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July 08 - Blog Articles - Page 3 Print E-mail
Monday, 31 March 2008 19:00

Rest in Green Peace: Green Burials for Sustainability After Death
Justin Van Kleeck in Green Options
Today, 8:00 AM
Sustainability, it seems, can be practiced in all aspects of one’s life–including DEATH! As I discovered recently, traditional methods of handling dead humans are surprisingly serious sources of pollution and resource consumption. For example, burials require a dangerous toxin, formaldehyde, to embalm the body, and those pollutants remain in the corpse as it decays and then goes back into the Earth. Caskets, too, can be problematic in terms of using wood (usually not sustainably harvested), and then the graveyards where they all end up take up lots of land. What about cremation? Well, stoking those fires requires tremendous amounts of power–i.e., electricity, which of course usually comes from coal-fired power plants.

The secret life of Robin Hood Gardens.
kosmograd in Kosmograd
Robin Hood Gardens, like Euston Arch before it, will take its secret to its grave. Last week, 'architecture minister' Margaret Hodge sounded the death knell for Robin Hood Gardens when she decided not to list the building, following the advice of English Heritage (described as a "beleagured quango" by the Twentieth Century Society) but ignoring the protestations of many within the architectural profession, including Richard Rogers, Norman Foster and Zaha Hadid, and an ongoing campaign by Building Design magazine.

Is the End of Suburbia Approaching?
Ariel Schwartz in Green Options
For the past several years, a motley crew of Americans ranging from novelists to energy investors to senators have warned that rising gas prices will end the suburban way of life and force hordes of people back into cities. As driving even small amounts becomes painfully expensive, it is becoming easy to accept this prediction. But will it hold up? According to The Los Angeles Times, maybe not. Statistics show that despite gas prices approaching $5/gallon, many suburbs are doing better than cities in terms of population growth and job creation. According to the 2000-2006 census, 90% of all metropolitan growth is occurring in suburban communities.

g & Interior Designer Rides the Green Wave
Delia Montgomery in Green Options
In the green market, the interior design world is about healthy settings with visual appeal. The goal is to create rooms for physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual benefits. That means avoiding things like VOCs, chemicals, and clutter. You can see that earth and human-friendly designers and decorators are increasingly riding the green wave. And we now know that natural wool, hemp, silk, seagrass, bamboo, cork, and other organic fibers are here for us. Ancient craft techniques are reviving and some know how to blend it all so well into the present. Recycling is one method that seems to create new artistic magic.

What's the Point?
Lynn Becker in ArchitectureChicago PLUS
The first photo is of the lakefront south of Diversey. The second is from a series of handsome photos of Promontory Point by Lee Bey that he's recently posted on his great Urban Observer blog. The Diversey style has become of standard for renovation of Chicago's lakefront revetment, and it was what the city and Army Corp of Engineers had proposed for Promontory Point a decade ago. When, for some unfathomable reasons, South side residents rose up in rebellion at that plan, the city presented a "compromise" that entailed reproducing the limestone rocks in concrete. Same, same, no? There have been further redesigns that would now retain some of the rocks, coupled to universal access to the Point, but the changes remain so radical that community opposition remains unabated. The Point was on Landmarks Illinois 2004 "Most Endangered" list and Preservation Chicago's 2006 "Chicago Seven"

Kate Orff Studio Review at GSAPP
Mitchell Joachim, Ph.D. in Mitchell Joachim: Archinode Studio
On jury for Kate Orff, Principal of Scape, Adv. Arch. mid-review, July 09 at Columbia, entitled CarboNYC. Students are looking at 3 sites and programs as a way to critique, participate in and visualize the Mayor's PLANYC 2030 initiative to reduce carbon emissions by 30%. --Looks Great!

Between Earth and Heaven Floats Work of John Lautner
mediabistro.com: UnBeige
A few years ago, some jottings of the architect John Lautner (1911-94) were discovered, tucked away in a cupboard in his California vacation home since the late 1960s. One thought in the bunch nicely sums up Lautner's ambition and sheds light on much of his output (including the Jetsonian "Chemosphere," created in 1960 and pictured above): "The space age is progressing because it is right from scratch with no precedents," wrote Lautner. "The idea 'Go to the moon'...We should do this with Architecture." And so, starting this Sunday and through October 12, the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles offers up "Between Earth and Heaven: The Architecture of John Lautner," the first major exhibition survey of his work.

Chicago Win Shows Focus on Green Architecture
Joshua S Hill in Green Options
As the environment continues to gain more and more attention, so does the need to stay green and environmentally friendly. We’re seeing these qualities become more and more relevant and important in a variety of fields; from automotive to architecture. The latter has long been a focus of the green development. One need only look at the mass of stories coming out of the Middle East and Asia to see that a green focus on design and architecture is now more important than ever.

Seattle Shopping Mall Evolves into a Mixed-Use Village
Kristin Dispenza in Green Options
The Pacific Northwest has always been progressive. For Seattle in the spring of 1950, that meant the opening of the country’s first mall. According to HistoryLink, Northgate Mall, located on 62 acres outside the city limits, was built to accommodate a total of 80 stores clustered around a “wide shopping walkway,” although it was not fully enclosed and climate-controlled until 1974. (Confused shoppers reportedly parked in the mall space itself when the center first opened.) By 1968, 50,000 cars a day were using Northgate. In the face of global warming and climate change, however, planners and designers are redefining ‘progressive’. The Northgate neighborhood is currently at the center of a major revitalization effort which was set in motion in 2003 by Mayor Nickels and the Seattle City Council.

Silvio Berlusconi Picks Fight with Daniel Libeskind
mediabistro.com: UnBeige
Proof that when you're a powerful starchitect you don't bother having feuds with the common man. No, you go all the way to the top. Such is the case with Daniel Libeskind, who has found himself in a battle of words with Italy's Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi. It all went down after Libeskind submitted his plans for a new set of buildings in Milan and Berlusconi said (paraphrased here), "it's not manly and it emanates a sense of impotence." But beyond that, he also threatened to cancel the permissions for the project unless the starchitect butched it up a bit. But, of course, Libeskind isn't having that and has fired back with his own volley of angry words: "In Fascist Italy, everything that was not 'straight' was considered 'perverse art'," said Libeskind. "My tower is inspired by the work of Leonardo da Vinci, and great Italian culture. [Mr Berlusconi] does not have the time or intellect to study these.

Jetson Green: Toyota PreFab
AMNP
Preston, green ninja master over at Jetson Green, writes: Forget the fact that I lived in Japan and absolutely love its culture, I didn’t know that Toyota had a homes unit. And they’ve been in the business of making homes for over twenty years! The company adapts automobile manufacturing technology to build stylish, earthquake-resistant homes for sale within Japan. The Toyota Homes unit accounts for only .5% of the company’s $262 billion in annual sales, and Toyota would like to beef that up a little bit. Plus, with the roll-out of the plug-in hybrid beginning in 2010 (remember all that discussion here about solar homes and plug-in hybrids replacing gas stations?), Toyota would like to do more with their environmentally-friendly, prefabricated homes.

GH Architekten on Holiday House in the Alps
Mohammad Fahmi Tri Wahyudi,ST in Best House Design
Holiday house on the Rigi, Scheidegg. The building was arranged on the periphery of the property so that the distance to the neighbouring houses was as large as posssible and so that the option of constructing another building could be left open. The concrete cellar anchors the building in the sloping terrain and houses the entrance area and the technical servicing, on top of which...

Interior Design Inspired by Local Salvage Centers
Deb Hiett in Green Options
Looking for Style in All the Green Places
Lately I’m a bit obsessed by home decorating with reclaimed goods like old doorknobs, ornate metal heating grates, and odd hanging crystals from a long-gone chandelier. Sure, it would make more sense if I actually had a house — at the moment, my new husband and I are squeezing into our 600 square feet, one-bedroom apartment — but one day soon we will own a home, and when that day comes, I’ll be able to spread out and complete all the projects I have going in my head. Meanwhile, I’ve found that trolling architectural salvage yards and house-part recycling centers is a fascinating diversion. You can find some amazing ways to decorate your home in completely unique (and green) ways, but you can also find perfectly good double-hung windows, newel posts, kitchen cabinets, big pieces of wood flooring, and bathroom vanities (from this century, even!).

This Week: Archeworks Open House and International Planning History Society Conclave
Lynn Becker in ArchitectureChicago PLUS
As you may have noticed, we've largely disappeared recently as we've been concentrating on working to finish a large project. Therefore the usual monthly calendar for July has yet to be posted, but I wanted to bring your attention to a couple of key events this week: Archeworks Open House - Chicago's alternate design school will be holding its summer open house this Wednesday, July 9th, from 5:30 to 7:00 P.M., 625 N. Kingsbury at Ontario. Prospective stduents will be able to meet new co-directors Martin Felsen and Sarah Dunn, tour the studios and learn about current courses, plus get info on applying. Call 312/867.7254 for more details.

Portland Ranked #5 In "Best Cities For Design" List
Brian Libby in Portland Architecture
RMJM Hillier, one of the world's largest architecture firms, has a released a new list of America's "Best Cities For Design". And in a crop of cities much larger than ours (the poll was restricted to cities with populations of over 500,000), Portland finds itself in the top five at...well, at number five. The rankings were based on ten criteria: public transit systems, LEED certified or registered buildings, art and design universities, museums, sustainability rankings, architecture awards, employees in creative industries, housing and community design awards, and buildings on the National Historic Register. RMJMH then commissioned a public opinion and research firm to interview over 1000 residents of those cities on architecture and design issues and incorporated those results into the research to determine the final rankings.



Last Updated on Thursday, 04 September 2008 00:19
 
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