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May 13th, 2008
Green Container Condos in Early Planning for Detroit
Preston D K in Jetson Green
A Detroit-based group has a container project in mind for a blighted chunk of land near Wayne State University. News of the project hit the press this morning and local citizens didn't quite know what to expect (see comments). The project is currently being called "Exceptional Green Living on Rosa Parks" and would feature containers stacked four high with windows and doors cut out into various places. In total, the 17-unit condo project would have units ranging in size from 960 - 1,920 and price from $100k - $190k. Not bad really for a modern, green pad. The architect, Steven Flum, designed the condos to be large and open inside.
Antonio Citterio’s Architectural Lace
Cate Trotter in Inhabitat
One of the subtler but more beautiful designs that we saw at the Milan 2008 Greenenergy Design show was Antonio Citterio’s ‘Lace’: tiled architectural cladding that’s designed for user wellbeing and ecological preservation. A standardised product that produces an intricate and intriguing pattern when multiplied, the design keeps the user in touch the world outside. The tiles themselves were also more sustainable, using a special resin that is free of solvents and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
where truces and cease fires grow on trees…
Bryan Finoki in Subtopia
While the "inner German border” that once divided East and West Germany decades ago, stretching 879 miles from the Baltic Sea to the Czech Republic, was a tangled jungle of barbed wire, landmines, booby traps and soldier patrols, it was also, much like the Korean DMZ, a kind of sanctuary for considerable wildlife.
When the Berlin Wall fell German environmentalists fought to protect the long line of no-man’s-land as a Green Belt, connecting it with Europe’s larger green belt that has followed the path of the Iron Curtain from the north of Finland south to the Adriatic Sea.
Compact Living and Small Spaces
admin in mirage.studio.7
Australia, a country where land is abundant as oppose to less fortunate ‘Kiasu‘ Singaporean (I dislike my ‘Singaporean’ lecturer, a fresh graduate with zero working experience, he said it is alright to show human, furniture, cars and plants in the working drawing set - little did he knows that he is what we describe as “the empty vessel makes the loudest sound.”), anyway not all Singaporean acts in such manner, right Arron Kong?. Where was I? Yeah, compact living… compact living is simply not a doable thesis topic in the land of kangaroos, not to mention the Australian way of living doesn’t accommodate the whole idea of living in a house without a backyard.
top five auction houses, from details magazine
Justin in materialicious
Snipped from the article by Monica Khemsurov for DETAILS Magazine: Top Design: The new breed of auction houses serve novices hunting for a mid-century lamp or a minimalist couch—not ascot-wearing collectors looking for a fusty heirloom. You don’t have to be an obsessive collector or an Antiques Roadshow addict to buy at auction anymore. Over the past 15 years, a handful of boutique houses have emerged that specialize in design both modern (like George Nelson) and postmodern (like Ettore Sottsass). The result is a micro-universe of new places to get sought-after furniture—minus the intimidation factor of Sotheby’s and Christie’s.
A coherent account of the Housing Boom/Bust
lavardera in LamiDesign Modern House Plan Blog
This is tangental to my blog, no doubt, but the state of the housing industry is relevant to our interest in the resurgence of modernism as a housing product. If you have money to build or are able to borrow in this credit climate, its actually a good time to build. And that's an opportunity for modernist to get a foot in the door, for developers flat out of luck its a market that still has demand. So read up, or listen up as the case may be, and learn what actually went down in the credit bust. This radio program "This American Life" just did a review of the recent history of the ongoing credit crisis, and the housing crisis it spawned, and the overall stinky economy following on its heels. This is the best plain language, easily understandable account of what has transpired that I have heard to date.
LED Constellation Chandelier by Kenzan Tsutakawa-Chinn
Mike Chino in Inhabitat
This stunning LED chandelier lit up this year’s BKLYN Designs with a stellar low-energy lighting solution for light emitting diodes. Recent Pratt graduate Kenzan Tsutakawa-Chinn wowed attendees at the BKLYN Designs show with his constellation chandelier, which takes the form of a gorgeous starburst, breaking LEDs free from their circuit-mounted domain.
In Boston for the AIA Convention?
If you’re in the Bean this week/weekend for the AIA Convention don’t miss Parti Wall, Hanging Green, an installation in the South End by a collection of young Boston Architects. The project - a prototype green wall installation for the 2008 AIA convention that will be in Boston in May - aims to transform a blank brick wall into ‘a lush green environment’, both bringing attention to underutilized sites in Boston and providing a green solution to improve public space in the city. “The wall will be both a changing urban artwork and a public demonstration of the possibilities for greening a city like Boston,” stated Anthony Piermarini, a principal of Studio Luz. “Our urban center has hundreds of exposed brick party walls that face onto lifeless parking lots. We think of this project as a chance to transform those parking lots into hanging gardens.” [quoted from our earlier post on the project]
Combating Climate Change by Tackling Sprawl
Jeff Stephens in Jetson Green
There's a lot of talk here on Jetson Green about the (adverse) impact that architecture and materials choice can have on the environment. So it's nice to know that housing can actually be an essential factor in combating climate change according to a new study from Smart Growth America. While attending the recent EcoCity World Summit in San Francisco, I heard panelist Reid Ewing, research professor at the National Center for Smart Growth, discuss urban development and its (negative and positive) effect on climate change. The study, published by the Urban Land Institute, documents how key changes in land development patterns could help reduce vehicle greenhouse gas emissions.
Drop in Billings Means Architecture Continues to Struggle in '08
Well, we never make promises around here for always keeping things sunshine and rainbows, so here's another downer of a post. Architectural Record has just put up information on a just released AIA report saying that, along with the art market, the architecture world is also getting hit really hard; some are saying the billings are down to a low point at the same extent as financial crises from previous decades, if not well beyond. Here's a bit: The Architectural Billings Index (ABI), a key measure of the market for architectural services compiled by the American Institute of Architects (AIA), opened the year with a three-month skid, ending the first quarter at the lowest point in its 13-year history. March's anemic ABI score of 39.7 -- a number over 50 indicates an increase in billing activity and below 50, a decrease -- marks a 15-point drop from December's 55.
May 12th, 2008
Chicago Children's Museum - Spaghetti Bowl East?
Lynn Becker in ArchitectureChicago PLUS
This is the underside of the "Spaghetti Bowl", a/k/a the Circle Interchange of highway ramps along Congress between Halsted Street and the old Main Post Office:
. . . and this is a just released rendering of the design the Chicago Children's Museum is seeking to clout into Grant Park. (You can see three new renderings released by the museum Monday on Chicago Tribune architectural critic Blair Kamin's The Skyline blog, here.)
Kind of reminds you of an updated version of the covered walkways at the University of Illinois, Chicago campus that ultimately proved so unpopular they were demolished in the 1990's.
Any Thoughts on Quick Crete's Greener Concrete Mix?
Preston D K in Jetson Green
After extensive R&D, Quick Crete was able to come up with a house blend of greener concrete called Ecocast. Ecocast is made of 70% post-consumer and industrial waste. The blend may help contribute towards LEED credits for your project and contains recycled aggregates and other materials such as pozzolans. The new formula produces an average compressive strength of 5000 P.S.I. in 28 days and comes in four colors: strata, geo, erosion, and stone. Ecocast can be used in standard and custom designs, so check it out to see if it's better than what you're currently using. Anyone have any experience using Ecocast?
Grand Time to Be Had at Boston's New Design Mecca
What do you get when you put three design-minded Bostonians into an 118-year-old former movie theater that is also now home to an environmental design studio and an architectural firm? Something grand -- more specifically, a store called Grand nestled in Somerville's historic Union Square neighborhood. Opened in January by Jonathan O'Toole (CEO and operations manager), Wendy Friedman (chief merchandiser), and Adam Larson (creative director), Grand brings to the Boston area a unique combination of art, commerce, and style. ...
architecture foundation australia, murcutt masterclass
lavardera in materialicious
There is a class for practicing architects held in Australia each summer taught by Glenn Murcutt, Richard Leplastrier, Peter Stutchbury, Brit Andresen, and Lindsay Johnston. Known as the Murcutt MasterClass it’s held at a beautiful arts center called Riversdale. The architects stay at this facility and work on design projects with the Tutors, and also travel to visit exemplary samples of local work. Its an intensive design experience by which they “walk, talk, eat, drink, and sleep architecture” for the entire time.
A walk through Downtown Brampton
Sean Marshall in Spacing Toronto • understanding the urban landscape
Downtown Brampton, with the 1880s Dominion Building and the Rose Theatre behind. I grew up in the suburban city of Brampton, just north-west of Toronto. Today, it is one of the most interesting suburban cities in Canada, experiencing rapid population growth and demographic change. I hope to make this one of several tours of my hometown over the summer here at Spacing Toronto. I may have left, wanting something closer to downtown Toronto, but it being so close, I pass through Brampton and can remark on some of the changes over the past few years. A few days ago, I attended a local meeting and took the opportunity to walk around after getting off the GO Train.
SOLAR LILY PADS Proposed for Glasgow’s Clyde River
Jill Fehrenbacher in Inhabitat
In a stunning example of biomimicry, Scottish architecture firm ZM Architecture have come up with a brilliant scheme to provide solar power to the city of Glasgow - and do so in a way that is provocative, creative, and aesthetically appealing. The proposal? To design Solar Lily Pads which will float in Glasgow’s River Clyde and soak up the sun’s rays, sending electricity to Glasgow’s grid while also stimulating urban riverfront activity.
Healthy Cities Awards 2008
Ali Kriscenski in Inhabitat
California Academy of Sciences green roof Green Roofs for Healthy Cities has just announced the Awards for Excellence 2008 honoring projects that exemplify the aesthetic and environmental benefits of green roofs and living walls. The winning installations are a showcase of innovation and awareness-raising ideas that standout among the growing field of building integrated green space. Honorees were recognized for several important aspects including design, research and policy development in seven award categories. The distinguished designs among this year’s winners are engaging examples that successfully deploy economic, ecological, aesthetic and functional considerations in gorgeous green form.
Green Roofs for Healthy Cities Awards 2008
Ali Kriscenski in Inhabitat
California Academy of Sciences green roof. Green Roofs for Healthy Cities has just announced the Awards for Excellence 2008 honoring projects that exemplify the aesthetic and environmental benefits of green roofs and living walls. The winning installations are a showcase of innovation and awareness-raising ideas that standout among the growing field of building integrated green space. Honorees were recognized for several important aspects including design, research and policy development in seven award categories. The distinguished designs among this year’s winners are engaging examples that successfully deploy economic, ecological, aesthetic and functional considerations in gorgeous green form.
The Genius of Harry Weese
Lee Bey: The Urban Observer
I was walking out of the Daley Bicentennial Plaza parking garage on Randolph Street when I noticed Harry Weese's shiny and perfect Swissotel, visible in the gap just east of the Blue Cross/Blue Shield Building. The Swissotel is 20 years old, but it looks as fresh and vital as the new buildings popping up around it. And it reminded me, once again, of what a brilliant architect and civic presense Weese was. In addition to designing works such as the Time Life Building; the Seventeenth Church of Christ, Scientist; the Washington Metro, Metropolitan Correctional Center and scores of iconic buildings, Weese also led the charge to save Auditorium Theater and helped create Printers Row.
Cloepfil-Gragg Discussion, and A Visit To Allied Works' Macleay View House
Brian Libby in Portland Architecture
On Monday night, in the second installment of Portland Spaces magazine's Bright Lights Discussion Series, editor Randy Gragg will be interviewing architect Brad Cloepfil of Allied Works. Not only has Cloepfil's firm finally going to be working on a major Portland project again with PNCA's 511 Broadway building renovation, as well as a more modest rehab of the school's existing Pearl District space, but Allied Works also saw completion of a West Hills home with another on the way. Then there's the projects Allied has going in Denver, Dallas, New York and beyond.
Enóvo House, Modular and At One With Nature
Preston D K in Jetson Green
I pulled out the April issue of Dwell this weekend and noticed an ad for the Énóvo House. My interest was piqued by reading the copy, so I went online to research more. There's a website for the Énóvo House, which is currently being built just north of Montreal. But from my research, the Énóvo name seems to represent something bigger -- the idea that a green, modular home can evolve with the needs of the owner. According to the website, Énóvo can be adapted to most any terrain, and because it's configured by modules, the design can morph according to the various particularities an owner's life and needs. The minimalist design here is clean and features an abundance of glass in the right places.
Wouldn't it be easier to build it on a mountain?
Michelle Linden in Atelier A+D
Admittedly, I don't know anything about skiing, much less about ski jumps... but it just seems like Christensen Arkitekter would have had an easier time designing the ski jump if it was actually on the side of a mountain... Then again, it didn't stop Zaha.