12 Million Homes Powered By German Off-Shore Wind

from Green Options by Susan Kraemer
Germany’s position as the world wind leader was consolidated today with an announcement of 40 offshore wind farms to be built in German waters more than 12 miles off the coast. The goal is to get a total of 25,000 megawatts just from ocean-sited wind power by 2030. This would provide the first half of that; from a 12,000 MW wind farm. Germany is only just starting to dip its toes into off-shore wind production. It signed its first offshore wind project of just 15 megawatts a few months ago with the Alpha Ventus project that was co-financed by German energy giants Vattenfall, E.on and EWE and subsidized by the German government. Read more of this story »

In Seoul, Subway Riders Learn a New Way to Walk

from Wired: Autopia by Keith Barry
subwayseoul Starting October 1, riders of  Seoul Metropolitan Subway must walk on the right through stations, ending the longstanding Korean habit of walking on the left. The move is aimed at reducing pedestrian congestion and traffic accidents, though we had to check to make sure there’s no Korean equivalent to April Fool’s Day anytime in mid-September.

Environmentalism as a Step in Individual Evolution

from Green Options by Zachary Shahan
Environmental care is a practical, worldly thing. But it is also a step in one’s personal evolution. On the one hand, it is a practical response to the environmental problems we are facing. It is also a foresighted response to the issues (economic and environmental) that we might be facing if we don’t think more about the environment we live in and rely on. But, on the other hand, it is much more than that. Read more of this story »

Australia is #1 — New World Leader in Global Warming Emissions

from Green Options by Zachary Shahan
Australia has passed the US as the new world leader in CO2 emissions per capita. That is not the only climate change problem in Australia, though. Read more of this story »

Arizona Project Uses Algae to Turn Coal Pollution Into Biofuel

from Green Options by Nick Chambers

Arizona Public Service, the state’s largest electricity provider, has secured $70.5 million in stimulus funds toexpand an innovative project that turns carbon dioxide emissions from a coal power plant into biofuel using algae. While part of the funds will be used to scale up the algae processing portion, some of the funds will also be used to investigate the potential benefits of turning the coal into a gas prior to burning it for power. The concept of creating two products — electricity and fuel — from the same process is known as cogeneration. In this case, the cogeneration also helps to reduce environmental pollution. It’s an idea that has been gathering support as a way to make coal less polluting while finding an additional revenue source to pay for the pollution control itself. In fact, a while back I reported on a similar pilot project in Oregon. Read more of this story »

off architecture: jean moulin high school

lycee jean moulin will be built into the hilly landscape of revin in france all images courtesy of off architecture the architectural reconstruction project of lycee jean moulin in revin, france is to be completed by off architecture in association with duncan lewis scape architecture and jeans giacinto. located within a vast and undulating terrain with many curves, the architects want to install the new building into the topography of the landscape. they will utilize the constraints of the slope, so the school is elevated and recedes upwards, creating a pattern of movement. through incorporating the architecture into hilly surroundings, they want to ensure that the users of this new college will benefit from the natural qualities of the surrounding environment. the project is set to be completed for 2012. an aerial view of the architecture’s receding layers grass will be placed on the roofs of each level so that the building blends in with the green landscape appearing like a hill itself

It’s the end of the world as we know it

image
Dubai’s mega-project The World – a series of man-made islands in the shape of the major landmasses on the planet – is officially canceled, reportsTimesOnline.com

GreenSun Develops Colorful Solar Panels that don’t need Direct Sunlight

from Green Options by Jeff Kart
Solar power comes in many forms, from rigid to thin film. The panels are shiny, gleaming and ready to harness the power of the sun. They’re also usually silver. Yet they also come in colors, not just for looks, but for efficiency. Read more of this story »

Li�ge-Guillemins train station: a ticket to tomorrow

image Photo by Neil Pulling It is majestic, daring � and a destination in itself. This glorious new station in Belgium is the future of train travel, writesJonathan Glancey.

Prefab Resources, Tiny House Ideas, and Small Dwelling Design Links

from Green Options by Lucille Chi
Check out the prefab community blooming online these days! Tiny House Village is trying to connect communities of creative small dwellings. Ideas are abound for these eco communities with Resources For Life’sSmall House Society. Tiny House design has a great set of resources all linked here as well. Check out the plethora of architectural resources, Read more of this story »

loop.ph: sonumbra

as part of the ‘in praise of shadows’ exhibition at the V&Aloop.ph will be exhibiting sonumbra inside the jones gallery. sonumbra is an experimental body of work which explores how alternative sources of energy and low cost lighting can be crafted to provide light and shade for a community of people. parasols constructed from strands of lights laced together, have the potential to offer shelter from the sun by day and provide light for a local community at night through energy which has been collected from solar cells that have been embedded within its canopy. the use of the low cost, flexible, organic solar cells is a collaboration with riso DTU, the national laboratory for sustainable energy in denmark. the installation runs during london design week from september 19th to september 27th. the parasol-like form hanging down from the ceiling display of the architectural textile’s flexibility the form behaves like a fabric and can be draped, bent and folded

NBBJ: dalian stadium

image credit: li fang NBBJ has finalized their proposal for the new dalian shide football stadium in dalian, china. the structure is designed with principles of organic architecture in mind, modeling itself after a garden by having only what is needed to thrive. the design imagines if the ground were folded open to create two garden walls to contain the venue. this concept creates a strong visual impact and leaves both ends open to overlook the ocean and mountains nearby. the exterior of the walls are clad with living plants that naturally change colour throughout the year, while the inside features giant LED panels. a roof made from a flexible cable system covers the stadium and is interwoven with fabric to shield the fans from the elements. the design is an attempt to improve the in-stadium experience, rather than focus on the exterior form like many other modern stadiums. the stadium will have 40,000 seats and intends to set a new standard for sustainable stadium architecture. http://www.nbbj.com image credit: li fang

How Straw Bale Building Will Go Mainstream

from Green Options by Susan Kraemer
Building houses out of straw is as old as, well, as old as the medieval nursery story about the Three Little Pigs, and their houses; one of Bricks, one of Straw and something… it’s been a while. Straw building has a long long history. It is a great natural insulator. But it’s not so easy for the average builder to access straw, these days. You’ll not find straw insulation at your local hardware store. Read more of this story »

Google Reveals Plans to Develop More Efficient and Cost-Effective Solar Thermal Technology

from Green Options by Beth Graddon-Hodgson
Solar Thermal As if Google isn’t already doing enough for the world of technology, they’re actually joining the solar technology movement in order to help increase the progress, which they believe has been disappointing to date.  Their goal is to use mirror technology for solar energy that will be cheaper and therefore more accessible to the masses, so cost isn’t such a contributing factor to why many are unable to make their homes a little bit greener. Read more of this story »

Water withdrawal and consumption: the big gap

from Random graphic of the day: UNEP/GRID-Arendal Maps and Graphics Library by UNEP/GRID-Arendal <mapmaster@grida.no>
Water withdrawal and consumption: the big gapFreshwater use by continents is partly based on several socio-economic development factors, including population, physiographic, and climatic characteristics. Analysis indicates that: – Annual global freshwater withdrawal has grown from 3,790 km3 (of which consumption accounted for 2,070 km3 or 61%) in 1995, to 4,430 km3 (of which consumption accounted for 2,304 km3 or 52%) in 2000 (Shiklomanov, 1999). – In 2000, about 57% of the world’s freshwater withdrawal, and 70% of its consumption, took place in Asia, where the world’s major irrigated lands are located (UNESCO, 1999). – In the future, annual global water withdrawal is expected to grow by about 10-12% every 10 years, reaching approximately 5,240 km3 (or an increase of 1.38 times since 1995) by 2025. Water consumption is expected to grow at a slower rate of 1.33 times (UNESCO, 1999). – In the coming decades, the most intensive rate of water withdrawal is expected to occur in Africa and South America (increasing by 1.5-1.6 times), while the least will take place in Europe and North America (1.2 times) (Harrison and Pearce, 2001; Shiklomanov, 1999; UNESCO, 1999).

Renault unveils space buggy-style Twizy Z.E. concept vehicle

from DVICE by Adario Strange
Renault unveils space buggy-style Twizy Z.E. concept vehicle Renault rocked the auto world today by showing off the new Twizy Z.E. concept vehicle. The car’s futuristic design brings to mind visions of a space exploration surface buggy, sporting hexagonal wheel coverings and headlights as well as neon yellow trimmings. The company’s CEO, Carlos Ghosn, said, “[Twizy’s] distinctive layout combines advantages of both two- and four-wheel vehicles, offering maximum agility with stability.” Renault won’t commit to releasing this exact vehicle design to the public, but hopes to use the 15kW (20hp) electric motor that powers the Twizy in vehicles scheduled to hit the market in 2011. Via Renault

White House Unveils Landmark Fuel Economy and Emissions Standards

from Green Options by Nick Chambers

Today the Obama Administration released a 1,200 page document of proposed regulation changes that will drastically alter the fuel economy and emissions standards that auto manufacturers are required to meet in the US. Although it could be an incredibly contentious topic, it seems that so far the proposal has gained wide support from all sides of the spectrum including environmental organizations and industry lobby groups. The changes — which would alter both the Department of Transportation’s and the Environmental Protection Agency’s rules — call for what amounts to about a 5% increase in fuel economy standards per year from 2011 to 2016 starting with 27.3 mpg in 2011 and ending with 35.5 mpg in 2016. In addition to the new economy standards, the White House has outlined the first ever greenhouse gas emissions limits for new cars sold in the US. Starting with model year 2016, each manufacturer’s new car fleet would have to meet an average limit of 250 grams of carbon emitted per mile driven. Read more of this story »

Dubai 2010 video depicts a futuristic Arabian metropolis

from DVICE by Adario Strange
Dubai 2010 video depicts a futuristic Arabian metropolisThe ever-growing state of Dubai recently took the wraps off its new, 7.6 billion-dollar Dubai Metro project. Other than its whopping price tag, what makes the project special is that it claims to offer the longest driverless metro system in the world.

Along with Dubai’s new metro system and adventurous architecture, the city’s residents also hope to make the city one of the world’s first truly sci-fi metropolises. Perhaps the most ambitious vision of the area’s future comes from Dubai-based post-production house Rolling Thunder via its “Dubai 2010” trailer that features everything from flying cars to the requisite mirror maze of sci-fi-style buildings. You can check out the full trailerhere.

Via The National

Dead Forests to Fuel Vehicles

from Green Options by Susan Kraemer


Here’s a resource we’ll have plenty of as ever wider swathes of our forests get decimated by pests like the Pine Bark Beetle. Dead trees. In an adaptation eerily reminiscent of Thomas Edison’s dictum We live like squatters, not as if we owned the property” a university has invented a technology to harvest one of the horrific effects of climate change.

The University of Georgia Research Foundation has developed an innovative way to turn dead trees into a liquid fuel and has licensed it to Tolero Energy in California. We could be driving on our dead forests as soon as 2010.

The technology represents a leap forward for the biofuels industry. Not only does the resulting biofuel need no additional refinement before blending with diesel fuel, but it is a naturally very low-sulphur biofuel.

And it would prevent additional CO2 from being released if the forest was left to decay.

But the biggest leap is in thinking of using a non-food source (at least for us humans) of biomass that we will have an ever increasing abundance of, as our climate gets worse and worse. And it doesn’t take scarce water resources to grow. Quite the contrary. Droughts and rising temperatures are all it needs.

Dead trees are one of the major sources of waste biomass, says Tolero CEO Chris Churchill.

Read more of this story »

Skyscraper Bridges

from BLDGBLOG by Geoff Manaugh
[Image: “Skyscraper Bridges” by Raymond Hood (1929), as seen in the project PDF for Rael San Fratello‘s Bay Line].

$1.1 Trillion to Cut Carbon Emissions in India

from Green Options by Zachary Shahan


The United Nations stated a couple weeks ago that developed (rich) countries need to provide developing countries with about $500-600 billion a year to control global warming. This was a big increase from other predictions.

Big portions of these funds need to go to India, a large developing country that includes about one sixth of the world’s population. A new study shows what is needed to significantly cut growth in greenhouse gases in this top country.

Read more of this story »

Mercury-Laden CFLs to Overwhelm Minnesota’s Recycling Program

from Green Options by Dave Dempsey

A surge in the number of mercury-bearing energy-efficient light bulbs in use in Minnesota is expected to overwhelm recycling programs in the next few years and there’s no plan yet on how to recycle more of them.

Fluorescent light bulbs use only one-fourth as much energy per unit of light produced as incandescent bulbs and last up to 10 times longer. One CFL bulb contains 5 milligrams of mercury, about one-fifth the amount in a watch battery.

Read more of this story »

Extreme agricultural statuary

from BLDGBLOG by Geoff Manaugh
[Image: “Endothelium” by Philip Beesley].

I mentioned a recent issue of Mark Magazine the other day, but I deliberately saved one of the articles for a stand-alone post later on. That article was a long profile of the work of Philip Beesley, a Toronto-based architect and sculptor, whose project the “Implant Matrix” BLDGBLOG covered several years ago.

In issue #21 of Mark, author Terri Peters describes several of Beesley’s projects, but it’s the “Endothelium” that really stood out (and that you see pictured here).

[Image: “Endothelium” by Philip Beesley].

Celebrating the Life of a Scientist that “Fed the World”

from Green Options by Steve Savage

Norm Bourlag (center) consulting with IRRI researchers

Dr. Norman Borlaug passed away this weekend at 95.  He left behind an amazing legacy of contribution to humanity.  It is likely that he saved more human lives than any other person in history.  He did it by developing far more productive wheat than had ever been grown.  His “short stature” wheat had shorter, thicker stems so that it could hold bigger heads of grain that would otherwise “lodge” (collapse over on to the ground where it can’t be harvested).  It was also resistant to the devastating wheat disease called “Stem Rust.”  This wheat ended up feeding millions of people around the world, particularly in Pakistan and India in the 1960s.  Borlaug’s breakthrough was a key part of the “Green Revolution” and it did much to address the hunger and poverty issues of the time.  For this, and his life-time of additional work Bourlag recieved the Nobel Peace Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Metal .  Only Martin Luther King, Elie Wiesel, Nelson Mandela and Mother Teresa have received all of these commendations.  He was also awarded theNational Medal of Science and a host of other awards from around the world.  There is an excellent article about the life and career of this remarkable man in the Des Moines Register.

Read more of this story »

Liquid-Filled LED Bulbs: 360 Degree Light

from MetaEfficient Reviews by Justin
Liquid-Filled LED Light Bulbs: HydraLuxLiquid-Filled LED Light Bulbs: HydraLux

I’ve been testing a new LED bulb called the HydraLux. These unique bulbs are filled with a clear liquid coolant (a non-toxic paraffin oil). Other LED bulbs use large metal fins or fans for cooling purposes. The advantage of using a liquid coolant is that the LED bulb can produce 360° light like a regular incandescent bulb. (more…)

Control4 readies first smart grid energy/home control module

from DVICE by Stewart Wolpin
Control4 readies first smart grid energy/home control module
Local power companies all over the country are helping to built a 21st century smart grid, complete with smart meters, which talk back to the grid, attached to your home. Control4 is getting ready to deploy its home Energy Management System (EMS) EC-100 so you can monitor and control not only your home’s energy consumption via data provided by the smart meter, but your A/V system, security, lights, HVAC, etc.

In March 2010, the EC-100, which has a 5-inch LCD touchscreen, will be initially deployed by the Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative in Austin, TX, in 35,000 homes in the first wave and an additional 30,000 in a second wave. The control module actually displays your energy use in a variety of sub-categories (lighting, kitchen, air conditioning, etc.) in dollars, and lets you automate your home to conserve energy. For instance, as the sun comes up, an expanded EMS Control4 Home Area Network (HAN) system could automatically lower the shades or, when you leave a room or your house, the system automatically adjusts the thermostat to use less power – in other words, your house could run on energy-saving cruise control.

In case you’ve never heard of them (honestly, I hadn’t until I got to Atlanta for CEDIA), Control4 sells arguably the most affordable and simplest home automation system around, along with a whole bunch of inexpensive modules to control everything from your A/V system to window blinds, all controlled using the ZigBee wireless control spec from your HDTV via one simple remote.

As the smart grid/smart meter trend grows, Control4 will supply the EC-100 to local power companies to distribute or sell at a subsidized price to their customers, or perhaps sell them directly to consumers. All to be decided.

1.27 million displaced by China’s Three Gorges Dam: report

Beijing (AFP) Sept 13, 2009 – China has relocated 1.27 million people to make way for the controversial Three Gorges dam development, the world’s largest hydroelectric project, state media reported

$900 Billion to Cut China’s Emissions with Wind Power

from Green Options by Zachary Shahan


As mentioned in previous posts, the United Nations is calling on rich (developed) countries to provide developing countries with $500-600 billion a year in support to tackle climate change. A recent report declares that India needs $1.1 trillion in the next several years to cut emission growth by 50-60% by 2030. Another report from the last week says that China could cut its emissions by 30% by 2030 as well with $900 billion of investment in wind energy.

Read more of this story »

Volkswagen’s Diesel-Hybrid L1 Concept Gets 170 MPG, Available by 2013

from Green Options by Jerry James Stone

Volkswagen will display an updated version of its 1-Liter concept this week at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show. The diesel-hybrid car which only weighs around 800 lbs gets an jaw-dropping 170 MPG. So who wants one?

It was seven years ago when VW first announced the idea. Dr. Ferdinand Piëch–currently the Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Volkswagen Group–drove a prototype of the car from Wolfsburg to Hamburg. It was the world’s first car to travel 100 kilometers on just a single liter of fuel. But the concept wasn’t ready for production as the body’s carbon-fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) was too costly for consideration.

Read more of this story »

Finalists of the UPTO35 Competition Revealed

image In June 2009, OLIAROS, a young Greek property development company, issued a call for architects up to 35 years old to submit proposals for the design and construction of a model, affordable student housing complex in Kerameikos and Metaxourgeio (KM), an area in the historic center of Athens, Greece. Finalists have just been announced – view them at Bustler

Dirty coal is here to stay

from Random graphic of the day: UNEP/GRID-Arendal Maps and Graphics Library by UNEP/GRID-Arendal <mapmaster@grida.no>
Dirty coal is here to stayCoal producers are already taking advantage of the oil shortage and might even more in the future. In 2004 43 % of the electricity produced in the world came from coal.

Certified Emission Reductions

from Random graphic of the day: UNEP/GRID-Arendal Maps and Graphics Library by UNEP/GRID-Arendal <mapmaster@grida.no>
Certified Emission ReductionsOne certified emission reduction unit is equivalent to a one-tonne reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (measured in CO2 equivalent). Circles have only been drawn for countries that have issued more than 50,000 CERs. Certified Emission Reduction units issued by host parties.

axis mundi unveils conceptual design for MoMA tower


conceptual tower for MoMA new york by axis mundi

manhattan based firm axis mundi has unveiled a conceptual alternative design for MoMA tower.
founder of the firm john beckmann sees this as the time to rethink the tall buildings
that have become synonymous with new york city’s identity.

‘instead of disguising the rich potential of towers that have a mix of uses, we looked
for a way to express that diversity,’
beckmann noted. the firm used parametric computer
modeling software to test a wide range of possibilities. out of this iterative process they
proposes a new way to organize and express tall buildings: the vertical neighborhood.

World’s First International Commission on Ecosystem Loss Launched in Nairobi

You are invited to attend the launch of the world’s first international commission on the catastrophic loss of the world’s ecosystems. Legislators will argue that Governments are failing to stop the destruction of the world’s ecosystems at a summit in Nairobi on the 18/19 July.

Zero carbon building planned – TeleText


24dash

Zero carbon building planned
TeleText
hemp cladding panels on campus this summer. The crop used for the straw absorbs CO2 as it grows so buildings can be seen as having a zero carbon footprint.
Balehaus: Homes of the future could be built from strawDaily Mail

all 8 news articles »

The Schweeb: Personal Pedal Power Pod

from Green Options by Christopher DeMorro

I hate traffic. To me, there are few things worse in the world than having to sit idling in traffic, moving at an inch an hour, all because some dimwit blew out a tire. It is part of the reason I consider myself a country boy at heart. At least to me, the city is a nice place to visit, but I could never live there.

But a new, novel idea involving pedals and a monorail system has the potential not only to eliminate traffic, but emissions and accidents as well. Called simply The Schweeb, this self-enclosed, pedal-powered personal pod is already in use at an amusement park in New Zealand. Geoffrey Barnett and his team of designers see the Schweeb not only as a vehicle of amusement, but as a replacement for personal motor vehicles in traffic congested cities.

Read more of this story »

Four ‘eco-towns’ given go ahead

Four ‘eco-town’ sites have been announced and will go through to the next stage of planning.

Building green in a global economy that is in the red – REjournals.com


Building green in a global economy that is in the red
REjournals.com
There are massive amounts of “embodied energy” in the materials, the labor, and the supporting infrastructure for an existing building. 

Major genetically modified crop production countries, 2006

from Random graphic of the day: UNEP/GRID-Arendal Maps and Graphics Library by UNEP/GRID-Arendal <mapmaster@grida.no>
Major genetically modified crop production countries, 2006Some regions report increases in some crops and positive financial returns have been reported for genetically modified cotton in studies including South Africa, Argentina, China, India and Mexico. In contrast, the US and Argentina may have slight yield declines in soybeans, and also for maize in the US. Studies on GMOs have also shown the potential for decreased insecticide use, while others show increasing herbicide use.

Tiny Molecular Bowls Pull Carbon Dioxide Out of the Air

from Green Options by Bryan Nelson

Coal-fired Plant

The discovery of a tiny bowl-shaped molecule which collects carbon dioxide right out of the air has beckoned some creative solutions to global warming.

By genetically engineering microbes to manufacture the handy molecule, scientists hope to make it useful as an industrial absorbent for CO2 capture. That could help clean up smokestacks from dirty coal-fired power plants, but it’s also possible that the molecules could be used for pulling carbon dioxide right out of the ambient air.

Read more of this story »

A New Report Shows That Wind is More Popular Than the Beatles

from Green Options by Ruedigar Matthes

Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there. It could be many things: God, love, E.T., or even Michael Jackson. But today, right now, it is wind. Wind has always been around. I think that few would argue with that. But wind power, on the other hand, has been hidden from mankind’s view for centuries. But now wind power is on the rise, especially in America. And a new report shows that wind power is more popular than the Beatles…or not.

The Department of Energy (DOE) issued a report today, which came on the same day that Secretary Chu announced the selection of 28 new wind energy projects for up to $13.8 million in funding – $12.8 million of which will be Recovery Act funds.

Read more of this story »

Electric Horizon: Alfred Deakin Eco-Innovation Lectures

from Sustainable Melbourne by Kate Archdeacon
Shai Agassi, founder of Better Place, shares his inspired vision of freeing cars from oil, reducing harmful exhaust, and ushering in a new era of sustainable transportation. He will discuss the economic factors, industry dynamics, geopolitical pressures, and mounting environmental concerns that are combining to drive this profound change, as well as the challenges we […]

San Francisco Bay Overrun by Alien Seaweed Forest

from Green Options by Derek Markham

A fast growing invasive seaweed that grows up to an inch a day is turning San Francisco Bay into a ‘jungle’ of kelp.

When you think of wakame (if you do at all), you’re probably imagining miso soup or a macrobiotic diet, but this variety of kelp (Undaria pinnatifida) is one of the world’s worst invasive species. Native to Japan, China, and Korea, wakame was found to be inhabiting New Zealand about 20 years ago, and recently has been making itself at home in coastal areas of Europe. San Francisco Bay is its latest victim, and the alien seaweed is posing a threat to native species there.

Read more of this story »

Magic watch with floating hands costs $265,000

from DVICE by CharlieWhite
Magic watch with floating hands costs $265,000You might be too cool to wear a watch, but this wrist wizardry could make you reconsider that notion. The Louis Vuitton Tambour Mysterieuse Calibre LV115 watch appears to defy the laws of physics with its floating movement and suspended hour and minute indicators. How is this even possible?

The secret lies in two transparent sapphire disks supporting the hour and minute hands. Mysterieuse, indeed. The gold and steel masterpiece is completely mechanical, crafted of 115 hand-mounted parts, and runs for eight days on a winding.

Because the watch costs just over a quarter of a million dollars, Louis Vuitton lets you customize it however you want, and even includes a fancy trunk to store it when it’s not adorning your wrist. Just be sure to hire an armed guard to accompany you when you wear such a precious thing.

Toshiba and Electrolux team up to make a snail-inspired vacuum cleaner

from DVICE by AdamFrucci
Toshiba and Electrolux team up to make a snail-inspired vacuum cleanerVacuum cleaners, by and large, are boring looking. They’re utilitarian devices that are designed to do their jobs and then sit in the closet without being seen. But Toshiba and Electrolux decided that they didn’t like that, so they teamed up to design a vacuum cleaner that you wouldn’t be ashamed to be seen in your living room.

The result of their partnership is the Escargot Cyclone Vacuum Cleaner. It weighs a mere 4.6 pounds, making it easy to tote around, and it has a 50-watt high-suction power plant that brings plenty of power to your cleaning. And if you’re in Japan, you can grab one for a mere $113.

Appliancist via TFTS

Black & White Clock uses OLEDs, looks simply stunning

from DVICE by CharlieWhite
Black & White Clock uses OLEDs, looks simply stunningJust look at what innovative things you can do with OLEDs (organic light emitting diodes). Designer Vadim Kibardin created this caseless clock, placing the four individual digits on a wall. A light sensor switches the numerals from black to white, displaying the correct time, day or night.

It’s simple and beautiful. Kibardin is currently searching for a manufacturer for his prototype, and we hope he finds one.

Kibardin Design, via technabob

MIT developing fabrics capable of taking pictures

from DVICE by Kevin Hall
MIT developing fabrics capable of taking picturesWhat you see there is a cross-section of an “optoelectronic” fiber. It’s a light-sensing strand MIT is developing that it says could capture an image. Led by Associate Professor Yoel Fink of MIT’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering, the research is still far from yielding any real-world applications, but the project just hit a milestone, namely using the fabric to take a rough snap of a smiley face.

In the future, the group can see the fibers used in multiple ways, including being weaved into a soldier’s garment. Since the fibers can capture an image, he could observe his surroundings through a heads-up camera feed instead of having to swivel around.

The fibers also one-up cameras as they have the potential to be far more durable. “We are saying, ‘instead of a tiny, sensitive object [for capturing images], let’s construct a large, distributed system,'” Fink told MIT News, “While the current version of these fabrics can only image nearby objects, it can still see much farther than most shirts can.”

Well, sci-fi-ish project or not, he’s got a point there.

Via MIT News, via GizmoWatch

WaterTherapy shower head envelops you with soothing colors

from DVICE by Michael Trei
WaterTherapy shower head envelops you with soothing colorsThere’s nothing quite like a long soothing shower to calm your frazzled nerves following a hectic day. The cascading warm water creates a wonderful tactile sensation, even though in most bathrooms there’s little else to stimulate your other senses.

The WaterTherapy shower head from Guglielmi adds a visual element, with multi-colored LEDs behind each of the 480 nozzles controlled by any of eleven different monochromatic and multi-colored light programs. That sounds like a whole lot more fun than other LED equipped shower heads we’ve seen, which only let you know how hot the water is.

Now all they need to do is add speakers playing Handel’s Water Music, or Hillary Duff’s Come Clean to round out the effect.

Guglielmi, via Born Rich

Redesigned London Bridge would be a farming and business hub

from DVICE by Kevin Hall
Redesigned London Bridge would be a farming and business hubLaurie Chetwood of London’s Chetwood Architects won first prize for her redesign of the London Bridge across the Thames. The contest, run by the Royal Institute for British Architects (RIBA) and the Worshipful Company of Chartered Architects (WCCA), called for a bridge that would take the design back to the earlier function of bridges. That is, serving as a hub for meeting and commerce on top of joining two shores.

Chetwood’s design satisfies this goal with two focused spires: one that acts as a vertical hydroponic farm, while another serves as a commercial center for products, produce, eats and residential space. Of course, it wouldn’t be a futuristic design if it wasn’t sustainable, so it’ll be powered by solar and wind energy, and take advantage of natural cooling techniques to lower the strain all around.

Check out more of the Chetwood design below.

African Rhinos Sold to the Highest Bidders – and Sentenced to Death

from Green Options by Rhishja Larson

White Rhino photo

Conservationists and animal rights organizations are outraged at what looks like a potential trend in species management (or mismanagement) of the Southern White Rhino (Ceratotherum simum). 10 of 200 White Rhinos sold at auction last week have already been killed by “trophy hunters.” And earlier this year, Dwesa Nature Reserve sold the right to kill 6 White Rhinos to the highest bidder.

In the case of the Dwesa hunt, the rhinos were killed by Vietnamese clients of African Scent Safaris, which, according to their website offers an “unforgettable African hunting experience.” These patrons had the rhino horns exported to Vietnam, where illegal wildlife trade is active.

Outraged against the last week’s proceedings, Animal Rights Africa is calling for prospective tourists coming to visit the country for the 2010 FIFA World Cup to boycott the Kruger National Park.

Read more of this story »

Almeisen Tower is a Solar Concentrating Skyscraper

Almeisen Tower is a Solar Concentrating Skyscraper July 13, Dubai

Architect Robert Ferry unveiled a stunning design for a sustainable spire in Dubai that requires zero energy and produces zero waste and zero emissions. The Almeisan Tower is a concept created for Za’abeel Park that generates all of its own energy using concentrating solar power technology. The tower itself is actually a solar power tower (much like Solar One in California) that uses heliostats positioned at the top of the tower to direct sunlight onto a central receiver…more.

Avenue2 Consortium Wins A2 Maastricht Project with Groene Loper Plan

from Bustler.net News by Vanilla Hustler

The Steering Committee for the A2 Maastricht project in Maastricht, Netherlands recently announced that the project will be carried out by the Avenue2 Consortium, which consists of Ballast Nedam and Strukton. The decision to award the contract to Avenue2 also signals the approval of the Groene Loper (Green Boulevard) plan. The Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management, the City of Maastricht, Limburg Provincial Authority and the Municipality of Meerssen were all represented in the steering committee.

image

Winning concept in the A2 Maastricht project: the Groene Loper (Green Boulevard) plan by the Avenue2 Consortium (Ballast Nedam, Strukton, ARCADIS Nederland, West 8 Urban Design & Landscape Architecture, Humblé Architecten, dGmR and Bex* Communications)

The Groene Loper plan gets its name from a stretch of greenery that will weave its way through the city from north to south along the current A2 zone. Over a distance of 2.3 kilometers, a two-carriageway tunnel with four lanes each will provide extensive underground traffic capacity. Above the tunnel, a peaceful and safe park boulevard with 2,000 linden trees will be developed, restricted to local traffic only.

image

The quiet and safe park lane is created with an emphasis on pedestrians and cyclists. This means more room and better quality of life for inhabitants, flora and fauna. Such a streetscape profile is possible because of the strategically chosen stacked tunnel format, providing a great deal of freedom for the design of the public realm. This stacked format, with two tunnel tubes on top of each other, creates a narrow profile that can still handle large traffic volumes with optimum traffic flow through. Local traffic and through traffic are separated from each other to help reduce lane changes within the tunnel.

Two unique city entrances are created at the mouths of the tunnel. They will be recognizable as two sloping areas in the landscape. They will transform the current A2 zone into a connective space for the city.

image

The consortium partners Ballast Nedam and Strukton enjoy the support of a number of leading firms includingARCADIS NederlandWest8 Urban Design & Landscape ArchitecturedGmR and Bex* Communicatie.

ExxonMobil Invests $600 million with Algae Company Synthetic Genomics

from Green Options by Joanna Schroeder

ExxonMobil has been slow to invest in biofuels. Actually, until now, they have not invested in them at all while their competitors have spent the last year making what they hope are strategic investments. Well, slap me silly, but today ExxonMobil announced a $600 million investment with J. Craig Venter (best known for mapping the human genome) whose company, Synthetic Genomics is developing a photosynthetic algae biofuels program. This venture includes more than $300 million invested in Synthetic Genomics specifically and $300 for other projects Venter is developing. This investment should cover five-to-six years of research.

Now, I should clarify, that the partnership is with ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company (EMRE) just like ExxonMobil Chemical Company is working with Electrovaya to produce the Maya 300. It’s not unusual for the oil companies to use or create offshoot companies for their renewable energy investments. For example, Valero, which has been extremely active in biofuels investments now has a division branded as Valero Renewables.

As reported by Earth2Tech, Emil Jacobs, vice president of R&D for Exxon’s Research and Engineering Co., said in a call with reporters that it will likely take billions of dollars in additional investment to commercialize the technology for distribution in Exxon’s existing infrastructure. Within 5-10 years, Jacobs expects the project to be producing “large quantities” of transportation fuel.

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BC Wildlife Officials to Tourists: Don’t Put Seal Pups in Your Car

from Green Options by Jennifer Lance

This post contains additional media. Click here to view the full post.

A tourist from Calgary found a lone seal pup while in British Columbia.  She thought the pup needed rescuing, so she put it in her car wrapped in a blanket then called the police.  Most likely, the pup was not abandoned. Canada.com explains:

According to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, mother seals will often leave their pups shortly after birth. They will often return to their pups within 24 hours provided conditions are right, one of those being that humans aren’t nearby.

Read more of this story »

From the UK: 20 Bold Schemes That Could Save The World – The Infrastructurist


The Infrastructurist

From the UK: 20 Bold Schemes That Could Save The World
The Infrastructurist
It could be come as centerpiece for new sorts of social interaction, maybe includingzerocarbon potlucks and climate change encounter groups. though it 

and more »

No Coal, No Nuclear, Only Renewable Energy For Scotland By 2030

from Green Options by Mridul Chadha

According to a new study, Scotland could shut down all its coal and nuclear power plants in the next 20 years and fulfill all its energy needs using renewable sources.

The study commissioned by a consortium of environmental groups and conducted by an independent engineering consultant will soon be presented to the Scottish government. The study hold significant importance as the government has set ambitious goals for cutting carbon emissions and switching to renewable energy sources for power generation. The research studies and evaluates five different scenarios to predict the energy demand and generation trends over the next 20 years.

Read more of this story »

quadrangle architects: ‘green ribbon’ gardiner expressway toronto

ecdm: ZAC bords de seine housing project

from Designboom – Weblog

1 person liked this


an overview of the new housing project
image courtesy of ECDM architects

located in the issy les moulineaux, france, ZAC bords de seine by ECDM architects
is a project which includes housing, shops and some services. it draws on the idea of building
an intelligent living space that turns to its surrounding environment and weather elements for assistance.
light, views, outdoor space and transversal ideas were essential in the design of this site.
rather than create a few situations running through each other, all parts of this architectural unit interact
with one another to make a cohesive unit.


rooftop gardens and lush plants utilize rain water to their benefit
image courtesy of ECDM architects

taking advantage of alternate resources, rain water is collected through the buildings’ rooftops
and stored below for irrigating vegetation later.


trees are planted on the interior of the buildings and grow through skylights brining the outdoors in, the large circular skylights also invite sunlight in
image courtesy of ECDM architects

suspended terraces that allow for gardening to green the space
image courtesy of ECDM architects


trees are incorporated into the design of the indoor parking lot
image courtesy of ECDM architects

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Indian tiger park ‘has no tigers’

One of India’s main tiger parks admits it no longer has any tigers.

More Food Waste to be Turned Into Energy in California

from Green Options by Jeff Kart

“Clean your plate. There are people starving in Africa.” 

That’s what mom always said. But it turns out that leftover food also can feed a hunger for electricity.

A wastewater treatment plant in California is receiving support from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to turn more food scraps into energy at a wastewater treatment plant.

The East Municipal Bay Utility District, or EMBUD, project will be the largest of its kind in America, where food waste is the second-largest source of municipal solid waste.

In Oakland, California, EBMUD’s main wastewater treatment plant was the first sewage treatment facility in the nation to convert post-consumer food scraps to energy via anaerobic digestion.

EMBUD already uses anaerobic digestion to turn food waste from San Francisco and Contra Costa County restaurants and commercial food processors into green energy. The facility plans to up its intake of scraps from 90 tons per week to 200 tons per week.

This post contains additional media. Click here to view the full post.Anaerobic (without oxygen) digestion works by using bacteria inside the digester to decompose the food. The digester captures the biogas and uses methane, a potent greenhouse gas, to power the treatment plant. What’s left can be used as compost, which is great for San Francisco, which recently signed the first mandatory composting law in the nation.

Anaerobic digesters also are being considered for use at large cattle farms in Michigan, where the waste product is manure. A similar methane-capturing process also is used to create landfill gas.

Tell your mom.

(Image Credit: EPA. In Oakland, California, EBMUD’s main wastewater treatment plant was the first sewage treatment facility in the nation to convert post-consumer food scraps to energy via anaerobic digestion.)

New Glass Prevents Birds From Colliding with Windows

from Green Options by Bryan Nelson

Bird flying in window

A new exterior film for glass has been developed which can be seen by birds but not humans. It could be used to help prevent the needless deaths of billions of birds which collide with windows annually.

Collisions with windows are estimated to be the most common cause of bird death worldwide aside from habitat loss. The numbers of deaths are staggering, outranking deaths by domestic cat, hunting, vehicular collisions, and wind turbine accidents combined. Thus, preventing bird-window collisions could be the simplest way to significantly reduce bird fatality around the world.

Read more of this story »

Student Works: Ecotone Hydro Park

from InfraNet Lab by lsheppard

[Hydro park adds a public park, animal habitats and water treatment to an existing dam ]

A recent thesis project at McGill University by Tania Delage takes Lebbeus Woods’ idea of the borderline and the ecological phenomena of the ecotone as an opportunity to cross-breed infrastructure, ecology and public amenities.

Insurers Attempt to Reduce Risks of Carbon Capture & Storage

from Green Options by Susan Kraemer


In January the Swiss insurer Zurich Financial Services AG launched two insurance products to cover liabilities for Carbon Capture & Storage.

It is now processing four submissions from some of the 10 to 15 European companies planning to have plants running by 2015. Additional companies in Europe, United States, Australia, China and Japan were also expressing interest in the coverage, a sign companies are beginning to explore implementing the as yet largely undeployed technology.

“There is a ‘fog of war’ surrounding the actual risks of CCS,” John Scott, head of risk insights at Zurich Global Corporate, said. “Operators need certainty. It is difficult as a business person to make any long-term investment decisions unless you have certainty about the costs of risks,” John Scott said.

“Actually, the most challenging thing is what happens beyond 50 years or when a storage site is sealed. Who then bears the risk?”

Read more of this story »

Plantagon is a gigantic vertical farm in a dome

from DVICE by AdamFrucci
Plantagon is a gigantic vertical farm in a domeEating locally is all the rage these days, especially for city dwellers looking to shrink their carbon footprint. But it’s tough to do that in a city, as farmers need to drive their goods in from the country, and that takes energy.

The Plantagon is a design for an enormous urban greenhouse, placing a spiraling vertical farm in the heart of a city. Is this really feasible? I’m not sure, but if it is I would sure like to live near one.

Plantagon via Inhabitat

Estimated global marine fish catch, 1950 -2001

from Random graphic of the day: UNEP/GRID-Arendal Maps and Graphics Library by UNEP/GRID-Arendal <mapmaster@grida.no>
Estimated global marine fish catch, 1950 -2001Fishing production dramatically increase through the century peaking in late 1980s. At this time there were major declines in several fish populations in different areas of the world. The catch reported by governments is in some cases adjusted to correct for likely errors in data.

Jakarta Bersih! – Nunc Architects Wins Visionary Architectural and Urban Design Competition

from Bustler.net News by Vanilla Hustler

The design concept “Jakarta Bersih!” by Dutch firm Nunc Architects has won the first prize in the international architectural and urban design competition “Gotong Royong City: Envisioning the Future of Jakarta”. The competition was hosted by the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam (IABR) 2009 in collaboration with Ikatan Arsitek Indonesia (Indonesian Institute of Architects Jakarta Chapter).

From the competition theme: “This 4th Biennale takes the theme of ‘Open City: Designing Coexistence’. The idea of the Open City is understood as ‘an urban condition that enables diverse cultures and lifestyles to coexist’. It ‘balances integrating and segregating forces to encourage distinct communities and groups to settle, interact, and establish the dynamic relationships that we call urbanity’. A number of sub-themes will examine this Open City hypothesis in greater detail, and one of these has been identified as ‘Gotong Royong’. ‘Gotong Royong’ is usually translated into English as ‘reciprocity’ or ‘mutual assistance’. In Indonesia the term is applied across political, social, economic and cultural spheres. The aim of this competition is to focus the possibilities of this rich term onto urban and architectural matters. We seek to investigate the capacities of this term to serve as a relevant principle of urban life generally, to revive its fortunes as an indigenous principle for thinking and action in the extended metropolitan region of Jakarta.”

Nunc-partner Johan Krol said: “Our plan shows that by relocating a part of the overpopulated Kampung into our buildings, more open green spaces are created in the kampungs. By doing so we improve the living standards and reduce the risk of flooding. The autonomous vertical communities are linked to a waste treatment center. These centers handle all types of waste that the poorest residents of Jakarta can collect and trade of. In this way we provide work and income as part of the informal economy.”

Floor Moormann explained the billboard facade concept: “The facades of these buildings are designed as huge billboards. The revenue from this 70 meters high advertising will be used to facilitate and finance the cleaning communities; commerce as charity.”

The jury was comprised of: Stephen Cairns (Edinburgh University, subcurator IABR 2009); Kees Christiaanse(KCAP Rotterdam, curator IABR 2009); Winy Maas (MVRDV, the why factory); Vedran Mimica (Berlage Institute Rotterdam); Andrea Peresthu (TU Delft); and Daliana Suryawinata (SHAU Rotterdam, the why factory, subcurator IABR 2009).

The second prize went to “Let’s Catch the Water! Jakarta Sponge City” by mamostudio + UPH University, the third prize to “Field Estate: A Platform for Symbiotic Urbanism” by GABPA architects.
FIRST PRIZE: Jakarta Bersih!
NUNC architecten

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G.M. Is Going Green. Literally.

from Wired: Autopia by Chuck Squatriglia

gm_logo_greenSomeone at General Motors has come up with the brilliant idea of changing the company’s iconic blue logo green. The struggling automaker thinks it will show consumers it is a leaner, greener operation focused on fuel efficiency and quick action

7 Quadrillion BTUs of Free Energy Available

from Green Options by Susan Kraemer


Up to 50 percent of all fuel burned in the US goes unused into our atmosphere as wasted heat; the US Department of Energy has found. The total, a mind boggling 7 quadrillion BTUs; exceeds the current output of all other US renewable sources – such as solar, wind and geothermal, combined.

We could use this potential waste heat capacity to generate 46 GWs of new, clean electricity annually.

Read more of this story »

Light + strong concrete = tall, green buildings

Light + strong concrete = tall, green buildings July 8

As cutting costs remains the overwhelming pre-occupation for construction industries throughout the globe, maximising space by building tall offers an attractive solution. Secondary aggregate can allow the innovative and sustainable design of tall buildings to go hand in hand with cost efficiency. A 2009 study conducted by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) shows that more tall buildings were completed in 2008 than ever before…more

Tornado Tower Features Energy Generating Façade

Tornado Tower Features Energy Generating Façade July 8

The Tornado Tower is a spectacular modern and unique design that is characterized by a rotating facade, which generates power from high altitude winds. The exterior of the tower is outfitted with curved fins that harness the wind to generate clean energy to power the arts center and the surrounding city as well. Pairing function and aesthetic, the roof of the tower boasts an undulating sea of pearls that meld into clouds, from which unparalleled views of the city are possible…more

Freeway Air Pollution Is So Much Worse Than You Thought

A couple of new findings tell an unsettling story about the health effects of living near freeways–and that “near” is a lot farther away than you might think. Finding #1: Pregnant women living near highways or busy roads are more than twice as likely give birth “very preterm” at 30 or …

Solar plane to make public debut

Swiss adventurer Bertrand Picard is set to unveil a prototype of the solar-powered plane he hopes one day to fly around the world.

Australia greens up its hospitals – Construction Contractor

Australia greens up its hospitals
Construction Contractor
The Green Building Council of Australia’s (GBCA) new Green Star – Healthcare v1 environmental rating tool will help owners and operators of healthcare 

and more »

UNstudio: retreat exhibition at kunstfort asperen opening june 28th

retreat exhibition, kuntsfort asperen june 28th – september 20th, 2009
curators: ben van berkel and caroline bos/ UN studio
http://www.kunstbus.nl


UNstudio’s installation in the fort
photo © katrien franken
image courtesy UNstudio

on june 28th the exhibition ‘retreat’ curated by ben van berkel of and caroline bos/ UNstudio
will be open to the public at kunstfort asperen. 12 artists were invited to exhibit works which
provide surprising interpretations on the theme of retreat from differing disciplines
and perspectives.

participating artists include: tobias rehberger, frank havermans, ann lislegaard, pipilotti rist,
absalon, andrea zittel, a.p. komen/karen murphy, cosmic wonder, jerszy seymour, lucy orta,
hans op de beeck and sandra backlund.

here is a sneak preview.


exterior of kunstfort asperen
photo © katrien franken
image courtesy UNstudio

retreat – away from daily routine
for ben van berkel and caroline bos the kunstfort asperen and its surroundings was
the starting point for the theme retreat. the fortress has lost its original function, whereby
the perception of place and space has changed. this transition from defense post to idyllic
place forms the premise of the exhibition. the theme, although reflecting today’s
socio-economic realities, was in fact chosen prior to the current global crisis.


‘open my glade’, 2000 installation by pipilotti rist
photo © katrien franken
image courtesy UNstudio

according to ben van berkel en caroline bos, ‘each in their own way has invented solutions
for people in need of a refuge. but each also shows that the solution and the situation you seek
to escape are interwoven, and that there is a painful fragility to the human that no shelter
can cover up.’


‘retreat’ section
image courtesy UNstudio


‘retreat’ elevations
image courtesy UNstudio


‘retreat’ core
image courtesy UNstudio

unstudio has designed a spatial installation which reinterprets the organization of
the fort and forms the binding element between the exhibited works. the structure winds
through the fort like a ribbon, playing with the changing perceptions and experiences
of the space, both literally and symbolically. the material and the diamond structure
of the installation reflect the exhibited artworks which are installed around the fort.


UNstudio’s installation in the fort
photo © katrien franken
image courtesy UNstudio

credits:
architectural installation: ben van berkel and caroline bos
with christian veddeler and arndt willert, gary friedman
curating: ben van berkel and caroline bos
production: machteld kors, cas bool and eric otten
building and engineering: p&p gmbh fuerth, odenwald
graphics: bloemendaal & dekkers, amsterdam
advisory board: jan brand, jose teunissen, ole bouman,
tom van gestel, meta knol, catelijne de muijnck, anne van der zwaag

Sears Tower Reaches for Heights of Efficiency With $350 Million Retrofit

from Green Options by Leslie Berliant

sears towerThe Sears Tower loomed large during my childhood in the Chicago suburbs. I remember when it opened in 1973. We took a special trip downtown to see it. According to my aesthetics as a seven year old, it wasn’t very elegant and I preferred the John Hancock Tower with its swanky restaurant on the 95th floor and proximity to Marshall Fields. Then the company my dad worked for was bought by Coldwell Banker, a subsidiary of Sears at the time, and his office was moved to the Tower. I spent some quality daddy-daughter time there, and one memorable summer got paid the incredibly generous sum of $8 an hour to take the train to the city every day, do some filing and hang out downtown.

But the Tower, in my mind, never had much to distinguish it other than a great view from the 103rd floor, its height of 110 stories and the convenience of the train station. But now everything is changing.

By the end of the summer, it will no longer be the Sears Tower. It will be called the Willis Tower, named for the global insurance broker. But more importantly, the building will undergo a $350 million efficiency and renewable energy retrofit that will reduce the base building electricity use by up to 80 percent – 68 million kilowatt hours annually or 150,000 barrels of oil every year. The retrofit will also create more than 3,600 jobs in the Chicago area.

Read more of this story »

a- asterisk: ‘shanghai 2035’ concept design


‘shanghai 2035’ by a – asterik
all images courtesy a – asterik

‘shanghai 2035’ was developed by japanese firm a- asterik is a concept design for
the future of shanghai city.

in 2009, the population of shanghai increased to 24.5 million. the city today has
a rare situation that can not be seen in any other countries. their population is raised
by the pace of 3 billion every year causing an aging society  and a divide between
the rich and the poor, yet building construction is growing at a rapid rate.


estimated population increase by 2035


skyscrapers in shanghai

after the olympic games in 2008 an urban renewal planning project was established.

shanghai 2035 aims to enhance the city’s appeal and improve city life for the future.
the project features two elements an ‘air’ city and ‘ground’ city that will prevent the
loss of green and the land. the network will promote the correlation between the life
in the air level and the grand level.

making the most of the tall buildings and extending the verticality and the availability
of publicized facilities to 300m up in the air. while  preserving the current buildings
and historical buildings, the new city layers will function not only as the infrastructure
of the air level and the ground level, but also the high quality network refined by the
object and the operation of the city.


vertical plan of shanghai 2035


air level of ‘shanghai’ 2035


aerial view of ‘shanghai 2035’ concept design


aerial view of ‘shanghai 2035’ concept design


aerial view of ‘shanghai 2035’ concept design


aerial view of ‘shanghai 2035’ concept design


‘shanghai 2035’ positioned over the city’s skyscrapers

credits:
project name: shanghai 2035
location: shanghai china
principle use: urban concept
site area: 6 340km2
design: a – asterisk (nobuhiro nakamura)
collaboration with: ouvi inc (shin yokoo)
design period: oct 2008 – jun 2009
photographer: shuhei kaihara
perspective: gao dayong

The WWF living planet index for freshwater

from Random graphic of the day: UNEP/GRID-Arendal Maps and Graphics Library by UNEP/GRID-Arendal <mapmaster@grida.no>
The WWF living planet index for freshwater‘The over-exploitation and mismanagement of fisheries, particularly when combined with other man-made stresses, can lead to the collapse of regional fish faunas. In many countries, aquaculture is rapidly increasing in response to declining natural fisheries, often exacerbating the degradation of inland and coastal ecosystems through habitat alteration, pollution and the introduction of alien species’ (Revenga et al., 1998). The Freshwater Species Population Index measures the average change over time in the populations of some 194 species of freshwater birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and fish. Between 1970 and 1999, the Freshwater Species Population Index fell by nearly 50%, which is a very rapid decline in population indices. The harvest of freshwater fish is likely to increase either through capture fisheries or aquaculture (otherwise known as ’fish-farming’). In many developing countries, freshwater fish provide a significant contribution to the diets of local communities. In Africa and Asia, fish provide 21% and 28% of all animal protein, respectively (Revenga et al., 1998). The figures are more significant in landlocked countries, where data on the fish caught are often not formally recorded, and their importance is not fully known. In 1999, reported fish production from inland waters totalled 28 million tonnes, with contributions of 8.2 million and 19.8 million tonnes from capture fisheries and aquaculture, respectively. With major under-reporting from subsistence fisheries, these figures could be twice as high (FAO, 2000). ‘The introduction of the non-native Nile Perch to Africa’s Lake Victoria in 1954, combined with pollution loading and increased water turbidity resulting from agriculture and industrial development, has greatly reduced indigenous fish populations. Kenya, for example, reported only 0.5% of its commercial fish catch as Nile Perch in 1976. Five years later, the proportion was 68%. Lake Victoria, the second largest lake in the world, has lost an estimated 200 different endemic cichlid species found nowhere else, while the remaining 150 are endangered. Two-thirds of the freshwater species introduced into the tropics worldwide have become established’ (Revenga et al., 1998)

BIG: Tallinn’s New City Hall

from AMNP

big-tallinn-town-hall-7.jpg

The Bjarke Ingels Group has won an international competition to design Tallinn’s [Estonia] new city hall on a 35,000 square meter plot near the Linnahall building. The new design presents a cluster of volumes, housing different administrative offices and interconnecting to form atrium and/or courtyard spaces that would seem to connect to more public plazas surrounding the structure.

Bjarke Ingels, BIG, Partner-in-Charge:

There is a saying that success has many fathers. That is especially true when designing such a crucial public building and public space as a town hall. The design needs to be shaped by input from neighbours  and users, citizens and politicians. Paradoxically we architects often find ourselves isolated from this crucial dialogue at the moment of conception, due to the anonymity of the architectural competition. Since this was a 2 stage competition, we already had our first feedback from the jury – causing us to dramatically rearrange our design to fit the citizens’ needs. As a result we have envisioned a very elastic structure – capable of adapting to unexpected demands. We see it as the first conversation in a design dialogue we look forward to continue.

big-tallinn-town-hall-1.jpg

The design emphasizes openness, and connections with the surrounding city. Located within the tower/spire shown, the city council looks out onto the city and outdoor public spaces – while at the same time, those outside can get a glimpse at the inner workings or the city’s government. To give those inside, and out, a better/more interesting view, the ceiling of the tower is to be tiled with a reflective surface – creating a kind of ‘periscope’ effect. This gives the city council a reflection of the city overhead – maybe a constant reminder of who/what they’re working for – and possibly gives the average citizen the ability to look in on meetings as they’re taking place, as if looking over the shoulders of their representatives.

big-tallinn-town-hall-2.jpg

The periscope is a form of democratic tower, where even the average Tallinn citizen on the street gets to enjoy the overview from the top. From a distance the silhouette of the town hall tower enters the family of Tallinn’s historical spires including those of the Niguliste Museum-Concert Hall, Toomkirik, Kaarli Kirik, Pühavaimu Kirik, St. Olav Church and the current town hall.

big-tallinn-town-hall-3.jpg

big-tallinn-town-hall-4.jpg

::images + quoted text courtesy of the Bjarke Ingels Group::

China Heating Up Global Competition for Solar

from Green Options by Jennifer Kho

There’s no question that China is a force to be reckoned with in the solar industry. The country is the largest silicon-based solar-cell producer in the world, with Chinese and Taiwanese production accounting for 39 percent of global production last year, compared with 28 percent from Europe, according to a report the Worldwatch Institute released last week.

But while China had long been considered a potential game-changer in solar, companies’ growth had previously been slowed by a silicon shortage that hit newcomers more dramatically than incumbents. Even so, Chinese manufacturers overtook German and Japanese companies in 2007. Now that plenty of silicon is available, could the country’s dominance grow even larger? Or will some Chinese manufacturers struggle to differentiate themselves and suffer more than the rest of the market during an oversupply of panels?

Read more of this story »

Water and Energy – A Crisis and An Opportunity

from Green Options by Paul O’Callaghan

This post was written by Paul O’Callaghan, founding CEO of the Clean Tech consultancy, O2 Environmental Inc. and lecturer on Sustainable Energy at the BC Institute of Technology.

inside renewable energy podcastAny plan to switch from gasoline to electricity or biofuels is a strategic decision to switch our dependence from foreign oil to domestic water’.

So says Dr. Michael Webber of the University of Texas at Austin in an interview with Steven Lacey on the Inside Renewable Energy Podcast this week.

Webber comments on the links between water and energy, the potential conflicts, but also about the potential opportunities which arise when you start to understand these links and realize that saving water saves energy, and saving energy saves water.

Read more of this story »

The Opening of the Northwest Passage is Happening Today, not in 10 years!

from Green Options by Amiel Blajchman

Last week’s confirmation of climate change by the White House has only further raised the stakes for the Arctic. As detailed in formerposts, one of the significant effects of our changing climate is the thinning of the ice pack in the Arctic, and the subsequent opening of the Northwest Passage. As the Northwest Passage opens, so too will we see an upsurge in the demand for shipping and the rush to access oil, gas, and mineral resources. [More…]

Significantly for observers, commercial fleets are beginning to view the Northwest Passage as a viable option for getting from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

“The ice is more favourable than in past decades,” said Capt. Georges Tousignant of Nunavut Eastern Arctic Shipping, “It’s navigable, it’s not that high-risk.”

And it’s not just Nunavut Eastern Arctic Shipping that is interested in navigating the Northwest Passage, the Canadian Coast Guard has seen an increase in the number of ships that entered the Northwest Passage. The longer that good shipping conditions continue, the more companies that will view the Passage as a viable transit route.

Unfortunately for the polar bears and infrastructure built reliant on permanent ice in the north, the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center reported that ice melt rates have increased. In May of 2009, ice melted at a rate of about 54,000 square kilometers per day throughout the Arctic. Average May ice melt has traditionally been closer to 47,000 kilometers per day.

The implications of all this ice melt is that similar to the long-term melting of permafrost, there will be less of the dangerous multi-year ice that impedes shipping every year. And therefore every year there will be increased shipping, and increasing attention to the viability of the Northwest Passage.

With increasing attention being paid to the Northwest Passage, watch for its status under international law to become a point of contention along with other northern concerns such sovereignty and related territorial claims.

Image: ashatsea (Creative Commons)

menis arquitectos: jordanek music hall

spanish architecture studio menis arquitectos won the competition for the jordanek music hall in torun,
poland. the city is embarking on the project in an effort to win the bid to become the european capital for
culture 2016. the new music hall aims to bring a world-class venue to the UNESCO protected old town in
torun. the building site’s on a large plot, most of which will be used for park space. to keep the building
unimposing, the architects kept it as low as possible. brick will be used on the interior to recall the brick
facades of the historic buildings nearby and the exterior will be a light concrete that is intentionally cracked
to reveal the red brick inside. fernando menis designed the interior space to be very flexible, modelling it
after the polish dish zurek (a soup served in a hollowed out bread bowl). 2 halls dominate the space,
a smaller one seating 1000 and the main one, which seats 3000. however these two halls are parallel and
can be combined for big performances. the music hall is set for completion in 2012

Green timber scheme ‘discriminatory’ – Architecture and Design

Green timber scheme ‘discriminatory’
Architecture and Design
The new scheme is part of the GBCA’s ongoing review of the Green Star environmental rating tools for buildings. The framework was developed in consultation 

and more »


Human Health Endangered by Australian Drought

from Green Options by Susan Kraemer

Due to climate change; one of the now dried up lakes in Australia is gradually turning into Sulphuric Acid.
murrayriverdrought
The Age is reporting that there are fears people living in towns around the lakes may suffer from acid dust, blowing off the bare lakes as rising acidity threatens to wipe out ecology in the lakes. The lake-bed soils turn into sulphuric acid when exposed to the air, and record low flows down the Murray are exposing the beds.

Read more of this story »

World’s largest solar array planned for the Sahara Desert

from DVICE by AdamFrucci
World's largest solar array planned for the Sahara DesertThe Sahara Desert gets a lot of sun. In fact, it gets so much that if a mere 0.3% of its area was used for a solar plant, it could power all of Europe. So it only makes sense that 20 German companies are looking into doing just that.

The plan would be to scatter solar collectors all across northern Africa in politically stable countries rather than putting them all in one spot. It’ll take years to build everything as well as $555 billion in funds, but in the long run it’ll be well worth it.

Next100 via Inhabitat

Chinese projects focus on the economics of heat recovery – Engineer Live

Chinese projects focus on the economics of heat recovery
Engineer Live, UK
To achieve that, and depending on the precise brief, in-house teams run emissions assessments, source and manage carbon portfolios, and design staff/customer engagement programmes. To meet net zero carbondioxide reductions, carbon offsetting is part 

moho architects: mixed use tower in san jose de costa rica


mixed used tower, san jose costa rica
image courtesy moho architects

rising above the skyline of san jose in costa rica, this mixed use tower by spanish firm
moho architects will be a new landmark, providing crucial amenities for the city, sheltered
from the local climate. the concept is driven by a progressive environmental strategy that
is expected to establish new benchmarks for the region.

the building offers an ideal model of sustainable urban living by reducing reliance on
transport and balancing energy consumption between its mixed-use program of day
and night time activities. program include  mixed commercial and retail spaces together
with a business centre, offices, conference rooms, hotel floors and casino. the tower rises
25 floors consisting of a viewing platform and restaurant providing panoramic views
over the city.

the tower splits and creases independently as it rises into the sky. this ‘head split’ configuration,
permits natural lighting, while sky courts filled with vegetation punctuate at intervals the tower
and mitigate the hot climate.

the development will take advantage of a number of sustainable energy strategies and key
to the energy performance of the building are its wooden brise-soleil facades, designed to
filter solar gain and to encourage daylight to permeate the complex.  the tower is intended to
be a paradigm for passive environmental control, providing an alternative to the more conventional models
of sealed and air-conditioned glass stumps. the layered facade cuts air-conditioning load
and the plan encourages daylight, reducing the need for artificial lighting.

the project is currently in the schematic design phase and is expected to be completed in 2012.


mixed used tower
image courtesy moho architects


mixed used tower
image courtesy moho architects


mixed used tower
image courtesy moho architects

Two Thirds of Americans Would Refuse to Give Up iPod – Even if it Ruined Environment

from Green Options by Andrew Williams

An astonishing new survey has revealed that more than 60% of Americans would refuse to stop using their iPods, even if they knew it was seriously damaging the environment.

The survey, which quizzed more than 1,000 people across the US, found that, whilst the majority of Americans are making efforts to buy greener products, most wouldn’t do so if it meant compromising on convenience or comfort.

Read more of this story »

Reforestation, town of Galma and surroundings, Niger 1975 and 2003

from Random graphic of the day: UNEP/GRID-Arendal Maps and Graphics Library by UNEP/GRID-Arendal <mapmaster@grida.no>
Reforestation, town of Galma and surroundings, Niger 1975 and 2003In 1970s and 1980s – years of environmental crisis, there were few trees remaining in Niger. Wind-blown sands razed farmers’ young crops and they often had to plant crops three times to succeed. Since the middle of the 1980s in the most densely populated parts of Niger farmers have begun to protect and manage young trees and bushes regenerating on their cultivated fields. This is natural farmer-managed forest regeneration. Some trees fix nitrogen from the air on their root system, which helps to maintain and improve soil fertility. Improved soil fertility leads to higher crop yields. The trees and bushes protect crops against wind and sand and farmers now often need to sow only once, which increases the length of the growing season. Women are perhaps the biggest winners. They spend much less time now on the collection of firewood than they did 20 years ago – about 0.5 hours/day now instead of 2.5 hours/day in 1984. They also now own 80% of the goats and sheep, which provides them with income. Fodder is much less of a problem now than 20 years ago as the trees produce seedpods and leaves, which are a major source of fodder in the dry season. The most important incentive for tree regeneration by farmers was a change in perception of ownership of the trees. In 1985 the perception was that trees were owned by the State, but farmers now perceive an exclusive right to their on-farm trees. Farmer-led tree regeneration has happened on at least 5 million hectares – once barren, sandy soils almost devoid of vegetation now has 20, 40 or more trees/ha. This is a spectacular scale, unique for the Sahel and probably even unique for Africa. It is not spread evenly. It is strongest in the regions with higher population densities.

Fire Evacuation Fail

fail owned pwned pictures

Submitted by: dunno source via FAIL Uploader

GM Builds the First Chevrolet Volt

from Wired: Autopia by Chuck Squatriglia

chevrolet_volt

General Motors started building the first pre-production Chevrolet Volt electric vehicles today. The significant milestone marks the first time engineers are assembling a vehicle that looks like the car slated to start rolling off an assembly line next year.

These cars, known as integration vehicles, are key to the Volt’s development because they are used to refine things like driving dynamics. They also get shaken down and beaten up to ensure the range-extended EV is road-ready. So far all we’ve seen are prototypes and test mules based on the Malibu and Cruze like the one we drove last month. The cars GM started building today at its technical center outside Detroit are the real deal.

“The purpose for the integration vehicle builds is two-fold,” GM spokesman Rob Peterson told Wired.com. “First, they validate our production design, vehicle safety and performance capabilities. Just as important, the build activity provides valuable insight into the final vehicle assembly process to ensure a high-level of build quality and manufacturing efficiency when production begins in November 2010.”

Engineers will assemble the first of the integration vehicles by hand, a process that will take about two weeks. Production will ramp up to a rate of 10 a week by mid-July, and Peterson says GM plans to have 80 cars on the road by fall. Early next year, GM will begin building “several hundred” more pre-production vehicles at the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant that will produce the Volt we’ll see in showrooms by the end of 2010.

Photo: General Motors

NYC Giving Times Square to Pedestrians

from Green Options by Becky Striepe

New York City barricaded Broadway around Times and Herald Squares on Sunday night, turning stretches of Broadway into pedestrian plazas.


[Times Square Billboards. Creative Commons photo by Matt Mendoza]

With pedestrian traffic in Times Square up over 200% from 1980, the area was as riddled with people jams as it was with traffic jams. City officials think that re-routing auto traffic to Sixth and Seventh Avenues will open the area up, ease air pollution, and help businesses.

Read more of this story »

Vacant Auto Dealers Present A Great Opportunity

from Wired: Autopia by Tony Borroz

closed_dealership

With General Motors shuttering umpteen dealerships and Chrysler shutting umpteen more, we’re about to see a lot of idle real estate out there. Parcels of land with big, expansive buildings and acres of asphalt will be up for grabs.

It raises an interesting question. Namely, what should we do with that land?

We’re talking about vast expanses of real estate. Check out the Google Map The New York Times put togetherand you’ll see what we mean. The folks over at Planetizen wondered what should be done with it all and came up with five ideas:

  • Ask the locals what the community needs.
  • Create urban gardens.
  • Establish “walkable, vibrant places and improve current communities.”
  • Use the land to host farmers’ markets and local events.
  • Build solar and wind energy parks and electric vehicle charging stations.

Those are all nifty ideas. But we know our fearless readers here at Autopia can do better. What would you do with that land? Build an indoor electric go-kart track? Set up an EV dealership to cash in on the coming craze? Establish re-education camps for sub-prime mortgage lenders? Or maybe you’d follow one of Planetizen’s ideas. Let us know.

Use the Reddit Widget below to let us know what to do with all this soon-to-be-vacant real estate and garage space.

Photo: Flickr / thomas.merton

Raise Your BPA Level 60 Percent!

from Green Options by Cate Nelson

For the first time, a study proved that using polycarbonate plastic increases your blood levels of bisphenol-A. And not just a little bit, either. After a week of using these materials for beverages, study participants had a 60 percent increase in the level of BPA in their blood.

Bisphenol-A has been linked to early onset of pubertylow sperm count and infertility, and its carcinogenic effects may include breast cancer. It has also been linked to heart disease and diabetes. You’ve heard all of this, I’m sure.

But how ’bout this? Bisphenol-A was first developed as a synthetic hormone. It’s an endocrine disruptor. It affects our children. It affects our adults. And the FDA still refuses to require removal from food contact materials?!

Read more of this story »

GreenGT’s 400-hp Electric Racer Ready For Le Mans

from Green Options by Jerry James Stone

The GreenGT was designed specifically for kicking butt at the 24 hours of Le Mans.

With 400 hp and a top speed of 171 mph, the electric race car concept pushes 1,475 lb-ft of torque up to 100 mph then drops it to 590 lb-ft for high-speed traction. All this and it’s powered by two 30kW lithium-ion batteries charged by flexcell photovoltaic solar panels.

Read more of this story »

Autodesk helps cities track their carbon emissions

from Green Options by Reenita Malhotra

Last week, at the C40 Large Cities Climate Summit in Seoul, Autodesk, Inc., a world leader in 2D and 3D design and engineering software, announced that it will collaborate with the Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI) and the Microsoft Corporation, to provide visualization technology for Project Two Degrees. Project Two Degrees is an Internet-based application that provides cities with a set of tools to measure, compare, and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions at a local level.

Autodesk joins forces with the Clinton Foundation to build sustainable cities

Autodesk will provide the technology, initially based on Autodesk MapGuide Enterprise, that will act as the model-based visualization environment used to view, evaluate and compare the results of analysis and monitoring in the C40 city. Autodesk MapGuide Enterprise software is a powerful mapping solution for delivering information more quickly, easily, and cost-effectively via the web.

Green Building Elements had a chance to speak with Brett Smith of Autodesk and Olivia Ross of the Clinton Foundation.  Here is what they had to say.

GBE: How does the software track emissions?

Brett Smith (Autodesk): The Project 2° Emissions Tracker is designed to measure as many municipal and corporate activities as possible. Users enter data on emission producing activities such as fuel and electricity consumption, vehicle traffic, waste production, industrial processes and air and sea vessel fuel use. The software then converts the data into greenhouse gases, including tons of CO2 equivalent, taking into consideration the source and type of activity.

Read more of this story »

Digging for New Material: Bioplastics are Growing Into the Green Economy

from Green Options by Jeffrey Berlin

As the Economist wages the largest debate about bio-fuels in memory, another market opportunity appears to be showing itself in the bio production space as well. Bio plastics have been sprouting up in various applications, but a recent study puts the total market of green packaging at $43.9Billion by 2013. The highest growth gains in this market will be in bio plastics for reasons of price stability and increased capacity the report said. Bio plastics will, it is reported, preform at an annual growth rate of thirteen percent. This spells big news for an industry which currently holds only about .1% percent market share.

Part of the reason for this growth will be due to policy changes which restrict the use of some of the most environmentally damaging materials, but the largest effect seems to be coming from packaging producers themselves. Corporate social responsibility leader Coca Cola has developed a new bottle which is composed of around thirty percent bio plastics with the intended goal of developing a one hundred percent renewable option in the future. Likewise, Wal-Mart has begun sourcing toys and children’s goods made from bio plastics.

The draw is that decomposition coupled with less petroleum based material seems to be better environmentally, but some counter this analysis. According to the Guardian Newspaper, foods producers in the UK such as Innocent Drinks have chosen to stop using bio plastics due to lack of recycling options for the products at present. Likewise there have been claims that bio plastics can be environmentally damaging on par with their petroleum based counterparts. Recent innovations have made it so less energy is needed to create bio plastics and thus it seems the growth of the sector makes environmental sense. Followers of Bill McDonough’s cradle to cradle concept often tout the re-usability and closed-loop life cycle of these products, while others derided their historically slow decomposition rates.  Some applications in the burgeoning bio plastics space are:

Read more of this story »

DOUBLEXPOSURE Photographers Exhibit Impacts of Climate Change

from Green Options by Adam Williams

Photographers have long held a useful key to effecting change.

Think of Ansel Adams and his influence on early 20th Century government leaders in the United States; he helped demonstrate the value of nature and the need for national parks.

Think of the Farm Security Administration photography effort of the 1930s, led by Roy Stryker (photographers included: Dorothea LangeWalker EvansGordon Parks).

Now, think of DOUBLEXPOSURE, and the work of two photographers who are pairing work that “brings the viewer into panoramas of glaciers once grand but now receding. The compelling comparisons put into stark view the fact of melting glaciers.”

Read more of this story »

Light Bulb Condom

from AMNP

eurocondom_3.jpg

I’m sure that many of you saw this earlier this month – but the “Euro Condom”, designed by Ingo Maurer, was just brought to my attention this morning and I HAD to pot it on AMNP. Long story short: new European guidelines have banned frosted incandescent bulbs, because the frosted bulbs give off less light [which is absurd]. In response, designer Ingo Maurer has developed the “Euro Condom”, an opaque silicon “condom” that you stretch over a clear incandescent bulb to give it the frosted effect.

The Euro Condom consists of a thin, heat-resistant silicone cover that turns a clear bulb into a frosted one. Frosted bulbs will be banned by the new EU guideline on light sources beginning September 2009, because they are said give off less light than clear bulbs.

But according to the specifications of various manufacturers the difference, measured in lumens, is negligible or not existing. – Protect yourself from stupid rules, use the Euro Condom!

euro_condom_ingo.jpg

My ninjas, PLEASE! This is definitely a story that should make you smile – and brighten up your day if you’re here in the rainy North-East. I mean – there’s even an illustrated step-by-step condom-like set of instructions….brilliant.

.:Euro Condom by Ingo Maurer -> via Dezeen

Hawaiian Garbage-to-Energy Plant Recycles Derelict Fishing Nets for Electricity

from Green Options by Tina Casey

Fishing Nets Like These are Being Recovered to Make Electricity in Hawaii

Now that Oprah has turned her spotlight on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, that great mass of garbage floating in the ocean has finally caught the public eye.  An upcoming ocean garbage expedition to the patch, dubbed Project Kaisei, should draw even more attention when it launches this summer.  Project Kaisei’s aim is to explore the feasibility of collecting and recycling the garbage patch, which mainly consists of plastics, into diesel fuel.  How feasible is it?  A modest derelict fishing net recycling program in Hawaii provides some tantalizing clues.

Read more of this story »

London Yields: Urban Agriculture

from BLDGBLOG by Geoff Manaugh
[Image: The King’s Vineyard, London, by Soonil Kim, one of many projects featured in London Yields: Urban Agriculture].

One of the many benefits of being in London this week is that I get to stop by the Building Centre, one of my favorite urban galleries and architectural exhibition spaces, to check out their new show London Yields: Urban Agriculture.
While imagining what it might be like to eat extremely local food, grown right there in your city – a line of 96th Street Honey, for instance, or, in light of Times Square’s recent (but unfortunately temporary) pedestrianization, perhaps a Times Square Tomato (why not agriculturalize parts of Times Square?) – we also need to ask how we might make such a vision come true.
How can a city like London be at least partially turned over to food production – so that London Fields might produce southeast England’s newest yields of meat, fruit, and vegetables?
I have to admit that urban agri-utopianism is easily one of the most seductive visions of the 21st century city that I’ve yet seen – from farming new medicinal plants on the rooftops of schools to hybridizing sci-fi flowers on vast and heavily perfumed highway-farms stretching across one borough to another – and it’s hard not to get excited when thinking about such things.

Another Argument Against Ethanol

from Wired: Autopia by Chuck Squatriglia

corn_field

The ethanol industry is pushing the Environmental Protection Agency to increase from 10 percent to 15 percent the amount of ethanol that is blended into gasoline, saying it will boost demand, create jobs and foster development of cellulosic fuels.

BusinessWeek argues otherwise in a column by Ed Wallace, who calls ethanol a scam that should be abandoned. He argues the ethanol industry is “quickly failing” and says, “Don’t let anybody mislead you: The new push to get a 15 percent ethanol mandate out of Washington is simply to restore profitability to a failed industry.”

The Renewable Fuels Association has said the success of corn-based ethanol will hasten the development of cellulosic ethanol. “In order to have a second generation of ethanol fuel,” it argues, “you have to have a first-generation.” Wallace flatly accuses the ethanol industry of lying to make its case and lays out a laundry list of reasons why ethanol is a dead-end that Washington must stop traveling.

The industry says Wallace is wrong on every count and offers a point-by-point rebuttal.

Wallace offers the following reasons why ethanol isn’t worth pursuing:

  • Using ethanol creates more smog than regular gasoline, a point he says the EPA conceded in 1995.
  • Independent studies show ethanol is a net energy loser, though some research suggests there is a small gain.
  • Fuels blended with ethanol reduce fuel efficiency 30 to 40 percent.
  • Aside from the food-for-fuel debate, “the science seems to suggest that using ethanol increases global warming emissions over the use of straight gasoline.”
  • Ethanol-laced gasoline “is already destroying engines across the country in ever larger numbers.”

Wallace, who also is a columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, spoke to several mechanics in suburban Fort Worth who said they’re seeing more cars with fuel pumps, intakes and other components damaged by ethanol-blended gasoline.

“Not one mechanic I’ve spoken to said they would be comfortable with a 15 percent blend of ethanol in their personal car,” he writes. “However, most suggest that if the government moves the ethanol mandate to 15 percent, it will be the dawn of a new golden age for auto mechanics’ income.”

Growth Energy, an ethanol industry trade group, takes issue with every point.

“In his column, Mr. Wallace fails in his journalistic duty to provide readers with the facts,” the organization writes. “He relies on anecdotal evidence in support of his erroneous claims while completely ignoring the large body of scientific literature that supports the use of higher blends of ethanol in vehicles.”

It offers the following rebuttal:

  • Evidence suggests increased use of ethanol brought a 5 percent decrease in ground-level ozone between 2001 and 2007.
  • Every gallon of ethanol produced delivers one-third or more energy than is used to produce it.
  • “Study after study” has shown ethanol has minimal impact on food prices, and rising food prices are the result of rising energy costs. As for the issue of global warming emissions, Growth Energy says a study in the Journal of Industrial Ecology states “the ethanol industry currently is producing a fuel that is as much as 59 percent lower in direct-effect lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions than gasoline.”
  • The push to increase the amount of ethanol blended with gasoline is needed because the industry is producing more ethanol than can be used under current government regulations. The current limit is “arbitrary” and “threatnes to block research and development into cellulosic and future generations of biofuels.”

You can read Wallace’s column here and Growth Energy’s full rebuttal here. The EPA has extended the public comment period for the proposal to increase the amount of ethanol blended with gasoline. More information about that is available here.

POST UPDATED 7:15 p.m. Eastern time May 26 to include additional information from Growth Energy.

POST UPDATED 1 p.m. Eastern time May 27: Ed Wallace dropped us a line to say he stands by his column and takes issue with some of Growth Energy’s points. He says the 5 percent reduction in smog can be attributed to the replacement of old vehicles with newer, cleaner models. About 5 percent of the nation’s fleet isturned over annually, he says. He also says a Congressional Budget Office report released last month shows ethanol production increased the price of food by 10 to 15 percent. He’s written a follow-up column; you can find it here.

POST UPDATED 1:15 p.m. Eastern time May 27: The Environmental Working Group, a health and environmental research and policy organization, just sent us an email challenging Growth Energy’s claims. In a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, the organization makes many of the same claims Wallace does and says Growth Energy makes “numerous fundamental errors of fact and interpretation, both in its arguments advocating for ethanol increases and in its supporting data.” You can read the letter here.

Photo: Flickr / tlindenbaum


Burj Dubai cranes to be down by August

Burj Dubai cranes to be down by August May 25, Dubai

The cranes atop the Burj Dubai will be dismantled by August 2009, according to a senior Emaar executive.”The project is expected to open by the end of the year,” said Greg Sang, Project Director at Emaar Properties. “But we are still looking at all of the programming elements. After lowering all the cranes in August, we still have to finish all the fitouts, As of now, the basic core and shell is all finished in Burj Dubai. But every floor is at a different stage of being completed.”…more

Integrated sustainability design

Integrated sustainability design May 25, South Africa

Zonk’izizwe (meaning ‘all nations’) Town Center transforms one of the last remaining vacant sites in its location, into a one-of-a-kind mixed-use destination. Situated midway between Johannesburg (the economic hub of Africa) and Pretoria (the capital of South Africa), it will be developed as a new town centre, connecting these two populous and fast- growing cities…more

Mumbai to Join Asia Mega-City Club with 100 Storey Skyscraper

Mumbai to Join Asia Mega-City Club with 100 Storey Skyscraper May 26, Mumbai

The Metropolitan Region Development Authority in Mumbai is taking bids on an iconic 100-plus-story building in the city’s Wadala district. The tender calls for an interstate bus terminal and tower to be built on 35 hectares of land. Pre-qualifications for tenders have been asked for submission by July 2. Only construction companies with an annual turnover of US$600million will be accepted, while shortlisted firms who meet this criterion will then be asked to submit their bids…more

Dubai Tall Emblem Structure

Dubai Tall Emblem Structure May 26, Dubai

Cesar Bobonis-Zequeira, Ivan Perez-Rossello and Teresita del Valle designed ‘Utopia One’ for the Dubai tall emblem structure competition in Zaabeel park.The tower and its elements are composed of materials that resemble a smooth sculptural piece that are integrated into the park. The base behaves as a single unit housing the programmed spaces, entry areas and existing walkways. Form creates a courtyard intended for gatherings and general leisure…more

Early Exposure to Gas Appliances May Increase Risk of ADHD

from Green Options by Derek Markham

Preschoolers exposed to pollutants from gas-powered appliances are more likely to exhibit attention and cognitive disorders, according to a new study from Spain.

The study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, found that early childhood exposure to indoor air pollution, specifically NO2 (nitrogen dioxide), led to lower scores on cognitive tests and was found to affect the child’s ability to pay attention.

Read more of this story »

2009 RIBA Award Winners Announced

from Bustler.net News by Vanilla Hustler

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) recently announced the winners of the 2009 RIBA Awards. RIBA Awards for architectural excellence have been presented across the country with 103 buildings in the UK and Europe winning awards (97 in the UK and six in the rest of the EU).

The RIBA Award-winning buildings range from an Observatory at Kielder in Northumberland to the Liverpool One regeneration and retail master plan, from a private house at Dungeness to Wexford Opera House in South East Ireland. Health centers, notably for Cancer, are well represented here as are retail buildings in their many forms, including John Lewis in Leicester and the Reiss and Monsoon headquarters in London. Seaside buildings and regeneration projects also feature in various guises. The architects whose work has been honored this year range from small practices to large, international ones. There are also some multiple winners such as Allies and Morrison (4 awards), Hawkins/Brown (3 awards), BDP (3 awards), Niall Mclaughlin Architects (4 awards) and Penoyre & Prasad (3 awards).

RIBA President Sunand Prasad said about the 2009 RIBA Award winners: “The RIBA Awards are a thermometer to indicate the state of health of British architecture and for 2009 the results are good: both quality and quantity have been maintained. This year’s list accurately reflects both the diversity, and the workload of UK architecture, with more schools and health buildings than usual winning awards.  It is particularly heartening to see more schemes that are about regenerating our cities, towns and countryside.  These awards, which are judged on a regional basis, reflect and reward the good things that are going on all across the UK, and they also form the basis of what promises to be another interesting year for the RIBA Stirling Prize.”

The 97 UK buildings that have won an RIBA Award are:

Scotland:

Beatson Institute New Cancer Research Facility
Reiach & Hall Architects

Drummond House – The Shed
LJRH Architects

Moore Street Housing
Richard Murphy, Elder & Cannon, JM, Page/Park

image

Moore Street Housing

North Glasgow College
RMJM

Pollock Civic Realm
Archial Architects Ltd

The Potterrow Development
Bennetts Associates

The Printworks
Cameron Webster Architects

Northern Ireland:
Fallahogey House
McGarry-Moon Architects Ltd

The Knockbreda Centre
Penoyre & Prasad/TODD Architects

Cardinal Hume Catholic School
GWK Architects

North East:

Gateshead Heritage at St Mary’s
Design Service, Gateshead Council

Kielder Observatory
Charles Barclay Architects

The Place
Reid Jubb Brown Architecture

Saltholme Wildlife Reserve and Discovery Park
JDDK Ltd

The Tyneside Cinema
Fletcher Priest Architects

Work Space
Malcolm Fraser Architects Ltd

North West:

13b Paradise Street, Liverpool ONE
Allies and Morrison

image

13b Paradise Street, Liverpool ONE

BDP Manchester Studio
BDP

image

BDP Manchester Studio

Liverpoool One Masterplan
BDP

Midland Hotel
Union North

Paradise Street Bridge
Wilkinson Eyre Architects

The Schaefer House
MBLA Architects & Urbanists

North:

Three Towers
Union North

Yorkshire:

1 North Bank
BDP

Castle Hill Hospital
HLM Architects

Castleford Bridge
McDowell & Benedetti

image

Castleford Bridge

Charles Street Car Park, Sheffield
Allies and Morrison

York St John University, De Grey Court
Rivington Street Studio

Wales:

Penderyn Distillery Visitor Centre
David Archer Architects

Ruthin Craft Centre
Sergison Bates architects

West Midlands:

Bournville Place
Stanton Williams

Joseph Chamberlain Sixth Form College
Nicholas Hare Architects LLP

The Pavilions
Ross Sharpe Architects Ltd

East Midlands:

82 Derngate
John McAslan & Partners

Curve
Rafael Vinoly Architects

image

Curve

David Wilson Library
Associated Architects LLP

Highfields Automotive and Engineering Training Centre – Public Space
Hawkins/Brown Architects

John Lewis Department Store & Cineplex
Foreign Office Architects (FOA)

image

John Lewis Department Store & Cineplex (check out the Archinect ShowCase feature on this project)

Level Centre
Clash Associates Ltd

The Minster School
Penoyre & Prasad LLP

New Art Exchange
Hawkins/Brown Architects

East:

Anglesey Abbey Visitor Centre
Cowper Griffiths Architects

Clay Field
Riches Hawley Mikhail Architects

image

Clay Field

Gillespie Centre
Van Heyningen and Haward

House at Piper’s End
Niall McLaughlin Architects

The Long Barn Studio
Nicolas Tye Architects

Moller Centre for Continuing Education & Churchill College Music Centre
DSDHA

Private House
dRMM

The Taylor Library
Wright & Wright Architects

South West:

Falmouth School and Design & Technology Building
Urban Salon Ltd

Pencalenick House
Seth Stein Architects Ltd

Scott Building
Nicholas Burwell Architects

image

Scott Building

Wessex:
Anchor Store, Bristol
Stanton Williams

image

Anchor Store, Bristol

The Apprentice Store
Threefold Architects

Merchants Academy
Penoyre & Prasad LLP

Meads Reach Bridge
Niall Mclaughlin Architects

South:

Burnham Copse Primary School
Hampshire County Council & Architecture & Design Services

Hind House
John Pardey Architects

image

Hind House

The Mountbatten Building, University of Southampton
Jestico+Whiles

New Biochemistry Department, University of Oxford
Hawkins\Brown Architects

Queen’s & Stanhope House
Rick Mather Architects

Westwell Manor Farm Stable Conversion
Munkenbeck+Marshall Urbanism Limited

South East:
Craddock Cottages Development
Stephen Taylor Architects

Deal Pier
Niall Mclaughlin Architects

Pond Meadow Special Needs School
DSDHA

Private House
Allies and Morrison

Private House
Simon Conder Associates

Quarterhouse
Alison Brooks Architects

Runnymede Civic Centre
Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios LLP

London:

5 Aldermanbury Square
Eric Parry Architects

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5 Aldermanbury Square

14 Lincoln’s Inn Fields
Julian Harrap Architects

100 VE, Unilever London Headquarters
Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates

Arts Council England: National Office
Caruso St John Architects

Block 3, Tarling Estate Regeneration
S333 Architecture + Urbanism Ltd

City of London Information Centre
Make Architects

Frame House
Flacq Architects Limited

Gap House
Pitman Tozer Architects

Garden Pavilion
Andrew Pilkington Architects & Designers

Hothouse
Ash Sakula Architects

House in Belsize Park
Eldridge Smerin

House in Highgate Cemetery
Eldridge Smerin

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House in Highgate Cemetery

Imperial College Central Library
A-EM Studio Ltd

Kentish Town Health Centre
Allford Hall Monaghan Morris

Kew Treetop Walkway
Marks Barfield Architects

Kings Cross Construction Skills Centre
David Morley Architects

Kings Place
Dixon Jones Ltd

Lumen URC and Community Centre
Theis and Khan Architects

Maggie’s Centre, London
Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners

New Street Square
Bennetts Associates

One Vine Street
Allies and Morrison

Reiss Headquarters
Squire and Partners

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Reiss Headquarters

St. Benedict’s School, Ealing
Buschow Henley

St Martin-in-the-Fields
Eric Parry Architects

St Mary Magdalene Academy
Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios

UCL Cancer Institute: Paul O’Gorman Building
Grimshaw

Urban Housing, Finsbury Park, London, UK
Sergison Bates Architects

The Yellow Building
Allford Hall Monaghan Morris
The six RIBA Award buildings in the European Union are:

Denmark:

Fuglsang Kunstmuseum, Lolland
Tony Fretton Architects

France:

Zenith, Saint-Etienne
Foster + Partners

Ireland:

Burren House, Dublin
Niall McLaughlin Architects

Wexford Opera House
Keith Williams Architects

The Netherlands:

Hoogvliet Heerlijkhied, Rotterdam
FAT

Spain:

Bodegas Protos
Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners

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Bodegas Protos

Images: RIBA

Skyscrapers Going Up For Sale Fall Far In Price, Amid Distress

Skyscrapers Going Up For Sale Fall Far In Price, Amid Distress May 21, New York

A 40-story skyscraper sits on a prime corner in the wealthiest U.S. commercial market, blocks from Rockefeller Center and Central Park. It recently sold for $100,000. The 1330 Avenue of the Americas building — which sold for close to $500 million three years ago — was auctioned in April 2009 for the minimum to a Canadian pension fund unit after owner Harry Macklowe defaulted on a $130 million loan…more

Madrid’s ‘Distrito C’ Self Shading Solar Office

Madrid’s ‘Distrito C’ Self Shading Solar Office May 21, Madrid

Distrito C is an ambitious project designed to consolidate 40,000 employees in Madrid from Spain’s largest company, Telefonica. The complex includes four phases of three buildings each, for a total of twelve structures. The design and materials for the buildings are identical so as to streamline the construction process and keep time and material waste to a minimum…more

Foster + Partners wins Stockholm Slussen masterplan competition

from Bustler.net News by Bustler

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Click above image to enlarge

Following up on our recent article announcing the finalists of the Slussen urban redesign competition, and news that Lord Norman Foster was awarded Prince of Asturias award, today it was announced that Foster + Partnershave been selected.  Images and text have been provided by the architects…

Foster + Partners and Berg Arkitektkontor, part of C.F. Møller Architects, have been appointed to design a masterplan for the heart of Stockholm, transforming the waterfront area of Slussen from an urban aberration to a popular destination. The proposal will bring new life to the area, linking the islands of Södermalm and Gamla Stan and stripping away the layers of history to reclaim a valuable city quarter.

Samoo Architecture PC co-Designs Winning Project, Taekwondo ‘One’, Design-Build Competition

from Bustler.net News by Bustler

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Samoo Architecture PC, with the project lead Samsung C & T Corporation and Samoo Architects & Engineers in Seoul, Korea, have been awarded first prize and the building/construction commission for the newTaekwondo Park World Headquarters in Muju, Korea.

Australia delays emissions plan

The Australian government says it will push back a planned carbon emissions trading scheme by a year until 2011.

Self-Mending Concrete Bends Like Rubber, Heals Like Flesh

It can be bent into a U-shape, “heals” cracks with nothing more than rainwater, and is strong enough to build bridges from. Is Victor Li’scomposite building material really even concrete anymore?

Wave Power Electricity from Swell Fuel Could Help Revive Coral Reefs

Swell Fuel ocean wave power device could help save coral reefs.

An unlikely savior may be coming to the rescue of the planet’s beleaguered coral reefs: Chris Olson, the founder and inventor of Swell Fuelwave powered electricity generators.  Olson has been building and testing small-scale floatable energy converters for a number of years, and they may prove ideal providers of the the low-voltage charge that seems to help coral reefs regenerate.

Read more of this story »

The Hills Have Eyes

[Image: An installation of work by photographer JR on the walls of a Rio favela].

“Undercover photographer” JR – who makes “photo galleries out of our streets” by exhibiting his work in public, as posters – has taken his exhibition strategy a step further. “What is at stake here,” he writes, referring to this change in tactic, “is the assessment of the possibilities of intervention in different environments.”
Amongst these environments are the favelas of Rio de Janeiro – however, here, these “possibilities of intervention” clearly include more opportunities for his work to gain greater exposure.

[Image: Work by JR in Rio].

I have a variety of reactions to this.
My first thought upon seeing these photos was actually that it was quite an interesting visual transformation of the favela. The realization that the Cubist surfaces of a mountain subcity might be transformed, through fragmentary glimpses of representational art – these shard-like pieces of larger works that only add up from certain angles, as if in parallax – seems to be a discovery worth taking further.
However, at least two problems open up here: are you visually transforming the ghetto so that those who live in the city below no longer have to look up and see themselves surrounded by blight? They will see, instead, a hot new contemporary artist on display?
Or could you visually augment the favela in a way that positively impacts both the self-image of, and the quality of life for, the people living there while not erasing the presence of that ghetto from the visual awareness of the central city dwellers? Perhaps there could even be something that looks, I might say, just as bad from the outside, but that nonetheless benefits the people living within.
So the question is: who is this art really for?
Because there’s actually a third player involved in all of this: the international art market, where these sorts of guerrilla exhibition strategies now increase one’s chances of canonization (and coverage on blogs).
Less critically, though, I’m also curious here about the use of representational art.
So often we’ve seen the walls of favelas repainted with primary colors and such like, in an attempt to beautify or, to be more sinister about it, visually correct an otherwise offensive built environment. However, using the faceted hillsides of a favela as a kind of gemlike canvas for representational art actually seems to open up more interesting possibilities.
Could you paint, or glue a poster of, all 200,000+ frames from a new film onto the surfaces of distant buildings? And treat the city as a kind of cinematic installation, a cubist filmography in which walking around is a form of experiential editing? You could live inside a fight scene, or in the closing credits.
Or perhaps you could hike to the top of Buena Vista Park here in San Francisco and look out toward the high-rises of downtown – and see a photograph, installed anamorphically across the rooftops of different buildings, only correctly visible from this precise location (but what if that photo… is a Coke ad?).
Perhaps the future of Cubism is not in some painter’s studio somewhere but in the ten million unexplored, minor surfaces of the city.
I’m reminded here of the (admittedly abstract) work of Felice Varini – and wondering what he might do, given a hillside with ten thousand surfaces all visible from multiple angles.
Finally, though, there are the eyes: in these images, you are being looked at in return. But who is meant to identify with this? Are these the eyes of the favela dwellers looking out upon a city they cannot access, as if to shame those more privileged residents? Or, as the poor wander home at night up steep streets, are these the eyes of the world looking down at them in judgmental scrutiny?
Again, though, there is a third class of people involved here. Perhaps these eyes aren’t looking at the favela at all, and they aren’t looking down at the city below.
They are looking out at the international art market, hoping for coverage in magazines and blogs, looking for their real, intended audience: the people who will see these photographs, at home, around the world. The city is merely their blank wall and host.

(Thanks to Adrian Giddings for the tip!)

Study Shows Camelina-Derived Renewable Jet Fuel Reduces Carbon Emissions 84%

Renewable fuels company Sustainable Oils shared the results of a life-cycle analysis of jet fuel created from proprietary Camelina seeds. According to the study, renewable jet-fuel made from Camelina reduces carbon emissions by 84% percent compared to the petroleum-based counterpart.

A team at Michigan Tech University based their research on Camelina grown in Montana and then processed into bio-jet fuel using “UOP hydroprocessing technology”. Next generation biofuels are true hydrocarbons and in the molecular aspect are indistinguishable from fossil fuels, which makes Camelina oil a good candidate to quickly reduce carbon emissions produced by aviation.

Read more of this story »

New for Green Buildings: City Parks in the Sky

New for Green Buildings: City Parks in the Sky May 5, San Francisco

The Shanghai Center, due to open in 2014, won’t just be the world’s second tallest building at 632 meters. It will also be a set of neighborhoods stacked on top of each other. The building will contain eight separate neighborhoods each 14 stories tall, says Dan Winey, managing principal for the Asia Pacific office of the architectural firm Gensler, which designed the building. These neighborhoods will contain retail outlets, office space and residences…more

Ken Yeang to design Shanghai eco-city in the sea

Ken Yeang to design Shanghai eco-city in the sea May 1, Shanghai

Architect Ken Yeang has been commissioned to design a 4,000-acre eco-city in the sea off the Shanghai coast. TR Hamzah and Yeang, the Malaysian sister company of Llewelyn Davies Yeang, is leading the design of the Shanghai Beach master plan for an unnamed Malaysian client. The scheme, which is to be sited on reclaimed tidal flats, aims to create a “green community”, with offices, housing, theme parks, visitor attractions and hotels…more

New Tamayo Museum: Rojkind + BIG

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Rojkind Arquitectos and BIG have teamed up to win a competition to design the New Tamayo Museum, to be built outside of Mexico City.

Sure, the project is a little bit weird in it’s crucifix-like plan / aerial view – but otherwise I’ really feelin’ it. Embedding simple volumes in the hillside like this, then cantilevering out over the slope makes for some pretty dramatic covered exterior spaces [they’ve actually used the gallery space, in the ‘box’, to shade the ‘public’ space below]. That, and I like that there’s no ’stepping’ with the hillside – that the project is instead jutting out and hanging, emphasizing it being a foreign object in the landscape. And the views from the roof look pretty sick, too. But hey – Rojkind Arquitectos and BIG? How could you expect anything but the dopeness?

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Some info from the designers:

Set upon a steep hillside in Atizapan on the outskirts of Mexico’s largest metropolis will soon sit the New Tamayo Museum which will serve as a nucleus of education and culture, locally, regionally, and internationally. Named after the Oaxacan born artist Rufino Tamayo (1899-1991) The very strong and symbolic shape of the cross is a direct interpretation of the client’s preliminary program studies that defined the museums optimal functionality.

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Michel Rojkind:

Understanding that contemporary art spaces pretend to be more important than the art they contain, our proposal arises from the scheme of requirements previously studied by our clients, assuring maximum functionality in each area while focusing on the development of art projects. By enhancing the program and understanding the topography, a balance between form, function and visual impact for this important space was created. Once the functional part was improved, we could give attention to details that make the space not only a culture enclosure, but also a building that understands its surroundings to distinguish itself and transform from a simple form to a powerful symbol, controversial, but ideal to lodge this new space.

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Bjarke Ingels:

…museum design is often caught in a dilemma between the artists demand for functional simplicity and the museum’s (and architect’s) desire to create a landmark. The cantilevering cross is the literal materialization of the cruciform functional diagram – devoid of any artistic interpretation. MUSEO TAMAYO EX-TENSION ATIZAPAN becomes the embodiment of pure function and pure symbol at the same time.

.:images + info -> via Bustler

CBD offices need green upgrade – WA Business News (subscription)


WA Business News (subscription)

CBD offices need green upgrade
WA Business News (subscription), Australia
“We’ve been talking to the City of Perth and the government about a green building tune-ups program where the state government and councils provide incentives to property owners required to bring buildings up to green star ratings,” Mr Lenzo said.