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.

kevin cyr: camper cart


‘camper kart’ concept by kevin cyr
all images courtesy
kevin cyr

we recently featured the work of kevin cyr, here is another project of his titled ‘camper cart’.
the pop up camper is affixed to a shopping cart which can be pushed to a chosen location
and opened to serve as a functioning habitat for an urban camper.  the project investigates
habitats and housing, recycling and ecology; exploration and mobility.

How Much Water are You Really Using?

from Green Options by Zachary Shahan


In a press release by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) today, we can see that people in developed countries actually use several times more water than they “use” — the water used indirectly to create our products is several times more than the water we use ourselves. According to the WWF, “German households use 124 litres of water a day directly, individual Germans use 5288 litres of water a day when the water requirements of producing their food, clothes and other consumption items are included.”

Read more of this story »

Australia Award for Urban Design 2009

image Award Winner: Sydney’s Paddington Reservoir Gardens The winners of Australia�s most prestigious award for excellence and innovation in urban design were announced. The Australia Award for Urban Design highlights the best of design in the built environment and acknowledges the critical role of good urban design in the development of Australia�s towns and cities. Bustler

a.asadov architectural studio: olympic rings island, sochi

russian architecture studio a.asadov have designed a series of island complexes to be built in the city of sochi ahead of the winter olympic games there in 2014. among the proposals is this one made up of five round ‘islands’ each with a tower in the middle. from a bird’s-eye view they make the olympic rings emblem.

the dark blue tower is europe and the ‘cold of scandinavian winter’. the black ring africa ‘is based on african sculpture’. the shape of the red tower uniting south and north america ‘resembles brazilian carnivals, aztec sacrifice and indian conquest’. the tower of the yellow ring, asia ‘is like a chinese pagoda’. the last continent on the emblem, noted by green color, is australia and ‘it’s nature’.

Australian Parliament OKs 20% by 2020 Renewable Energy Target

from Green Options by Timothy B. Hurst

Compromise plan has some Greens opposing passage

The Australian government’s ruling coalition has come to terms on an agreement that would quadruple the renewable energy target set by the previous government in 2001 and is in line with the renewables target set by the European Union in 2008. The coal-centric Australia currently gets eight percent of its electricity from renewables, including hydroelectric power.

Read more of this story »

Gargantuan NOAH ‘Arc’ Proposed To New Orleans With Straight Face

from Gizmodo Australia by Mark Wilson

How do you know when your building plan has gotten unnecessarily crazy and pretentious? When it’s named after a Biblical figure who was fabled to save life as we know it…that might be a clue.(more…)

Driverless Taxi System To Make Air Freshener Trees Obsolete

from Gizmodo Australia by Mark Wilson

We’ve heard about automated transport pods for years, but London’s Heathrow Airport has just opened the first complete system, a $US41 million network to take air travellers to their cars.(more…)

emmanuelle moureaux architecture & design: ‘kaleidoscope’ exhibition


photo by hidehiko nagaishi

emmanuelle moureaux architecture + design designed offices and showrooms of
nakagawa chemical CS design center, in tokyo which displays 1100 colors in the space.
the ‘kaleidoscope’ exhibition which was recently held at the center focused on
one color at a time such as yellow, red, green, blue or black. every month, the space
displayed a different color, changing hues like a kaleidoscope. the exhibition
aimed to rediscover ordinary colors.


photo by hidehiko nagaishi

U.S. Energy Use Drops in 2008 [Infographics]

from Green Options by Timothy B. Hurst

Americans used more solar, nuclear, biomass and wind energy in 2008 than they did in 2007, according to the most recent energy flow charts released by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Read more of this story »

4 Million Pounds of Space Junk Polluting Earth’s Orbit

from Green Options by Timothy B. Hurst

space junk

Millions of nuts, bolts, pieces of metal and carbon, and whole spacecraft from thousands of missions and launches form an orbiting garbage dump spinning around the Earth at speeds up to 22,000 mph.

After the recent collision between a Russian and U.S. satellite, concern for the growing hazard of space junk is becoming even more acute within the international space community. In recent months, NASA and the European Space Agency have both diverted resources into monitoring space debris and researching ways of mitigating and—some day—removing it.

Read more of this story »

Handsome and thoughtful

image Jonathan Glancey provides his verdict on the proposed design for the new Terminal 2 at Heathrow airport, to be designed by Norman Foster Guardian. He also takes the opportunity to celebrate dashing designs of the jet age in this slideshow.

State Takes Lazy Way to Cut Carbon 13%

from Green Options by Susan Kraemer



Utah’s move to a four-day workweek of 10 hour days for government workers has cut energy usage by 13 percent, and once they figure out how to turn off giant office air conditioning and heating units while they’re out of the office, it could rise to the hoped for 20%. Out of a state budget of $11 billion, they have saved $3 million on electricity and gas for 125 state-owned buildings.

Read more of this story »

This Is Why They Make Travel Adapters

from Gizmodo Australia by Danny Allen

Future Darwin Award nominee or desperate genius? Maybe both. But shoving things into what looks like a UK 220V outlet is probably not going to end well. Just ask the guy in this retro UK electrical hazards PSA: (more…)

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.

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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

tamayo_museum_01.jpg

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?

tamayo_museum_02.jpg

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.

tamayo_museum_03.jpg

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.

tamayo_museum_07.jpg

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. 

European Parliament votes for `zero carbon` building rule – Environmental Expert (press release)


Sofia Echo

European Parliament votes for `zero carbon` building rule
Environmental Expert (press release), Spain
All new homes, shops and offices built in the European Union could have to meet tough ‘zero carbon‘ building standards from 2019 after the European Parliament voted to strengthen rules designed to ensure buildings generate renewable energy onsite. 
Europe sets 2019 deadline for zero-energy new buildings Energy Efficiency News
all 211 news articles

Humanity’s carbon budget set at one trillion tonnes

from New Scientist – Online News

To avoid dangerous climate change, we must burn no more than 25% of remaining fossil fuel reserves, two comprehensive new studies show

What smart meters will do for you

Smart meters will let you monitor gas and electricity use

from BBC News and Sport Search: energy

A revolution in the way you think about and use energy in your home is about to get underway, the Energy Retail Association says.

Wind Turbine Output Boosted 30% by Breakthrough Design

from Green Options by Timothy B. Hurst

Passive structure design of “Wind Energizer” by Leviathan Energy reportedly increases wind turbine efficiency 30% in field tests.

Technological advancements in wind energy efficiency have generally come incrementally and usually made via a process of increasingly large wind turbine blades. Put simply, the model has been: longer blades = more output per turbine.

But that pattern of incremental improvements may be a thing of the past if Leviathan Energy has anything to say about it. Leviathan Energy has completed initial testing on their Wind Energizer unit and is reporting gains in wind turbine output in the ballpark of 30% — and as much as 150% at lower wind speeds.

The principle theory at work is that by placing passive objects around a wind farm it will change the circulation around a large wind turbine. The advancement is not in the turbine itself, but rather in the area around it, as such, units can be adapted to any wind turbine from any manufacturer.

“This is a disruptive technology,” Leviathan Energy CEO Dr. Daniel Farb told me via telephone from Israel last week. “We are changing the environment of the wind turbine; this is a very different approach.”

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Russia To Ring The Arctic With Floating Nuclear Power Stations

from Gizmodo Australia

Poor Mr. Polar Bear. When he’s not jumping from melting ice chunk to ice chunk trying desperately not to drown, he’s avoiding the floating Russian nuclear power stations and their potential toxic waste.

Property Council says high-rise is the solution

from CTBUH Global News

April 30, BrisbaneBrisbane could see more than 1000 new 20-storey apartment towers dotted across the skyline in the next 20 years. While understanding some residents may be concerned at dramatic changes, Property Council state executive director Steve Greenwood agrees with Lord Mayor Campbell Newman that Brisbane city needs to “go up if we can’t go out”…more

Islands at the Top of the World – Airships Revisited

from InfraNet Lab by neeraj

[Luxury cruises by Airship Ventures Zeppelin NT over San Francisco]

As energy costs rise and resources continue to deplete, seemingly defunct technologies tend to resurface. Airships are one such innovation, garnering more attention in recent years after decades of dormancy. Airships are ‘lighter than air’ structures that remain aloft with a lifting gas, such as helium. Propelled in a similar fashion to boats – using rudders and propellers, airships are presently used for advertising, tourism and aerial observation. New innovative research, however, is improving the speed and maneuverability of airships, making them a competitive means of transport in a fuel starved economy.

[Strato Cruiser Concept design by Tino Schaedler and Michael J Brown]

Jetfuel currently accounts for twelve percent of the CO2 emissions in the United States. With increases in air travel, once ‘impractical’ alternatives such as biofuels and airships are becoming viable solutions to lower fossil fuel consumption. The Spirit of Dubai, an airship primarily used for advertising, boasts that it uses less fuel in a week than a Boeing 767 consumes by traveling from gate to runway. The low fuel consumption has incited explorations into the cargo transporting ability of airships, particularly when speed is not vital. Airships are also useful for ‘hovering’ – sparking design interests from surveillance and observation to an ‘internet airship’ that can provide wireless access to mobile computer users.

[Lockheed Martin\’s solar powered HAA]

Recently, Lockheed Martin was contracted by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and Air Force to construct a prototype airship that would be solar powered. Termed the HAATM (High Altitude Airship), the airship is an unmanned structure that is located high above the jetstream (where the airs are calm) to provide surveillance and weather monitoring. The large surface areas of airships (which greatly increases their drag) provide an ideal site for solar farming – harnessing energy while transporting goods and people.

[Aeros\’ Aeroscraft ML866]

[Aeros\’ Aeroscraft ML866 – size comparison]

The Russian company, Ros AeroSystems is developing a high altitude airship that can carry 1200 kg – effectively transforming the routes that cargo is distributed. With an average daily power consumption of 100-230 kW, the ‘Berkut’ is equipped with solar cells to reduce energy consumption and increase endurance.

The American company Aeros has developed an ‘aeroscraft’ that can cruise at speeds of 200km/hr. An aeroscraft is a partially buoyant airship that also has gas cells that allows it to control lift while in the air or on the ground. Further, the 64m aeroscraft is being examined and tested to carry loads up to 60 tons. While unable to seat large number of passengers (currently seating only 20), the aeroscraft ML866 comes equipped with mobile program – conference rooms, libraries, hotel rooms, etc., effectively absorbing the grey goo of airport urbanism within the transport vessel itself.

[Manned Cloud, a flying hotel proposed by French designer Jean-Marie Massaud]

While airship travel is appealing, there are still some challenges to overcome before air cruises become universal. First, is the reliance on helium. While helium is the second most abundant element in the observable Universe, it is quite rare on Earth. Although hydrogen gas is more buoyant than helium, it does not have the non-flammable characteristics of helium. Secondly, the load capacity of airships needs to increase to make these viable for mass transport. Currently, they are ‘luxurious’ only because they have more space than load capacity. By increasing their passenger and cargo capacity, they can attract a larger-than-luxury consumer base. The last obstacle to overcome would be traveler’s patience. Perhaps being in an island on top of the world will be worth the week long trip to Europe.

High-rise plan to halt the sprawl

from CTBUH Global News

April 30, MelbourneMelbourne could house an extra million people within existing boundaries by accelerating multi-level development on main tram and bus routes, according to an ambitious plan before the State Government. A draft report, obtained by The Age, proposes a radical rethink of the urban planning system in a bid to overcome persistent obstacles to higher-density housing development…more

Office block to be carbon neutral – Sydney Morning Herald


Sydney Morning Herald

Office block to be carbon neutral
Sydney Morning Herald, Australia
Grocon chief executive Daniel Grollo said the Pixel Building went a step further than “carbon zero” projects by guaranteeing all carbon used in the construction of the $6 million, four-storey office block would be offset over the life of the building, ..

Less than 25 per cent understand zero-carbon challenge, says report – Architects’ Journal

from zero carbon – Google News

Less than 25 per cent understand zerocarbon challenge, says report
Architects’ Journal, UK – Christopher Sell
The consultation, which aims to find a practical definition of zero carbon, was launched by the Communities and Local Government consultation in December 2008, following calls from industry that existing definitions ofzero carbon were unworkable for 
Zero Carbon Hub releases report on zero carbon definition Building Sustainable Design
Zero carbon homes report released PlanningResource (subscription)
all 4 news articles

How one in 1,000 can equal 50%

from BBC News and Sport Search: energy

What do you do when that family snapshot of your child playing on a golden beach is ruined by the ugly car park to the right of the picture? Crop it out. Unfortunately, statistical pictures are also heavily cropped to alter the stories they tell, says Michael Blastland in his regular column

3XN: Saxo Bank

from AMNP

3XN has recently completed construction of the Saxo Bank Headquarters in Copenhagen – a ‘young dynamic internet bank’ that was founded in 1992 and focuses on online-trading.

The architectural design is based on Saxo’s cutting-edge profile and branding. The lines of the building design define a sharp balance between reliability and dynamic expressiveness in dialogue with the local plan. The building is shaped like two blocks with the end walls pointing towards the canal, joined together by facades that are withdrawn from the end walls. The facades are shaped like double curved glass that wave like a piece of textile.

While most clients only deal with the bank through the interwebs, the bank decided that the image and physical presence of the new headquarters was of great importance – based partially on ‘a strong conviction that architecture and design affect each staff member’s performance and awareness of the company’. The interior is therefore open and transparent, emphasizing a sense of community. The plan centers around a large atrium space – with a large spiraling staircase corkscrewing up  the height of the building.

::Thanks to Lise for contacting AMNP about this project::

.:all images + info courtesy of 3XN->

World’s Largest Commercial Solar Power Tower Goes Online

from Green Options by Sean Sullivan

Now we’re cooking.

Operation of a new Spanish solar thermal plant just kicked into high gear, taking the title as the world’s largest commercial tower-type collector.

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Going Green Fail

from FAIL Blog: Pictures and Videos of Owned, Pwnd and Fail Moments by pizzaburger

Zaha Hadid’s Genesy floorlamp takes inspiration from the trees

from DVICE by AdamFrucci

This is the Genesy Floorlamp, designed for Artemide by legendary designer Zaha Hadid. It’s huge and awesome and you can’t afford it.

Apparently, it was inspired by trees and their roots and canopies. I can sort of see that, but to be fair, there’s no touch dimmers on trees. Nor are there two types of lightbulbs. But hey, it’s close enough.

Via DesignBoom

Preservationists, developer square off over Century Plaza Hotel – Los Angeles Times

from “embodied energy” – Google NewsPreservationists, developer square off over Century Plaza Hotel
Los Angeles Times, CA – Ken Hively


Moe maintains that the building contains a great deal of “embodied energy,” the energy required to manufacture the materials, transport them to the site and assemble them into a building. He has recently been speaking to groups nationwide about this 

Norway May Ban Gas Cars After 2015

from Green Options by Nick Chambers

Norwegian Finance Minister, Kristin Halvorsen, and her Socialist Left Party have put forth a plan that would disallow the sale of new cars that run solely on gasoline after 2015.

Under the plan new cars such as hybrids, that run partially on gas, would still be allowed to be sold in the country, but any cars that only use gas as their power source would be illegal. Cars already on the road would be unaffected.

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FBI Adds Environmental Terrorist to Most Wanted List

from Green Options by Kay Sexton

In a double first for the FBI, a domestic terrorist has been included on the international most-wanted list, and he’s an environmental activist too.

The man in question is Daniel Andreas San Diego who’s 31 years old and describes himself as an animal rights extremist. The crime that got him onto the list is the planting of nail bombs in San Francisco in 2003. It’s alleged that San Diego was involved in the campaign that targeted researchers involved in animal testing.

San Diego also has links to SHACStop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty, and in January, in the UK, lengthy prison sentences were given to seven members of the organisation after an investigation over several years by Kent police.

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SolveClimate: California Puts Fuel on World’s First Low-Carbon Diet

from Green Options by SolveClimate

Editor’s note: This post was originally published on Thursday, April 23, at SolveClimate.

California regulators tonight approved the world’s first low-carbon fuel standard, a bold set of performance-based fuel rules that are being closely watched in more than a dozen other states and countries, as well as in Washington.

Many of the program’s details are still in flux, to be worked out by the Air Resources Board before the standard takes effect in 2012.

The goal was clear, though: achieve a 10 percent reduction in the carbon intensity of transportation fuels by 2020. Fully implemented, California’s LCFS is expected to cut those emissions by 15 million metric tons a year.

“The big picture is we want to incentivize the use of electricity for vehicles. … We want to incentivize innovation,” said Air Resources Board member Daniel Sperling.

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Hancock Tower Auctioned Off for Half-Price

from CTBUH Global News

April 20, BostonSince it was planted in the landfill of Boston’s Back Bay district in the 1970s, I.M. Pei and Henry N. Cobb’s John Hancock Tower (1976) has been an emblem of spectacular but problematic commercial architecture. Excavation for the tower cracked the masonry of H.H. Richardson’s neighbouring Trinity Church, faulty curtain walls rained glass onto surrounding streets, and the building swayed excessively. In 2009, it’s a ready symbol of today’s vertiginous commercial real estate market…more

iCrete Mixes Stronger Concrete With Less Cement

from CTBUH Global News

April 21, CaliforniaiCrete, based in Beverly Hills, California, has developed a proprietary algorithm for designing concrete mixes that it says can reduce portland cement content by 10%–40% without compromising strength. Cement production is energy-intensive; in a concrete mix with 12% cement, the cement is responsible for 92% of the embodied energy of the mix. In addition, extra cement usually increases early strength gain but can compromise long-term durability and cause other problems…more

KLAUS: On Starchitecture

from AMNP

Our ninja KLAUS, from the GSD, has hit us up with the latest from his site KLAUS: Cartooning the GSD and Other Issues – taking Koolhaas to task on the concept of the ’starchitect’, in hilarious fashion.

They’re like New Yorker cartoons, but for architects – and without having to deal with the pretentious-ass New Yorker. Plus, you’ve got to love KLAUS’ old-school French/Belgian comic style – reminds me of comics I read when I was a kid.

Renovate, Don’t Demolish – The Post-Standard – Syracuse.com

from “embodied energy” – Google News


The Post-Standard – Syracuse.com

Renovate, Don’t Demolish
The Post-Standard – Syracuse.com, NY
Each of the structures on the Near Westside, no matter how neglected, represents
embodied energy. Most were constructed of excellent materials (such as old-growth wood), and the craftsmanship in the intricately detailed woodwork, fireplaces and