N.Y. leads USA in green construction

Two days ago, the Verdesian, a 26-story rental building developed by the Albanese Organization, became the first multi-family, residential high-rise building in the United States to receive Platinum LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) status from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Five years ago, the Solaire, built by the same Long Island-based family, became the first-ever green residential high-rise building in the U.S. Currently under construction, the Visionaire will soon be the greenest high-rise residential condominium in the country.

You have to see these buildings, all in Battery Park City, to understand what it means to build green. While tours of the Solaire are given on request, here’s the next best thing — a visual and textual look inside the three greenest residential towers in the U.S.

N.Y. leads country in green construction – Daily News – Jason Sheftell

Fifteen Group Unveils Vision for Model Community

Fifteen Group Land & Development LLC today announced a plan to redevelop the 1930s era-Wyvernwood Garden Apartments into a 21st century, sustainable community that increases the amount of rental and for-sale housing, retail and commercial space in Boyle Heights.

Los Angeles-based landscape architect Meléndrez to design a community that meets the standards for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Neighborhood Development (LEED ND).

Fifteen Group Land & Development LLC Unveils Vision for Model Community in East Los Angeles – Business Wire

Eastview park to be ‘one of a kind’

City hall is looking at creating a “one-of-a-kind” park for pollinators – including bees, butterflies, hummingbirds and moths – as part of its plans for turning the former Eastview landfill site into a big community park.

“It’s going to be one of a kind. It will be the first in the world of its size,” said Coun. Vicki Beard.

University of Guelph landscape architecture students have already come up with some ideas and concepts for a pollinator park, it says.

Beard said such a park would have a big educational component, and the University of Guelph would be able to do research there

GuelphTribune.ca: Article: Eastview park to be ‘one of a kind’.

New city plazas: Digital or not, interactivity key to great design

In San Francisco, two relatively new pedestrian lanes – Mint Plaza and Yerba Buena Lane – each linked to Jessie Street and within walking distance of each other, signal the rise of interactive design emerging and melding with street life downtown.

These clearings in the urban jungle point to what we can expect as the city grows; the best designs and spaces will be interactive in the way these plazas are, with new stores, arts and music venues and digital playgrounds.

Mint Plaza, the $3.5 million, 290-foot-long, L-shaped paved piazza that opened in November next to the dilapidated Old Mint building, took the place of dingy sections of Mint and Jessie streets off Fifth Street between Market and Mission streets.

The storm-water filtration system is low tech, but landscape architect Willett Moss says that it is the first time it is being used for public space in the Bay Area, in part to alleviate the stress on the city’s sewer system during storms.

“It is a prototype that the city may use elsewhere,” says Moss. The system, functioning imperfectly because the sandy soil is too porous and the water percolates through too rapidly, is still being fine-tuned.

Yerba Buena Lane is a model of how San Francisco’s urban districts are developing, with old and new architecture serving as arts and music venues, exhibition spaces and outdoor “living rooms.”

Designed by architect Daniel Libeskind, the museum is in the repurposed brick shell of the 1881 Jessie Street Power Substation, which was remodeled in 1906 by architect Willis Polk with Classical Revival terra-cotta embellishments. Libeskind’s version is capped with a cube-shaped blue concert hall that may become the museum’s most popular space.

New city plazas: Digital or not, interactivity key to great design
. Zahid Sardar – SFGate.com

Committee in awe of design for Agua Caliente museum

Members of the Palm Springs Architectural Advisory Committee were impressed Monday with the swirling design of the proposed Agua Caliente Cultural Museum.

Located at the southeast corner of South Hermosa Drive and East Tahquitz Canyon Way, the two-story, $40 million museum will include galleries, an educational facility and theater.

The architecture and landscape design were reviewed by the committee Monday and will now move to the Planning Commission and City Council for comment.

Because the museum is on Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indian land, the city and its commissions can review, but not vote on the project.

Committee in awe of design for Agua Caliente museum | MyDesert.com | The Desert Sun.

Jones & Jones Architecture/Landscape Architecture – Seattle

Could Harvard expansion restore Allston’s watery ways?

In the late 19th century, the banks of the Charles River near the Harvard campus were covered with marshes, cut through with small streams that advanced and retreated with the tides.
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Then engineers took over. The tidal marshes were filled, land was reclaimed, and many of the streams were buried underground in pipes.

Now, as Harvard begins its expansion on the Allston side of the Charles, there is a push to return the area to a more natural state – part of an emerging national movement that touts the environmental benefits of landscape restoration.

For the last two years, Harvard, the city, the local community, and various groups including the watershed association have worked – sometimes contentiously – to determine the best course for the project. Bowditch said her group’s main goal is to figure out how the drainage systems in North Allston work and how to make them work better.

Could Harvard expansion restore Allston’s watery ways? – The Boston Globe.

Stopping the flow of Chicago’s urban pollution

It’s a quest similar to those undertaken by neighboring communities after a six-year building boom that changed the landscape of the once mostly-rural suburbs southwest of Chicago. Since 2000, Will County’s population surged 33 percent, making it the fastest-growing county in Illinois and among the most rapidly expanding in the U.S.

Now that the building has slowed, many communities are taking a step back to identify areas straining under the weight of urbanization.

“We know the slowdown isn’t going to last forever,” DeVivo said. “Now is the perfect time to focus our attention toward protecting our natural environment.”

The environmental survey of Long Run Creek, released late last year and funded by an $80,000 state grant, revealed a creek under assault. Researchers documented garbage dumps similar to what DeVivo had seen, but also areas of the creek where natural buffers have eroded, contributing to a loss of native plants and insects.

Stopping the flow of urban pollution — chicagotribune.com.

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