Posts tagged with "Water":

Washing your hands will never be the same with this award-winning faucet’s swirling lattice of water

If you're trying to up your faucet game and new fixtures just aren't doing the trick—we've got the perfect piece to impress your dinner guests when they visit the powder room. Simin Qiu, a student at the London Royal College of Art, has designed a faucet that releases water in an elegant latticework pattern. Finally, water from the tap won't just lazily fall into your sink basin, resigned to its dreary passage into the sewers; it will do it with pizzaz! To give the water that distinctive, swirling effect, Qiu used three ratchet wheels, two turbines, and two springs within the faucet. "The Swirl," as it is called, is not just designed to make water more aesthetically pleasing - it is designed to use less of it, too. Qiu said the one-touch fixture would put out 15 percent less water than the typical faucet. The Swirl won a 2014 iF Design concept award, and now Qiu is reportedly in the prototype stage of development. Speaking of cool water things, check out the video below that explains how a speaker and camera can be used to make water look like it is frozen in place. No, not like ice. Like frozen flowing water. [h/t Beautiful Decay]

The Key To Everything Green

Nashville Public Square, 2007 Green Roof & Wall Award of Excellence winner, Courtesy of Green Roofs for Healthy Cities / Hawkins Partners Landscape Architects. The green roof and wall industry has always been focused on the role of water—we can’t sustain green roofs and walls without it. The theme of this year’s CitiesAlive: Green Roof & Wall Conference is “Water: The Key To Everything Green.” Programming will explore how green roofs and walls can play a key role in onsite stormwater management and a more holistic approach to water use and reuse. Here are some great examples of why water will be the topic on everyone’s mind in Tennessee. Opening Plenary: The Great Debate—To Irrigate or Not To Irrigate The new LEED v4 outdoor water use reduction standards may trigger the removal of irrigation systems on green roofs. Is this good for projects? Or does it threaten viability and longevity? How will green roof and wall installations survive in the face of climate change and unpredictable weather patterns? Net Zero Water: Boot Camp Launch We are pleased to announce the roll out of the first two-day Net Zero Water Boot Camp, scheduled November 11-12 to kick off CitiesAlive. The courses cover everything from water capture and storage to treatment and reuse. Other ½ day training opportunities also available. Upgrade your professional expertise and earn CEUs in Nashville this fall. Industry Experts Take on The Water Theme Each year, CitiesAlive features up to 100 panel presenters that address the most up-to-date research, policy and design that drives excellence in the living architecture sector. This year is no exception, featuring two days of top notch programming. Rebecca Black is the director of business development at Green Roofs for Healthy Cities.  FIND OUT MORE There has never been a better time to come visit Music City. November 12-15, 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee. Learn more and register today at

Coming Soon to South Los Angeles: Green Alleys Will Promote Walking, Sustainability

Los Angeles’s alleys have a bad reputation. They’re perceived, rightly or wrongly, as dirty, dangerous places; havens for illicit activity. All that might change soon, thanks to a demonstration project planned for South Los Angeles' South Park neighborhood. Called the Avalon Green Alley Network Demonstration, the project aims to transform at least eight segments of alleyway into an inviting pedestrian thoroughfare. The Avalon project is an initiative of Parks for People—Los Angeles, a Trust for Public Land program that has been working toward a citywide green alleys program for four years, since the USC Center for Sustainable Cities released a report on Los Angeles’s alleys' potential as environmental and social resources. The report looked at green alleys programs in other large cities, including Chicago and Seattle, and concluded that LA’s 900 linear miles of alleys might be put to use solving another of the city’s major problems:  a shortage of public space. What does it mean to “green” an alley?  As Laura Ballock and Tori Kjer, both of Parks for People, explained, it’s more than just improving stormwater drainage or providing cafe seating. In South Park, alleys targeted for greening will receive one of two treatments. First-tier alleys will see asphalt pavement replaced with absorptive materials, to reduce stormwater runoff. They’ll also be planted with vegetation and fruit trees and accented with public art. The remaining alleys will be cleaned up and beautified with vines and artwork. One section of alley in the Avalon area will be transformed into a pedestrian mall, with vehicular access prohibited. As important as these physical changes to LA’s alleys may be, they won’t make a real difference unless the city’s residents embrace them.  To that end, Parks for People has already done extensive outreach in South Park.  According to Kjer, residents who hadn’t previously met their neighbors are working together, attending meetings and forming “green teams” to clean their alleys.  On the design side, the demonstration project will include pedestrian-scale elements and other graphic cues to encourage regular use.  “We want it to become something so that you don’t avoid alleys, but go down alleys because they look cool, and maybe are better than the sidewalk,” Ballock said. Parks for People chose South Los Angeles as the site of their green alley demonstration project because of the “possibility for real impact,” Kjer said.  The area, which has been neglected in previous rounds of infrastructure improvements, is notoriously park-poor.  In addition, its proximity to the Los Angeles River means that any reduction in stormwater runoff will aid the local ecology.  “We could’ve chosen alleys in a more affluent part of the city, where there would be less barriers to the project.  But for the Trust for Public Land, the mission is land for the people, Kjer said.  We haven’t even put a shovel in the ground yet, but the work already paying off.  It’s definitely worthwhile.”

Houston’s 1927 Buffalo Bayou Reservoir Digitally Mapped and Open for Reuse Proposals

During construction on the Buffalo Bayou Partnership's (BBP) Buffalo Bayou Park Shepherd to Sabine project—which began in 2010 and is seeking to transform the downtown park into a catalyst for making Houston a more livable city—workers rediscovered an underground concrete cistern that had been built in 1927 as the city's first drinking water reservoir. It performed decades of service before springing a leak that couldn't be located or contained, at which point the 87,500-square-foot subterranean chamber was sealed up and forgotten. Today, the old piece of infrastructure is an inspiring, if somewhat erie space. Accessed through manholes and 14-foot ladders, the man-made cavern features row upon row of cathedral-like 25-foot-tall columns standing in several inches of still water. BBP would like to see the space adaptively reused, but such an endeavor currently lies outside the scope of its Shepherd to Sabine project. So to drum up interest in renovating the space, the organization commissioned Houston company SmartGeoMetrics to create a 3D fly-through of the cistern.

On View> MoMA Takes a Shower With New Rain Room Installation

The gentle drumming sound of rainfall is one that many of us find soothing, but it is a natural phenomena that we can only experience at a safe distance without suffering the consequence of being drenched. With their one-of-a-kind installation, Rain Room, the designers at rAndom international made what you thought was impossible possible—presenting anyone who is curious for a new sensation with the opportunity to fully experience standing unprotected in the rain without ever getting wet. This novel, experiential installation has been on view in London at The Barbican’s The Curve Gallery since last October and received showers of praise from visitors, some of  who determinedly waited on line for 12 hours just to see the installation. On May 12, the installation, which was allegedly well worth the wait, will move to New York City where it will temporarily make a new home for itself at the Museum of Modern Art. In order to create this surreal experience, the designers used a one hundred square meter grid of continuous pouring water. As visitors meander through the space, they are given the illusion that they are in control of the rain. The designers implemented a sophisticated tracking sensor that immediately responds to the movements and presence of a human body, instantly forcing the water valves overhead to seal (at super-high speeds) while all around them it continues to rain. Visitors are able to walk through the torrential downpour, enjoy the tranquil sound of a falling rain, and feel the moisture rise around them, without a drop of water ever touching their skin. This remarkable installation leaves people walking away dry and feeling as if they've witnessed a truly magical experience.

Addressing Water Scarcity at A+D

Last Thursday, we visited the opening of the A+D Museum's new show, Drylands Design. While politicians squabble about oil and other resources, the show drives home the point that water is the reserve that will become the most fraught in the future as populations increase and climate change worsens. The Arid Lands Institute at Woodbury University culled the exhibit from the winners of their Drylands Design Competition, which encouraged architects, engineers, and urban designers to respond to the challenges of coming water scarcity. While some were a bit too complex for the average museum-goer, most proposals could improve aesthetics and quality of life while also addressing water issues. Professional Honor Merit Award Winner, Tom Kasbau, proposed re-introducing "vernal pools," nutrient-rich wetlands, along the LA River corridor and near freeway underpasses and other infrastructure. Solar panels along such infrastructure (i.e. the river's banks) would power desalinization systems, returning freshwater into the city's reservoirs and into adjacent farms. Student Honor Merit Award winner Rebecca Lederer proposed "New Man's Land," a system of wetlands, treatment facilities, riparian community spaces, and groundwater wells along the length of the US-Mexico Border. The focus will be on 14 "sister cities" along the border, which would share water resources and, just as important, create a sense of community across the international divide. To see more of these proposals visit here or better still go to the A+D Museum before the show closes on April 26.

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.