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March '08 Blog Articles - Page 7 Print E-mail
Thursday, 31 January 2008 19:00

March 12th, 2008

oma in dubai
architecture.MNP
Koolhaas’s master plan for the proposed 1.5-billion-square-foot Waterfront City in Dubai would simulate the density of Manhattan on an artificial island just off the Persian Gulf. A mix of nondescript towers and occasional bold architectural statements, it would establish Dubai as a center of urban experimentation as well as one of the world’s fastest growing metropolises [click the title of this post to read the entire article at the New York Times].

Prefab for Africa
Tracey Samuelson in Lost At E Minor: Music, illustration, art, photography and more
You too can start sentences, ‘I had a farm in Africa …’ Zenkaya, an innovative architecture firm based in Johannesburg, is bringing modern design and the ease of pre-fab construction to South Africa. French architect Eric Bigot claims that his company’s studio, one and two bedroom models can go from the factory to the building site in just five to twelve weeks. It may not be the thatch-roofed Africa of Karen Blixen’s coffee plantations, but it just could be the future. [see also the Prefab houses of architectural firm Brio 54]

HGTV Green Home 2008, Handsome + LEED Gold
Preston D K in JETSONGREEN.COM
That's right, it's going to be LEED Gold, so this HGTV Green Home giveaway thing is legit.  Located in Tradition Hilton Head, South Carolina, the HGTV Green Home is only 2,000 sf big, which is incredible for a giveaway home.  Make sure to give their website a look -- you can browse hundreds of photos and videos, and possibly grab some inspiration.  Also, enter the sweepstakes if you want, but only with the EXPRESS CONDITION that you promise to give me the Yukon Hybrid if you win.  Just kidding.  Not really.  Here's what Jim Samples, HGTV President, had to say: We are proud of our commitment to the environment through the Green Home Giveaway ... we have heard from many of our viewers that they are interested in hearing more about green lifestyles.  The HGTV Green Home Giveaway provides an excellent opportunity to showcase examples of accessible and eco-friendly approaches to living and our production staff is to be commended for their efforts to be environmentally-conscious throughout the production process.

Introducing Rem Koolhaas' Dubai Death Star
Sean Dodson in Guardian Unlimited: Arts blog - art
The spherical skyscraper the architect has designed for Waterfront City looks frighteningly familliar 

The Trenches of Approach
Geoff Manaugh in BLDGBLOG
A story on the BBC that I neglected to blog last week explains how the capital of Chad will soon be encircled by a gigantic trench: "A three-metre [10-foot] deep trench is being dug around Chad's capital, N'Djamena, to force vehicles through one of a few fortified gateways into the dusty city," we read.
Additionally, like some strange, new, paranoid version of Easter Island, "tree surgeons [have] cut down centuries-old trees that lined the city's main avenue for fear they could provide cover for attackers."
Prepared for war and insurgency, then, the city will strip itself bare.
"It's part of our strategy," the Interior Minister claims. These are just "initiatives to prevent attacks from rebels based in the east of the country."
It's also interesting to note, though, that, in the absence of enemy air power, basic urban design moves – like trenches and gates – can still be used as an effective tactic of defense during war.

Greenhouse Effect
sabine7 in MoCo Loco
Orca Design examines the Greenhouse Effect with a series of 10 products conceived to explore sustainable design. The goal is to go beyond “statistics, technology and sacrifices,” so that they remove emphasis from guilt that jades consumers, stats that become meaningless, lists of natural materials that may lead to a mistaken impression of harmlessness, to name but a couple of motivating factors for their work. Some of the designs include a desk with a built-in bin, a lamp that can be used as a torch, a home for newspapers and a felt vase-holder that transforms bottles.

ORDOS 100
John in A Daily Dose of Architecture
I just found out about ORDOS 100, a project in Inner Mongolia to build 100 villas designed by 100 architects, to be built in 100 days. The scope of the project is to Develop 100 hundred villas in Ordos, Inner Mongolia, China, for the Client, Jiang Yuan Water Engineering Ltd. FAKE Design, Ai Wei Wei studio in Beijing, has developed the masterplan for the 100 parcels of land and will curate the project, while Herzog and de Meuron have selected the 100 architects to participate. The collection of 100 Architects hail from 27 countries around the globe. The project has been divided into 2 phases. The first phase is the development of 28 parcels while the second phase will develop the remaining 72. Each architect is responsible for a 1000 square meter Villa.

Philly Goes Green with Moss Installation by Edina Tokodi
Abigail Doan in Inhabitat
One of our favorite green public artists, Edina Tokodi, is at it once again with her shape-shifting moss graffiti and urban guerrilla tactics. Tokodi was recently commissioned by SEPTA (Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority) to encourage Philadelphia’s commuters to ‘Go Green’ with her navigable moss icons and green walls in the East Market Station’s passenger service area, ticketing area, and on the exterior of the station building and Transportation Museum. The initiative is part of SEPTA’s mission to help commuters become more aware of the positive environmental impact that they might make by using mass transit regularly.

PDC Chooses LAB Holding For Centennial Mills
Brian Libby in Portland Architecture
Late Tuesday afternoon has come word from the Portland Development Commission from its Centennial Mills Evaluation Committee that LAB Holding of Costa Mesa, California is the recommended development team - the winner in a three team race against developers Nitze-Stagen of Seattle and the Cordish Company of Baltimore to turn around this decaying local landmark. You can read the press release here, but it doesn't say too much yet about the decision. Before reading any comments coming up in Wednesday's papers, I'd assume the less ambitious, and therefore less costly, nature of the LAB proposal weighed in the developers' favor given the downturning economy and so forth. One would assume the Nitze-Stagen proposal finished second. I know The Oregonian's editors and numerous commenters here felt strongly that the Nitze-Stagen proposal, including a design team led by Zimmer Gunsul Frasca, was a good one. I also remember hearing more than one person say they weren't blown away by LAB's proposal in person several days ago. I'm still not completely sure which of these two I favored. Nitze-Stagen and ZGF seemed to have the highest quality plan, but maybe it was a little too ambitious. I'm not necessarily displeased to think that the original Centennial Mills buildings will seemingly be more prominent now that the LAB proposal has been chosen.

March 11th, 2008

Architectural Revision
Brendan in Where
The term "revision" means, literally, to "see again." And in a recent article for the Toronto Star, Christopher Hume inadvertently showed how revision is sorely missing from the urban design dialog today. Early in the article, which discusses the gentrification of Toronto's Liberty Village neighborhood: "Speaking of parks, there is virtually no green space anywhere here; perhaps the city should finally grapple with the issue of Lamport Stadium, which is so rarely used it could easily be demolished to make way for a park." And then, shortly thereafter: "recycling...old structures ensures a level of integrity and sustainability vital in an age of global warming." So what gives, Mr. Hume? Why no love for Lamport Stadium. Surely, if Vienna can figure out how to turn gasometers into a dazzling residential complex, Toronto can pull off the conversion of a stadium into a park without wasting all of that energy by tearing down the existing structure, no? As the urban affairs critic of the largest newspaper in one of the world's few truly global metropoli, Hume is, by default, a major voice in the current discussion on how cities should evolve. It is telling that he would so quickly dismiss a stadium that would probably be relatively simple to convert to public green space.

Work AC: Public Farm 1
architecture.MNP
This year’s winner of the P.S. 1 Young Architects courtyard installation, Work Architecture Company, is infiltrating Queens with their Public Farm 1: ‘Sur les Paves la Ferme!’ - an urban farm/green pavilion. The theme/design of the installation is partially a play on the ever popular ‘urban beach‘ - arguing instead that a public space can be created that serves as a leisure zone and as a productive, functional space serving the community as both a farm and marketplace. Since its inception, PS1 has brought together, year after year, the best of summer fun with the latest and greatest in art, music and architectural experimentation. While celebrating invention, the summer structures have provided the necessary shade, seating and water requirements - as well as spatially organizing PS1’s courtyard to create various zones of gathering and program. Every intervention has expanded upon the Warm-Up’s essential DNA (going back to Philip Johnson): the celebrated ‘Urban Beach.’

Nissan's $100 M HQ Goes Green, *Snubs* LEED
Preston D K in JETSONGREEN.COM
It's a story that I'm seeing more and more, although I'm not too sure we're seeing a good thing.  Nissan USA spends $100 M to build a brand new office building and plans for LEED Silver certification, but in the end, they decide to spend certification cash on the wetland "rather than have a plaque on the wall."#  Certification gets dropped, but we should ask ourselves a serious question:  Is LEED certification merely about the plaque?  Is that the only benefit we see from LEED?  Spending money to get a plaque? I'm a skeptical type, and you probably already know my opinion.  I think LEED is beneficial in that it forces projects to consider all aspects of the environment, including energy, water, materials, sourcing, land use, deconstruction, air quality, lighting, commissioning, etc.  LEED provides a level of comfortability that a building meets certain environmental standards in all these areas (and not just one or two).  But I'll forgo an all-out discussion of LEED for a more thoughtful article to come.

woodland cabin, robbrecht en daem architecten
Justin in materialicious
Woodland Cabin, south of Flanders, Belgium. Made from unusually stacked lumber, with a sleeping space, a seating area and a fireplace. Nice. See the rest of the photos and text at Archidose

West African Commercial Architecture
Ugo Okafor in African Architecture and Design
Commercial architecture within West Africa from Banjul to Yaounde is coming into its own style.SkyscraperCity profiles some of these projects from the conceptual to on site construction stage which are remarkable in their style and form. A lot of these buildings are featured in the West African section of Skyscraper City.However I believe it would be a great idea to see some inherited forms from Traditional African Architecture being incorporated, to form a fusion with the Neoclassical,Victorian, and modern building technology widely adopted today in Africa.

Suicidal Urbanism: The City as IED
Bryan Finoki in Subtopia
An Oxford study came out recently suggesting there are particular psychological factors that make up a ‘universal mindset of engineers,’ which may make them more predisposed towards terrorism when aligned with certain negative social conditions found, for instance, under repressive governments in parts of the Muslim World. There’s been quite a bit of research in the past showing that many terrorists and members of radical movements have been highly educated, but little investigation apparently has been made into their given background and academic discipline. Surprisingly, this study indicates a large portion of identified radicals have had engineering backgrounds.
The research looked at 404 individuals of 30 nationalities who had participated in radical Islamic groups from the 1970s to the present. Of that group, 196 had pursued higher education, and the researchers were able to identify the academic fields of 178. Those with engineering backgrounds constituted 44 percent of the group. (See "Study traces tech link to radical '70s groups")

glass igloos above the arctic circle
Justin in materialicious
Stay in a glass igloo at the Hotel & Igloo Village Kakslauttanen in far northern Finland. So surreal, and yet so cool. See more at Been-Seen

Surface Parking Lot Magnate Eyes Historic Downtown Building For Demolition
Brian Libby in Portland Architecture
Greg Goodman, whose City Center Parking company owns several undeveloped surface parking lots in the downtown area, has made a request to the Historic Landmarks Commission for permission to demolish a building he owns listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Built in 1917, the Auto Rest building at Southwest 10th Avenue and Salmon Street is owned by another of Goodman's companies Pegg Properties. It's the little brick building with Bee Cleaners across from the Bike Gallery and the new Northwest Film Center headquarters.

Marimekko
Kate Barnett in Lost At E Minor: Music, illustration, art, photography and more
You may already be aware of Marimekko, a leading Finnish textile and clothing design company responsible for interior decoration textiles, bags and other accessories. Chances are some of you have a throw cushion or two with their bold signature poppy print. What I never realized was the range and scale of their product collections: from collaborations with designers from all around the globe to strong and distinctive product design and high end fashion. [check out also the 2Modern interior design website]

DeZona Design
Harry in MoCo Loco
DeZona, a monthly magazine for design and architecture from Bulgaria, just posted an interview with me over here. It was fun, thanks Gergana. Here's a sampling; "Design is thought, innovation, creation crystallized in an object. We need more and better thinking in this world. We [Mocoloco] like new ideas that solve old problems with design. We believe design can make world a better place for everyone.".

Jetson Green: Portland’s First SIPs House
architecture.MNP
…Seed Architecture Studio and Kaya General Contractors [have] announced plans to build the first house in Portland using structural insulated panels (”SIP”). This sustainable home design is targeted to save 70% on bills (compared to a home built to current energy code) utilizing tech such as LED and fluorescent lighting, efficient appliances, passive cooling, and the ultra efficient SIPs. Speaking of the home, Seed Architecture Studio owner Darin Dougherty said: “we’ve positioned the project as an exercise equally rooted in design, efficiency, and resource use. The goal of the project is to illustrate that all three of these variables are attainable to everyone. We’re also introducing a hybrid form of pre-fabrication. Because the entire house is produced in a factory and documented using shop drawings, all other components, such as windows and cabinetry can be produced using the shop drawings. We’re expecting this to drastically reduce construction time.”

Housing Residents to Lord Rogers: 'You Love It So Much, You Come Live Here!'
mediabistro.com: UnBeige
In an unusual turn for the usual praise heaped upon the knighted Lord Richard Rogers, there are some in London who are pretty upset with the super-starchitect. While Rogers is trying to save the gigantic Robin Hood Gardens housing...

Jetson Green: Portland’s First SIPs House
architecture.MNP
…Seed Architecture Studio and Kaya General Contractors [have] announced plans to build the first house in Portland using structural insulated panels (”SIP”). This sustainable home design is targeted to save 70% on bills (compared to a home built to current energy code) utilizing tech such as LED and fluorescent lighting, efficient appliances, passive cooling, and the ultra efficient SIPs. Speaking of the home, Seed Architecture Studio owner Darin Dougherty said: “we’ve positioned the project as an exercise equally rooted in design, efficiency, and resource use. The goal of the project is to illustrate that all three of these variables are attainable to everyone. We’re also introducing a hybrid form of pre-fabrication. Because the entire house is produced in a factory and documented using shop drawings, all other components, such as windows and cabinetry can be produced using the shop drawings. We’re expecting this to drastically reduce construction time.”

Dwell to Launch Silicon Valley NextHouse Prefab!
Preston D K in JETSONGREEN.COM
If you're on the West Coast and want to check out modern prefab a la Dwell, the experts of modern prefab, now's your chance.  The Dwell NextHouse by Empyrean - Silicon Valley will be open for tours to the public March 29-30, 2008.  The 2,400 sf prefab was designed to accommodate natural light, solar orientation, seasonal shading from vegetation, and prevailing wind movement, and also to contribute to passive heating and cooling.

Social Housing Block,Izola, Slovenia by Ofis Arhitekti
Mohammad Fahmi Tri Wahyudi,ST in Best House Design
This Social Housing Block project, Izola, Slovenia is a competition - winning entry to design two housing blocks for the Slovenia Housing Fund, a government-run program providing low cost apartments for young families. The proposal won largely for its excellent ratio between gross vs. saleable surface area as well as for its flexibility in design.



Last Updated on Monday, 11 August 2008 08:24
 
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