Posts tagged with "Sustainability":

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Cities as Lab: Designing the Innovation Economy

At the end of September, the AIA released “Cities as Lab”, a report stipulating how innovative design can help strengthen modern urban America. Presented during the National Leadership Speaker Series in Washington D.C., it stressed how resilient cities are better suited to address upcoming social, economic, and physical challenges. The report is part of a larger framework looking to guide the international development agenda for decades to come. As a whole, it seeks to fuel the progress of critical sustainable programs around the world. The AIA report states that by incorporating innovative design and technology within their internal structure, cities would have the power to lead the way toward the future. Urban enclaves are being reconfigured in order to respond to changing realities and contemporary human and economic needs. Some of the key examples stated in the report include the Boston Innovation District, North Carolina's Research Triangle Plan, and the Downtown Project in Las Vegas. These programs focus on a series of urban experiments seeking to promote knowledge exchange and economic opportunities, to develop new technological hubs, to mitigate the ecological footprint through sustainable design, and to introduce new architectural archetypes in order to foster creative place-making. All of these ideas are critical linchpins for visionary and sustainable planning. In its concluding remarks, the report indicates that intelligent design and wise policy choices help create places that are suited to meet the needs of future populations, to respond to economic challenges, and to manage natural disasters. The general idea is to create more resilient communities and sustainable infrastructures that will be able to sustain future economic and physical challenges. The initiative focuses on ways to create more valuable, healthy, secure and sustainable built environments by exploring solutions to pressing issues that urban enclaves are faced with.
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Unveiled> Philippe Starck and Riko Design Series of Pre-Fab Homes

[beforeafter]starck_prefab_03a starck_prefab_03b[/beforeafter]   World-renowned designer Philippe Starck has earned yet another feather for his cap in a recent collaboration with Riko, a European manufacturer of sustainable wooden buildings. Stemming from a drive to develop industrially manufactured homes that fulfill housing needs across the globe, the pair created P.A.T.H. (Prefabricated Accessible Technological Homes), a line of 34 turnkey homes merging timeless design, advanced technology, functionality, and sustainability. P.A.T.H. can be customized from layout and interior finishes to distinctive facades and roofing. [beforeafter]starck_prefab_02a starck_prefab_02b[/beforeafter]   Each P.A.T.H. model is characterized by Starck’s signature design, yet homeowners choose each aspect to create their unique spaces. The pre-fab homes provide a range of housing models that vary in size, number of rooms, levels and floor plans. A configurator allows homeowners to browse and select their preferred models. In the early planning stage, all details of the home are meticulously engineered and rendered. Then, bulky building elements such as walls and roof structures are prefabricated, filled with insulation and finished with closing panels in a strictly controlled fabrication facility. The prefabrication system shrinks the amount of time necessary for on-site assembly, which takes several weeks following the completion of the initial infrastructure and foundation. Two months are necessary for electrical and mechanical installations and to outfit the home with the selected finishes. Total time from start to finish is six months. The most sophisticated sustainable construction engineering has been utilized in developing P.A.T.H.  Only high-quality, environmentally friendly materials are used throughout the production and building process. Wood has been selected as the system’s main building material since it is natural and renewable, giving the homes zero-energy or even positive-energy potential. [beforeafter]starck_prefab_01b starck_prefab_01a[/beforeafter]
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Brooklyn Navy Yard’s Duggal Greenhouse by Studios GO Officially Opens

New York entrepreneur Baldev Duggal and Studios GO architect Gregory Okshteyn have brought new life to an old building in Brooklyn’s Navy Yard. The 100,000-square-foot, eco-friendly project called the Duggal Greenhouse was once a deserted, asbestos-stricken eyesore. Now it's a state-of-the-art venue where Duggal Visual Solutions tests and manufactures an assortment of green products. The $10 million retrofit of Duggal Greenhouse preserved the existing structure, while fully modernized it. Duggal Greenhouse is the hub of Duggal Energy Solutions, a corporation dedicated to resolving global electricity, water, and agriculture problems. Duggal first began researching energy, since the green initiatives he cared most about require power. Lumi Solair, the company’s first product, is an off-grid, solar-powered streetlight. More than 50 of these lamps are installed in the Navy Yard. Lumi Solair is also installed on the Atlantic City boardwalk, where it was the only streetlamp to continue functioning through Hurricane Sandy last year. With a backyard that opens up to a riverside terrace with scenic Manhattan views, the Greenhouse is not only open for business schemes. Heineken held a 1,300-person celebration in the building to launch a new bottle, and Beyonce has rehearsed in the space. Duggal’s Navy Yard venture began over a decade ago with a single 10,000-square-foot space. Now, he owns 10 times the space across seven buildings. Duggal plans to obtain an additional property neighboring the Greenhouse, where he wants to build a cafe, eco-lounge, and urban farm on the roof. The Navy Yard played an active part in helping Duggal grow. CEO Andrew Kimball, whose group contributed $500,000 to the Greenhouse and saved more than $600,000 by utilizing Lumi lamps, has called him a creative genius.
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Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects Breaks Ground in Shanghai

On May 30, Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects, the East China Architecture and Design Institute (ECADI), and the Shanghai Expo Construction Development Company announced the start of construction for a new 164,000-square-foot mixed-use development on the 2010 Shanghai Expo site. The project, known as Green Valley, will transform the former industrial dockyard into a commercial district of shops, restaurants, and offices. The design features two main buildings positioned on either side of a central courtyard. Each incorporates hanging gardens in glass-enclosed atria that will be visible from the street. The buildings will offer high standards of finish and sustainability, both in terms of environmental performance as well as low operating costs. The design focuses on openness and convenience so those working in the buildings will have superb views of the hanging gardens and the city. The expo site itself will maintain the ample green space, walking paths, and cultural attractions left after the Expo concluded and the pavilions were demolished. Green Valley is the start of new permanent development on the site. Green Valley is one of four projects by Danish studio Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects transpiring within Shanghai. Each is a redevelopment of the once industrial area along the waterfront. Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects won the competition to design the project last year. It is located next to the iconic Chinese pavilion. Completion is expected in 2015.
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Paris Trots Out Black Sheep as a Lawnmower Alternative

Since Wednesday, four black ewes have a new home, and new jobs as groundskeepers on a small patch of municipal land in Paris. Fenced in on a half-acre lawn in front of the city’s archives building in the 19th Arrondissement, the New York Times reported that the sheep are part of a new “eco-grazing” program which aims to cut out loud, gas-guzzling lawnmowers and toxic herbicides in favor of a more agrarian solution. If all goes well at the archives, city officials have plans to bring more mouton to pastures across Paris. Their hilly home on the eastern edge of the city is a near perfect paddock for the animals, Marcel Collet, the farmer overseeing the sheep, assured the Times. The special two-foot-tall sheep, known as Ouessant, were brought from the Breton coast and selected for the hardiness and diminutive size. Contained by a three foot electric fence and monitored by a lone guard, the sheep face few threats aside from domestic dogs and the hazard of tipping over (if a sheep falls, someone needs to be there to flip it back over). “Otherwise, it risks smothering itself,”  archives director Angés Masson quipped to the Times. While she is happy with her new employees, they weren’t exactly what she was hoping for, telling the Times that, “Myself, I wanted a donkey.” Others also have their doubts about the sheep, as some worry that they may endanger the local biodiversity. Four distinct types of orchids have been found on the sheep’s new pasture, but scientists will stand by to monitor the interaction between the animals and plant life. The sheep are part of a larger greening effort by Mayor Betrand Delanoë, who has brought bike- and car-sharing programs, bike and bus lanes, and pedestrian pathways to the city since being elected in 2001. At a mere $335 for the four, the sheep provide both a sustainable and affordable solution to Paris landscaping needs.
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Empire Stores in DUMBO Might Finally Get a Make-Over

The Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation issued an RFP last week seeking qualified developers to revamp the post-Civil War Empire Stores warehouse in DUMBO, according to Crain's. The adaptive reuse project, originally drafted in 2002, has been postponed several times over the last decade due to a lack of developers willing to address the building’s “scary structural issues.” Proposals, which are due on December 10th, could add up to 70,000 square feet and two additional stories to the existing buildings. Projects must be community friendly and address design challenges at the intersection of preservation and sustainability.
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Design Trust Brings the Urban Farm to New York’s Planning Table

New York City is home to over 700 food-producing farms and gardens spread over 50 acres of reclaimed lots, rooftops, schoolyards, and public housing grounds. This week at a launch and press event, the Design Trust for Public Space (in partnership with the Brooklyn-based non-profit community farming project Added Value) debuted the most comprehensive survey yet of the city's urban agricultural infrastructure, Five Borough Farm: Seeding the Future of Urban Agriculture in New York City. Currently, the non-profit organizations, commercial entities, institutions, and community members who operate urban farms lack a reliable means to obtain resources such as land, soil, compost, and funding.  Five Borough Farm lays out a roadmap for the integration and expansion of New York’s urban farms, with analysis of present conditions, metrics that establish a common framework for evaluating success and determining strategies, and policy recommendations that would make agriculture integral to city planning. Five Borough Farm describes the health, social, economic, and ecological benefits of urban farms. Distributing food to under-served communities and providing nutritional education supports public health. By developing unused land, farms and gardens fill gaps in the streetscape and create space for community gathering and organizing. Farmers are able to sell their food in farmer’s markets, while education and stewardship programs empower youth and provide job training. Gardens can act as filters for wastewater and composted food waste while working to detoxify soil and educating communities about sustainability. The study builds on New York’s existing urban agriculture initiatives, calling for a citywide interagency task force that would coordinate policy and procedures for organizations that manage farms and to allocate resources and land to those organizations. At the launch event, Design Trust Executive Director Susan Chin described the need for this body to engage with communities in the planning and operation of urban farms: “We need to select, digest, upload, and disseminate information and data on farms to the community.” The metrics established in Five Borough Farm describe agricultural production, biodiversity, employment, and impact on health, allowing communities to monitor their progress and receive necessary support. Raymond Figueroa, a program director at South Bronx-based Friends of Brook Park, trains youths in urban agricultural production. “The real power of urban agriculture is the promotion of healthy living,” Figueroa explained, pointing to precedents demonstrating how such initiatives can be effective. During the Great Depression, for example, Relief Gardens provided social stability and well-needed food. “Communities can actively engage in the cultivation of land—the fight we have is alerting communities to the possibilities they have,” Figueroa said. So what's the next step? Phase two of the project will bring in New York City government to help locate 100 publicly-owned sites with the potential for food production. Columbia University’s Urban Design Lab will partner with the Design Trust in identifying under-served areas, growing conditions, and suitability of land. The trust hopes to formalize the city’s support by initiating new programs and subsidies, while partnering with departments that are not directly responsible for urban agriculture, like Waste Management.
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Dlandstudio Proposes Plastics Recycling Center at the Brooklyn Navy Yard

Mission: Small Business, Chase bank's new program to promote new small businesses allows residents to vote for their local small businesses to be considered for a hefty $250,000 grant. Among the countless entries for the program, Brooklyn-based dlandstudio's proposal for a new plastics recycling center at the Brooklyn Navy Yard has already received 200 votes. Founded by Susannah Drake in 2005, dlandstudio has long been concerned with sustainability and the environment including a proposal for a Sponge Park along the Gowanus Canal with a permeable landscape to capture stormwater runoff and other industrial waste discharged by flooded pipes in the low-lying neighborhood. This green infrastructure alternative to costly pipes was approved by New York City's Design Commission in January. The new recycling center will accept local plastic waste to be repurposed for new green infrastructure systems similar to the Sponge Park that could be be implemented in Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx. The proposition is expected to enhance manufacturing, create new jobs, and manage significant waste streams. If appointed, proceeds from the Mission: Small Business grant will be used for research and execution of the project.
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Tracking the Health of New York’s Rivers One Raindrop at a Time

Courtesy Riverkeeper
In May 2011, a shocking 80 percent of the 59 water samples taken from various sites in the Hudson River were determined to be unacceptable by the Riverkeeper, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving water quality on the Hudson River. What makes water “unacceptable”? Sampled sites are tested for enterococcus, a human pathogen often found in sewage that can potentially cause health problems like Meningitis and urinary tract infection. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Enterococcus count standards vary for different sites (for beaches, state governments discourage swimming if the count is over 35 colony forming units per 100ml). As for the part of Hudson River bordering New York City, an enterococcus count greater than 104 units per 100mL is considered "unacceptable." And, quite frankly, gross. This year, according to Riverkeeper's latest water quality report from May, only 12 percent of the sampling sites were unacceptable and 7 percent were diagnosed with possible risk. The enterococcus count along the East River at 23rd Street was reported to be a mere 10 units per 100ml. What has caused the seemingly huge increase in water quality around New York City? It appears this year's gains were a meteorological fluke caused by differences in weather over the two years. Frequent rainy weather during May 2011 caused stormwater to overwhelm the city's sewer system creating a condition known as Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO). The excess rainwater present during a CSO causes raw sewage to be discharged into nearby bodies of water. This year, May was relatively dry, leaving the sewer systems intact and the enterococcus levels low. In effort to avoid such leakages caused by stormwater, a new plan for gray and green infrastructure with over $5 billion in funding was implemented in April, 2012. The plan calls for green and blue roofs to capture and store stormwater, allowing it to slowly seep into the sewers rather than overwhelming them all at once. Specially-designed plant beds, rain gardens, and tree pits with engineered soil and water-loving plants also hold water, filtering it and absorbing pollutants. While New York dodged a sewage-filled bullet this year, this initiative promoting innovative rainwater management infrastructure could help achieve sustained water quality increases in years to come.
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What is Green, Anyway? Join Us for an Online Conversation on Sustainability

Join us for a live Facebook discussion, "What Is Green, Anyway?" Wednesday, April 18 12:00 p.m. PST, 3:00 p.m. EST You're invited to talk about sustainability with AN's West Coast Editor Sam Lubell, Angela Brooks, partner at Brooks + Scarpa, and John Stein, president of Kirei, a green materials company. The open discussion will cover what exactly makes a project green, how effective green standards are, how sustainability is driving design (and whether it should), and where green design is heading. The best part is that the questions will be all yours, answered live by our participants. To participate in "What Is Green, Anyway?," simply visit the AN Blog tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. eastern. We'll publish a post to the AN Blog before the event and you can join the discussion and ask questions of the experts live over Facebook Live Stream. You can even share your comments with your Facebook friends directly. See you Wednesday! Participants: Angela Brooks, principal, Brooks + Scarpa: A recognized leader in sustainable design and construction, Angela is responsible for overall project management and supervision of the firm’s designers and staff. She has served as Project Architect and consultant on buildings which range in scope from public and institutional projects, to mixed-use projects, single- and multifamily housing. John Stein, president, Kirei: After seeing a small sample of a new eco-friendly design material, John decided to take his experience in mainstream marketing to the green building world. His company, Kirei, grew out of that first chance encounter, and has become a leading provider of sustainable design materials to the architecture, design, and fabrication communities.
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Holcim Awards for Sustainable Construction 2012

The Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction in Zurich, Switzerland has announced the winners of its 2012 Global Holcim Awards and the Holcim Innovation Prizes. Regional prize winners (15 for Global Awards and 53 for Innovation Prizes) were examined, and from them 3 Global Awards and 3 Innovation Prizes were handed out to projects that address environmental performance, social responsibility, and economic efficiency. Each of the winning projects are innovative, future-oriented, and usually have a social or cultural component as a key part of their program.  This year's jury for the Global Awards was headed by TEN Arquitectos' Enrique Norton and included critic Aaron Betsky and architect Mario Botta. The Innovation Prize Jury was led by architect Harry Gugger and included economists and engineers. Global Holcim Awards 2012 Gold Secondary school with passive ventilation system, Diébédo Francis Kéré, Kéré Architecture Gando, Burkina Faso Silver Urban remediation and civic infrastructure hub, Alfredo Brillembourg and Hubert Klumpner, Urban Think Tank São Paulo, Brazil Bronze Urban renewal and swimming-pool precinct, Tim Edler, realities united, Jan Edler, realities united, Denise Dih, DODK Holcim Innovation Awards 2012 1st Prize High-efficiency concrete formwork technology, Matthias Kohler, Gramazio & Kohler, Architektur und Digitale Fabrikation – ETH Zurich, Fabio Gramazio, Silvan Oesterle and Axel Vansteenkiste, Gramazio & Kohler, Architektur und Digitale Fabrikation – ETH Zurich Zurich, Switzerland 2nd Prize Low-cost apartments incorporating smart materials, Frank Barkow, Barkow Leibinger Architects, Prof. Regine Leibinger, Barkow Leibinger Architects and Technische Universität Berlin, Institut für Architektur, Fachgebiet Baukonstruktion und Entwerfen, Prof. Dr. sc. techn. Mike Schlaich, Technische Universität Berlin,Institut für Bauingenieurwesen, Fachgebiet Entwerfen und Konstruieren - Massivbau, Germany; Matthias, Schuler, TRANSSOLAR Energietechnik Hamburg, Germany 3rd Prize Efficient fabrication system for geometrically complex building elements, Povilas Cepaitis, AA School of Architecture, Luis Enrique, Diego Ordoñez and Carlos Piles, AA School of Architecture London, UK Click on a thumbnail to launch the slideshow. All images courtesy Holcim Foundation. A complete list of finalists can be seen here.
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ONE Lab: Summer Session on Future Cities 2012

ONE Lab, New York School for Design + Science is a non-profit research and education collaborative that plans to begin year-round programming when the historic renovation of Building 128 at the Brooklyn Navy Yard is complete in 2014. This innovative, interdisciplinary school currently operates out of the Metropolitan Exchange, a professional cooperative at 33 Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn, NY.  The co-chairs, Maria Aiolova and Mitchell Joachim of urban ecology thinktank Terreform ONE, seek to promote "research and education at the intersection of design and science." The ONE Lab Summer Session 2012 on Future Cities, an annual summer program, will take place July 9th through August 3rd and brings together innovators across design and technology to explore the relationship of the fields and what impacts they can have on our cities. Special attention will be paid to ecology with radical solutions the goal. Programming will include three parts: a design studio, a series of seminars, and workshops. Previous summer sessions have focused on bio-design (2011), and urban farming (2009 and 2010). The design studio will focus on the project's mission to "establish new forms of knowledge and new processes of practice at the interface of design, technology, engineering and biology." New York serves as the laboratory, and over 100 hours of design studies will explore the possibilities of self-sufficiency in New York. The seminar is comprised of 40 hours of TED style talks delivered by experts from the fields of architecture, urban design, biology, physics, and art, including Dr. Dickson D. Despommier, Vito Acconci, Natalie Jeremijenko, Marc Forens and Graham Hill, the founder of world renowned media outlet Treehugger. Four workshops will teach participants processes of biotechnology (including technologies such as genetic engineering, tissue culture, and cloning), growing materials, grafting trees and plants, scripting and computational modeling for controlled growth. The program is open to all college level students and post graduate professionals interested in design and its relationship to science and technology. For information on how to apply to ONE Lab: Summer Session on Future Cities 2012, or to register for the design studio, seminars, or workshops, please visit www.onelab.org. Students attending the seminars series only do not need to apply. Deadline: May 15, 2012.