Page 5 of 16
August 17th - 23rd
Inner Mongolia Is Unlikely Laboratory for Emerging Architects
The Ordos 100 may sound like a doomed Da Vinci Code cabal, but it's actually a new residential development in the Inner Mongolian city of Ordos. The "100" is the number of emerging architects from 27 countries that were each invited to design a villa on lots ranging from a quarter to a half acre for a client known as Jiang Yuan Water Engineering Ltd. And did we mention that the project's master plan is by Mr. Bird's Nest Himself, Ai Weiwei, and that Herzog & de Meuron selected the participating architects?
Trent Jansen's Sustainable Design
Trent Jansen opened his studio in Sydney which focuses on creating sustainable design by developing pieces that aim to maintain a lasting relationship with their user. The Pregnant Chair was launched by Moooi at the Salone Internazionale del Mobile (Milano, 2008). According to Jansen, the chair “aims to be involved in a lasting personal relationship with its owner, fostered by the human characteristics that it possesses.” Besides the playful roll in the life of its owner, the chair is a design that fits a smaller chair within the body of the mother-chair. “As with actual pregnancy and childbirth, the smaller chair can be removed from the large chair, thereby accommodating the seating needs for a mother and child”, according to Jansen.
TRAVELODGE HOTEL MADE FROM SHIPPING CONTAINERS
Adrianne Jeffries in Inhabitat
Travelodge recently opened a hotel in Uxbridge, England that is constructed entirely from prefabricated shipping containers. The completed design uses eighty-six containers of various sizes that were retrofitted into bedrooms and bolted together onsite. The exterior has been clad and fitted with windows, thus converting the assemblage into a seamless 120-bedroom hotel. Verbus Systems estimates that the structure’s prefab composition saved the hotel chain more than half a million pounds and at least 10 weeks of construction.
Post-occupancy evaluations of public wi-fi
Dan Hill in cityofsound
As the result of some conversations about a month ago, Arup have been commissioned by the State Library of Queensland to do some analysis of their free wi-fi service, which runs throughout their Infozone and Knowledge Walk areas. I’ll be doing research there next week, looking at usage patterns from various quantitative and qualitative perspectives, some analysis of how the variability of wi-fi maps onto the informal use of space enabled by the Library’s open design, some benchmarking against best practice in terms of denoting the presence of public wi-fi, some technical discussions. That kind of thing.
Literary Dose #32
John in A Daily Dose of Architecture
"Nature, whose status as a norm of beauty or as an ideal form waned, has since returned as a condition for the sustainability of all built environment. As such, nature plays a role in the twenty-first century that is as central as it ever was in the past. The challenges are enormous and the markets and demands seem boundless. When Bill McDonough, the famous nature design architect in the United States, plans the construction, from scratch, of cities and villages in China, he connects with his starkly nature inspired buildings in the US -- the GAP headquarters in San Bruno, California (1997), the Ford Rouge Dearborn Truck Plant in Michigan (2004), with its half million square foot 'habitat' roof, the largest in the world, or the IBM office in Amsterdam (2004)
Worldchanging Team at Large: GreenBean in Chicago
Julia Steinberger in WorldChanging
The website first debuted several years ago, directed by Erik Olsen (former head of Chicago's Green Permit Program). GreenBean tracked the windy city's quickly growing population of green buildings at all phases, from blueprints to finished projects. There's tons of pictures to look at, and even a cool map to help locate the spread of green buildings throughout the Chicago area. Now under the leadership of Wendy Berger Shapiro, the site will continue to present short articles profiling new green developments around the city. Their smart, connected team aims to become Chicago's best resource for local green building news, enabling a flow of ideas to inspire and inform others who are breaking ground on projects of their own.
Alexander Trevi in Pruned
In today's weekly batch of articles on The New York Times' Home & Garden section, there is a good summary of current trends in environmental landscape design: “Over the past five years, as climate change has become more obvious and energy costs have spiraled up, a number of designers have begun to champion an approach to landscaping that marries traditional environmental concerns — sustainability, biodiversity, restoration, conservation — with a sensitivity to aesthetics and a flexibility that they said was missing from green-gardening crusades of the past.”
East Meets West Down Under: Leura House by James Stockwell
Haily Zaki in Inhabitat
Nestled in the picturesque Blue Mountains near Sydney is James Stockwell’s Leura House, winner of the 2008 Wilkinson Award - the Australian Institute of Architects New South Wales’ highest accolade for a residential project. Inspired by Japanese design methods and informed by warm California modernism, this sleek dwelling embodies a new and decidedly Australian brand of contemporary sustainable architecture, marking Stockwell as one of the country’s top young architects.
Can Suburban Sprawl Be Saved?
Shirley Siluk Gregory in Green Options
While gas prices have dropped from their historic highs of earlier this summer, many believe they’re never likely to return to the low levels that made the U.S. such a motor-happy nation for decades. Because of that, social observers like James Howard Kunstler and others see a bleak future for car-dependent suburbia, with the sprawl degrading into vast slums or being abandoned altogether. But does that have to be the case? Suburbs might not have been developed with New Urbanism in mind, but maybe they could be reinvented. Perhaps they could become the 21st Century version of the 18th Century farm community, with lots of individual homesteads dotted across a wide swath of agricultural land.
Serenbe, Luxe Conservation Community
Sarah Roe in Jetson Green
Serenbe is located in Palmetto, Georgia, about 30-45 minutes southwest of Atlanta. The 900 acre community will preserve 70% of it's land and eventual plans include about 600 homes. All Serenbe homes will be EarthCraft certified and the community offers a variety of options including work/live townhomes, cottages, and estates. The architecture is diverse and charming and is often inspired by historical buildings. There's a Dwell Home being built (see below), and the above home by Redbone Construction was featured in various green building articles in local Atlanta publications.
Geoengineering: A Worldchanging Retrospective
Julia Steinberger in WorldChanging
Worldchanging Executive Editor Alex Steffen has become a respected voice of dissent in the global conversation about geo-engineering strategies. This fall, he re-enters the debate as part of the cast of front-line innovators featured in a new docu-style series from Discovery and Impossible Pictures. The program, called Discovery Project Earth, launches this Friday, August 22. The series will profile some pretty extraordinary experiments aimed at slowing global warming, generating alternative energy and restoring natural resources. Cutting-edge thinkers around the world, including scientists, engineers and other innovators, stand at the helms of these most ambitious projects, which face no small amount of uncertainty in their quest to save all life on Earth.
thinkTORONTO deadline one month away!
Spacing in Spacing Toronto • understanding the urban landscape
thinkTORONTO is a Spacing-sponsored urban design ideas competition. The competition will help Spacing celebrate the magazine’s 5th anniversary in the fall of 2008. And the deadline for submissions is only one month away. We know a lot of you have wonderful ideas about how to make Toronto’s shared public spaces more sustainable, attractive, and functional. This is the time for you to dust off that thesis or to put the brilliant idea onto paper!
HOK Unveils Sustainable British Embassy in Jakarta
Evelyn Lee in Inhabitat
Balancing the harsh conditions of Jakarta, Indonesia, is quite a challenge - the area faces high pollution, high humidity, and heavy rains more than 60% of the year. HOK recently unveiled a stunning design for the region’s new British Embassy, situated on a 1.5 hectare site in the center of the city. HOK chose to use locally sourced black granite and metal cladding for the cantilevered canopy, stating that more porous materials would have eventually discolored due to pollution. The black diamond takes into account its surrounding environment as well as the area’s seismic activity, qualifying it for an “Excellent” rating under the BREEAM system (one of the world’s most widely used environmental assessment methods for architecture).
The Voussoir Cloud
Currently exhibited at SCI-Arc, the Voussoir Cloud is a collaborative installation by San Francisco based IwamotoScott Architecture, Buro Happold, and SCI-Arc students. The design is an exploration of “potentially conflicting constructional logics – the pure compression of a vault with an ultra-light sheet material”, which makes for a pretty siiick effect. And now, the technical explanation of why it’s cool: Voussoirs, the wedge shaped masonry blocks that make up an arch, are redefined in Voussoir Cloud using a system of three-dimensional modules formed by folding paper thin wood laminate along curved seams. ...
hopkins house, hopkins architects
Justin in materialicious
Sir Michael Hopkins’ residence in Hampstead, London, as fresh and relevant as when it was built in 1976.