Between 1989 and 2003, Liberia was ravaged by two civil wars. The fighting killed 300,000 – young and old alike. Currently, Liberia is 162nd in the Human Development Index and is still recovering from the devastation. The Bamboo School Project in Fendell on the outskirts of Monorovia, Liberia, led by Brazilian architect André Dal’Bó da Costa and film maker Vinícius Zanotti, seeks to establish one of the most important social and architectural programs for future development: education.
Follow us after the break for more.
Common Ground in a Liquid City: Essays in Defense of an Urban Future by Matt Hern is a collection of ten essays about the future of city-living – or living in general – with very specific examples derived from his city of residence, Vancouver, and its relationship to the numerous cities he has visited. Hern addresses the successes and pitfalls of Vancouver, a relatively young city, through the critical lens of ten cities each of which is the point of departure for the essay.
Each city gives Hern insight into the structure of cities in the future with references to how Vancouver is dealing with its own development: its history, its urban identity, its division of public spaces, the privatization of the natural environment, its density and the activities that it wishes to foster for its inhabitants.
Come back after the break for more on this collection of essays.
The BMW Guggenheim Lab recently dismantled its mobile laboratory in New York City, and after two exciting months it is vital to reflect on the conversations and ideas that were sparked by its discussions, lectures, workshops and screenings. This impromptu laboratory / forum / classroom, free and open to the public, was situated on the corner of Houston Street and 2nd Avenue in a sliver of a lot in First Park in the Lower East Side of Downtown Manhattan. Since August 3rd it has hosted charged discussions focused on architecture, urban studies, environmental concerns and community participation.
On October 5th, the lab hosted the screening of The End of Suburbia: Oil Depletion and the Collapse of The American Dream (2004), directed by Gregory Greene and produced by Barry Silverthorn. With brutal honesty it presents the threats of our current lifestyle, particularly the suburban lifestyle, and the displacement of the long established tradition of “American Dream” by way of its ecological ramifications.
Read on for more on the documentary!
“Architecture is not just one thing. It is not just an art. … It has to deal with the real situation; it has to do something good for the society. Architecture can provide a better life for people. Urbanization is the most current thing happening in China and it does greatly affect Chinese life.”
This interview, presented by Design Indaba, is based on the “What Can Design Do?” Conference in Amsterdam with Xiaodu Liu of Urbanus. The theme of the conference is improving the lives of people migrating to urban environments. Liu discusses various possibilities in addressing low income housing, one of which involves colonizing old vernacular works of architecture such as a Tulou build housing that has a strong communal focus.
Liu also discusses the issues of urban living, especially in regards to migrant workers that come to the city to work while building a home in the countryside where they live. The waste of resources involved and the contaminants that they produce contribute to the state of the air quality in developed Chinese cities. This lifestyle is not exclusive to Chinese cities like Shenzhen or Beijing. Many Americans work in large cities and live in suburbs, commuting for hours everyday.
Liu talks about possible solutions to how architecture and committed urban planning can reduce the burden that a booming population can have on a city – improving the quality of life while maintaining the density of urban life. He talks about REAL and PRACTICAL solutions to urbanization and the environmental issues associated with it.
He concludes with, “If you want to be really environmentally sustainable to Earth, you build as less as possible.” Perhaps this means that as architects and designers it is important to look at what has already been built, what can be reappropriated for other uses rather than razing land and building anew.
White Rock, a small surburb outside of Vancouver, Canada can now boast to having the largest green wall in North America thanks to Green Over Grey, Vancouver, Canada-based company that design and install green walls (also known as living walls). The once bare 3000 square foot wall is now a lush garden of a wide variety of plant life. It is located on the facade of the Semiahmoo Public Library and RCMP Facility.
This summer Coop Himmelb(l)au recieved two awards for two different buildings in Europe. The Dedalo Minosse International Prize was awarded for the firm’s design of BMW Welt in Munich on June 24, 2011 in Vicenza, Italy. According to the president of the Italian Association ALA, Bruno Gabbiani, who presented the award, the prize boosts “the quality of architecture looking at final result, analysing and focusing on project and constructive plan process and giving special attention to people who determine the success of the work: the architect and the client”. The awarded works, with Coop Himmelb(l)au among them, will be presented at the CISA, Cento Studi di Architecttura Palladio in Vicenza until September 18, 2011. Read more on this project here: BMW Welt / Coop Himmelb(l)au
Green Technology has given architects several things to rejoice about. It is helping designers become more responsible and conscious about the impacts of their buildings on the environment and the future; it is also sparking more creative approaches to design while engaging technological innovation. And perhaps most importantly, it is providing new jobs in the market for architects, engineers, researchers and manufacturers. So how can each of these professions benefit from this boosted interest in sustainability and renewable technology? Read on for tips on how and where to acquire a “green job”.
Gowanus Lowline Competition: Connections will be exhibiting winning entries from the Open Ideas Competition on Thursday, September 15th, 6:00 – 9:00 pm at the SET Gallery in Brooklyn, NY. Check out the winners here: Gowanus Lowline Competition Winners. The competition was framed with the goal of inspiring projects that questions and confronted urban development in postindustrial sites. The open-ended program asked for a “pedestrian-oriented architecture” that engaged the canal and the watershed, long neglected as an industrial and manufacturing zone. This competition is a first of a series that focuses on the connections in and around the canal. As it is right now, the Gowanus Canal is just out of reach, and with its levels of contamination – which the EPA is begining to address – it may be for the best.
The EPA estimates that in 2009, the United States produced approximately 486 billion pounds of solid waste, most of which could have been recycled. And where did all that solid waste go? Right into our landfills, not too far from where we live and work. The same year, 34% of municipal solid waste was recycled (compared with only 10% in 1980) but the problem remains that, according to Chemical & Engineering News, most product-design methods used today are short-sighted. Most of these products were not designed with an end-of-life solution in mind, therefore most cannot be recycled or reused.
Read on to find out what this means for design after the break.
In late August, the Key West Truman Waterfront Advisory Board heard from three firms vying to design a future park on the Truman Water Front. The seven-person board ranked the three presenting firms as follows: Atkins (formerly Post Buckley Schuh and Jernigan), Bermello Ajamil & Partners Inc., and Parker/Mudgett/Smith Architects Inc.
For more information on the firms come back after the break.
Wacom’s new Inkling Digital Pen is bridging the gap between sketching by hand and drawing on the computer. The technology allows you to sketch anywhere on paper with a pressure sensitive pens, that can pick up 1024 levels of sensitivity and an electronic receiver that clips onto the drawing medium. The information is stored onto the device, which has room for up to 50 projects and can then be transferred via a USB connection as digital media to a computer.
Storefront for Art and Architecture will be host to Matilde Cassani’s Sacred Spaces in Profane Buildings, an archive and exhibition that unveils the secret sacred territory throughout New York. The exhibition will run from September 14 – November 5th with an opening reception on September 13 at 7pm. Cassani’s work explores the pluralism of religion as it manifests itself in contemporary non-traditional spaces – hidden away in the niches of the contemporary city. This exhibit will have a collection of analytical and speculative works, to be read as a public archive and exhibition.
Continue after the break for more on this exhibit.
Ten years ago the world was jarred at seeing a financial institution of a high urban city destroyed. Maybe at that moment we found ourselves second-guessing the security of our society and our government, of the stability of our ever-expanding cities, of the soundness of our buildings. But a decade later cities are still thriving: growing and rebuilding. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan predicted that our attitudes toward the value of urban development would remain unchanged, and he may have been right. So have we, as law-makers, designers and inhabitants of the urban environment learned from what ten years ago was considered a failure in our cities and government agencies? ArchDaily had the pleasure of interviewing Mr. Patrick Phillips, CEO of the Urban Land Institute (ULI), an international organization devoted to the responsible use of land and in creating sustainable thriving communities worldwide.
Read on for the interview after the break.
These five points were compiled by, BUILD LLC, a small architecture firm that recently expanded their office from 4 employees to 5. So what inspired the partners at BUILD to take on a junior architect after receiving numerous resumes? The hints lay within these five points, which may not be for everyone, but give an idea of what will make a candidate stand out among the rest.
BUILD offers a disclaimer: “This is not the politically correct version -this is the down in the trenches, get ‘er done version.”
Catch the points after the break.
Zaha Hadid Architects have launched a new interactive website that has a large archival library of the many works, built and un-built by the firm. Looking through this vast collection of projects, it becomes obvious how much of Zaha Hadid’s work is public architecture: between urban projects, museums and galleries, this architect’s project are made for masses. We are the real users of her architecture. The new website allows visitors to not only appreciate her work, but participate in an internet forum of sharing a common appreciation for the work. Each project can be “starred” and added to YourZHA, which becomes a log of her work that the visitor to the site can then refer back to.
Zaha Hadid’s work has been well received by the people for whom the architecture was built. Last month, the new Riverside Museum celebrated 500,000 visitors within its first few weeks of opening. Read more about it here.
YourZHA is but one of the interactive features on the site. Browse through the hundreds of projects each coupled with descriptions and images. The website also features a news section where visitors can be kept up to date on lectures, competitions, galleries and phases of various projects. Visitors can also do a keyword search through the archives in a number of categories from architecture, design, masterplans, awards, publications, people and videos.
Check it out for yourself here: http://www.zaha-hadid.com/.
This video from McGraw-Hill Construction is a close look at the Mason Lane Farm, a LEED-Gold Farm Storage and Service Center in Goshen, Kentucky. Narrated by architect Roberto De Leon of De Leon & Primmer Architecture Workshop, the video gives insight into the strategies associated with passive, economic and simple construction systems. De Leon discusses orienting the buildings on the site, assessing appropriate materials and providing comfortable conditions for the workers on the farm.
For a more detailed look at the Mason Lane Farm by following this link: Mason Lane Farm / De Leon & Primmer Architecture Workshop.
“Unfinished Spaces” is a critically acclaimed documentary about the ambitious design and construction of the Escuelas Nacionales de Arte, or National Art School in Havana, Cuba in 1961, which was to feature schools of ballet, modern dance, music, drama and plastic arts. The university was the brain child of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara who wanted to establish a prestigious, cutting-edge arts university for the people of Cuba. The project was abandoned due to cut funding and ideological differences, but the three architects responsible for the design, Ricardo Porro, Vittorio Garatti and Roberto Gottardi, were still excited when in March 1999 they were called to lay out a budget to preserve the languished schools.
Read on for more on the history of the Escuelas Nacionales de Arte and images of the campus.
According to George Baird of Architectural Record, skepticism of sustainability is on the rise. Architectural historians, theorists, practicing architects and even construction lawyers and risk managers are warning designers about the risks associated with the “going green” ambition. Sustainability takes many forms. From the recycling and reusing of materials to new technological innovations, “green design” can be humble: sourcing natural and passive solutions energy needs; and it can be extravagant: using customized and computer-enhanced systems that detect environmental conditions and respond accordingly to the building’s needs.
Gardens by the Bay will be Singapore’s largest garden project and is central to the country’s continued development of Marina Bay. Managed by the Singapore‘s National Park Board, the gardens were designed by a team of two firms: landscape architects, Grant Associates and architects, Wilkinson Eyre Architects. The gardens will feature two cooled conservatories – the Flower Dome (cool dry biome) and Cloud Forest (cool moist biome), as well as themed horticulture gardens, heritage gardens, and hundreds of thousands of plants from around the world.
More on this after the break.
Global events such as the Olympic Games have the potential to enrich the city in which they are held, both economically and socially. The Olympics in particular promote cultural and social development. However, the effort and economics that the city invests is only advantageous when the event leaves a lasting trace. It is a delicate balance, warns Richard Sennett. The balance rests in the sustainability of the economic and social development of the city at the conclusion of the global event. The investment and design and planning strategies should be thought of in regards to long-term development and flexibility for twenty years down the road when the grounds can be acquired for other uses by the city. In 2012, London will be hosting the Olympic Games and it seems promising that the development of the grounds will bring continued social and economic profit to the area at the end of the games.
More on this discussion after the break.
Sustainable housing comes in all shapes and sizes, and by 2020 California hopes that all of its new housing projects will benefit from net-zero energy consumption. But what exactly makes a home sustainable? Sustainability practices include materials, passive heating and cooling systems, energy harvesting, recycling, construction techniques and many other systems and technologies that are being developed everyday.
With so much continual innovation, California’s goal of making all new housing so energy efficient that it consumes no energy at all is foreseeable. While many agree that this, in fact, is the most responsible and intelligent approach to our increased energy consumption, developers and builders are divided over the potential financial hurdles that crop up from such a goal.
Follow us after the break for more information and images of sustainable housing projects.