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Olympic Park Visitors Will Be Able To Tower Over London From The Newly Done ArcelorMittal Orbit

Just in time for the start of the Olympic Games this month, the Olympic Park’s twisting ArcelorMittal Orbit tower reaching approximately 115 meters into the sky (22 meters taller than the State Of Liberty) has now been completed and will be open to visitors, giving them a panoramic view of London.

ArcelorMittal Orbit tower. Photo courtesy of anishkapoor.com.

The Orbit is situated between the Olympic Stadium and the Aquatics Center. The steel company ArcelorMittal said that visitors to the games “will be able to travel up to the viewing platform (with tickets) and enjoy a panoramic view up to 20 miles, encompassing the entire Olympic Park and London’s skyline beyond.”

ArcelorMittal also said that, “Visitors will be able to take a trip to the top of the structure in a lift and down too if they wish, although they will be encouraged to walk down the spiral staircase, which has 455 steps and has been designed to enable the guests to experience the feeling that they are orbiting around the structure as they descend it.”

Designer Anish Kapoor explained in the project’s portfolio that he “wanted the sensation of instability, something that was continually in movement.”

Kapoor said in accomplishing his vision that, “Traditionally, a tower is pyramidal in structure, but we have done quite the opposite, we have a flowing, coiling form that changes as you walk around it.”

“It is an object that cannot be perceived as having a singular image from any one perspective. You need to journey around the object, and through it. Like a Tower of Babel, it requires real participation from the public,” added Kapoor.

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Big Tree Farms Has Built The World’s Biggest Bamboo Chocolate Factory & Cultural Center

Big Tree Farms chocolate factory during construction. Photo courtesy of Big Tree Farms.

Built on Bali and inspired by Indonesia’s traditional culture, Big Tree Farms has completed what’s considered the largest modern bamboo commercial structure in the world. 

The new three-story bamboo facility is now home to the company’s chocolate factory, a warehouse, a retail store with a cafe, the corporate headquarters, office space, meeting areas, and an events center.

Big Tree Farms chocolate factory being built. Photo by Big Tree Farms.

The events center will include a commercial kitchen for hosting cooking classes and preparing the famous Firefly Supper Series.

“The series is a chance for framers, drivers, officer employees, and us to all get together and put on a delicious diner using what we grow and present it to tourists and locals in a beautiful setting – our farm,” said Ben Ripple, who is co-CEO of Big Tree Farms, along with Fredrick Shilling.

Telling the story of how the new facility came into being, Ripple said, “The goal wasn’t to build the world’s largest bamboo commercial structure. It was just the result of building what we needed and wanted to have under one roof. We broke ground in January 2011, and it has been absolutely incredible to watch. Our architect Pete Celovsky had the challenge of taking our vision and making it a reality.”

“Once the architectural drawings were drafted, they were handed over to Pak Cantor, our Balinese master bamboo builder. He’s around 65 years old and has been building bamboo structures for most of his life,” Ripple continued.

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Carpets in New York City Getting Less Toxic With New Volatile Organic Compound Restrictions

As part of a green initiative to make New York City homes and offices healthier places to live and work, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has signed a bill which establishes limits on the amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) allowable in carpets, carpet cushions, and carpet adhesives.

Installing low-VOC emitting carpeting. Photo courtesy of CubeMe.com.

“Some VOC’s are known to cause chronic health issues including nausea, irritation in the eyes, nose and throat, and can cause damage to both the kidneys and liver,” said the mayor during the bill signing ceremony.

“By regulating the types of carpet that are sold and installed within the city, we are able to keep New Yorkers safe from these harmful chemicals,” he added.

Among the chemicals found in carpeting materials that are classified as VOCs are formaldehyde and acetaldehyde.

Formaldehyde can also be found in things like pressed wood products (hardwood plywood wall paneling, particleboard, fiberboard), furniture made with these pressed wood products, foam insulation, glues, durable press drapes, and other textiles.

At room temperature, formaldehyde can take the form of a colorless, pungent-smelling gas that can cause watery eyes. It can also cause a burning sensation in the eyes and throat, as well as nausea, and difficulty in breathing in some people exposed to elevated levels (above 0.1 parts per million), according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

“High concentrations may trigger attacks in people with asthma. There is evidence that some people can develop a sensitivity to formaldehyde. It has also been shown to cause cancer in animals and may cause cancer in humans,” adds the EPA. 

Acetaldehyde is predominantly used in the synthesis of other chemicals. Acetaldehyde is used in the production of things like perfumes, polyester resins, and basic dyes. 

Exposure to acetaldehyde as an airborne gas can cause irritation of the eyes, skin, and respiratory tract in people, according to the EPA, which adds that, “Symptoms of chronic intoxication of acetaldehyde in humans resemble those of alcoholism.” The agency also lists the chemical as a “probable human carcinogen.”

The new law prohibits the both the sale or installation of any carpet, carpet cushioning, or carpet adhesive in New York City that doesn’t meet low-VOC standards.

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Georgia Anticipates Attracting International Business With New Ultra-Modern Airport

Rendering of the exterior area of the soon-to-be-built King David the Builder International Airport in Kutaisi, Georgia. Image courtesy of UNStudio.

Georgia President Mikheil Saakashvili – who symbolically participated in the demolition of the old airport building by tearing down one of the walls with the help of heavy machinery – anticipates that the new airport will act both as a stimulator for new businesses in the country and as a hub between the European and Asian markets.

The new King David the Builder International Airport and observation tower will be among the largest scale and “most distinguished” projects going on in Georgia today, said the president.  

The new airport’s name is in honor of Georgia’s King David IV who ruled between the 11th and 12th century. The country reached its political and economic peak during his reign, only to later fall into seemingly unending occupations, civil unrest, and economic crisis.

After the Rose Revolution in 2003, the new government introduced democratic and economic reforms, and the country is now trying to make strides towards reaching its former glories.

The new King David airport will be located in Kutaisi, which is the second largest city in Georgia and where the new parliament building is now being built. Kutaisi is just 221 km west of Tbilisi, which is the capital and the country’s largest city.

The new airport has been designed by the Dutch architectural company UNStudio, which said that the airport will have a clear structural layout creating an all-encompassing and protective space.

The space will be structured around a central exterior which will be used for departing passengers. The transparent space around this central point will be “designed to ensure that the flows of passengers are smooth and that departure and arrival flows do not coincide,” said the design company.

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Upscale Barclay Sports Center Nearly Done With Plans Now For Neighboring Eco-Friendly Housing

After years of battling financing problems, and lawsuits over issues like private property rights and eminent domain, the Barclays Center in Brooklyn’s Atlantic Yards is nearing completion.

Rendering of how the Barclays Center and all three housing buildings will appear when completed at Atlantic Yards. Rendering courtesy of SHoP Architects.

Working on the project, real estate developer and manager Forest City Enterprises, said last month in its third quarter fiscal report, that, “Work continues at Barclays Center at Atlantic Yards, and the arena is on schedule for opening in September 2012.”

The Barclays Center is expected to host more than 200 events annually, including professional and collegiate sports, concerts, family shows, and NETS basketball.

The arena will have 18,000 seats for basketball and up to 19,000 seats for concerts, according to the developer, adding that “the arena will have 104 luxury suites, including 15 brownstone suites (16 seats each), 68 loft suites (10 seats each), 11 backstage suites, six studio suites, and four party suites.”

The arena will also include 40 loge boxes, six clubs and restaurants, and the Barclays Center Practice Facility on-site.

“The design is elegant and intimate and also a bold architectural statement that will nicely complement the surrounding buildings and neighborhood,” said Bruce Ratner, chairman and CEO of Forest City Ratner Cos., Forest City Enterprises’ subsidiary, which is handling and promoting the project.

The development will combine the arena with a public plaza, eight acres of landscaped open space, about 6,400 units of affordable, middle-income and market-rate housing, as well as ground-floor retail space for local businesses and office space.

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