URB has revealed 'Dubai Reefs,' a floating living lab designed to restore marine ecosystems and promote ecotourism. The project's primary objective is to generate over 30,000 employment opportunities within a green economy in the city. Dubai Reefs encompasses a sustainable floating community dedicated to marine research, regeneration, and ecotourism, comprising residential, hospitality, retail, educational, and research facilities.
Renewable Energy: The Latest Architecture and News
Environmental issues urgency and increasing temperatures on the planet are nothing new. There are many factors contributing to environmental degradation. However, two can be viewed as representative of critical points in the current world system: plastic and waste disposal, better known as garbage.
The environmental crisis cannot be attributed solely to these two examples. They are used here as examples to mobilize issues involving multiple agents, materials, and diverse methods. These issues lead to devastating consequences, increasingly irreversible.
Following an international competition, MVRDV has been selected to lead the design of the Hangzhou Oil Refinery Factory Park, an extensive project aiming to transform the former industrial district into a cultural center set in a green environment. Complete with a new art and science museum, offices, retail, and a wide variety of cultural offerings, the redevelopment demonstrates a way forward from an oil-based infrastructure to more sustainable alternatives, while retaining the memory of the past technologies. The park sits alongside the southern end of China’s Grand Canal, the world’s longest and one of the oldest man-made waterways created to strengthen economic connections between the south and the north of the country.
Learning Resilience: The Irish Pavilion Explores the Culture of Remote Islands at the 2023 Venice Architecture Biennale
The National Pavilion of Ireland will present an exhibition titled “In Search of Hy-Brasil” at the 18th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia. The pavilion set out to explore diverse cultures, communities, and experiences of Ireland’s remote islands in the search for new ways of inhabiting the world. A team of five architects has been selected as the curators of the exhibition: Peter Carroll, Peter Cody, Elizabeth Hatz, Mary Laheen, and Joseph Mackey. The pavilion will be open to the public from May 20th to November 26th, 2023; afterward, the installation will tour Ireland in 2024, bringing voices from peripheral locations into mainstream conversations around our global future.
When a country becomes known for its most famous export, the two together can become synonymous with quality. Combinations such as French wine, Italian marble and German engineering are examples of the hallmark of excellence provided simply by a product’s geographic birthplace. While Portugal’s most famous and most passionate exports could equally be cork, football, or egg-based sweet treats, there’s far more to the Portuguese culture and economy than preening soccer players and custard tarts.
While Portuguese culture’s relationship with ceramics is known for the distinctively patterned plates, bowls, and jugs millions of tourists attempt to keep intact on the journey home, few are paying the extra baggage charge for 50 sqm of ceramic tiles. The country’s agreeable climate, however, along with a history of craftsmanship and the natural strength, durability, and pigment of Portuguese clay, means high-quality ceramic facades are an identifiable feature of Portuguese architecture. And the material is exported all over the world for both exterior and interior surfaces.
MVRDV, in collaboration with UAD, has been selected as the winner of the competition to design a new library for Wuhan, poised to become one of the largest libraries in China. The large-scale project creates diverse study environments and offers reading and studio spaces while also connecting to its surroundings via three large openings that display the life inside the buildings to invite visitors to enter. Spanning over 140,000 square meters, the distinctive building adapts its volume to reflect its position at the confluence of two main rivers in Wuhan and become a recognizable landmark for the city.
Carlo Ratti Associati Explore Energy Sharing with the World’s Largest Urban Solar Farm for Expo 2030 in Rome
CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati, together with architect Italo Rota and urbanist Richard Burdett, unveiled the master plan for Rome’s bid to host the World Expo in 2030. The project proposes a joint effort from every participating country to contribute to a solar farm that could power the exhibition site and help decarbonize the surrounding neighborhoods. The Expo is proposed to take place in Tor Vergata, a vast area in Rome and home to the eponymous university and a densely inhabited residential district. All the pavilions are designed to be fully reusable, as the area is proposed to be transformed into an innovation district after the event in the hope of revitalizing the somewhat neglected neighborhood. The master plan was developed with several partners, including ARUP for sustainability, infrastructure, and costing, LAND for landscape design, and Systematica for mobility strategy.
Unlike the air, the temperature in the subsoil varies very little during the year or according to geographical position. A few meters below the surface, the ground temperature is between about 10 to 21°C (50 to 70°F) depending on the region. Dig deeper, and the temperature increases between 20 to 40 degrees centigrade per km, reaching the Earth's core, which approaches 5000 °C. In fact, thinking about how we inhabit a sphere that is orbiting through space with a glowing center can be distressing for some. However, it may be helpful to learn that using Earth's forming energy to generate electricity is a sustainable and efficient way that is already common in some countries. At the same time, we can also take advantage of the mild temperature found a few meters under the ground to acclimatize buildings, whether in hot or cold climates.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the Department of Assets, Information and Services (AIS) has announced that by 2025, all city-owned buildings and facilities in the city will be fully operated with clean, renewable energy. At the moment, Chicago is one of the largest cities in the United States to reduce the city’s carbon footprint at such a scale, and has already began the process of transitioning its transportation busses and cars to all-electric vehicles by 2035. The agreement demonstrates the city's plans to "drive high-impact climate action, build the clean energy workforce of the future, and equitably distribute meaningful benefits to foster the local clean energy economy for all.”
The Saudi Arabian government has released visuals of a 170-kilometer-long skyscraper as part of the NEOM project. Announced by crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, The Line is a reimagined urban development linking the coast of the Red Sea to the mountains and upper valleys of northwest Saudi Arabia. The compact structure, 200 meters wide, represents a social and economic experiment. The city aims to be zero-carbon, through the elimination of carbon-intensive infrastructures like cars and roads, and will operate on 100% renewable energy, including the operations of its industries.
Solar technology has enormous potential, but it has been underutilized. To get an idea of just how underutilized it is, consider that every 24 hours the amount of sunlight that hits the Earth could provide energy for the entire planet for 24 years. Of course, it is necessary to collect it properly, through photovoltaic systems. With the climate crisis increasingly present in our daily lives, causing growing concerns about obtaining energy from renewable sources and reducing carbon emissions, using the sun's possibilities to generate clean energy seems to be a path of no return. But there are still some difficulties that reduce its use, such as obtaining economical solar products, aesthetics, availability of these products, regulations, and even installation issues.
Building-integrated photovoltaics, or BIPVs, offer the design and construction industry solutions to typical challenges that hinder adoption of solar energy. Below, we list the main challenges of incorporating solar energy into projects and how they can be overcome.
Including sustainable strategies in architectural projects is not just a trend, it is a necessity. Each day we become more aware of the importance of responsibly managing natural resources and understanding the environmental factors involved in designing a project.
Solar energy is one of the most commonly employed strategies in residential architecture, both active and passive. Many countries around the world offer incentives to encourage the use of solar systems, and the benefits of installing these systems can be seen in a short period of time, with a reduction of up to 95% in the monthly energy expenses, which makes this strategy one of the most attractive of all sustainable solutions. Furthermore, the average lifespan of a solar panel is 25 years, operating entirely on its own and requiring only basic cleaning once a year.
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states that global warming of 1.5°C (2.7 °F) is essentially inevitable in coming decades. The question now is whether the world can prevent further, more destructive warming of 2°C (3.6°F), or, even worse, 3°C (5.4°F), which is what current policies put us on a trajectory to experience. Our economies can only put another 420 gigatons of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere if we want a good chance of keeping a temperature increase to 1.5°C instead of 2°C. At our current pace, the world’s carbon budget will be used up before 2030. We need to phase out fossil-fuel use, build thousands of new clean power plants -- and swiftly move to power our homes, offices, schools, and transportation systems with clean energy.
Anyone who lives in a big city may have dreamed of moving elsewhere and living isolated, in a house among the trees or on a deserted beach. During the pandemic and the endless months of quarantine, many more may have had this same idea. As romantic and seductive as this may seem, however, living deep in nature comes with some important practical challenges. Rarely would anyone give up the little comforts they are used to, like turning on a faucet or charging their cell phone. If the location is, in fact, remote, it may not have electricity, drinking water, gas, sewage, or solid waste collection. But there remain several possibilities for a life with comfort and without neighbors. What are the main solutions to enable this and how can an architectural project provide an off-the-grid life?
Smart design can make solar, wind, and geothermal energy beautiful, affordable, and accessible to all. Thirty-five projects from around the world that demonstrate how clean, healthy energy is within reach in every sector and field. Projects include homes for all income levels and climates, schools, parks, offices, and even power plants. Harmonizing nature, technology, and space, each project in Good Energy shows how design can improve planetary well-being while producing cost savings and creating green jobs.
In today's climate, energy and how we use it is a primary concern in the design of built spaces. Buildings currently contribute nearly 40% to global carbon emissions and with a projected growth of 230 billion square meters in construction before the end of 2060, the focus on construction decarbonization efforts should be paramount.