From time to time, our Omnibus columnists check in to provide commentary on issues of design, policy, and history and their impact on the life and form of the city today. Stephen Rustow’s first column scaled the heights of New York’s skyscrapers to consider “The Privatization of Prospect.” Here, in his second installment, Rustow looks at three intangible forces that greatly influence the shape of our built environment: zoning, finance, and the building code. — urbanomnibus.net
Over a hundred years ago, the first ships passed from the Atlantic to the Pacific through the Panama Canal. One of the greatest engineering feats ever, the Panama Canal is entering a new stage in its history in order to stave off the threat of obsolescence presented by “post-Panamax” ships, or...
‘You [engineers] need to tell the architects, when they try to call the shots, to sod off.’ [...]
‘Celebrity architects – or as they are known in the business starchitects – have taken over with their dazzling shirts, their big watches, and their big pointy shiny erections. [...]
This is the new age of the engineer. This is your time – your moment in the limelight. Never has there been a moment where people are so aware of how fragile the planet is.' — architectsjournal.co.uk
Ancient Egypt endured plagues of locusts. Seattle has its tunnel, which over the last year has featured a series of setbacks and fiascos that, depending on one’s outlook, can be the setup for a punch line, or an eye-rolling narrative of put-upon endurance.
In the latest blow, project engineers said this week that 30 or more buildings in the historic Pioneer Square area [...] had unexpectedly settled, possibly because of water pumping related to the project. — nytimes.com
Many of us who have ridden inside an elevator since its invention 160 years ago are accustomed to hearing its ominous hums and creaks, as well as stories of malfunctioning elevators that cause people to be stuck inside for hours. So, the idea of hopping into a cable-free elevator in a mid to...
From skyscrapers and bridges to residential and heritage projects, the annual Structural Awards recognize the best in structural engineering excellence and the significant role that structural engineers worldwide serve. Out of this year's shortlist, 12 projects were awarded at the award ceremony in London. Winning the Supreme Award for Structural Engineering Excellence went to The Glass Lantern at the Apple Store in Istanbul. — bustler.net
Here's a few more of this year's winners:Above: Supreme Award for Structural Engineering Excellence and Award for Commercial or Retail Structures: The Glass Lantern at the Apple StoreLocation: Istanbul, TurkeyStructural designer: Eckersley O’CallaghanAward for Highway or Railway Bridge...
"Robotic Building Construction by Contour Crafting" by educator Behrokh Khoshnevis of the University of Southern California was named the grand prize winner of the Create the Future Design Contest for 2014. Launched in 2002 by the NASA Tech Briefs magazine publishers, the contest was created to encourage and honor innovation from engineers, students, and entrepreneurs worldwide. — bustler.net
Contour Crafting (CC) has received attention for its ability to 3D-print complete large-scale structures. In reducing time and cost of construction, CC could also be another potential solution for, say, reliable emergency housing in a post-disaster situation or even building structures on the...
A team of researchers at Michigan State University has developed a new type of solar concentrator that when placed over a window creates solar energy while allowing people to actually see through the window.
It is called a transparent luminescent solar concentrator and can be used on buildings, cell phones and any other device that has a clear surface. — msutoday.msu.edu
While still experimental, engineering techniques drawn from origami promise the development of pop-up devices that could assemble themselves from flat, composite materials cheaply and efficiently, the [Harvard and MIT] researchers said. Potential applications range from self-assembling satellites to shape-shifting robots that could be used in search-and-rescue missions. — online.wsj.com
Researchers at Harvard University and MIT have engineered a self-assembling paper robot inspired by the Japanese paper-folding artform origami. Since the journal Science published the report yesterday, the bots have been widely described as the "world's first Transformer."On that note, paper...
...University of Washington engineers have designed a new communication system that uses radio frequency signals as a power source and reuses existing Wi-Fi infrastructure to provide Internet connectivity to these devices. Called Wi-Fi backscatter, this technology is the first that can connect battery-free devices to Wi-Fi infrastructure. — ScienceDaily
It's that time of year again. The Institution of Structural Engineers revealed the 2014 shortlist for their annual Structural Awards today. The awards recognize achievement, innovation, and excellence in the field of structural engineering in addition to promoting its significant role in the creation of inventive design solutions. — bustler.net
... the ball most commonly seen today was first designed in the 1960s by architect Richard Buckminster Fuller, whose forte was designing buildings using minimal materials. Previously, leather soccer balls consisted of 18 sections stitched together: six panels of three strips apiece. The soccer ball Fuller designed stitched together 20 hexagons with 12 pentagons for a total of 32 panels. Its official shape is a spherical polyhedron, but the design was nicknamed the “buckyball.” — mentalfloss.com
It’s initiatives such as this that have, in recent years, given the water engineers of Holland their almost mythical status amongst flood defenders the world over. After Hurricane Sandy hit New York, in 2012, the $20 billion protection plan that was subsequently instituted built upon principles that were pioneered by the Dutch. Officials from as far away as China, Vietnam, Thailand and Bangladesh are currently consulting Dutch experts. — telegraph.co.uk
Forty-seven miles of the 400-mile California Aqueduct could have their flow reversed this summer to bring water to dry Central California districts with dangerously low supplies, reports KQED. As this megadrought's persisted and worsened, it's come to light that many water districts, especially the smaller ones, haven't had the chance (read: the money) to stockpile water as we do here in SoCal. — la.curbed.com
Caissons are a technology borrowed from bridge building, and they are what makes this project possible. The engineers will drill them anywhere from 40 to 80 feet into the Manhattan schist (the dense, metamorphic bedrock that supports the city’s soaring skyline). The caissons are meticulously arranged in the narrow spaces between the tracks. Above, the they will connect to deep-girdle trusses – some up to 8 stories tall – that control and redirect the towering weight overhead. Finally, the slab. — wired.com
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