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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

Kamvari Architects Design Mixed-Use Development for Tehran

The winner of a competition for a mixed-use building scheme, London-based Kamvari Architects has unveiled the design for Zartosht, a 300,000 square-foot retail and office building in Tehran, Iran. The building's design is based largely on local cultural contexts, like the region’s reputation for renowned fabric and textile shops, and environmentalism, particularly with respect to solar energy.

KAMJZ Proposes Sustainable Ruichang Flower Market for China

KAMJZ have unveiled their proposal for the UIA’s MOLEWA (Mount Lu Estate of World Architecture) competition, which tasked participants with designing several cultural and commercial complexes near one of the world’s largest flower theme parks in RuichangChina. Titled Ruichang Flower Market, KAMJZ's design contemplates a series of shopping streets with high-end, as well as more vernacular shopping spaces, in particular a specialty area carrying flowers grown in the neighboring Flower Theme Park, traditional crafts, and souvenirs.

MuuM Designs Natural Life Center Oasis in Arid Anatolian Plains

MuuM has unveiled the design for the LOSEV Natural Life Center & Drugless Therapy Institute in Çankiri, Turkey. Located in the central Anatolian plains, the project will be built on a site that has a series of artificial ponds from its former function as a fish farm. Due to the presence of the ponds, vegetation in the surrounding landscape has thrived in recent years, creating a lush oasis in land usually deprived of water. Learn more about the project, which is shortlisted for the World Architecture Festival Awards in the Health category, after the break. 

Courtesy of MuuM Courtesy of MuuM Courtesy of MuuM Courtesy of MuuM

AD Essentials: Sustainability

This article is part of ArchDaily Essentials, a series of articles which give you an overview of architecture's most important topics by connecting together some of our best articles from the past. To find out more about ArchDaily Essentials, click here; or discover all of our articles in the series here.

Neutelings Riedijk Architects Begins Construction on Largest Passive Office Building in Belgium

Neutelings Riedijk Architects has begun construction on the Herman Teirlinck Building, which, when complete, will be the largest passive office building in Belgium, serving as a mixed-use center for the Flemish government.

The 66,500 square-meter building, located in Brussels, will be built along the canal on the site of Tour & Taxis, one of the last large-scale development locations in the heart of the city, in hopes that it will transform the area into “a new high-quality green urban district with mixed functions.”

Archiculture Interviews: Matthew Berman and Andrew Kotchen

“You can teach certain things. You can teach people how to do a CD package, you can teach people how to draw certain details, you can teach people how to work through a process. You can’t teach someone how to be a good designer. And that might be subjective […] but it’s about speaking kind of a common language.”

Archiculture Interviews: Michael Reynolds

“I just blew off the architecture profession, really. I mean, I have blown it off in my mind as a profession because it’s not addressing the issues that we face. So I coined a new word called ‘biotechure,’ and I use that. I would say I’m a ‘biotect.’”

Archiculture Interviews: Bill Hellmuth

“If you look at just carbon emissions, what we do for a living—building buildings, running buildings, all that— is 50 percent of all the carbon emissions in the United States. […] Well that’s both sort of dreadful and wonderful at the same time. […] The opportunity is, because it’s so concentrated, a relatively smaller group of people can do something about it. ”

As a part of its Archiculture series, Arbuckle Industries has interviewed HOK president Bill Hellmuth on his experiences in architecture school and working in a large practice. In the interview, Hellmuth discusses his path in architecture school, how large firms allow for the creation of teams, and issues involving sustainability and livable cities.

How Newlight Technologies Creates a Plastic From Air and Greenhouse Gases

The 20th century was an era of unbelievable change, with more revolutionary ideas and scientific developments than perhaps any era before it. But among the many developments in the material sciences, one stands as perhaps the most revolutionary: plastics. An experimental group of materials at the turn of the century, artificial plastics are so ubiquitous now that it's almost impossible to imagine life without them.

However, in the 21st century plastics have gained a bad reputation; commonly produced from oil, plastics are a non-renewable resource and, after spending decades or even centuries polluting our environment, most plastics will eventually degrade to release their carbon into the atmosphere. Recycling plastic will go some way to slow this problem, but with so many modern products relying on plastic - and our tendency toward increasing consumption showing no signs of slowing - recycling can only do so much.

But what if there was a way to use plastics to actually reverse the release of greenhouse gases? That's exactly what Newlight Technologies is attempting to do with their carbon-negative plastic, AirCarbon.

Could Hovering Buildings be the Future of Sustainability?

Could Hovering Buildings be the Future of Sustainability?

If Arx Pax, a cutting-edge technology firm led by Greg and Jill Henderson, has its way, levitating objects could become a common sight. The team is developing what they call Magnetic Field Architecture (MFA), a technology which controls electromagnetic energy to make objects hover, and at the several months ago, they used it to produce Hendo Hover, a hoverboard capable of carrying a person. While the fact that Arx Pax was able to produce a hoverboard is fascinating, the technology could have much more serious applications: as an architect, Greg Henderson envisions that one day MFA technology could be used in buildings to produce sustainable structures which can better survive earthquakes and other natural disasters. Is this goal realistic?

Sustainability on Roosevelt Island: How Morphosis and Arup Are Making Cornell's Bloomberg Center Net Zero

© Cornell University / Kilograph
© Cornell University / Kilograph

When the first images of Cornell University's new campus on Roosevelt Island were unveiled last year, the First Academic Building (now known as the Bloomberg Center) was highlighted as a design driven by sustainability. In this interview, originally published by Arup's newly-revamped online magazine Arup Doggerel as "Net zero learning," Sarah Wesseler talks to members of the team from Morphosis, Arup and Cornell about how they designed the building to be one of the most sustainable education facilities in the world.

For its new tech-focused New York City campus, Cornell University set out to create one of America’s most sustainable university centers. With the net zero Bloomberg Center now in construction, I interviewed three leaders of the design team — Diana Allegretti, Assistant Director for Design and Construction at Cornell; Ung Joo Scott Lee, a principal at Morphosis; and Tom Rice, a structural engineer and project manager at Arup.

Bloomberg Center exterior rendering. Image © Morphosis Architects © Cornell University / Kilograph Bloomberg Center exterior rendering. Image © Cornell University / Kilograph © Cornell University / Kilograph

Through Bankruptcy and Boom: What's Really Happening in Detroit?

After exiting bankruptcy at the end of last year, Detroit has suddenly become something of a boomtown in the eyes of the media. Discourse now talks about Detroit Rising, the "Post-Post-Apocalyptic Detroit". Rents are rising, private investment is flowing into the city, and institutions that left the city for the affluent suburbs are now relocating back into Detroit proper. Too long used only as a cautionary tale, the new focus on the reality of Detroit and free flowing money opens the door for architects and urban planners, not to mention the wider community, to begin thinking about how they want to rebuild Detroit, and who they want to rebuild it for.

It’s the perfect opportunity to formulate plans that will genuinely aid Detroit, involve the community and create a revival that really achieves something. But as it stands, the "revival" forming in Detroit, aided and abetted by media coverage, will not improve conditions for the vast majority of Detroiters and will not create a sustainable platform for future growth, instead benefiting only the private investors and those rich enough to benefit from what is currently classic, by-the-book gentrification.

Renaissance Centre, a previous attempt to revitalise Detroit. Image © Flickr user paul bica An abandoned Detroit house. Image © Wikimedia user Notorious4life Detroit's Brush Park neighbourhood in Midtown. Image ©  Flickr user Stephen Harlan Detroit's ExpressTram. Image © Wikimedia user Danleo

2015 Norden Fund Winner to Study “Ecologies of War and Recovery” in Vietnam

The Architectural League has named Ylan Vo the winner of this year’s Deborah J. Norden Fund travel grant for her project entitled Ecologies of War and Recovery: A Case Study in Vietnam’s A Luoi Valley.

Vo’s project explores the A Luoi Valley “as an example of the post-conflict landscape of Vietnam, with particular emphasis on understanding the ecological and social conditions surrounding toxic Agent Orange hotspots that mark the valley.” Agent Orange, also called Dioxin, is the most potent carcinogen in existence, and poses major threats to environmental health and sustainability.

LEGO Invests $150 Million in Sustainable Materials Research

LEGO recently made architecture news with their BIG-designed "LEGO House," a museum and "experience center". Image Courtesy of LEGO Group
LEGO recently made architecture news with their BIG-designed "LEGO House," a museum and "experience center". Image Courtesy of LEGO Group

LEGO has long been recognized by architects as a key inspiration in the world of creative building - but the Danish toy company's influence over the construction industry may be about to get a whole lot more direct. Yesterday, LEGO announced the establishment of its own sustainable materials research center, with an investment of 1 billion Danish Krone ($150 million US), which will search to find sustainable alternatives to the plastic used in their products and packaging.

BBC Profiles Zhang Yue: The Man Who Plans to Build the World’s Tallest Building in 7 Months

BBC News has published a profile on the new projects and ambitions of Broad Sustainable Building’s Zhang Yue. A few months ago, Yue became known as the man behind Mini Sky City, a 57-story building that went up in 19 days. Now, Yue wants to further his idea of modular construction to build Sky City, which will be the world’s tallest skyscraper, stretching ten meters taller than the 828 meter-tall Burj Khalifa in Dubai, and take only seven months to complete. In addition to being constructed from prefabricated parts, Sky City will be sustainable and built from steel to help prevent earthquake damage. Construction is expected to begin on the skyscraper in early 2016. Read more about Yue, his company, and their projects in the BBC News article.

COOKFOX Begins Construction on the Neeson Cripps Academy in Cambodia

COOKFOX Architects has recently begun construction on The Neeson Cripps Academy, a high-tech and sustainable school to be built in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, as a gift from Velcro Companies to the Cambodian Children’s Fund.

The school, named for Cambodian Children’s Fund founder Scott Neeson and former Velcro Companies Chairman Robert Cripps, will employ multiple sustainable building practices, including water and energy efficiency via natural lighting, integrated solar shading, low energy lighting, and low flow water fixtures. An energy recovery system will further work to improve air quality inside classrooms by filtering outdoor air into the interior of the building, and on-site photovoltaic cells will provide a portion of the school’s energy needs.