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June 08 - Blog Articles - Page 12 Print E-mail
Monday, 31 March 2008 19:00

The June 2nd, 2008

The Urban Frontier: Karachi
Turning on NPR this morning while getting ready for work I listened to a new segment they’ve begun on Morning Edition entitled The Urban Frontier: Karachi. The premier focused on the profile of an ambulance driver in the Pakistan city - and while more stories from Karachi are to come, Morning Edition suggests that a number of cities from around the world may be profiled. “Land has replaced gold.” That’s how the architect and urban planner Arif Hassan sees it. He is talking about his home, the city of Karachi in Pakistan. “Everything that happened for gold now happens for land,” he says. The city’s political debates constantly return to questions about land: Who controls it, who is allowed to live on it, and even who might be killed for it.

Thailand’s Idyllic Islands Under Threat
Masimba Biriwasha in Green Options
Early night, the tide rises out of the sea like an elongated tongue and lashes a part of the shores of Kho Phi Phi island, located in Southern Thailand, throwing up an assortment of garbage, including plastic, wood, cigarette boxes, water bottles, metal, glass, paper, rope, cardboard, etc. A stone throw away from a part of [...]

Geoff Manaugh in BLDGBLOG
I came across an article just today called "The Chinese Dust Bowl," published last October in Canada's Walrus Magazine (a great magazine – don't miss their look at New York City flood barriers).
The accompanying photographs of dust storms, ruined crops, dead forests, and hazed-over city squares, taken by Benoit Aquin, are really fantastic – and you can look at a complete PDF of the article here.
For the article, author Patrick Alleyn rode something called the K43-T69 train west from Beijing to explore the seemingly relentless process of Chinese desertification. "A few hours after the train leaves Beijing," he writes, "a lunar black mountain range welcomes passengers into a vast arid landscape."

The real and the imaginary: Mitchell Joachim
Mitchell Joachim, Ph.D. in Mitchell Joachim: Archinode Studio
Science Magazine "The real and the imaginary" by Yudhijit Bhattacharjee The event wasn't so much about science as it was about development. Among the speakers were Mitchell Joachim, a New York designer who won the 2007 Time magazine inventor of the year award for designing -- along with MIT -- a compact, stackable city car, and Blaine Brownell (left), a University of Michigan materials researcher and architect who specializes in eco-friendly building materials.
Joachim wowed the audience with the imaginary. The animation videos he presented featured not just the stackable car -- the design of the stackable car, that is -- but also ideas such as trees networked together into natural green homes.
Brownell was next, and he riveted the audience with the real.

House Müller Gritsch / AFGH
Nico Saieh in Arch Daily
House Müller Gritsch in Lenzburg. The artist couple Barbara Müller and Stefan Gritsch lived for 25 years in the former carpenter’s workshop shed of Barbara Müller’s father. The sale of the building offered the couple the possibility to construct a new house in the yard of the building complex, on condition that the building costs did not exceed the funds raised from the sale. The only feasible way to realise the substantial spatial program involved at the set price of CHF. 580,000 was to design the house in prefabricated wooden elements. The existence of a previous basement made excavation works superfluous and, after prefabrication, allowed the erection of building to be undertaken in record time. The end result was a cubic price of CHF. 480.

PSU Student Reviews This Week
Brian Libby in Portland Architecture
 The latest semester is coming to a close at Portland's architecture schools, Portland State and University of Oregon. That means final reviews will be on display, with the opportunity for members of the public to check out and support what our next-generation architects have been learning and making. PSU has eight studio reviews happening all this week at the Unitus Building at 2125 SW Fourth Avenue, on the 3rd and 4th floors, unless otherwise noted. Soon the school's architecture department will be moving back to its renovated headquarters inside Shattuck Hall, so this will probably be their last studio review at Unitus, a midcentury concrete building I'm rather fond of, but which also probably represents a kind of Brutalism others sometimes find, well...brutal.

AIA and USGBC Agree to Strategic Alliance in Advocacy, Education, & Research
Preston D K in Jetson Green
From memorandum released May 28, 2008: In early May, AIA and USGBC’s volunteer and staff leadership met to talk about how we could work together towards advancing our common goals related to the goal of carbon neutral buildings by the year 2030 and other sustainability issues. As you all may know, USGBC’s formative meeting took place in AIA’s Board Room, and USGBC acknowledges and celebrates the leadership of AIA Committee On The Environment as a fundamental component of our organization’s DNA as well as AIA’s commitment to sustainability as expressed in its education and advocacy efforts. Our long history of collaboration, our shared heritage, and the volunteer leadership roles many AIA members play within USGBC make a stronger working relationship a natural.

FLOATOVOLTAICS! Far Niente Winery’s Floating Solar Power
Jorge Chapa in Inhabitat
Last month we brought you news of the Solar Lily Pads that are being proposed for Glasgow’s Clyde River. In a perfect example of serendipity, we’ve discovered that the Far Niente winery, located in the Napa Valley region, has implemented a similar idea. Compelled by the desire to shift towards renewable energy, this forward thinking winery has created their very own floating solar power system by installing photovoltaic panels on pontoons!

Koolhaas Catches Flak for Working in China UnBeige
Who didn't see this one coming? With Coca-Cola taking heat for their sponsorship, to Steven Spielberg stepping down as an artistic adviser for the opening ceremonies, anyone in the western world who comes even close to doing anything with the Beijing Olympics is going to get an earful. So it's of no surprise that now the negative attention has turned to Rem Koolhaas for working on the new CCTV Tower, which he designed and hopes to have open by the time the games kick off. But is Rem worried? Nah, he's perfectly capable of spinning the story his way: "There is much more awareness in China that things have to change," he says. "What we are trying to do is support a more modern China," he said in a recent interview.

RIBA Award fever is out of place
Jonathan Morrison in Guardian Unlimited: Arts blog - art
The Royal Institute of British Architects awards have got troubles - like the regional way they're nominated

Monumentalism, The Fundamentals of Architecture
architect studio in architect studio
"A building that is monumental has meaning beyond its form and function. It can be monumental both in its scale and in terms of what it represents. Monuments have been constructed to celebrate important events and people for centuries. Some of these structures still exist and are a part of our culture today; think perhaps of Stonehenge or the pyramids at Giza. Buildings that become synonymous with more than their function, perhaps with a city or a culture, could be described as monumental."

Despite Lancaster's Removal, Even More Architecture Mishaps in NYC UnBeige
Well can we predict the future, or can we predict the future? After taking a wild guess that, after NY Building Commissioner Patricia Lancaster was removed from her position following last year's crane accident, that somehow, even with a new acting commissioner in place and all of these plans to move forward in the best possible way, we had our first major accident in the middle of the month when a gigantic piece of steel feel eighteen stories and now, on last Friday morning, another major crane accident on the East Side which resulted in a person's death and loads of investigations and potential legal action. So does this prove that sometimes these sorts of things aren't the fault of a commissioner? We think two big headlines about building materials falling from the sky and hurdling toward innocent passersby is your answer. Somewhere, Lancaster must be feeling pretty smug.

HOK Unveils London Olympic Stadium’s Hemp Facade
Ali Kriscenski in Inhabitat
Last week, we thought the idea of a prefab, flatpack, reusable stadium sounded like a great way to cut down on the cost and waste associated with what is basically a one-time-use showpiece. As of Friday, that was the latest plan for the London 2012 Olympic stadium, designed by HOK Sport and Peter Cook. This week’s news shines an even more interesting sustainable light on this much anticipated project. The new design has just been unveiled with a host of low-impact material choices, including a façade wrapped in environmentally friendly hemp.

Cities and floods
kosmograd in Kosmograd
What will be built in the Thames Gateway? Will it be more like Broadacre City or Carpet City? The Thames Gateway is an ideological battlefield. It is the stage upon which all architects, urban designers, theorists and doom-mongers can project their hopes, fears, visions and nightmares. Not since the heady days of the Docklands development has their been a project of this scope in the capital. There is a tantalising prospect to make a new London, build a bright new future, and reject the mistakes of the past. Thames Gateway has also become a massive investment opportunity for speculative house builders, property tycoons, and real estate magnates, clamouring for a piece of the baitball with all the decorum of a feeding frenzy.

Nano Vent-Skin Demonstrated in Concept Tower
Preston D K in Jetson Green
I was pretty impressed by Agustin Otegui's design for Nano Vent-Skin (NVS), rendered on the building above.  NVS is a building skin that uses organic photovoltaics to capture sun and micro-wind turbines to capture wind.  Otegui envisions nano-manufacturing with bioengineered organisms as the production method for NVS, and because it's organic, the wall provides the additional benefit of capturing CO2 from the air. Obviously, the concept building above would be a new design built to reap the benefits of NVS, but Otegui also thinks the skin would be perfect for making existing buildings greener.

Abby Suckle Architects | Boardman Residence
Mohammad Fahmi Tri Wahyudi,ST in Best House Design
An interior renovation project by Abby Suckle Architects on 1957 House that was originally designed by John Nickols, this is an interior renovation. The plan was reconfigured to enlarge the public space by opening the kitchen. A new master bedroom suite was created.
Innovative for its day, the challenge of this project was to give the house a makeover, respect the original 

The June 1st-May 31st Weekend

A Critique!
owen hatherley in sit down man, you're a bloody tragedy
Peter Eisenman has a new 'Six Point Plan' for architecture. It's rather interesting. Choice quote, which could nicely be adapted to the current phenomena of 'consultation': The more passive people become the more they are presented by the media with supposed opportunities to exercise choice. Vote for this, vote for whatever stories you want to hear, vote for what popular song you want to hear, vote for what commercial you want to see. This voting gives the appearance of active participation, but it is merely another form of sedation because the voting is irrelevant. It is part of the attempt to make people believe they are participating when in fact they are becoming more and more passive.

New Homes Install Solar Hot Water Heaters
Jennifer Lance in Green Options
All new homes built in Hawaii will be required to install solar hot water heaters beginning in 2010, cutting energy costs by 30%.  The state of Hawaii has a goal of at least 70 percent renewable energy use by 2030. “Achieving this goal is nearly impossible without widespread use of solar water heaters,” Hawaii Sierra [...]

Book Review: Endless City
John in A Daily Dose of Architecture
The Endless City (2008) edited by Ricky Burdett and Deyan Sudjic Phaidon Press Hardcover, 512 pages
The stats on the cover of Phaidon's recent tome to expanding global urbanism paint a picture of what many people know but what many people don't want to believe: the world is primarily urban and it's becoming more so every day, from 10% in 1900 to 50% last year. The next 40 years will supposedly see this situation grow to 3/4 of humans living in cities. Buried within these statistics are the environmental, social, and economic problems that are increasingly defining life for many in the 21st century: destruction, isolation, and inequality, respectively (to name but a few). While this book does not have the answers to these and other difficult challenges, it does a great job of describing various cities around the world as we enter the time of the majority of humans being urban dwellers.

Buildings and books
Geoff Manaugh in BLDGBLOG
I've got some essays coming out this year in books that might be of interest to BLDGBLOG readers; so while the blog has been a little slow over the past few months, I've been working like crazy on other projects. In any case, one of those books has already been published, and the others will be available in the next few months. The already published book is What is a City? Rethinking the Urban After Hurricane Katrina, edited by Rob Shields and Phil Steinberg. For that book, published by the University of Georgia Press, my wife and I co-wrote a chapter about New Orleans and urban flood control, citing John McPhee, China Miéville, the floating houses of Dura Vermeer, the "engineered deterrestrialization" of the lower Mississippi through the implantation of genetically modified artificial marshlands, and maybe a hundred other things, including a short history of the Army Corps of Engineers.
It was an extremely fun chapter to write, and it appears alongside some great pa


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Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 August 2008 02:03
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