range of light,” inspired by the vision of Ansel Adams who once said: “Life is your art. An open, aware heart is your camera. A oneness with your world is your film. Your bright eyes and easy smile is your museum.”
Developer David Mirvish hopes his string of sculptural towers in Toronto arts district will provide an antidote for the banality of the traditional glass box condo tower. “I am not building condominiums,” he said at the announcement. “I am building three sculptures for people to live in.”
Passive solar Earthships provide electricity, potable water, sustainable food production, with contained sewage treatment, and can be built anywhere in the world. Renegade eco-architect Michael Reynolds’ construction and design process called Earthship Biotecture creates beyond LEED Architecture, a sustainable green building design made of natural and recycled materials.
The Seebühne, a floating opera stage of bewildering proportions rises every summer from Austria’s Lake Constance, the centerpiece of the annual Bregenzer Festspiele (Bregenz Festival). It has staged productions such as Verdi’s “Aida,” Giordano’s “André Chénier,” Bernstein’s “West Side Story,” and next year will be Mozart’s “The Magic Flute.”