MIT startup creates camouflage solar panels
Founded at the MIT Sloan School of Management, Sistine creates custom solar panels designed to mimic home facades and other environments, with aims of enticing more homeowners to install photovoltaic systems.
Sistine’s novel technology, SolarSkin, is a layer that can be imprinted with any image and embedded into a solar panel without interfering with the panel’s efficacy. Homeowners can match their rooftop or a grassy lawn.
— MIT News
The product caters to the growing "aesthetic solar" market which tries to attract homeowners that are considering going solar but fear the aesthetic impact of the traditional, bleak-looking dark solar panels on their home's appearance. Just last fall, Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed a line of glass... View full entry
Mithun's Wanapum Heritage Center nabs 2 awards, honors Native Am tribe
Just off the Columbia River, the Wanapum Heritage Center is a home for Wanapum culture and artifacts. The building form weaves solidity and light, from a protective repository enclosure that references traditional cliffside cave storage spaces to the glazed welcome area that evokes traditional fishing lanterns. The entry path aligns with the equinox sunrise, a Wanapum 'marker'. The center houses archival items alongside recording studios for oral history, and new gathering spaces.
— Mithun, an integrated design firm
History of the Present: Mexico City
An unpopular president, a myth-making architect, and a multibillionaire tycoon are building an oversize airport in a nature preserve. Can they make Mexico great again?
— Places Journal
The progressive capital of Mexico has a long history of massive infrastructure projects — megaproyectos — with egalitarian aims. Daniel Brook looks at the social, political, and environmental issues surrounding the latest — a $13bn new airport rising on a sinking lakebed. This article... View full entry
Got wood? Meet Australia's tallest (proposed) timber building
Combine cross laminated timber, glue laminated timber, and the desire to connect with nature while providing ample creative working space, and you have the 5 King Tower, a 52-meter timber structure with the strength of concrete and steel (but a much smaller carbon footprint).The 5 King tower... View full entry
Perfectionists versus contractors: the details of building the Apple Campus
One of the most vexing features was the doorways, which Apple wanted to be perfectly flat, with no threshold. The construction team pushed back, but Apple held firm. The rationale? If engineers had to adjust their gait while entering the building, they risked distraction from their work, according to a former construction manager.
“We spent months trying not to do that because that’s time, money and stuff that’s never been done before,” the former construction manager said.
Although detail-obsessed architects can often find working with broad-strokes contractors to be challenging, there's one group of designers with perhaps even more rigorous attention to detail: the team at Apple. According to this article in Reuters, the actual building of the "spaceship" Apple... View full entry
Brexit-lash: RIBA announces 60% of U.K. architects have seen projects delayed/cancelled
The effects of last summer's Brexit are starting to be measured within the architectural community, and they're dramatic: according to a press release issued by RIBA, in a survey of its members 40% of U.K.-based non British EU nationals are thinking about leaving the country, while 60% of RIBA's... View full entry
400 of the smartest acres in the country
The Japanese technology giant wanted a place to experiment with solar power and renewable energy, autonomous vehicles and other technologies. And it needed a public partner and community support. It found that in Denver, DIA, Xcel Energy, developer LC Fulenwider and many others.
— Denver Post
Tamara Chuang highlights some of the technology (ranging from consumer electronics, to "smart" public infrastructure) Panasonic was hawking at CES 2017. Some of which will be employed at Peña Station Next, a new TOD, smart city lab on the edge of Denver International Airport. Last month, she... View full entry
Refugee shelter takes top prize for the Beazley Designs of 2016
Designed by Johan Karlsson, Dennis Kanter, Christian Gustafsson, John van Leer, Tim de Haas, Nicolò Barlera, the IKEA Foundation and UNHCR, the photovoltaic panel-powered refugee shelter "Better Shelter" has been named the Beazley Design of the Year, beating out the five other category winners to... View full entry
Now that the feds have abandoned reality, enter this competition to keep the SF Bay Area from flooding
Prompted by the success of a similar competition it ran in New York several years ago, The Rockefeller Foundation has launched a completely Ben-Carson-HUD-free contest that challenges architects and urban planners to "imagine climate change solutions" for the San Francisco Bay Area. Opening for... View full entry
How Rebuild By Design influenced disaster planning in U.S. cities
[Henk] Ovink’s approach called for a systematic rethinking of American traditional disaster response: to simply rebuild whatever was destroyed...In the US, the Rebuild By Design competition represents a dramatic shift in disaster planning, adopting a more comprehensive and collaborative research and design approach to address complex problems and improve resiliency...The competition was widely hailed as a success, but there was room for improvement before its approach could be replicated.
— The Guardian
What's next for Rebuild By Design? Following the success of its 2013 competition, Rebuild By Design — now its own organization — is already working to continue helping U.S. cities prepare for climate change and potential natural disasters. In the article, the group looks back at how their... View full entry
Is Snøhetta's "7th room" 2017's coolest (literally and figuratively) treehouse?
Snøhetta's "7th Room" is an addition to the previously existing Treehotel in Northern Sweden. The tree-canopy-level, snow-blanketed room features a pretty cool assortment of sleek furnishings and views, whether you're standing on the ground looking up, or lounging on the fur-lined chairs looking... View full entry
Exquisite play on materiality defines "Maison de Quartier de Chatelaine-Balexert" by Stendardo Menningen Architectes
Designed as an easily accessible community center that, according to its architects, would preserve "a logical continuity and preservation of the existing landscape as well as construct synergies with the surrounding buildings," the Maison de Quartier de Chatelaine-Balexert benefits from a... View full entry
Ceiling tile that wirelessly charges devices unveiled at CES 2017
The days of having to purchase astonishingly expensive replacement charging plugs accidentally left behind on trips, or for that matter of lugging around charging plugs in general, may be over. At this year's CES in Las Vegas, licensing company Ossia is unveiling a drop ceiling tile that purports... View full entry
Can 1970s sustainability practices enhance Canada's 2017 architecture?
Did architects have sustainability figured out in the 1970s, and can the lessons they learned help contemporary architects design for the challenges of climate change? In an attempt to answer this question, Canada is taking a closer look at its previously built sustainable architecture during the... View full entry
The four and a half days that Portugal ran entirely on renewable energy
The 130 giant wind turbines that sprout from the peaks, slicing the air with a rhythmic sigh, have helped Portugal to a remarkable achievement. For four and a half days in May the country ran entirely on electricity from renewable sources: wind, hydro and solar power.
Despite fears of a blackout, the lights stayed on for a record 107 hours between 6.45am on Saturday 7 May and 5.45pm the following Wednesday.
— The Guardian
Related:Las Vegas's city facilities are now entirely run on renewable energySay goodbye to clunky solar panels, and hello to Tesla's sleek new glass solar roof tilesThe scientists trying to harness the power of waves View full entry