The week on the net... Print
Sunday, 19 October 2008 19:00

Interesting articles published around the Internet.

Nomadic Hotels and Lighthouses
Alexander Trevi in Pruned
We promise these to be last passages we ever quote from Cornelia Dean's Against the Tides....

EcoLogic Lofts Winds Up Green Chicago
Preston D K in Green Building Blog - Jetson Green
This is the initial rendering for a project called EcoLogic Lofts in the Bucktown neighborhood of Chicago, a project that developers plan to break ground on in early 2009....

PAGESPACE
lebbeuswoods in LEBBEUS WOODS
Some poets and writers—even the occasional architect—think of a page as a space to be explored and defined by words. Whether typeset or handwritten, words are marks of a precise nature...

Earthbags Gone Wild in the Philippines!
Green Home Building and Sustainable Architecture
Mainly through the efforts of Illiac Diaz, a charismatic entrepenuer/actor/model/athlete, the Philippines has been home to some very innovative public works utilizing earthbags....

Time In the Tank
Eric De Place in WorldChanging
Take a look: Americans are falling behind -- most of us anyway. We're working longer than ever before to maintain a standard of living that once we took for granted....

Aria Denver Plans Clean Green Living
Preston D K in Green Building Blog - Jetson Green
Every now and then, Michelle Kaufmann gives us a rendering or a glimpse of a development she's working on in Colorado....

Bubbletecture H by Shuhei Endo
Alexandra Kain in Inhabitat
When Japanese architect Endo Shuhei adds another delectable design to his repertoire, you can expect a project title just as incredible as the structure itself....

Spain, what have you done?
James Shepherd in Where
I could understand it in the Middle Ages. Back then, if a country had a city in its realm, it was a clear exhibition of wealth....
Architect Layoffs
Brian Libby in Portland Architecture
Whenever there's an economic downturn, the building industry seems to take a large hit....

Doing 100 Things Well
Chris in Brand Avenue
 Many good things to highlight today from the Creative Cities Summit, from learning about Doug Farr's merging of sustainability with urban design through the work of his Chicago practice...

Shenzhen: China’s Instant City
Sean Marshall in Spacing Toronto • understanding the urban landscape
The first half of my visit to China took me to the working class city of Changchun and the modern city of Dalian, both in Manchuria, in the northeast. 

Nomadic Hotels and Lighthouses
Alexander Trevi in Pruned
We promise these to be last passages we ever quote from Cornelia Dean's Against the Tides. In April 1888 [...] Brighton Beach Hotel on Coney Island, a multistory frame structure with scores of rooms, was moved 450 feet inland when it was threatened by erosion. Its owner, the Brooklyn, Flatbush and Coney Island Railroad, jacked the thing up and hauled it inland in one piece, using six locomotives, 112 flatcars, and twenty-four specially laid tracks. The structure moved “at a fast walk,” Scientific American reported in its issue of April 14, 1888, adding: “No difficulty of any kind was encountered.”

EcoLogic Lofts Winds Up Green Chicago
Preston D K in Green Building Blog - Jetson Green
This is the initial rendering for a project called EcoLogic Lofts in the Bucktown neighborhood of Chicago, a project that developers plan to break ground on in early 2009.  Shooting for LEED Silver certification, the 7-story, 94-unit condo building will source two percent of its power from rooftop wind turbines that look like those made by Aerotecture International (and which are also on Near North Apartments).  Located at Bucktown, Lakeview and Lincoln Park, EcoLogic Lofts will have one and two bedroom units with prices ranging from $239k - $499k.

PAGESPACE
lebbeuswoods in LEBBEUS WOODS
Some poets and writers—even the occasional architect—think of a page as a space to be explored and defined by words. Whether typeset or handwritten, words are marks of a precise nature—they have shape, density, extension—that establish spatial boundaries and limits, in other words, they are the stuff of architecture. While the marks made by architects on a sheet of paper are most often abstractly pictorial, writers work with alphabets and languages, their form and syntax. The writer’s work is complicated by the fact that the marks called words have a pre-assigned meaning that is shared by a community of people who use them as instruments of understanding.

Earthbags Gone Wild in the Philippines!
Green Home Building and Sustainable Architecture
Mainly through the efforts of Illiac Diaz, a charismatic entrepenuer/actor/model/athlete, the Philippines has been home to some very innovative public works utilizing earthbags. Illiac discovered the benefits of this technology several years ago at Nader Khaili’s CalEarth Institute in Hesperia, California, and has been promoting earthbag building in the Philippines ever since.

Time In the Tank
Eric De Place in WorldChanging
Take a look: Americans are falling behind -- most of us anyway. We're working longer than ever before to maintain a standard of living that once we took for granted. With respect to gas prices, average Americans are much worse off than they were in 1970. The working poor, in particular, are getting absolutely crushed. Their economic standing has deteriorated even faster than the middle class. A full day's work at the federal minimum wage won't even pay for a single tank of gas. In a car-dependent nation, that means that even basic transportation is quickly getting out of reach for low-income families. Interestingly, the pain is being felt way up the income ladder.

Aria Denver Plans Clean Green Living
Preston D K in Green Building Blog - Jetson Green
Every now and then, Michelle Kaufmann gives us a rendering or a glimpse of a development she's working on in Colorado.  Part of the development involves the design of new housing for the Sisters of St. Francis.  The other part is a private, multifamily townhouse development adjacent to the Sisters' housing.  The townhouse community called Aria Denver promises to bring clean, green, and pure living to northwest Denver starting in 2009. The community will feature shared parks, communal organic gardens, geo-thermal energy, high-performance energy systems, and sustainable materials and strategies (catch updates here).  If you're interested, there's an open house Thursday, October 23, 2008.

Bubbletecture H by Shuhei Endo
Alexandra Kain in Inhabitat
When Japanese architect Endo Shuhei adds another delectable design to his repertoire, you can expect a project title just as incredible as the structure itself. He names each of his projects by letter and then style, with appellations ranging from “rooftecture”, to “slowtecture”, to “refurbitecture” and beyond. His recently completed ‘Bubbletecture H’ building in Hyogo is the 8th (Hth) project he has created that is bursting with bubbly bulges and arches. Designed with curves of the land in mind, this open-air environmental education center aims at minimizing its environmental impact while blending in naturally.

Spain, what have you done?
James Shepherd in Where
I could understand it in the Middle Ages. Back then, if a country had a city in its realm, it was a clear exhibition of wealth. That country had moved on from subsistence farming and could afford to support a bunch of wealthy people who desired to live in an urban environment. They were badges of financial well being, exuberantly demonstrating that each country with a major city was doing very well for itself. What I can’t understand is the pilfering of this earth’s resources to construct one million new apartments in a place where there is no demand for them. That is what has happened in Spain over the last few years. The planning law regime combined with easily available credit has fuelled a massive construction boom, with gross over speculation.

Architect Layoffs
Brian Libby in Portland Architecture
Whenever there's an economic downturn, the building industry seems to take a large hit. And in talking anecdotally with architects in town lately, I've heard several firms have been laying off in large numbers. I also have heard from some recently graduated architects that the job market is really tough right now. Even Frank Gehry's office reportedly laid off some employees this summer. What's a Portland firm doing lots of condos to do? Staff cuts seem inevitable, at least in the short term.

Doing 100 Things Well
Chris in Brand Avenue
 Many good things to highlight today from the Creative Cities Summit, from learning about Doug Farr's merging of sustainability with urban design through the work of his Chicago practice, Farr Associates; to Richard Florida's comments about his ongoing work and the current state of the world economy; to Charles Landry's remarks about architecture, permanence, and the ever-present buzzword of this entire conference--creativity. - The ongoing development of LEED guidelines for Neighborhood Design (ND) is fascinating for a lot of reasons--how does one codify the combination of human concerns and environmental concerns that shape the design of a neighborhood? And what does "neighborhood" mean, exactly, anyway? Farr pointed out that with LEED-ND, the USGBC for the first time will branch into economic and social realms in the way it distributes points, offering them in such diverse arenas as affordable housing, local food production, and community outreach, thus broadening what constitutes "environmental design."

Shenzhen: China’s Instant City
Sean Marshall in Spacing Toronto • understanding the urban landscape
The first half of my visit to China took me to the working class city of Changchun and the modern city of Dalian, both in Manchuria, in the northeast. The second half of my visit took me to Shenzhen as well as a side trip to Hong Kong. While both Changchun and Dalian had populations comparable to Toronto and relatively short, but interesting histories, the next city I visited, Shenzhen, was to be a completely different experience altogether. Shenzhen (pronounced shen-jen), has an urban population of over 8,000,000 ( a municipal population of 12,000,000) and is one of China’s (and the world’s) fastest growing cities. Amazingly, 30 years ago, it was nothing more than a fishing village of a few thousand people.



Past Weeks...

 


Built By Hand: Vernacular Buildings Around the World: A Book Review
Brian Liloia in Green Options
Imagine houses with six feet-thick seaweed roofs, deep-nestled and hand-carved cave homes, and pigeon-harboring huts made of mud. Sounds a little unreal, huh? Well, this and more is all vividly documented in Built By Hand: Vernacular Buildings Around the World, a most inspiring bit of green building eye candy I recently had the fortune of stumbling upon. Built by Hand is a hardcover collection of photographs of traditional buildings of all styles across the globe. If you weren’t already appalled by the house design atrocity known as the McMansion, Built By Hand will make you pine ever harder for more intimate, natural, sensible, and green home designs that can be found all over the world, still being built by indigenous peoples and sometimes mimicked by enterprising, modern day natural home builders.

Tiny Science, Big Implications
Julia Levitt in WorldChanging
Is there value in knowledge for the sake of knowledge? My gut says "of course," but when the question comes down to dollars and cents – and it does, in the case of funding for arts, science, and other often intangible cultural resources -- it's helpful to have a more practical argument on hand. I thought about this issue a lot last weekend, when I traveled to North America's epicenter of livable density to attend a sold-out screening at the Vancouver International Film Festival. The film was The Atom Smashers, a documentary about Illinois-based Fermilab and the international race to discover the Higgs boson. The film was produced by Chicago-based nonprofit 137 Films (COI: several members of the 137 team are good friends of mine).

Branding the boroughs
kosmograd in Kosmograd
Last week I popped along to the exhibition ' London's Towns' at the Building Centre in London. Subtitled "Shaping the Polycentric City", ( download catalogue here) the exhibition looked at developments proposed across the London boroughs, as each looks to assert an identity within the larger metropolis. It seems that every borough needs a masterplan these days. The focus of many boroughs' displays was to highlight their efforts to develop as a standalone 'hub': a retail, cultural and commercial centre that could resist the gravitational pull of Central London. Some, such as Greenwich, Croydon and Stratford see their future as a city within a city.

The Game
Geoff Manaugh in BLDGBLOG
A post earlier this week here on BLDGBLOG raised the question of whether or not an urban candidate might be inherently better suited for the job of U.S. president than a rural one – but what exactly do we mean when we say "urban"? When we read that the world is rapidly urbanizing, for instance, and that more than 50% of the earth's human population now lives in cities, what do we mean by "cities" and how can we tell when a dense assortment of buildings becomes a truly "urban" experience? What if we are surrounded by more buildings than ever before – but there isn't a single real city in sight?

Minor Landscapes and the Geography of American Political Campaigns
Geoff Manaugh in WorldChanging
If you'll excuse a quick bit of landscape-inspired political speculation, I was reminded this morning of something I read last year on Boing Boing and which has stuck with me ever since – and that's that there are more World of Warcraft players in the United States today than there are farmers. Farmers, however, as Boing Boing and the original blog post it links to are both quick to point out, are often portrayed in media polls as a voice of cultural and political authenticity in the United States. They are real Americans, the idea goes, a kind of quiet majority in the background that presidential candidates and media pundits would be foolish to overlook.

The Human Cause - part one
AMNP
Tim McKeough [a freelance writer on all things architecture, arts, culture & design] reports in the September 2008 issue of Metropolis on the CCV Chapel, by Brooklyn, NY based Stan Allen Architect. Project lead Carlos Arnaiz was a volunteer for the Chosen Children Village [CCV] Foundation while growing up in the Philippines. The foundation, which works with children with disabilities, is a non profit and reached out to Arnaiz once they found out one of their own was an architect.

China’s First Zero-Emissions Building
Evelyn Lee in Inhabitat
Situated in Ningbo, China, the University of Nottingham’s new Centre for Sustainable Energy Technologies (CSET) is a welcome addition to the landscape as well as the air above Zhejiang province. Inspired by Chinese lanterns and traditional wooden screens, Mario Cucinella Architects packed CSET with a variety of sustainable attributes to make it the the first zero-emissions building in China.

Corbusier's vertical hold on history
An exhibition celebrating Le Corbusier's visionary genius should help clear his name as the man 'responsible' for our Sixties council blocks
Stephen Bayley
The Observer, Sunday October 5 2008
The gloomy crypt is all that was finished of Edwin Lutyens' Catholic cathedral in Liverpool. Now, with dissonant irony, it houses a major exhibition of Le Corbusier. Why irony? Generally, because Lutyens was historicist and Corb was anti-sentiment, at least of the historic sort. Specifically, because Frederick Gibberd's 1967 cathedral now above Lutyens is a monument to what most people think they do not like about Corb: abrasive showboating in concrete.

Solyndra's Totally Tubular Solar Cells Perfect for Commercial Applications
Preston D K in Green Building Blog - Jetson Green
Solyndra just released new details of their proprietary solar technology printed with a copper, indium, gallium, and selenium (CIGS) mixture on glass tubes.  Solyndra also announced over $1.2 billion in orders and a successful installation using the cylindrical solar tubes on the roof of their corporate headquarters.  With the glass tube design and easy installation, the company expects to provide commercial customers with higher electricity output per rooftop and significantly reduced installation costs.  

Life Without The New York Museum of Arts and Design
Jimmy Stamp in Life Without Buildings
Life Without Buildings’ New York correspondent and Arts & Letters attaché Veronica Kavass stopped by the recently-renovated Museum of Arts and Design last week and sent over the following report.
Parting is such sweet sorrow—especially when it concerns the “lollipop building”, the Edward Durell Stone building on New York’s 2 Columbus Circle. The structure housed the Huntington Hartford Art Collection from 1964-2005, during which time many New Yorkers grew to reluctantly love its charmingly windowless, Venetian-meets-modern design. 


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Last Updated on Monday, 20 October 2008 00:41