If you can't make it to the Hafele showroom tonight for the presentation on lumenHAUS—Virginia Tech's entry to the 2009 DOE Solar Decathlon—don't worry about it. AN was in Times Square last night to get the inside skinny on the solar-powered wonder house. In a quest to reconcile contemporary goals of sustainability with modern architecture, the VT team went beyond solar arrays. They began by studying the Farnsworth House and looking for ways to increase its insulation while maintaining its connection to its surroundings. That inquiry led to the design of a steel-framed glass box outfitted with two layers of sliding panels. The inner panel is made up of two layers of polyethylene filled with expanded silica gel—a highly insulating material that is lighter than air and translucent. The outer panel is a stainless steel sun and severe weather screen outfitted with perforations to allow some light through. Together with the glass wall these layers deliver an awesome insulation value of R24. LumenHAUS is outfitted with sensors that will adjust the panels to optimize energy usage in the house. At any time, of course, residents can override the system not only from a central control panel and manual switches, but also remotely through an iphone application. The house opens to two decks, one on the north and one on the south, increasing the potential living area during clement weather. Inside, the tiny 600-square-foot layout was planned with space conservation in mind. Various items of furniture move and transform to serve a variety of functions: A high shelf pulls away to reveal the kitchen counter while itself becoming a side table for the dining area. The bedroom's closets slide aside to reveal the TV and close off that portion of the home for privacy. The lumenHAUS is intended to be a prefabricated living system and modular, so that you can add other pieces on and stack them in a variety of configurations. The house also becomes its own transportation device. Diagonal steel members can be added to the frame making the building a truss, then a wheel assembly pins to a steel member at the rear of the house, and at the front a similar attachment is made to interface with a big rig. Within a matter of minutes the house can be outfitted to move. When it arrives at it site it is lowered onto eight concrete piers, making a minimal impact upon the earth.
Posts tagged with "Times Square":
If you didn't have a chance to make it down to D.C. for the 2009 Department of Energy Solar Decathlon, now is your chance to make up for it. Starting today and running through Sunday, Virginia Tech's entry will be on display in Times Square. Known as lumenHAUS, the 800-square-foot single family home is replete with high tech features such as an iPhone interface, smart controls that automatically adjust climate systems, and of course solar power. If any of this peaks your interest, professors from the Virginia Tech School of Art + Design will be giving a presentation tomorrow night from 6:00 to 7:30 at the Hafele showroom, 25 East 26th St.
We've come to hate snow in the city, as it readily turns to gross, sock-soaking brown muck. But today, when we stumbled upon a scene straight out of Aspen, we were reminded just how beautiful and transformative the white stuff can be. Ducking into Muji for some last-minute holiday shopping on our way back from the Gehry theater press conference on 10th Avenue, we were delighted to find a mountain clearing where the courtyard of the Renzo Piano-designed Times building once was. From the birch trees to the unbesmirched snow, its the sort of sight you would struggle to find even in Central Park, let alone Midtown. Excuse us for getting sentimental—it must be the eggnog—but these are the sort of moments that remind us of the power and import of good architecture.
I’m a Times Square avoider. It’s too crowded, clogged with slow moving tourists, for me to get where I need to go without being so frustrated that I swear to never return. On rare occasions, I succumb to the charm of the lights, but those moments are usually glimpsed from a distance, down a street corridor or out the window of a cab. But yesterday, on my way to an event in midtown, I chose to go through Times Square to see how it had changed since Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan’s recent street closure plan had been implemented. While I don’t think anything will persuade me to visit Times Square with any regularity, the mini plazas created by the closure of Broadway from 47th to 42nd streets go a long way in improving the place (Broadway from 35th to 33rd Streets in Herald Square was also closed). The increase in public space makes it much easier, and more pleasant, to walk through. The cheap lawn chairs—which look oddly right there, though they are already sagging from all the use—give people a place to relax and hang out, so that the square feels like a giant, and highly animated, street party. Sadik-Khan deserves credit for recognizing the potential lying under our feet and tires as well as the pent-up desire for public space in New York. The spaces are not designed—just some orange barriers and the chairs—so it will be interesting to see what DOT will do to make the plazas permanent. DOT is obviously making these improvements with very little money, but I hope that Times Square will get something beyond the standard-issue planters used elsewhere. It is a special place, special enough that I only need to pass through it a few times a year.
Correction: Apparently, we can't keep our Marc/ks straight. In a previous version of this post, quotes attributed to Bailly were incorrectly attributed to Gage. Apologies all around. UPDATE: We've added some shop photos Mark (not Marc) kindly sent over. While not quite a standalone building, digitally-driven firm (and 2006 New Practices winners) Gage/Clemceau Architects will celebrate its coming out on February 11, when Marc Clemenceau Bailly and Mark Foster Gage deliver their "Valentine to Times Square." As Bailly told AN, "This is our first big thing that we've built, outside of a few exhition pieces and some interiors work." The 10-foot tall, two-ton heart is made up of some rather high tech components, including two stainless-steel ventricles precision-cut with water jets by Milgo Bufkin and then layered with "Strawberry Ice" translucent Corian that was CNC-milled and then embedded with purple LEDs by Evans & Paul. "We wanted to make something to showcase some of the technologies we're up to," Bailly said. (The project, which will be up for about two weeks, is not only a promotional for the Times Square Alliance, but also Zales, which will be hosting some sort of "Profess Your Love" competition with the heart as a back drop.) As with all the firm's work, this one began with some pretty heavy-duty computer modelling. "The software is really freeing us from platonic geometries," Bailly said. "We're getting to the point where we can make the surfaces do all the work." He said he hopes this project will serve as a showcase of what the firm's approach can bring to a project, and thus attract interest for more ground-up work, perhaps even some buildings. "With the steel skin and the Corian plates--floor plates, if you will--it's almost like a small building," Bailly said. But not only is computer modelling helping Gage/Clemenceau push the boundaries of their designs, but also their production. Bailly said it's took just over a month--and during the busy holiday season no less--to design, mock-up, and fabricate the heart, which is currently being assembled in Long Island City. Given that the client ran short on time to produce a Christmas tree, the original idea presented by the Times Square Alliance, speed was especially important on the second go-round.. Bailly said he's psyched on the results thus far, though he can't wait to see the project installed in Times Square. "The shapes are right on, which is nice because it means everything worked," Bailly said. "But it'll still be interesting to see how everything goes, especially in Times Square, with all those lights, and all that intensity. The stainless steel will hopefully capture all that, but we won't know what that's like until it's up." "The name, 'Valentine to Times Square,' is really what it's all about," Bailly added. "It's really a gift to the city."