Posts Tagged ‘travel’

More Chickens

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This week we added to our Icelandic flock with assistance from David Grote at Whippoorwill Farm in Iron River, Wisconsin.

We took a road trip to Whippoorwill Farm and purchased two hens and a rooster, with the intentions of adding the hens to our pair, and giving the rooster to Theresa, one of our chicken benefactors.

Whippoorwill farm is beautiful. Even the overcast chill didn't take the spark out of the rolling hills and happy animals--three farm dogs, Priscilla the fjord horse, a pile of Icelandic sheep and an energetic coop of Icelandic chickens.


We had a great time, and finished our trip with a purchase of some of the beautiful hand-spun yarn David makes from his sheep's wool. We'll keep you posted on what creations come of the yarn from Monika and Opha. Vickie, our knitting friend, will whip up some warm goodies--note her matching sweater and half-gloves.



Theresa reports that the rooster is really mellow and is working well with her flock. Our chickens have been a different story--we now have Matilde on her own for awhile, to reflect on and hopefully reform her actions and stop pecking at the new hens, Bianca and Björk, who are patiently sitting in the background of this photo.



Duisburg’s Shifting Landscape

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Famous before completion, Duisburg Nord Landscape Park (Latz+Partner, design 1990) is a stunningly successful example of the repurposing of an industrial site into a multi-functional landscape. We had a chance to tour the park between attending the IENE conference and Glasstec.

Formerly an ironworks plant in the Ruhr area of Germany, the site became a shining example of how a polluted industrial site, or "brownfield," can become home to new human use and ecological opportunities. Once-rare examples like Seattle's Gassworks Park (1975), projects to remediate and repurpose brownfield sites are now too numerous to count.


This shifting of use marks how the location and scale of our industrial processes transform, and who performs the "work" of our current industrial era. Duisburg Nord is still surrounded by active industry, but is also adjacent to freeway and retail expansion.


Minnesota is no stranger to changing industrial markets and scales. From the fur trade to white pine to iron and other minerals to wheat and corn, the landscape and culture have continually re-formed to fit viable and profitable modes of extraction and production.


Below are links to some folks who are imaging and analyzing industrial landscapes. Edward Burtynsky's photographs examine "nature transformed through industry." Landscape architect Kate Orff and photographer Richard Misrach have imaged and visually analyzed Louisiana's chemical corridor in "Petrochemical America."

How, what and where we procure and produce things will continue to evolve. Each change signals an opportunity to adjust and refocus our cultural intentions.



Stepping into Glasstec

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The Rheinturm reflecting on the Stadttor facade, and seen from inside the Stadttor building


Another bienneal event Meteek attended this Fall is Glasstec, the global glass tradeshow in Düsseldorf, Germany. Glasstec covers all aspects of glass, from solar installations and architecture to interior design and jewelry.


What does Meteek find so interesting about glass? Besides the glass office building facade that has become so ubiquitous, architectural glass is associated with industrial material companions, steel and fabric. And what pushes the envelope in material manufacturing and application of one of these materials often brings the other two along.

Interesting architectural uses of materials around Düsseldorf


Architectural glass has advanced the frontier of automated building systems, air exchange, active and passive solar systems, and complex fastening technologies. Glass, steel and fabric together have allowed breakthrough structural designs to emerge, and created the demand for dimensional computer modeling necessary for the structural testing and construction workflows for these designs.

One of the many displays of robotic technology for glass manufacturing and installation


Meteek is keen on innovating systems that work in our climate, and finding new material combinations, structural options and workflow technologies that align with our commitment to energy efficiency and beautiful design.

And we had a blast talking with innovators and manufacturers from all over the world, touring around Düsseldorf and catching up with friends in the glass trade.

New technologies including conductive thinfilm and printed photovoltaic laminates


With Joe, Bhavani, Kirsten and Phillip at La Donna Cannone


IENE – the Infra Eco Network Europe

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Yes, but what is an IENE, you ask???

IENE is a biennal gathering of folks interested in mitigating the deleterious effects of infrastructure on the habitats we build it in and on.

And what does that mean???

We have built infrastructure--roads, railways, power transmission lines, pipelines--in a way that creates barriers to the daily, seasonal or breeding migration of all sorts of animals, including humans. The most obvious indication of the habitat infringement and fragmentation this creates is roadkill.

In areas without measures to assist in crossing infrastructure barriers, all kinds of animals are squashed daily, and nightly, from beetles, snakes and turtles to deer, herons and bats. Less obviously, some animals stop attempting to cross these barriers, and the resulting land for daily foraging, and for seasonal mating, gets systematically diminished as we build more roads and develop more residential and industrial areas.

This year the IENE conference was held in Potsdam, Germany, and included presentations, posters and field trips. The images below are from a bus trip to view various sites that are part of an ecological network in the state of Brandenburg, including a just-completed wildlife overpass on the A9 with establishing vegetation and motion-activated video cameras powered by solar panels.


Conference attendees include biologists, highway engineers, ecologists, designers and project managers interested in creating robust ecological habitats in the midst of infrastructures that fragment the landscape. Folks came from all over Europe, as well as countries in Asia, South America, and North America, to discuss research, strategies and projects.


Cynthia presented two posters, one on the class she teaches in the Netherlands about water, ecology and infrastructure to emerging professionals, and one about an ongoing documentation of a site where a habitat corridor is planned near Almere, also in the Netherlands.


Meteek hopes to spport and participate in projects that reconnect our fragmented habitats, for other animals and for humans.

There is a complementary biennial conference in North America, ICOET, which was held in Duluth in 2009. At that conference, filmmaker Eric Bendick showed his award-winning documentary "Division Street," on how roads can fragment habitat and featuring projects that are mitigating these effects in Florida, Montana and Canada.

Here is the trailer for Division Street:


Tracy Metz in Minneapolis!

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Tracy Metz is a writer, cultural critic, US-expat in Amsterdam, Harvard Loeb Fellow, world citizen, engaging and generous person, and a friend of Meteek & Co.

This Monday, October 1 at 6:00 pm in Rapson Hall on the University of Minnesota Minneapolis campus, Tracy Metz will give a lecture about her book, "Sweet&Salt: Water and the Dutch." There will be a reception and book signing afterwards.

"Sweet&Salt", co-authored with Maartje van den Huevel and published by NAi, is a combination of inspiring essays and dramatic pieces of art from the history and future of the Dutch relationship to water.Her lecture is part of the "Next Generation of Parks" series supported by the Minneapolis Parks Foundation, ASLA-MN and the Walker Art Center. These partners, along with the University of Minnesota's Landscape Architecture program and Meteek & Co., have gotten together to sponsor Tracy's lecture and visit.

Here are some pages from the book:


Go to the lecture Monday night in Minneapolis, or let someone there know about it who would be interested!


Below are a bunch of links to more information and a book review:


Design Q&A:

Book Review:

Circle Touring

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We were excited to host three cyclists from Western Michigan on day 7 of their Lake Superior Circle Tour. Tara, Jill and Emma are braving the chilly autumn temperatures of the North Shore and plan to complete their trip in a couple more weeks.

Duluth is conveniently located at the "corner" of Lake Superior, where the South Shore (sandy and flat) and the North Shore (rocky and hilly) meet. Having started in Marquette, Michigan, they will be trading headwinds for hills as they ride up Highway 61 towards Thunder Bay and beyond. For Jill and Tara, this is their second lake circle tour--they rode around Lake Michigan last year, and plan to do Ontario next. After all the Great Lakes, they plan to ride the Continental Divide trail--a very impressive itinerary.


Stay superstrengthified and power to the pedal! Good luck and ride safe!

The bike shop where Jill works:

The bike shop where Tara works:
and updates about their trip:

Emma writes for this magazine:


ASHRAE Show and Millennium Park

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This week we had the pleasure of attending the ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers) winter show in Chicago, North America's largest heating and cooling show. Lots to see, and lots of innovation going on. 


We had fun scootering around the city, looking at materials and building techniques. In Millennium Park, we saw frost patterns on the Cloud Gate sculpture (the "Bean") one morning, then had the opportunity to speak with one of the builders from the firm that constructed the sculpture and did the finishing work. He was taking out a scratched graffitti tag.

Frost patterns melting on Cloud Gate


A steel worker removing scratched graffitti


He recounted the long, slow process of constructing the sculpture and taking the stainless steel panels to a seamless mirror finish. He said the first time they saw the frost patterns, they thought the whole mirror finish had somehow gone wrong. They were relieved when the air temperature warmed and all the lines vanished.

Red, green and blue LEDs that create the video imagery on the Crown Fountain