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Aeriform Ecologies: An Atmospheric Archive for Industrial Effluvium

Air pollution in urban areas is quickly racing to the forefront of the environmental discussion, with several major cities facing a serious deterioration of breathable air supply. New Delhi, Beijing, Los Angeles, Moscow and Karachi represent a handful of cities facing the world's worst urban pollution, each with recorded amounts of particulate matter exceeding acceptable levels. In 2014, the World Health Organization issued a report estimating that 7 million people suffered premature deaths in 2012 due to air pollution exposure. 

Enter Aeriform Ecologies: An Atmospheric Archive for Industrial Effluvium. Conceived as a thesis project by Jennifer Ng, University of Michigan with thesis advisor Kathy Velikov, Aeriform Ecologies delves into the possibilities for byproducts of petroleum production by proposing a network of solutions for the 'spatial runoffs' created by fossil fuel extraction. Based on a futuristic approach that includes a network of unmanned atmospheric gas harvesting dirigibles, the project blurs the lines between science, technology, and architecture.

Explore the effervescent world of Aeriform Ecologies after the break

The Queen Maud Research Station. Image © Jennifer Ng 111oW Respositories in Elevation. Image © Jennifer Ng Physical Models. Image Photos © Jennifer Ng & Adam Smith Queen Maud Station 066's Extraction and Sampling Pod. Image © Jennifer Ng

Open Call: International Competition to Design a Beautiful House

BW International is now accepting entries for its Design a Beautiful House competition, an international call offering £25,000 (about $39,000 USD) to winner(s). The competition is open to all designers, students, artists, and others from anywhere across the globe, and requires no registration fee.

Entrants are asked to think about the definition of beauty in order to create a design that considers the ways that beauty and aesthetics can enhance the function of a home and the experiences of its users.

Code of Context: The Uneasy Excitement of Global Practice

Global, the Winter 2014 issue of ArchitectureBoston magazine, out now, is an examination of the challenges and opportunities facing architects working abroad, from the Middle East to Africa to Asia. The topics explored in this issue include how to value resource-constrained approaches, honor local vernacular, and learn from the urbanization precedents set in other parts of the world. In this article, Jay Wickersham FAIA examines how in a globalized market, architecture firms can take steps to ensure that their designs act in the best interests of the foreign communities they affect.

The signs of architecture’s globalization are all around us. Foreign students flock to Boston to study architecture, prominent buildings are designed by foreign architects, American firms build practices around international projects. Globalization has allowed architects to work outside their own regions and cultures, at a scale and with a freedom of design they might never enjoy at home. But beneath the excitement and glamour of international practice, I sense an unease. Are we creating vital and original new architectures, or are we homogenizing cities and landscapes and obliterating regional differences? Are architects helping to strengthen and develop the economies of host communities, or are they acting as unwitting tools of inequality and repression?

Sasaki Associates. Technologico de Monterrey. Monterrey, Mexico Machado and Silvetti Associates. Vietnamese-German University. Binh Duong, Vietnam Kyu Sung Woo Architects KAIST IT Convergence Building Daejeon, Korea Höweler + Yoon Architecture. Sky Courts. Chengdu, China

1024’s “Vortex” Installation Unites Environmental Analysis and Art

Paris-based firm 1024 architecture has created Vortex, a generative light sculpture located within the Darwin Ecosystem Project’s green building in Bordeaux, France. The “architectural fragment” consists of scaffolding, raw wood, and twelve lines of LED light. With colored LED lights appearing to shoot across the structure, a new spatial experience is created, which also informs viewers about energy consumption within the building.

Learn more about the structure and 1024 architecture after the break.

Courtesy of 1024 architecture Courtesy of 1024 architecture Courtesy of 1024 architecture Courtesy of 1024 architecture

Move Over, Green Walls: Living Canopy Comes to West Vancouver

Courtesy of Matthew Soules Architecture
Courtesy of Matthew Soules Architecture

Imagine walking beneath an illuminated canopy of lush greenery, in the form of inverted pyramids sculpted to perfection. In early August 2014 visitors were welcomed by this succulent living roof to the Harmony Arts Festival in West Vancouver, British Columbia. Guests were guided through the fairgrounds beneath the 90-foot long canopy, creating an immersive sensory experience befitting the interdisciplinary creative arts festival. Designed by Matthew Soules Architecture and curated by the Museum of West VancouverVermilion Sands was created as a temporary installation for the ten day festival.  

Submerge yourself in Vermilion Sands with photos and more info after the break.

Introducing the DEAD Prize: Recognizing the Worst in Design

Numerous awards recognize innovative, forward-thinking and environmentally-friendly design, yet there is no way to recognize projects that are harming the environment or detrimental to the planet – until now. Created by Cameron Sinclair, one of the co-founders of Architecture for Humanity and current Executive Director of the Jolie-Pitt Foundation, the recently launched “DEAD Prize” seeks to highlight projects that have a negative impact on the planet, with the aim of inspiring designers to “see these failures as a challenge to create something new, to correct the mistakes of the past or to find the antidote for the project in question.” Tweet your nominations for the prize to @deadprize by November 1 and learn more about this tongue-in-cheek award at the DEAD Prize website.

San Francisco Apple Store Passes "Avian Risk" Analysis

Apple's signature glass design has come with its fair share of mishaps - from errant snowblowers to, of course, dying birds. To determine the risk posed by Apple's latest approved store to San Francisco's protected bird population, Apple hired avian collision risk consultants (really) who determined that the risk is "acceptable" (for non-avian species at least). Read the full bird analysis here.

VIDEO: Liz Diller on the High Line, A Mile of Respite in the City that Never Sleeps

Liz Diller, one of the three partners of Diller Scofidio + Renfro, discusses the history of the High Line and the active design decisions which led to its success.

The elevated railroad, which was designed to penetrate city blocks rather than parallel an avenue, saw its last delivery (of frozen turkeys) in 1980. By 1999, a “very strange landscape had formed, with a whole eco system around it,” says Diller. Advocacy for the site’s preservation began with two local residents, and culminated in its reclamation with the multidisciplinary collaboration of city officials and impassioned designers (namely James Corner Field Operations, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and planting designer Piet Oudolf). "The High Line project couldn’t have happened without the right people, the right time and the right administration."

Australia Plans for Greener Cities by 2020

As cities continue to attract more people, naturally vegetated areas slowly wither, leaving little to no green spaces for city dwellers to escape to, no trees to purify the air and enhance the environment. Australia plans to change this. The 202020 Vision is a concerted effort from the government, academic and private sectors to create twenty percent green areas in Australia's urban centers by 2020. “Urban heat islands, poor air quality, lack of enjoyable urban community areas are all poor outcomes when green spaces aren't incorporated into new developments and large scale building projects.” Read about the 202020 initiative here, "More green spaces in urban areas, says new national initiative."

Architects Tackle LA's Water Scarcity

Arid Land Institute Geo-spatial Model. Image © Arid Land Institute
Arid Land Institute Geo-spatial Model. Image © Arid Land Institute

Water scarcity is a profound challenge for designers of the built environment. Beyond looking for water sources and creating sustainable ecosystems, how can we begin to create cities and buildings that will help us to celebrate and mitigate hydro-logical concerns? Hadley and Peter Arnold, co-directors of the Arid Land Institute (ALI) at Woodbury University, have decided to tackle this problem around Los Angeles. With the support of the World Water Forum and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, they recently developed a high-resolution geospatial model to strategically identify and quantify the potential for improving storm water capture within urban areas. 

2013 ONE Prize Finalists Announced

The finalists of the 2013 ONE Prize, a competition exploring the social, economic, and ecological possibilities of urban transformation, have just been announced. The 2013 competition focused on severe climate dynamism, calling for innovative and thoughtful design proposals and urban interventions that intend to alleviate storm impact and answer the question: "How can cities adapt to the future challenges of extreme weather?"

Southern States Outlaw LEED Building Standards

The US Green Building Council’s federally adopted LEED certification system has come under legislative siege with lobbyists from the timber, plastics and chemical industries crying out, “monopoly!” Mississippi, Georgia and Alabama have lead efforts to ban LEED, claiming the USGBC’s closed-door approach and narrow-minded material interests have shut out stakeholders in various industries that could otherwise aid in the sustainable construction of environmentally-sensitive buildings.

Most recently, Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi, slipped in a last minute amendment to both the Housing and Urban Development and Department of Transportation appropriation bills stating no tax money may be used to require implementation of any green building certification system other than a system that: