Underwater shade at Penn State

May 1, 2019

When you think about outdoor spaces for people to congregate, a water tower is probably not on the list. But on the campus of Penn State University, State College, Pa., a new water tower located next to the Palmer Museum of Art and the Stuckeman School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture was the perfect spot …

Building a better umbrella

Umbrellas come in different shapes and sizes, but often the chief problem is that they don’t hold up to wind. Consider estimates that more than one billion umbrellas are broken every year: That’s enough polyester waste to cover New York City. Enter Hedgehog Carbon, an umbrella that is wind-tested to 70 miles per hour. The …

A coral reef, upcycled

Textile artist Vanessa Barragão grew up in the seaside town of Albufeira, Portugal. s a designer she expresses her love of the ocean in the stunning art installation, Coral Garden.  Barragão is concerned with the polluting effects of the textile industry on the environment—particularly on delicate coral reefs. The energy used in mass textile production …

Beanie hardens into a safety helmet

One of the quickest ways to get hurt downhill skiing is to skip the helmet. In fact, 88 percent of all snow sport-related deaths are due to head injuries, yet many people just won’t wear a helmet on the slopes. Australian bioengineer Rob Joseph learned this lesson the hard way. Frustrated with his helmet while …

Retractable canopies keep concert-goers protected

Located in a forest setting between Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, Md., the Merriweather Post Pavilion is an historic outdoor music venue. Designed by architects Frank Gehry and N. David O’Malley, the venue opened in 1967 and has hosted the greats in rock, country, blues, jazz, hip hop and classical music. The amphitheater space was in …

Innovative and sustainable: GERES Zero Gravity down jacket

Berg Outdoor, the Portugal-based clothing and gear brand, creates outerwear with five goals in mind: it must be lightweight, versatile, innovative, functional and sustainable. The ultralight GERES Zero Gravity down jacket ticks off all of those boxes. Berg looked to Porcher Sport, the French maker of high-performance lightweight fabrics for paragliding, parachuting and ballooning, to …

Watershed Dry Bags for airtight protection

The folks at Watershed® like to say they are obsessed with water. CEO Eric Revels began his career as a whitewater raft guide in the U.S. and South America while he pursued his dream to be a whitewater slalom canoe racer. Throughout his adventures, he grew tired of dealing with damp gear stored in drybags …

Knitted textile supports thin concrete structure

April 23, 2019

A striking, double-curved pavilion recently on exhibit at the Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo in Mexico City showcased an experiment with the materials and processes used in construction. The installation was framed using a knit textile that supports its thin concrete structure. Dubbed KnitCandela, the piece is a tribute to Spanish-Mexican architect and engineer Félix Candela, who …