JUST about every month, a glitzy tower rises somewhere in the country, boasting the latest in “green” design and technology. To many people, that is an encouraging trend, especially when considering that commercial buildings account for more than 60 percent of the nation’s electricity consumption, according to government estimates, and generate 30 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions.
Yet these buildings represent a small fraction of the nation’s estimated 4.5 million commercial properties, many of which were erected decades ago before sustainable, or green, designs became de rigueur. This vast stock of older buildings presents a much bigger opportunity to cut down on energy consumption and carbon emissions that contribute to the warming of the planet.
Read more @ Green Buildings Don’t Have to Be New – By Amy Cortese – New York Times .
Does security have to be as ugly as a concrete barrier? Or can it be both effective and attractive? Planners in the US capital are putting well-designed physical security to the test
The stately white mansion at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue has survived fire, scandal and an attack by the British. Someone even crashed a small plane into its facade. All the while, “America’s House” has sat, just yards away from its citizens, as a powerful symbol of the freedom and accessibility of democratic government. But in recent years, a wave of security threats has added layer upon layer of visual armor….
Read more @ CIO – Hidden Strengths by Daintry Duffy
Waterfront Toronto has selected three distinguished teams to participate in a design competition to enhance the public space at the Jarvis Slip. The teams selected to participate in the design competition are:
Waterfront Toronto will hold a review by a four member jury of prominent arts and design professionals leading to a February 01, 2008 announcement of the winner.
The buildings that Canadian architects talk about are inevitably the ones that come to shape Canadian cities. Many of them are on the public’s radar, as well: Daniel Libeskind’s Royal Ontario Museum Crystal addition, for example, or Frank Gehry’s Transformation project for the Art Gallery of Ontario.
But within the design business, it’s often the lesser-known buildings, many of them not in Canada, that have the most impact. What follows are a few buildings that savvy architects say are the most influential right now, either as inspiration or as cautionary tale.
A building’s influence today depends on three areas of interest, says Larry Richards, the former dean of the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Toronto: “new materials, sculptural experimentation and sustainability.” For new materials, he notes the extruded pink plastic on the exterior of the new Umbra store in Toronto by Kohn Shnier Architects. And the silvery aluminum mesh on the exterior of Manhattan’s New Museum of Contemporary Art by Tokyo-based Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizwa (jointly known as SANAA), which gives the structure a hard edge at a distance and an up-close softness.
Read more @ Architecture: It’s not for sissies. – National Post – Kelvin Browne
Waste-free, energy-efficient, and carbon-neutral are all terms thrown about by environmentalists to describe ideal urban development, and the recently unveiled plans for Masdar City incorporate all of those buzzwords.
Read more @ Green city only good for the rich :: The Gateway Online – Mike Otto.
A showcase for experimental gardens by top landscape designers, Cornerstone is the first outdoor gallery of its kind in the US. Visitors looking for neatly planted rows and ornamental cherubs will be disappointed. Cornerstone is highly irreverent and playful, from American landscape designer Ken Smith’s “Daisy Border” – a display of candy-coloured plastic pin-wheels that both mocks and pays homage to the classic floral border – to Mexican architect Mario Schjetnan’s “A Small Tribute to Immigrant Workers”. With its regimented boxes of vegetables and rusty metal walls, Schjetnan’s garden delivers a strong political message about the plight of immigrant workers in California. Even the upcoming installation of a 1,000 ft-long fence around the perimeter of the site is expected to defy conventions. “It’s a white picket fence with a twist,” says David Aquilina, general manager.
Read more @ FT.com – Outlandish landscapes by Chloe Veltman
When is a public square not a public square? When it’s designed and built in Los Angeles, circa 2008. Our city–which has lacked plazas and other open-air gathering spots for so long–is now building them in a number of high-profile locations. Yet none of these spaces is fully civic in the traditional City Beautiful sense. Each one is shaped, controlled or compromised by private, commercial or other interests. Arguably, of course, that makes them right at home in Los Angeles, the most private metropolis ever devised.
Next month, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art will unveil the much anticipated first phase of its expansion, designed by the Italian architect Renzo Piano. He is probably best known for the Pompidou Center in Paris, which opens onto a square that, despite its popularity with mimes, ranks as one of the world’s great public gathering places.
Read more @ L.A. Squared – Los Angeles Times – Christopher Hawthorne