Posts tagged with "Sustainability":

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Quick Clicks> Benz Biome, Facebook Exodus, Code Green, and Sarah Vowell on Architecture

Nature's Benz. LA Autoshow reveals a radically green Mercedes-Benz concept called Biome-- it's made of organic fibers, powered by the sun, and releases pure oxygen into the air! The system behind this model is called "Mercedes-Benz Symbiosis," in which vehicles are seamless part of the ecosystem. Facebook's Exodus. According to the New York Times, Facebook is moving out -- of the office clusters in Palo Alto -- and into an insulated 57-acre corporate campus in Menlo Park, California, which is to be renovated by San Francisco-based Gensler. About 2,000 workers, including Mark Zuckerberg, will be moved in within next 10 months. These young 20-somethings don't want a sleek corporate office, but something idiosyncratic and soulful, which the new campus aims for. Code Green. Crain's reports that the New York City Council continues to green up the city's building codes. A trio of bills looks to "create more energy-efficient roofs." While the first bill requires more reflective and less heat-absorbent roof materials, the second removes building-height limitations from solar thermal equipment and electric collectors and the third bill will add heat and power systems to the list of allowable rooftop structures. Well-spoken Vowell. Chicago magazine talks to Sarah Vowell about Chicago -- and a little New York -- architecture. "It’s what I do for fun: Go see buildings. I like architecture because it’s so nonverbal," she said, and then goes on to discuss her personal relationship with the Carson Pirie-Scott Building. Vowell recently finished her new book on Hawaii called Unfamiliar Fishes.
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Quick Clicks> Drawing, Green, Aerial, Plans

Block by Block. Brooklyn-based illustrator James Gulliver Hancock is attempting to draw All the Buildings in New York in quite beautiful pen and ink sketches like the one above. Watch a video of the artist explaining his inspirations, style, and how a chained up wheelchair is architecture after the jump. (via Gothamist.) Leeders. Blair Kamin discusses the competitive race to build green among major cities today. Chicago is still number one for the most LEED-certified buildings, but the self-proclaimed "greenest city in America" faces some stiff competition. Aerial. Building Design is running a new series of aerial photos showing progress at the 2012 Olympics site in London. 12,000 workers are reportedly on site working on the main stadium, aquatics center, and arena. Master Plan. Now that South Sudan's national independence has been approved, Sudan Votes reports that the government has revealed a model of a planned new capital city to replace the chaotic regional capital Juba, but not everyone is happy with the move.  (via Planetizen.)
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Quick Clicks> Green, Trolley, Bike, and Soane Booms

Green Boom. Blair Kamin takes a look at the sustainability of two billowing icons in Chicago and New York. Studio Gang's Aqua Tower is going for LEED certification while Frank Gehry's New York tower will not seek the USGBC's approval but claims to be green nonetheless. Kamin notes the importance of such moves, saying of Gehry: "What he, in particular, does--or doesn't do--can have enormous influence, not simply on architects but on developers." Trolley Boom. NPR has a piece on the explosion of streetcars across the country with planned or completed systems in over a dozen cities. Bike Boom. Cycling advocate Elly Blue discusses a new study on Grist stating that bikes deserve their own infrastructure independent from autos. And not just a striped bike lane, Blue notes, but separated lanes called "cycle tracks" like one installed along Brooklyn's Prospect Park West. Soane Boom. The Independent reports on a planned renovation to the Sir John Soane Museum in London, that architect's treasure trove of antiquities and architectural memorabilia from across the world. Plans include opening up a new floor that hasn't been open to the public since Soane died in 1837.
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Video> Chef Preps Sustainable Culinary Campus

Our friends at The Feast bring us news that molecular gastronomy guru Ferran Adria plans to build a campus for his elBulliFoundation that's reminiscent of a Dr. Seuss fantasy. Adria aims for this complex to be ultra sustainable, with a goal of zero emissions. Wondering what you might expect to find inside these whimsical, Wonka-esque structures? So were we. We hear that the current plan calls for an archive and brainstorming space (yes, brainstorming). Even more exciting, there will be "coral-like ceramic caverns" for the foundation's chef-scholars to work in. With a kitchen this crazy, we can't wait to see what culinary creations are sure to follow.
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Unveiled> BIG Designs a Power Plant That Loves You

Where one architect might see an incinerator, Bjarke Ingels, principal at Dutch firm BIG, envisions a ski slope. Ingels has been fond of the mountain typology and he hasn't been all that subtle about it, giving projects names like Mountain Dwellings and emblazoning Mount Everest on the side. In his latest competition-winning proposal for Copenhagen, BIG takes the concept one step further, with a mountain you can actually ski down. Perhaps more accurately, the $645 million waste-to-energy facility is a volcano, periodically spewing smoke rings from its summit every time one ton of CO2 has been released into the atmosphere. BIG (with realities:united, AKT, Topotek 1, and Man Made Land) clad the building with a modular grid of planters and windows resembling oversize bricks. The rooftop "snow" will actually be made of a synthetic granular material that “The new plant is an example of what we at BIG call Hedonistic Sustainability – the idea that sustainability is not a burden, but that a sustainable city in fact can improve our quality of life," said Bjarke Ingels in a statement. "The Waste-to-Energy plant with a ski slope is the best example of a city and a building which is both ecologically, economically and socially sustainable.” While the sheer industrial scale of power plants often captures the imagination of many architects, the notion that a power plant might invite its city to approach and interact, even ski on top of it, is so new it borders on absurd, but we have to agree with David Zahle, partner at BIG, who said in a statement, "I can’t wait to ski on a base of clean and green energy with a view over the city in 2016.”
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One Year In: Five Healthful Homes for Haiti

One year ago, a catastrophic earthquake tore through Haiti killing 200,000 people. Today, some progress has been made to return to normality but a Goliath mountain of rubble that was once Port au Prince still must be cleared and housing built for the vast population living in ruins and tents. Toward that end, ARCHIVE, Architecture for Health in Vulnerable Environments, has announced the winners of a housing competition and will build five houses that promote healthy living in Haiti this year. Winners from around the world paid special attention to limit the transmission of tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS, the leading deadly diseases in the country. The "Housing and Health in Haiti" competition garnered 147 entries from interdisciplinary teams in five continents. Winners were chosen to showcase innovative strategies in disease prevention through design while also being easily buildable with local materials and techniques. Five prototype houses will be constructed in the coastal town of Saint-Marc in eastern Haiti in cooperation with a local health organization.Each prototype is easily replicable by the local community. “What has sadly been overlooked even prior to the earthquake is how housing improvements can address the root causes of poor health," said ARCHIVE founder Peter Williams in a statement. "We hope our project will empower Haitians in rebuilding their lives, but also we want to replicate this model in other countries – demonstrating that among the poorest, housing can be a central strategy for improving health.” The winning entry, pictured at top, called Breathe House was designed by a team of architects, engineers, and doctors from the United States and the UK. The proposal makes extensive use of natural light and ventilation throughout the interior spaces and its simple construction of local materials can be reproduced in the community. American architects Lilian Sherrard and Brook K. Sherrard took second place for their Maison Canopy which hopes to foster community with a spacious covered porch where residents can rebuild community relationships. The house incorporates low-tech green features like rainwater collection for affordability and utilizes cross-ventilation and insect screening to promote occupant health where mosquito-born illness is common. The appropriately named Shutter Dwelling designed by an interdisciplinary Italian team consisting of Marco Ferri, Giorgio Giannattasio, Sara Parlato, Roberto Pennachio, and Andrea Tulisi was awarded third place. With an emphasis on spatial separation of sick and healthy occupants, the proposal calls for fresh airflows to promote health. The social center of the home revolves around the kitchen and the design takes cues from vernacular Haitian architecture. Another interdisciplinary team of architects, engineers, doctors, sustainability consultants, and a horticulturalist designed Bois l'Etat, a house designed around communal lifestyles. The project incorporates local materials and building practices for ease of construction and to improve the local economy. Green features include rainwater harvesting, composting toilets, and efficient use of energy. Architects Henry Luis Oquet, Kenneth Lopez, and Arlin Morales along with Engineer Pedro Almonte from the Dominican Republic creates Merit Award winner Cycle House. The proposal juxtaposes open lined with screens and closed spaces independent from the rest of the house to facilitate a healthy living environment. Herbs and medicinal plants grow from the house and a bike can be hooked up to provide electricity.
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Student-Built Tiny House No Small Feat

Students enrolled in a sustainable design-build course at Green Mountain College in Poultney, Vermont closed out 2010 by building their own house - a rather tiny house. Covering a mere 96 square feet, the structure cost only $20 a foot for a total price tag well under $2,000. No small feat for a bespoke building, especially considering this tiny house has gone green in a big way. All materials on the house were either reclaimed or locally sourced including two-inch blueboard and locally collected sheep wool insulation. Doors, windows, and woodwork were recycled and salvaged instead of using new materials. The structure has been designed to collect rainwater from its sloping roof and later this year will be outfitted with solar cells allowing for a completely off-grid lifestyle. Later, the house will be put on the market and sold. While living in a sub-100-square-foot space might seem cramped, students incorporated a sloping back wall for a more roomy interior. A student-designed lofted area and interior furnishings help to maximize the small space.
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The Green Building′s Platinum Lining

Since opening in 2008, The Green Building in Louisville, Kentucky has been quietly awaiting the verdict on just how sustainable the three-story adaptive reuse project really is. As expected, the 115-year-old former dry goods store designed by California-based (fer) studio announced that the project received LEED Platinum certification, becoming the city's first Platinum building. Owners Augusta and Gill Holland were attracted to the historic building by its potential to transform the once-downtrodden surrounding neighborhood into the city's preeminent arts district dubbed Nulu, or New Louisville. Located just east of downtown, the 10,175 square foot structure houses a mix of uses including a gallery, event space, offices, and a restaurant along the sidewalk. The central focus of The Green Building is, of course, its sustainable features, and the Hollands wanted to create a show piece to demonstrate the full potential of sustainable architecture. Fer Studio peeled away various components of the historic building to create a layered spatial arrangement that maximizes natural lighting and create a modern aesthetic sensibility that pays homage to the building's 19th century craftsmanship. Each piece of the building from the old growth beams and framing to bricks were carefully inventoried and reused throughout the renovation. For instance, structural woodwork was remilled into new flooring and furniture. New materials were locally sourced including Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified white maple panels that accentuate the warm hues of old growth beams. Tucked behind the sidewalk café, a 40-foot-tall lobby opens up The Green Building's upper floors and allows for extra daylight to reach interior spaces. Equipment monitors the natural light level in the lobby and automatically turns synthetic lights on or off to minimize electrical usage. A carefully angled clerestory also helps to maximize natural daylighting while providing dramatic space for offices and a conference room. Green systems in the building are both high- and low-tech. A green roof, three large rain barrels, and a rain garden help store and filter rainwater runoff while dually providing water for irrigation. Insulation in the walls is made from recycled jeans and even the concrete block is made from byproducts of coal burning power plants. The brains of The Green Building, however, are concealed out of sight in the basement. A large ice storage system freezes during off-peak hours and distributes cool air through the building at a fraction of the cost of a traditional air conditioner while in winter, the process is reversed to supplement the geothermal system. To round out the green systems, an 81-panel solar array on the structure's roof helps the facility outperform Kentucky energy codes by up to 65 percent. Gill and Augusta aren't resting on their LEED Platinum laurels, however. The duo is part part owner in 16 adjacent properties that are being renovated with sustainability in mind. They are also planning a permanent farmer's market, a recycling center, and an electric car charging station in coming years. [ Click on a thumbnail below to start the slideshow. ]
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One Billion Gallons One Drop at a Time

New York City Council passed legislation Wednesday that aims to save the city one billion gallons of drinking water a year. Four bills slated to be implemented by summer 2012 will curb bottled water usage, reduce leaks, refine water efficiency standards, and ban some water-inefficient equipment. The water efficiency legislation affects new construction and changes to existing buildings and includes reducing the allowed flow rate of plumbing fixtures like faucets, showerheads, and toilets and requiring alarms and sub-meters to detect leaks in some water equipment including roof tanks. In a city that uses one billion gallons of water each day, or about 125 gallons per New Yorker, savings from these efficiency improvements add up fast. “The bills we are passing today use a multi-prong approach to increase water efficiency standards in the City," stated Council Member Erik Martin Dilan, Chair of the Committee on Housing and Buildings, in a release. "They encourage the use of products that conserve water,  require the installation of sub-meters and alarms to catch water leaks, and seek to increase the use of drinking fountains. These bills not only have the potential to protect the environment, they also have the potential of saving New Yorkers a substantial amount of money." These new regulations were drafted by the Green Codes Task Force, part of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Urban Green Council which has been exploring ways to green the city's construction codes.
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Suburbia: The Next Generation

It's official. The suburbs are here to stay. Now we just need to figure out what to do with them. At least that's the premise of the Build A Better Burb competition that we told you about back in July, when entries submitted by architects, urban designers, planners, visionaries and students, all vying for $22,500 in prizes, were slimmed down to 23 finalists. And the winners are...

AgIsland This ambitious entry has Long Island reclaiming its agrarian roots, replacing office parks with farms. It also calls for consolidating and relocating 9 million square feet of office space along Route 110, utilizing a transit-oriented model.

Building C-Burbia Landscape designers created "an infrastructure system for short-term biomass storage and formation of long-term soil carbon reservoirs in suburban landscape."

Levittown: Increasing Density and Opportunity through the Accessory Dwellings One problem of suburban life in the NYC metro area is a lack of affordable housing options. One solution proposed here is to allow a homeowner to maximize the buildable area of his/her lot, preferably by using modular forms (instead of timber) the structure can expand and contract as needs change.

Long Division This vision of a sustainable Long Island starts with a regional plan that aims to preserve the island's aquifer, maximize transportation, and targets several underutilized downtowns for growth. The plan calls for new typologies of space combined with planned voids.

SUBHUB Transit System Transit doesn't always go where people need it to and is sometimes too big for it's own good. Instead, a more walkable and extensive micro-infrastructure that consists of re-imagined transit, a HUB at existing train stations where people and goods transfer to a smaller shuttle system, and SUBHUBs at existing public schools is envisioned for Long Island.

The winning student submission is: Upcycling 2.0 These Columbia University students target the ubiquitous suburban typologies -- single family house, strip mall, train station, street medians, big box stores, endless parking lots -- and re-appropriates them.

The winning Long Island Index People’s Choice Award, selected by the public, goes to: LIRR: Long Island Radically Rezoned Long Island becomes Living Island by re-densifying the residential fabric,  re-centering public space around train stations, and chopping up underused parking surfaces into small blocks that are a more appropriate fit for scale of the neighborhood.

While the Long Island Index originally anticipated having a first prize and multiple other winners, the jurors felt that the winning submissions were all strong and decided to honor the top designs equally.  Therefore, $20,000 will be split among the top five designs; each will receive $4,000: The student prize was $2,500. ( The “People’s Choice Award” did not have a cash prize.)

Winning entries will be on view at The Long Island Museum from October 8th-October 24th and at The Long Island Children’s Museum from October 5th-October 31st.

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Daley Reverses Course, or Wants To

Whether you want to call him a lame duck or not, Chicago Mayor Richard M Daley wants to float out of office and into Lake Michigan. Days after announcing his decision not to seek reelection the long-serving mayor hinted at a possible last hurrah: the re-reversal of the Chicago River. More than a century ago the city of Chicago undertook the laborious task of reversing its river so that waste would not flow into Lake Michigan, the city’s water supply. In shades of the Erie Canal, redirected river also facilitated trade with the west. Now with his final term coming to a close Daley, who worked to clean up both the river and Lake Michigan, might just try to put things back how they were.  Why?  To fight sinking water levels in the lake. What’s more, the EPA wants to make the river swimmable. So are you ready to take a dip in the  Chicago River?
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The Green Schools Are Coming, The Green Schools. . .

So we've got schools with green roofs sprouting in D.C., Manhattan, the Bronx, and who knows where else across this fine country of ours. (If you've got more, email us, we'd love to hear about them.) Not content simply with the mantle of "country's oldest public school," Boston Latin has decided to add a green roof as well. Designed by Studio G Architects, this one's a whopper, covering 50,000 square feet with areas dedicated to growing crops for the cafeteria and providing lab space for science classes. At that size, maybe they could even find some room up there for some mini golf or a tennis court. More renderings and details after the jump. From the school:
The oldest public school in the nation, Boston Latin’s green roof is significant in that it was conceived by a group of students who, after seeing An Inconvenient Truth, formed BLS YouthCAN (Climate Action Network), lobbied BLS administration to implement the green roof concept idea, participated in the development of designs, and are spearheading fundraising efforts for the $5 million project. Studio G Architects of Boston was so impressed by the energy and commitment of the students that they donated design services for the project. The roof’s numerous program areas will create a variety of new learning opportunities for BLS students and schools across Massachusetts. State-of-the-art STEM (science, technology, math & engineering) labs form the backbone of the design, enabling students to observe and measure data related to the school’s environmental technology, like calculating the amount of energy being generated by the PVs or the wind velocity of the turbines. A cafeteria garden, greenhouse and orchard demonstrate the accessibility of fresh local produce and help encourage healthy eating habits. A contemplative garden offers a space for repose or for language, art and music classes. Besides the inherent sustainability of training urban kids to be good stewards of the environment, the green roof will lower BLS’ carbon emissions through its planted microclimates, while PVs and turbines will offset its energy consumption. These diverse programming opportunities have inspired an entirely new sustainability curriculum, which is being piloted at BLS this fall and will be available to the other 17 YouthCAN chapters throughout Massachusetts, thereby extending the impact of this revolutionary program space to students beyond BLS.