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Environmental Design: The Latest Architecture and News

Ecological Materials: Towards a New Economy

The world’s most primitive construction materials are being used to create the most advanced buildings. In light of environmental crises, architects are focusing their efforts in designing better built environments for people and the planet. The results may often seem ‘greenwashed’, failing to address the root of ecological distress. Environmentally responsible architecture must aim not to reverse the effects of the ecological crisis, but instigate a revolution in buildings and how we inhabit them. Essays from the book The Art of Earth Architecture: Past, Present, Future envision a shift that will be a philosophical, moral, technological and political leap into a future of environmental resilience.

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What is an ESG Metric and How Will it Change the Future of Design?

Architects assume a significant amount of responsibility when it comes to considering designs that will be successful for not just their clients, but any person who inhabits or is impacted by their spaces. Topics of sustainability, social inclusion, economic opportunities, and overall urban equity, have consistently been top of mind in recent years, ultimately creating a new holistic approach to designing for a better future, that many people are referring to as Environmental, Social, and Governance metrics, more commonly known as ESG.

How Design Can Help Ensure All Communities Benefit From Climate Adaptation

This article was originally published on Common Edge.

The urgency to reduce greenhouse gas emissions has never been greater, and getting there is going to require bold steps for buildings, infrastructure, and communities. Incremental reductions are not enough; we need to focus on full decarbonization, which means removing carbon emissions caused by our built environment. 

These big changes in the way energy is generated and used will raise important questions about who benefits and who pays. Technology-focused incentive programs can wind up leaving our most vulnerable communities behind, exacerbating a legacy of underinvestment and health disparities, while also failing to reach the essential goals of a complete energy transition. Instead, we need holistic solutions that put disadvantaged communities first and transition buildings that would otherwise be left out, leading to bottom-up market transformation that benefits everyone. 

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The Architecture and Environmental Design of Marvel Cinematic Universe Movies

Storytelling is undoubtedly one of the oldest informative tools; a universal language that has transcended generations and cultures, and has been adapted into different media such as video games, theater, and film. Regardless of how old the narratives are, the success of these adaptations relies heavily on production - the visual and audible elements - and their ability to allow viewers to fully immerse themselves in the storyline. In this article, we explore the magical and captivating world of Marvel Cinematic Universe, and how architecture played an important role in contributing to the movies’ notorious storylines. 

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Lets Broaden the Definition of Environmental Justice

Tragedy, protest, insurrection, and political turmoil have led to a renewed awareness of racial injustice and democratic instability. These issues create new challenges for users and designers of public spaces in America. Cultural spasms have resulted in contested public spaces — sites of killings, protests in streets and parks, and forgotten burial grounds. These spaces need a new form of environmental justice.

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Is Fake the New Real? Searching for an Architectural Reality

Excerpt from the book: Real and Fake in Architecture–Close to the Original, Far from Authenticity? (Edition Axel Menges)

The term “fake” has been in the media frequently in the early 21st century, referring to headlines and fictional statements that are perceived as real and are influencing public opinion and action. Replacing the historically more common term “propaganda,” fake news aims at misinformation and strives to “damage an agency, entity, or person, and/or gain financially or politically, often using sensationalist, dishonest, or outright fabricated headlines.” Tracing fake news and differentiating “real” information from personal opinions and identifying intentional (or unintentional) deceit can be complicated. It is similarly complex to trace the duality of fake and real in the built world. To explore the larger context of fake statements in architecture and environmental design, a look at the definition of fake and related terms might be necessary.

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Ross Barney Architects' CLT Design for McDonald's Expands the Possibilities of Timber Construction

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© Kendall McCaugherty, Hall+Merrick Photographers

In an effort to reinvent an iconic American fast-food brand, McDonald’s U.S. has announced a new direction for the corporation, beginning with rethinking the restaurant’s current archetypal design both in its interior eating spaces and exterior urban landscape. A primary example of this commitment can be seen in the recently completed design for McDonald’s Global Flagship in Chicago by Ross Barney Architects.

The structure, which fills an entire city block in the heart of Chicago, was envisioned as a hallmark example of both the architect and the corporation's shared commitment to environmentally sustainable design. Cross Laminated Timber (CLT), an essential material for the project, replaced many of the commonly-used building materials such as steel, concrete, and plastics that have a larger environmental footprint.

Layering of Realities: VR, AR, and MR as the Future of Environmental Rendering

Working remotely throughout the past year has accelerated the introduction of new approaches to real-time rendering, and with it, a new necessity was born: how can a person feel physically present inside a space, without actually being there? Ultimately, designers resorted to the virtual world, a vast realm of interactive built environments that can be accessed from the comfort of one's home. Even the tools utilized, such as headsets and goggles, have become more accessible to the vast majority of the public and are being sold at a lower price than they initially were. We have become accustomed to build, modify, and navigate between different environments, going back and forth between what is real and what isn't. Truth is, virtual has become the new normal.

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Hong Kong Architects Convert Plastic Waste into Public Benches to Combat Pollution

The Shing Mun River in Sha Tin, a residential town in Hong Kong, has struggled with plastic waste pollution for years. Household waste that is not properly recycled will either end up in landfills or floating in the river. In 2018 almost 17 million plastic items, or 40,000 items daily, were found to be drained into the ocean via the Shing Mun River, mostly being food packaging, cutleries, and household plastic bottles. This quantity of plastic pollution in the river and surrounding environment could eventually jeopardize the natural ecosystem irreversibly.

Design Your Summer! UC Berkeley's College of Environmental Design is Now Accepting Applications

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Today's designers have inherited unprecedented global challenges, a legacy which will require radically new ways of fashioning the buildings, places, and landscapes that harbor our diverse ways of life. The College of Environmental Design offers several introductory and advanced programs for those interested in confronting these challenges in the fields of architecture, landscape architecture and environmental planning, urban design, and sustainable city planning. Please visit UC Berkeley's Summer Programs website to view images of student work and learn more about the CED Summer experience.

SURGE Combines High Aesthetics with Environmentally Oriented Technology

Chinese architect Mingfei Sun has designed an environmentally oriented urban hub for Masdar City, Abu Dhabi. Titled SURGE, its natural aesthetics and technological forwardness are intended to communicate a J.M.W. Turner-esque awe for the power of nature, making it an oasis of high aesthetic and ecological value.

3GATTI Proposes 'Green Spaceship' for Madrid Library

A Green Spaceship appears to have landed in Villaverde, Madrid, in design firm 3GATTI’s proposal for the new municipal library. The design for the landmark building employs the public’s curiosity to draw visitors in and create an iconic presence in the city. The library is split between two floors, both architecturally and conceptually. The ground level is transparent and open, meant to house the noisy, public aspects of the program; the upper floor is the architectural showpiece, floating above the ground and containing the more private, quiet study spaces.

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