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Designed by change architects, OCT Group’s Chaohu Natural and Cultural Center is the primary public support facility for Chaohu Bantang Hot Spring Town. The building, which is located at the foot of the Juzhang Mountain, is regarded as a landmark that arose from the intersection of the local natural environment and city life, demonstrating cultural heritage and future lifestyle.

The external shape of the mountain and the land contour project the overall plan and elevations of the building. When it came to this specific building block, the architects began to imagine a fascinating and creative geological movement caused by a worm wiggling in the ground.

As the worms crawl through, a path forms that serves as the boundary between the inside and outside of the building. The node where a viewing platform should be inserted in the wormhole formed by drilling. The building’s morphological curve is a figurative representation of the existing mountain. The steel structure with rigid deflection of the entire building reveals the beauty of earth’s power implicitly.

The project appears to be squeezed out of the ground by natural forces beneath the crust, which is an abstract expression of the geological space’s three-dimensional profile. The building resembles a natural mountain on the site, with its entire roof covered in green plants. To reveal the space, the architects slightly uncover the ground.

The building’s undulating skyline perfectly blends in with the 100-meter-long silhouette of Juzhang Mountain, appearing to be pulled by mountains and squeezed by tectonic plate movement at the same time. Without being noticed, inertia is constantly affecting the building’s growth. In the original context, there are native mountains and wild pools.

The structure makes sense only when the intervention dramatically reshapes the site. Without a clear boundary between the inside and outside, neither the roof nor the ground, it is difficult to distinguish the building from the environment. Temperature can be felt from the building’s snow cover in the winter. Insects can be heard from the green shadows of mountains on a summer night.

The intersection of two shells, one of which is the functional space of the building and the other is the grey space, creates a large public platform and double-height space perpendicular to the dome. When these two opposing shells cut and frame the view of the external environment, the dome becomes the most spiritual place where the building reshapes nature.

The building’s shell is shaped like distant mountains, while the space beneath is created by tectonic plate movement. There is a large open platform and a double-height space enclosed by retaining walls between the shell and sunken space where you can feel the power of geological space. The building has the same section as the crust, with a void upper part and a solid lower part.

The architect’s only touch is a viewing box that is simply inserted into the curvy outline of this building. It connects the interior space vertically and provides a direct view of the mountains. The architects attempted to conceal their existence through design, with the exception of the final dialogue with the mountains, in which they played a completely different role from nature.

This is the beginning and the end, which returns to the first question posed at the start of design: what is the relationship between humans and nature? Let’s ignore the other 90% of the debate.

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Die Spens & Winkel By Steyn Studio & Square One Landscape Architects

A creative collaboration between London-based architects Steyn Studio and Square One Landscape Architects based in South Africa has stemmed an effortless fusion between architecture and landscape. The spellbinding design of the Die Spens & Winkel, a garden café that binds over gripping buildings and terrain with intricate trellis assemblies. Imbibing in Breedekloof Valley, South Africa’s Western Cape treasures a great cultural history, and the architects lure their inspiration from the stories of the valley.

The design acknowledges the historic manor house and chapel on the estate and visually enhances their distinguished relationship. The two sits amiably breathing between vineyards and mountain backdrops, balancing the composition with fresh vegetation and a series of processional routes. The landscaping and buildings complement the existing architectural features of the estate. Subsequently, this follows a low visual profile with trees reinforcing the perspective and landscape features such as tree windbreaks stitching it into the surrounding rural landscape.

Steyn Studio worked closely with Square One to position the built structures in enigma and anchors around the landscapes. The seamless integration of terrain with the built structures was an essential design objective from the project’s initiation. The landscaped gardens weave across three sloping terraces, connected by a curving pathway that provides universal access. Both buildings partially step into the slope. The roofs drape with soil, indigenous grasses and succulents to blend seamlessly into the landscape, leaving the panoramic mountain views unscathed.

The simple architectural form inspired by the San called a ‘Matjieshuis’ (Mat House), and the first dwellings of the Dutch settlers, called ‘KapHuis’ (Truss House), a hybrid of sorts between the two cultures intelligently weaved to envisage this contemporary avatar. The Matjieshuis was a portable, curved, slat-framed structure covered with woven mats, used by San herders as they migrated seasonally with their cattle during pre-colonial and early colonial times. The KapHuis was a series of A-frame trusses covered with thatch, with the interior lowered to allow for more headroom. Both structures were part of this historic landscape and blended subtly with their surroundings. The mounds of the new designs have an uncanny resemblance to the nearby serenading hills.

Convoluted & captivating curved oak trellis frames serve as a visual focus that directs visitors inwards and then twists to create the café/restaurant enclosure and a gift shop ‘carpeted’ with new gardens. Over time, these trellises will further integrate, overgrown with more than a dozen species of climbing plants. The expressed conical front is partly sunken to reduce their scale of impact, with the functional back-of-house spaces underground. Moreover, to continuously weave the trellis pattern appearing between the interior and exterior, the glazing imitates it in a zigzag arrangement, which assists the tall vertical structural span of the glass.

Meyer & Associates, based in South Africa, assisted Steyn Studio in executing the project and aided to resolve a few sophisticated details. The project highlighted structural complexities and challenges during the construction phases due to the elaborate trellis frames and large parts of the building being underground. The encounters overcame with the aid of consulting engineers, expert manufacturers and specialist subcontractors evolving on the project.

The interior design of the garden café echoes an exquisite charm, shelving every nook and corner with garnished elegance. Interior designer, Liam Mooney Studio, designed the deli fit-outs and curation of contents in the gift shop. The stimulating design of the triangular deli counter and lighting directly responds to the two buildings, complementing and accentuating their resilient forms. Delicately oxidized brass and copper sheets clad the display plinths in the shop – adding wonderful dimension and texture to the spatial fervour. In honour of the Breedekloof inspired colour palette, the new cafe and shop embosom on the local vineyards, especially their tones and colour variations in autumn.

8 Herbal Remedies For Natural Pain Relief

Eight Best Herbal Remedies for Pain Management

Here are eight best herbal remedies for pain management mentioned below −

#1 Capsaicin

Capsaicin comes from chilli peppers that have incredible properties in relieving pain. When applied to the skin, capsaicin targets the nerve endings, which stops the sensation of pain from being sent to the brain. The compound also triggers the release of endorphins and serotonin, chemicals naturally produced by the body that reduce pain sensations and promote a positive feeling. The increased production of these “happy hormones” result in an overall reduction in perceived levels of discomfort. This natural remedy has been proven effective for many common ailments, such as joint application or headache and can be found for sale in many different forms, from creams to gels and patches. If you need a safe and natural way to manage your pain, try capsaicin – you may find relief!

#2 Ginger

Ginger can treat various conditions, including nausea, indigestion, and joint pain. To use ginger as an effective treatment for mild to moderate pain, you can slice a fresh piece of ginger root and steep it in boiling water for 15 minutes. You can also press the ginger root into a juice extractor or blend the pieces in a food processor to create your natural ginger tea. Drinking or applying warm or cooled ginger tea topically (by soaking a cloth in the liquid) on affected areas is an effective way of treating many types of body aches and pains.

#3 Feverfew

Feverfew is a herb that has long been a natural tool to reduce pain and inflammation. Studies have shown Feverfew to be particularly effective in alleviating the pain of migraines, making it a favourite for those who suffer from frequent headaches. The herb can be taken in capsule form right before an expected migraine or can be brewed into a tea to be consumed multiple times a day over a few weeks. For best results, many experts suggest growing your own Feverfew plant and consuming fresh leaves multiple times daily, as it tends to have better effects than more processed forms of the herbal supplement. However, if you choose to consume it, consider introducing Feverfew into your wellness routine if you are seeking natural relief from migraines or other body aches and pains.

#4 Turmeric

Turmeric is a widely popular natural remedy for pain relief due to its anti-inflammatory properties – but it’s important to know how to use it correctly. A great way to get all the benefits of this bright yellow spice is to make turmeric tea using one teaspoon of turmeric and milk of choice, either heated or cold.

Simply add the turmeric to your milk, stir until combined and enjoy. It can also be added to food as a flavouring agent, such as in omelettes, curries or even cookie recipes. You can even take it in capsule form with meals if you don’t care for the flavour of turmeric. No matter how you choose to use this ancient remedial spice, turmeric may help relieve minor aches and pains and those annoying stiff joints with long-lasting effects.

#5 Devil’s Claw

Devil’s Claw is a special herb native to the Kalahari Desert, largely known for its potent healing properties. It is helpful for a variety of conditions, such as low back pain, sciatica, muscle aches and even headaches. Recent studies have shown it to have anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects, making it an ideal natural remedy for relieving pain.

#6 Cranberry Juice

Cranberry juice has been used for generations to aid in pain relief due to its high levels of antioxidants such as vitamin C and Gallic acid. It has been found to have powerful anti-inflammatory properties that make it effective in reducing pain associated with muscle stiffness, headaches, and even joint inflammation. If you are looking for a natural solution to your pain concerns, consider drinking a glass of cranberry juice regularly. Additionally, consuming cranberry products may also be beneficial as they contain the same potent compounds present in actual cranberry juice. While more research is needed, it is worth trying these methods as an alternative or complementary solution to your traditional pain medications.

#7 Wintergreen Essential Oil

Wintergreen essential oil contains methyl salicylate, an agent with natural analgesic properties. It has been used therapeutically for hundreds of years to help reduce inflammation and pain caused by arthritis, muscle sprains, joint pain and headaches. To use wintergreen essential oil for pain relief, it is best to dilute it with a carrier oil like sweet almond or jojoba oil before applying directly to the area that is hurting. The application should be made two to three times throughout the day in order to maximize its therapeutic benefits. Additionally, adding a few drops of the oil into a warm bath can provide relief from soreness associated with arthritis and other conditions. It is important to keep in mind that though wintergreen may help reduce pain, it should not replace conventional medicine prescribed by your doctor as well as ongoing treatments if recommended.

#8 Cloves

Cloves have long been a popular remedy for pain relief, especially when it comes to dental discomfort. Their natural anaesthetic and antiseptic properties make them a safe and effective way to reduce inflammation naturally. To use cloves for pain relief, steep one teaspoon of ground cloves in water for 15 minutes and strain the mixture. Once cooled to a comfortable temperature, swish it around your mouth several times a day or apply the liquid directly to the area of discomfort. For severe pain or infected areas, it’s best to see your physician for proper diagnosis and treatment plans.

Conclusion

Pain is an unfortunate part of life, but the good news is that there are natural solutions to help manage it. Herbal remedies have been used for centuries and offer a safe, effective means of pain relief. From turmeric’s healing properties to using turmeric as an anti-inflammatory, there are many ways to use these eight herbs to reduce your discomfort and improve your quality of life. As always, it’s best to read up on herbs and speak with your healthcare provider before trying them out – especially if you’re pregnant or nursing or if you are taking any other medications or supplements. If herbal remedies sound like something you’d like to explore more deeply in order to take ownership of your healthcare management journey towards reducing pain naturally – why not give one or two a try?

Review: Get Extraterrestrial In Natural Selection 2

Natural Selection 2, like its predecessor, is a mixture of real-time strategy and first-person shooter. The goal of the game is to expand through a map while harvesting resource nodes, building new bases, researching new technology and ultimately destroying the enemy bases. Once the last Command Station (for Marines) or Hive (for aliens) is destroyed, the game is over.

From a first-person shooter standpoint, this game rocks when you play as a Marine; it’s scary, tense and simple. There is no aiming down the sights or leaning around corners, it’s just good old-fashioned run, jump, shoot and cry as you get swarmed by aliens in the dark. As you start to spend your resources for better equipment, the tension ramps up even more; since you lose that expensive stuff when you die, you’re encouraged to think twice before wandering off alone into a dark corridor.

Playing in a first-person mode as the aliens takes some getting used to; they primarily have melee attacks, and the speed at which they move can get disorientating at times. Once you get it down, though, you will feel like a parkour master, running on walls and celings and flanking a helpless marine until he’s dinner.

Unknown Worlds EntertainmentIn-game footage of marines fighting an Onos

One player from each team can step back from the front line by taking command of their faction to research tech trees and provide support to the their allies. They are the focal point of the team and most likely to accept the praise or blame of a game. Each commander gets a top-down view of the map where they can scroll around and plan a route for expansion or the safest areas to gather resources. They manage team resources and make the ultimate call of which techs to research first, which often determines who has the winning edge and thus can lead to a lot of difficult decisions.

View from the Command Station

Marines go through different tech such as upgraded armor and better weapons (shotguns, grenade launchers and flamethrowers!) to researching phase technology to build teleporters for quick movement around the map. Ultimately you end up obtaining jetpacks and large mech-like machines with very large machine guns, which changes combat significantly as the game progresses. Unlike the first Natural Selection, players also get their own discrete pool of resources to spend how they choose. Once a technology is unlocked by the team they can choose whether or not they want to purchase gear.

Aliens have a much different tech tree, which include evolving with different traits and abilities. There are five different lifeforms to choose from, but everyone starts as a Skulk, a little creature that can zip around the map and climb on walls. When you have enough resources you can choose a higher lifeform, such as the Gorge, a support unit that heals and builds defensive structures, the Lerk, a flying creature that attacks from afar or lays down poisonous gas as he passes over enemies, the Fade, a two-legged creature that can teleport short distances to close the gap between enemies and attack them with his spear-like arms, or finally the Onos, a giant elephant alien that will demolish a squad of marines without breaking a sweat.

Unknown Worlds EntertainmentMr. Marine, meet Mr. Onos.

Natural Selection 2 runs on the Spark Engine, which was created from the ground up by the small team of developers. It is designed to be extremely moddable and easy to work with even for smallest teams of designers and creators. While the core game is a single mode, the game types and maps are determined by the community and their unlimited ability to mod the game as they wish. We have already seen pure combat games spring up as well as community made maps. It doesn’t hurt that the engine looks beautiful too, supporting physics (rag-dolls getting hit by an Onos is hilarious) and immersive lighting.

As with every new game, especially one developed by a small company, the game has some bugs. I haven’t ran into anything game-breaking yet, but there are talks of some map-loading errors, UI oddities and lag spikes. The sound still needs some tweaking too; the in-game voice chat is too quiet compared to the hectic game noises and using the “Voice Volume” slider in the options has little benefit. The great thing about buying a game from a smaller developer is that they seem to care deeply about the user experience and are constantly patching and squashing bugs everyday. They are very active in the community (check their Twitter and Facebook) and are willing to listen to every individual issue and suggestion.

The learning curve may be steep, but the rookie-friendly servers (highlighted in green) will be the place to start. The game has been ten years in the making, and it was absolutely worth the wait. I look forward to seeing what comes next as the modding community is bound to do some fantastic work to keep it alive for years to come, making the game a great investment.

You can find it on Steam for $24.99 or $39.99 for the Deluxe edition that comes with a soundtrack, digital art, wallpapers and an exclusive in-game Marine model. In all honesty, writing this review has really got me salivating more than a hungry skulk for some playtime, so back to chomping faces I go!

Srv Boston: Venetian Food Takes Center Stage

Venetian Cuisine Takes Center Stage at Boston’s SRV Questrom alum Michael Lombardi shares his passion for pasta at acclaimed eatery

Lots of people like fresh pasta, but very few go to the lengths Michael Lombardi does to make it.

In the basement of his South End restaurant SRV, Lombardi (Questrom’08) and co-owner Kevin O’Donnell have installed a mill to grind the grain needed to make the freshest pasta, whether it’s tubes of garganelli, buckwheat pizzoccheri, or piles of the elbow-shaped noodle known as lumache.

It’s no small endeavor in a restaurant that can serve more than 500 people on a busy night.

“From a production standpoint, from where it lies in our heart, pasta holds the most square footage in the restaurant and on the menu,” Lombardi says. “It’s always been a passion of mine.”

Lombardi and O’Donnell opened SRV in 2024, modeling it after the food and vibe found in Venice’s bàcari, where two-bite plates called cicchetti are served in a wine bar setting. SRV has a large bar and dishes up plates both large and small. In just two years, it’s won wide acclaim, most recently as a semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation’s 2023 Best New Restaurant award.

The restaurant reinterprets Italian classics, from a snack of soft-boiled quail eggs with white anchovy and capers to a plate of roasted sunchokes with foie gras, apple, and a chestnut-flour cake called castagnaccio. A 2024 Boston Globe review called the menu “more than good, displaying regular flashes of creativity, craft, and, most pleasurably, surprise.”

Lombardi’s love of pasta goes back to childhood and Sunday dinners at his grandparents home in Woodbridge, Conn., where his large Italian family still gathers. It’s an elaborate affair that almost always culminates in one of his grandmother’s or mother’s pasta dishes that feature homemade noodles and recipes that have been handed down for generations.

Lombardi’s wife, Paige Zaitsoff Lombardi, chef de cuisine at Oleana in Cambridge, says that for her husband, Lombardi meals have always been about family and heritage.

And pasta.

“If he takes an interest in something,” she says, “he just dives into it.”

At BU, Lombardi studied business. But he also made ravioli from scratch in his dorm kitchen to feed his friends. A favorite was ravioli stuffed with roasted chicken, which was such a hit that it became the subject of his roommate’s senior year photography project.

Lombardi liked pleasing people with his food then, and he still does today. “It’s really about making the food and knowing it’s being accepted on the other end,” he says. “It’s comforting for me.”

After graduation from BU, he enrolled at the Culinary Institute of America, which led him to Orvieto, Italy, as part of an internship program at a cooking school–restaurant there called Zeppelin. That’s where he met fellow New Englander O’Donnell, who had studied at Johnson & Wales. The two hit it off, cooking together in the restaurant in their downtime, talking about recipes, and coming up with a few of their own.

“From the moment we first started working together, we knew we each loved making pasta,” O’Donnell says. “That’s how we bonded.”

After returning to the United States, the friends both got a job at the upscale Manhattan Italian dining spot Del Posto, owned by Mario Batali and Joseph and Lidia Bastianich. They later seized the opportunity offered by French restaurateur Charles Compagnon to run the Paris bistro L’Office. In a city particular about its food, the bistro gained a devoted following and earned complimentary mentions in Bon Appetit and the French editions of Vogue and Elle.

When their work visas expired, Lombardi and O’Donnell came to Boston, where they opened SRV with restaurateurs James Cochener and Michael Moxley. SRV stands for La Serenissima Repubblica di Venezia (the Most Serene Republic of Venice), the city’s historic name. Venice’s bàcari, a labyrinth of dark wine bars, have been around since the 15th century, and have a reputation for offering authentic and affordable Venetian food that is the equivalent of Spain’s tapas.

Lombardi says the flavor combinations he and O’Donnell explore in their pasta derive from their experience in Italy, and that milling their own grains allows them to control the pasta’s flavor and texture, as well as its “bounce and snap.”

The in-house operation is much more labor-intensive than buying milled flour or another grain, but it’s worth it, he says. He likes to know the origin of the wheat berries he’s using and to be sure they’re fresh. While the restaurant employs a full-time pasta maker, Lombardi and O’Donnell can be found in the kitchen most nights running the dinner service and making sure that every meal is perfect before it leaves the kitchen.

It’s a far cry from his ravioli-making days in a BU dorm.

Megan Woolhouse can be reached at [email protected].

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Diplomacy, Sustainability Expert To Lead Pardee Center

Diplomacy, Sustainability Expert to Lead Pardee Center Pardee pledges new resources for research, development opportunities

International diplomacy and development expert Adil Najam, who taught at Boston University from 1997 to 2003, returns to the University this fall as the new director of the Frederick Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future. Najam’s appointment, which includes professorships in the College of Arts and Sciences departments of international relations and geography and environment, was approved at the Board of Trustees meeting on Tuesday, November 13. He joins BU and the Pardee Center effective immediately.

Najam comes back to BU, where he was a CAS assistant professor of international relations and environmental policy, after a stint as an associate professor of international negotiation and diplomacy at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He was a coauthor of the United Nations climate change report published last March. His other research interests include sustainable development, Muslim and South Asian politics, environmental politics in developing countries, and philanthropy among immigrant communities in the United States.

“Adil’s broad skills are well aligned with the focus of the center: the future of human development,” says Provost David K. Campbell. “He’s very experienced in international negotiation and in sustainable development and in human development and international security. He’s involved in international environmental politics, including both governmental and nongovernmental organizations, and he’s also aware of the importance of religious and faith-based issues of human development. These are all issues that will affect the future.”

Najam holds a bachelor of science degree from the University of Engineering and Technology in Lahore, Pakistan, and master’s degrees in civil and environmental engineering and in technology and policy, as well as a doctorate in international environmental policy, from MIT. His books include 2002’s Civic Entrepreneurship; 2005’s Global Environmental Governance; and three books this year: Portrait of a Giving Community: Philanthropy by the Pakistani-American Diaspora, Trade and Environment: A Resource Book, and Southern Visions on Trade and Sustainable Development.

A focus on longer-term global policy problems — especially those related to human well-being and sustainable human development in the developing world — has been the hallmark of Najam’s work. He contributed to Pakistan’s first environmental policy document, as well as to the country’s report to the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, has worked closely with governments and civil society in both industrialized and developing countries, and regularly collaborates with the United Nations. For eight years he has been a coordinating lead author on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that recently shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with former U.S. Vice President Al Gore.

Najam’s appointment coincides with a period of planned growth and expansion at the Pardee Center, which was established in 2000 by a $5 million gift from Frederick S. Pardee (SMG’54, GSM’54), who in 2003 doubled his endowment with an additional $5 million. Since its founding, the center has sponsored an annual Visiting Professors lecture series, which has brought to campus Nobel Laureates Amartya Sen and Murray Gell-Mann, and more recently, demographer Joel Cohen, Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor of Populations at New York’s Rockefeller University, who spoke on The Human Population: Past, or Passing, or to Come. Next year’s lecture series, at a date to be determined, will be given by Simon Levin, the Moffett Professor of Biology in the department of ecology and evolution at Princeton University and recipient of the 2005 Kyoto Prize in Basic Science.

“It’s wonderful to learn Adil is returning to BU to build upon and enhance the combined conference, lecture, and research publications legacy carefully nurtured by David Fromkin during the Pardee Center’s inaugural years,” says Pardee. “I look forward to the high energy and enthusiasm Adil brings to further interdisciplinary undertakings directed toward multinational, regional, and global analysis of the human condition over upcoming generations. Anticipating, facilitating, and enhancing patterns of potential human progress, with particular attention to the next 35 to 200 years are — I believe, hope, and dream — what the center is all about.”   

Under Najam’s leadership, Campbell says, the Pardee Center will work to expand its research agenda in collaboration with BU faculty members and develop additional undergraduate and graduate research opportunities. To further the center’s development, Pardee has pledged $500,000 for center programming for fiscal year 2008; the University will provide an additional $200,000 for resources and expansion. Najam’s challenge, Campbell says, will be to expand the scope of the center’s initiatives while continuing the very successful programs currently in place.

“I am delighted to return to Boston University, and it is particularly heartening to be able to return to lead the Pardee Center,” Najam says. “I look forward to continuing its tradition of encouraging innovative, integrative, interdisciplinary, and long-term thinking. Ultimately, we hope it will help create a new generation of scholars and researchers who are prepared to preempt not only the great challenges of today but also those of tomorrow.”

Jessica Ullian can be reached at [email protected].

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