Posts tagged with "Amsterdam":

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University College of Dublin announces masterplan finalists

University College of Dublin (UCD) has just announced the finalists of its Future Campus – University College Dublin International Design Competition. Of the ninety-eight firms that submitted proposals, six have been chosen for the project’s shortlist: Diller Scofidio + Renfro (New York), John Ronan Architects (Chicago), O’Donnell + Toumey (Dublin), Steven Holl Architects (New York), Studio Libeskind (New York), and UN Studio (Amsterdam). The Future Campus Competition is for two connected projects on the university’s campus, a sixty-acre master plan and a new academic building. With over 30,000 students, University College of Dublin is Ireland’s largest university. Founded in 1854, the university migrated to its current 330-acre Belfield campus in 1963, which was designed by Polish architect Andrej Wejchert. Wejchert’s design is primarily composed of four- to five-story Brutalist structures within a landscaped setting. The campus is located on the edge of Dublin, just over two miles from the city center. UCD views the future master plan as a “highly-visible and welcoming entrance” establishing an “urban design vision that values high-quality placemaking, architecture, and public realm.” Within the master plan area, UCD envisions an approximately 90,000-square-foot academic lab dubbed The Centre for Creative Design. The estimated budget for the project is just under $60 million. Professor Andrew J. Deeks, President of University College Dublin, describes the competition process as a rare moment to build “a design that will become an icon for the University – representing our vision to create something extraordinary and brilliant.” All six firms will conduct a site visit at the campus by the end of the month, with a winner announced in August 2018.
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Robots are 3-D printing Joris Laarman’s steel bridge for Amsterdam

Amsterdam-based firm MX3D has completed the full span of its 3-D-printed stainless steel bridge, designed by Joris Laarman Lab, a multidisciplinary team located in the Netherlands. The bridge will cross one of the city’s oldest canals, the Oudezijds Achterburgwal, and is approximately forty feet in length and over twenty feet wide. Often using digital fabrication and 3D printing, the Joris Laarman Lab has over seventy projects featured in thirty-seven museums across ten countries including MoMa and the Centre Pompidou. Utilizing software specifically designed by MX3D, the bridge was constructed by four multi-axis industrial robots. In total, it took six months for the robots to print the nearly five-ton 3-D printed bridge. While the construction process did require human input, the overall project tested the feasibility of robots printing bridges without human intervention and ultimately validated such an approach for future projects. In a collaboration with The Alan Turing Institute, the long-term management of the bridge will rely on the use of a smart sensor network that is capable of testing structural measurements, such as vibration, strain and displacement, along with air quality and temperature. Through data collection, engineers will create a ‘digital twin’ of the new bridge, a constantly adapting computer model that reflects the structures altering state. This model allows for the effective repair of the bridge and provides insights and guidance for future construction. The bridge will be subject to further structural testing as well as decking and coating. The expected installation date is October 2019.
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Close contact in an Aldo van Eyck sculpture pavilion in the Netherlands

In the first half of the 1960s, Dutch architect Aldo van Eyck worked on a commission for a sculpture pavilion in Arnhem. The pavilion was for a temporary one-year exhibition that was on view between 1965 and 1966. But a permanent pavilion was recommissioned through van Eyck's widow and built in 2006 at the Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo. 

Built of concrete block and glass, the pavilion is a rectilinear block with straight and curved walls, and is roofed by glazing that attracts diffuse light from all sides. The building is currently being renovated, and the sculpture has been removed from the site; this sucks out part of the soul of the project, but the statues will be reinstated. Since 1994, the landscaping on the Kröller-Müller site has been attended by Adriaan Geuze of West 8. The lines of its ground plan is so compelling that a commercial firm has emblazoned it on articles of clothing and its linear patterns also suggest the complexities van Eyck found in the tribal artifacts he included in a video he narrated and made for students.

On the north side, the pavilion is composed of regimented, straight rows  of walls, but, from within, the walls are voluptuously curved; there is an orchestrated bending one way, then the other, so the viewer is partially closed in. Informally placed within and outside the structure, the sculptures have admiral pedigrees of sculptors and artists of van Eyck's period of the avant-garde, including Isamu Noguchi, Antoine Pevsner, and Alberto Giacometti.  The remarkable sculptures are placed on low plinths and in niches at the level of the visitor, so there is an immediacy to the relationship between subject and viewers. The opposition of curved and straight walls, together with the sculptures on plinths and in niches, are part of van Eyck's version of "twin phenomenon" which, in turn, can be linked to his take on opposites and the notion of relativity.  There is no predictability for viewers; they unexpectedly encounter curved or straight walls with the statues often and up-close.

Large, rough-surfaced, rectilinear concrete blocks joined with mortar, like bricks, give texture, and force an implied brutalist effect on the walls.  Above the pavilion, the transparent roofing lets the diffused light in from all sides, creating an aura to the sculpture and building elements below. From the pavilion's open and closed, straight and curved walls, there is intimacy in the narrowed spaces.

Van Eyck often sees his buildings as small or tiny cities (a theme from Leon Battista Alberti, perhaps, that became popular with Team 10, the small international architecture group of note that van Eyck belonged to). The formal arrangement can also be traced to the ideas of Camillo Sitte, the Viennese author of a town planning book of the late 19th century, who tried to save traditional towns from unthinking modern developers who had disdain for picturesque niceties, namely, enclosed historic civic space.  The spaces between walls and views out of the pavilion are its unorthodox windows and doors, and the structure's spaces are similar to streets and plazas with visitors meandering in this tiny city.  You can easily meet a statue and feel an immediacy of relationship with it—again, its height is relatively human size. So, like the domestic paintings by the 17th century Dutch painter, Pieter de Hooch, there is a sense of the incremental measurements of human scale and the interpenetration of interior and exterior scenes. Van Eyck, like de Hooch, was a firm believer of making his architecture for individual contact and pleasure. This tiny city-like space is not bustling with activity—it's visited by individual, interested spectators. However, the spaces are sympathetic to engagement with visitors, and these visitors behold the sculpture and its architectural setting as reciprocal relationships, affecting interpersonal behavior.

Nearby, on the grounds of the Kröller-Müller Museum, there is another pavilion by Gerrit Rietveld (1888-1964), who lived and worked a generation before van Eyck.  Rietveld was the designer of the well-known de Stijl chair (1917) and Schroeder House (1924). Rietveld's pavilion was situated nearby, both in Arnhem and Otterlo, but Rietveld's pavilion is nearly opposite of the formal virtues of van Eyck's; approximating a De Stijl structure, it is open and brightly lit, filled with architectonic features intersecting at right angles—no curves or diffused lighting.  Their pronounced differences will be mentioned in the blog Apertures in the Wall.

Research assistance provided by Cees Boekraad
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Dutch firm DUS Architects 3-D prints a cabin using recyclable bioplastic

In 2014, DUS Architects, an Amsterdam-based architecture firm that focuses on what it calls, “public architecture,” began researching a 3-D printed Canal House that'd be situated along the Buiksloter canal in an industrial area in Amsterdam. Two weeks ago, it unveiled a micro version of the Canal House called the Urban Cabin on the site. Although the Canal House will have 13 rooms, the Urban Cabin is a mere 86-square-feet. The purpose-built printer DUS is using both for the cabin and the Canal House is called the KamerMaker (Dutch for “room maker”). The team plans to print the facade first and then the rooms in sequential order so that it can learn and test as the process unfolds. The 3-D printed cabin features a bed that folds into a seat during the day, two windows, and a bathtub (also 3-D printed) that sits outside. The house rests on a concrete infill pad that extends out from the structure to provide a small outdoor space and entryway. But the most impressive aspect of the building is its sustainable, bioplastic facade in a honeycomb pattern that offers extra structural stability. DUS developed this printable bioplastic—which uses linseed oil as its main component—specifically for the structures with consumer manufacturing company Henkel. When it is no longer needed, the bioplastic can be shredded and re-printed into something else, an aspect the firm hopes can help promote 3-D printing for use in disaster relief or temporary housing efforts. For now, though, the cabin is used for research and development for the firm, which plans to unveil the full-sized Canal House in 2017. It is also available for short-term rent to further promote the concept of 3-D printed housing. More information can be found here.  
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MVRDV integrates terra-cotta brick and glass for a facade in Amsterdam

MVRDV's Crystal Houses project, seen here, just opened on Amsterdam's upmarket shopping street, PC Hooftstraat. The Dutch firm from Delft employed a gradient that mixes terra-cotta and glass brick for the building's ornate facade. The tenant is Chanel and this is this is their flagship store in the city. The glass bricks, which form window frames and architraves, "evoke the vernacular of the area with the goal to maintain the character of the site," said the firm. Designed for investor Warenar, the building will occupy 90,420 square feet, of which 6,670 square feet will be used for retail. The rest will go towards housing. Emulating the original elevation, the glass facade rises up from the ground eventually dissolving into the terra-cotta brick used above. Due to updated zoning laws in Amsterdam, the building had to facilitate for more interior space and could increase in height. This allowed the facade to be stretched, leading to this unique treatment. As a result, the real brick structure appears to float above the street, with bricks being suspended as they crumble down. As for the actual bricks, terra-cotta brick was employed to comply with Amsterdam's regulations on building aesthetics. MVRDV argue that their design maintains the vernacular character of the site while responding to the contemporary demands of window space that modern high-end retails stores require. "The increased globalization of retail has led to the homogenization of high-end shopping streets" the firm said, adding that they hope their store to "stand out amongst the rest." The facade perhaps is a good example of how regulations on aesthetics can both preserve historic and cultural town character as well as breed creativity. The end effect is a building that is allowed to stand out but crucially not tastelessly outdo any of its counterparts. The glass bricks themselves are individually crafted by Poesia, a glass brick foundry in Resana, near Venice. Together, they are UV bonded with a transparent glue from German firm Delo Industrial Adhesives. The first facade of its kind, construction required up to ten experts working daily, year-round. MVRDV say that site during this process ended up looking more like a laboratory than a place for bricklaying. The time effort, though it must be said, appears to be worth it. As for doubters of the bricks' strength, MVRDV claim that "strength tests by the Delft University of Technology team proved that the glass-construction was in many ways stronger than concrete. The full-glass architrave, for instance, could withstand a force of up to 42.000 Newton; the equivalent to two full-sized SUVs." (Fun fact: The reason we see so many thin buildings in Amsterdam is due to a 17th-century taxation law that meant buildings were taxed on the width of their frontage.)
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To Keep Young Professionals, Cities are Hiring Night Mayors to Govern Nightlife

Amsterdam, a city famed for its nightlife extravaganza, has introduced a nachtburgemeester ("night mayor") in a bid to keep a lid on evening shenanigans. The nighttime economy is big business these days and Toulouse, Zurich, and Paris have all followed suit meanwhile London and Berlin have their eyes set on one too. Mirik Milan is Amsterdam's first night mayor. Once a club promoter, he was voted-in online. He and his team patrol the Rembrandtplein party square during the early hours of the morning keeping things in check urging partygoers to “Stay classy, think neighbours, drink inside, use a loo.” However, the promise of nighttime economic prosperity may be at odds with locals. Residents aren't too happy with a booming nightlife on their front door. In London, 35 percent of the city's "grassroots" venues have been shut down in the past decade due, in part, to noise complaints. Rising rents and licensing can also threaten venues for music and drinking. For instance, there are growing fears from the UK’s music industry that London is losing all its "grassroots" music venues. Amsterdam too is home to the Dutch Dance industry (specifically electronic dance music clubbing events), estimated to be worth $670 million, something surely worth safeguarding. Night Mayor Milan has endorsed a solution that removes partygoers from the city center: 24-hour licensing for suburban venues that would free to decide whenever they open or close. This would halt the mass exodus of clubbers who usually spill onto city streets when venues close around four in the morning. Instead, people will gradually filter out of a club at different times. Speaking to the Guardian Milan said, “Late-night people are typically young, educated, creative, entrepreneurial – people you want in your city, and who work in the creative industries and startups you also want. If places like Berlin have flourished, it’s not just because of low rents. It’s because they’re nightlife capitals.” Amsterdam's mayor by day, Eberhard van der Laan also spoke highly of the scheme and his nighttime counterparts role. "Cities increasingly want to be 24-hour. In some respects many already are, though few really cater for it," he said."But cities also have to stay nice places for the people who work, live and sleep in them. It’s not always an easy balance to strike. The night mayor helps us understand the issues better, from all sides, and come up with innovative solutions—like 24-hour licenses. Everyone benefits. It makes a real difference in Amsterdam."
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To reduce their carbon footprint, four European cities introduce drastic traffic regulation plans

Amidst the COP21 UN Climate Change Conference, numerous cities announced questionably large goals to reduce carbon emissions. However, Oslo, Stockholm, Amsterdam, and Madrid, have backed their goals with concrete plans for extreme traffic regulation, ranging from a car-free city center in Oslo to free public transportation in Madrid.

Oslo's City Center to Be Car-Free by 2019

On October 19th, Oslo’s newly elected city council announced plans to turn the city center, within Ring 1, car-free by 2019. To do so, at least 37 miles of bicycle infrastructure will be established and protected, and all interfering or free parking spaces will be removed. 

The plan will also include a new metro tunnel and end the extension of E18 to the west. Lastly, motorists will be charged a rush hour fee. Through these bold implementations, the city hopes to halve emissions by 2020 and remove 95 percent of emissions by 2030, as AN covered here. As a first step, the City of Oslo will stop all its investments in companies that produce fossil fuel energy.

Stockholm Royal Seaport to Be Fossil Fuel Free by 2040

Since 1990, the City of Stockholm has lowered emissions by 44 percent, despite being one of the fastest growing cities in Europe. Recently, Stockholm announced a goal to be fossil fuel free by 2040. Stockholm is one of three finalists in the Sustainable Communities category of the C40 Cities Awards. Stockholm's recognized project, Stockholm Royal Seaport, is one of Europe's largest urban development areas and aims to limit carbon dioxide emission below 3,000 pounds per person by 2020. By 2040, Stockholm Royal Seaport is expected to house 12,000 new residential units and 35,000 workspaces, in addition to becoming fossil fuel free.

Amsterdam to Prioritize Local Traffic at the City Center

Earlier this year, the Amsterdam city council agreed on a new design for Muntplein Square, but recent studies reveal traffic in the city center should be limited even further. A car number plate analysis revealed that 20 percent of motorized traffic in the city center is to access surrounding areas, 15 percent is to access areas further outside the city, and 30 percent are just circulating—taxis looking for customers or people in search of parking. The city council therefore agreed to implement further traffic limitations. The new plan will direct unnecessary traffic in the city center to outside roads and prioritize local traffic, creating more space for pedestrians and cyclists. Taxis will experience the largest extension in travel time—roughly six minutes per vehicle each week. Residents and commercial vehicles will have an additional two to three minutes of travel time each week. Although the city council has agreed upon rerouting city center traffic, they will not vote until 2016. If approved, the plan will be implemented before the end of the year.

Madrid to Monitor Air Quality With Strict Traffic Regulations

This year, Madrid received an F, 58 percent, in the Soot Free Cities rankings, and later announced plans to enact some of the most rigorous anti-pollution laws in the world. On days when air quality falls below a designated threshold, half of cars will be banned from the roads, drastic speed limits will be implemented, and public transportation will be free. According to El Pais, these measures would have a daily cost of $2 million, and if monthly and annual transit pass users are refunded for the day, the daily cost would rise to $4.4 million.   Although these numbers are dreading to a city swamped in financial crisis, studies reveal the city’s pollution is responsible for 2000 premature deaths per year, and therefore the matter must be addressed. If these four plans are approved and successfully implemented, their measures may become a pattern across the globe.
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Temporary Urbanized Campsite for Netherlands’ Man-Made Island

On a man-made island in East Amsterdam, this isn't your traditional campsite. The so-called Urban Campsite Amsterdam is an open-air exhibition that features 14 publicly accessible installations that can be booked for an evening under the stars. From trampoline roofs and hemispherical windows, each unique shelter is created by a wide array of designers, architects, and artists. Pictured at top is an installation from social design project collective Treehouse Fest or Boomhuttenfest entitled Solid Family. This bone-shaped icosahedron, created by graphic designer Tobias Berg and furniture designer Sander Borsje, is made from recycled materials and is deceptive with its seemingly unaccommodating shape. Surprisingly, it houses 2 queen-sized beds and can lodge up to four people at a time. From a four-person geo-structure to a two-person trampoline. Designer Vince Vijsma' coined Trampotent for his trampoline/tent hybrid that allows for an entertaining fun house and an eclectic gathering space. Exploring the "flux of garbage and its recycling and utilization in architecture and design," Refunc created IBC Shrinkwrap, housing a queen sized bed for two protected by, of course, shrinkwrap. Refunc believes that "creative reuse" is a better alternative to recycling and that there is potential in discarded materials to transform into something extraordinary. The concept behind the exhibit is to allow the public to interact with contemporary art and showcase its ability to transform a barren stretch of underused land into a common ground for tourists and locals. Urban Campsite also eliminates the barrier between a work of art and its audience through the participatory aspect of the campsite, thereby transcending the viewer-art piece relationship. So park the camper for the summer and crash in a spaceship for the night. The installations are available to book through August 31st.  
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Here’s how Amsterdam built an archipelago to solve its housing crunch

Amsterdam’s overflow population will soon have a roof over its head—and artificial sand bars beneath its feet. Europe’s boldest engineering and housing program yet proposes a series of artificial islands built over Ijmeer Lake, with shoreline houses occupying sand bars made using a so-called “pancake method.” The local vernacular refers to a method of spraying sand through porous screens to form a layer of batter-like sludge. As the layer settles and drains through the fine mesh, it hardens and another layer is sprayed on top. Pancake by pancake, the artificial island rises until it is six-and-a-half feet above water level. So far, six of the total 10 planned islands are complete, although not entirely built up or populated to maximum capacity. The islands are covered with low and medium-rise housing and self-build plots, while floating homes flank its edges. The three main islands contain urban streets and mid-rise buildings, with the smaller islets between the main islands and the coasts featuring a more suburban character. On the islets, low-rise single-family homes line the shore, which will soon receive a cover of foliage and reed banks. Each island is thin in order to maximize views of the Ijmeer, but environmentalists still bristle at the threat posed to one of the scenic highlights of the Netherlands – also a vital habitat for birds. Construction of the final four islands, knowns as Ijburg Phase II, is finally due to commence after an interval of more than a decade. Officials commend the interim between Phases I and II as a learn-and-grow buffer against construction pitfalls associated with the pancake method. In bad weather, the screens holding the island’s shape would rip and leach sludge onto the lake bottom, threatening the integrity of the island and the mussel beds below. To avoid these goof-ups for the next big island on the assembly line, called Center Island (Centrumieland), the Dutch government amassed public input for a year while consulting with the Amsterdam Architecture Center. Slated to begin construction in 2017, after the last pancake layer dries, Center Island will host 1,000–1,200 homes. A range of local architects undertook designs for housing across the various islands, from MaccreanorLavington  to Atelier Kempe Thill, VMX, and Architectenbureau Marlies Rohmer. A 1,967-foot breakwater has been built to the east of the island to protect the sludge screens by sheltering them from the current. Future islands will feature more vegetation cover, with more low than high-rise settlements and a band of green around their fringes to preserve lakeside views. Meanwhile, developers have considered a uniform implementation of solar cells and district heating, while ceding more real estate to self-builders, who are more likely to install well-insulated, eco-friendly heating and wastewater systems. Today, three more islets called Outer, Middle and Beach Islands (Buiteneiland, Middeneiland and Strandeiland) are also in the pipeline. The first island was inhabited in 2002, and the city’s tram network extended to the islands in 2005, bringing the former backwater within 15 minutes of Amsterdam’s Central Station.
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New robot technology by Dutch designer can 3D-print a steel bridge in mid-air over a canal

New to the list of job functions up for replacement by technology: bridge construction. Dutch designer Joris Laarman has founded MX3D, a research and development company currently tinkering with a never-before-seen 3D printer that can weld steel objects in mid-air. In 2017, Laarman will deposit the robot on the banks of a canal in Amsterdam and walk away. When he returns two months later, a 24-foot steel bridge will arc over the canal, built utterly without human intervention yet capable of accommodating normal foot traffic for decades. This potentially revolutionizing technology by MX3D and Autodesk can “draw” and fabricate city infrastructure on location, which has radical implications for the construction industry. Far from being makeshift, the finished bridge will feature an intricate design that looks more handcrafted than the detailing on a typical bridge. 3D printing allows for granular control of detail that industrial manufacturing does not, accommodating designs that are more ornate and bespoke than the detailing on most bridges. While 3D printers normally transact in resin or plastic, Laarman’s bridge will be fabricated from a steel composite developed by the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. It will be as strong as regular steel but can be dolloped drop by drop by a 3D printer. The unique printer itself has no printer bed. Using additive printing technology, it “works like a train,” according to Fast Company. “Except instead of running along existing tracks it prints out its own as it goes along.” The six-axis robot can move horizontally, vertically and even diagonally, and can hence traverse gaps like a canal or the empty space between walls. “We thought to ourselves: what is the most iconic thing we could print in public that would show off what our technology is capable of?” Laarman told Fast Company. “This being the Netherlands we decided a bridge over an old canal was a pretty good choice. Not only is it good for publicity, but if MX3D can construct a bridge out of thin air, it can construct anything.” Laarman enlisted design and engineering software company Autodesk to help rectify common 3D printing glitches – namely, designing a robot with a real-time feedback loop capable of correcting itself when errors occur. Typically, when a drop of resin is misplaced, the robot has no way of “knowing,” so that all subsequent drops are misplaced and the design is maimed. Given that the robot will build in public, foreseeable errors extend beyond internal mechanical failures. The machine must be primed to withstand temperature fluctuations that cause metal to expand and even “kids hurling beer bottles at the robot.” “Robots tend to assume that the universe is made of absolutes, even though that’s not true,” said Maurice Conti, head of Autodesk’s Applied Research Lab. “So we need to program them to have real-time feedback loops, and adapt in real time without even being told to.” If successful, MX3D’s technology could open up avenues for unprecedented design possibilities and cost efficiency in the fields of construction, architecture, design, and more.
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Flood prevention scheme in the Netherlands creates unique byproduct: an urban river park island

After a close shave with nature 20 years ago, the Netherlands has sought to reinvent defensive flood prevention. "Room for the Waal" is an anti-flood program in Nijmegen, a city which spans the River Waal, Europe’s busiest waterway, where a sharp turn forms a bottleneck as it nears the city. In 1995, heavy rains in upstream France and Germany caused an upsurge in water levels in Nijmegen that threatened to breach the dikes, warranting the evacuation of the city’s 170,000 residents, as well as cattle. Despite a crisis averted, the city is undertaking a flood resilience initiative focused on widening the floodplain rather than hedging its bets with fortified embankments. Through this floodplain, excavators will carve a new channel for the River Waal, leaving an island at its center. For starters, the dikes will recede 1,148 feet inland, and the resulting widened floodplains will be excavated to create room for a new channel. The island that is left behind presents an opportunity to construct a whole new section of city along with a unique urban river park, thus creating a two-fold tool for urban regeneration and flood deterrence. At certain points, the island is at a sufficient elevation for this purpose. The city is building four new bridges to connect the new island to both sides of the river, while a new neighborhood is rising across the river from the city center, balancing urban development on both sides of the waterway. Existing floodplains along the River Waal consist mostly of agricultural land, but 50 families in the village of Lent will need to relocate nevertheless in order to accommodate the receded embankments. Room for the Waal is part of national flood prevention program "Room for the River," into which the Dutch government is investing 2.3 billion euros (nearly $2.6 billion) on more than 30 crucial river locations to protect four million people who live on flood-prone territory. The approach consists of broadening and deepening floodplains and removing groins that obstruct water flow.  Room for the Waal is expected to complete at the end of this year with a final cost of $381.6 million.
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This solar-power generating bike lane in the Netherlands wows engineers by producing more juice than expected

Performance-wise, the Dutch power-generating bike path, SolaRoad, has overshot expectations, generating upwards of 3,000 kilowatts of power in the six months since its launch. The 230-foot concrete strip is located in Krommenie, a village northwest of Amsterdam, and is undergoing a three-year pilot test for material feasibility. The wattage generated in the first six months, according to SolaRoad, suffices to power a one-person household for a whole year. Based on this track record, the bike path is expected to generate 70 kilowatt hours per square meter per year (approximately 22,189 kilowatt hours per square meter per year), close to the upper limit predicted in lab tests. “We did not expect a yield as high as this so quickly,” Sten De Wit, spokesman for SolaRoad, said in a statement. The surprisingly inconspicuous solar panels are embedded into the concrete paving like ceramic tiling. Each panel is protected by an 0.4-inch layer of transparent, skid-resistant tempered safety glass designed to withstand the weight of passing vehicles. The pilot test itself will gauge the skid resistance of the solar panel path as compared to asphalt, and to ensure that it does not create any distracting reflections. Over 150,000 cyclists have reportedly traversed the solar-generating part of the path. According to SolaRoad, they “hardly notice it is a special path.” However, tests have shown that significant temperature fluctuations cause the glass coating to shrink, so that parts of it peel away in the winter and early spring. The coating has since been repaired, and engineers are in the “advanced stage” of developing an improved top layer. The 3-year pilot project, costing around $3.8 million, is a public-private partnership between the Dutch province of Noord Hoolland and engineering firms TNO, Ooms Civiel, and Imtech. Closer to home, Idaho inventors Scott and Julie Brusaw have their own iteration of power-generating roads, called Solar Roadways. The Brusaws are building a prototype parking lot in their headquarters featuring 108 panels to test their efficacy in the face of vehicle-imposed wear-and-tear. The hexagonal panels are designed for roads, driveways, parking lots, bike trails, and eventually, highways, and have already courted $850,000 in seed funding from the federal government and an additional $2 million from crowdfunding website Indiegogo.