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Sustainability: The Latest Architecture and News

Mass Timber: Shattering the Myth of Code Exceptions

04:00 - 12 February, 2019
Mass Timber: Shattering the Myth of Code Exceptions , T3 Minneapolis. Image Courtesy of DLR Group
T3 Minneapolis. Image Courtesy of DLR Group

Structural timber is in the midst of a renaissance; an ironic trend given that timber is arguably the most ancient of building materials. But new innovations in structural timber design have inspired a range of boundary-pushing plans for the age-old material, including everything from bridges to skyscrapers. Even more crucially, these designs are on the path to realization, acceding to building codes that many (mistakenly) view as restrictive to the point of impossibility.

The timber structures of today aren't just breaking records - they're doing it without breaking the rules. 

AD Classics: The Dymaxion House / Buckminster Fuller

14:00 - 9 February, 2019
AD Classics: The Dymaxion House / Buckminster Fuller, Bucky and the Dymaxion © Bettmann/Corbis via britannica.com
Bucky and the Dymaxion © Bettmann/Corbis via britannica.com

The Dymaxion House was a futuristic dwelling invented by the architect and practical philosopher R. Buckminister Fuller - who would have turned 118 today. The word “Dymaxion,” which combines the words dynamic, maximum and tension, was coined (among many others) by Fuller himself.

In 1920 Fuller wished to build a sustainable autonomous single family dwelling, the living machine of the future. Although never built, the Dymaxion's design displayed forward-thinking and influential innovations in prefabrication and sustainability. Not only would the house have been exemplary in its self-sufficiency, but it also could have been mass-produced, flat-packaged and shipped throughout the world.

More on this revolutionary design after the break...

via www.trumanlibrary.org model via scene.org © MoMA © The Estate of R. Buckminster Fuller, via myipamm.net + 18

Solutions to London's Mounting Affordable Housing Crisis Proposed in Bee Breeders' Latest

04:00 - 1 February, 2019
Solutions to London's Mounting Affordable Housing Crisis Proposed in Bee Breeders' Latest , Beyond the Shell . Image © Lianjie Wu, via BeeBreeders
Beyond the Shell . Image © Lianjie Wu, via BeeBreeders

Skyrocketing prices of London housing have become so unbearable that many have turned to less-than-ideal compromises. Large homes can be found but come with commutes of hours; places are still available in the city, but only for those with sky-high paychecks. Unable to balance their needs, people are resorting to workarounds that disrupt the existing urban fabric and dissatisfy all involved. Surely we can do better.

Beyond the Shell . Image © Lianjie Wu, via BeeBreeders Informal Intimacy. Image © Medina Dzonlic, Daniel Andersson, via BeeBreeders Wesley New Town // Chronotopia. Image © Yip Siu, via BeeBreeders Hedge House. Image © David Saand, Simone De Bergh, Björn Vestlund, Jay Williams, via BeeBreeders + 54

Reframing Climate Change as a Local Problem of Global Proportion: 4 Ways Architects can Deliver Change

07:00 - 28 January, 2019
Bankside 123 in London creates new routes, public spaces and retail, with three simple rectilinear buildings set within a permeable public realm designed to reconnect the site with its surroundings. Image Courtesy of Allies & Morrison
Bankside 123 in London creates new routes, public spaces and retail, with three simple rectilinear buildings set within a permeable public realm designed to reconnect the site with its surroundings. Image Courtesy of Allies & Morrison

The latest UN special report on climate change, released in October 2018, was bleak - perhaps unsurprisingly after a year of recording breaking temperatures, wildfires, floods, and storms. The report, released by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), reiterated the magnitude of climate change’s global impact, but shed new light on the problem’s depth and urgency. Climate change is a catastrophe for the world as we know it and will transform it into something that we don’t. And we have just 12 years to prevent it.

SET Architects' Climbing-Frame Inspired Sassa School Prioritizes Adaptability

11:00 - 27 January, 2019
SET Architects' Climbing-Frame Inspired Sassa School Prioritizes Adaptability , Courtesy of SET Architects
Courtesy of SET Architects

Ten years after a destructive earthquake rocked Italy's central Abruzzo region, many students still attend class in temporary modules similar to containers. Named winners of an international competition, SET Architects’ design for the new “Sassa School Complex” proposes reconstructing a place for students and the community to learn, gather, and grow. Inspired by the modularity and essential nature of climbing frame play structures, the architects describe the design as a metaphor for “freedom and social aggregation as a fundamental value for dynamic and innovative teaching.”

Sassa School Complex / SET Architects. Image Courtesy of SET Architects Sassa School Complex / SET Architects. Image Courtesy of SET Architects Sassa School Complex / SET Architects. Image Courtesy of SET Architects Sassa School Complex / SET Architects. Image Courtesy of SET Architects + 28

The First Complete Street in Sao Paulo has a 92% Approval Rating

12:00 - 26 January, 2019
The First Complete Street in Sao Paulo has a 92% Approval Rating, Rua Joel Carlos Borges, in Sao Paulo. Image: Pedro Mascaro/WRI Brasil
Rua Joel Carlos Borges, in Sao Paulo. Image: Pedro Mascaro/WRI Brasil

The implementation of a Complete Street is something to be celebrated. A Complete Street initiative is a clear indication that a city is striving for urban mobility and seeking a more democratic and safer use of space. Nevertheless, it is vital to measure the impact of these interventions when implementing future actions.

Joel Carlos Borges Street, the first Complete Street in São Paulo, underwent an evaluation two months after it was completed. The study revealed that 92% of its users approved of the project and believed that the changes were beneficial.

Why Reusing Buildings Should - and Must - be the Next Big Thing

07:00 - 22 January, 2019
Why Reusing Buildings Should - and Must - be the Next Big Thing, LocHal / Mecanoo. Image © Ossip van Duivenbode
LocHal / Mecanoo. Image © Ossip van Duivenbode

Sustainability awards and standards touted by professional architecture organizations often stop at opening day, failing to take into account the day-to-day energy use of a building. With the current format unlikely to change, how can we rethink the way what sustainability means in architecture today? The first step might be to stop rewarding purpose-built architecture, and look instead to the buildings we already have. This article was originally published on CommonEdge as"Why Reusing Buildings Should be the Next Big Thing."

At the inaugural Rio Conference on the Global Environment in 1992, three facts became abundantly clear: the earth was indeed warming; fossil fuels were no longer a viable source of energy; the built environment would have to adapt to this new reality. That year I published an essay in the Journal of Architectural Education called “Architecture for a Contingent Environment” suggesting that architects join with both naturalists and preservationists to confront this situation.

How Urban Planning Can Help Us Cope With Climate Change

07:00 - 17 January, 2019
How Urban Planning Can Help Us Cope With Climate Change, Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated cities on earth. Image via Shutterstock
Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated cities on earth. Image via Shutterstock

Cities are hotter than surrounding areas because of a climate phenomena that is known as the urban heat island (UHI). While scientists have studied this effect for decades, new information has recently come to light that points to the way we arrange our cities as a key contributor to raised temperatures. The results could help city planners build our future cities better.

WOHA's Singapore Design Orchard Nears Completion

04:00 - 17 January, 2019
WOHA's Singapore Design Orchard Nears Completion, Courtesy of WOHA
Courtesy of WOHA

Singapore’s creative community will soon be thriving as one of the city's buzziest projects, Design Orchard, nears completion. Designed by Singapore-based architecture firm WOHA, the 2350 sqm green project has been under construction since early 2018, and will officially be open to the public on the 30th of January, 2019.

Located on Orchard Road, the city’s most iconic shopping avenue, the project's publicly accessible sloped rooftop park will incorporate multiple services and public areas, accentuating the design and providing up-and-coming designers with a space to create, produce, and exhibit.

Courtesy of WOHA Courtesy of WOHA Courtesy of WOHA Courtesy of WOHA Courtesy of WOHA + 5

Kaira Looro Student Competition: Peace Pavilion in Africa

10:45 - 16 January, 2019
Kaira Looro Student Competition: Peace Pavilion in Africa, Kaira Looro Architecture Competition
Kaira Looro Architecture Competition

"Kaira Looro Competition" is an international architecture competition aimed at raising awareness of the international community towards emerging architecture in developing countries. The new edition of the competition has as its theme is to create a pavilion for the promotion of universal peace which inspires contemplation, reflection, and prayer for those who unjustly lost their lives. The competition is organized by the Nonprofit Organization “Balouo Salo” engaged in Africa for humanitarian projects of architecture and support of disadvantaged communities, with the collaboration of the University of Tokyo, Kengo Kuma & Associates, Direction de la Culture de Sedhiou, Conseil Municipal de Sedhiou and others relevant parts.

Copper Projects: Architecture’s Original Bling

05:00 - 10 January, 2019
© Adam Mørk
© Adam Mørk

© Thomas Ott © David Foessel © Joan Bracco & Cécile Septet © Adam Mørk + 18

Since its discovery in 8700 B.C., copper has been one of the most used metals in the history of humankind. It has a variety of uses from coins and weapons to statues and even architecture. One of its first architectural uses was in Ancient Egypt for the massive doors of the temple to Amen-Re at Karnak in 300 B.C.

The versatility of the material continues in architecture to this day, allowing for a variety of unique designs and uses. The innovative, efficient, and lightweight material is versatile in its use, ranging from facades to roofs, interior applications, and high tech solutions. Sustainable in its natural form, the material is 100% recycled. As the state of architecture becomes more focused on sustainability, copper becomes the ideal material for the buildings of today.

Below, we’ve selected 7 projects that use architecture's original bling.

The Environmental Cost of Cement, and What to Do About It

11:30 - 9 January, 2019
The Environmental Cost of Cement, and What to Do About It, Sesc Pompeia / Lina Bo Bardi. Image © Fernando Pires
Sesc Pompeia / Lina Bo Bardi. Image © Fernando Pires

For thousands of years, concrete has been a foundation of the built environment: the most widely used man-made material on the planet. However, as architects, and the public alike, sharpen their focus on the causes and effects of climate change, the environmental damage caused by cement has become a subject of unease.

As exhibited in a recent in-depth article by Lucy Rodgers for BBC News, cement is the source of about 8% of global CO2 emissions. The piece was written off the back of the UN’s COP24 climate change conference in Poland and found that in order to meet the requirements of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, annual cement emissions must fall by 16% by 2030.

California Approves Rule Requiring Solar Panels on New Homes

13:00 - 28 December, 2018
California Approves Rule Requiring Solar Panels on New Homes, via Creative Commons
via Creative Commons

The California Building Standards Commission has approved a new rule starting in 2020 that requires all new homes built in the state to include solar panels. As the first of its kind in the United States, the new rule includes an incentive for homeowners to add a high-capacity battery to their electrical system. The move hopes to help meet the state's goal of sharply reducing greenhouse gas emissions while drawing all electricity from renewable energy sources.

The AIA Toolkit for Architects in the Era of Climate Change

07:45 - 23 December, 2018
The AIA Toolkit for Architects in the Era of Climate Change, Mundo Verde at Cook Campus / Studio Twenty Seven Architecture
Mundo Verde at Cook Campus / Studio Twenty Seven Architecture

A misconception often surfaces in design circles that architectural beauty and evidence-based environmental performance are mutually exclusive. To address this, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Committee on the Environment (COTE) is releasing a new tool that can assist architecture firms in designing high-performance energy-efficient buildings.

Despite the federal stance on paramount environmental issues, the AIA upholds and advocates for the responsibility of architects to mitigate against the effects of climate change. Aware that the construction industry consumes nearly 40% of the energy supply nationwide, the AIA COTE® Top Ten Toolkit presents a series of strategies to promote sustainability without compromising the design.

Albion District Library / Perkins + Will Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture / LMS Architects Smithsonian American Art Museum's Renwick Gallery / DLR Group Family House / LMS Architects + 6

NLÉ Architects' MFS IIIx3 Prototype Launched in China Explores Ecological Intelligence

05:00 - 13 November, 2018
NLÉ Architects' MFS IIIx3 Prototype Launched in China Explores Ecological Intelligence , Courtesy of NLÉ Architects
Courtesy of NLÉ Architects

As part of a collaboration between the Centre Pompidou and the Mao Jihong Arts Foundation, the Cosmopolis #1.5: 'Enlarged Intelligence' exhibition features the developments of NLÉ Architects' Makoko Floating School. The Minjiang Floating System (MFS IIIx3), the fourth prototype and the third iteration of the prefabricated self-built system for water, investigates methods to counter the challenges posed by urbanization and climate change.

Earlier prototypes of the Makoko Floating School include the Waterfront Atlas (MFS II) launched in Venice, Italy and the Minne Floating School (MFS III) in Bruges, Belgium. The project, initially developed for the water in Lagos, is now usable in all these sites including the Jincheng Lake in Chengdu.

Courtesy of NLÉ Architects Courtesy of NLÉ Architects Courtesy of NLÉ Architects Courtesy of NLÉ Architects + 6

How to Make Earth Plaster in 5 Easy-to-Follow Steps

04:00 - 9 November, 2018
How to Make Earth Plaster in 5 Easy-to-Follow Steps, © Rafael Loschiavo | Ecoeficientes
© Rafael Loschiavo | Ecoeficientes

The use of earth plaster is very common in natural buildings; it is the same mixture used in adobe. Though easily made, its use is not widely known. Rafael Loschiavo, from Ecoeficientes, teaches the step-by-step method for bringing a new life to a run-down wall without the need for major renovations.

The Appalachian "Long Lodge" Optimizes Mass Timber Construction for Sustainable Design

08:00 - 3 November, 2018
The Appalachian "Long Lodge" Optimizes Mass Timber Construction for Sustainable Design, Courtesy of Yueqi Li
Courtesy of Yueqi Li

The 'Long Lodge' proposal for residential cabins along the Appalachian Trail, recently named the Honor Award Winner of the 2018 Maine Mass Timber Design Competition, highlights simple yet creative ways to spotlight the possibilities and natural beauty of timber as a construction material. The winning four-person design team created a lodge that not only serves as a temporary living space but rather becomes a memorable spatial experience through the effects of the structural design choices.

Courtesy of Yueqi Li Courtesy of Yueqi Li Courtesy of Yueqi Li Courtesy of Yueqi Li + 8

Benthem Crouwel Designs "Recycled and Recyclable" Science Faculty for the University of Amsterdam

11:00 - 1 November, 2018
Benthem Crouwel Designs "Recycled and Recyclable" Science Faculty for the University of Amsterdam, © Benthem Crouwel Architects
© Benthem Crouwel Architects

Benthem Crouwel Architects has designed a multifunctional building for the University of Amsterdam’s Faculty of Science. The 14,000-square-meter scheme is envisioned as a “lively lab of research, development, and co-creation, in the center of the campus and society.”

The competition-winning “LAB 942” centers on energy neutrality, flexibility, and openness. A modular framework and circular construction made of recycled and recyclable material enable the scheme to operate as a future-proof, adaptable addition to the school’s rapidly-expanding investigations in innovation and artificial intelligence.