Holl to design new arts neighbourhodd at Princeton

Steven Holl Architects, an award-winning firm with extensive experience in the arts, has been selected to design the initial academic buildings for Princeton University’s new arts and transit neighborhood.

The firm, with offices in New York and Beijing, is led by Steven Holl, who was named America’s Best Architect by Time magazine in July 2001 for “buildings that satisfy the spirit as well as the eye.”

At Princeton, the firm will be responsible for designing several buildings to house the Program in Theater and Dance, components of the Department of Music, the Lewis Center for the Arts and the Society of Fellows in the Creative and Performing Arts. Encompassing an estimated 135,000 gross square feet, the preliminary plans include a black box theatre, a large dance studio, an orchestral rehearsal studio, several smaller acting studios, dance studios, music practice rooms, classrooms, support spaces, a café and offices.

Mark Burstein, executive vice president noted that the landscape architect who collaborated with Holl on the water treatment facility in Connecticut was Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, the same firm that will be working on the Princeton project. Sustainable building and landscaping practices will be of key importance.

Imagine: Rain, rain, stored away

Savvy designers are helping homeowners collect and reuse storm water rather than see it all wash away.

WHILE you watched much-needed showers race down the driveway and spill into street drains two weeks ago, did you perhaps think: How can I harness that rainfall? How can I save that water for a yard that has endured drought-like conditions?

It turns out that “harvesting” rainfall is not only good for the garden, but also good for the environment.

Read more at LA Times – Imagine: Rain, rain, stored away – Annie Wells

The Sustainable Landscape

Visualize a lush, green expanse of lawn surrounded by vibrant beds of flower blossoms anchored by ornamental shrubs. Tall, majestic trees loom overhead. Silent butterflies float and bees buzz happily, gathering nectar and pollinating. Joy filled birds dart from branch to branch.

You don´t have to imagine this scenario. It can be yours through sustainable landscaping. It is a whole system approach which benefits all inhabitants. Communal balance amongst all members is achieved through cooperation. Instead of focusing on manipulating nature, we as humans make a greater effort to work with it. Taking on the role of land steward is not as complex as it may seem.

Sustainable landscaping integrates long term solutions which address and eliminate problems; replacing short term, unnatural treatments that merely mask symptoms. The goal is to develop a healthy, self sustaining landscape that is capable of naturally warding off disease and pest infestation.

Read more at American Chronicle | The Sustainable Landscape – Jenn Miller

NZILA Conference registrations open

The 2008 NZILA SHIFT Conference will highlight and discuss these emerging modes of design practice in the context of the fluid and unpredictable nature of urban change.

A diverse range of speakers will consider legal and planning implications, contemporary design initiatives, changing technologies and the challenges of serving the needs and interests of society as a whole.

 3-5 April 2008 Auckland New Zealand

Register now at NZILA

Chongqing to spend $13b on housing

Chongqing municipality will spend 100 billion yuan ($13.8 billion) over the next five years on the demolition and renovation of all old and dangerous houses in its nine urban districts, officials have said.

The mammoth project aims to build affordable housing for low-income residents, officials from the municipal government said.

The city’s development and reform white paper revealed the ambitious plan. The 100 billion yuan investment is about a quarter of Chongqing’s estimated gross domestic product for last year.

Zhou Bo, a spokesman for the municipal government, said the city will this year complete building an additional 1.8 million sq m of affordable housing for 30,000 low-income families.

Chongqing to spend $13b on housing – China Daily – Xinhua – Huang Zhiling and Chen Hong

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