Posts tagged with "Built Environment":

Sou Fujimoto’s Outlook Tower is a Stacked Mirage in Saudi Arabia

Tokyo-based architect and creator of this year's Serpentine Pavilion, Sou Fujimoto, has recently unveiled his latest rendering of Outlook Tower and Water Plaza, a proposal that's part of his master plan development for the coastal resort district of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. His proposed 473,612-square-foot structure is based on a vernacular type of Islamic architecture and mirrors the shape of Bedouin tents. Seen from afar, their silhouettes are designed to form the shape of a mirage-like gateway linking the mainland to the sea. Fujimoto’s idea was to create a tower that would represent the forest and its intricate web of natural elements. The numerous towers act as natural airstream barriers, as the strong winds, particularly coming from the north, are funneled vertically into the space below. This circulation of air provides a cool breeze and the south-facing facades bring in natural light into indoor spaces. The building includes eco-friendly elements such as solar panels installed on its roof to provide energy and natural heat and an integrated geothermal heat pump system to cool the building. By creating a space that bridges order and chaos, Fujimoto was able to generate a futuristic prototype comprised of arching modules stacked one on top of the other, each measuring between 10 to 40 feet. As a whole, the resulting organization creates a mesmerizing architectural spectacle. Multiple waterfalls are placed across the arches of the structure, feeding water into a large dock at the base of the tower. Fujimoto also included other elements that provide sources of natural light that altogether create a series of multiple transparent towers.  

Urban Ecology Center Finds New Grounds at San Antonio’s Phil Hardberger Park

Last Saturday, the San Antonio community inaugurated the Lake|Flato Architects–designed Urban Ecology Center (UEC). Sited on the West Side of Phil Hardberger Park, the 18,600-square-foot UEC will be home to the Alamo Area Chapter of the Texas Master Naturalists. This latest showpiece in the city’s park system will serve as a functional ecological system, a meeting space, and an urban ecology learning facility. Parks Project Manager Sandy Jenkins explained that the center was built with the intention of informing future generations about environmental concerns and the preservation of ecological systems. Former mayor Phil Hardberger, who recognized the asset of parks in improving the general urban quality of life, originally prompted the construction of the park in 2010. Covering 311 acres on eiter side of the Wurzbach Parkway, it was built as a means to preserve San Antonio's environmental treasures and natural heritage. The UEC is a $6.3 million LEED green project and was funded by the largest municipal bond program in San Antonio history. It is equipped with water harvesting and reclamation systems, which minimize both operational costs and impacts on the environment. The center is constructed out of sustainable materials and irrigated by an extensive rainwater collection system and a bio-swale that collects run-off, stores it into a detention basin, and reuses it when needed. It is also armed with photovoltaic solar panels capable of powering three average houses. The 8:00 a.m. opening attracted more than 500 visitors, including architects, neighbors, park employees, and environmental activists. It featured guided hikes, a wide array of presentations by civic leaders, green building and recycling awareness, and hands-on wildlife activities. The center embodies San Antonio’s communal effort to preserve its natural landscape and shows how the city has developed a sense of environmental stewardship. A significant amount of work still needs to be done, as only 60 percent of the park's construction has been completed.

Architecture Gets Its Close Up

What is SMIBE? Is it a brand of paint? Or maybe a government agency? No, it's something much more interesting: the Society for Moving Images about the Built Environment. The Los Angeles-based, volunteer-run organization just announced the winners of its inaugural "Story About a Place" competition, which looked for short films (less than 6 minutes long) that "reveal new sides or issues about a place told by memorable characters." The competition, which launched last fall, received over 90 entries from 13 countries. In the student category the jury chose two winners: Matthew Bendure's Matthaei Botanical Gardens, a visual essay about a  greenhouse complex whose warm, verdant, highly-mechanized environment contrasts starkly with the bleak, frozen winter of Ann Arbor, Michigan just outside; and Allyson Oar's Adapt, a film about unique, informally-created areas of Portland, Oregon, like its homemade skatepark under the Burnside Bridge, and the city's "not-so-homeless"  collection of handmade dwellings called Dignity Village. In the general category, no first prize was handed out, but four films were noted as finalists. They included Ilai Arad, Ernst Kabel, and Bart-Jan Polman's Opinions or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Palast, a community-wide reflection on East Germany's former political headquarters, the Palast der Republik, which was recently torn down; Jo Barnett's Tale From No Where, a story narrating the intimate experiences that revolve around normally ignored, tiny public spaces; Jooyoung Chung's A Letter from Joon-Su, which reveals the lonely, faceless experience of an immigrant as he drives through LA's freeways (which begin to take on a life of their own); and Matthew Hahn's Lassie’s Mother, a personal and historical tale of Buck's County PA told by a computer animated 3d avatar.