Friday, May 25, 2012

The 'Big Brother' of Clock Towers - Famous Landmark of London, Big Ben

The name Big Ben actually only refers to the big bell that is located within the tower but has over time become synonymous with the entire structure. Since its creation the tower has gone on to become a strong icon that is associated with the city of London and England. In 1844, the British parliament unanimously passed the decision to incorporate a clock tower within the Houses of Parliament. But, the specifications that came out of the parliament corridors was a scientific impossibility for even the most adventurous of clock makers -

The first stroke of the hour bell should register the time, correct to within one second per day, and furthermore that it should telegraph its performance twice a day to Greenwich Observatory, where a record would be kept.

Thus started the timekeeping journey of this London landmark - The hour bell of the Great Clock of Westminster, known worldwide as the 'Big Ben'. Big Ben is the most famous and the largest bell ever cast at Whitechapel.

The Westminster timekeeper was conceptualized by Edmund Beckett Denison and finally made functional by Edward John Dent in 1854. The clock features an innovative double three-legged gravity escapement. The daunting task of casting the 13.76 tonne bell was undertaken by George Mears, the master bell founder and owner of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry. Erected during the rebuilding of Parliament, the tower's clock went into service on September 7, 1859.

After guiding the world on gas for almost half a century, the gas lighting of the dials was replaced by electric lighting in 1906. The electric winding followed suit in 1912. With time, Big Ben was embracing the digital technology. Big Ben's clock is lit at night. A second lamp above the face is illuminated anytime Parliament is in session. BBC world service and Big Ben have a long association and this chiming association began way back on 31st December, 1923, when BBC broadcast the arrival of the new with the soothing chimes of Big Ben. The humanitarian face of Big Ben got a face lift during the Second World War, when the hourly chimes instilled a sense of comfort and security in the British population that all was well with Britain. Big Ben chimes are still aired on BBC Radio 4 at certain times.

Big Ben's first journey from its birth place, the Whitechapel foundry, to its new home was marked by enthusiasm and awe. The transportation of the iconic bell to the Houses of Parliament was a memorable even for the Londoners. While the sixteen brightly beribboned horses hauled the mammoth bell over the London Bridge, along Borough Road, and Westminster Bridge, the traffic came to a complete standstill to witness one of the most monumental transportations of all time. Decorate streets and zealous crowds cheered the Big Ben all along the way to its new abode.

Impressive, grand and glamorous this four faced clock stands proud as a symbol of London and the United Kingdom. Created as a part of the new Westminster palace after the original burned down, Big Ben embodies the strong Gothic style that was embraced by the new palace. Apart from being the host to a legend, Westminster Palace is a living guide to the events that have shaped the destiny of modern Britain. The awe inspiring Gothic architecture owes its craftsmanship to 19th-century architect Sir Charles Barry. As part of the UNESCO World Heritage site and Grade I listed, the Westminster Palace houses a stunning blend of modern architecture, legendary furnishings and monumental art works.

Big Ben is one of the most impressive sights of Westminster Palace and it even signals when Parliament is in session by having a light illuminated over its clock face. The clock tower is the world's largest four faced chiming clock and the third largest free standing clock. Big Ben is also a masterpiece of clock technology and has only ever stopped a few times which is an impressive feat considering the age of the clock. Whether you refer to the tower by its official name or simply as Big Ben people across the world will know exactly what you mean. Standing tall by day, Big Ben looks most spectacular at night when it is illuminated causing the clock tower to stand out against the night sky.

The Cellar Spirits! - Designing A Wine Cellar

Innovative home ideas that cater to your demands and interests are definitely great ventures to embark upon. A home wine cellar not only nurtures your passion for this perennially loved liquor, but also intensifies the worth of your house. Designing and making your very own wine cellar would add in to nurture your vintage collection without destroying its quality and taste. A wine cellar shall make a salient and remarkable feature of your haven.

Designing a cellar usually starts off with basic planning. Basic plans for wine cellars tend to use quality woods, such as oak, to construct shelving units for your wine bottles. You might order custom made shelving units designed to hold the wine properly. If you have an expensive collection, you should probably bring in the experts to save you a lot of frustration and keep from ruining your collection.

You'll need to construct the room your wine cellar will be held in, which will require such materials as drywall, insulation and wiring. Depending on the location of your wine cellar, you might also need flooring and other materials. Make sure you have durable and strong flooring system as this will support the overall weight of your wine collection as well as the furniture, appliances and equipment needed for the wine storage. The floor must be resistant to moisture and strong materials must be considered such as hardwood, tiles, stones and slates among others. It is also important to install vapor barriers with matching sealant that goes with your flooring materials to avoid heat flow inside the room.

The cooling system is a very functional and important component that you must ensure in transforming your basement to an appropriate venue for your wine collection. For instance, an ordinary AC unit would not be workable and complementary for this purpose. Make sure you have the budget especially in availing a good split system which is ideal for wine cellars. This is because this system helps in the regulation and insulation of the room as well as matches the size and heat load in the area.

All wine cellars need to have a controlled temperature, between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the ideal temperature for wines, both red and white, to age in. If your wine cellar temperature varies too widely or is too cold or warm, your wines may spoil or not age properly. Wine cellars must also have a controlled humidity level. The humidity of the natural caves and wine cellars where wine is aged tends to be around 70 percent, so you'll want your own wine cellar to maintain this level. In order to achieve these traits, you'll need to have both a humidifier and a cooling unit, so that you can be sure to have your wine at its optimum condition.

Another valuable and indispensable component is the lighting fixture although you have to take extra caution in this one. Lighting may potentially damage and distort the taste and quality of your wine but you certainly need it inside the room. The best way to do this is to select much dimmer lights as not to distract the aging process of your collection. It is also a good thing that there are innovative lighting ideas which come up with specially designed lights which are specifically used for wine cellars.

Whipping up a wine cellar for your home can be an enjoyable and an interesting experience. Having a wine cellar indeed, adds a magnificent touch to your home.

A Nifty Night on a Camping Spree - Camping in the Wilderness- Essentials

Camping can be an adventure that is cherished in the memory lane. The best time for a camping expedition can be during the early fall, late spring or late summer. A boulevard of actual wilderness, any camping site, or the beach add to the ideal places, perfect for camping. During such adventures, it is common to witness wildlife, unusual rock formations, beautiful scenery among other mesmerizing traits. Before embarking on such an experience always be sure to have camping essentials available

Whether camping alone, with family, or with a group, it is important to have the proper shelter. Prior to getting into such an experience make it a point to carry all incidental, essential requirements handy. This is exactly what will give you each protection from the weather and comfort. A rain fly and camping tent stakes should always be included.

The fly offers protection from rain and sun, as the stakes take care of the wind and keep your tent from being blown off by the wind. Experienced campers feel that one of the most important things for a camping trip is a tarp. These tarps come in various sizes and are made of very strong materials. They are used in front of the tent to keep out dirt and debris, and under the tent to protect from ground moisture. If poles are added to the supply list, a tarp can also be used as a lean-to.

At the end of an exciting day, it is necessary to rest and the proper sleeping gear is required. There are many different styles of sleeping bags on the market that are outstanding in comfort, and protection from dampness. Another possibility is the use of inflatable mattresses. Cooking when camping can be a real adventure. This can range from cooking over an open fire, a butane stove, a barbecue, or using other methods. This is especially a fun time if everyone in the family is responsible for a meal. Even a young child can get out utensils, cereal, sugar, and milk for breakfast.

No one wants to walk around in the dark so it is important to have some kind of light. While butane lanterns are an excellent choice, there are also solar lights. These lights only require being placed in the sun to be charged with solar rays. When darkness comes, they produce an excellent, clear light. Having sufficient food and other supplies is, of course, important. It must be remembered that ice chests will not preserve frozen foods, so things need to be purchased that will not spoil.

Always take along plenty of drinking water as outdoor water, especially creeks, can contain harmful bacteria. Never take along electronic games to keep the children amused. Let this be a fun time where they can learn about nature and enjoying simple things. Having a deck of cards or board games is fine for the leisure hours.

If you are in a state or federal campground there are often evening fireside chats as well as daily tours. Thankfully, there are many outstanding locations to choose from in an instance where you have decided to go on a camping expedition. This kind of experience opens the doors to thrilling escapades to have heartfelt moments of fun and frolic, to over a lifetime.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Fishing Out Trouble

Now here’s some technology we can all be thankful for and which was sorely needed given the condition of our seas.

European group BMT has introduced a new fish in the seas of Spain and this is one fish that’s not ending up on your dinner plate anytime soon! The Robo-Fish has been designed to swim even in the deepest parts of the ocean to detect pollution in the waters. This 1.5 m long fish has been made to emulate its real-life counterparts in every detail so as not to scare these inhabitants of the deep. Of course, its fish-like shape is the most suitable for its task since it is the most hydro-dynamic shape in nature whereas if the machine had been outfitted with propellers and the like there would be more chances of it getting snagged in the weedier depths.

So, this new Robo-fish works on several levels towards the cause of pollution detection. Not only can it swim to unprecedented depths to look for the presence of pollutants in the water, check salinity and oxygen levels; it provides constant real-time detection as opposed to periodic checks at harbours in which case it is often too late to check the spread or trace the culprits. The Robo-fish can also be fitted with detectors for different types of pollutants depending on the waters it is scouring.

With the construction cost of each fish at about £20,000, the robot is currently on its test swim in the waters of Spain. If it proves to be successful it is hoped to be seen in more countries across the world. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Light and easy!

Keeping it light could acquire a whole new dimension if this newest piece of furniture is anything to go by.
This Paperpedic Bed by Karton is, you guessed it, made of paper. Not only that, this miracle recyclable bed can be turned from a twin bed to a King size one and is claimed to be able to take up to 1 tonne of weight and can comfortably sleep 10 people. Apparently, the company gathered a group of volunteers to test its claim. 

And yes, again, it’s made of paper. Made by a system of intricately folded and tabbed paper panels that come together to form a sleek structure the bed is lightweight, strong and of course, recyclable.

The idea behind Karton’s designing is to create furniture that can be assembled or, rather, unfolded without the need for glue or chasing after extra parts. They wanted their products to be minimalistic, durable and affordable. So their bed retails at about $190 and you can add a set of space-saving drawers that can just slide under the bed at an additional $60 and round it off with a bedside table at about $75.  And voila! You have a whole set of recyclable bedroom furniture at less than $350.

However, if you live anywhere but in Australia you might have a bit of a problem sourcing the company’s furniture for a while yet as it's only available for sale online within Australia. However, the good news is that the company is considering making its furniture available for sale in other countries as well and it might just be possible since they ship all their furniture in compact boxes. Karton also has a variety of other furniture like stools and office furniture that you can consider.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Living in the deep, blue sea

Fancy living in a hotel where you wake up to, not the sun, but coral reefs outside your window? Well, your wish might just be Dubai's command.

Polish firm Deep Ocean Technology has unfurled Dubai's latest underwater ambition - the Water Discus Hotel.Though this isn't Dubai's first attempt at a place like that, this one is aimed at being slightly different from the earlier plan; whether or not it will ever see the light of day remains to be seen.

The hotel will comprise of a series of discs, one of which will be positioned about 21 stories underwater, offering the guests a view directly into the Persian Gulf. These discs are also interchangeable and if that particular area of Dubai were to fall out of fashion for any reason, well, DOT has thought of that too. “If any changes in environmental or economic conditions occur, the Water Discus modules can be transferred to a different place. This offers a unique opportunity to live underwater on a permanent basis with unlimited options to change locations.”  

What this also apparently means is that any interior design changes or other things could actually take place offsite.

 What is also interesting about the design is that the above-water discs have “positive buoyancy, which means they can be used as lifesaving vessels after being detached from the main body of the upper disc.”

And, if for reasons unforeseen , the hotel is not constructed in the planned location, Deep Ocean Technology have made the design plans adaptable to varying sea levels.

The hotel is also to include a diving center, underwater tourist vehicles, a spa, garden areas, an above-water terrace, and a helipad for guests.

Now, all that remains is to see if these plans will come to fruition or go the way of the Hydropolis or Dubai's famous but now sinking island atlas.

Friday, May 18, 2012

During Middle Ages.... - Norman Architecture

Named so due to its roots in Normandy, arose in the Middle Ages, Norman Architecture began in the early 11th century and ended by the 12th century, following the Saxon architectural movement. Norman architecture is a form of the prevailing Romanesque Architecture that was propagated by the Normans or the Vikings, who conquered England. Its development gave rise to large and impenetrable cathedrals, fortresses, castles, and fortifications. A hallmark of Norman constructions is their cross-like shape, deriving from the Roman basilica pattern. The quintessential medieval castles were of a distinct Norman innovation. They arose in England, Scotland, Ireland, Normandy, and Italy. In Italy, Norman features were combined with Byzantine and Arabic styles, which made for less gloominess.

The building materials used in Norman Architecture mainly included stones to give the buildings greater stability. These stones were uncut because there were no real architectural or mason jobs in the Norman era. Therefore, buildings were made up of large, irregularly shaped stones that contributed to their bulky look. Norman roofs were vaulted and these vaults allowed for more balanced weight distribution across the roof. Norman buildings' adornment was minimal, though some architects used their chisels to carve a series of arches into walls. These were not actual arches, but carvings giving a trompe de l'oeil effect. Moreover, some architects carved moldings onto stone surfaces. A minority of architects even became so apt with their chisel that they sculpted animals onto reliefs over doorways, or tympanums. Arches and columns were also minimally decorated elements. As the Norman movement reached its peak in the 12th century, however, it gave rise to more ornamentation. This ornamentation gradually culminated in the first stained glass windows in the 12th century.

Norman Architecture was additionally distinguished by very small windows. Architects avoided installing large windows to avoid chances of building collapse. Therefore, people who resided in Norman buildings were in extremely dim surroundings, using candles as their only source of light. The "Dark Ages," by which the Middle Ages was alternately known, may have been due in part to the dimness of Norman buildings, as a result of their extremely small windows. It wasn't until the Gothic period that architects safely installed huge windows to let in an enormous quantity of light, giving the constructions their celestial quality. Gradually, Romanesque and Norman Architecture blazed new trails by installing much taller and square buildings. These taller buildings had much denser walls to give the needed support to these majestic heights. Inside these buildings, there were also large columns that bolstered structural support. These walls would become much thinner with the advent of flying buttresses, which arose in the Gothic movement.

One of England's first pieces of Norman Architecture was London's Westminster Abbey. Though this structure is now largely Gothic, it began as a Norman construction. Many Gothic structures, in fact, began as Norman buildings that were later elaborated on by Gothic architects. The Tower of London, which served as the royal dungeon, is another example of Norman Architecture. It contained extremely thick walls, spanning about 15 feet wide, to support that height. It is, like many Romanesque buildings, a fortress-like building. Presently, architects are not rebuilding Norman Architecture, except for historical reproduction purposes. Norman Architecture realized unsurpassed heights and first renewed the magnificence of classical styles. Though taking place in a dark period, it manifested the collective desire to reawaken human greatness, as people perceived it in classical architecture. Part of Norman Architecture's legacy was to have passed on this desire in large measure to the succeeding Renaissance era.

Designing an Elegant Haven - Interior Designing

It is a general belief that a beautiful home should necessarily be a spacious one with several rooms, accommodated with various appliances, furniture and other paraphernalia. But people never realize that a luxury home need not be an elegant one with large spacing, modular appliances and furniture. A little creativity, interior designing ideas are all that are needed to make a home stylish and beautiful. Every interior space has unique qualities attached to it, just like a natural outdoor space like forest. You can see lots of textures in it and all these elements create a unique visual effect to give a relevant effect on mind. That is why the interior design ideas that you choose should have textures to create wonders in interior design.

Some of the things that you can look into are wooden furniture, linen cloth, rubber or leather flooring or upholstery, wallpapers, plastic lampshades and other decorative items, and also steel furniture. All these can sure give your interior a new atmosphere and make it even more attractive and appealing. These are even very affordable and within your budget so you will not have to worry about throwing money away just to look cool. But if you have more money for interior design, you may as well consider building new rooms, move walls, or add another level to the structure.

Residential interior design involves dealing with home owners normally on an available budget. Some interior designers specialize in working on bathrooms, kitchens, living areas or even bedrooms. The best place to start your search for interior design ideas is to go online and check various interior design websites. Here, you can find lots of creative ideas and items that you can even purchase online for convenience. But if you really wish to make the most out of your interior design project, you can consult an interior designer for interior design ideas that will best work for your home interior.

Interior design is a process. This practice often involves the manipulation of texture, proportion and the efficient usage of light in order to achieve symmetry, harmony and a proper equilibrium in overall human life. The fundamental principles of good design are natural and to a large extent innate. The particular design of a room works not only on the often ignored senses of smell and hearing but also on the emotions. Color schemes are selected to reflect the mood of a room. Understanding how each aspect of a design contributes to an overall look and feel of a room or space constantly is one vital aspect of interior designing.

Totally Tuned for the Bowlers' Alley! - Bowling Equipment and Accessories

Bowling is a leisure activity that provides many health and physiological benefits. Bowling may be a form of relaxation to many or a way to bond with families and friends. A person does not need to be a pro to enjoy this kind of sport. Bowling alleys contribute to the interest of many people in the sport and should be a place where fun and enjoyment may be experienced. Whether a professional bowler or a novice one, it is recommended to have the proper equipment and accessories before heading to the bowling alley.

Bowling balls are the most important equipment in bowling. When buying bowling balls, some features should be considered. They are the weight, size of the ball holes, and whether the balls are designed for right-handed or left-handed persons. There are also three types of balls - beginner, intermediate and the advanced bowling balls. Kids may also buy bowling balls that are designed specifically for them.

Bowling shoes are also necessary in bowling. Bowling shoes are not just ordinary shoes; each shoe in the pair serves a purpose. One shoe is designed for better sliding while the other is for braking. When choosing bowling shoes, it is important to consider the size. They should not be too loose or too tight on the feet. The bowler must be able to move comfortably.

Like other sports, proper clothing is necessary and must be comfortable. Specially designed bowling shirts with collars are worn by professional bowlers. However, if the player is just an ordinary bowler, any regular shirt with collar will do as long as it fits comfortably and not be a distraction while bowling.

Bowling gloves are very beneficial to bowlers. These are used to provide a better grip of the ball. Bowling gloves help players throw a ball accurately and with power. Gloves are helpful in supporting the wrist and making a smooth delivery possible. Towels are important and used to wipe the oil residue from the balls. Towels may be improvised or there are special bowling towels available in sports supply stores.

Other accessories may also be considered like bags, face towels, wrist bands and bowling ball cleaners and polishers. All these accessories are beneficial in providing mobility and comfort to bowlers. Bowling is one of the most popular sports in the world. One of the reasons for its popularity is that it is an easy game, and almost anyone can play.

As bowling has become more and more popular, a large number of bowling equipment manufacturers and supply companies have emerged with innovative and attractive bowling equipment to serve the general public, pro shops and distributors. It is advisable that even if you are brand new to bowling, you should always use the proper equipment whenever you bowl, for a perfect bowling experience and to get the real kick out of the game.

Pop a champagne and how!

So, Guinness is celebrating its 250th Anniversary this year and they've decided to make a splash with it. Quite literally.

The company commissioned London based Jump Studios to repurpose a submarine, creating the world's first deep sea bar! Working in co-ordination with famed carpenter and designer Nicholas Alexander, Jump Studios has created this funky bar in the insides of the submarine. Designed to look like it was floating full of bubbles the team measured the interiors of the submarine and constructed the pre-fabricated interior shell in Alexander's London studio before assembling it in sub zero temperatures and then sinking the newly created bar deep into the Baltic Sea. While some of these prefabricated bubbles have been fit with LED lights, some have been left open to hold glasses and the like.

 Made to strict marine engineering guidelines, the designers had to take into account not just the unique interiors of the submarine but also the stringent guidelines regarding its daily mechanics and ventilation and fire safety. However, none of that seems to have impaired the signature playfulness of the Jump studio that is now stamped  on the world's first and only deep sea bar. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Nestling in the mountains

Now, who wouldn't want to work in a place like this?

Surrounded by lush alpine greenery in the valley of Saint-Jean-de-Morains between Lyon and Grenoble, this is one corporate office unlike any other you ever saw. The newly constructed office of Rossignol, a leader in the snow sports industry, has been designed and constructed to reflect their technology, commitment to the outdoors, as well as their beautiful, mountainous surroundings. Designed by Herault Arnold Architctes, the structure has been blanketed under one continuous roof that dips, sways and peaks to reflect the mountains around it, with skylights that allow natural light to stream in to rooms.

The skeleton has been built of steel allowing for large, open interior spaces; and then clothed in natural larch wood and grass. The building maximises the use of natural energy by making good use of insulation which prevents the loss of heat. All heat that is wasted is recovered and re-injected into its heating network, and the automatic windows open whenever the conditions outside are just right. Talk about a smart building!

 Inside, the office is the one-stop point for the company, providing for the production of equipment, offices of the management, sales and marketing offices as well as an in-house restaurant very similar to ski lodges.

Now, if you had a place like that to call work, why would you ever want to call in sick?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The soul of Seoul!

Kudos, Seoul! This is one architectural work of art that the citizens of Seoul are going to be thanking the civic authorities for, for a long, long time to come.

Seoul restored the lost Cheonggyecheon river which had been buried under asphalt for decades now, turning it into one of the most scenic sites of Seoul. The ChonGae Sunken Stone Garden is located in the Central Business District and was completed in the year 2005. Since then the Garden has seen a footfall of over 10 million which is not surprising in the least bit surprising. Designed by Mikyoung Kim Design, the water levels from season to season allow people to see the status of the river.

For 40 years the stream was covered with a pavement and used as a road. Until they started a project to restore the river and the result was the beautiful urban park it’s turned into today. The Stone Garden is the entry point of the river from where it rises and falls over the sloping and stepped stones. The Garden has, since, become an important place for festivals, concerts and other public events. And we can see why.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Architectural Marvel - ISKCON Temple in Delhi

Sri Radha Parthasarathi Mandir or popularly known as ISKCON temple is a popular tourist attraction of Delhi. It is located at Hari Krishna Hill in East of Kailash area of New Delhi. This is among the most lavish temples renowned across the globe for its exquisite architectural beauty. The stupendous structure of this temple rises up to a height of 90 feet above ground level. It is one of the famous 40 temples in India built by ISCKON group. For Vaishnavites this temple is among the most revered places to worship Lord Krishna. This temple was built in 1998 by the religious organization ISCKON. This organization was founded by Acharya Bhaktivedanta Swami Rabhupada in 1966. The main objective of this spiritual organization is to propagate spiritual knowledge in society based on the Hindu holy scripture the Bhagavad-gita and the Srimad-Bhagavatam.

It is a grand temple situated amidst lush green gardens and houses the eye-catching idols of Sri Radha Krishna Parthasarathi, Sri Rama, Lakshman, Hanumana and Sri Gaura Nitai. The temple is also famous for its architectural beauty which beautifully reflects in its exterior and interior decorations. The temple has air-conditioned hall where 1,500 people can stand and perform the rituals. This temple is renowned for its fine collection of paintings by Russian artists. These paintings showcase several events related to Hindu mythological characters of Sita-Ram, Radha-Krishna, Hanuman, Laxman and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

The temple has three main shrines which are located inside a huge air-conditioned hall. The three shrines are dedicated to Guara-Nitai, Sita-Ram and Radha-Krishna. All the idols enshrined in the temple are noted for their sculptured beauty. They are festooned with colourful clothes and expensive gold and silver jewellery. The museum of this temple is also worth watching because of its remarkable paintings and outstanding objects which give deep insight of Indian spiritualism. The museum also throws light on the history of India. Here one can also find easy and simple explanation of great Indian epics like Mahabharata and Ramayana. The robot show and the light and sound show are other two popular attractions of this museum which illustrate various religious thoughts in an easy manner.

Play Place in the Backyard! - Designing A Play House For Your Kids

Before you can build a playhouse in the backyard for your kids, you obviously need a plan. Without a plan you'll stumble along, making random cuts and wasting your time and money on wrongly cut lumber. But how and where do you get a design and a plan? Let's face it, most of us are just regular guys or gals without a degree in architecture, right? So how do we design and build a playhouse? One way to get your creative juices flowing is to study other playhouses. Whether online or in person, look at and study as many playhouse designs as you can. If you are lucky enough to see some in person, take a measuring tape with you and physically measure the height and widths. Get a feel for how big a playhouse should be and how big you want yours to be.

Figure out where you are going to put it, how it is going to be used, the age and size of the children, and what theme they would like best, be it a plain old club house, a log cabin, a pirate ship, or even a castle. Sketch it out first; details can be added later. Make sure you choose weather resistant materials appropriate for the climate you live in. You want the kids to be able to use if for as much of the year as possible. Decide how high you want the roof, and then add doors and windows as needed. Instead of glass, why not add wood shutters for cooler weather and a bamboo shade for use during the hot months?

Make sure it is large enough for three to four children to sit in and study enough to withstand some roughhousing. Instead of adding electricity or any feature than can possibly endanger the kids, plan to have a couple of battery operated lanterns in the playhouse. Once can hang from a ceiling hook, and one can sit on a small play table. Hang a bungee cord from another ceiling hook for the kids to hang a plastic bag of snacks on. It will keep them safe from critters. For flooring, use either a remnant of outdoor carpeting, or a bamboo mat. A couple of sleeping bags, a bean bag chair in a sturdy water resistant material, and a small play table with a couple of chairs, and all the kids will need is their imagination!

It is also a good idea to remember that you can build two different kinds of playhouses. You can construct a playhouse that rests amongst the trees, or you can build a small house that rests flatly on the ground. You can also choose construction plans that utilize specific themes. If you are building your playhouse on your own though, you should certainly keep in mind that the type of theme you select may affect the complexity and difficulty inherent in the building process of the playhouse itself. If you are considering building your playhouse yourself, you should definitely keep in mind the fact that there are a variety of different playhouse plans available on the market today that can make the process of building your playhouse incredibly simple. When you choose a plan that clearly lays out the process of constructing your house, you can be certain that you will be able to complete the task using your own carpentry skills, even if you do not have a very advanced knowledge about the art of woodworking.

A Holiday in Nature's Nurture - Eco-Tourism

India is basically known for the suited destinations for adventure lovers, heritage travel and pilgrimage travel. Going on a tour to a place of natural beauty is something which most of us look forward to, and eco tourism is one way of doing this. The new trend in travel is eco-tourism these days, or ecological tourism to give it its full name. In a world where more and more people are looking at ways and means to save the environment as a result of environmental degradation.

As a result, eco-tourism has been around for years. It has only been the last few years that it has really caught the attention of travelers everywhere though. Eco Tourism derived from two words- Ecosystem and Tourism. Eco Tourism is the best option for the people who love nature and its beauty. India is very well known among nature lovers and tourists from all over the world. Being famous for its enriched culture, beauty and heritage, it is getting well equipped with a number of Botanical and Zoological Gardens that are meant to preserve the nature and environment.

Eco-tourism is perfect for individuals interested in the natural world. It is all about getting back to nature and valuing everything around us. As a result, eco-tourism is incredible and can really make you feel like you are alive. The one thing that puts most individuals off is that it sounds expensive, but if you know where to look and take the hints and tips given to you, then it need not be expensive at all.

Eco tourism is of fairly recent origin, but its popularity is growing at a fast rate. Unlike regular forms of tourism, eco tourism involves responsible travel to places of natural beauty and charm, causing less impact on the environment and with consideration for the local culture and people. Due to the popularity of the concept, a lot of tour operators and businessmen try to cash in on the concept by organizing fake eco tourism ventures with scant regard for the preservation or protection of the site or benefit for the local people.

By simply building a multi-storied hotel nearby natural surroundings, some operators advertise their business as eco tourism. If you are planning to go on an eco tourism holiday, however, it is advisable to check the credentials of the tour operator and the place to be visited. A little bit of back ground check can eliminate these risks. Eco tourism is a concept that has been promoted for preventing the environment around us and preserving its resources. Apart from providing a pleasant visit to tourists who wish to take a breath from the hasty city life and enjoy in midst of greenery, it also safeguard the environment from getting ruined.

It is a novel section adjunct to the Indian Tourism plan. This is an ideal form of tourism that encourage going back to natural wealth in every aspects of life. Environment has served us the pleasure of relaxing and enjoying the natural wealth. Eco tourism is one of the major steps in saving the nature from global warming. Every tourism sector and tourists should encourage eco tourism for the well being of our surroundings.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

It's all bio!

(picture courtesy

This is one home you’re not likely to forget in a hurry. The Villa Bio in Figueres, Spain designed by Cloud9, Barcelona is as eye-catching a home as it is Green. This home has a gorgeous living roof, floor to ceiling glass windows that cap the ends and even an underground parking. 

The entire structure of the house seems to be composed of one ribbon of concrete, slit across the middle and pulled up to make it seem like a split-level. There are also no beams in the house to support the structure, even with the living roof which adds a considerable amount of weight. The living roof at Villa Bio is also designed to support the weight of people lounging in the garden as well as gardening on it. The garden however is a Hydroponic garden which means the garden is planted without the use of soil. 

However, there is the fact that concrete has a rather high carbon footprint. But on the upside it has a remarkably long life and can be recycled. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Just hanging around!

So you fancy yourself a camping enthusiast? Or do you dream of weekends spent outside of four walls and far from the madding crowd?

Well, whatever be your reason for heading out of the city or even your own house, we're sure these tree-hung tents called Tentsile Treehouse Tents would make you very happy!

The tents are meant to be anchored off the ground and mostly, as the name suggests, to be hung between trees when you're living in the wild, much like a hammock. And if there are no trees handy or you just feel the desire or well, the necessity, to sleep out of doors in your backyard, these Tentsile Treehouse Tents also come equipped with three poles you can use to anchor your tent. So, yes, it's a lot like a portable tree house and claims that it'll keep you safe from, well, everything that crawls on the ground, including ground water. For things that can fall off trees ... well, we wish you luck.

The other interesting feature of the tent is that it has compartments and claims to have sleeping room for three people! Well!

Now, as is obvious while the tent is perfect for some situations and you're OK wit jumping out of bed, literally, every morning, we're not sure it's the most ideal thing for every situation.For instance, if your camping trip is an extended one, not having any sort of solid ground under you for such a long time could cause you some back problems. Also, when it rains, only water on the ground would not be your problem. Water could also pool on the tent making things rather uncomfortable.

However, if its camping in the backyard you're looking at, the Tentsile Treehouse Tents sound like a great proposition. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The walls are breathing!

Balcony at Dilston Grove
(copyright Ackroyd & Harvey)

It’s almost literally a temple of green. South East London’s Dilston Grove Art gallery used to once upon a time be a church. And today, it comes fairly close to being something of a living edifice. 

The Italian style church (formerly known as Clare College Mission Church) was the first concrete church to be built in England in the early 1900s. The derelict church has now been converted into an art gallery and boasts of grass walls that cover its interiors, courtesy Ackroyd & Harvey of London.  

Watering Dilston Grove -
(copyright Ackroyd & Harvey)
The austere exteriors of the church gave way to compelling interiors and the artists saw in them the potential to create something that could be a monumental art work. And so came about the grass interiors of Dilston Grove, when vision came together with clay, germinating grass seed, water and natural light; there was almost nothing that stop the creation of this living and breathing, literally, work of art.

Working in conjunction with sound artist and composer, Grame Miller the artists infused life of a unique kind in the decaying interiors of the building over a 3 week period. That it was a breathtaking sight for sore eyes, we have no doubt. Just as we’re sure it brought alive the walls in a way its original architects would never have thought of.   

Friday, May 4, 2012

Lord of the Sky - Architecture of Ambreshwar Shiva Temple

The term Ambernath actually indicates Lord of the sky. Ambernath is the location of an ancient temple, the historic Ambreshwar Shiva Temple devoted to Lord Shiva, the architecture and construction of which dates back to 1060 AD in the 10th century. . Strategically located by the bank of Vadavan ( Waldhuni ) river, the temple is a towering construction encompassed by a fenced barrier. Richly carved and embellished out of one single black stone, the state-of-the-art carvings are impressed from Hemadpanti style of architecture.

One belief suggests that the temple was constructed by the Pandava brothers of the epic Mahabharta fame for taking a night refuge during their period of exile (vanvaas). They could not complete the structure which is reflected even today in the missing roof directly above the main sanctum area (Garbha Griha) of the temple. It is also said that there is a km–long passageway which was used by the Pandavas to escape which lies shut and locked today. There is another official version that advocates that this temple was constructed by Shilahara king, Chittaraja and later rebuilt by his son, Mummuni.

However, the saddening part is that a historical monument like this with such an exquisite past is gradually decaying with some of the sculptural carvings falling off due to neglect and poor maintenance by the authorities. Inside the temple, the main sanctum housing the Shiv Ling is situated at a slightly lower level and one has to descend a few of steps to take the blessings of Lord Shiva. There are a couple of other smaller temples too in the temple premises that you will come across along the premises.

One can’t help but marvel at the beauty of the religious place of worship which not only opens the window to the state’s rich past but also brings alive the time-honored stories from our ancient texts. And then, whichever way you may deem these stories to be, true or false; one can’t deny the peace and calm and the sense of spiritual energy that one is filled with when one visits such places of rich architecture.

...Like a Diamond in the Light! - Chandeliers For Your Home

Chandelier lighting has been around for centuries, even before the middle ages people used them. Back in those days chandeliers were a simple cross of wood with spikes that candles could be stuck to. In fact the name chandelier is French for candlestick. The chandeliers were attached to a pulley by rope so that they could be raised and lowered for lighting the candles.

Chandeliers in public buildings sometimes have this same feature, so that they can be lowered for cleaning and replacing burnt out bulbs. When metalwork became affordable for the merchant middle class, chandeliers became made of brass or bronze. These multi armed chandeliers with candles (and later gaslights) are still in use, although we use electric lights. A chandelier can be an ideal option for lighting in your home. Not just for foyers and formal dining areas, but chandeliers can also be used to provide lighting in kitchens, bedrooms, as well as the children's room. But before you go out and look for that perfect chandelier, here are some things that you need to consider.

The most important element to consider is the size. If not sized correctly, a chandelier will not be able to provide lighting as desired and may well not fit into its designated spot. So here's what you need to know about sizing a chandelier. When choosing a chandelier for a particular room, you need to first measure the width and length of the room. Add these two measurements and the resultant sum (in inches) is how wide your chandelier should be.

If you wish to achieve ambient lighting, you should go in for a big one, which has plenty of bulbs and open lights. This will ensure that the chandelier provides light for the entire room. If you want to place your chandelier over something specific so as to illuminate that object, or if you want it to provide you with accent lighting for specific areas, then you should choose one with spotlights and down lights. A spotlight will help you to focus lighting on special works of art and help to bring about their beauty. With down lights, you can provide accent lighting for tabletops and other specific areas.

Many people like to have sober diffused lighting in their home. They do not like the glare of very bright lights. If you desire such lighting, you should choose a chandelier with up lights. An up light will throw light on the ceiling which then gets diffused and provides a very warm glow. You can also choose a chandelier with shades as this will help to maximize the light filtering down but reduce the glare at the same time.

Once you have decided on what type of lighting effect you wish to achieve, you can select a chandelier accordingly.

Grooming The Lush Greens - Gardening and Lawn Care

There are many garden treaters being available throughout the country, a majority of them are pricey. Moreover, most property owners just need a healthy garden without checking monotonous methods and treatment options that lawn providers tend to be obliquely recognized for. Luckily, lawn treatment isn't as challenging as people believe. All that is required is a bit regarding persistence and some time daily to keep a well groomed as well as environmentally friendly lawn. Most problems encountered by homeowners with lawns are actually easy to treat and control. Weed growth that seems to be getting out of control could be treated with herbicides. However, the harmful weeds must be identified in order to fully exterminate this dilemma. Organic and environmentally friendly herbicides are also available to help reduce the chemicals that are being sprayed on the soil.

Bare patches on the lawn usually indicate pests or diseases. As such, it is best to remove the said patches and to replace them with healthy soil. Fertilizer must be added before the grass seeds are spread out evenly on the soil. This newly patched section must be raked so that only around five to ten percent of the seeds are visible on the soil. A layer of natural compost or straw could be added as well to provide wetness to the soil and to ward off any inquisitive birds within the area. Another common lawn care problem is the presence of uneven or bumpy ground. Fortunately, this problem could be easily taken care of if the bump is not more than an inch high. An equal blend of topsoil, sand and compost can be used to fill up uneven areas. Add a touch of fertilizer and sprinkle some water to further even out the soil.

Compacted soil may pose as a bothersome dilemma for some homeowners as this often clogs up the root system. Thus, sufficient moisture, oxygen and nutrient distribution are hindered. The only way to solve this problem is to have soil aerated for at least a couple times each year. Lawn aerators can easily be rented from companies that provide lawn services. It would be advisable to complete more research regarding the garden strategies utilized by specialist garden companies. Nevertheless, it could nevertheless be much better to get specialist help or perhaps advice prior to embarking on trial and error treatments. Garden treatment may seem challenging and tiresome, but with enough knowledge and energy on your stride, a healthy yard could be effortlessly achieved.