Archinect - News 2017-09-21T22:58:49-04:00 The Ugly Pet: On Sustainability and Architectural Form Places Journal 2017-09-21T17:53:00-04:00 >2017-09-21T17:53:26-04:00 <img srcset=" 1x, 2x, 3x" src="" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" /><em><p>I&rsquo;m particularly interested in how sustainable buildings might affect the experience of landscape differently &mdash; actually better, differently &mdash; because, as a human being, I&rsquo;m hoping for more sustainable architecture, and, as an academic (and as an architect), I&rsquo;m thinking the consequences should be revolutionary to architecture.</p></em><br /><br /><p>Unlike earlier technological revolutions &mdash; the development of the steel frame, or the invention of concrete &mdash; sustainability in architecture has not yet had any significant, self-identifying&nbsp;<em>formal</em>&nbsp;consequences. Instead, the experience of sustainable space has to be hyper-mediated.&nbsp;</p> <p>In his latest article, Places columnist David Heymann vents his frustrations about environmentally-sensitive design and examines how architects including Kieran Timberlake and Glenn Murcutt are feeling the way forward for the field.&nbsp;</p> Beijing bans winter construction to reduce air pollution Alexander Walter 2017-09-19T14:00:00-04:00 >2017-09-19T14:00:56-04:00 <img srcset=" 1x, 2x, 3x" src="" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" /><em><p>Beijing will suspend construction of major public projects in the city this winter in an effort to improve the capital&rsquo;s notorious air quality, official media said on Sunday, citing the municipal commission of housing and urban-rural development. All construction of road and water projects, as well as demolition of housing, will be banned from Nov. 15 to March 15 within the city&rsquo;s six major districts and surrounding suburbs, said the Xinhua report.</p></em><br /><br /><p>"China is in the fourth year of a 'war on pollution,'" <em>Reuters </em>reports, "designed to reverse the damage done by decades of untrammelled economic growth and allay concerns that hazardous smog and widespread water and soil contamination are causing hundreds of thousands of early deaths every year."</p> America is building more for cars than people Noémie Despland-Lichtert 2017-09-18T19:10:00-04:00 >2017-09-19T14:09:33-04:00 <img srcset=" 1x, 2x, 3x" src="" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" /><em><p>It&rsquo;s hard to escape the irony that the U.S., which will need something like 43 million new housing units to keep up with population growth in the next 35 years, is using space to build apartment-size garages, even as trends in ride-sharing and self-driving cars cast a measure of uncertainty on American car culture.</p></em><br /><br /><p>Despite housing shortages and rent increases, 24% of the new homes completed in 2015 in the US included a garage for 3 or more vehicles. Since 1992, when the census started tracking this, more 3-car garages than 1-bedroom apartments have been built. With the ever-increasing need for housing, and uncertain future of car <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">ownership</a>, these large garages could be transformed into living or working spaces.</p> Climate crisis fortresses are reinforced concrete on stilts. Nam Henderson 2017-09-17T16:11:00-04:00 >2017-09-17T20:23:31-04:00 <img srcset=" 1x, 2x, 3x" src="" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" /><em><p>But because of its unique setting and vulnerability to hurricanes, Monroe has long had stricter building codes than the rest of the state and has mandated some critical upgrades...Most importantly &mdash; homes must be elevated above the flood plain to allow storm surge, which is the deadliest part of a hurricane, to pass underneath living spaces.</p></em><br /><br /><p>David Ovalle reports on how building codes and precast concrete homes, reduced property damage and shaped Hurricane Irma's impact, in the Florida Keys.</p> <p>Via&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">@Bruce Sterling</a></p> Third Friday of September Celebrates Parking Day Noémie Despland-Lichtert 2017-09-15T15:06:00-04:00 >2017-09-15T21:23:27-04:00 <img srcset=" 1x, 2x, 3x" src="" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" /><em><p>Since 2005, when John Bela and his collaborators(Blaine Merker, and Matthew Passmore) installed the first Park(ing) intervention on a drab street in downtown San Francisco, the idea has gone on to enliven countless blocks around the world, and to enlighten countless urbanites, who get to enjoy spaces normally reserved for stationary cars.</p></em><br /><br /><p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Parking Day</a> advocates since 2005 for public access and alternative uses of parking space in cities. This now world wide event transforms parking spots into ephemeral public spaces every year on the third Friday of September. Projects include micro parks, installations by architects and artists, urban farming, bike repair stations and coffee shops.</p> <p>This&nbsp;<a href=";ll=23.99940488189607%2C-114.07146817432385&amp;z=3" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">map</a>&nbsp;shows the locations of Parking Day 2017.&nbsp;</p> <p>More articles on the politics of parking on Archinect:&nbsp;</p> <ul><li><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Los Angeles County has 3.3 parking spots for every car, taking up 14 percent of its land</a></li><li><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Flexible Parking Structures as Civic Catalysts</a></li><li><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Pave paradise? American cities are rethinking parking spaces</a></li><li><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">California to decrease parking requirements for affordable housing</a></li><li><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Atlanta struggles to trade parking lots for density</a></li><li><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Floridians may not see eye-to-eye politically, but they all agree parking garages are awesome</a></li><li><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">From carstohousing housing people: the case for designing adaptable parking garages</a></li><li><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Developing flexible parking garages for a rideshare-...</a></li></ul> DFA proposes 712-foot observation tower to clean Central Park reservoir Dana Schulz 2017-09-14T15:36:00-04:00 >2017-09-14T15:41:12-04:00 <img srcset=" 1x, 2x, 3x" src="" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" /><em><p>Creative studio DFA is proposing a 712-foot public observation tower in Central Park that would double as a sustainable filtration system to clean the hazardous Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir and turn it into a non-toxic, useable freshwater pond. Though meant to be temporary, the prefabricated tower would be the world&rsquo;s tallest timber structure if completed, featuring a 56-foot-wide viewing platform and a glass oculus that showcases the tower&rsquo;s functional elements.</p></em><br /><br /><figure><p><a href=";w=1028" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=";w=514"></a></p><figcaption>Via DFA</figcaption></figure><figure><p><a href=";w=1028" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=";w=514"></a></p><figcaption>Via DFA</figcaption></figure><p><a href=";w=1028" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=";w=514"></a></p> <figcaption>Via DFA</figcaption><figure><p><a href=";w=1028" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=";w=514"></a></p><figcaption>Via DFA</figcaption></figure><figure><p><a href=";w=1028" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=";w=514"></a></p><figcaption>Via DFA</figcaption></figure> The AIA urges lawmakers to reject rollbacks and issues seven infrastructure principles Mackenzie Goldberg 2017-09-13T19:54:00-04:00 >2017-09-18T06:12:38-04:00 <img srcset=" 1x, 2x, 3x" src="" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" /><p>The <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">American Institute of Architects</a> released a statement this morning, in light of damage wrought by <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Hurricanes Harvey</a> and <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Irma</a>, urging policy makers to reject any weakening of building codes. <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">President Thomas Vonier</a> advocated for state and federal legislators to reject attempts to roll back protections pointing out that "designing buildings to minimize damage from such natural disasters as hurricanes matters not only for public health, safety, and welfare; it also makes complete economic sense."</p> <p>The AIA went on to remind that, like bridges and highways, America's buildings are infrastructure too, and as such, are crumbling. "Unless we include buildings in the discussion about our nation&rsquo;s infrastructure renewal" the statement warned, "taxpayers will be stuck with decrepit community places, higher bills when repairs come due and structures vulnerable to disasters and threats."</p> <p>Along with the above cautions, the AIA also released the following principles on infrastructure</p> <ol><li><em>Infrastruc...</em></li></ol> Star-studded design competition seeks to make Bay Area a model for shoreline resiliency Mackenzie Goldberg 2017-09-13T15:55:00-04:00 >2017-09-13T16:31:15-04:00 <img srcset=" 1x, 2x, 3x" src="" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" /><p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">San Francisco</a> is one of the many cities in the U.S. threatened by <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">climate change</a>. Scientific projections predict that sea level rise is likely to push tides upwards with accelerating force in the coming decades and a 2012 study estimated that the average high tide&nbsp;within San Francisco Bay could be 66 inches higher by 2100.&nbsp;</p> <p>Seeking to face the threat of <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">rising sea levels</a> head on, a group of community, industry and government leaders have launched a new competition in <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">the Bay Area</a> that seeks to restore shoreline resiliency, the phrase encompassing techniques that resist rising tides while at the same time providing ecological benefits. Think approaches like planting natural buffers such as eelgrass, which help absorb the shock of storm surges as oceans rise&mdash;a challenge that hard structures can't easily meet&mdash;while also luring water bugs, fish, birds, and shell reefs that support native oysters.&nbsp;</p> <figure><figure><a href=";w=1028" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=";w=514"></a><figcaption>Ibises, roseate spoonbills, and egrets at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. Found v...</figcaption></figure></figure> AIA President Thomas Vonier named President of the International Union of Architects Noémie Despland-Lichtert 2017-09-13T14:03:00-04:00 >2017-09-13T15:07:53-04:00 <img srcset=" 1x, 2x, 3x" src="" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" /><em><p>Established in Lausanne, Switzerland, in 1948, the UIA is recognized as a non-governmental organization by the United Nations. It works on matters of professional and public interest through three permanent commissions and various work programs. It is chartered to unite architects internationally, without regard to nationality, ethnicity, or political viewpoint.</p></em><br /><br /><p>Thomas Vonier,&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">president of the AIA</a>, was elected President of the UIA (<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">International Union of Architects</a>)&nbsp;during the 2017 World Congress and General Assembly held in Seoul.&nbsp;</p><p>Vonier will remain AIA President until December. Carl Elefante, will be AIA President for 2018 and <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">William J. Bates for 2019</a>.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;We must show the world how architecture can help to resolve the difficult issues facing society and our planet. The UIA is here to unify architects worldwide, influence global policies and outcomes, and advance the power of architecture to meet human needs,&rdquo; said Vonier during his campaign.<br></p> William McDonough + Partners unveil their first Latin American Cradle to Cradle-designed building in Bogota Justine Testado 2017-09-07T17:39:00-04:00 >2017-09-07T17:39:36-04:00 <img srcset=" 1x, 2x, 3x" src="" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" /><p>The architecture firm of&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">William McDonough</a>, who co-developed the <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Cradle to Cradle</a> design philosophy, unveiled the scheme for a new 20,000 square-meter academic building at the Universidad EAN in Bogota. The project marks the firm's first signature building in Latin America. They also hope the new building will be a catalyst for integrating more Cradle to Cradle Certified products in Colombia's building industry.</p> <figure><p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=""></a></p><figcaption>&copy; 2015 William McDonough + Partners</figcaption></figure><figure><p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=""></a></p><figcaption>&copy; 2015 William McDonough + Partners</figcaption></figure><p>The building's main feature will be a colorful, perforated sun shade, which will be constructed using McDonough's&nbsp;WonderFrame&trade; technology. The panels will block glare while provide views, and energy, water, and resource use will be optimized. For natural ventilation, solar chimneys will draw air through the building and exhaust it at the roof.&nbsp;<br></p> <figure><p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=""></a></p><figcaption>&copy; 2015 William McDonough + Partners</figcaption></figure><p>Featuring 10 floors above ground, the scheme comprises science labs, classrooms, administrative offices, seminar rooms, as well a...</p> Editor's Picks #474 Nam Henderson 2017-09-07T12:03:00-04:00 >2017-09-17T06:13:35-04:00 <img srcset=" 1x, 2x, 3x" src="" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" /><p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Justine Testado</a> featured the '<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Spaceships</a>' series of Hamburg-based <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Lars Stieger</a>. <strong>Ra&uacute;lGHO</strong> commented "<em>Tal vez, el arquitecto dise&ntilde;o el detalle esperando que as&iacute; se descubra, como una nave espacial de serie de televisi&oacute;n.</em>"</p> <figure><p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=""></a></p></figure><p>Plus, <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Matthew Allen</a> reviewed the exhibit &lsquo;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">architecture, architectural &amp; Architecture</a>&rsquo;, recently closed, at the<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"> A+D Museum</a> in Los Angeles. One verdict <br></p> <p>"<em>This last feature was the common denominator of the projects in the exhibition: everything seemed to point to a world of rich meaning beyond surface appearances, but to offer no obvious way to enter into it. Everything&mdash;or each triptych&mdash;contained a hidden microcosm."</em><br></p> News <p>R.I.P. This past August, saw the passing of both Detroit-based Latvian-American architect, <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Gunnar Birkerts</a> and Chicago architect, <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">John Macsai</a>.<br></p> <p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Alexander Morley</a> wasn&rsquo;t particularly impressed with the newly <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">released renderings</a> of Moynihan Station Via office of Governor Cuomo. He argued "<em>These renderings show a hodgepodge of unseemly parts...An improvemen...</em></p> Derek Hoeferlin wins inaugural Designing Resilience in Asia International Competition Liam Otten 2017-08-31T15:19:00-04:00 >2017-08-31T15:21:14-04:00 <img srcset=" 1x, 2x, 3x" src="" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" /><p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Derek Hoeferlin</a>, associate professor of architecture in the <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Sam Fox School of Design &amp; Visual Arts</a> at Washington University in St. Louis, along with research assistants Jess Vanecek and Rob Birch, both master&rsquo;s degree candidates in the Sam Fox School, has won&nbsp;<a href=";c=Y3-0My6A7rWv7-thxB2MczDZdgOfF_Vh3631lJHc4Vh6paJ3FzXv8Q==&amp;ch=9QCbuOm85Njw2-GLLIEjWPGViseSMEaoB9h-DDyxNL0D3szXDuunhQ==" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">first prize</a>&nbsp;in the inaugural&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Designing Resilience in Asia International Open Competition</a>.</p> <p>Sponsored by the School of Design and Environment of the National University of Singapore, the competition asked participants to propose innovative water solutions to the challenges of climate change at the urban planning, urban design, architecture, building technology and industrial design scales.&nbsp;</p> <p>Hoeferlin&rsquo;s submission, titled &ldquo;From the Third Pole to the Nine Dragons,&rdquo; outlines a simple, two-part toolkit that would enable communities within the Mekong River Basin to holistically understand how local threats and adaptations relate to broader river basin-scaled issues &mdash; a concept that Hoeferlin defines as &ldquo;watershed architecture.&rdquo;</p> <p>The ju...</p> The need to reclaim public spaces from white supremacists Julia Ingalls 2017-08-22T20:03:00-04:00 >2017-08-23T12:05:32-04:00 <img srcset=" 1x, 2x, 3x" src="" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" /><p>In this article on the&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Huffington Post</a>, Lance Hosey writes about the horror of watching white surpremacists marching in the Charlottesville Downtown Mall on August 11th and 12th of this year. The Mall, which was significantly redesigned in the 1970s, serves as a unavoidable visual reminder of the pressing need for architects, designers, and city planners to reclaim public spaces from hate groups. As Hosey explains, "In the 70s, when the late landscape architect Lawrence Halprin&nbsp;led a community-driven design process that closed East Main Street to cars, they had the foresight to lift the brick paving on pedestals and give room to breathe for the newly planted trees&rsquo; root system, and four decades later the majestic Willow Oaks are bigger than buildings. Strolling down the Mall is like a walk in the woods. On Friday evenings in summer, 'Charlottesville's living room' teems with life, the most vivid sense of community I have ever known."</p> <p>After describing the despicable events of the nig...</p> UK researchers create solar generating glass bricks Anastasia Tokmakova 2017-08-18T15:28:00-04:00 >2017-08-18T15:28:37-04:00 <img srcset=" 1x, 2x, 3x" src="" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" /><em><p>Facades using the product, called Solar Squared, will be able to generate electricity while allowing greater amounts of daylight. The blocks also provide improved thermal insulation, developers say. Solar Squared&rsquo;s design consists of an array of optical elements that focus sunlight on small-sized solar cells. These are incorporated within the glass bricks during manufacture and they collect diffuse components of sunlight, making it useful for capturing solar energy in urban areas.</p></em><br /><br /><p>Academics from the Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Science department of England's University of Exter have developed a solar power technology that fits into glass bricks. Its modular design is scalable, allowing for flexible structural integration.&nbsp;<em>We now have the capability to build integrated, affordable, efficient, and attractive solar technologies as part of the building's architecture, in places where energy demand is highest, whilst having minimal impact on the landscape and on quality of life.</em></p> <p>The team is currently looking for test sites to demonstrate the effectiveness and potential of Solar Squared and seeking investment for their new start up. For more information visit Build Solar's&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">website</a>.</p> Construction on first major phase of Freshkills Park to begin soon DianePham 2017-08-17T14:18:00-04:00 >2017-08-17T13:58:26-04:00 <img srcset=" 1x, 2x, 3x" src="" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" /><em><p>"The effort to turn Fresh Kills Landfill into a verdant and vibrant destination for wildlife and outdoor recreation received a huge boost on Monday as the city awarded a $22.9 million contract for the construction of the first major section of Freshkills Park."</p></em><br /><br /><p>Lomma Construction Corp. will lead works on the first 21 acres of the North Park. The area will be kept largely natural with simple additions including a seven-acre seed farm, an observation tower for birdwatching, a picnic lawn, composting restrooms, a waterfront overlook deck, a bicycle repair station, a forested plateau, bike/pedestrian pathways, and limited parking for visitors. James Corner Field Operations is responsible for the master plan of the park.</p> Editor's Picks #473 Nam Henderson 2017-08-16T15:29:00-04:00 >2017-08-16T15:30:41-04:00 <img srcset=" 1x, 2x, 3x" src="" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" /><p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Anthony Morey</a> introduced <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Cross-Talk #2: Pedagoy</a>. <strong>ryanbacha</strong> complained "<em>the architectural academies of old generated inside their walls self-referential pedagogies. God forbid the layman being able to understand anything you said in this article.</em>" Responding to the criticism <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Anthony Morey</a> countered, referencing agonism "<em>The goal of this series is to allow for individuals to create stances, positions, and talk&mdash;the operative word in Cross Talk being talk.</em>"</p> <figure><figure><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=""></a></figure></figure><p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Later</a>, <strong>Schoon</strong> argued with <strong>JuneJuly</strong> "<em>I disagree with the notion that an architect can't be both artist and engineer. &nbsp;Certainly a person can exist with high degrees of both technical knowledge and aesthetic sensibility. &nbsp;Is the traditional architecture education the way to get there? &nbsp;Probably not.</em>"<br></p> <p>On the other hand, after listening to <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Archinect Sessions: #106</a>, <strong>fictional\_/Chris_Teeter</strong> offered his thanks "<em>excellent thinking Anthony Morel, wished others did the same level of thinking</em>".<br></p> News <p>The AIA <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">voiced its support</a> of bipartisan leg...</p> Trump to reverse Obama’s Federal Flood Risk Management Standard aimed at planning for climate change Anastasia Tokmakova 2017-08-16T13:17:00-04:00 >2017-08-16T13:20:19-04:00 <img srcset=" 1x, 2x, 3x" src="" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" /><em><p>The White House confirmed that the order issued Tuesday would revoke an earlier executive order by former President Barack Obama that required recipients of federal funds to strongly consider risk-management standards when building in flood zones, including measures such as elevating structures from the reach of rising water.</p></em><br /><br /><p><em>President Trump signed an executive order Tuesday that he said would streamline the approval process for building infrastructure such as roads, bridges and offices by eliminating a planning step related to climate change and flood dangers.</em></p> <p>Trump's new order will weaken environmental standards that guard against flood risk, saddling the federal government with the burden of paying for flood damage in the future. The executive order also promised &ldquo;one Federal decision&rdquo; for major infrastructure projects and setting a two-year goal for completion of permitting processes. Trump said every project would be assigned to a lead agency that would be held &ldquo;accountable&rdquo; for it.</p> <p>&ldquo;This order will put people throughout the country at risk by allowing developers to ignore potential hazards while muzzling the public&rsquo;s ability to weigh in on potentially harmful projects near their homes,&rdquo; Alex Taurel, deputy legislative director of the League of Conservation Voters, said in a statement.<br></p>... World Monuments Fund pledges to help restore earthquake-damaged Kumamoto Castle Town Julia Ingalls 2017-08-15T13:05:00-04:00 >2017-08-15T13:05:35-04:00 <img srcset=" 1x, 2x, 3x" src="" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" /><p>The historic Japanese city of Kumamoto, famous for its picturesque 15th century castle, experienced a damaging earthquake in 2016, leading to the demolition of several of its historic buildings. The World Monument Fund has pledged to help restore the remaining older buildings (although it should be noted that the current iteration of the castle is a late 20th century concrete copy, retaining only a few of the original wooden walls). According to a <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">press release</a>:</p> <p><em>About 350 historic buildings essential to the town&rsquo;s historic streetscape sustained damage in the 2016 earthquake. Some were demolished in the aftermath of the disaster, leaving many of the approximately 300 structures that remained at great risk of demolition. WMF initially joined ICOMOS Japan in an on-site field study in May 2016 to understand priorities and conservation needs, and will now assist KMT [Kumamoto Machinami Trust] in their restoration efforts.&nbsp;</em></p> <p><em></em></p> Steven Fleming's Velotopia paints a city built for cycling Anastasia Tokmakova 2017-08-15T13:00:00-04:00 >2017-08-15T13:02:45-04:00 <img srcset=" 1x, 2x, 3x" src="" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" /><em><p>No disciples of Le Corbusier, Harvey Corbett, Robert Moses or Norman Bel Geddes have been to Velotopia. That means there are no highways and no racks of car-parking stations. Neither have any disciples of Ebenezer Howard been there to suggest that development be clustered around satellite towns with train connections back to the core.</p></em><br /><br /><p>Steven Fleming (<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">previously featured in our Working Out of the Box series</a>), founder of the Dutch bike-centric planning consultancy&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Cycle Space</a>, recently published a new book that lays out an utopian city built around bicycles as the main form of transportation. In Velotopia people enjoy their daily commutes, the flow of traffic is smooth and the development is mixed use and compact.</p><figure><p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=""></a></p><figcaption>Velotopia Photograph: Courtesy of</figcaption></figure><figure><p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=""></a></p><figcaption>Indoor bike parking spaces match the anticipated number of beds allowing trips to start inside the home. Photograph: Courtesy of</figcaption></figure><p>An edited excerpt in&nbsp;<em>The</em>&nbsp;<em>Guardian</em>&nbsp;showcases Fleming's wry thought experiment.<em> </em><em>Velotopia is as circular as the topography has allowed, for the usual reason that citizens are always clamouring to live near the civic centre.Development has been restricted to level ground and city limits have been restricted to a diameter of 15km. That ensures average commuting distances of less than 7km and average trip times of less th...</em></p> How solar battery storage will affect microgrids and off-grid living Alexander Walter 2017-08-14T17:32:00-04:00 >2017-08-16T12:41:04-04:00 <img srcset=" 1x, 2x, 3x" src="" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" /><em><p>In March, Tesla cut the ribbon on this groundbreaking grid-scale battery installation, a key test of the viability of energy storage in making renewable energy a more reliable part of the grid. With 50,000 solar panels and 272 batteries, the combined solar-and-storage plant provides enough energy to power 4,500 homes for four hours. If Tesla can help keep Kauai solar-powered around the clock with its batteries, then it can apply what it has learned elsewhere in the country, and around the world</p></em><br /><br /><p>In her Longreads/Grist piece, author Amelia Urry explains the changing nature of solar power challenges that off-grid dwellers as well as smaller, geographically isolated microgrids face now that battery storage on an industrial scale is becoming more lucrative.&nbsp;</p><p>The article tells the story of a young couple struggling to live off the grid on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, when at the same time, the local utility cooperative switches on its brand-new bank of Tesla batteries to store the abundant solar power it generates during daytime but couldn't offer during peak times in the early morning and late evening hours: "It&rsquo;s not about getting off the grid. It&rsquo;s about building a better one."</p> Tesla's 'Tiny House' goes on roadshow to promote its solar tech Alexander Walter 2017-08-14T14:19:00-04:00 >2017-08-14T14:22:26-04:00 <img srcset=" 1x, 2x, 3x" src="" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" /><em><p>Tesla revealed today that it created what it calls the &lsquo;Tesla Tiny House&rsquo; to feature its energy products, like solar panels and Powerwall. The company is bringing the house on tour using a Model X &ldquo;to educate the public on how to generate, store and use renewable energy for their home.&rdquo; The tiny house contains a Tesla mobile design studio and configurator to help home owners configure a solar plus energy storage system for their home.</p></em><br /><br /><p>Needless to add that the <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Tesla Tiny House</a> itself gains all its electricity via a solar installation on the tiny roof.</p> <figure><p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=""></a></p></figure><p>The exhibition tour is limited to four major Australian cities for now, but the economic gain could be far from tiny &mdash;&nbsp;as the world's leader in capita penetration of rooftop solar installations (15% of households / 1.5 million households), Australia is a highly lucrative market for Tesla even though it hasn't started selling solar panels there.<br></p> Leaked government draft report finds that U.S. is already impacted by climate change Alexander Walter 2017-08-09T14:30:00-04:00 >2017-08-09T14:30:31-04:00 <img srcset=" 1x, 2x, 3x" src="" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" /><em><p>A draft government report on climate says the U.S. is already experiencing the consequences of global warming. The findings sharply contrast with statements by President Trump and some members of his Cabinet, who have sought to downplay the changing climate. The document, which was leaked ahead of publication and reported by The New York Times on Tuesday, says Americans are seeing more heat waves and rainfall as a result of climate change.</p></em><br /><br /><p>The draft report confirms previous assessments that global warming, as observed over the past decades, is indeed caused by human activity, and <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">climate change</a> is already showing affects on the United States' weather and economy.&nbsp;</p> <p>"That statement is directly at odds with statements from Trump and key Cabinet members," <em>NPR</em> reports. "The head of Trump's Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, has said there is "tremendous disagreement" on the impact humans have had on the climate. And in June, Trump announced that the U.S. would withdraw from so-called <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Paris agreement</a> on climate change, which is the main international effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions."<br></p> <p>Click <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">here</a> to read the draft of the climate change report in full.&nbsp;</p> David Chipperfield's stately design for the Shanghai Centre Pompidou revealed Julia Ingalls 2017-08-08T14:42:00-04:00 >2017-08-08T18:05:02-04:00 <img srcset=" 1x, 2x, 3x" src="" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" /><p>Stately, elegant, reflective:&nbsp;these adjectives have largely described the work of British architect David Chipperfield, whose structures tend to invite contemplation and pause before hot take Instagramming. His selection as the architect of the West Bund Art Museum in the new cultural center created jointly by the Centre Pompidou and Shanghai's West Bund Group is therefore not surprising, especially in light of <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">China's recent dictate to steer away from "weird"&nbsp;architecture.</a></p> <figure><p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=""></a></p><figcaption>Image: David Chipperfield Architects</figcaption></figure><p>The renderings for the proposed 25,000 square meter structure display Chipperfield's signature moves: meticulously calibrated volumes stack atop and adjacent to one another near a reflective body of water. The renderings steer away from bold colors, favoring muted pastels. The interior renderings also convey a serene setting: an ample entrance hall is not flooded with visitors, but rather hosts only a receptionist and a single guest, effectively conveying the notion of unharrie...</p> Pickathon Festival stage, designed by PSU students, will be turned into transitional housing when the music stops Mackenzie Goldberg 2017-08-04T20:10:00-04:00 >2017-08-04T20:11:01-04:00 <img srcset=" 1x, 2x, 3x" src="" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" /><p>Launched in 1999, the inaugural Pickathon Music Festival was not so much a festival, but rather a small fundraiser for KBOO&mdash;a non-profit community radio station. Held in the woods nearby <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Portland, Oregon</a>, the now annual summer event has grown into a sellout affair with lineups including Beach House, Angel Olsen, and Mac DeMarco. Though the festival has grown, the three-day event nicknamed "Portland's littlest big festival" has maintained its grassroots nature and continues to set itself apart from its festival competitors.</p> <p>For starters, rather than only booking acts that have a big draw, the festival runners make a point of introducing their audience to new acts like Israeli pop star group A-WA or soul icon Charles Bradley. In addition, all artists at the festival play at least twice so audiences have multiple chances to see their acts. The festival has largely foregone corporate sponsorship with exceptions for companies like Kleen Kanteen, a reusable water bottle company, that fit ...</p> IKEA starts selling home battery storage with its solar panels Alexander Walter 2017-08-03T14:18:00-04:00 >2017-08-03T14:19:39-04:00 <img srcset=" 1x, 2x, 3x" src="" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" /><em><p>Ikea is now offering solar panels and home batteries to its customers in the UK. The Scandinavian furniture chain is partnering with solar firm Solarcentury for the venture, with prices for solar battery storage starting at &pound;3,000 (about $3,970 USD). The home batteries are designed to work with existing solar panels, or as part of a new combined home solar panel / battery storage system that Ikea is selling.</p></em><br /><br /><p>The Swedish furniture retail giant first starting solar panels in the UK <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">back in 2013</a> to grow on a (then) heavily subsidized green energy market but ceased sales in 2015 when the British government announced its plans of cutting solar subsidies by up to 90%. Just a few months later, <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">IKEA</a> returned with a new lineup of home solar panels, this time partnering up with the firm SolarCentury.</p> <p>"An average solar home in the UK will typically consume around 40% of all the solar electricity generated, or even less if they are regularly out during the day," IKEA explains in a new statement. "The remaining 60% of unused solar electricity is sent back to the National Grid, at a loss compared to its value. This means that homeowners currently lose out on making further cost savings. By adding Solar Battery Storage, unused solar electricity can be stored and used at a later time, meaning the amount of solar electricity an average home can use doubles to 80%."</p> <p>With the launch of its&nbsp;Solar Battery S...</p> Trump administration to waive environmental rules and other laws to expedite border wall construction Alexander Walter 2017-08-02T18:04:00-04:00 >2017-08-02T18:05:18-04:00 <img srcset=" 1x, 2x, 3x" src="" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" /><em><p>The Trump administration said Tuesday that it will waive environmental reviews and other laws to replace a stretch of border wall in San Diego, moving to make good on one of the president&rsquo;s signature campaign pledges. Critics including the Center for Biological Diversity criticized the move as overreach and a threat to the environment.</p></em><br /><br /><p>"Last week, the House of Representatives approved the administration&rsquo;s request for $1.6 billion to start building Trump&rsquo;s border wall," PBS NewsHour reports, "which would include replacing 14 miles (22 kilometers) in San Diego covered by the latest waiver and building 60 miles (96 kilometers) of new barriers in Texas&rsquo; Rio Grande Valley."</p> <p>And the Rio Grande stretch, <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">as we all know</a>, will require some (costly) construction magic.</p> The AIA endorses Energy Efficiency Tax Incentive legislation Anastasia Tokmakova 2017-07-28T13:27:00-04:00 >2017-07-28T13:31:47-04:00 <img srcset=" 1x, 2x, 3x" src="" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" /><p>Today in Washington D.C. the AIA strongly voiced its support of bipartisan legislation that makes permanent a key energy efficiency tax incentive for owners and designers of energy efficient buildings and that expands its benefits to designers of hospitals, schools, tribal community facilities and other non-profits. H.R. 3507 introduced by Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA) and co-sponsored by Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY), and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) also modifies Section 179D of the tax code &ndash; the Energy-Efficient Commercial Building Deduction - to make small to midsized architect firms organized as subchapter S corporations eligible for the deduction.<br></p> <p>The section 179D tax deduction was originally passed by Congress as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and has been extended several times until it last expired at the end of 2016.&nbsp; <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">A recent economic study</a>&nbsp;found that &nbsp;nearly a million jobs over ten years &nbsp;and billions of dollars in annual GDP are created by this widely used deduction. This is ...</p> A lush, photographic tour of the Icelandic Turf House Julia Ingalls 2017-07-27T14:08:00-04:00 >2017-08-04T13:46:03-04:00 <img srcset=" 1x, 2x, 3x" src="" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" /><em><p>The Turf House Tradition of Iceland was nominated for UNESCO World Heritage status in 2011. &ldquo;The turf house is an exceptional example of a vernacular architectural tradition, which has survived in Iceland,&rdquo; according to the nomination. &ldquo;The form and design of the turf house is an expression of the cultural values of the society and has adapted to the social and technological changes that took place through the centuries.&rdquo;</p></em><br /><br /><p>Although living walls are still considered to be somewhat noteworthy in contemporary design, Iceland's architecture has been overgrown with the technique for hundreds of years. Along with a history of turf as a building material (and the pressures of modernism on Iceland's architecture in the 20th century)&nbsp;this National Geographic article showcases the haunting beauty of the Icelandic turf house, where the climate is pretty much rainy and picturesquely contemplative for the entire year.</p> <figure><p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=""></a></p><figcaption>Image: Thomas Ormstom via Flickr</figcaption></figure><p><br></p> What U.S. cities can learn from Vienna's urban housing policy Alexander Walter 2017-07-26T14:39:00-04:00 >2017-07-26T14:46:40-04:00 <img srcset=" 1x, 2x, 3x" src="" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" /><em><p>This is a two-part series on housing policy in Vienna and how it could be a model for progressive housing policy in Seattle, where I live, or other American cities struggling with affordable housing. The first part is an overview of financing and subsidies. Part two, coming tomorrow, looks in detail at how zoning and development supports housing affordability.</p></em><br /><br /><p>Mike Eliason,&nbsp;passivhaus designer with&nbsp;Seattle-based&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Patano Studio</a>, penned an insightful two-part commentary for <em>City Observatory</em>, looking at issues of financing, zoning, affordability, sustainability, and quality of life in a side-by-side comparison of <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Vienna</a> and <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Seattle</a>.</p> 2,500-year-old Chinese wood joints that make buildings earthquake-proof Anastasia Tokmakova 2017-07-24T20:19:00-04:00 >2017-07-24T23:51:14-04:00 <img srcset=" 1x, 2x, 3x" src="" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" /><em><p>Over thousands of years, the building science of timber framing developed independently in both Northern Europe and China. But one big difference between the regions is that China, by virtue of its size and geological traits, is prone to devastating earthquakes. Ancient Chinese builders thus needed a way to create wooden structures that could not be shaken apart, and that were not so stiff that its support members would shatter.</p></em><br /><br /><p>Known as <em>dougong</em>, these earthquake-resistant series of brackets were designed and engineered roughly 500 B.C. When interlocked together, the joints transfer weight to supporting columns, containing so many redundancies they can not be shaken apart.&nbsp;By spreading their tolerances over multiple joints they retain flexibility that prevents cracking and splitting.&nbsp;</p> <figure><p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=""></a></p></figure><p>Perhaps the most surprising element of the system is that the columns are&nbsp;<em>not</em>&nbsp;sunken into the foundation nor moored, but are freestanding.&nbsp;</p>