The making of an eco-deco mansion

“Is that ‘echo’ with an ‘h’?” asks architect Paul Dowsett cheekily, referring to the extensive list of eco-friendly and sustainable technologies his firm, Scott Morris Architects, is incorporating into the renovation and expansion of this historic mansion.

There is a duality to the project. Firstly, Mr. Daniels’s team – which, in addition to Mr. Dowsett, includes project manager Nick Egizii, landscape architect Ron Holbrook, interior designer Phillip Moody and Simon Boone of Generation Solar – will be restoring as many of the home’s art deco features as possible. They include the domed foyer ceiling, the sweeping terrazzo staircase and the amazing sprung-floor ballroom in the basement.

“I’m fanatically devoted to Toronto and to preserving what we can of the housing stock,” explains Mr. Daniels, a self-confessed heritage lover. Reconsidering, he corrects himself: “Preserving is not the right word because this is not a preservation, this is a reimagining of something but trying to respect as much of what the original building has to offer.”

Since the home’s deco features seem to stop somewhere past the foyer (perhaps because the original owner got a case of cold feet), Mr. Daniels is “reimagining” what might have been and installing deco trim, moulding and other finishes throughout. more at Globe and Mail – Dave Leblanc

AIA – Green Building Report

‘Cities with Green Building Programs Have Increased More Than 400% since 2003′

American Institute of Architects report spotlights geographic breakdown, case study examples and recommendations for local program development

Washington, D.C., November 28, 2007 — Since 2003 the number of cities with green building programs has risen from 22 to 92 for an increase of 418%. In an effort to examine the eco-friendly initiatives of U.S. cities, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) commissioned a study of communities with populations of greater than 50,000 to spotlight the growth and effectiveness of green building policies. The report, Local Leaders in Sustainability, analyzed 661 communities’ best practices, strategies and trends, as well as provides recommendations for cities that are looking to implement green building programs.

Key findings:

• 1 in 7 cities surveyed currently have green building programs
• Number improves to 1 in 5 by next year with current projections
• 39% of citizens live in cities with green building programs
• 36 cities are in an advanced stage of developing a green building program

Click here for regional breakdown and case study examples in full report

New Shenzhen Stock Exchange Building Starts

OMA
Shenzhen; 22 November 2007) Officials from the Shenzhen Stock Exchange (SSE) and local government together with representatives from the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) have broken ground for the construction of the new headquarters for China’s equivalent of the NASDAQ.

The new SSE is planned as a financial center with civic meaning. The external area is designed as a public space for festivals and gathering whilst the 250m tall tower will host the trading floor of high-tech and many new, high growth stocks as well as the SSE offices, registration and clearing house, the Securities Information Company and ancillary services in a gross floor area of 200,000m2. OMA

2014 Games offer a chance to rejuvenate Glasgow

Glasgow is to be the host city for the 2014 Commonwealth Games, signifying potential new opportunities for architects and regeneration in parts of the city.

RMJM in Glasgow has worked with Glasgow City Council on the masterplan for the Athletes’ Village, part of which will be converted into a mixture of private and social housing for the East End of the City once the games are over.

UK Design Director of RMJM, Paul Stallan, said: “I am absolutely delighted at the announcement, and to have been part of the Commonwealth bid for Glasgow, one of the most exciting, design led cities in the world. The Games will contribute to the city’s future architectural legacy by regenerating the East End and bringing lasting benefit to the City.” more at ArchitectureScotland

Seeing the Light at Last

Told from the beginning, the tale of the new Norman Foster-designed glass canopy over the Smithsonian‘s Old Patent Office Building isn’t pretty. Historic preservationists did not like the idea of covering the courtyard of the building, which houses the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery. And they were incensed when renovation at the museums, which began in January 2000, resulted in the removal of the previous courtyard’s historic features, including two fountains and elm trees. The Smithsonian didn’t help things when it seemed to navigate the shoals of the various approval processes with the subtlety of a Visigoth re-landscaping ancient Rome.

more at Washington Post

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