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March '08 Blog Articles - Page 2 Print E-mail
Thursday, 31 January 2008 19:00

March 28th, 2008

Chicago Spire: Planetarily notorious
Lynn Becker in ArchitectureChicago PLUS
The real estate section of this weekend's Financial Times carries a story by Hal Weitzman extolling the virtues of Santiago Calatrava's Chicago Spire. The puffy piece which would seem to bear the fingerprints of Savills, the firm developer Garrett Kelleher was hired to market his billion dollar project, but it's still an interesting read. We learn that a deposit has already been placed on the $40 million penthouse, but don't be totally discouraged. Savills "is still open to expressions of interest on the unit." Weitzman calls the spire "one of the most talked-about developments on the planet. As always, the Gatsby-like Kelleher insists the Spire will prove immune from the world-wide housing slump, "Everybody in the world knows about this project," he says, although no particulars are offered as to exactly how many of the nearly 1,200 units have been sold to date. Chicago is said to be underpriced compared to other World cities, with the current weak dollar an additional incentive to international buyers. Kelleher sees the Spire as rescuing Chicago's residential towers from their current mediocrity, and pairs his baby with a possible 2016 Olympics as the portents of "a new Chicago . . . There is a renaissance happening here.”

INTERVIEW: Serge Appel on One Bryant Park
Jill Danyelle in Inhabitat
One Bryant Park is the first LEED platinum “skyscraper”; what is your favorite LEED aspect of the project? Aside from LEED, what was the most interesting or exciting part of the project for you? For me, the best part of this project isn’t a single element or technology but rather the chance to work with an incredible team of dedicated professionals all driven by the same goal. Having the backing of the Bank of America and the Durst Organization has made a tremendous difference in setting the bar high in terms of sustainable design. On top of that, each consultant on the team is top notch and fully engaged with the project.

 Awesome 'Penguin House'
John Commoner in Future House Now
You know I'm a huge fan of Japanese modernist houses. This one is genius. 'Penguin House' (aka Skin House Project #2) by Yasuhiro Yamashita of Atelier Tekuto.

Fashion, Architecture, Tastefully
jimmy in Life Without Buildings
Giant globes float over the runway for a Yves Saint Laurent show in Paris' cavernous Grand Palais and my mind is completely blown. These images will haunt me all weekend. I had no idea fashion shows could be so... sublime. And this Alexander McQueen show featured an enormous web of fluorescent lighting spun menacingly around his models - who apparently need to protect themselves with fantastical headgear that remind me of Bladerunner...if it were written by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. And...

PREFAB FRIDAY: ZeroHouse Shows Nothing is Everything
Cate Trotter in Inhabitat
Ever dreamed of owning a completely self-sufficient home that produces its own energy, water, and is completely customizable? New York architect Scott Specht has the answer to all of our zero-energy prefab dreams with the new ZeroHouse™. This completely self-sustaining prefabricated house generates its own power, collects its own water, processes its own waste and is 100% automatic. Versatile, durable and site-sensitive, ZeroHouse can be erected in almost any location in one day with steel frame components and a helical-anchor foundation system that requires no excavation.

Solar Technology To Be Implemented In Every Day Use Consumer Products
Angelique van Engelen in Green Options
Like this post? Subscribe to our RSS feed and stay up to date.New solar technology based on organic photoelectrochemical, dye-sensitized cells, is being implemented in hundreds of every day use consumer products ranging from clothing, smart cards, gadgets, lighting to windows and building facades. Konarka, a Lowell, MS, company pioneering the technology, says it’s ready to [...]

Green Buildings Financially Crush and Outperform Non-Green Buildings!!
Flat out, this news is big!  CoStar just released details of their study of LEED and Energy Star buildings, and I have to say, I was surprised by the numbers.  They analyzed roughly 1,300 LEED and Energy Star buildings representing 351 million square feet of commercial buildings.  The green buildings were compared with non-green properties of similar size, location, class, tenancy, and year built characteristics to extrapolate the economic case for green buildings.  The result:
Compared to non-LEED buildings:
LEED buildings sell for $171 more psf!!
LEED buildings command rent premiums of $11.24 psf!!
LEED buildings have 3.8% higher occupancy rates!!

Saturday 3:29, 8:9 - Put Out the Light
Lynn Becker in ArchitectureChicago PLUS
This Saturday, March 29th, from 8:00 to 9:00, Chicago Earth Hour is urging Chicagoans to turn off their nights to join "neighbors and businesses and millions of people around the world to make a bold statement about climate change." Chicago is the United States flagship city for the World Wildlife Fund's initiative, whose local partners include Leo Burnett, ComEd, and the City of Chicago. Chicago Earth Hour organizers are urging you spend the hour contemplating your energy wasting sins and making vows of penance through reducing your carbon footprint in the year ahead. They're also suggesting you use the time to "replace your old light bulbs with energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs," but be careful not trip in the dark, because if you break one of those new "green" bulbs, the escaping mercury vapor will create a mini-hazmat situation right there in your living room.

Platinum LEED 19th Century Building
Philip Proefrock in Green Options
Harvard University has several firsts with the recent renovation of an old power plant into an office building. It is the first LEED Platinum certified university building renovation, as well as Harvard’s first Platinum building. More interestingly though, it is the first Platinum building built before the turn of the the century [...]

Looks Good, but would probably be a pain
Michelle Linden in Atelier A+D
When I first saw this coat rack, I thought, now this is the kind of design I can get excited about. I love the idea of multi-purpose design (is it art? a coat hook? a shoe rack?), and I always love design that is a good use of space. But then I started thinking a little more about the function... It would make perfect sense if hung near the door, but if you hung it above your couch like the photo... imagine the pain it would be! Who would want to lean over the sofa to get your jacket... or let your muddy shoes drip all over the couch. I realize that the image is really just a compositional exercise... but it still makes me wonder about the practicality.

March 27th, 2008

Pyramidal Housing
Mohammad Fahmi Tri Wahyudi,ST in Best House Design
This residential area, a horizontal pyramid consisting of four houses [ Pyramidal Housing ], is located on a corner. Designed by Arquitecturaorganica in Mexico City 1983, The area corresponding to the corner of the property was turned into a garden to be used by all four houses with the idea of respecting future city ordinances and providing green area for its

Having Fun with Community Planning
Brendan in Where
Wicker Park Bucktown (WPB) is a community group here in Chicago that deals with two trendy, gentrifying neighborhoods (Wicker Park and Bucktown, natch). As part of their master planning process, WPB is holding a series of open houses about which I have received several emails over the past couple of days. Looks like there will be some pretty creative activities going on at these open houses. So, seeing as I've still not had time to write a full post, here's a look at some innovative community planning ideas from WPB's press release. They certainly sound like fun, which is the first step to getting people involved...

Chicago Children's Museum Going into Astroturf Overdrive
Lynn Becker in ArchitectureChicago PLUS
Fran Spielman is reporting in today's Tribune that an "influential alderman" has told her there are at least 30 votes to override the objections of 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly and approve the Chicago Children's Museum land grab of a large tract of Grant Park on which to build a new museum. Reilly disputes the assertion. He is scheduled to appear, along with CCM CEO Jennifer Farrington, on this evenings edition of Chicago Tonight, 7 P.M. on Channel 11, WTTW. A Daley administration override of the long tradition of aldermanic veto over projects in their wards would set the stage for decimating a key aldermanic control over how future mayoral initiatives such as the 2016 Olympics will affect their constituencies.

Yearn-Worthy Yarns: UK Farm Yarns
Victoria Everman in Green Options
Bright colors and unnaturally stretchy fibers are nice, but there are times when you just want to go back to the “classics.” Sourced from Wiltshire, Devon, Somerset and surrounding counties in Britain, Farm Yarns spins some of the most exceptional alpaca and organic wool yarn available anywhere. “The yarn was developed with the idea to [...]

SMOOTH OPERATOR: The Clean Technology Tower
Mike Chino in Inhabitat
The Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill architectural firm has been busy stirring up the world’s skyline with a slew of lean, green superstructures that push the energy-neutral envelope. AS+GG recently unveiled plans for their latest oeuvre: a Clean Technology Tower in Chicago that takes a multi-generative approach to producing its own energy. Harnessing an atrium of wind turbines beneath a roof-top solar shell, the building “utilizes advanced technologies and climate-appropriate building systems to foster a symbiotic relationship with its local environment.”

primary school, francis kéré architecture
Justin in materialicious
I simply love this guy’s work: Diébédo Francis Kéré designed this school for his hometown of Gando Village in Burkino Faso, and it won The Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2004. He has a lot of stuff going on…

ORQUIDEORAMA: Stunning Sustainable Botanical Garden
Mike Chino in Inhabitat
We’re crazy about this gorgeous botanical garden in Medellin, Colombia that was recently renovated by Plan B Architects. The Orquideorama is an organically expanding wooden meshwork of modular “flower-tree” structures that weaves its way through the garden’s heart. A stunning study on structure and scale, the project unites the micro and macro worlds through an elegant synthesis of cellular and architectural forms.

High-Tech Cybertechture for Dubai Waterfront
Cate Trotter in Inhabitat
The 18-story façade of James Law Cybertecture’s new Pixel Tower in Dubai was inspired by the moving bubbles in a champagne glass and built for the young, techie and trendy. Intended for the Dubai Waterfront, Pixel Tower draws on passive solar techniques and strategic facade geometry to minimize heat gain on the structure’s south side and optimize views out over the Persian Gulf to the north.

Solar Harvest, a Positive Energy Home [NY Times]
There was a fantastic article in the NY Times on a positive energy home dubbed Solar Harvest.  Solar Harvest generated more electricity in 2006 than what it took from the grid, so Xcel Energy sent the owner a check for $8.45.  Nice!  Solar Harvest was built by Eric Doub and his company, EcoFutures, in Boulder, Colorado for $1.38 million, including land.

Eleven Eleven East Pike
Michelle Linden in Atelier A+D
Tonight C and I had the opportunity to check out Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen's new condominium project. The renderings, animations, and background information was all very interesting to check out, but it was particularly nice to listen to Tom Kundig speak about in the intent and inspiration behind the new condos. Like many cities, Seattle is rife with monotonous mixed-use developer inspired condos. Its rare to find projects designed by architects, and extremely rare to find one designed by an architect of Kundig's caliber. In fact, this idea of well done, architect designed condos was one of the driving features of the project. With a local landowner who had spent nearly all her life in the Capitol Hill area of Seattle, the intent was always to create a spectacular design that would be at once modern and yet consistent with the flavor of the neighborhood. Using a multitude of inspirations, including the historic auto dealers of the neighborhood, as well as the desire to provide housing at a cost consistent with the neighborhood's inhabitants, Kundig and his cohorts created a quite lovely project.

March 26th, 2008

Modern Furnishings No. 02
Bradley in east coast Architecture review
Featured in this post are the Swedish architects Fredrik Kjellgren, Joakim Kaminsky (formerly of UNStudio) who are in the preliminary design stages of producing a line of chairs they haved dubbed "Pirate". Here is a description in the artists own words:
"Pirate chair defines the need for change within the same concept. The seat is simply shaped out of one line, cushioned with an ocean blue fabric. The legs are made of coated turn wood and takes inspiration from whatever style it comes over such as bobbin, bowback, rococo, renaissance and so on.
We have also noticed that there aren't any good locking stackable restaurant chairs on the market, so we simply made this one."

Timber Framing
Kelly Hart in Green Home Building and Sustainable Architecture
When I initially designed I intentionally avoided advocating the use of much wood in building, because of my concern for the health of our forests and their ecosystems, with all of the over-harvesting of timber that has occurred around the globe. There is also the fact that forests help sequester CO2 (a greenhouse gas) from the atmosphere. This was a difficult choice for me, since my father was a wood worker and I grew up learning many of these skills; I love working with wood and I worked for years as a carpenter. It is certainly one of the most versatile of all building materials, and is a renewable resource, when harvested sensibly. I have finally come to realize that building with wood (at least partially) can still be a sound ecological choice. It is possible to buy wood that has been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). This means that the forests where the trees are harvested are carefully monitored to make sure that the health and character of the forest is maintained. Only certain trees are culled periodically, leaving the remaining trees to grow and contribute to a healthy ecosystem.

sabine7 in MoCo Loco
The Slide faucet collection by Alain Berteau for RVB evolved from Berteau’s Dose faucet. Slide has a top section that functions much the way a dimmer switch does: the more you slide, the warmer the water gets. The movement is intuitive and one-way. The continuous movement of the slide allows the user to determine the desired water temperature ergonomically with less waste. Other features include adjustable ultra-thin flow aerators, and there are bath and shower fixtures that work on the same principle. Slide will be launched in Milan next month.

Sustainable Towers in Malaysia by Studio Nicoletti Associati
Jorge Chapa in Inhabitat
Malaysia is no stranger to iconic buildings. Two of the tallest buildings in the world, the Petronas Twin Towers, are located in Kuala Lumpur, the country’s capital. So it comes as no surprise to us that a stunning new residential development is planned for the Putrajaya waterfront known as Precinct 4, just 30km south of Kuala Lumpur. The design, however, is a refreshing and original with unique, marine-inspired structures - which also draw from traditional Islamic designs - arranged in a permeable, radiating block of bioclimatic architecture.

Today's archidose #191
John in A Daily Dose of Architecture
Robin Hood Gardens in London, England by Alison and Peter Smithson, nearing its 1972 completion. There's a good deal of controversy swirling around this housing block, as cries for demolition are met with resistance by many in the British architecture community, particularly bdonline and their campaign to Rescue Robin Hood Gardens.

Conde Nast Traveler Picks Their Top 7 Modern Architectural Wonders UnBeige
Jumping on the "ranking stuff" bandwagon, likely following all the press that the AIA received when they published something similar, Conde Nast Traveler magazine has published the feature "The New Seven Wonders of the Architecture World." Among the seven...

Daekwon Park’s Superstructure for Sustainable Skyscrapers
Mike Chino in Inhabitat
Now in its fourth year running, the eVolo Skyscraper Competition takes future-forward architecture to its breaking point, unveiling a stunning array of new structural concepts by architects, engineers, and designers. The latest crop of entries is up, and Daekwon Park’s Symbiotic Interlock goes far beyond the standard skyscraper to envision a total renovation of inner-city infrastructure. The pitch: it’s modular, prefabricated, and completely symbiotic on the existing vertical infrastructure of the city.

A jangling mass on the Serpentine horizon
Steve Rose in Guardian Unlimited: Arts blog - art
Frank Gehry is to design this summer's Serpentine Pavilion. Is his feted 'Bilbao effect' about to sweep through Britain? 

Heath Ceramics, California Made Tapestry Tiles
Check out these cool tile tapestry patterns from Heath Ceramics.  I'm partial to the flemish bond gunmetal (shown top left and below).  Heath Ceramics has a factory/kiln in Sausalito, California where they create these incredible tiles.  Their Tapestry Collection has three patterns: argyle, stitch, and flemish bond, which can be face-mounted in 12x12" squares.  Prices vary depending on the pattern, but if you're looking for a specialty application, try the overstock tiles offered at 75% off retail.

Architecture for Auction
Michelle Linden in Atelier A+D
While I quite like the idea of museums collecting significant architecture, much in the same manner that they would collect significant work, I'm a little bit nervous about such pieces going up for auction. We can only hope that the type of people willing to purchase a well-known piece of architecture at auction, will respect the original structure much as they would respect an original painting. We can certainly say that the auction house Wright, which is putting Louis Kahn's Esherick House up for auction is trying to attract buyers interested in the architectural value of the house. The idea that they are committed to a collection of works including art, design, and architecture shows an intent to maintain these properties for future generations. And their press release is certainly geared towards those of us interested in the architectural and historical value of the house with this to say about the property...

March 25th, 2008

Local Architects Shaping the New New Orleans
jimmy in Life Without Buildings
Contemporary architecture is making some welcome headway in post-Katrina New Orleans — at least if we look at the top four winners of this year's New Orleans AIA Awards. [Image via] The Rebuild Center at St. Joseph Church, designed by Wayne Troyer Architects is a community resource center built from six trailers, organized around a courtyard and joined together by wood canopies & decking, as well as translucent polycarbonate screens. Compared to a "zen fishing camp" by the...

How Solar Panels Could Power 90% of US Transportation
Clayton B. Cornell in Green Options
In January, Scientific American writers unleashed an ambitious plan to halt global warming, eliminate our dependence on petroleum and the substantial trade deficit, boost the economy and create 3 million jobs, and brighten the dismal forecasts for the mid twenty-first century. The plan is conceptually simple but would be substantial to implement: Construct a 30,000 square [...]

Miami Art Museum by Herzog & De Meuron
Jorge Chapa in Inhabitat
When the Miami Art Museum required a new headquarters they decided to hire famous Swiss architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron. They were expecting an incredible design worthy of a cosmopolitan city such as Miami. What they got from Herzog & de Meuron can only be described as the modern interpretation of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon - an imaginative structure that bridges urban spaces, climates and cultures.

Portland Center Stage Removes James Harrison Light Sculpture
Brian Libby in Portland Architecture
Portland Center Stage, occupant of the renovated Portland Armory (now known as the Gerding Theater), has removed the sculptural marquee it commissioned from acclaimed local artist James M. Harrison for its 2006 opening. Known as "Aiorema" after the Greek word for "God in the Machine". On his website, Harrison explains, "Originally this was a more literal concept- a crane used in ancient Greek theater for flying in the gods.  I thought this was an appropriate way to link old and new.  New Theater, Old Concept- Old Building, New Marquee, etc." The sculpture is made from stacked layers of light diffusing acrylic pieces. It's shaped like a cloud at the base, and shaped like a star against the sky.  The layers gradually transition from the one shape to the other shape.

BK Hipsters Go Green
This is Oulu Bar & EcoLounge in Williamsburg, home to Brooklyn’s first living wall installation. The 2,500 sf building was designed by Evangeline Dennie and it’s currently seeking LEED Gold certification. Oulu has all the green features one would expect of a project going for LEED certification, including the following: sheetrock made of post-industrial recycled material, biodegradable ceramic tiles, water-based grout sealers, natural Mica panels, FSC-certified woods, low-VOC paints with milk-based pigment, and a garage door for natural ventilation and light.

Mega-projects everywhere — except the USA
David Sucher in City Comforts
You know by now that I'm not a hugely impressed by boasts of "the biggest and best" and so it was ironic that my talk for the Economic Forum in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia was on megaprojects. (Btw, I formulated the issue as "Civiilzing the Megaproject.") But since I focussed on the topic last month I have been noticing stories on megaprojects everywhere. For example: Mexico plans big splash with new Baja port. Their dusty hamlet of about 2,500 souls will...

Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec
Kate Barnett in Lost At E Minor: Music, illustration, art, photography and more
I work from home, and as much as I like using the laptop on the sofa, my posture won’t be thanking me for it when I’m 70. If I had the finances and a place of my own I’d be furnishing it with products from French design duo, brothers Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec. (more…)

Architects Already Hurting in '08 UnBeige
Something that should come as a surprise to absolutely no one, even to those oft-referenced people who live in caves and aren't privy to news or the latest trends, Architectural Record is reporting that architects' billings are way way...

Oulu Bar & EcoLounge, Brooklyn's First Living Wall
This is Oulu Bar & EcoLounge in Williamsburg, home to Brooklyn's first living wall installation.  The 2,500 sf building was designed by Evangeline Dennie and it's currently seeking LEED Gold certification.  You'll find a few different photos below, including a before shot, for your viewing pleasure. What do you think?  The green wall makes quite the design statement, doesn't it?  It's tough to deny the modern appeal of vertical greenery, I say. ...

Lazor Office’s FlatPak
Mohammad Fahmi Tri Wahyudi,ST in Best House Design
Lazor Office’s FlatPak by Flatpak House ( designed to be bring better space to more people ) is a prefabricated system that allows buyers to highly customize their homes using a series of modules that create highly individual homes tailored to particular sites.

Last Updated on Monday, 11 August 2008 08:24
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