Travel

Library Filled With Creative Reuse, Charm and Children

The Old Market Library in Thailand was built by TYIN tegnestue, a non-profit organization that does humanitarian work through architecture. TYIN is run by five architect students from Norway. This project was financed by more than 60 Norwegian companies, as well as private contributions.

The library, built in a 100 year-old building was once an abandoned and dilapidated space. The roof and walls were in poor condition. Redesigned to encourage community interaction, TYIN used local and reclaimed materials.

“For TYIN it is not only the building of a library that is important, but also that the efforts made will affect the bigger scale. Through the use of local, inexpensive materials we have tried to show that this is something the inhabitants of the community can do by their own initiative, using their own resources. The aim of the library project is to strengthen the passion in the neighborhood that eventually can contribute to a positive development in the area.”

With many libraries slated to close in the US, maybe we can think outside the box and create similar community libraries. The Old Market Library is now a functional space filled with charm, creative reuse of materials, and children. LOVE…IT!

Photos: TYIN tegnestue via ArchDaily

Two Coasts, Wild Air

Did I mention I recently spent a few weeks on Martha’s Vineyard? Probably not. I don’t like to advertise my comings and goings online until I’m safely tucked back into my nest.

Last year, I summed up my beachy vacation in one word…Unplugged. It was an introspective post that was transformative in its theme. When I returned from the beach last year I shared about being unplugged:

Slowing down allows for more reflection…
More reflection provides for more space.
..More space gives way to a different intention.
..Different intentions delve deeper.
..Delving deeper blows the lid off everything.

When I reread this, it struck me that this summer has been anything but unplugged…and that’s been OK too. Being plugged-in sometimes has its rewards. In this case, it took me to the other coast. Within days of swimming in the Atlantic Ocean, I flew to San Diego to attend the BlogHer Conference…and I briefly gazed at the Pacific.

Wild Air

What’s BlogHer? It is a spirited gathering of more than 6,000 bloggers (almost exclusively women) who came together to “discuss, inspire and connect with each other.” If you’ve been hanging out at Econesting, you’ve no doubt read that I am part of a team of bloggers who write for the Environmental Defense Fund’s Moms Clean Air Force. MCAF was a BlogHer sponsor. You can check out photos from the event here.

There’s been something else in the air this summer. I’m now working in more of an editorial role with the MCAF. Along with writing posts, I will be helping to manage the new website that is about to launch. I am very, very pleased about this. For me it combines two things I am most passionate about: the environment and family. Don’t worry, I will continue to bring eco-friendly design ideas, DIY projects and thoughts about living a sustainable life.

Wild, huh? So that’s what I’ve been up to. Where have you been?

Credit: Free People

Sliding Commute

I’ve mentioned before my husband Ted is a planner. Urban planners are constantly searching for ways to improve transportation in and out of cities. Ted emailed me this video (yes, we work in the same house and still email each other) of a slide installed next to a stairway at a railway station in the Dutch city of Utrecht. The slide is called a “transfer accelerator”. It offers commuters in a hurry an expedited trip to the tracks.

I love how designers and planners created such a playful idea to lighten up the drudgery of commuting by train.

Check out the slide in action:

Source: Planetizne

Bridge Chime: Whim Of The Breeze

Making the rounds of the design blogs is this absolutely amazing public sculpture of a giant, playful wind chime. Artist, Mark Nixon has created the Chimecco bridge chime. It’s a 600-pipe kinetic sculpture that hangs below a wooden bridge surrounded by woods. Chimecco brings music to a beautiful natural habitat. The sculpture is part of the Sculpture by the Sea exhibition in Aarhus, Denmark.

“Chimecco hides silently beneath the bridge in the forest until activated by human movements or the wind causing it to sing, dance and play with the senses.” ~ Mark Nixon

As people pass over the bridge, the chime gently sings. Chimecco is intended to be hidden, but the beautiful shape of the sculpture, lush location, and harmonious sounds, must draw many to the bridge.

Check out the chime in action in this breathtaking 360-degree panorama.

Photo credit: Mark Dixon

Inside Out

Every once in a while, an image captures your attention and you can’t let it go. After dreaming about this photograph last night, I thought I’d throw it up here and see what you have to say about this “down to earth” home.

“The idea of having a sand floor was to bring the outside in, to live naturally. It’s very calming, which is what my wife Andreia, and I wanted in a beach house. We picked Comporta in Portugal, an hour south of Lisbon, with its wild beaches full of birds and dolphins but very few people. The original inhabitants fished and grew rice. They picked straw at river’s edge, and built small houses with compacted earth floors. This was the tradition; you cannot build anything new. Our architects at Aires Mateus could only rebuild what was there, because it’s a preserve. When our kids, Joao and Maria, go into the house, they play like they are on the beach, with shovels and buckets. A cleaning lady comes in; she goes over the sand with a big rake. And no, you don’t need to wear shoes. There is a heated concrete floor underneath, so even in winter, the sand is warm.” ~ Joao Rodrigues, Coastal Living

For more information, visit CasaNaAreia.

Credit: Gaelle Le Boulicaut