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SOM breaks ground on New York's First Net Zero Energy School

Aerial © SOM
Aerial © SOM

A few days before the wrath of Sandy, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) broke ground on what will be the first net zero energy school in New York City and the Northeast U.S. Located on a 3.5-acre site on Staten Island, at the intersection of Crabtree Avenue and Bloomingdale Road, P.S.62 Richmond will serve 444 pre-kindergarten through fifth grade students. When completed in Fall of 2015, the cutting-edge primary school will harvest as much energy from renewable on-site sources as it uses on an annual basis. Learn more after the break…

Wave Dilfert / The Principals

© The Principles
© The Principles

Wave Dilfert: Wave (moves in wave-form oscillations) + Dilfert (geek-like intelligence, absorbs information like a sponge). Wave Dilfert is a new kind of space that reads the changes in light and shadow occurring within it, catalogs and calculates them, then pulses, contracts or expands in reaction. The installation was inspired by the work of Ushahidi; a non-profit, crowdsourcing disaster relief, tech innovator. Much how Ushahidi de-mystifies the complexities of war-torn or disaster ridden locales, The Principals developed a system that could de-mystify the complexities of space through sourcing the information of its users and making it accessible through interaction.

Video: Ellen van Loon, Architect Profile

White Mountain Chilean Contemporary Architecture Exhibition

Taking place October 26-December 2, the White Mountain Chilean Contemporary Architecture exhibition is composed of a selection of relevant works. Put on by Aedes Berlin, the event highlights the richness of the recent projects is originated and developed within its landscape. The atmospheric design of the exhibition demonstrates this significant creative moment of the Chilean buildings, often described as the continent’s most interesting today. For more information, please visit here.

Venice Biennale 2012: Yucún or Inhabitat the desert / Peru

© Nico Saieh
© Nico Saieh

For the Venice Biennale, a group of 20 Peruvian architects (with no state support) presented a reflection on one of the most interesting territorial projects in South America. After 80 years in construction, a 20km tunnel connecting the Amazon to the dry region of the Pacific Andes has been completed, a tremendous infrastructure project that will turn this region into a new fertile land. The “Olmos Transandino Project” will be ready in early 2013, and will attract more than 250,000 people with agriculture jobs (you can see more at Build it Bigger). However, despite this incumbent massive migration, there is no urban planning project on the country’s agenda, leaving one big question still to be answered: what should this territory, with its new urban quality, be like? That’s what a group of 20 architects from different backgrounds and ages set out to present at the “Yucun or Inhabitat the Desert” exhibit at the Biennale.

© Nico Saieh
© Nico Saieh

Each office worked on a 25ha site for three months, coordinating with their “neighbours” to create a unified urban fabric, which is represented with 1:1000 models. The most important part of the firms’ research was their historical investigation into the region’s ancient Moche culture, a civilization that built astonishing abobe cities, as well as the first irrigation systems, 2,000 years ago. Inspired by Moche traditions, the firms generated a plan that would provide a sustainable future to this new territory. More from the curator of the exhibit after the break:

Altímetro / Darkitectura

  • Architects: Darkitectura
  • Location: Colonia Roma, México D.F
  • Contributors: Julio Juárez, David Lagunas, Oswaldo López
  • Area: 145.0 m2
  • Year: 2012
  • Photographs: Yoshihiro Koitani, Cortesia de Darkitectura

© Yoshihiro Koitani © Yoshihiro Koitani © Yoshihiro Koitani © Yoshihiro Koitani

RIBA Design Ideas Competition: Great Fen Visitor Centre

RIBA Competitions recently announced their two-stage design ideas competition for the Great Fen Visitor Centre in Cambridgeshire. Great Fen is an internationally acclaimed vision, one of sweeping scale and ambition. Over the next 50-100 years, more than 3,000ha of largely arable land will be transformed into a mosaic of habitat: open water, lakes, ponds and ditches; reedbed; fen, bog and marsh; wet grassland; dry grassland; woodland and scrub. The competition seeks to to create around and between a restored fenland landscape which provides a living landscape for wildlife and people. Registrations will close on December 19. The deadline for Stage 1 design submissions is 2pm on January 10. To register, and for more information, please visit here.

Cañada House / GrupoMM

  • Architects: Grupo MM (Carlos Magaña, Mauricio Magaña)
  • Location: Santa Cruz Atizapán, State of Mexico, Mexico
  • Collaborator: Venancio Torrijos
  • Completion: 2011
  • Photography: Iván Casillas

© Iván Casillas © Iván Casillas © Iván Casillas © Iván Casillas

El Pinar / Roldán + Berengué

  • Architects: Roldán + Berengué
  • Location: El Pinar, Rubí, Spain
  • Design Team: José Miguel Roldán, Mercè Berengué
  • Collaborators: Vicenç Sanz, Isis Campos, Rosa Hereu, Juanjo P. Jarque
  • Structure: Bernúz-Fernández
  • Technical Architect: Xavier Badia
  • Installations: Julián Passardi, Joan Escanelles
  • Builder: Sather
  • Promotor: Promocions Urbanes de Rubí, S.A.
  • Budget: € 3,425,033.50
  • Area: 1,716.06 m2
  • Year: 2011
  • Photography: Jordi Surroca, Cortesia de Roldán + Berengué

© Jordi Surroca © Jordi Surroca © Jordi Surroca © Jordi Surroca

Rácz Thermal Bath / Budapesti Műhely

  • Architects: Budapesti Műhely
  • Location: Budapest, Hungary
  • Architect In Charge: Tamás Dévényi, Csaba Valkai, Anikó Varga, Péter Kis
  • Structural Engineering: András Szabó, Tamás Tamássy
  • Mechanical Engineering: Ervin Barta
  • Electrical Engineering: Ferenc Haasz, Gábor Somogyi
  • Landscape: Adrienne Szalkai
  • Project Year: 2010
  • Photographs: Tamas Bujnovszky, Courtesy of Budapesti Műhely

© Tamas Bujnovszky © Tamas Bujnovszky © Tamas Bujnovszky © Tamas Bujnovszky

Boekenberg Park / OMGEVING

  • Architects: OMGEVING
  • Location: Deurne, Belgium
  • Project Year: 2012
  • Photographs: Courtesy of OMGEVING

Courtesy of OMGEVING Courtesy of OMGEVING Courtesy of OMGEVING Courtesy of OMGEVING

Lebbeus Woods, the Experimental Architect, Dies

The Light Pavilion by Lebbeus Woods in collaboration with Christoph a. Kumpusch, in the Raffles City complex in Chengdu, China, by Steven Holl Architects.
The Light Pavilion by Lebbeus Woods in collaboration with Christoph a. Kumpusch, in the Raffles City complex in Chengdu, China, by Steven Holl Architects.

Lebbeus Woods, the American architect, artist, and theorist, has died today at the age of 72.

Woods may be best known for his radical re-imaginings and re-constructions of cities in crisis. While most of Woods' politically-charged, fantastical sketches were too fantastical to be built, many have been displayed in Art Museums across the globe; the last exhibit occurred just this March at the Friedman Benda Gallery in New York City. His only built project, the Light Pavilion of the "Sliced Porosity Block," commissioned by his longtime friend Steven Holl, was completed and opened this year. 

In his blog, Woods described the Pavilion as a space "designed to expand the scope and depth of our experiences. That is its sole purpose, its only function. If one needed to give a reason to skeptics for creating such experimental spaces in the context of this large urban development project, it would be this: our rapidly changing world constantly confronts us with new challenges to our abilities to understand and to act, encouraging us to encounter new dimensions of experience."

Indeed, it is this quality that characterizes all of Woods' works. As Geoff Manaugh, the author behind BLDGBLOG , puts it: "Woods's work is the exclamation point at the end of a sentence proclaiming that the architectural imagination, freed from constraints of finance and buildability, should be uncompromising, always. One should imagine entirely new structures, spaces without walls, radically reconstructing the outermost possibilities of the built environment. If need be, we should re-think the very planet we stand on."

More on Woods' life and career, after the break...

Takanawa House / Hiroyuki Ito + O.F.D.A.

  • Architects: Hiroyuki Ito, O.F.D.A.
  • Location: Minato-ku,Tokyo,Japan
  • Site Area: 161.50 sqm
  • Building Area: 95.15
  • Area: 229.49 sqm
  • Project Year: 2011
  • Photographs: Daici Ano

© Daici Ano © Daici Ano © Daici Ano © Daici Ano

Tree Hut / Barnaby Gunning Architects

Courtesy of Barnaby Gunning Architects Courtesy of Barnaby Gunning Architects Courtesy of Barnaby Gunning Architects Courtesy of Barnaby Gunning Architects

Home Box / Architech - Architecture and Technology

  • Architects: Architech - Architecture and Technology
  • Location: Minihaus im Holzcontainer, Italy
  • Design Team: Han Slawik, Sonja Tinney
  • Area: 63.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2011
  • Photographs: Courtesy of Architech - Architecture and Technology

Courtesy of Architech - Architecture and Technology Courtesy of Architech - Architecture and Technology Courtesy of Architech - Architecture and Technology Courtesy of Architech - Architecture and Technology

Ocasa / JENDRETZKI

  • Architects: JENDRETZKI
  • Location: Long Island City, New York, United States
  • Area: 200,000 ft2
  • Project Year: 2010
  • Photographs: Pablo Corradi, Courtesy of JENDRETZKI

© Pablo Corradi © Pablo Corradi © Pablo Corradi © Pablo Corradi