Posts tagged with "Nevada":

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West Coast sees big wins (and losses) in architecture and urbanism ballot initiatives

As Democratic voters moved to retake the House of Representatives and key gubernatorial seats, a series of local architecture-, urbanism-, and climate-related initiatives saw mixed results in western states. Aside from being a referendum on the divisive governance style of President Donald Trump, the midterm election brought with it fierce debates over contentious issues like expanding rent control and funding supportive housing in California, taxing carbon emissions in Washington State, and boosting renewable energy generation in Arizona and Nevada. Here’s a state-by-state breakdown of some of the major initiatives and their outcomes.   Arizona: Proposition 127: An initiative to require electric utilities to use renewable energy for 50 percent of their power generation by 2035 failed in the state. The battle over Proposition 127 saw the highest amount of political spending in the state this year, with the state’s main electrical utility, Arizona Public Service, pouring over $30.3 million into a political action committee dedicated to fighting the measure.   California: Proposition C: San Francisco’s supportive housing ordinance was overwhelmingly supported by the city’s voters. The initiative will raise $300 million per year for supportive housing and services from a modest tax levied on companies in the city that gross over $50 million annually in revenue. The measure is similar to the so-called “head tax” in Seattle that was passed and quickly repealed earlier this year. Proposition 1: An initiative to approve $4 billion in “housing-related programs, loans, grants, and projects and housing loans for veterans” in the state gained wide approval. Proposition 2: An initiative to dedicate $2 billion from the state’s 2004 “millionaire’s tax” toward providing “homelessness prevention housing for persons in need of mental health services“ was approved. Proposition 4: An initiative authorizing $1.5 billion in bonds for the “construction, expansion, renovation, and equipping of children's hospitals in California” was approved. Proposition 6: Voters in the state defeated a Republican-led effort to repeal a recently-passed gas tax increase. The recent increase is helping to fund bridge and road repairs while also providing new—and much-needed—mass transit funding for the state’s growing public transportation systems. Proposition 10: A state-wide effort to repeal the controversial Costa-Hawkins law that limits how municipalities can institute rent control was soundly defeated. Rather than instituting rent control statewide, the measure would have allowed municipalities the flexibility to set their own policies. Tenants’ rights and anti-displacement advocates saw the effort as providing a lifeline for their constituencies; ultimately, the $76 million raised by real estate and Wall Street interests against the measure was too much for grassroots voters to overcome.   Colorado: Proposition 112: Voters in the Centennial State chose to reject a ballot initiative that would have increased oil and gas drilling setbacks from homes, businesses, and waterways. Resistance to the measure was no match for heavy spending by the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, the proposition’s main opponent. With controversial hydraulic fracturing rising to new highs in the state and an increasingly bleak outlook for climate change-related disasters around the world, Colorado’s pro-environment movement has been dealt a powerful rebuke.   Nevada: State Question No. 6: Voters in Nevada approved a measure that would require state utilities to generate 50 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2030. In order for the measure to become law, however, it will need to survive a second vote in 2020.   Washington State: Measure 1631: Washington state residents largely rejected a measure that would have imposed a first-in-the-nation tax on carbon emissions. The initiative performed well in liberal King County—home to Seattle—but lost pretty much everywhere else in the state. Measure 940: Washington state residents approved a measure that would require law enforcement officials to receive “de-escalation” and mental health training as well as provide first aid under certain circumstances. The initiative would also require authorities to conduct an investigation after a deadly use of force by a member of law enforcement in order to verify that such force meets a “good faith” test.
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Cryptocurrency mogul taps California architects for tech-powered desert utopia

Bitcoin and its competitors haven’t managed to topple the world’s existing currencies just yet, but the blockchain technology underpinning them might soon be making the leap to urbanism. As The New York Times revealed, millionaire lawyer Jeffrey Berns has bought up 100 square miles in the Nevada desert and tapped Los Angeles’s Tom Wiscombe Architecture and Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects (EYRC) to design an as-of-yet-unnamed, futuristic city. Complete with homes, offices, a college, and research campus, the city will, if it gets built, also introduce a novel form of urban citizenship that allows citizens to vote on the blockchain. What is the blockchain? The digital currency Bitcoin was the tool’s first proof-of-concept, but the underlying technology, a ledger shared among all users of a service that allows for trackable peer-to-peer transactions without a middleman, has uses in nearly every field. Improving efficiency on construction sites and documenting the chain of ownership for artwork are only a few of the potential uses proposed for the technology (and unlike Bitcoin, don’t involve destroying the environment). Berns made his fortune on the rise of Ethereum, a Bitcoin competitor indirectly pegged to its value (as many other cryptocurrencies are). While the prices of cryptocurrencies are constantly in flux, Ethereum allows for more than the transfer of more information than just monetary value. Berns has proposed that all future residents will be given an Ethereum-based ID, which they can use to hold their personal information and securely vote from. Berns has already spent a reported $300 million on the city through his company Blockchains LLC, including commissioning a set of renderings of the future smart city from Wiscombe and EYRC. The architects went big, and plans include a technology park for the advancement of artificial intelligence, 3-D printing, and nanotechnology, all integrated into a blockchain-based system. Vertical manufacturing and workplace hybrid typologies have also been proposed, and from the renderings, it appears that many of the buildings might be clad in dizzying panel arrays that recall circuit boards and harken back to Wiscombe’s previous work. For the residential portion, Berns has already received pre-approval for thousands of homes, which will vary from single-family houses to mixed-use blocks to communal buildings. The preliminary designs for the larger housing complexes draw on existing desert precedents and will bring a touch of Arcosanti-meets-Blade-Runner to the city. Drone deliveries, fully electric autonomous vehicles that can weave between indoor and outdoor spaces, and plans to power the city off of 100 percent renewable energy are all on the table. It might seem pie in the sky, as so many utopian communities are, but Blockchains LLC is already engaging with the residents of Storey County, Nevada, and the tech companies who have industrial parks at the border of the 67,000-acre plot. The feedback gathered will go towards putting together a master plan and the environmental impact statement; construction is slated to begin at the end of 2019 if all goes as planned.
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The ORB, Bjarke Ingels’s floating silver sphere, rises at Burning Man

Fans of large metallic spheres rejoice: The ORB rises. Despite not meeting their crowdfunding goal, Bjarke Ingels and Jakob Lange of Bjarke Ingels Group have successfully created their installation at this year's Burning Man festival in Black Rock City, Nevada. The pair launched an Indiegogo campaign earlier this summer with a goal of raising $50,000 for the project. At the time of writing this article, the pair had raised $34,251 pledged from 127 backers.

#Burningman artists impress. #burningman2018

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AN spotted the ball in Burning Man's official Youtube live stream of the event. The stream peers around the site of the event, known as the Playa to festival-goers, who are also known as Burners. Jakob Lange posted a construction image of The ORB last week to his Instagram account, but neither architect has released official imagery of the project. Burning Man is a temporary event in the Nevada desert where thousands of participants camp, build temporary structures, and engage in various activities of a psychedelic nature. In recent years Burning Man has become synonymous with Silicon Valley and the way in which counter-cultural experiences can be commodified as expensive entertainment. Basic tickets to the week-long festival cost upwards of $300. According to the architects, The ORB will be "a new planet to sci-fi fans, a wayfinder for travelers or just a huge disco ball to those who love a good party!" Although it appears to float above the ground, the 83-foot sphere is held up by a 105-foot steel mast. Renderings and prototype studies showed a mirrored metallic surface to the object, although in the live stream it appears to be either duller or covered in desert dust. The structure will be up during the festival this week, when it will be presumably be dismantled or destroyed along with the rest of the festival's structures.
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Bjarke Ingels is crowdfunding a floating mirrored ball for Burning Man

Bjarke Ingels and Jakob Lange of the Bjarke Ingels Group (and BIG Ideas, the studio's in-house think-tank) have launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo for its Burning Man 2018 project. ORB is an 80-foot-wide reflective sphere that, if funded, would bring an elevated mirror, wayfinding symbol, and “temporal monument” to the Black Rock Desert’s Playa in Nevada. ORB borrows the Earth's form (at 1/500,000th of the scale) to create a 360-degree mirror that will reflect the sky above and goings-on of the Burners below. Although the ORB will be inflatable to reduce the project’s environmental impact, the piece would be hoisted into the air via a 30-ton, 105-foot-tall steel arm. BIG partner Jakob Lange writes that the installation is a “tribute to mother earth & human expression,” and the piece will seamlessly blend into the desert sky at night as the festival lights dim. Below, the ORB will create a “light shadow” and help visitors navigate the festival's transitory metropolis, the 50,000-strong Black Rock City. The studio is looking to raise $50,000 before the start of this year’s Burning Man, which will run from August 26 through September 3. Backers can pledge to receive engraved stainless steel orbs of varying sizes, with a 40-inch-wide ball going to those who pledge $4,000 or more. Ingels is no stranger to the mind-expanding arts and culture festival, having thoroughly documented his prior trips on Instagram. The ORB will share Playa space with this year’s headlining temple from Arthur Mamou-Mani: the spiraling Galaxia, a timber tower inspired by the movement of planets, galaxies, and the universe as a whole. No word yet if Anish Kapoor will set his sights on the ORB.
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$1.2 billion eco-friendly district will rise in Reno, Nevada

Architect and developer Don J Clark Group and landscape architects Office of Cheryl Barton (OCB) are currently at work on the initial phases of the world’s first high desert biome eco-district, West 2nd District, a new $1.2 billion purpose-built neighborhood in the heart of downtown Reno, Nevada.

The project proposes taking over a series of underutilized lots in order to jumpstart an ecologically driven neighborhood containing 1,900 housing units, 450,000 square feet of office space, and 250,000 square feet of retail space. The nearly 30-building district will provide needed market-rate and workforce housing as well, with 20 percent of rental units available as affordable housing for those who qualify.

The construction of a new district—bounded along its southern edge by the Truckee River, a tributary to Pyramid Lake and Lake Tahoe—also represents a special opportunity to connect Reno to nature more efficiently than piecemeal implementation would. OCB is looking to integrate the district’s street life with the surrounding natural habitat in biome-specific ways. “We are very interested in the authenticity of the landscape and in bringing the larger ecology into the city,” Cheryl Barton said. Barton aims to plant over 300 trees across the 17-acre site; the firm aims to establish and expand a sense of pedestrian comfort on the street by reducing heat-island effect. OCB is also embedding expanses of vertical and horizontal gardens throughout the plan, including on rooftops. Barton explained further: “We are taking an artistic approach to the paseo design—there will be broad, shallow channels [embedded in the paseos] that can be used for patio seating regularly and, during the rainy season, can collect water.”

The district will be fully integrated with regard to stormwater sequestration and wastewater treatment, and will also employ a variety of digital tools to monitor and control these adaptive systems. For Barton, the relationship between these technical components and her efforts to make Reno’s streetscapes more bearable are two sides of the same coin. “Landscapes are a system like any other: It’s all about understanding the climate, the water, the soil, and the connectivity of that system, and bringing that understanding into the public realm.”

One hope is that the West 2nd District can feed Reno’s booming technology industry. Reno is affordable—and a 45-minute flight from Silicon Valley—so it is absorbing regional economic and population growth. Tesla operates its Gigafactory in Sparks, Nevada, just outside Reno, and Apple operates cloud-computing servers in the area as well.

The influx of technology-related capital is a boon for Reno, and continued investment will likely fuel the continued growth of West 2nd. “We are focusing on a lot of categories,” said Don Clark, “from being an eco-district to pursuing LEED accreditation to focusing on walkable communities and complete streets—and are ultimately making a new, next-generation, integrated section of a city.”

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Las Vegas could get a $12.5 billion light rail system

If stars align, it looks like car-centric Las Vegas will soon place new bets on mass transit. This week state and local officials presented a preliminary plan to construct multi-billion-dollar light rail system in Sin City. The route, which has been in the works for more than two years, would link Las Vegas's airport, McCarran International, to the Strip. A bill under consideration in the state senate would give local officials authority to pursue federal grants or impose tax increases to fund transit, as well as emerging technologies like self-driving cars. Right now, state law forbids local transit commissions from creating "high-capacity" mass transit systems like the proposed railway, the Associated Press reports. Bill sponsor Mark Manendo was one of six elected officials at the meeting who said Las Vegas trails similar municipalities in mass transit development. "If we can lead in the travel and tourism industry—and who can dispute that, accommodating more than 42 million visitors a year—I find it hard to believe our community cannot come together to help build a world-class transportation system," Senator Manendo told the AP. To formulate its plan, the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada looked to light rail systems in Salt Lake City, Phoenix, Denver, and San Diego. In addition to trains, the commission is also considering other mass transit options to connect the city's college campuses, commercial corridors, hospitals, and residential districts. The senate bill, though, doesn't stop at Las Vegas, where a light rail line could cost $12.5 billion and take two or three decades to build. Reno, Nevada, could see transit improvements, as well, if the state's estimated $26 billion plan is approved and fully funded.
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International collection of firms enlisted to create visionary, 10,000-acre modern ski community in Utah

From the highest point of land, it’s possible to see four states. There are eight national parks within a day’s drive. The closest towns are named Eden and Paradise and the area gets an average of 500 inches of snow every year.

This is the mountain setting where entrepreneurs have set out to build a visionary arts and skiing community aimed at inventors and other creative types from around the world.

To guide construction, they have assembled a diverse team of designers, land planners, and specialists in alpine architecture from places like Studio MA in Salt Lake City, Utah, Skylab Architecture in Portland, Oregon, and Saunders Architecture in Bergen, Norway.

The community is called Summit Powder Mountain.

The site is a 10,000-acre parcel (including 8,464 skiable acres) in Utah, an hour’s drive north of Salt Lake City. It’s in the region where Utah meets Idaho, Nevada, and Wyoming. The owners say it’s the largest ski area in the country.

Plans call for 500 single-family, ski-accessible home sites connected to a village of similar size, as well as “cultural amenities and miles of walking, biking, and Nordic trails.”

Its name comes from Powder Mountain, part of the Wasatch Range in northern Utah, and the Summit Series, an organization that was founded in 2008 and hosts conferences and events for young entrepreneurs, artists, and activists. The community is aiming to take its place among other well-known ski and resort destinations in the Western U.S.

Summit Powder Mountain is a joint project of Greg Mauro, chairman of Powder Mountain, and the Summit Series. Principals of the Summit Series are Elliott Bisnow, Brett Leve, Jeff Rosenthal, and Jeremy Schwartz. They have formed a company called SMHG LLC, trading as Summit Powder Mountain, which operates the Powder Mountain Ski Resort and serves as developer of the community. Summit Series is its anchor tenant.

The developers have studied other planned communities, including Sea Ranch, California, and Serenbe, Georgia, and developed a set of standards and controls. They talk about pioneering a design aesthetic they call “modern mountain” architecture.

“We love Aspen and Telluride and Sundance and Park City,” said Sam Arthur, Summit’s vice-president of design and marketing. “We just happen to be building our own community…We’re seeking to attract artists, entrepreneurs, inventors—people who are really pushing the envelope in the areas they’re pursuing.”

Investors include Sir Richard Branson of the Virgin Group; Island Records founder Chris Blackwell; Gayle Troberman; Sue Turner; Ken Howery; and Bob and Darcy Bingham.

The developers claim that Summit Powder Mountain will be a place for intellectual stimulation as well as recreation, a setting for “leading-edge dialogues and hosted discussions, world class performances and farm-to-table dining experiences.” Besides their flagship event series, they have a resident chef, and are planning opportunities for crafts, sports, and wellness programs.

The Summit community shares “a philosophy of innovation, creativity, cultural enrichment, and environmental conservation,” according to its website.

Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, no stranger to skiing and Alpine architecture, has come to lecture several times, but is not working on any specific project. Other visitor-lecturers have included Daniel Arsham of Snarkitecture in New York and Jenny Wu and Dwayne Oyler from the Oyler Wu Collaborative in Los Angeles and the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc). In 2014, Wu took part in the Summit Artist-in-Residence (AIR) program.

In shaping this self-sufficient community, the team has developed a strong vision for architecture and land planning. “Modern mountain design and natural preservation” are core values, and architecture will be “subservient” to the landscape.

The community will have two distinct areas. One is called the Ridge, where home sites and “nests” will offer “unrivaled multistate views, easy ski access, and mountain quietude,” said Arthur. Many of these homes will sit on parcels of more than half an acre.

The second area is called the Village, which will contain residences spaced more closely than in the Ridge, including multifamily clusters. It also will be home to “the main lodges, cultural residences, and a walking street with juice bars, eateries, and shops,” making it the community’s central gathering place. The master plan calls for “unique spaces, intentionally designed to foster strong relationships, deep conversations, and inspire new ideas.”

“Preservation of the existing natural environment, which includes an elk reserve, natural waterways, and a thriving wildlife population, is one of the leading design principles,” said Arthur. “‘Homesites’ and ‘nests’ will be tucked in clusters of pine and aspen trees to maintain natural views for all community members, and the Village will be dense with living accommodations to allow for more open space in wildlife-sensitive areas.”

Arthur explained that “modern mountain” architecture does not necessarily mean a throwback to midcentury modernism. He said the buildings would be modern in the sense that form follows function, and floor plans are open and take advantage of natural light and views. “It’s modern in the way they are used, not modernist” as a style, he continued.

The land was originally a ski resort started by the Cobabe family in 1972. Before that, it was the family’s sheep ranch. Summit Powder Mountain has been in the planning stages for several years. One of the first new buildings is the Skylodge, which was designed by Jeff Kovel of Skylab and completed in 2013. The project moved to a new phase last summer, when construction began on the first residences.

Phase one will consist of 154 homesites reflecting the “modern mountain” approach that Summit Powder Mountain “will come to define,” the developers said. “Each building design will meet recognized environmental standards, and energy conservation guidelines will be provided to incorporate cutting edge sustainability systems and materials.”

The developers are working with a number of architects and planners. Besides Studio MA, Skylab, and Saunders, the list includes: Elliott Workgroup in Park City, Utah; Langvardt Design Group in Salt Lake City; and R&A Architects in Los Angeles.

Other architects involved include Sparano + Mooney in Salt Lake City; Marmol Radziner in Los Angeles; Bicuadro Architects in Rome; Bertoldi Architects in Ogden, Utah; Olson Kundig in Seattle; PBW Architects in Seattle; and Grupo H in Slovenia.

The initial elements of the Village will take about 24 months to complete. Construction of the entire community is expected to take place over the next 20 years.

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AN’s highlights from day five of Burning Man

The Architect's Newspaper (AN) will be posting images all week from Burning Man, now underway in the Nevada desert (see our highlights from the opening and the third day in). AN is being represented by Andrew Krebs of SOM's Los Angeles office; he's been supplying us with images and videos. Scroll down to see more from Instagram! We'll post more as we receive updates.
#burningman2016 #westcoastisthebestcoast #temple2016 A photo posted by @cmtomasetti on

#home #burningman #burningman2016 #blackrockcity #photography #photographer #photooftheday

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Made it to the coffee! @burningman #burningman2016 A photo posted by Kristi Keno (@kkenooo) on

It's even better than I thought possible... #lighthouse #burningman #burningman2016 #art #blackrockcity #brc #love

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AN’s highlights from day three of Burning Man

The Architect's Newspaper (AN) will be posting images all week from Burning Man, now underway in the Nevada desert (see our highlights from the opening). AN is being represented by Andrew Krebs of SOM's Los Angeles office; he's been supplying us with images and videos. Scroll down to see more from Instagram! We'll post more as we receive updates.  

The temple #blackrockcity #burningman2016

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#burningman #happyburn #welcomehome #burningman2016 A photo posted by Kos (@firekos) on

The amazing places a sand storm can lead you to 💨

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I'm going to take my bike and ride thru these rings. LOL #burningman2016 A photo posted by Henry Park (@henrypark74) on

Landed

A photo posted by HYBYCOZO (@hybycozo) on

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AN’s highlights from the opening of Burning Man

The Architect's Newspaper (AN) will be posting images all week from Burning Man, which just started in the Nevada desert. AN is being represented by Andrew Krebs of SOM's Los Angeles office; he's been supplying us with images and videos. Scroll down to see more! We'll post more as we receive updates. Other highlights from Instagram:

Tangential dreams 👌🏻

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#burningman #burningman2016 #blackrockcity #hyperlapse A video posted by Burning Man Videos Curated (@burner_videos) on
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Burning Man Festival buys 3,800-acre swath of Nevada

For those feeling the Bern with nowhere to go, have you ever considered the Nevada desert?

Well, you should, because Burning Man Festival recently purchased the 3,800-acre Fly Ranch, a not-too-shabby swath of desert in Nevada’s far western Washoe County. The nonprofit art group announced the news via blog post: “As a year-round site, Fly Ranch has the potential to expand Burning Man Project’s activities and existing programs, as well as amplify Burning Man’s cultural impact into the wider world beyond Black Rock City.”

Pack your bags and bring your face paint because the desert is about to get pretty cool, man.

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Construction begins on Lake|Flato’s ASCAYA “Inspiration Home”

A luxury housing development in Nevada has started construction on the Lake|Flato-designed "Inspiration Home," one of seven homes in the new development designed by renowned architects to give "design inspiration" to future residents. ASCAYA is carved out of the hilly volcanic rock of the McCullough Range in Henderson, and is arranged so each lot has a view of the city and surrounding mountains. Its elevation at the highest point is 3,000 feet, and the remaining spots are sought-after: One of its 313 lots coming in at just a little over an acre recently sold for $2.6 million. Lake|Flato's inspiration home is a single story and measures 9,000 square feet, with four bedrooms and a four-car garage in addition to a large living space. The master bedroom opens into a private patio aimed at nearby Las Vegas. Sustainability and the landscape are integrated into the design of the house. Its walls are made of rammed earth, which blends into the surrounding rock as well as providing great insulation for the location's hot climate. The main living space also opens up into an outdoor courtyard. This is the third of seven inspiration homes to break ground on the site. Others were designed by Swaback Partners, SB Architects, Hoogland Architecture, Marmol Radziner, and Backen, Gillam, & Kroeger. Richard Meier, Pritzker Prize–winning designer of the Getty Center, contributed one of his signature all-white homes. Lake|Flato's philosophy of blending the house into its desert surroundings is reminiscent of Frank Lloyd Wright's own home and school in the desert, Taliesin West. When building the compound in Scottsdale, Arizona, he was mindful of integrating the house into the rocky landscape to the point of literally building its walls with local rocks. John Sather of Swaback Partners is a graduate of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. All these homes are in a style that could be described as "desert contemporary," setting the tone for architects who will design buildings for the development later on. Adding to that aesthetic is a luxury clubhouse designed by Swaback Partners that will include a fitness center, spa, and pool.