Madrid’s Shell Bridge gets its concrete dome – West 8

Construction is moving along at the first Shell Bridge, West 8+ MRIO designed for the City of Madrid. 100 m3 of concrete was poured inbetween the two layers of the wooden mold, moving another step closer to the desired end result: a concrete dome.

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SOURCE: WEST 8
IMAGE CREDIT: WEST 8

Scientists investigate urban climate in the Netherlands

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Reseachers at Wageningen University and Research Centre (WUR) have been riding around Rotterdam and Arnhem in the Netherlands on two trikes mapping and measuring the urban climate during four time intervals on a 24 hour day. The measuring was to study the Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect that often causes heat stress.

The measurements on 6 August in Rotterdam showed that during day time the city centre was two degrees warmer on average than Zestienhoven(Rotterdam) airport, which is located outside the city. A striking observation was that the city park De Twee Heuvelen was 2.4 degrees cooler than Zestienhoven. This means that the differences in the afternoon in the city can rise to 4.4 degrees centigrade. During the late evening (22-24 hours), the city centre was more than 5 degrees warmer than Zestienhoven. The route near the national Green Heart (Doenkade) turned out to be even cooler (2 degrees C) than Zestienhoven. The difference in temperature between the city and countryside consequently amounted to more than 7 degrees during nocturnal hours.

In the late afternoon the felt air temperature – the air temperature perceived by the human body – was 28 degrees C at Zestienhoven, the temperature at the city centre of Rotterdam (in the sun and out of the wind) would feel more than 6 degrees higher – so well above 30° C. Surprisingly, similar effects were measured in the much smaller city of Arnhem.

For the measurements (before sunrise, midday, late afternoon, after sunset), days with maximum temperatures above 25° C were necessary. With the two cargo bikes with measurement equipment, the researchers cycled along two previously determined routes through a number of characteristic urban districts, such as an industrial area, an older residential area, a city park and the harbour area. The researchers plan to take more measurements later this year and in 2010.

SOURCE: Wageningen University and Research Centre (WUR)
IMAGE: Wageningen University and Research Centre (WUR)

Ruth Reed’s vision for RIBA

Reading the Architects Journal article gives an interesting insight into Ruth Reed. The gist of the article is that next week Ruth Reed takes up her role as the new president of the Royal Institute British Architects (RIBA) and she intends to implement some changes to improve the RIBA and also meet the members. She is planning a 50 towns in 50 weeks tour of Britain to meet the members and hear their concerns and frustrations with the RIBA. She also has a vision under the headings  - planning, education and value. She wishes to reduce the number of planning documents needed for submissions, and ask the government to look at how the green credentials of buildings are assessed. On the education front she wishes to bring in a competency based test to help student who can’t find work to complete their case studies.
Value is to move architects to extend the offer of professionals to assist clients from design through to maintenance.

SOURCE:  Architects Journal

Birlingham wetland to double in size

Planners have agreed to a proposal to double the size of the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust wetland to 34 hectares. The wetland in Birlingham is set to increase biodiversity and increase water flora and fauna. The water will be supplied by a wind pump the river Avon into the wetland of four ponds. The land to be used for the wetland is currently a meadowland that was flooded regularly and attempted cultivation for farming has failed.

SOURCE: Eversham Journal

RIBA Future Trends Survey – outlook optimistic

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) announced its July 2009 results of its monthly Future Trends Survey, marking the start of the third quarter monitoring business and employment trends affecting the architecture profession.

The trends emanating from last month’s survey continue to highlight a steady return to some optimism; only 18 per cent of practices were expecting a decrease in workload, compared to 21 per cent in June. Practices predicting an increase in workload also rose from 31 per cent in June to 31 per cent in July, a further indication that practices continue to grow more confident about their work outlook. The number of staff that are currently underemployed also continued to decrease from 23 per cent in June to 22 per cent in July.

The most significant change in workload predictions has occurred within the public sector, which rose from just 16 per cent in June to 29 per cent in July. There was also an improvement in the commercial sectors, with expectations for growth steadily increasing from 13 per cent in June to 16 per cent in July. However, there was minimal change within the private housing sector, with workload predictions remaining constant at 24 per cent in June and July.

Changes in predictions for staff retention were positive overall, with 11 per cent of practices expecting staff levels to increase over the next three months, compared to 8 per cent in June. The number of practices expecting staff numbers to be cut decreased further from 16 per cent in June to 13 per cent in July; 76 per cent of all practices expected staff levels to remain constant over the next three months, which is a minimal increase from 75 per cent in June.

SOURCE: RIBA

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