Buchanan Courtyard under renovations

The University of British Columbia(UBC) is developing the final plans for Buchanan Courtyard which is to be implemented through the Public Realm Plan ($26 million initiative to rejuvenate open spaces over 15 years). $1.5 million is earmarked for the project with a further $1 million hoped to be raised for the project.

The project is expected to take 2 years with the west courtyard finished in June 2010 and east courtyard in 2011. The project was inspired by landscape architecture and architecture students at UBC and plans were developed during a consultation process with staff, students in a series of workshops with Co-Design group and landscape architects space2place.

The final stages of the project have been contracted to Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg (PFS).

Information SOURCE: The Ubyssey

Barriers to mixed use development in Scotland

Recently, the Scottish Government released a report completed by Douglas Wheeler Associates With Ann Flint Associates, Austin-Smith: Lord Edinburgh College of Art (School of Architecture-ScotMark). The report was commissioned to investigate the barriers to mixed use development in Scotland.

The report developed several recommendations with numerous suggestions on how they could be achieved. The recommendations included

  1. clearer definition of mixed use development;
  2. government to be proactive in promoting mixed use development;
  3. training of local government officers and giving the public and officers good resources and tools including a series of good case studies;
  4. Government to encourage new pilot schemes and use the Scottish Sustainable Communities for as an intervention for pilot schemes between local planning authorities and developers.

The report also stated

Planning reform in Scotland presents an ideal opportunity to put in place appropriate interventions to deliver more and better quality mixed use development and this will require appropriate skills. In the current economic downturn there are likely to be very significant opportunities to stimulate and deliver appropriate mixed use development using new kinds of ‘delivery models’. Local planning authorities in Scotland could adopt a more proactive role to sponsor, pilot, promote and deliver mixed use development projects.

Download  Barriers to Delivering Mixed Use Development: Final Report

SOURCE: Scottish Government via Architecture & Design Scotland

Tallest residential Tower contracts awarded

Aedas_Pentominium_Tower_DubaiJust when you thought development in Dubai was frozen along comes the news that construction contracts were just awarded to Arabian Construction Company for Pentominium, the tallest residential in the world at 618 metres (2027 feet) and 124 floors. At a cost of AED 1.46 billion ($USD 400 million). The total floor area will be 170,000 square meters and expected to take just 48 months to build. Currently Q1 in Australia is the tallest residential tower in the world.  Aedas are the project designers.

SOURCE: Zawya

Low2No Competition winners announced

Low2No_Arup_architecture

Low2No_Arup_behavior Low2no_Arup_CND

Images from the submission by ARUP (London, UK) – Sauerbruch Hutton – Experientia – Galley Eco Capital

The Low2No Competition for an energy and innovation block in Jatkasaari, Helsinki, is shifting from ideas to implementation. The five international teams, selected out of 74 applicants to take part in the competition last May, have delivered their competition
proposals during the summer. The competition results were published on Tuesday, September 1st in Helsinki, Finland.
The jury selected the proposal of team ARUP – Sauerbruch Hutton – Experientia – Galley Eco Capital called c_life – City as living factory of ecology the winner. In their proposal, the multinational team leveraged a particularly promising consumer/behavioural framework to empower citizens in meeting the goal of sustainability. In addition, the team presented an innovative funding model for developing Jatkasaari into the first carbon neutral district in Finland.

Low2No Competition Teams (in alphabetical order)

WINNERS – ARUP (London, UK) – Sauerbruch Hutton – Experientia – Galley Eco
Capital

– Bjarke Ingels Group, BIG (Copenhagen, Denmark) – Vahanen – ARUP
Foresight Innovation – Transsolar Energietechnik – Anttinen Oiva
Arkkitehdit AoA – Masu Planning – Passiivitalo.fi – Pasi Maenpaa –
Mikko Jalas

– Peter Rose & Partners (Boston, USA) – Michael Van Valkenburgh
Associates – Guy Nordenson and Associates – Matthias Schuler,
Transsolar Climate Engineering – Mobility in Chain – ARO
Architectural Research Office

– REX/Croxton Collaborative/NOW (New York, USA) – Transsolar
Energietechnik – Magnusson Klemencic Associates – Bureau Bas Smets –
2×4 – Arup New York – Front – Jonathan Rose Companies

– WSP Group (London, UK) – Heatherwick Studios – B&M Architects – JK MM
Architects – Space Syntax – Helsinki University – AA Palmberg Ltd –
Pekka Himanen – Pauli Aalto-Setala

SOURCE: Sitra
IMAGES COURTESY: ARUP

Let native plants take their natural place instead of suburban lawn

Valerie Blaine at the Daily Herald has written a great article about letting lawns become natural pockets of grasslands across the suburbs. This can be an issue in gated communities and upmarket suburbs where the lawn and sometimes planting are regulated by species, heights and period of maintenance. The article is a great column about how we become slaves to the perfect American green lawn. read more of Blaine’s article at the Daily Herald

From my personal view, I think that green lawns ares not only an issue in America as talked about by Blaine but across the world were green lawns are seen as a must have for the perfect garden and park. The high costs of maintaining a green lawn are not only in monetary terms but also environmentally and ecologically. Planting a lawn that is a mono-culture or a few species creates an ecological wasteland. Grasslands are some of the most biodiverse landscapes that are often wiped out by residential developments to be replaced by green lawn, rows of hedging and roses. Even moreso in parks where residents demand pristine park lawns and playing ovals.

To change attitudes will take a long time unless environmental factors accelerate social change such as extended droughts which have occurred across the world including USA, Spain, Australia, India, parts of Africa. Brown lawns are now the norm in these countries as water is a scarce commodity for drinking not watering gardens. ‘Natural’ lawns or vegetable gardens can easily take the place of green lawns to provide a sustainable landscape.

Damian Holmes – 8 September 2009


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