Archinect - News 2015-12-01T22:32:00-05:00 A global shift towards a vegan diet is necessary to stave off the worst of climate change, says new UN report Nicholas Korody 2015-11-25T23:12:00-05:00 >2015-12-01T01:10:22-05:00 <img src="" width="514" height="351" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>A global shift towards a vegan diet is vital to save the world from hunger, fuel poverty and the worst impacts of climate change, a UN report said today. As the global population surges towards a predicted 9.1 billion people by 2050, western tastes for diets rich in meat and dairy products are unsustainable, says the report from United Nations Environment Programme's (UNEP) international panel of sustainable resource management.</p></em><br /><br /><p>"Professor Edgar Hertwich, the lead author of the report, said: 'Animal products cause more damage than [producing] construction minerals such as sand or cement, plastics or metals. Biomass and crops for animals are as damaging as [burning] fossil fuels.'"<br><br><strong>Related coverage:</strong></p><ul><li><a title="Unchecked climate change will make the Gulf uninhabitable, claims new study" href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Unchecked climate change will make the Gulf uninhabitable, claims new study</a></li><li><a title="Major international companies to set targets to switch to renewable energy" href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Major international companies to set targets to switch to renewable energy</a></li><li><a title="Architecture of the Anthropocene, Part 1" href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Architecture of the Anthropocene, Part 1</a></li></ul> Has London finally found a Thames bridge that everyone can get behind? Nicholas Korody 2015-11-25T04:39:00-05:00 >2015-12-01T00:56:24-05:00 <img src="" width="514" height="363" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>You wait years for a new bridge across the Thames then three come along at once. Joining the controversial garden bridge and a plan for a crossing between Nine Elms and Pimlico, both of which have fierce opponents, comes a proposal unveiled today for a new pedestrian and cycle bridge between Rotherhithe and the Isle of Dogs in east London that hasn&rsquo;t aroused a single objection &ndash; yet. There&rsquo;s a good reason why: of the three plans, it makes by far the most sense.</p></em><br /><br /><p><img title="" alt="" src=""><br><img title="" alt="" src=""><br><img title="" alt="" src=""><br><img title="" alt="" src=""><img title="" alt="" src=""><br><img title="" alt="" src=""><br>&nbsp;</p> Scientists create first detailed map of Earth's hidden groundwater Alexander Walter 2015-11-24T12:07:00-05:00 >2015-12-01T00:00:25-05:00 <img src="" width="514" height="232" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>A new study has, for the first time, estimated the total volume of groundwater present on the Earth. The results show that we're using up the water supply quicker than it can be naturally replaced, while future research will seek to determine exactly how long it will be until modern groundwater runs dry. Groundwater is an extremely precious resource, being a key source of sustenance for humanity and the ecosystems we inhabit.</p></em><br /><br /><p>(Ground)water-related articles on Archinect:</p><ul><li><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">And the winners of Archinect's Dry Futures competition, "Pragmatic" category, are...</a></li><li><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">And the winners of Archinect's Dry Futures competition, "Speculative" category, are...</a></li><li><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">How is water used in California?</a></li><li><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">World Faces Water Crisis in Less Than 30 Years</a></li><li><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Chinese Cities Are Sinking Due to Excess Groundwater Use and Rapid Growth</a></li></ul> Venice Biennale director Alejandro Aravena: "Our challenge must be to go beyond architecture." Alexander Walter 2015-11-20T12:04:00-05:00 >2015-11-30T23:14:02-05:00 <img src="" width="514" height="338" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>As architects, we are living at a time of shifting paradigms. [...] It&rsquo;s why I&rsquo;m so interested in how architects and urban planners engage with other fields &ndash; economics, security, the environment and so on. Our challenge must be to go beyond architecture and speak the languages of these other disciplines, before translating our discussions into formal design proposals. [...] Our ultimate focus is still on form, but what informs this has expanded dramatically.</p></em><br /><br /><p>Just a few key takeaways from Alejandro Aravena's piece for <em>The Guardian</em>:</p><ul><li>"As curator of <em>Reporting From The Front</em>, I want to reverse the idea that the Biennale only deals with issues that are of interest to other architects. We have begun by identifying problems that every citizen can not only understand but actually has a say in: immigration, water, land capacity, waste and so on."</li><li>"Unlike military wars where nobody wins and there is a prevailing sense of defeat, however, on the frontlines of the built environment there is a sense of vitality, because architecture is about looking at reality in a proposal key. We should never forget that design can be a very powerful tool in mobilising people to act."</li><li>"There are new actors in this story &ndash; not least those property developers who use buildings to chase huge profits. But we are interested in how architecture can introduce a broader notion of gain: design as added value instead of an extra cost; architecture as a shortcut towards equality...</li></ul> BIG unveils 28-acre master plan for Pittsburgh's Lower Hill District Julia Ingalls 2015-11-19T14:03:00-05:00 >2015-11-26T11:15:32-05:00 <img src="" width="514" height="332" border="0" title="" alt="" /><p>A meandering urban flow lies at the heart of <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">BIG</a>'s master plan for <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Pittsburgh</a>, which is appropriate since the plan's primary function is to connect the Hill District to the city's downtown core. Collaborating with&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">West 8</a> (landscape architecture) and <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Atelier Ten</a> (sustainability), BIG's master plan includes 1.2 million square feet of residential space and 1.25 million square feet of office, retail, and hotel space.</p><p><img title="" alt="" src=""></p><p>As <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Bjarke Ingels</a> explained, "The masterplan for the Lower Hill District is created by supplementing the existing street grid with a new network of parks and paths shaped to optimize the sloping hill side for human accessibility for all generations. The paths are turned and twisted to&nbsp;always find a gentle sloping path leading pedestrians and bicyclists comfortably up and down the hillside. The resulting urban fabric combines a green network of effortless circulation with a quirky character reminiscent of a historical downtown."</p><p><img title="" alt="" src=""></p><p><img title="" alt="" src=""></p><p><img title="" alt="" src=""></p><p>In an attempt to incorporate the aesthetics of th...</p> Can Silicon Valley save the Bay Area? Nicholas Korody 2015-11-17T19:09:00-05:00 >2015-11-18T23:13:42-05:00 <img src="" width="514" height="399" border="0" title="" alt="" /><p>The subject of a thousand think pieces and endless dinner table conversations, the considerable changes unleashed on the Bay Area by the tech industry over the past few decades are pretty undeniable. An influx of money &ndash; and its attendant culture &ndash; has remade San Francisco and the valley to its south largely in its own image, and has touched just about every other city in the Bay in some way.<br><br>But even bigger changes for the Bay Area are on the horizon, as is made clear in a new "interactive documentary" entitled&nbsp;<em>The Water at Bay. </em>Comprising a map, videos, and text, the website highlights&nbsp;the risks posed to region by rising sea levels, and waCs created in part by a coalition of Silicon Valley business leaders.<br><br>Can the same forces blamed for ruining the Bay Area now come to its rescue?<br><br><img title="" alt="" src=""><br><br>In order to educate local people about the dangers and challenges posed by rising sea levels, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group teamed up with the Bay Area Council and Save the Bay under the banner&nbsp;<em><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Our B...</a></em></p> A young designer rethinking how we memorialize collective trauma Nicholas Korody 2015-11-17T13:46:00-05:00 >2015-11-18T23:12:54-05:00 <img src="" width="514" height="342" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>[Sara Zewde] argues that while the traditional monument commemorates a singular event or individual by placing an object in a space that is a break from its surroundings, the 400-year practice of African enslavement demands a different approach. &ldquo;For Afro-descended people, you wake up every day with the legacy of slavery,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;How do you deal with that spatially?&rdquo; One approach is to translate cultural practices into spatial ones.</p></em><br /><br /><p><img title="" alt="" src=""><br><img title="" alt="" src=""></p> London Garden Bridge will track visitors' phone signals, submitted plan says Alexander Walter 2015-11-11T04:00:00-05:00 >2015-11-11T12:16:07-05:00 <img src="" width="514" height="340" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>Visitors to the garden bridge in London will be tracked by their mobile phone signals and supervised by staff with powers to take people&rsquo;s names and addresses and confiscate and destroy banned items, including kites and musical instruments, according to a planning document. [...] Caroline Pidgeon [...] said she feared the bridge was following &ldquo;a worrying trend of the privatisation of public places, where the rights of private owners trump those of ordinary people&rdquo;.</p></em><br /><br /><p>Previously on Archinect:</p><ul><li><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">London Garden Bridge wins new supporters with revised funding deal</a></li><li><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Further legal setbacks for London Garden Bridge</a></li><li><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Cheeky "A Folly for London" winners announced</a></li></ul> Fatal shores? Sea snakes wash up on Southern California beaches Nicholas Korody 2015-11-10T18:38:00-05:00 >2015-11-11T12:39:23-05:00 <img src="" width="514" height="386" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>For the first time since the early 1970s, a highly venomous sea snake has turned up on a southern California beach&mdash;the latest in a string of unusual wildlife sightings, including hammerhead sharks and red-footed boobies. Though a bite from this yellow-bellied snake can theoretically be lethal, shutting down all nerve signals to the respiratory system, &ldquo;Jaws&rdquo; this is not: the snake attacks only when provoked, and no one has ever documented a human fatality from Pelamis platura.</p></em><br /><br /><p>According to <em>the Economist</em>, the sea snakes and other unusual sea creatures popping up along the coast of Southern California are a symptom of the emergence of a mass of warm water, which may likely lead up to one of the most intense El Ni&ntilde;o's in memory.<br><br>"This snake, which typically lives in tropical waters, has never before turned up so far north (in this hemisphere at least). While it is not clear what has brought it to Ventura County, experts say its arrival is a symptom of the record high ocean temperatures along the west coast. The phenomenon, climate scientists say, appeared in 2013 with the emergence of &ldquo;the blob&rdquo;, a large mass of warm water (four or five degrees Fahrenheit hotter than average) in the Pacific Ocean."</p> In honor of Guy Fawkes Day, check out these semi-regular communal fires Julia Ingalls 2015-11-05T13:42:00-05:00 >2015-11-06T00:50:53-05:00 <img src="" width="514" height="745" border="0" title="" alt="" /><p>November 5th marks the celebration of <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Guy Fawkes day</a> in the U.K., in which bonfires are lit to celebrate the capture of the titular royal traitor and the subsequent preservation of the life of King James I in 1605.&nbsp;</p><p><img title="" alt="" src=""></p><p>Of course, lighting things on fire to commemorate dates isn't limited to the Brits: every October 30th, <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Detroit, Michigan</a> braces for "Devil's Night," where structures are randomly torched by vandals and other assorted ne'er-do-wells. The night originally had gentler, more mischevious overtones when it began in the 1930s, but reached a dangerous zenith in the 1980s. By 1995, the mayor of Detroit launched "Angel's Night" to combat the fires, although acts of arson still occur.</p><p><img title="" alt="" src=""></p><p><img title="" alt="" src=""></p><p><img title="" alt="" src=""></p><p>And then there's&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Burning Man</a>, the annual desert concert/DIY/pop-up village held at the tail end of August in Nevada in which giant artworks (and many of the attendees) get toasted.</p> Geoff Manaugh, Smout Allen, and co. investigate the future of Los Angeles in a new exhibition at the USC Libraries Nicholas Korody 2015-10-28T15:39:00-04:00 >2015-10-31T05:34:38-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="335" border="0" title="" alt="" /><p>It&rsquo;s 2040, and Los Angeles has just begun to recover from a devastating epidemic that wiped out much of its population. Former residents slowly trickle back, alongside new immigrants drawn to the city&rsquo;s surplus housing stock. But at a lab in Westwood, epidemiologists fear the disease is mutating and could potentially return&hellip;</p><p>At least that&rsquo;s one possibility. Alternatively, the city may triple in population and expand into the Pacific Northwest. Immigrants may flock to Southern California from Chelyabinsk Oblast in Russia. Or, contrarily, officials may exploit census data to facilitate mass deportations. &nbsp;</p><p><img title="" alt="" src=""><br><img title="" alt="" src=""><br><br>These are some of the many possible future scenarios for Los Angeles imagined in&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><em>L.A.T.B.D.</em></a>, a project by writer <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Geoff Manaugh</a> in collaboration with the London-based studio <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Smout Allen</a>&nbsp;&ndash;&nbsp;comprised of Mark Smout and Laura Allen &ndash;&nbsp;and <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Jeff Watson</a>, the Assistant Professor of Interactive Media and Games at the University of Southern California, with input from a host of other experts incl...</p> Does Frank Gehry – or his firm – have what it takes to save the LA River? Nicholas Korody 2015-10-26T18:06:00-04:00 >2015-10-31T17:20:01-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="350" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>When Mayor Garcetti announced Gehry&rsquo;s appointment, he declared him to be the &ldquo;Olmsted of our time,&rdquo; referring to godfather of landscape design, Frederick Law Olmsted, creator of New York City&rsquo;s Central Park. He is nothing of the sort. As Gehry himself admitted: &ldquo;I told them I&rsquo;m not a landscape guy.&rdquo; What he might prove to be is the funding-friendly, catch-all solution to pulling the river&rsquo;s statutory partners together to make something happen.</p></em><br /><br /><p>"If he can suppress his expensively eye-catching cliches and channel the spirit of his early work &ndash; when he was a rough-and-ready bricoleur of everyday LA, a magician of chain-link fencing and corrugated sheeting &ndash; he might well be the man for the job. Like the rest of this chaotic infrastructure-riven mess of a city, the LA river&rsquo;s character as a seductive, abrasive edgeland must be celebrated for what it is."<br><br><strong>Related coverage:</strong></p><ul><li>"<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">They should grow up": Frank Gehry to critics of his involvement with the L.A. River</a></li><li><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">How is water used in California?</a></li><li><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">What if the California drought continues?</a></li><li><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Gehry to prioritize hydrology in LA River revitalization strategy</a></li><li><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Gehry enlisted to masterplan LA River redevelopment</a></li></ul> Dawn of the self-driving car: testing out Tesla's autopilot function Nicholas Korody 2015-10-21T18:48:00-04:00 >2015-10-22T19:23:44-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="241" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>Using cruise control, you can set the [Tesla] to a particular speed and it will accelerate and turn within a lane in a straight line. It will dodge cars attempting to swerve into your lane, objects that it can see, pedestrians or fellow drivers simply trying to swerve into you because you&rsquo;re an obnoxious prick with a Tesla blasting Party Rock Anthem. [...] It can&rsquo;t, however, direct you along every street...</p></em><br /><br /><!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><head><meta></head></html> A Tale of two cities: The archipelago and the enclave Orhan Ayyüce 2015-10-19T14:33:00-04:00 >2015-10-24T16:25:49-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="337" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>The question to be addressed by confronting these different types of &lsquo;enclaves&rsquo;, is of the role of architect and the scarce influence of the architectural practice to affect the social realm. The intangible architectures that emerge from these urban ecologies create a wider system; an archipelago of enclaves can be found from one place to another, from one epoch to the next one</p></em><br /><br /><p>A big picture on "enclaves and archipelagos as built environment and social realities cities need to ultimately adopt and use these systems in their developmental urban design projects.&nbsp;</p><p>"This is a tale of two cities. One, designed and dreamt by the architect. The other, the result of regional, political and economic border disputes. The intangible architectures that conceptually emerge when we think on the relationship between the physical geography and the human geography, can be found in both cases through the notion of enclave. One, an architectural proposal, well designed and trying to challenge the rules of urban planning on those years. The latter, an example of several worldwide studies where the geopolitical situation provokes the creation of &lsquo;a city in the city&rsquo; &mdash;in Ungers&rsquo; words&mdash; by the enclaves that conforms these contemporary archipelagos of exclusion." [1]</p><p>[1]Florian Hertweck and S&eacute;bastien Marot (eds.),&nbsp;<em>The City in the City, Berlin: a Green Archipelago</em>&nbsp;(Lars M&uuml;ller Publi...</p> California or Mars? Test how well you can spot your own planet from the red planet Nicholas Korody 2015-10-14T14:08:00-04:00 >2015-10-14T15:13:00-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="289" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>Sure, California has a lot more drinkable liquid water than Mars, and we hope it stays that way. But we couldn't help but notice some similarities between the landscapes of the Red Planet and the Golden State. After all, JPL scientists use California's deserts as a stand in for testing Mars rovers. How well can you tell these two arid places apart? Take this quiz to find out. No space suit required.</p></em><br /><br /><p><img title="" alt="" src=""><img title="" alt="" src=""><br><img title="" alt="" src=""><br><img title="" alt="" src=""><br><img title="" alt="" src=""></p> A plan to clean up the River Spree around Museum Island in Berlin Nicholas Korody 2015-10-13T17:31:00-04:00 >2015-10-24T00:39:42-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="308" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>A proposal under consideration here called the Flussbad (&ldquo;river pool&rdquo;) would clean up a filthy canal, part of the River Spree, that flows around the tourist-mobbed Museum Island. The plan would add new wetlands and some place the public can literally dive into. Despite detractors who picture Berlin&rsquo;s cultural center being upstaged by the equivalent of one long, riotous water-filled bouncy castle, the idea, which has been around for a while, is gaining momentum.</p></em><br /><br /><p><img title="" alt="" src=""><br><br>Over the past few decades and across the globe, cities have been increasingly reimagining their waterways and -fronts. Hydrologic infrastructure projects, from&nbsp;Cheonggyecheon in Seoul to the LA River Revitalization Project (<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">to be helmed by Frank Gehry</a>),&nbsp;have the potential to inspire renewed relationships between urbanites and their city.<br><br>But they also run the risk of becoming subsumed in preexisting, local political conflicts &ndash; sometimes draining the city's coffers in the process.<br><img title="" alt="" src=""><br><img title="" alt="" src=""><br><img title="" alt="" src=""><br><br>The Flussbad plan for Berlin proposes cleaning up a section of the canal that runs around Museum Island and connects into the River Spree.<br><br>Imagined by the design firm <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">realities:united</a>,&nbsp;the plan could include a sandy bottom and new plantings to filter the polluted water, making it safe enough for swimming at a beach in front of the landmark museums.</p><p><img title="" alt="" src=""><br><img title="" alt="" src=""><br><img title="" alt="" src=""><br><br>Notably, the plan is backed by a diverse coalition of figures spanning the political spectrum, alongside architects, planners, and environmentalists, which could si...</p> The 27 patterns that make up the world's cities and suburbs Amelia Taylor-Hochberg 2015-10-09T12:30:00-04:00 >2015-10-23T21:24:08-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="726" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>What's interesting about these 27 categories that Wheeler has defined, covering the full range of development patterns in two dozen metropolitan regions he has studied worldwide, is that most of them are new. [..] "We have had an explosion of different types of built landscapes in the last century," says Wheeler, who is working on a book about these patterns.</p></em><br /><br /><p>An example of the patterns identified by Stephen Wheeler, professor at UC Davis' Department of Human Ecology,&nbsp;culled from meticulous work with Google satellite imagery:</p><p><img title="" alt="" src=""></p><p>You can view more of his maps <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">here</a>.</p> Wim Wenders discusses the role of architecture and landscape in his films Julia Ingalls 2015-10-08T14:06:00-04:00 >2015-10-23T23:04:03-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="328" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>I slowly became more and more of a storyteller and less and less of a painter until I embraced film-making as the only profession that really included everything I liked. It was photography and architecture, music and writing and acting&mdash;everything I liked together into one package that was called &ldquo;film-making&rdquo;.</p></em><br /><br /><p>In an interview with The Economist, film director <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Wim Wenders</a> speaks about the relationship of landscape and architecture in his work, and how focusing on a scene absent of anyone often amplifies the stories of everyone.&nbsp;</p><p><img title="" alt="" src=""></p><p>"I try to make places tell their stories about us," he says. Indeed: from "Paris, Texas" to "<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Wings of Desire</a>" to "Pina," Wenders' filmmaking agilely pairs emotional and physical terrain.</p><p><img title="" alt="" src=""></p> Pop quiz, hot shot: identify these world cities from above Amelia Taylor-Hochberg 2015-10-05T17:58:00-04:00 >2015-10-08T22:53:26-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="308" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>We&rsquo;ve stripped out the street names and lost the labels &ndash; but can you still recognise the cities from their aerial views?</p></em><br /><br /><p>This exercise in aerial recognition comes in quiz form, where the viewer must guess the city pictured in a monochrome-treated satellite image of an urban grid. Identifying some cities is far easier than others &ndash; the quiz will tell you how your response stacks up against others'.</p> Future Not Found: a "para-tour" of the Chicago Board of Trade led by GRNASFCK Nicholas Korody 2015-09-30T14:45:00-04:00 >2015-10-08T01:07:20-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="347" border="0" title="" alt="" /><p>The Chicago Biennial is set to launch this weekend with a flurry of events and exhibitions, including Archinect's live podcasting event <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Next Up</a>. Alongside the Biennial&rsquo;s programming are a slew of periphery events located around the city and spanning the spectrum of architectural topics. Near the top of our list is&nbsp;<em>Future Not Found</em>, a "para-tour" of the&nbsp;Chicago Board of Trade led by Dry Futures jury members <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">GRNASFCK</a>&nbsp;on Friday morning.</p><p>Last year, we <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">profiled</a> <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">GRNASFCK</a>, a nomadic landscape architecture studio that operates along the borderlands of ecology&nbsp;and architecture and focuses on&nbsp;"the geologic past and speculative future."&nbsp;Led by Colleen Tuite and Ian Quated, GRNASFCK leads research expeditions across diverse landscapes, with an eye towards the invisible forces that shape our cities &ndash; from extremophile bacteria to resource speculation.</p><p><img title="" alt="" src=""><br><br>Abandoning their sampling kits for the weekend (or maybe not), Tuite and Quate will lead an archaeologic tour of the world's largest futures and opt...</p> Tarmac has invented a "thirsty concrete," to help mitigate flooding Nicholas Korody 2015-09-28T16:57:00-04:00 >2015-09-30T13:55:07-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="212" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>During the first few weeks of August 2007, the American Midwest was devastated by heavy and repeated flash flooding as a result of Hurricane Dean and Tropical Storm Erin dumping massive amounts of rain on several states. And of the US$549 million or so in property damage that came from it, more than two-thirds was caused by water running off pavements or overflowing from drainage systems. So what's the solution?</p></em><br /><br /><p>Alongside a video that's quickly circulating on social media, Tarmac has announced a new type of porous concrete meant to help mitigate flooding by absorbing water.<br><br>Capable of taking in some 4,000 litres in the first minute and an average of 600 liters per minute, per meter squared, the concrete has been named "Topmix Permeable."</p><p>The material comprises a permeable surface layer of large pebbles, with an "attenuation layer" below that diverts the water flow back to groundwater and drainage systems, helping to not only prevent flooding, but reduce waste as well.&nbsp;<br><br>Alas &ndash; the concrete wouldn't work in freezing temperatures, so it's only really applicable for regions that are both temperate and vulnerable to flooding.&nbsp;</p><p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">h/t Science Alert</a><br><br>Check out the video below:<br>&nbsp;</p> NASA discovers liquid water on Mars Nicholas Korody 2015-09-28T14:57:00-04:00 >2015-09-28T16:27:45-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="267" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>&ldquo;It took multiple spacecraft over several years to solve this mystery, and now we know there is liquid water on the surface of this cold, desert planet,&rdquo; said Michael Meyer, lead scientist for NASA&rsquo;s Mars Exploration Program at the agency&rsquo;s headquarters in Washington. &ldquo;It seems that the more we study Mars, the more we learn how life could be supported and where there are resources to support life in the future.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p></em><br /><br /><p>In an announcement made this morning, NASA stated that the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has detected "the strongest evidence yet" of liquid water on the fourth planet from the Sun.&nbsp;<br><br>The new evidence emerged from data collected by an imaging spectrometer mounted on the spacecraft, which was launched in 2005 and has been orbiting Mars since 2006. According to the announcement, "researchers detected signatures of hydrated minerals on slopes where mysterious streaks are seen on the Red Planet." The signatures appear to corroborate existing hypotheses.</p><p>Known as recurring slop lineae (RSL), the streaks seem to ebb and flow, apparently in accord with seasonal fluctuations. Previously suggested as an indicator of the presence of water, the discovery of hydrated salts further validates this idea.</p><p><img title="" alt="" src=""><br><br>The salts &ndash; likely a mixture of magnesium perchlorate, magnesium chlorate, and sodium perchlorate &ndash; would help lower the freezing point of what is likely a subsurface flow that occasionally breach...</p> Explore Manhattan When It Was Just Forests and Creeks With the 1609 Welikia Map Alyssa Alimurung 2015-09-28T14:29:00-04:00 >2015-09-28T14:28:57-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="325" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>The Welikia Project, formerly known as the Mannahatta Project, has gotten a powerful update that now lets you explore New York City's historic ecology using a satellite map that imagines how Manhattan might have looked back in 1609&mdash;and all the years between then and now.</p></em><br /><br /><!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><head><meta></head></html> L.A.'s urban heat island effect accounts for temperatures up to 19 degrees hotter Amelia Taylor-Hochberg 2015-09-22T17:44:00-04:00 >2015-09-28T23:55:22-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="397" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>the greater L.A. area sees more additional heat than any other region, in part because of how urbanized it is. [...] Solutions include planting more trees and bushes, painting roofs white so they don&rsquo;t absorb as much heat and using lighter colored concrete on streets and sidewalks.</p></em><br /><br /><!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><head><meta></head></html> Rotterdam's smog transformed into jewelry thanks to an outdoor air filter Julia Ingalls 2015-09-17T15:21:00-04:00 >2015-09-28T23:36:51-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="343" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>After [the 23-foot-tall air filter designed by Daan Roosegaarde] filters smog from the air, it compresses the collected waste particles into cubes that can be embedded into jewelry such as rings and cufflinks &mdash; and, hopefully, prompt further conversations about extreme air pollution.</p></em><br /><br /><p>For more on how designers are creatively tackling pollution:</p><p>&bull;&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Delhi&rsquo;s air pollution is worse than Beijing's. A new app measures the air quality in real time.</a></p><p>&bull;&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Beijing mayor says air pollution makes his city "unlivable"</a></p><p>&bull;&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Air Pollution Google Earth Mashup</a></p><p><img title="" alt="" src=""></p><p><img title="" alt="" src=""></p> A world divided: mapping border fences globally Nicholas Korody 2015-09-17T13:31:00-04:00 >2015-09-28T21:31:27-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="381" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>Europe will soon have more physical barriers on its national borders than it did during the Cold War.&nbsp;This year&rsquo;s refugee crisis, combined with Ukraine's ongoing conflict with Russia, has seen governments plan and construct border walls and security fences across Mediterranean&nbsp;and eastern Europe... Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, 40 countries around the world have built fences against 64 of their neighbours.</p></em><br /><br /><p>The Economist takes a look at the world's borders, (mostly) new and old. Of the 40 countries that have built physical border walls since the fall of the Berlin Wall, 30 of those happened after 9/11, and 15 this year alone. Check it out the interactive graphic&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">here</a>.<br><br><img title="" alt="" src=""><br><img title="" alt="" src=""><br><br>Related coverage:</p><ul><li><a title="Passage: an architectural intervention to span the Mediterranean Sea" href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Passage: an architectural intervention to span the Mediterranean Sea</a></li><li><a title="From asylum seeker to award-winning architect: the story of Perparim Rama" href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">From asylum seeker to award-winning architect: the story of Perparim Rama</a></li><li><a title="What Does the Syrian Refugee Crisis Mean to Architecture?" href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">What Does the Syrian Refugee Crisis Mean to Architecture?</a><br>&nbsp;</li></ul> Study finds antibacterial soap no more effective than regular soap Nicholas Korody 2015-09-17T11:22:00-04:00 >2015-09-18T08:58:34-04:00 <img src="" width="500" height="375" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>Scientists in Korea have discovered that using antibacterial soap when hand-washing is no more effective than using plain soap, according to a paper published today in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy... The study examined the effect of triclosan...on bacteria in two ways. The first was to examine the bactericidal effects of triclosan in soaps against all 20 strains, and the second compared the ability of antibacterial and non-antibacterial soap to remove bacteria from human hands...</p></em><br /><br /><p>For related Archinect articles:</p><ul><li><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Between Sampling and Dowsing: Field Notes from GRNASFCK</a></li><li><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Architecture of the Anthropocene, Pt. 2: Haunted Houses, Living Buildings, and Other Horror Stories</a></li><li><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Even bacteria are architects</a></li></ul> "Grassroots Cactivism," 1st place winner in Dry Futures Speculative category Nicholas Korody 2015-09-16T14:00:00-04:00 >2015-11-22T15:41:25-05:00 <img src="" width="514" height="274" border="0" title="" alt="" /><p><em><strong>Grassroots Cactivism</strong></em>, by Ali Chen<br><br><img title="" alt="" src=""></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>California is entering the fourth year of an epic drought. Urban households have reduced water usage by 25%. However, legislation does not apply to farmers, while 80% of the state's water usage goes towards agricultural production. A large percentage of that water goes towards crops that feed livestock. Efforts to conserve water need to target these water-intensive aspects of the farming industry.</p><p>California's unique arid and mediterranean climate plays host to a variety of indigenous species. Among these is the drought-tolerant nopales cactus, otherwise known as the prickly pear. It has existed as a food source in local culinary traditions for many centuries, and is also commonly used as fodder for livestock in times of drought.</p><p><br><br><img title="" alt="" src=""></p><p>There is another lesser-known use of the nopales: its pulp acts as a cleaning agent for water. Locals in Mexico have often dumped the water used to cook cactus into polluted rivers and streams. The 'mucilage' or inner cactus ...</p> "Urban Swales: Subterranean Reservoir Network for Los Angeles," 2nd place winner in Dry Futures Speculative category Nicholas Korody 2015-09-16T14:00:00-04:00 >2015-10-06T12:42:57-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="386" border="0" title="" alt="" /><p><em><strong>Urban Swales: Subterranean Reservoir Network for Los Angeles</strong></em>, by&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Geofutures @ Rensselaer School of Architecture</a> / Muhammad Ahmad Khan (student); Chris Perry (program director), Ted Ngai, Fleet Hower, Kelly Winn, Lydia Xynogala (program faculty).&nbsp;Acknowledgements: Evan Douglis, Dean of the Rensselaer School of Architecture.</p><p><img title="" alt="" src=""></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Urban Swales proposes a series of medium-scale urban excavations throughout the City of Los Angeles, micro-reservoirs that, in addition to collecting periodic storm water runoff for remediation, storage, and redistribution to local communities, provides a new typology of shaded &ldquo;urban caverns&rdquo; for human as well as nonhuman forms of occupation. As such, Urban Swales not only functions as a distributed form of water management infrastructure, the general ambition of which is intended to relieve the city&rsquo;s excessive dependence on imported water, but a new form of public space and wildlife refuge as well.<br><br><img title="" alt="" src=""></p><p>Located at select intersections throughout the city, these &ldquo;swal...</p> "Analogue Sustainability: The Climate Refugees of San Francisco," 3rd place winner in Dry Futures Speculative category Nicholas Korody 2015-09-16T14:00:00-04:00 >2015-09-21T00:14:22-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="528" border="0" title="" alt="" /><p><em><strong>Analogue Sustainability: 'The Climate Refugees of San Francisco,'</strong></em> by Rosa&nbsp;Prichard<br><br><img title="" alt="" src=""><br><br>The project is sited on Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay. The scheme tackles the Californian paradox of too much vs too little water. While the area is in a state of drought, San Francisco Bay is still at risk of flooding both from seasonal heavy rainfall and rising sea levels. The project is an inhabited flood defence wall that wraps around the island, housing those displaced by rising sea levels in the bay. A field condition of maize is planted over the island to draw out the radiation remaining from the island&rsquo;s naval occupation. The island becomes a self-sustaining system, where analogue technologies that hark back to industrial mechanisms are used. The island offers a celebration of a more simple and natural way of life, in contrast to that of San Francisco and Silicon Valley.<br><br><img title="" alt="" src=""></p><p>Sustainable systems of water purification and energy production become central to the building. The burning of the maiz...</p>