12 of the best garden studios

With more people working from home and property prises rising around the world, homeowners lucky enough to have outdoor space are replacing the traditional shed with studios, guest rooms and flexible work spaces. Here are 12 of the best examples from Dezeen's archives (+ slideshow). (more…)


Urban Sprawl Is Killing Coastal Fog

Dense fog shrouds office towers in downtown L.A. in 2011. (AP Photo/John Antczak)

Mysterious fog rolling in and shrouding whole cities is a well-worn horror trope, creeping us out in everything from Stephen King’s The Mist to the “Silent Hill” video games. What’s scarier, though, is that the opposite is happening in real life: Cities are making fog disappear.

In cities on the Southern California coast, there are fewer foggy mornings than there used to be. Around Los Angeles, for example, the frequency of fog (which is a cloud that sits at or near ground surface) has declined by almost two-thirds in the last six decades. Around San Diego, it’s dropped by 25 percent. Clouds also appear less frequently higher up in the atmosphere. The change has implications for everything from drought to energy use.

“The importance of fog to Southern California ecosystems is what made me want to know whether coastal California has undergone any change … and whether changes should be expected in the future,” climatologist Park Williams says.

Williams’ interest in clouds started one summer in college, when he was working as an undergraduate researcher in southern Costa Rica, where he watched clouds roll in off the ocean every day and “inundate the mountains.” Later, in grad school at UC Santa Barbara, he studied pine forests on the Channel Islands of the Southern California coast and saw how much fog can matter.

“Those forests probably owe their survival after the end of the last glacial period to the existence of summer coast fog,” he says.

In 2009, he began work on figuring out what makes SoCal’s summer cloud system tick. He and colleagues from the University of California, Oregon State University and NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies gathered detailed meteorological data from 24 airports and airfields around L.A., San Diego, Santa Barbara and the Channel Islands. They combed through records of summer cloud frequency and height going back to 1948, looking for trends and connections to other variables like sea and air temperatures and wind patterns.

The airport records showed conflicting trends.

“Some places saw major decreases in summer cloud frequency while others saw little change,” Park says. Cloud frequency declined across the L.A. and San Diego areas, especially at the lowest heights, indicating that the clouds were being pushed upward. The Channel Islands, meanwhile, saw a slight decrease in overall cloud frequency, but a huge increase in fog. This suggested, says Park, that while large-scale climate processes were at work, something was also happening on a smaller scale, and some local process was changing cloudiness for better or worse at some sites, but not others.

When the researchers looked at the locations of the airports on census and land use maps from 1950 and from today, the trends began to make sense and the fog-killing culprit was revealed. The places where fog and cloud frequency dropped were all close to areas that had urbanized over the years. The urban heat island effect means higher temperatures at night and in the early morning, which prevents water from condensing near ground level. That reduces fog and pushes clouds to greater heights, where they become thinner and dissipate quicker.

While Southern California’s foggy coastline is an iconic postcard-ready image, there’s more than just aesthetics at stake here. Fog and low clouds provide shade and precious water to the notoriously dry region, helping to regulate temperature, stave off drought and wildfires, reduce energy demands, and give coastal trees and other plants something to drink. (Farther north, California’s famous coastal redwoods get most of their water from fog drip.) Fewer clouds and less fog could mean worse drought conditions, hotter cities (which, in turn, would mean even less fog), and more demand for water and energy to keep buildings cool. On the bright side, though, chasing the fog and clouds away could improve solar energy capture and reduce traffic accidents by improving visibility.

Southern California isn’t alone in having this problem. Urban sprawl and urban warming are global phenomena and Park’s findings are relevant to other urban coastal areas with similar climates, like those along the Mediterranean and on the west coasts of South America, South Africa and Australia.

It’s not too late to address the issue, though. Many of the steps urbanites and municipal governments are already taking to green their cities — like employing “green roofs” and planting more trees on streets — can help curb the heat island effect. Park also suggests keeping parks and open spaces from being re-developed and using permeable paving materials that let water get down to the soil where it can re-evaporate and cool and humidify the ground.

While efforts to “Save the Fog” might not have the same broad appeal as other pressing environmental concerns, ignoring fog’s loss could have very high costs. “Summer clouds are big buffers against the effects of global warming,” says Park. “But with substantially reduced summer cloud cover, urban areas of coastal Southern California are effectively allowing themselves to develop a local climate type that is less coastal and more desert like.”


My Houzz: Sophisticated, Old-World Charm for a Dallas Rambler (17 photos)

Howard Jackson’s home is a treasure trove of estate sale finds and unique artifacts and art. However, he didn’t achieve this look all at once. It took Jackson many years to develop the home’s aesthetic. He says, “For a long time, it was clearly a bachelor’s residence. Lots of bare walls and nondescript...


montblanc announces first designer partnership with marc newson

before its official reveal in early september, we interview jens henning koch, executive VP of marketing at montblanc, about why the company made the decision to work with a creative outside of the maison, and what features we can expect from the 'montblanc M' by marc newson.

The post montblanc announces first designer partnership with marc newson appeared first on designboom | architecture & design magazine.


MM++ Architects replaces the old walls of a Vietnam house with red bricks and pivoting glass

Vietnamese studio MM++ Architects stripped a house back to its concrete frame to create this pared-back open-plan villa featuring red brick walls, pivoting glass doors and leafy gardens (+ slideshow). (more…)


park associati installs modular pop-up restaurant on a milan rooftop

the pavilion, which is open to the general public, can accommodate up to 24 seated guests around one single table, or 66 standing people for special events.

The post park associati installs modular pop-up restaurant on a milan rooftop appeared first on designboom | architecture & design magazine.


These Buses Could Help You Save Money

Most Americans would be hard-pressed to scrounge up this amount of cash. (Photo by Merzperson)

The American middle class’s fall through the moon door got more attention this week, thanks to findings from a new Federal Reserve survey.

The report’s buzziest statistic: 53 percent of the 50,000 people who responded said that they could not handle a financial disruption costing them $400. Plainly, Americans are struggling to save cash.

To give residents the tools they need to save and invest, more and more cities are opening financial empowerment centers — but not all dollars-and-cents help is happening in drab government buildings.

A Solution on Wheels in Charlotte
When Charlotte, North Carolina, resident Marsha Barnes decided to open up her for-profit personal finance consultant business, she took a cue from the food truck industry and decided to go mobile.

The Charlotte Observer reports that the Finance Bar, Barnes’ small business, is operating out of a retrofitted school bus she purchased on Craigslist for $3,500. For sessions that cost between $30 and $55, she is helping locals create budgets, and understand their credit reports and how they can pay down their debts.

She also has her own app, the Finance Bar: Expense Manager, which helps users calculate how much they should be spending in certain categories. (For example, Barnes recommends 10 to 15 percent of income should be dedicated to savings and investments and 25 to 30 percent on housing costs.)

Last month, she won an award from a local entrepreneurship website managed by the city of Charlotte. Barnes often works with libraries to park outside of them, but tomorrow, the Finance Bar will be parked in Charlotte’s South End neighborhood at a gathering of fashion and food trucks.

An eBus Rolls Through Toledo
Using a similar strategy of bringing resources to people where they live, the Fifth Third Bank of Northwestern Ohio is sponsoring a retrofitted 40-foot city bus to tour through the Toledo area this weekend. The eBus will help residents obtain a free credit report and receive one-on-one counseling and job coaching and training, all at no charge.

Counseling will include advice on budgeting and saving, home-buying, avoiding foreclosure, understanding credit, and identity protection. OhioMeansJobs will also be on hand to help locals search for job opportunities. The eBus will be making a second trip through the region in mid-July.

San Francisco Residents Have $1 Million in the Bank for College
In 2010-2011, the San Francisco Treasurer’s Office of Financial Empowerment, the Mayor’s Office and the San Francisco Unified School District started a unique automatic savings program for families called Kindergarten to College.

Every kindergartner who starts public school receives $50 in a Citibank college savings account. A matching program provides another $100 for the first additional $100 deposited, and a $100 bonus for six months of consistent savings. The 20,000 families who have enrolled have saved more than $1 million total and $547 each on average since the program began.

Even so, those numbers also show that only 14 percent of families are participating. The city hopes to raise that figure to 20 percent.

It’s still pretty good news considering the fact that fewer than 3 percent of families save money for college, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office. The program is a 2015 finalist in Harvard Ash Center’s Innovations in American Government Awards.


Job of the week: interior architect at HAY

Dezeen Jobs architecture and design recruitment

Our job of the week on Dezeen Jobs is for an interior architect with Danish design brand HAY, whose furniture collaboration with Sebastian Wrong is pictured.

Visit the ad for full details or browse other architecture and design opportunities on Dezeen Jobs.


Paleisbrug by Benthem Crouwel

An irregular pattern of flower beds are placed along four lanes, each 2-m wide. Located in a newly-developed urban district of the Netherlands, Paleisbrug is an elevated park, bicycle path and pedestrian bridge all in one.

camillo botticini architetto clads entire brescia swimming center with black brick

the italian practice has formed a contemporary swimming center for the city of brescia, providing residents with a multitude of indoor and open-air pools.

The post camillo botticini architetto clads entire brescia swimming center with black brick appeared first on designboom | architecture & design magazine.


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