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Thursday, 31 January 2008 19:00

February 21st, 2008

Someone Invent a Better City Ranking!
Alex Steffen in WorldChanging
A couple weeks ago, Popular Science released a list of the greenest 50 U.S. cities, to a predictable amount of bloggage and debate about whether Portland is really all that. But something important's been missed in the discussion of the list, which is that it's not actually based on good measurements of what makes a city green. The exercise was based on the following criteria: * Electricity (E; 10 points): Cities score points for drawing their energy from renewable sources such as wind, solar, biomass and hydroelectric power, as well as for offering incentives for residents to invest in their own power sources, like roof-mounted solar panels. * Transportation (T; 10 points): High scores go to cities whose commuters take public transportation or carpool. Air quality also plays a role. * Green living (G; 5 points): Cities earn points for the number of buildings certified by the U.S. Green Building Council, as well as for devoting area to green space, such as public parks and nature preserves. * Recycling and green perspective (R; 5 points): This measures how comprehensive a city’s recycling program is (if the city collects old electronics, for example) and how important its citizens consider environmental issues.

Modern Furnishings No. 01
Bradley in east coast Architecture review
This is the first in a new installment that we are calling, "Modern Furnishings". Similar to our long running series, "Intriguing Earth Architecture", these posts will feature new and unique designs. Additionally, the idea behind the series would be to highlight new design talent from around the world for our readers. The first to be presented here is Jeff Miller, a New York based designer that has both won many awards and been showcased in several exhibitions. Feel free to leave a comment or two.

New To Me: BLOCK
jimmy in Life Without Buildings
Why do I like French architecture firm BLOCK? 2 reasons: clever adaptive reuse projects and because they live up to their name, dammit. "BLOCK." The name provokes images of solid mass -- even the letters somehow read heavy -- and I like a certain weight in architecture. It seems difficult to find a successful contemporary work of architecture that just allows itself to be heavy. Without resorting to outdated "styles," BLOCK's projects manage to merge the gravitas associated with scale & mass...

PopSci: A List of the Top Fifty "Greenest" American Cities
ASLA.org - The Dirt
The Dirt does admit a fondness for lists of all types, and so can't help himself but to list Popular Science magazine's recent list of "America's 50 Greenest Cities." The magazine used survey data and government statistics in over 30 categories to come up with their criteria that boiled down to four metrics: electricity, transportation, "green living," and "recycling and green perspective."

CASA OS Spanish Green House by Nolaster Architects
Cate Trotter in Inhabitat
Perched atop a Spanish cliff sits this gorgeous green home, a privately-owned holiday house that’s as lovely as it is sustainable. Located in Cantabria, Spain, and designed by Madrid-based Nolaster Architects, Casa OS integrates green building techniques to create high-end, low-impact accommodation. The irony is that the original design scheme wasn’t intended to be a green building, but the architects employed many green features for visual impact and practical benefits. We’d just love to live an eco life on that cliff.

Events Guide: Architects & Archives lectures and Women, Weight & Where You Live discussion
Todd Harrison in Spacing Toronto • understanding the urban landscape
WHAT: Building Toronto: Architects & Archives lecture series
WHEN: begins tonight (February 21), continuing ’til April 5
WHERE: City of Toronto Archives, 255 Spadina Road
The City of Toronto Archives and The Friends of the Archives of Ontario present a series of four lectures on architectural topics, hosted by the Toronto Star’s urban issues columnist and architecture critic, Christopher Hume. The speakers will share their views on modern and historical building design, public spaces, and the importance of preserving architectural records in archives

Project Runway
Geoff Manaugh in BLDGBLOG
A recent landscape design competition sought to rethink the Vatnsmýri airport grounds in Reykjavík, Iceland, putting those old runways to use, for instance, as new urban park space. The entries to the competition are quite interesting, in fact, so I've posted some of them, below, focusing on one particular project at the end of this post (so please scroll down if you've already read about this competition).
First, then, here's the old Vatnsmýri airport and its earthen geometry of intersecting runways. This is the site – star-like and stretching out to its surrounding landscapes – within which the designers had to work.

Kris Kross
sabine7 in MoCo Loco
Kenneth Coponbue is launching a new line of lighting and accessories. Hive offers a wide variety of options, most of which are quite airy. The Kris Kross collection shown above features lighting and screens that are made up of bamboo twigs hand tied to a randomly welded metal frame. The C-U C-Me collection is made of handwoven wire screens dipped in salago fibre and again includes lighting and screens. The Molly lamps are inspired by sea anemones and jellyfish, but are made of ribbon woven through a steel frame. The Crokkis flower stands are simple wire frames and the Luau lamps are formed from palm leaf spines.

Floating over the garden in kitchen made of glass
The Irish Times
'We spend a lot of time watching changes in the garden and sky,' say the owners of a period house with a smart contemporary extension. Emma Cullinan reports. THE giant city garden, behind this 1823 south Dublin house, used to be accessed through a tall window in the kitchen. That was how houses were often designed back then: grand rooms were to the front while small, dingy wet spaces - bathrooms, sculleries, kitchens - were all sent to the back to accommodate activities that were to be hidden from public view (such as cooking and unmentionables in the bathroom).

Höweler + Yoon: Davol Loft
architecture.MNP
Located in Boston, the Davol Loft by Höweler + Yoon was created by combining two 1,100 sf loft spaces on the top floor of a building in Chinatown. The two lofts were mirror images of one another, organized around a central core and separated by a partition wall. The new space is was created through the insertion of an 8′x8′ courtyard into the space, along with two skylights / lightwells [check out that section above]. These combine to add a ton of additional natural light to the loft - while the courtyard space also provides an opportunity to experience the ‘outside’ while living downtown.

FINCA BELLAVISTA: Sustainable Rainforest Community
Abigail Doan in Inhabitat
If you been dreaming of picking up roots, living on the edge, or literally going out on a limb in terms of eco-lifestyle possibilities, then Finca Bellavista: A Sustainable Rainforest Community might be just the thing for you. Located on the base of an almost 6,000 foot primary rainforest mountain on the South Pacific Coast of Costa Rica - not far from the Pan American Highway, Finca Bellavista was created with the sole purpose of preserving 300 acres of local rainforest by offering a unique opportunity for ecologically minded property owners to live sustainably in and steward a managed rainforest environment.

Like Sculpture
Michelle Linden in Atelier A+D
There was a class at IIT (that I didn't actually take) called visual training... It was very Miesien in methodology, moving single lines on a sheet of paper, locating simple shapes in relation to each other, working with a three dimensional grid, and such. This project by SCT Architecture Studio reminds me of a similar exercise. And I actually love it. L.O.V.E. Love it. The materials are simple and refined and the palette is neutral and serene. All the images are spectacular, but my favorite view is with the church in the background... Because we all know that I'm a sucker for modern and ancient architecture side by side.

If I were Diane von Furstenberg, I'd want to work here too...
Michelle Linden in Atelier A+D
In some ways, this new studio/office/flagship/apartment for Diane von Furstenberg really reminds me of the paraSITE that was up in Rotterdam while I was studying abroad. From the exterior, its got the same qualities of something leeching off of a subservient structure, and yet from the interior its gracefully integrated. The way that WORK Architects has managed to bring light in to all the main levels through their use of a 'stairdelier' is quite spectacular. It would certainly be a great place to work!

February 20th, 2008

Did You Know That Portugal is a Green Energy Leader?
Mark Seall in Green Options
I didn’t. Few people know this, but Portugal is a European leader in renewable energy as a result of an aggressive plan named E4 (Energy Efficiency and Endogenous Energies) launched in 2001, aimed at improving energy efficiency and production. The BBC brings us some impressive images of Portuguese green energy development and production - worth a [...]

jag’s house, matador atelier d’architecture
Justin in materialicious
JaG’s House, Belgium. Not much info to go on, other than this house won the Prix d’Architecture du Hainaut in 2007 for a single family residence. But I like it.

Las Vegas Ripping Up Lawns to Save Water, But is it Enough?
Janel Sterbentz in Green Options
 In an effort to reduce water usage, in 1999 Las Vegas began to offer $1.50 per square foot of lawn removed from residential and commercial properties. The Water Smart Landscapes program estimates that every square foot of grass replaced with water-smart trees, shrubs and flowers saves an average of 55 gallons of water per year, also saving money on monthly water bills. In the first eight years of the measure, about six square miles of grass have been eliminated, saving 18 billion gallons of water. Despite these efforts, if Las Vegas does not further cut water usage, there is a 10 percent chance that Lake Mead will run dry in six years, and a 50 percent probability it will be completely gone by 2021, absent other changes. These figures are based on a recent study by two researchers at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego.

Going Up
Geoff Manaugh in BLDGBLOG
The structural engineers over at Hyder Consulting have announced that they are planning what will be, by an overwhelming margin, the world's tallest skyscraper, coming in at double the height of the Burj Dubai – or very nearly one vertical mile. The firm has "confirmed that the tower would be located in the Middle East region," we're told, "but would not give any further details." So is it just a media stunt? I decided, nonetheless, to alter an old BBC diagram about the world's tallest buildings to give myself a sense of what this might mean, size-wise; the results appear above. I have to assume that the building's actual profile will not resemble what I've created... but you never know.

A True Homegrown Investment: Fab Tree Hab
Mitchell Joachim, Ph.D. in Mitchell Joachim: Archinode Studio
"A True Homegrown Investment"
by: Marie Langhout, NuWire Investor, Feb. 19, 2008.
Can’t afford to build a house? Grow one.

AE1: Residential Rooftop Sun Filter
John in A Daily Dose of Architecture
Being back in the world of architectural practice after the brief graduate school respite, I find myself spending more and more time looking for and at materials and products and their applications. For me the last is the most important, as context is an overriding consideration for how certain pieces come together into a design. So when it came time to find a way to bridge this time spent into material for this blog, I decided to present certain findings as "architectural elements;" by which I don't mean the usual (columns, porticoes, canopies, balconies, etc.) but the atypical, the apparent threads I see across designs responding to new urban, social, environmental and other conditions.

What's Wrong/Right With This Picture? Steven Holl's Linked Hybrid in Beijing
Lynn Becker in ArchitectureChicago PLUS
An accident of timing and light suggests a strange, unsettling mutation of modernism. We recently received this construction progress photo, shot by Virgile Simon Bertrand, from Steven Holl's massive Linked Hybrid residential development in Beijing. What caught our eye, what disconcerted our apprehension, was the weirdly unexpected coloration of the towers....



Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 June 2008 01:48
 
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