World Transformation - Category: Housing, Building, Architecture
 China wants to build four eco-cities
The Guardian:
The Dongtan development, on an island in the mouth of the Yangtze river near Shanghai, aims to build a city three-quarters the size of Manhattan by 2040. The first phase will accommodate some 50,000 people. It is on target to be open by the time of the Shanghai Expo trade fair in 2010.

Up to four more eco-cities will be built, though exact locations have not yet been revealed. Experts believe that the real challenge will be to build them in China's interior, in regions that have been polluted by heavy industry and depopulated by the movement of millions of Chinese people to the booming Pacific coast.

Head said: 'It is part of a new awareness of the environment by the Chinese government. They realise that with their growing population and economy they have to overcome the problems of environmental pollution and resource depletion.'

The eco-cities are intended to be self-sufficient in energy, water and most food products, with the aim of zero emissions of greenhouse gases in transport systems.

[ | 7 Nov 2005 @ 16:45 | PermaLink ]

 Rotating Appartments
picture All the appartments in this building in Curitiba, Brazil, are rotating 360 degrees. OK, there are some restaurants that do that in the top floor in various places, but this is the first time somebody did it with the whole building. Which posed some unique engineering challenges.
[ | 18 Dec 2004 @ 16:31 | PermaLink ]

 World's Tallest Building
picture BBC:

South Korea's Samsung Corporation has won the contract to build the world's tallest building, the Burj Tower in Dubai.

Workers have already started to clear the ground for the 800-metre high, 160-floor skyscraper and it should be completed by November 2008.
[ | 10 Dec 2004 @ 20:13 | PermaLink ]

picture From WorldChanging: Another World Is Here: One design methodology that's gaining popularity in the green movement is "Biophilia". It's not a new idea--Edward O Wilson first proposed it twenty years ago--but in the last few years studies have begun to be done, showing it has significant and measurable effects on people's state of mind. The idea is that people function best in environments like the ones we evolved in, with other life around and with spaces that are more like habitats than like Cartesian boxes. Biophilia dovetails perfectly with green building because it involves giving buildings natural lighting and outdoor air, plants, water, and generally blurring the boundaries between building and landscape. Furthermore, it gives green building more of a soul than merely improving HVAC and fluorescent lighting.

In biophilic spaces, patients recover more quickly, students learn better, retail sales are higher, workplace productivity goes up, and absenteeism goes down. Sometimes the differences are up to 15 or 20%, which is huge (and retail sales can increase by a staggering 40% just from daylighting); in many workplace environments, the financial gains from even a 10% increased worker productivity can pay for a green retrofit two or three times over. This is a much more effective bargaining tool than energy savings, as most offices spend 100 to 1000 times the amount of money on salaries as they do on building energy.

Some success stories for Biophilia include Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater (widely considered the most important piece of American architecture in the last hundred years), ING Bank headquarters in Amsterdam (where absenteeism went down 15%), and Village Homes in Davis, California (which local real estate brochures describe as “Davis’s most desirable subdivision”). A Rocky Mountain Institute article describes it further:

Judith Heerwagen... and Prof. Gordon Orians... surveyed people in a variety of cultures and locations around the world to see if there were a preferred image of landscape. What they and others found is that people prefer landscapes that have copses of trees with horizontal canopies, water, elevation changes, distant views, flowers, indications of other people or inhabited structures—all elements that indicate possible food, shelter, and places to explore (or, as Heerwagen and Gordon Orians describe it in The Biophilia Hypothesis, “habitability cues, resource availability, shelter and predator protection, hazard cues, wayfinding and movement”)...

biophilic [building] design attributes include:
- the use of dynamic and diffuse daylight,
- the ability to have frequent, spontaneous and repeated contact with nature throughout and between buildings,
- the use of local, natural materials,
- a connection between interior and exterior surfaces,
- natural ventilation,
- a direct physical connection to nature from interior spaces, and
- direct visual access to nature from interior spaces.

[ | 13 Jun 2004 @ 11:32 | PermaLink ]

 Ecological Architecture
From FutureHi:If we ever hope of creating a sustainable planet-bound civilization without then it seems only obvious that we'll need to work with rather against the biospheres processes. There are many archictects who are working hard to bring our civilization back into harmony with the environment. Emilio Ambasz is an architect who has designed buildings that do just that. They are passively solar, evaporatively cooled, extremely energy efficient, seamlessly bringing the built and natural environment together. All the rain water falling onto his building is either collected for the buildings flora or recycled for drinking water by it's inhabitants. Additionally, much of the buildings waste is processed using Living Machinery.

As you can see from this model below an entire mixed-use project could easily disappear, providing an urban solution that has little or no impact on the local ecology, and retains the natural beauty of the area.

[ | 22 May 2004 @ 08:48 | PermaLink ]

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