August 08 Blog Articles Print
Thursday, 31 July 2008 19:00

These are the articles and blogs that we selected in August.

 

Week 24 - 30th of August


70ºN Arkitektur’s Mobile XBO Prefab
Mike Chino in Inhabitat
The allure of prefab living resides somewhere between its packed-and-parceled, ready-to-go nature, and its scaled-down simplicity. Fully realizing both of these aspects, 70ºN Arkitektur’s XO Mobile Structure embodies an extreme of living simply - or simply living. The gorgeous prefab features a minimalist two-room construction that comes as-is and goes anywhere you please.

Airborne Environments
Geoff Manaugh in BLDGBLOG
Marc Newson's "retro-futurist" interior design for the new A380 super-jumbo airplane, to be run by Qantas, was the subject of an interesting article in the New York Times writes this morning.
Newson's "design language" for the airplane, we read, "is defined less by what the passengers see than by how they feel."
One example of this is "the L.E.D.’s that illuminate the cabin": They are programmed to wash the interior with colors that change subtly throughout the flight. Each shade is selected to create the ideal mood for a particular activity, like sleeping, waking or eating, regardless of time zone. “Designing an aircraft is like creating a mini-world,” Mr. Newson said. “You’re putting people in a confined environment and controlling how they’ll feel with the oxygen, humidity and everything they touch and see. It all has an effect.”

Save Our Modernism!
Brendan in Where
"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..."

Kinetic Aesthetic Architectural Project
admin in mirage.studio.7
Students from the Department of Architecture & Interior Architecture took part in a simple project entitled Kinetic Aesthetic on Monday 4th of August, 2008. The first year students were asked to design and construct a short duration kinetic architectural project, the overall project was somewhat a success, I find it interesting.

Modern Sky Hill Townhomes in Atlanta
Preston D K in Jetson Green
Check these urban townhomes out.  They're pretty interesting.  The design here is part of a development called Sky Hill, a twelve townhome community in Midtown Atlanta.  Designed by Kuo Diedrich, Sky Hill is clustered into four buildings with three townhomes each.  They're all 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom units of ~3000 sf and have been LEED registered (not certified).  Each home has a rooftop terrace and equipped with a plant-growing system by LiveRoof.  Apparently the end units have an elevator option, which most would agree is kind of, well, you know.  But being located in an infill location with pedestrian friendly design opens up the possibility for living a greener kind of lifestyle.  

California Moving to Block Sprawl
Philip Proefrock in Green Options
Sprawl is a constant issue at the outside periphery of every city in the country. Although matters have abated temporarily in the midst of the housing and mortgage crunch, new construction continues to decimate the countryside at further distances away from the city centers. However, the state of California is weighing a measure in the state legislature that might help curtail the growth of exurban sprawl developments. The extension of suburbs further and further out from the core of businesses and services not only consumes acres of land, with its attendant loss of woods, fields, wetlands, farmland, and animal habitat, but it also requires miles of pavement, and the attendant infrastructure (sewers, phone and power lines, etc.) to support the new development.


 

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.


“Architecture School” Reality Show Premieres on Sundance
Adrianne Jeffries in Inhabitat
With the current vogue of reality tv shows sweeping the networks, we’re excited to see one with an admirable humanitarian design mission. Architecture School is a new series that follows twelve architecture students at the Tulane University School of Architecture as they design and build a low-cost sustainable home for a family returning to New Orleans. An excellent example of integrating students within a community, the three year venture will join the architecture school with URBANbuild and the nonprofit Neighborhood Housing Services

An Old Theater Grows in Brooklyn
mediabistro.com: UnBeige
For more than 40 years, the Brooklyn Paramount Theatre has been used an athletic gymnasium for Long Island University. Thousands of seats were removed in 1962 to make room for basketball games, which were, oddly enough, accompanied by the original Wurlitzer organ, one of the world's finest, according to this web site. Now the university has announced that a theater will once again grace the premises since it has built a new athletic facility elsewhere. Apparently the grand lobby, now the student cafeteria, and the original ceiling remain, giving movie theater buffs hope that the building can be restored to its 1928 appearance.

Eric Lombardi's Zero Waste Park
Julia Steinberger in WorldChanging
Eric Lombardi, the waste-management guru behind Boulder, Colo.-based recycler Eco-Cycle, is fighting incinerators around the world with a vision. Although his Zero-Waste Park may never be built, he has been able to use the artistic plan as an effective tool for discussion that has allowed city planners to consider alternative solutions. The Zero-Waste Park was originally conceived by Lombardi when he was working with a Hawaiian community group called Zero Waste Kauai (we originally mentioned the design in our post on Vancouver's RCBC conference). The island of Kauai was facing a landfill closure, and considering building an incinerator to handle waste disposal. The park is sized to handle solid waste from about 300,000 people (about the size of Boulder County, or the entire island of Kauai).

Can Landscape Architecture Really Help Manage Traffic?
ASLA.org - The Dirt
I have just begun Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us) by Tom Vanderbilt and I'm already hooked. He thus far has tagged just about every bad driving habit I've ever adopted and puts the act of driving to work into frightening and fascinating perspective. Which leads me to think about the role landscape architects can play in minimizing bad behaviors through the use of natural design. Is it possible, in the face of the conflicts inherent in human nature, for streetscapes and transportation corridors to use design and nature to eliminate or at least alleviate traffic woes? If so, what does it look like? I think of the Taconic Parkway in New York State. A seriously beautiful road that drivers nonetheless want to treat like I-95. I should know. It's the site of my one and only speeding ticket. 

We Are All Googie Now
owen hatherley in sit down man, you're a bloody tragedy
Further to the claims at Voyou that an investigation of the politics and aesthetics of the fifties might make some sort of sense of our own times - I've been reading Alan Hess' monumental study of 1950s Pulp Modernism, Googie - Ultramodern Roadside Architecture. This was a specifically southern Californian style, used to draw attention to burger bars, car washes, coffee shops (the name comes from one such, designed by John Lautner). Hess places the style in direct opposition to the 'high-art Modernism' of Mies van der Rohe and his disciples, the classicist glass skyscraper school that became the spatial lingua franca of even the most conformist parts of American capital. What's interesting here is that the debate was purely aesthetic

Design Decisions
Ugo Okafor in African Architecture and Design
Their website says "...Design Decisions is an interior design firm established in California in 1990. Our Lagos office opened in 1993 and has grown to be recognized as the leading interior design consultants in Nigeria. In 2007, we expanded our services to South Africa. We are influenced by the grand scale and fantasy of Californian style, the business savvy required to do business in Nigeria, and the creative blend of African motifs in South African interiors. These global influences reflect in our projects and give them a unique approach to making critical design decisions.

architecture against itself
admin in varnelis.net - network culture
Yesterday, 10:37 AM
The ponzi scheme created to sell real estate at preposterously inflated levels during the last eight years is now having a new feedback effect. Just as it drove rampant construction, producing far more housing than anybody will need any time in the near future, it is now undoing that housing. Once foreclosures happen, houses and apartments are not only neglected, they become the focus of their occupants' rage.

On Lebbeus Woods and Architecture
admin in varnelis.net - network culture
In an article in yesterday's New York Times, Nicolai Ouroursoff paid homage to Lebbeus Woods. Ouroussof suggests that "Architecture is big business today. … But that he now stands virtually alone underscores a disturbing shift in the architectural profession during the past decade or so. By abandoning fantasy for the more pragmatic aspects of building, the profession has lost some of its capacity for self-criticism, not to mention one of its most valuable imaginative tools." Has the profession (and increasingly architecture is a profession not a discipline, incapable of a critical or even intelligent discourse) produced any architecture of value in the last decade? Not much. I can think of Casa da Musica, which is a great building, and perhaps the Seattle Public Library, which is a good building, but OMA's well has run dry.


Decolonizing Architecture
Merten Nefs in Projetos Urbanos
“The project Decolonizing Architecture, directed by architects Sandi Hilal, Alessandro Petti and Eyal Weizman and located in Bethlehem/Palestine, is dealing with a complicated architectural problem: How to deal with the future remnants of Israeli colonial Architecture – colonies and military camps – at a time these would be unplugged from the architectural political power of Israel’s regime of occupation.” www.decolonizing.ps Instead of demolishing the evacuated Israeli colonies, the project proposes the transformation of the abandoned structures for different future use. An ungrounding strategy is suggested, meaning the demolishing of only the surface infrastructural occupations, leaving the houses as isolated pavilions in a new continuous, natural and collective context. Reuse and connection of existing buildings are studied, as well as flooding of certain areas.

ML Museum Liaunig
Frame Magazine
On August 29th, the ML Museum Liaunig, designed by Querkraft, will be officially open.  This museum is placed out over steep-sided ground, placed rather high up in the landscape. However, only a small part of the outstretched building is visible from the hills. The museum also cantilevers thirty meters out, over a steep bank towards the approach road; just image driving on that road. The entrance is orientated toward the centre of Neuhaus (Austria) and the nearby historical castle. The storage depot is one of the main areas of the museum, which stretches out through the entire length of the gently sloping approach. When entering the main exhibition hall, visitors are accompanied by a ‘wine cellar of art’; an underground volume that offers the possibility to organize several exhibitions (thanks to flexible screens and lighting arrangements).

Explora Hotel in Atacama / German del Sol
Nico Saieh in Arch Daily
San Pedro de Atacama is a 34,000 acres cultivated oasis, inhabited for more than two thousand years, in dispersed neighborhoods called Ayllus. The colonial town was founded instead, by the Spanish conquerors, as a square grid of long streets around the main square. The hotel takes some distance from existing settlements, to found a new town in Atacama.

Big One in the Big Apple
Geoff Manaugh in BLDGBLOG
According to a newly published report in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, New York City is more at risk from earthquakes than previously thought. What's interesting here, though, is not some disaster film scenario in which the city is shuddered into a rubble of broken bricks and glass, but the fact that the land around Manhattan is actually an "intricate labyrinth of old faults, sutures and zones of weakness caused by past collisions and rifting," as PhysOrg.com describes it.
Amazingly, for anyone who has ever studied architecture, they even describe "unseen but potentially powerful structures whose layout and dynamics are only now coming clearer." Gilles Deleuze must be rolling in his grave.

3000 Broadway
Brendan in Where
Sure, all major cities look big and dense at their cores. But how do they compare a bit further out? Where's got some (admittedly loose) comparative urbanism for ya's today: aerial images of the address 3000 Broadway in America's nine largest cities -- #10 San Jose has no like-named street. (For the record: Philly's is from 3000 Broad Street, and Dallas' is from 3000 Broadway in the suburb of Garland, since the address does not exist in The Big D proper).

McGill University’s new life sciences buildings
Cédric Sam in Spacing Montreal
In a past life, I was a university student in biochemistry at McGill University. Toward the end of my degree, there were talks that entrepreneur and scientist Dr. Francesco Bellini (who played a big role in Biochem Pharma, the maker of 3TC, an important drug for treating HIV) would give money to build a brand-new biological research centre at McGill University. The year was 2002.

August 17th - 23rd

Inner Mongolia Is Unlikely Laboratory for Emerging Architects
mediabistro.com: UnBeige
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
Frame Magazine
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.

Seductive Sustainability
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
AMNP
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.

Tate Goes Hi-Tech with iPhone Tours
mediabistro.com: UnBeige
The Tate is looking to stay on top of things it looks like, as they've just released the first of what's sure to be a whole slew of museum/exhibit tours intended to be viewed on an iPhone or iPod Touch. Instead of going the standard route of renting out small audio players for visitors to rent, the Tate has designed a whole, snazzy interactive tour, downloadable via the free wi-fi in the museum, providing audio and clickable extras as people wander around and take it all in. Right now the Tate only has this available for their soon-to-end Gustav Klimt exhibit, but like we said, we can almost guarantee that they have plenty more in the pipeline, as does every other museum on the planet, we'd guess.

The Eco-town of Tomorrow and it's planning.
kosmograd in Kosmograd
Gordon Brown's "legacy" project of building 10 eco-towns in the South East of England is an endeavour of specious rhetoric, of mobilised Nimbyism, and unfettered hyperbole. There seems to be nobody willing to defend eco-towns. Even, Wayne Hemingway, who is advising/ apologising for the Government on eco-towns, thinks the plans should be scaled back to just one or two.

sonance House Takes LEED Silver
Preston D K in Jetson Green
Earlier this month, the USGBC awarded LEED Silver certification to the Resonance House, a project designed and built by the collaboration of Design Lab Inc. and University of Kentucky College of Design.  Of note, the Resonance House is the first and only home to be certified by the USGBC at the time of certification.  It's a 4,400 sf home with contemporary finishes and energy efficient elements.  Located at 151 Old Georgetown Street in Lexington, the five-star plus Energy Star home has a small operating cost of 2.8 cents per sf, or ~$125 per month.

The Victorian Age
Brian Libby in Portland Architecture
For the past few days I’ve been vacationing in Victoria, BC. It’s not my first trip here, but it might as well be. The last time I was a toddler. The city is considerably smaller than I expected. I knew Victoria was not a big metropolis like Vancouver (Canada), but it feels almost like a small Oregon coast town—particularly Astoria, with its fabric of historic homes. From our hotel looking out at the inner harbor (or, if you prefer, ‘harbour’) there is a constant stream of sea planes landing on the water and the squawk of seagulls, but otherwise it seems like a sleepy town. Victoria, like lots of Canada, also feels a bit more European, especially British of course, than US cities.

At Calatrava's Milwaukee Art Museum, It's "If it's not broke - break it."
Lynn Becker in ArchitectureChicago PLUS
Mary Louise Schumacher, the Milwaukee Journal arts writer who took over the architecture beat from the inestimable Whitney Gould, has a dispiriting piece on how one of the first acts of the Milwaukee Arts Museum's new director Daniel Keegan is to move admission desks into the stunning, cathedral-like entry hall that architect Santiago Calatrava designed for the Milwaukee Art Museum. Calatrava's building made the museum a global destination, so what better way to repay him than to start cheapening it up? Can coffee and souvenir kiosks be far behind? A conscious decision was made when the museum opened to let people come in the grand hall and look around. Now you have to know you can request an "amenity button" to do it without paying an admission charge.

Future Megastructures, Starship Breaking, and Independence Day 2
Jimmy Stamp in Life Without Buildings
As the human race dares to venture further out into space, we’re going to have to adapt our construction methods for large-scale space travel — think starships, space docks, habitable satellites, and other mega-objects too insanely large for construction on this gravity-well we call Earth. In a thought-provoking article, scifi blog io9 takes a look at the far future of construction, because as it tends to do, science fiction will probably inspire many of the eventual designs of real-life galactic monoliths. Among the hundreds of possible examples from the annals of the genre, two of the megastructure construction facilities that I find most compelling are the planet-building factory in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (pictured above) and Star Trek’s Federation shipyards.

Affordability and the City
Clark Williams-Derry in WorldChanging
Yesterday, 12:48 PM
Downtown housing affordability is an international problem. Interesting article:  Alan Ehrenhalt argues in The New Republic that cities throughout North America are undergoing a "demographic inversion," in which the center city is once again becoming home to the well-off rather than the poor. Chicago is gradually coming to resemble a traditional European city--Vienna or Paris in the nineteenth century, or, for that matter, Paris today. The poor and the newcomers are living on the outskirts. The people who live near the center--some of them black or Hispanic but most of them white--are those who can afford to do so. That certainly rings true for Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver, too.  In fact, Ehrenhalt discusses Vancouver, with its "forest of slender, green, condo skyscrapers," at some length.  So apparently, the problems of urban housing affordability aren't just local ones; they're international in scope. (At least we're in good company.)


Operation Beachhead
Alexander Trevi in Pruned
Lord Smith of Finsbury, the new head of the UK's Environment Agency, talked to The Independent about a wide range of issues, but this is what he said about coastal erosion, the government's defense plans, and why those plans may involve abandoning parts of the British coastline to the sea. “We know the sea is eating away at the coast in quite a number of places, primarily – but not totally exclusively – on the east and south coasts. It's a particularly huge issue in East Anglia, but in quite a number of other areas as well.”

STAR Community Index, Like LEED But For Cities and Local Governments
Preston D K in Jetson Green
Keep your eyes out for the newest tool designed to rate cities in their efforts to push environmental stewardship.  The STAR Community Index is like LEED, but it's designed to rate local governments.  With myriad green city rankings and websites trying to calculate the sustainability of local governments,* it's high time for a highly respected, standardized formula for measuring a community's sustainability.  According to ICLEI, the STAR Program will create a process, not unlike LEED, to bring in leaders in the field toward the goal of establishing shared measures and processes for greening communities.

Forbes Park: An Exemplary Sustainable Community
Evelyn Lee in Inhabitat
The new Forbes Park residence in Chelsea, MA is giving new life to the old Forbes Lithograph Manufacturing Company, re-envisioning it as a prime model for sustainable development in urban city cores. Their self-titled “Hybrid” moniker derives from the project’s extensive use of renewable energy sources, and the grandest green addition to the site is a 240-foot tall wind turbine that will provide the majority of the complex’s electricity. Other unique features include the addition of a water taxi stand for easy access to downtown Boston, a shared fleet of electric cars for all residences, and the installation of a number of “Forbes Orbes” that will let all residents know when they should conserve energy more actively.

It’s Pinup Time for The Sundance Channel’s Architecture School
Jimmy Stamp in Life Without Buildings
In today’s reality-TV obsessed culture, any architecture student who has spent an all-nighter (i.e. every architecture student) working in studio has had the 4 am amphetamine-induced epiphany, “hey, someone should make this into a reality show.” Well now someone has, and according to early reviews, The Sundance Channel’s Architecture School is every bit as good as someone with X-acto scars could hope for. Architecture School follows students enrolled in the Tulane University School of Architecture’s URBANbuild program as they take a project —previously featured here on Life Without Buildings— from design competition through to the realities of client interactions and construction.

A “Gold” for China: Olympic Village Receives LEED Award
Olivia Chen in Inhabitat
Amidst the exciting of athletic accomplishments at this year’s summer Olympics, a significant achievement for sustainable design was recognized as well. Last week, on Wednesday, August 13, U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson presented Chinese officials with a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold award for the 2008 Olympic village. The world-class development boasts a variety of sustainable features including solar panels, green roofs, and an extensive rainwater recycling system.

AIA Makes Videos
Tropolism
In celebration of the American Institute of Architect's 150th Anniversary, they have launched Shape Of America, a video diary of American (presumably United States) buildings. As of this writing, there are only seven buildings profiled. We like the assortment of off-the-beaten-path buildings (the upcoming video on 1963 Air Force Academy's Cadet Chapel by Walter A. Netsch) and the big name superstar buildings (at least for the FAIA set, like 1937's Taliesin West by Big Frank 1). Also, we love snapshots of old buildings in their current state, seeing what worked and didn't work in groundbreaking architecture. The video of Exeter Library shows just such snapshots, complete with cracked concrete and repointed bricks.

Buildings for Blairism
owen hatherley in sit down man, you're a bloody tragedy
2. Home Office, Marsham St, London, Sir Terry Farrell and Partners 2005
The Home Office Building, which I've written about briefly before, is perhaps London's finest example of what deserves to be called Pseudomodernist architecture, perhaps the predominant building type of the New Labour years. The architect, Terry Farrell, has always been a perfect barometer of the political aesthetics of British architecture. First he was an architect for the GLC/LCC (those weird, Corbusian vents at either end of the Blackwall tunnel were his), then a 'high-tech' functionalist working in partnership with Nicholas Grimshaw; then Britain's most prominent postmodernist after Jim Stirling, designing icons of jollity like the TVAM building in Camden.

State Library of Queensland, Australia
mad architect in architechnophilia
City of Sound has produced a stellar post on the State Library of Queensland, Australia - the collaboration of architects Donovan Hill & Peddle Thorpe. Despite the bias, the criticism is thorough and contextual against other library marquees notably the Bibliothèque National as well as the Seattle Public Library and is an enriching history lesson into the geospatial history of Queensland. The shortfalls of this literary contribution is not in the writing, nor the photographs which so beautifully illustrate the building and its surroundings. Rather, a hunger that emerges for more - perhaps supressed by the inclusion of drawings (plans, section, etc).

Beleza To Be Smart, Green Community
Preston D K in Jetson Green
River North Properties LLC is planning to develop a LEED Certified, condo/retail project for Denver's River North ("RiNo") neighborhood.  Named Beleza, a Brazilian Portuguese word for "beauty", this luxurious green community is modeled after the Brazilian city of Curitiba.  Like Curitiba, Beleza will focus on sustainable lifestyle, eco-friendly development, and planning that cuts pollution and waste while improving the quality of life for residents.  It will also have smart amenities, such as biometric fingerprint access, climate-controlled window blinds, power outlets in parking spaces, and digital screen controlled integrated lighting, communications, and A/V systems.

IKEA 1, Breuer 1/2
John in A Daily Dose of Architecture
Back in 2005 I posted about IKEA's bad behavior in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Their destruction of Civil War-era buildings to make way for a parking lot seemed like a new low for the Swedish perpetrator of inexpensive furniture. At that time the destruction of the one-story section of Marcel Breuer's 1969 Armstrong Building (aka Pirelli Building) in New Haven, Connecticut to make way for another surface parking lot next to the massive blue and yellow building seemed excusable. At least history would be partially saved, right?

State Library of Queensland, Brisbane, Donovan Hill / Peddle Thorpe, plus some notes on libraries in general
Dan Hill in cityofsound
Some notes on the State Library of Queensland (SLQ) in Brisbane, designed by Donovan Hill / Peddle Thorp (2007), on top of the original scheme by Robin Gibson (1988). The best public library I’ve seen anywhere. Certainly superior to the Bibliothèque National de France, far superior to the British Library, and superior even to the otherwise peerless Seattle Public Library, to name but three I’ve studied in person. And despite having a fraction of their budget, I’d guess. More on other contemporary libraries later, but here are some observations from the numerous times I’ve visited the SLQ, alongside other notes and references.

Rubi Offices / Bailo Rull ADD+ Arquitectura
Nico Saieh in Arch Daily
The project has been planned understanding the closer environment and the relation between the city and the landscape. The project is situated on a place where the urban conditions are loosing the density and the compactness in front of one river of the city. The location of the project invites to focus the views to the landscape, and propose to choose those green views from every part of the offices.


Week 11-17th of August 

VS 17.08.2008: Manufactured Landscapes
AMNP
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5920583419422014234
Edward Burtynsky is internationally acclaimed for his large-scale photographs of nature transformed by industry.  Manufactured Landscapes – a stunning documentary by award winning director Jennifer Baichwal – follows Burtynsky to China, as he captures the effects of the country’s massive industrial revolution. This remarkable film leads us to meditate on human endeavour and its impact on the planet [via].

New Mexico EcoSteel House - more done than not
lavardera in LamiDesign Modern House Plan Blog
It finally feels like the New Mexico EcoSteel House has crossed the line to being more finished than not. The latest round of photos show the painting almost done, finishing touches going in, light fixtures too.

AIA Launches “GreenStep” Video Series
Dawn Killough in Green Options
The American Institute of Architects recently launched its “GreenStep” online video series.  The series presents short episodes on several green building topics.  It is meant for those planning new buildings or the renovation of existing buildings, and shows how architects can help clients address their green concerns.

A Strangely Butch Delicacy
owen hatherley in sit down man, you're a bloody tragedy
Rodney Gordon was one of the greatest British architects of the 20th century, and the architectural illiteracy of this country must be at least a major reason for the truly remarkable series of indignities he suffered. First, most of his buildings were credited to his boss Owen Luder; then they won interminable 'worst building in Britain' awards from sundry aggrieved traditionalists; and more recently the finest of his works have either been demolished, or await demolition, or are being considered for demolition or have been so altered that for some, demolition would have been preferable. He also died three months ago, and no obituaries in the national press resulted whatsoever.

Cityförster's Winning Design
Frame Magazine
The municipality of Tirana (Albania) awarded the first prize to Cityförster's Park City, a new neigborhood that will house 7.000 inhabitants.  The buildings and an urban park will be build on a former military airfield and consists of approx. 400.000 square meters built floor area. Park City stretches between two large parks. A robust and simple urban layout, which forms a hinge between these two parks, makes them accessible and connects the two with eachother. The structure is a combination of three typologies: strips, towers and solitaires. As a basic structuring element the architect has placed several strips (16 meter wide) perpendicular to the Runway Park.

Book Review: Concrete Reveries
John in A Daily Dose of Architecture
Concrete Reveries: Consciousness and the City (2008) by Mark Kingwell
Viking Press Hardcover, 256 pages
"All great manifestations of social life have in common with the work of art the fact that they are born in unconscious life." - Aldo Rossi
The interaction between our internal states and the exterior world is a subject ripe for investigation, as half the world's population finds itself in cities and a good deal of that number find the physical character of those surroundings lacking, to say the least. Rampant modernization, globalization, and an abstraction rooted in Modernism have morphed places into non-places, ubiquitous constructions that replace the unique and the local with a repetitive brandism. What seems to be missing is considerations of the body, that threshold of interaction between the internal and the external, the porous boundary between us and the rest of the world; or, in essence, our primary way of being in the world.

The Architectural Practice II.
Christoph in anArchitecture
Building = Collaboration. It's the result of interacting individuals: structural engineer, heating /ventilation / sanitary planning engineers, electrical planning engineers, energy consultants, building technology engineers, light planning consultants, facility management, façade engineers, CAD drafters, building physics, clients, carpenters, landscape designers, interior designers, cost calculation consultants, construction supervision, project controllers, technical-economic controllers, traffic consultants, sound engineers, legal advisers, tender writers, the municipality, media, contractors, financial advisers, , fire protection engineers, renderers, metalworkers, architects, drywallers, tillers, floorers, bricklayers, plumbers, façade contractor, gardeners, electricians, model makers and more. (maybe I confused those involved in the project with stakeholders)

Canada’s Bay of Fundy: Beautiful and Renewable Power
Amiel Blajchman in Green Options
Majestic and serene, Nova Scotia’s Bay of Fundy is one of Canada’s natural marvels. Every tidal cycle, about 100 billion tonnes of seawater flows in and out of the Bay. With some of the highest tides in the world (it has a rivalry with the Leaf Basin in Ungava Bay), there are multiple opportunities to generate electricity from this natural wonder. These high tides provide an opportunity to generate power from the tidal energy in a similar manner to modern hydroelectric dams. And just like with hydroelectric dams, the question arises: is this energy really renewable and green?

The Great Debate Over Housing Plans
Jason Sahler in Inhabitat
Earlier this summer we introduced you to Freegreen and their efforts to bring green prefab design to the masses. Recently Lloyd Alter from treehugger conducted an excellent interview with David Wax from Freegreen and architect Greg La Vardera whose smart modern home designs can be found on Houseplans.com. Lloyd looks at the issues facing consumers who decided to go the prefab route, exploring the different approaches to design taken by David and Greg. The interview elicits some great responses from each participant, and sums up what their respective design paths mean for consumers. Head on over to treehugger to check it out!


Beijing's Olympic Village Takes Home LEED Award
mediabistro.com: UnBeige
Rare is the day you hear "green" and "China" anywhere in the same neighborhood, but such was the unusual case yesterday as US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson awarded the nation a Gold Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design award for their work designing and building the Olympic Village up to green standards.

PREFAB FRIDAY: Marmol Radziner’s Rincon 5
Adrianne in Inhabitat
Earlier this summer the brains at Marmol Radziner and Associantes revealed a sleek series of “accessory buildings” including their new Rincon 5 prefab. The clean-lined guest unit features an excellent set of sustainable features including LED lighting, recycled insulation, and bamboo flooring, plus it can function completely off-grid with an optional solar panel package.

Modern Alley House Goes Super Green
Preston D K in Jetson Green
Just one mile from downtown Seattle in Madison Valley, Cascade Built has finished their latest green home, the Alley House.  This high-performance home is seeking LEED Platinum certification and, for those that are interested, is on sale for ~$770,000.  The home is on an advantageous urban infill lot and features some high-end finishes such as Caesarstone countertops, Kirei doors, and a Liebherr refrigerator.  In addition to a private bamboo garden, this home has some of the following green feature

Precise Planning / Accidental Landscape
Michelle Linden in Atelier A+D
nother fine example of creating a great space for people who too often are exposed to the worst of institutional architecture... This project is a treatment center for mentally disturbed children by Sou Fujimoto Architects (located in Hokkaido Japan). The unpredictable plan gives an air of childlike innocence - A perfect place for children in need of special attention. Yet, with all the hidden alcoves and unusual plans, the palette of materials keeps it quiet and calm.

“The suburbs have three destinies, none of them exclusive: as materials salvage, as slums, and as ruins.”
Jimmy Stamp in Life Without Buildings
That bit of wisdom from James Kunstler. Yes, the James Kunslter who seems to take so much joy from coming up with innovative ways to describe just how much he hates something. His vitriolic response, which continued to describe the suburbs as “the greatest misallocation of resources in the history of the world,” was evoked by a question from the New York Times Freakonomics Blog: What is the Future of the Suburbs? At least he also concedes that cities will be shrinking as well, overburdened by their high-rise socio-economic structure. Although I in no way agree with Kunstlers dire predictions, they are incredibly entertaining and well-written. Someone get this man to do fiction. Tales of Post-Apocalyptic Suburban Living.

Adrian Smith on Making Things Taller in the UAE
mediabistro.com: UnBeige
An interesting profile of Chicago icon Adrian Smith from Fred Bernstein over at the NY Times. Although it offers up some details on Smith that most of us already know, like his decision to leave Skidmore, Owings & Merrill to start his own firm that took off running two years ago like an architect possessed, the most captivating part of the profile comes in two parts a) that the vast majority of the famous architect's current projects are now all in the United Arab Emirates and b) most of those projects are trying to outdo each other, height-wise, entering us into a new era of "whose building is the tallest?" once again. His Burj Dubai took the cake last year, but he doesn't think that record will stick around for long. It's a brief, but very worthwhile read, particularly if you were already a Smith fan to being with.

Prairie Crossing Nature-Centric Community
Sarah Roe in Jetson Green
Prairie Crossing is located in Grayslake, Illinois about 40 miles north of Chicago.  This beautiful, nature-focused community has preserved more than 60% of its 677 acres.  An impressive measure which clearly points to the good intentions of the "developers", a group of neighbors who bought the land in the 1980's with the goal of truly responsible development.  The community has 359 homes and 36 condos versus the 2400 homes that another developer had plans for.  The condos have received the highest energy star rating possible.


 

Dyson School of Design Runs Into More Trouble, Thinks of Moving to US
mediabistro.com: UnBeige
Back in March, you might recall that we were reporting on James Dyson finally, after months and months of government intervention, getting the okay to open his Dyson School of Design Innovation in the UK. Well, it looks like we spoke too fast, as it's being reported now by the local Bath Chronicle that the scheduled building has been put back on hold pending additional investigation as to whether or not the school will be safe where it will be constructed (next to a river) and if the town still even wants him there to begin with, pushing the building back to at least 2012. Dyson has said that he wants to keep the school in the UK, but he's been approached by investors to move the planning over to the US and build it over here.

Index Architekten: Artist’s Bunker
AMNP
What do you do with a leftover WWII bunker on Frankfurt’s East harbor? While knocking it over might seem like a good idea, Index Architekten has put this one to work as a cultural place “[defining] it as the motor for municipal transformation”. In a dramatic shift in program, the bunker has been converted into studio space for local artists and the home of the Institute for New Media.

Going Way Basics is Way Better
Courtney Carlisle in Green Options
Way Basics, a new furniture company is bringing affordable, customizable designs made out of 99% post consumer materials right to your door. Recognizing a need for stylish, affordable eco-design, the California-based company developed a line without tools and limits. Don’t go to the site looking for bookshelves, tables or desks though - they don’t label their products that way because they see their “z-board” basic series as building blocks. You can choose to configure your blocks any way that you want to create the pieces that work for you - add shelves, partitions, more blocks, doors and see what you can come up with. Check out their design gallery for a little inspiration.

2800 Lincoln Modern Green Residences
Preston D K in Jetson Green
This 5 story, 9 unit condo building is 2800 Lincoln and is planned for the corner of Diversey Parkway and Lincoln Avenue in Chicago, Illinois.  Designed by Product Architects, this contemporary green building is aiming for LEED Silver, and might even catch LEED Gold.  2800 Lincoln has a green roof, large terraces, solar panels, solar thermal hot water heating, and will be powered, in part, by geothermal energy (see diagram below).  Yo Chicago reports that the developer, Helios Realty and Development, plans to break ground in the next month or two and has a lease for the ground-floor retail space in the works.

AE7: Folded Glass Facades
John in A Daily Dose of Architecture
Glass in modernism was theorized as a material whose transparency dissolved the separation between inside and outside. In effect it was a material that disappeared by allowing light to pass through while blocking air, bugs, and most projectiles. Today glass is seen less simply. Instead its presence is explored via a number of procedures, from casting and bending to silkscreening and other surface enhancements. One aspect of this is the transformation of curtain walls from two-dimensional surfaces to three-dimensional, vertical terrains. As the production of both architectural designs and construction elements (materials, systems, etc.) has evolved with computers, more complex and varied designs are possible.

Timestretching
owen hatherley in sit down man, you're a bloody tragedy
Disorganised thoughts on jungle and pop-cultural time. Mentasms has two really quite brilliant new posts about being a junglist out of time. Being, like myself, too young to have properly been there in 1994 when the relentless forward motion and futurism of jungle might have seemed like it would change music for good, the observations are rather poignant, and combined nicely with a critique of the staggeringly prosaic architecture of the 'Celtic Tiger' economy. The annoyance at having missed the boat with jungle is one I totally sympathise with.

Razing Rome’s Ara Pacis Museum
Jimmy Stamp in Life Without Buildings
Is there any hope for Rome to become a modern city? A Reuters article from this Sunday takes a look at that very question, using the Richard Meyer’s Ara Pacis Museum as its whipping boy. the Ara Pacis Museum is a reliquary for the Ara Pacis, an ancient monument to peace commissioned by Emperor Augustus himself. In 1995, when Meier’s design was commissioned by the then-progressive administration, the building was intended to lead The Eternal City into the new millenium. A tall order for any architect, but Meyer’s building is widely regarded as a spectacular failure — often referred to as a gas station. And now there are those who want to see the building destroyed. Most notable among the over-reactionaires is Rome’s current mayor Gianni Alemanno, who has s since tempered his statements.

Oppure
sabine7 in MoCo Loco
In Italian, the word oppure suggests an alternative and can be simply translated as or. The Italian design studio that goes by the same name suggests cardboard as an alternative to traditional materials used for furniture and accessories. Today’s nomadic lifestyle also serves as inspiration for Oppure’s line of pieces that are ready to be used and reused. The modular bookcase has coloured bookends; the stools are folding; and the frames can be grouped in various arrangements. The pieces are made from a mix of 95% cardboard and 5% cellulose. We do wonder how long the hangers will last.

How Safe is Your Child’s Playground? Recycled Tire Cushioning Poses Health Concerns
Jennifer Lance in Green Options
It is back to school time, and whether you child plays at a park or a school, you have probably been on a playground that uses recycled tires for cushioning.  In the past, I have questioned the safety of children playing with old tires; however, I remember enjoy tire swings immensely as a child.  Now, the Green Guide has reported on the safety of recycled tire cushioning found on many playgrounds.

Green Condo Remodel An Inspiration
Preston D K in Jetson Green
I find the stories behind green homes to be quite interesting.  I was at the gym and happened upon this article in Home Magazine about Adam Coulter, a 27 year-old screenwriter and actor living in LA.  He successfully battled cancer in his teens and has been in remission since that time.  But since his bout with cancer, he's always attempted to live in the healthiest environment possible.  This third-floor condo is an example of Couter's quest for healthy living -- it's been renovated with bamboo flooring, organic linen draperies, recycled glass tiles, zero-VOC paints, and locally produced, sustainable materials, etc.  Plus, it's super fresh and modern, a design aesthetic that certainly keeps the inner chi healthily chugging along.  You'll probably get stuck looking at the floating stairs, but don't forget check out the orange desk and mosaic bathroom tiles, too.

The Madison Square Waterfall
Tropolism
Overlooking our first instance of Pop-Up Park 2.0 is a building (yes yes it's 200 Fifth Avenue, stunning new luxury la la la all very important) being powerwashed, as it has been for several weeks now. Complete with blue tarp and scaffolding you can walk under. I pass under this temporary structure several times a day, and always feel a little of the spray as I pass under it. The tarp glows a bright blue, and to get by it you need to step over a little river of runoff. Just as Pop-Up Park 2.0 is an example of public space being claimed as serendipitous proto-park (TM) the powerwashing is an example of public space being claimed as serendipitous art. Because all the elements of an Olafur Eliasson installation is there. And if you don't get the blue tarp reference, I have included a picture of Your Inverted Veto, an installation at Tanya Bonakdar Gallery (a gallery I designed) in 1998.

Cloepfil's artistic inspirations
Brian Libby in Portland Architecture
Arcy Douglass has an extensive interview with architect Brad Cloepfil on the PORT website today, focusing on how modern and contemporary art has affected his designs. Cloepfil is a big art fan, and he cites works by Richard Serra, Sol Le Witt, Robert Irwin and others:
Douglass: How did your early experience with art feedback into your own creative process as an architect?
Cloepfil: When I was younger, I tended to be influenced by the raw experience of the work itself. At first, I wasn't even aware of who created a work, whether it was Richard Serra or Robert Irwin, it was the experience of the work itself that was important. The experience makes you ask yourself about the spatial quality of that type of work and about the ideas that those artists are exploring. It just resonates with you.

Jahn's 50 West Street Going LEED Gold
Preston D K in Jetson Green
Time Equities, Inc. just broke ground on 50 West Street, Manhattan's newest green condo and hotel skyscraper.  Designed by influential architect Helmut Jahn, the $600 million, 580,000 sf mixed-use eco-tower is shooting for LEED Gold certification upon completion in 2011.  As a result, the 65-story tower will incorporate a host of green features and measures, including a green roof, water-efficient fixtures, automated blinds and energy control systems, recycling of demolition materials, use of sustainable and rapidly renewable materials, and an energy-efficient glass facade to filter in daylight and filter out UV rays.

Weighing the two finalists for Yeon-designed former McCall's site
Brian Libby in Portland Architecture
 By the end of this month, the city Parks Bureau will make its recommendation to Commissioner Dan Saltzman on which of two finalists should be selected for redevelopment of the circa-1948 John Yeon-designed Portland Visitors Information Center (more recently McCall's restaurant). One of the finalists is a facility called Bike Republic and would offer bike parking, rentals and repair, with a Laughing Planet restaurant. I could certainly imagine having a chicken burrito and renting a bike here.

Gabriel Mancera Building / at103
Nico Saieh in Arch Daily
Being charged by an architect client, on a 12.5 meters front by 25 meters long site 8 apartments are projected, 2 per floor arranged longitudinally and interrupted by three voids: a central one for services and two lateral ones for terraces that will be covered by climbing plants working as filter in-between public and private spaces.


The Architectural Practice.
Christoph in anArchitecture
'stakeholders' in the building process
Architectural practices are a project based businesses: Changing teams create unique, tailor-made products or services (e.g. a building). A project is characterized by a network of different groups or companies (sometimes referred as 'stakeholders') like clients, designers, model makers, engineers, etc - temporary working together. Although people change from project to project their collaboration is based on trust.

93% of Home Buyers Won't Pay More for Green Home Features
Preston D K in Jetson Green
In the Spring 2008, the NY Times commissioned a study to learn how the real estate market and economy may be affecting people's attitudes towards buying a home.  Their study skewed young, affluent, and New York/Metro area (with roughly 250 NY participants).  It was also conducted in two-stages with the online study portion first and a follow-up interview second.  They concluded the study with Five Core Insights, with the following two points relating to environmental concerns: 93% of all home buyers, both nationally and in the NY Metro area, ARE NOT willing to PAY MORE for green or energy efficient features when building a home.  Consumers said that green features that save them money, such as energy efficient appliances, are important, while green features that are capital-intensive are less important.

2030
Dan Hill in cityofsound
For future reference, a fairly random selection of urban visions/strategy statements. Interesting how many are pinned on 2030. Far enough away to enable the magical convergence of speculation and possibility? I presume Cerda's Barcelona plan or Hausmann's equivalent for Paris weren't framed in the context of a quarter of a century hence? New York's and London's here have the feel of ongoing development projects instead (perhaps therefore forgoing the opportunity to envision the future of each city? But perhaps also more pragmatic.)

Village of Dancing Fish
Michelle Linden in Atelier A+D
The Village of Dancing Fish is a special needs housing project in Paju, South Korea by Byoung Soo Cho Architects. The adult living group home provides farmland for work as well as a village-like community. The buildings are grouped in order to provide individual spaces for the residents that can still be monitored by teachers... These clusters provide intimate 'neighborhoods' within the overall shared community. The plywood and steel structure and clean interior lines are interesting, but I think the big idea of a well designed community for the mentally disabled is even more exciting and impressive.

mad architect in architechnophilia
The Olympic Delivery Authority is aiming to deliver on its statement to make the 2012 Olympic Games in London the first sustainable one with this building. The Energy Centre will be part of a primary electrical substation within the Olympic Park to form the new utilities network that is being built across the British city. The Olympic Energy Centre when constructed will be both sustainable and flexible enough to integrate future technologies as developed in the years to come.

Belcher & Joass at their most intolerable
owen hatherley in sit down man, you're a bloody tragedy
If you spend too much time reading The Buildings of England it begins to warp your brain. You start to see everything through the eyes of Nikolaus Pevsner, and write in your head in a curious Germanic English. The 188 bus to a design by Stagecoach, showing usual Souter uninspired chuffing. Flyover at Elephant & Castle by GLC 1969, unlovely composition with mannerist concrete aggregate. Board school opposite, Grabber & Grabber, 1879 - wrong are the Gothic details, wrong are the huge gaping windows, wrong also are the lurid yellow bricks. Stafford Cripps Estate by LCC, 1958 - a fine, humanitarian work before the wilful ugliness of Brutalism set in.

transparent house, michael bell architect
Justin in materialicious
A transparent house by architect Michael Bell, sited on 12 acres in New York’s Hudson River Valley, evokes Philip Johnson’s Glass House.

Tom Dyckoff Reviews the Finally Opened CCTV HQ Building
mediabistro.com: UnBeige
Staying in China for just a minute, but putting the Olympics aside to catch our collective wits before they melt from overexposure (and there's nothing worse than melty wits), we turn to one of the first full review of Koolhaas/OMA's new CCTV Headquarters in Beijing. This comes from the Times' resident architecture critic, Tom Dyckoff, who got a chance to take a look at the place after it finally finished up last week and spoke to one of the co-designers (the one who isn't Rem Koolhaas and therefore doesn't get nearly enough credit on the project), Ole Scheeren. It's an interesting look at perhaps the most talked about building of the past couple of years, one Dyckoff proclaims as "the most significant building of the century thus far."

The Tech Details Behind the Olympic Opening Ceremonies
mediabistro.com: UnBeige
So, if you're like this writer, try as you might, you couldn't possibly avoid catching a healthy portion of the Olympics' opening ceremony this past Friday. As we were watching it, this writer's fiancee kept asking "How are they doing that?!" or "How is that working?!" to which we'd sort of have to fake our way through an explanation. Luckily, through the power of the internet, we were able to track down this info on how all of it functioned, like those insanely huge LED screens, including some good quotes by the tech team responsible for their creation. Also, for the more cut and dry reader out there who just wants the various details in list form, we can provide this for you as well. Overall, while we only made it through an hour and a half of the opening before saying, "Okay, enough of this, it's time for bed," the fiancee got it right when she said, "Say what you will about China, but damn if they can't do fireworks."

IKEA Solar Panels on the Horizon
Mike Chino in Inhabitat
Eponymous big-box colossus IKEA has shown some great green developments lately, from flat-pack bike trailers to eco-friendly lines of housewares. Now the patent purveyor of all things flat-pack has announced plans to invest $77 million into its GreenTech energy fund with the goal of eventually producing solar panels, efficiency meters, and energy efficient lighting. Granted its massive distribution network, IKEA’s uptake of green tech could pose a monumental shift in the accessibility and affordability of these technologies.

One Waterfront Place Going Super Green
Preston D K in Jetson Green
Just recently, I noticed news that One Waterfront Place in the River District of Portland has received Platinum precertification under the LEED-CS program.  One Waterfront Place is said to be the first Platinum precertified project on the West Coast and the first precertified project of any level in Oregon.  And, as you can tell with the above rendering, the $100 million, 270,000 sf commercial office building has a posh location right near the river.  The Class A+ building will have a host of green amenities:

Contemporary Architecture Practice
Young in Architecture
"Contemporary Architectural Practice was founded in 1999 and is located in SoHo, New York City, Contemporary Architecture Practice has established an award winning profile in futuristic work using cutting edge digital design and production techniques. Their work includes master plans, residential, commercials and product design projects. A book on Contemporary Architecture Practice titled Catalytic Formations was recently released.

Architectural Styles of Contemporary Universities
admin in mirage.studio.7
You know, the last paragraph on the architecture style of universities is sort of true - “… to convince alumni and parents they’re getting their money’s worth.” A good learning environment is important, which is something sorely lacking in a number of Malaysia’s local universities - lousy facilities, bias lecturers, bias system based on the colour of your skin. What amazed me is the unreasonable idea by the Dean of university with petty stuff such as dress code, for instant male students are required to wear long sleeves, leather shoe, and long pants in XXX ‘university of I translated your phd research from english to the malay language and claimed it as mine’.

Building Diagrams
John in A Daily Dose of Architecture
I've always found the gulf between architect and end user most fascinating, particularly the legibility of architectural production (plans, elevations, sections, details, sketches, models, perspectives, renderings, etc.) by -- for lack of a better term -- laypeople. It goes without saying that much of that produced by the former is not fully grasped by the latter, in terms of how a set of drawings, for example, will translate into a building. Models and renderings attempt to bridge this gulf of understanding, but in some cases diagrams done after a building's completion can prove even more helpful.

Dear India: You do not need your own Dubai.
Brendan in Where
I can't be the only person who's bored to death with videos like the one here, screenshot'd above, for the Nanocity deveopment north of New Delhi, can I? Obviously, the presentation, with its sweeping aerials and zooming close-ups of crystalized placeholders for buildings is intended to impress. And yet. After Masdar, and the Palm Islands, and that insipid Koolhaas Death Star development, these "impressive" videos have become mundane, commonplace. There is the slight tweak to the trope, in this case, of the development's being located in India. Still, knowing what little I do of India's wild and dynamic culture, the change of location actually generates more disgust for the project. Here is a sanitized, plagiarized version of Next Generation Urban Density™ for yet another developing country.


Week August 3rd to 9th

Malta observed: Valletta’s very urban streets
Shawn Micallef in Spacing Toronto • understanding the urban landscape
Like anybody who comes to Malta, I visit the capital Valletta a few times while here. There isn’t much I need to go there for as I’ve seen and toured the landmarks on previous trips, and I don’t want to buy anything, but it’s “The City” as people on this very urban island call it, and to get your bearings you need to go to the centre of things a few times. It’s a sort of smaller Renaissance version of Manhattan, a perfect grid laid out in roughly a rectangle on a rocky peninsula. However with the rather steep hills, it might be more aptly compared to the relentless grid of San Francisco that made no allowance for topography and kept the streets straight and the corners 90 degrees no matter the elevation. Valletta accommodates by having entire streets made of steps ...

Beijing Interactive
John in A Daily Dose of Architecture
It's rather difficult to escape from Olympic and China fever these days, even when it's proverbially halfway around the world. One good place to give in to this fever is the New York Times's Interactive Map of Beijing. Be sure to click on the New Beijing Architecture map, as this one conveys the most information about what the Chinese government's been up to in preparation for the world's spotlight. The sports and urban maps are unfortunately lacking in relation to the above.

Exploring The Ruins of San Francisco’s Sutro Baths
Jimmy Stamp in Life Without Buildings
Gloomy San Francisco Days are always good for exploring ruins. This week, on a particularly grey and windy day, a friend and I took a stroll through the Sutro Baths in San Francisco…or at least what’s left of them. If I were making a low-budge, post-apocalyptic student film, I would probably use the site as my primary location. It’s been 40 years since the baths burned down, but what remains still has a definite ground-zero vibe. Mysterious pieces of concrete and brick walls jut out of the hillside growth and unusual sand formations. Navigating the site can be tricky—as Maude will surely attest—with pieces of bent, rusted metal and concrete holes aiming to trip up careless explorers. When the Sutro Baths opened in 1896, it was the world’s largest indoor swimming hole — complete with 7 different pools, a private museum and 8,000 seat concert hall.

Oregon Tech To Be Powered Entirely By Geothermal Energy
Ariel Schwartz in Green Options
College students are demanding sustainability efforts in their schools, and now universities are stepping up to the plate. This past Tuesday, the Oregon Institute of Technology outlined a plan to build a $7.6 million geothermal power plant on campus. The plant will become the sole power source for the school in a few years, making Oregon Tech the only university to be powered completely by geothermal energy.

Wanted: Designer Who Knows Lay of Land
mediabistro.com: UnBeige
Is Real Estate the first section you turn to in the Sunday paper? Do the words "urban planning" set you all a-tingle? Did you adore The Sopranos' spec house subplot? Then size up this week's featured job posting: a plum designer gig at the Urban Land Institute (ULI) in Washington, DC. Not to be confused with the East German-born Project Runway contestant of the same name, ULI describes itself as the "preeminent, multidisciplinary real estate forum" with the mission "to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide." To help with that, the nonprofit organization is seeking a designer to create design concepts and artwork for a variety of printed and displayed materials. Drawing up plans to apply? Learn more about this Designer, Urban Land Institute job or view all the current mediabistro.com design/art/photo jobs.

student housing, malmö
lavardera in materialicious
From Peter Guthrie’s photo stream at Flickr comes this student housing project by Wikeborg & Sander. There are just a few photos there but what an interesting project. I love the loggia along the waterfront, and the facade along the walk sided with wood. Meanwhile above is another world, the housing above coming right out to the water line.

McDonough + Partners’ Groundbreaking Isola Office
Evelyn Lee in Inhabitat
Sustainable design greats McDonough + Partners will soon be bringing Cradle to Cradle thinking to a city often known first for its fashion: Milan, Italy. Their Isola Office building will be aiming for LEED Gold with a variety of sustainable building strategies including solar and geothermal energy, advanced insulation panels, solar shading, and a high-efficiency climate control system. The structure will be part of the Porta Nuova redevelopment, which will introduce 340,000 square meters of housing, community, commercial and government buildings within Milan’s center - it’s practically a city within a city!

Off-Grid Eco-Home Focuses on Lifecycle
Preston D K in Jetson Green
I keep an eye on things in the UK because, for some reason, I have this feeling that they're focusing more on sustainability than we are.  I mean, they're not necessarily talking about green this or green that, they're talking about lifecycle of materials and carbon emissions.  This super luxury eco-home, for instance, was designed with lifecycle in mind.  Designed by ZedFactory, the, ahem, 7535 sf home has received Bath (UK) planning permission and should be complete within about a year.  It will feature efficient insulation, solar orientation, thermal mass, and earth sheltering to minimize energy consumption.


The Kayak House by Ogrydziak/Prillinger Architects
Mohammad Fahmi Tri Wahyudi,ST in Best House Design | Luxury Homes | Home Listings
This Kayak House was designed by Ogrydziak/Prillinger Architects for an avid kayaker and his wife. Several years ago, the owners decided to sell their suburban tract home and move to the country, to live on the river. They chose a 4.5 acre site on the South Fork of the American River, overlooking one of the best kayak funs in Northern California. At the time of purchase, this particular lot was the last available empty and developable river site for over ten miles in either direction. Ultimately, the project design arose from an intersection of this spectacular site and the clients' own specific interests in kayaking, durability, ecology, and accessibility.

ARCHIPRIX INTERNATIONAL
Young in Architecture
"Biennially Archiprix International presents the world's best graduation projects in the fields of architecture, urban design and landscape architecture. All university-level training colleges around the world are invited to take part by selecting and submitting their best graduation project. Archiprix International forms the largest presentation of graduation work and offers unrivalled insight into current trends in design education globally and architecture generally. The initiative reflects rapid international developments in the design disciplines. Recent decades have seen an explosive growth in the scale of international contact, resulting in lively exchanges world-wide. Increasing numbers of designers work on commissions abroad, professional journals are published on an international scale, and training colleges are becoming more and more international in their orientation.

AE6: Undulating Roof/Column
John in A Daily Dose of Architecture
Yesterday, 11:30 PM
Undulating roofs are fairly common in contemporary architecture these days, at least for commissions with a budget that can accommodate one. But undulating roofs that incorporate the column structure into the undulations are less common, though certainly more interesting. The blurring of the boundaries between the two functions (protection from the elements and keeping the building standing), stemming from the continuity of the construction (if not the actual structural system), make for very appealing spatial wrappers.

The Future of Shopping Malls: An Image Essay
WorldChanging Team in WorldChanging
By Morgan Greenseth
Mall culture in the United States -- at least as we know it -- is coming to an end. Last month, the fall of Steve & Barry's became the next addition to a series of recent retailer bankruptcies we've been witnessing across the nation. This trend is likely to continue, as the U.S. economic downturn causes people to reduce their trips to stores and to shop less, forcing more shops to close and leaving malls deserted.
According to an article that ran in The Economist at the end of 2007: In the past half century ... [malls] have transformed shopping habits, urban economies and teenage speech. America now has some 1,100 enclosed shopping malls, according to the International Council of Shopping Centres. Clones have appeared from Chennai to Martinique. Yet the mall's story is far from triumphal. Invented by a European socialist who hated cars and came to deride his own creation, it has a murky future. While malls continue to multiply outside America, they are gradually dying in the country that pioneered them.

OMA´s CCTV facade completed
David Basulto in Arch Daily
It’s not a rendering but an actual photo of the completed facade of the CCTV Building by OMA in Beijing. The visible face of this iconic building was finished just in time for the olympics, after 6 years of hard work between OMA, ARUP and chinese partners ECADI. Quite impressive, isn’t it? Hopefully the next pictures we publish with the CCTV finished will be taken by me.

The Hayle Estuary Ecolodge
Alexandra Kain in Inhabitat
Architects Gilmore, Hankey and Kirke of GHK International have submitted plans for this beautiful Ecolodge on the edge of the Hayle Estuary in Cornwall, England. The 30-room complex will include a restaurant, cafe and visitors center for bird watchers and eco-tourists alike. Featuring an unobtrusive FSC certified design with a living green roof, the sustainable center will blend into its environment with minimal visual impact from above and on ground.

415 SW 10th, Mork from Ork's suspenders, and the meaning of historic preservation
Brian Libby in Portland Architecture
 Tyler Graf has an article in Tuesday's Daily Journal of Commerceabout the "checkerboard" building downtown on 10th Avenue (around the corner from the Ace Hotel), which is being renovated, but possibly signficantly altered as well, by developer Richard Singer and the excellent Holst Architecture. Graf was nice enough to quote me in the article on this favorite building of mine: “'Coming around the corner and seeing the checkerboard building always makes me smile,'” Libby said. “'It’s an architectural Rubik’s Cube: fun, colorful and a bit puzzling. I totally love it...If Portland gets even a handsome modern building on that site at the expense of the checkerboard, I think an important and wonderful part of the city and its architectural past will be lost.'”

Buildings--the Biggest Bang for the Buck in Global CO2 Abatement
Jeremy Faludi in WorldChanging
The Vattenfall/McKinsey Report "A Cost Curve for Greenhouse Gas Reduction" contains a graph (below) that everybody needs to see. The graph shows how much greenhouse gas abatement potential lies in some popular strategies/technologies, and simultaneously shows the monetary cost of each strategy. The first thing you notice when you see the graph is that the cost for many abatement strategies is negative. That means these strategies make money, they don't cost money. The second thing that you notice is most of the money-making strategies are in the building industry: better insulation, better HVAC, better lighting, better water heating. Also in the money-making realm are better vehicle fuel efficiency and sugarcane ethanol. Forestry has perhaps the largest single abatement potential but is one of the more expensive methods; the power industry has the largest total abatement potential, but different technologies have different costs.


l Keeps to Playground Design Plans
mediabistro.com: UnBeige
An interesting piece from the Wall Street Journal about an alteration of career plans for famous theatrical/building designer, David Rockwell. Known for his work building backdrops for big name Broadway shows and even serving as the lead architect for the theaters themselves (he designed and built the Kodak Theater in LA), he's recently decided that he's still very into the playground designing market (for kids, specifically), the first of which should be completed sometime within the next year in NY. All this in the name of making urban life a little more kid-friendly and kid-encouraging.

Frieze Harley-Davidson Gets LEED Gold
Preston D K in Jetson Green
We're seeing all sorts of companies going for LEED Certification, and the most macho of motorcycle manufacturers is no different.  Just recently, the USGBC announced that the Frieze Harley-Davidson Dealership in O'Fallon, Illinois has been LEED Certified at the Gold level.  It's the first, LEED Harley-Davidson dealership in the Nation.  The 33,000 sf dealership was sustainably designed and built with ICFs with an R-value of forty.  Plus, with over forty Solatubes and all the various green elements that led to a credible Gold certification, it's also partially powered by a wind turbine.

Fish Works
Alexander Trevi in Pruned
On view till 27 September 2008 at Center for Architecture in New York are select entries from the South Street Seaport - Re-envisioning the Urban Edge competition. Unfortunately, no images are provided. Thankfully, N.E.E.D., whose entry was awarded First Place, provided us with images of their winning proposal: “an aquaculture-driven floating park, inlaid with combinational modules of public indoor programs.”

Mapping the World's Renewable Energy Potential
Sarah Kuck in WorldChanging
Yesterday, 4:21 PM
As renewable energy technologies become more competitive, investing in them is becoming a more viable venture. Yet, uncertainties about cost and ROI are still keeping some investors at bay. Wind blows, rain falls and the sun shines, but differently at different times and locations, making wind, hydroelectric and solar power dependent upon weather and climate systems. A new Northwest-based energy efficiency company, 3TIER, is using their science skills and computer smarts to remove some of that guesswork. Over 90 percent of the renewable energies used for electricity generation are weather-driven; in other words, they are completely dependent on the weather/climate system for their fuel. So while these sources of renewable energy have the capability to liberate us from our dependence on fossil fuels, they introduce another complicating dependency: the weather. This dependency affects all aspects of weather-driven renewable energy projects: from proper placement to ongoing operation and integration.

The Church of the Holy Cross / KHR
Nico Saieh in Arch Daily
The church of the holy cross was conceived as part of the landscape around Jyllinge. With its glass façade facing the fjord and a “fishing net” dividing the space of the church, the design clearly takes the history of the place seriously.

ZGF and Gerding/Edlen vie with Cesar Pelli and Houston developer for San Diego city hall comission
Brian Libby in Portland Architecture
Yesterday, 2:57 PM
 Gerding Edlen Development and Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Partnership have been shortlisted for a new multi-block city hall project in San Diego, as previously reported by the Daily Journal of Commerce's Sam Bennett. The Portland team is a co-finalist with Houston developer Hines and its architect, Cesar Pelli. Although Pelli is a better known name nationally/internationally than ZGF, the Gerding/ZGF proposal is significantly more ambitious than Pelli's plan with Hines.

Casa angosta, cunningham architects
lavardera in materialicious
From the architect’s web site: Located on a narrow wooded site flanked by a creek and a railroad track you would not guess you were in the North Dallas suburbs. Accessed by a 250-foot long drive from the street, this 4300 sf house and pool stretch the remaining length of the property. An elongated plan allows for multi-directional views from each room of the house and appropriate climatic orientation. The first floor includes a brick garage and a glazed living area, separated by a decomposed granite motor court breezeway. These elements support the long Cor-ten steel clad second floor, including bedrooms, gallery, office, family room and utilities.

The Architects interview Bjarke Ingels
Marcus Trimble in Super Colossal
The always excellent (is there any architecture radio that rivals it?) RRR radio program The Architects interview Bjarke Ingels from BIG, complete with a wonderful story about A-R-M, copyright and photoshop filters.

Archinode
Young in Architecture
"A methodology new to buildings yet ancient to gardening is introduced in this design - pleaching. Pleaching is a method of weaving together tree branches to form living archways, lattices, or screens. The trunks of inosculate, or self-grafting, trees, such as Elm, Live Oak, and Dogwood, are the load-bearing structure, and the branches form a continuous lattice frame for the walls and roof. Weaved along the exterior is a dense protective layer of vines, interspersed with soil pockets and growing plants. Scaffolds, cut from 3D computer files control the plant growth in the early stages.

casa angosta, cunningham architects
lavardera in materialicious
From the architect’s web site: Located on a narrow wooded site flanked by a creek and a railroad track you would not guess you were in the North Dallas suburbs. Accessed by a 250-foot long drive from the street, this 4300 sf house and pool stretch the remaining length of the property. An elongated plan allows for multi-directional views from each room of the house and appropriate climatic orientation. The first floor includes a brick garage and a glazed living area, separated by a decomposed granite motor court breezeway. These elements support the long Cor-ten steel clad second floor, including bedrooms, gallery, office, family room and utilities.

Dellis Cay: Starchitects in the Turks & Caicos archipielago
Nico Saieh in Arch Daily
Super star architects arrive to the Caribbean, specifically to Dellis Cay,  a 560-acre island at the Turks & Caicos archipielago. The project, set to be completed by 2010, will feature works by Shigeru Ban, David Chipperfield, Carl Ettensperger, Zaha Hadid, Kengo Kuma, Piero Lissoni, and Chad Oppenheim. In addition to the 124 villas and 154 residences, the island will have a 30,000 sq ft Spa operated by the Mandarin Oriental, a five star luxury hotel, a signature restaurant and numerous casual dining experiences.

Skylab tower cuts 18 stories (but still looks great)
Brian Libby in Portland Architecture
As Mike Thelin previously reported on his Burnside Blog for Portland Spaces, Skylab Design has unveiled a redesigned version of its proposed 27-story office and condo tower at West Burnside and 13th that is only 18 stories. As you can surely guess, the down-turned condo market is to blame. But now it will be a nine-story office building with ground-floor retail. Even so, the look remains dramatic, with an angular and jewel like facade of metal and glass.

Biggles in the 21st Century
owen hatherley in sit down man, you're a bloody tragedy
Historical regression corner: I live about a mile, as the crow flies, from the Excel centre. This is a strange place on the Royal Docks which seemingly holds only arms fairs and generally militaristic shindigs - gunboats and attack planes a particular specialty. Lately, the air above my flat has been filled with biplanes diving, swooping and generally re-enacting the Battle of Britain. Perhaps this is because I was reading 'Cato's Guilty Men at the time (a very topical thing, with chapter titles like 'Mr Brown Not Yet Unemployed' - I look forward to something as scurrilous about Thatcher-Blair as this is about Baldwin-MacDonald, one day), but it was really very unnerving. Shouldn't we be sheltering in the tunnel at Westcombe Park until they go away?

City of Silk Rail Network to Link Middle East & China
Ali Kriscenski in Inhabitat
A massive urban masterplan has been approved for Madinat al-Hareer, or City of Silk, in Subiya, Kuwait. With a budget of £66 billion ($132bn USD), the project is an ambitious endeavor that will provide a rail network between major Middle East cities and China. Kuwait, Damascus, Baghdad, and Iran are all along the intended railway route, which will link these cities to Israel and China. Boasting a new tower that will become the world’s tallest, the design for City of Silk will also include numerous recreation and business attractions, including a National Wildlife Sanctuary.

Bowery Livin'
John in A Daily Dose of Architecture
Yesterday, 7:00 PM
The current Architect's Newspaper chronicles the latest developments in the five boroughs, presenting a helpful, all-in-one-place snapshot of notable -- and not so notable -- residential projects. One of the projects that stood out is 52E4, designed by Scarano Architects and located at the corner of the Bowery and East 4th Street. Living on the Bowery used to be less of choice and more of circumstance. The numerous flophouses and mission shelters have dwindled close to the number that one can only anticipate they will soon be: zero. These, and almost certainly the light and kitchen supply stores below Houston Street, are slowly giving way to places for the middle and upper classes, be it museums or condo developments, the latter in which 52E4 falls.


Lyons House, Robin Boyd, Sydney
Dan Hill in cityofsound
(An account of a house-visit to a modernist classic, with reflections on the importance of clients who know what they want, and can express it in terms that increasingly make sense 40 years later, and the results of a Melbourne architect working in Sydney.)A couple of months ago, the Trimbles and I drove down to the south of Sydney to see the Lyons House. Designed by the great Robin Boyd in 1966, it's a wonderful house, and still inhabited by the original owner, Dr. Lyons, some 40 years on.

Infill Container Home by LWA
Preston D K in Jetson Green
We're bringing you back-to-back container home coverage here with this home on an infill lot in the eastern hills above San Francisco Bay.  Designed by Leger Wanaselja Architecture, the project required three insulated containers to create a cozy, two-bedroom house.  Two forty-foot containers were stacked on one side and the third was cut in the middle.  The split containers were also stacked on the other side.  The three containers are brought together with a large, glassy atrium that spans both the first and second floors.  It's a simple design that shows what's possible with innovative home construction.  Make sure to check out the construction images, too.

Herzog Interview
mad architect in architechnophilia
Spiegel interviews Jacques Herzog re: the Bird's Nest stadium for the Beijing Olympics

August 1st and 2nd

bert pepler, south africa
lavardera in materialicious
I found a showing of this architect, Bert Pepler, on the PushPullBar community. There is not a great deal of information about him there but I found this house very interesting. Set in the hills around Cape Town, if somebody had told me this was Los Angeles I would not have blinked.

Raumlabor - Küchenmonument
Merten Nefs in Projetos Urbanos
Berlin-based studio Raumlabor designed an air blob that can be blown into a temporary space for eating and dancing at about every available spot in the city. The object has travelled between several points in Duisburg and Mülheim (Germany). In October the studio will realize an intervention on a vacant spot in New York.
The project was developed together with Plastique Fantastique, which is specialized in pneumatic spaces.

Gianni Botsford: Casa Kike
AMNP
Following up on yesterday’s take on living in a bookcase, we’ve got the recent Lubetkin Prize [RIBA] winning Casa Kike - designed by Gianni Botsford Architects. Located in Cahuita, Costa Rica, the home was built for a writer - and is meant to house 17,000 books [I bet there’s lots of pictures…]. Here’s RIBA’s description of the award: The Lubetkin Prize is named in honour of the Georgia-born architect, who worked in Paris before coming to London in the 1930s to establish the influential Tecton Group. It is awarded for the most outstanding building outside the EU by an RIBA member and is chosen from winners of RIBA International Awards| following visits by a jury of architects and a lay judge.

First Look at West Coast Green Container Showhouse 2008
Preston D K in Jetson Green
For the past two years, we've been media sponsors for the always excellent West Coast Green conference.  WCG pushes the envelope on innovation and sustainability, and this year will be no different.  Today I received renderings of the West Coast Green Showhouse, aka the SG Blocks 2008 Showhouse, built by SG Blocks and designed by The Lawrence Group.  It's a 1700 sf container home, but you probably can't tell just by looking.  Sustainability will be number one, with GreenPoint and LEED certification in the plans.  Plus, it seems that ecofabulous will be doing the interior design work, so the home, you can believe, will be modish, posh, and green.

The ITER Complex: A Gorgeous Green Enclave
Mike Chino in Inhabitat
Juan Herreros Architects designed this gorgeous green complex to seamlessly integrate into the sweeping undergrowth of a forest bustling with biological activity. The verdant structure features an elongated low-profile layout to help it blend in with the treetops, situating it as “a new species that respects, protects and enhances the forest”. An excellent example of low-impact green architecture, the design recently took second place in an international competition to design a new building for the CEA Cadarache Research Center.

The Psychiatric Infrastructure of the City
Geoff Manaugh in BLDGBLOG
A few years ago, the Boston Globe looked at what could be called the psychiatric impact of that city's Big Dig. The Big Dig was a massively expensive urban engineering project that put Boston's Central Artery underground, freeing up space on the earth's surface for parks and businesses. The project, however, was plagued with engineering difficulties, cost over-runs, and the periodic collapse of public support (even the periodic collapse of the ceiling).
From the Globe:
In the short term, mental health experts say, tempers may flare as the public deals with the logistical inconvenience of detours, lingering uncertainty about the safety of the tunnels, and mounting cynicism about the project. (...) And there may be long-term effects as well – ones that could subtly reshape the city's identity.

ZAHA HADID’s Mobile Art Pavilion for Chanel or Central Park?
Abigail Doan in Inhabitat
It used to be that Manhattan’s Central Park was reserved for leisurely Sunday strolls, ultimate Frisbee on the Great Lawn, and narrated carriage rides for out-of-towners. There was a policy to keep public art works out of the park proper leaving public spectacles to be reserved for ‘New Yorkers just being New Yorkers’ and the odd impromptu performance. Ever since Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s saffron-bedecked The Gates and now Olafur Eliasson’s Waterfalls, it seems as if the city is looking for creative ways to build up its financial reserves. We are not sure if Zaha Hadid’s latest Mobile Art pavilion (created as an homage to Chanel’s classic handbag) is the best way for the Central Park Conservancy to boost its programs and plantings, but in this new era of ‘bread and circus’ art and life on the verge of recession, who is really going to fight a posh take on an old classic?


 

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Last Updated on Sunday, 14 September 2008 17:21