Chicago’s plan to revitalize troubled South Side neighborhoods with green infrastructure, urban farming and transit-friendly development is moving ahead. The city’s Plan Commission heard a presentation last week on the Green Healthy Neighborhoods program, which in 2011 announced its attention to lure investment to the Englewood, Woodlawn and Washington Park neighborhoods (read AN’s coverage here). While the urban agriculture component initially grabbed headlines—renderings show an old rail line repurposed as the “New Era Trail,” which would link urban farms and community gardens with a park-like promenade—the wide-ranging proposals also include developing retail clusters around transit nodes and street improvements for bikers and pedestrians. Funding is still up in the air, but the project will seek financing through the department of Housing and Urban Development’s Sustainable Communities Initiative. You can see the full plan here.
Posts tagged with "Sustainability":
A British supermarket once lauded for its ingenuity and pioneering nature is now on the chopping block with a Swedish invader looming. When it was completed, the Greenwich branch of UK Mega-chain Sainsbury's was hailed as a breakthrough in eco-design and shortlisted for a prestigious Stirling Prize. Yet in early March the city council approved plans to demolish the structure in order to pave the way for a new IKEA warehouse outlet. The building was designed by Paul Hinkin during his time at Chetwoods Architects. Upon opening in 1999 it became the country's first retail space to receive an "excellent" BREEAM (roughly the British equivalent of LEED) rating. Design features contributing to this assessment include a reed bed that collects rainwater for use in the store, a liberal hand with recycled materials throughout the interior, and on-site wind turbines. Having since launched his own firm, Hinkin is passionate about preserving his 14 year old creation. Speaking from British sustainable building trade show Ecobuild, he vowed to "fight this until the wrecking ball goes through the roof," and called the decision to demolish "totally and utterly indefensible." Hinkin is not alone in this battle, as a campaign to save the structure has been brewing since November once it appeared that it might be under threat. In late February advocates for preserving the market put in a somewhat audacious bid to English Heritage to have the store listed as a Grade II, the second highest grade the organization bestows upon builds that are "particularly important...and of more than special interest." Approval would make the supermarket the youngest recipient of the honor. In light of the Greenwich Council's rulings these efforts would seem to heretofore have been in vain. Sainsbury's decision to sell the site on the condition that it not be filled by another food retailer essentially seals the fate of a structure that was explicitly designed for that purpose. In an essay written for the UK Green Building Council, Hinkin described bespoke, function-specific structures as a key component of his sustainable architectural philosophy. While they may be sustainable in the short-term, the problems buildings designed along such precepts eventually have in adapting to new programs would appear to make them decidedly unsustainable in the long term. The early success and what appears to be an increasingly likely untimely end of the Greenwich Sainsbury's illustrate the immediate benefits and eventual issues destined to plague this approach.
A team of mayors and nonprofit foundations said Wednesday that they’ll spend enough retrofitting major U.S. cities to save more than $1 billion per year in energy costs. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s philanthropy, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and the Kresge Foundation pledged $3 million each year for three years to provide technical advisers for 10 cities across the country: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Orlando, Philadelphia and Salt Lake City. The City Energy Project, as it’s called, is intended to cut 5 to 7 million tons of carbon emissions annually, or roughly the amount of electricity used by 700,000 to 1 million U.S. homes each year. The Natural Resources Defense Council and the Institute for Market Transformation will help the cities draft plans to reduce waste and improve energy efficiency—a process the group said should not take more than one year. Chicago’s participation could lower energy bills by as much as $134 million annually and could cut about 1.3 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually, according to the mayor’s office. In a prepared statement, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the investment would create jobs: “More energy efficiency means new jobs and continued economic growth, and a more sustainable City,” Emanuel said, “which will lead to a further increase in the quality of life for the people of Chicago.” Last year Illinois tightened its building code and Chicago ordered large buildings to disclose their energy use. In Chicago, like many of the nation’s older cities, large buildings eat up much of the city’s energy—together the buildings sector accounts for 40 percent of primary energy consumption in the U.S. While energy efficiency has long been recognized for its financial opportunity, major banks have only recently begun to invest. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said he hopes City Energy Project will connect building owners and private financiers, bringing more money to large-scale efficiency initiatives.
The Philadelphia Water Department wanted a 3 million gallon sewer overflow tank. Neighbors wanted maintenance of current community recreational space. Now, landscape architecture firm Andropogon has split the difference for Philadelphia residents concerned with the fate of Lower Venice Island. Using high performance landscape design, the firm has envisioned the 5-acre island between the Schuylkill River and the Manayunk Canal as a space for both water maintenance and for community promenade and play. In collaboration with the Philadelphia Water Department and the Manayunk Development Corporation, designs for the stretch of Philadelphia waterfront are “fluid” in their “integration of both uses of the area,” describes the city’s Grid Magazine. Andropogon renders the land still with an EPA-mandated sewer overflow basin, but combines active and passive landscape design to provide additional function as a public green space. This intelligent planning sees the landscape with its water-locked environment in mind. Solutions for stormwater retention and wastewater overflow are incorporated into the design. Gardens and children’s water features run along a central, lighted pedestrian walkway, which also manages the flow of rainwater. A 250-seat performing arts center by Buell Kratzer Powell is raised 7 feet above the island’s floodway and plans for riverbank restoration further protect the area as a space for community recreation. Transforming a water development project to enhance a public play area, Andropogon’s sustainable landscape design serves both sides of the Venice Island debate.
Three years after an unsuccessful bid for a chance to design the U.S. Embassy in London, Morphosis Architects has won a different Department of State project: a new Embassy for Beirut, Lebanon. The firm was selected from a shortlist that also included Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Mack Scogin Merrill Elam/AECOM. The new Embassy will be located near the current facilities in Awkar, roughly seven miles from Beirut. The Embassy moved away from the capital in 1983, following a suicide bomb attack that killed 49 Embassy staff. A second bombing in 1984 killed 11. Restrictions on American travel to Lebanon were not lifted until 1997, seven years after the official end of the Lebanese civil war. U.S. Department of State spokesperson Christine Foushee said that while the history of the Embassy in Beirut is unique, the security requirements of the new building will not differ significantly from other Embassy projects. Every major project built by the Bureau of Overseas Building Operations (OBO) must meet certain security standards in order to qualify for funding from Congress, she explained. The OBO put out a public call for submissions as part of its Excellence in Diplomatic Facilities initiative. “All of the designers that were short-listed, we feel, are very capable of incorporating [security] requirements,” Foushee said. “The real challenge, and the place where we were looking for innovation and creativity, was ensuring that the security requirements were met, but were integrated seamlessly into the design.” After seeing Morphosis’s proposal, the selection committee was confident that the firm would design a secure Embassy that “doesn’t look like a fortress,” she explained. The firm’s commitment to sustainability also impressed the OBO committee. According to Foushee, sustainable design, including planning for storm water and waste water management, is especially important in a project, like the new Embassy, that includes a housing component. Morphosis furthermore demonstrated an understanding of the OBO’s need for flexible interiors. “We have a need for sometimes accommodating a quick surge in staff,” Foushee said. An adaptable design will allow the Embassy to provide housing and office space for extra employees without additional construction. Finally, the design selection committee appreciated Morphosis’ experience working with technologies including 3D modeling. Integrating technology into the design process “is important for controlling costs, but also ensuring the quality of the project,” Foushee said. The design contract for the Beirut Embassy will be awarded during FY 2014, either before the new year or at the start of the 2014 calendar year, Foushee said. The construction contract will be awarded during FY 2016.
Eben Bayer and Gavin McIntyre, co-founders of Ecovative, want the world of material packaging to enter “The Mushroom Age” and they have the approval of the Buckminster Fuller Institute. Founded in 2009, the upstate New York company has developed biocompatible, strong, lightweight, and fireproof fungi-based packaging as a sustainable replacement for polystyrene foam, widely used but made of environmentally harmful plastics. In August, AN reported Ecovative’s Mushroom Packaging project as a semi-finalist in the 2013 Buckminster Fuller Institute Challenge. This week, BFI awarded the entry first place in its $100,000 competition for socially responsive design. Combining agricultural waste and fungi tissue into a “mushroom material,” Bayer and McIntyre discovered that they could grow the solution into the shape of any mold, dry it, and create a strong solid with characteristics similar to Styrofoam. But, unlike Styrofoam whose production releases toxic substances, packaging made of mushrooms is net-positive and creates a closed loop production system. It is also cost-competitive. Bayer says that Evocative hopes its natural and ecologically friendly mushroom packaging will “completely displace petroleum-based packaging in the market.” He continues, “We’ve taken the best of agricultural mushroom technology, living systems technology, and paired it with serious, logical, engineer-type thinking about how we use these living systems. And then come up with a really innovative product.” After discovering the unique bonding ability of mushroom mycelium, fungi tissue with branch-like growing fibers, Ecovative has already begun expanding its use beyond packaging and into material for inexpensive housing, furniture, surfboards, and footwear. In a statement announcing Ecovative as their 2013 Challenge winner, BFI praised the initiative as a “ground-breaking enterprise” and “an extraordinary example” of “comprehensive, anticipatory, ecologically responsible, feasible, replicable, and verifiable” design for the improvement of a pressing human problem.
TransformKC is underway in Kansas City, and the dozens of projects on display are provoking discussion on topics from public transit to energy infrastructure. A joint effort between the Kansas City Regional Transit Alliance (KCRTA) and the American Institute of Architects Kansas City (AIA KC) Young Architects Forum (YAF), TransformKC curated built and unbuilt work around the topic of “regional mobility” in an attempt to “inspire the public’s imagination.” Explore all of the submissions here. Categories include architecture, infrastructure, planning, transit stations and urban design. The exhibition is on display in the East Hall of Kansas City, Missouri’s Union Station through October 25. Some work is local, like BNIM’s Better Block KC. Part of the 2011 Grand Boulevard Streetscape Plan, Better Block KC “envisions a safe, livable and walkable downtown” that uses complete street concepts. Disclosure: The Architect’s Newspaper is a media sponsor, and AN contributor Gunnar Hand served as the exhibition’s co-chair. Here are a few of the high-profile projects from outside Kansas City: BIG: Loop City Bjarke Ingels Group looks to a new light rail loop connecting 20 development zones around the 4-square-mile inner city of Copenhagen. They propose tying energy and water infrastructure into the rail line, creating “an artery of true urbanity pumping life into the heart of the suburbs.” KPF: Hudson Yards See AN's coverage of Kohn Pedersen Fox’s Hudson Yards towers here. SOM: Denver Union Station Skidmore, Owings and Merrill's plan calls for turning the historic Denver station into a multi-modal transportation network. John Gendall looked into the project for AN's feature on master planning.
This past weekend, a jury of architects, engineers, and market experts scored Team Austria’s home entry as the winner of the United States Department of Energy Solar Decathlon, a student design competition aimed at educating and encouraging thought about the affordability and efficiency of solar homes. As AN reported, the Team Austria private residential design is environmentally sensitive and easily adaptable, chosen for its overall energy efficiency, attractiveness of design, cost, and comfortable living conditions. However, of the 19 designs by collegiate teams from the United States, Canada, the Czech Republic, and Austria presented in Irvine, California, the public had a dissenting opinion about the Decathlon winner. The People’s Choice Award vote went to UrbanEden from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte; this concrete and glass-based modern structure was the majority’s favorite home entry. UrbanEden is a four-room home designed for ease of indoor to outdoor flexibility. It is envisioned as existing within the urban city of Charlotte and has been designed with materials for noise reduction as well as energy efficiency. The structure is built of geopolymer cement concrete, which the team claims is “one of the first-known uses of a geopolymer mix in a building envelope.” Inside its walls are a series of tubes circulating cool water to remove heat inside the house without a compressor or refrigerant. The entire south wall is constructed of glass windows and leads to an exterior patio that can be covered, weather permitting, by a retractable photovoltaic panel roof. The patio has a vertical garden to provide greenery, privacy, and a potential food source. With these innovative technologies, the entry won third place in the Solar Decathlon Engineering Contest. However, in aesthetics, the home also makes an impression. Light-filled rooms and the easy accessibility to an outdoors terrace provide a balance of nature within an urban environment. With the beauty and comfort of its design, the DOE believes that UrbanEden earns its People’s Choice Award. Solar Decathlon comments: “UrbanEden is a house people can imagine themselves living in. A house that could easily become a home.” All Images Courtesy DOE Solar Decathlon.
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.
Defying the standards of conventional landscaping, living walls take vegetated ground cover to the vertical extreme. For the past 30 years, French botanist and green enthusiast Patrick Blanc has made a quantum leap forward in the art of gardening by designing and building these living walls all over the globe. Blanc's latest project—One Central Park Tower—is in Sydney, Australia, where nature’s tranquil features join forces with dynamic city life. The project is a collaborative effort between Blanc and Jean Nouvel. When completed, the major mixed-use urban renewal housing plan will boast the world’s tallest vertical garden. The building consists of two adjoining residential towers connected by terraced gardens, built atop a retail center. Each tower measures 380 feet in height and consists of shops, cafes, restaurants, offices, 624 apartments, and 38 luxury penthouse suites. Over the years, Blanc has perfected the art of the vertical garden by using synthetic moss instead of soil for the growing medium. At One Central Park, he envisions covering up 50 percent of the building’s facade by incorporating 1,200 square feet of plants stretching from the 2nd floor to the 33rd floor. On the 24th floor, an immense sky garden projects 100 feet out over the park below. At night, the cantilever will act as a canvas for an LED light installation designed by artist Yann Kersale, with vines running up its supporting cables. The lower part of the cantilever will be equipped with an apparatus containing a heliostat, which will reflect sunlight down onto the surrounding gardens and naturally illuminating the building. The lush green tapestry of the structure's facade will be entwined with the foliage of the adjacent park in order to replicate the natural cliffs of the Blue Mountains, which are located in the Western part of Sydney. By using plants and natural sunlight, the design projects to reduce energy consumption and will help cut down the city's greenhouse gas emissions. One Central Park represents a shift towards a new contemporary design era; one that encapsulates all that the age of living and breathing architecture has to offer. Estimated completion date is set for January 2014. Images courtesy Atelier Jean Nouvel / Patrick Blanc / Fraser Properties. Image below: Courtesy the messiah website.
There's a lot to be excited about in the jam-packed schedule of intimate dialog and tech workshops on day two of AN and Enclos’ upcoming Facades+ PERFORMANCE conference. But don't forget about the exciting keynote-speakers headlining day one! Industry leaders Stefan Behnisch of Benisch Architekten and Gerardo Salinas of Rojkind Arquitectos will set the tone as they discuss the effects of emerging design, fabrication, and construction techniques on building facades in our current technological, environmental, and economic landscape. Leading innovators from across the AEC industry will be on-hand to redefine sustainable facade performance, so don’t miss this rare opportunity. Register now and mark it down on your calendar: Facades+ PERFORMANCE, October 24th-25th at the Illinois Institute of Technology’s Main Campus in Chicago. “For me, performance means going beyond the technical behavior of a facade or technical system to incorporate new-found relationships between technology, fabrication, and understanding the full potential and use of the local craftsmanship to obtain the desired results," Salinas told AN. "At Rojkind Arquitectos, we look at every project as a state of active awareness fueled by continuous research, cross-pollination and context sensitivity. Rather than focusing on 'all' we selectively choose a context and adapt our thinking to recognize opportunity under those parameters.” Before returning to his native Mexico in 2010 to become the first partner at Rojkind Arquitectos, Gerardo Salinas worked on several master planning and institution projects with Ellerbe Becket, acted as Senior Project Designer with HNTB and Senior Associate at Anderson Mason Dale Architects, and demonstrated his expertise and dedication to sustainable design as a member of the U.S. Green Building Council. In his keynote address, “The Economics of Fabrication,” Salinas will discuss how, by viewing the users' needs as sources of inspiration, his firm is able to construct designs that maximize potential while maintaining attainability. “The facade as a building’s skin is becoming a more and more complex element in architectural development,” said Stefan Benisch, founder and principal of Behnisch Architekten. “Considering that the number of trades and different materials within a building is decreasing, and the remaining, fewer trades will become more complex, the facade then needs to become a highly sophisticated, complex, integrated element, not unlike what the skin represents for the body.” In his keynote address, “Techinical and Architectural Expectations: The rapidly developing role of the building skin in the wake of new technologies,” Bensich will bring his decades’ worth of knowledge and experience to the Facades+ stage. Through his award winning work, like the Norddeutsche Landesbank in Hannover, Behnisch has infused dynamic, eye-catching design with forward-thinking sustainable technologies to create buildings that provide maximum benefit to their users, the public realm, and the natural environment. Join him on October 24 to see the projects that are paving the way for the next era of sustainable facade design and construction. Reserve your space now to hear more from these and other groundbreaking professionals on the future of high performance facades and the technologies that are revolutionizing our built environment, only at Facades+ PERFORMANCE.
Anticipation is growing for AN and Enclos’ eagerly awaited Facades + PERFORMANCE conference, touching down in Chicago from October 24th to 25th. Leading innovators from the architecture, engineering, and construction industries will share their insights on the latest in cutting-edge facade technologies that are redefining what performance means for 21st Century architecture. Don’t miss your chance to join Cory Brugger, Director of Technology for Morphosis Architects, as he is joined by a group of industry specialists to lead an in-depth dialog workshop on expanding the idea of performance in the design, engineering, and fabrication of innovative building systems. "Traditionally, performance has been defined in singular terms," Brugger told AN, "but when it comes to delivering architecture, it can encompass everything from energy usage to fabrication technique. For us, performance is multifaceted and interdisciplinary. We have found that technology provides a platform for incorporating a variety of performance criteria in our design process, allowing us to create innovative architecture, like the Cornell NYC Tech project on Roosevelt Island." Set to open its doors in 2017, Morphosis’ winning design for the highly publicized Cornell Tech campus will be breaking ground on Roosevelt Island in the coming year. As part of this ambitious, 2.1 million square foot development, Brugger and his colleagues at Morphosis hope to earn LEED-Platinum certification by with their 150,000 square foot academic building by utilizing cutting-edge modeling techniques and an array of sustainable technologies. "In general, we are designing for extremely high EUI (energy use intensity) goals, which are being accomplished through the use of comprehensive models that integrate mechanical systems, day-lighting analysis, and architectural assemblies," said Brugger. "This effort is being supported by a 140,000+ square foot PV array that is integral to both the performance and aesthetics of the design. Other technologies include high performance facade systems, smart building technology, and geo-thermal wells." In conjunction with master-planners SOM and landscape architects James Corner Field Operations, Morphosis are working to create a new model for high-tech education in the information age by extending the definition of performance beyond traditional notions to incorporate far-sighted social and technological considerations. Reserve your space at Facades+ PERFORMANCE now to take part in an intimate discussion. Brugger will be joined my Paul Martin (Zahner), Tyler Goss (CASE), Matt Herman (Burro Happold), and Marty Doscher (Dassault Systèmes ) on Friday, October 25th at the Illinois Institute of Technology Main Campus in Chicago. Don’t forget to check out our other exciting key-notes, symposia, and workshops on the complete Facades+ PERFORMANCE schedule.