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August 08 Blog Articles - Page 2 Print E-mail
Thursday, 31 July 2008 19:00
 

Half Dose #52: Ewha Womans University Campus Center
John in A Daily Dose of Architecture
Earlier this year saw the opening of the Campus Center for Ewha Womans University in Seoul, Korea. Designed by Dominique Perrault, the building is appropriately called "The Campus Valley." Comprising classrooms, library, event spaces, cinema, theater, shops, outdoor sports fields, administrative support, and parking for the 22,000 university students, the submerged project recalls the Velodrome & Pool he designed for Berlin, in which the presence of the two buildings barely rises above the surrounding landscape.

Green Building Standards Under Construction
Ben Block in WorldChanging
The world's leading certification system for sustainable architecture is set to undergo its most sweeping changes in 2009. The proposed revisions encourage designs that would reduce a building's impact on global climate change. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, commonly known as LEED, has become the standard for green building design since the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), a nongovernmental organization, crafted the rating system eight years ago. Architecture that voluntarily improves energy efficiency, water conservation, and indoor air quality has surged in popularity in the past two years, especially in Europe and major U.S. cities.

Extreme Makeover, the Los Angeles edition: Moving Richard Neutra
mediabistro.com: UnBeige
Developer Barbara Behm says she feels like she's been pregnant for the past three years, according to this Los Angeles Times article. Her baby? A Richard Neutra house, which she had moved from one part of the city of Angels to another, all in the quest to save the home, which the city declared a historical cultural monument in 2005 to keep the bulldozers away.

Penn State’s LEED Gold School of Architecture
Jason Sahler in Inhabitat
As students return to campuses across the country for the start of another semester, colleges are starting to showcase some serious strides in sustainability. Some are investing in wind power and other alternative energies to help lower their carbon footprint, while others are endeavoring to green their facilities. Penn State is leading the charge with its gorgeous LEED Gold Stuckeman School of Architecture.

Portland central city plans: past, present, future
Brian Libby in Portland Architecture
Do you remember what you were doing on March 24, 1988? I was a 10th grader at the time, counting the days until I could get my driver's license and speed recklessly through McMinnville, and reading Cliff's Notes of literary classics for English class. But here in Portland, that day saw the release of the Central City Plan (pictured at left). In other words, it's been more than 20 years since Portland, that much hailed bastion of planning, has updated its plans for the greater downtown core. But fear not: We won't be sliding back into Dallas or Atlanta-like tendencies just yet. The city is currently at work on a new Portland Plan. A citizens advisory committee is expected to begin work in September, with completion in 2010. There are also intra-neighborhood plans like the North Pearl District Plan, which for example could see that area near the base of the Fremont Bridge go considerably taller. (Which makes sense.)

The Comparative Literature of Massive Construction Sites
Geoff Manaugh in BLDGBLOG
I was clicking around on a local university's engineering school homepage yesterday morning when I misunderstood the way the page had been organized. For a second I thought that Comparative Literature had been re-classified as a sub-field, or specialty research group, within the university's engineering school – and so I had to wonder what exactly those students might be reading.
Aside from technical manuals, what might be the comparative literature of engineering?
Before I realized that I'd simply misread the list of links, I thought that perhaps there should be a comparative literature of construction sites: famous monuments, tombs, bridges, houses, and cities throughout history, together with the thoughts of the people who built them.

(Social) Engineers (Re)create New Forms
owen hatherley in sit down man, you're a bloody tragedy
Two interesting things that you can do with a Russian Constructivist building. here is a new wikipedia page on Ivan Nikolaev's 1931 Textile Institute Dom Kommuna. When reading of the various strictures placed upon the students in order to make sure they adapted themselves to communal life (organised sedation!) one should note that this is what Slavoj Zizek is talking about (via Boris Groys pseudo-scholarship in The Total Art of Stalinism, and plus a heavy dose of irony) when he claims Stalinism 'saved humanity' in the USSR - when the Stalin clique fully got control by 1932 all this Huxleyesque social engineering was immediately finished off, with comfort and gemutlichkeit as the new socialist ideal. Note also that the anti-humanist bent of the kommuna-ists also involved legal abortion, easy divorce and other elements of the sexual 'glass of water theory', that were subsequently abolished in the 30s. Not that some students couldn't do with compulsory sedation.

Parans Fiber Optic Skylights Bring Natural Light to Dark Spaces
Preston D K in Jetson Green
The interesting thing about fiber optic lighting is that it creates the ability to put natural light in places where there is none.  Generally, here's how it works.  Using a building-mounted panel with computer-controlled, sun-tracking lenses, natural light is channeled through optical fibers to luminaires that diffuse the light (see diagram below).  Since early 2008, HUVCO Daylighting Solutions has been offering a fiber optic lighting system like this, or the Parans System, which was developed in Sweden.  Although light only travels about 60 feet through optical cables, the ability to direct light in this manner is quite interesting.  HUVCO provides a variety of options to both collect and diffuse light.  Cables can be routed through walls, ceilings, and subfloors, depending on your building set up.  And HUVCO also has hybrid luminaires that use both natural and electric light.

Preserving The Modernist Schools of New Orleans
Jimmy Stamp in Life Without Buildings
Architecturally, New Orleans is perhaps best known for its Creole cottages, shotgun houses, and the mixed-influences of the French Quarter. But there is a small yet important concentration of Regional Modernism in the Big Easy and local Modernists are doing their damnedest to preserve it. Let's just hope its not too late. Currently facing the biggest threat are 30 area schools built during the 50s — 29 of which are slated for demolition or land-banking. Take for example, the Thomy Lafon Elementary School, pictured above. While similar facilities have been appropriated and reused for civic purposes, usually to the great benefit of the neighborhood, the New Orleans School Facilities Master Plan proposes no alternative use for this building. It's simply scheduled for closure and eventual demolition. We've mentioned this before on Life Without Buildings, but as the issue comes to a head, the importance of preserving Modernism in New Orleans cannot be stressed enough — especially now that New Orleans is welcoming a new generation of Regional Modernists.

Green Meets Danish Modern at Denmark50
Sarah Roe in Jetson Green
Denmark50, located in Los Angeles, is comprised of a showroom and warehouse full of vintage Danish Modern furniture and accessories.  And of course, buying vintage is such a green way to go.  The showroom (below) is a nice display of what the company has to offer, but the warehouse (also below) is the really amazing part.  Mid-Century Danish furniture is stuffed into the large space as far as the eye can see: couch after couch, chairs, tables, and any other piece one could imagine. For a Danish Modern design lover, Denmark50 is heaven. For those of us who don't live in the area, we might have to plan a trip and ship our finds home. Prices are not shared on their site and I'm sure they aren't cheap, but this is incredibly high quality, beautiful, and collectible furniture.  And if you can afford it, I would say it's worth almost any price.

Architectural Gem of the Day: Casa Tolo, Portugal
Julia Steinberger in WorldChanging
I came across this gorgeous design for a vacation home in northern Portugal this morning, and was absolutely inspired by its display of creativity, efficiency and relative affordability: The structure, designed by architect Alvaro Leite Size Vieira, is certainly luxurious, with three bedrooms, a small outdoor pool and other amenities. But it also works in harmony with the natural environment, not only aesthetically – reflecting the curve and grade of the hillside – but also practically, optimizing access to natural sunlight with south-facing orientation, and benefiting from natural cooling resulting from its position within the ground. But as far as luxury homes go, it's not completely inaccessible: According to the bloggers at New York WTF, the house was built for the equivalent of $150,000 U.S. dollars.

Solar Powered, Carbon Neutral Pyramid to House 1 Million People in Dubai
Sam Aola Ooko in Green Options
 Ancient Egyptian pyramids and Middle Eastern ziggurats are coming alive in the 21st technology and a new futurist concept that encompasses green building technology and which, according to the developer, can house up to a million people in one go will make a debut at the world stage in October. The 2.3 square kilometer Ziggurat Project, undertaken by Timelinks, a Dubai based environmental design company, will be 100 per cent carbon neutral and will run by harnessing the power of nature setting a futuristic pace for eco-friendliness for other similar projects in the pipeline.


Last Updated on Sunday, 14 September 2008 17:21
 
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