Nice video of Gensler's downtown Los Angeles office, a LEED Platinum showplace of sustainable design that completely rethinks the workplace environment. The new space features daylighting and high-efficiency lighting, chilled beams and sails for heating and cooling, sun shades, displacement ventilation and much more.
1 Bligh Street, Sydney — architectus + ingenhoven architects
The jury said:
"The office development at 1 Bligh Street, Sydney was designed to
achieve a 6 Star Green Star rating and a 5-star National Australian
Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) rating, incorporating a number
of innovative environmental strategies. It sets a new benchmark for
sustainable high-rise commercial developments in Australia.
The proposal was developed with four critical considerations: view, public space, work environment and green building status.
Designed around the principles of flexibility, efficiency and communication, the building features a naturally ventilated glass atrium that runs the full height of the building, enhancing workplace connectivity while introducing natural light and ventilation.
The fully glazed double-skin facade is a major contributor to the Green Star rating and has been specifically developed to optimise amenity for the occupants, maintaining views while providing optimum daylight levels and solar control. The facade system includes an inner skin of performance glass, automated ventilated blinds and an outer skin of clear glass that is separated by a naturally ventilated accessible cavity. In addition to the facade and atrium, the development includes recycled concrete, steel with 50 percent recycled content, recycled timber, solar cooling, tri-generation systems, black water treatment, rainwater harvesting and sewer mining." READ MORE >>
How do you think the rest of the world perceives engineers? Are we seen as imaginative, dynamic or creative? I fear not. Rather, we are seen as decidedly unexciting characters, uninspiring even and, perhaps, most distressing considering our combined and collective achievements over hundreds of years, as nerdy and dull. Is this the fault of the media or the scientific, mathematical bent of our work?
So many words in our language which describe the intelligent and dedicated carry a whiff of the derogatory — boffin, egghead, and so on. Engineering is a fact-and-figure-based subject which demands patience and perseverance. It is also wide ranging, covering anything from fixing washing machines to enabling space travel. So unless Hollywood casts an engineer as the next action hero, we are unlikely to change our reputation in the imminent future.
Fame is not everything, but what does worry me is that our public image is a deterrent to a vast reserve of potential talent. We are not attracting those more creative, free-thinking minds that I believe our industry needs, and it seems there is little we can do to tackle that situation. So instead, we need to teach all those wonderful young mathematicians and scientists how to engage the right side of the brain — the creative side — and bring imagination and lateral thinking to the future of engineering.
But why do we need creativity, when our work requires the full command of digits and angles? Sustainability is the answer. For the last 10 years, we have been designing new buildings to perform better environmentally than ever before. The problem is that new buildings make up such a tiny proportion of the built environment and deliver only marginal improvements. We need to focus on the 99% of our buildings which are existing, old stock, and where making improvements is much more challenging. READ MORE >>
The ongoing dialogue about the environmental and health impacts of building products – an important new addition to the push for transparency from BuildingGreen, Inc.
By Alex Wilson
When you buy a box of Cheerios at the supermarket, you know exactly what's in it: each ingredient; the number of calories in a serving; grams of sugar, fat, and protein; milligrams of sodium; and so forth. You also get some sense of what this means for your health—from those "percent daily values" in the nutrition facts box.
Why isn't this sort of information available for the products going into our buildings? We live or work with those building products for years or decades, spending an average of 90 percent of our time indoors. We're not literally eating our building materials, of course, but we would like to know if there's something in the paint, carpeting, or composite countertop that might harm us or the environment. Why can't we get that information?
We can, and we should. The move toward transparency is all about making this information readily available, to help everyone in the industry make more informed choices.
A growing piece of the movement toward "nutrition labels" for building products are environmental product declarations (EPDs), which are designed to inform us about the life-cycle environmental characteristics of products. READ MORE >>
The Earth Times reports on a different kind of 'living building': one that uses protocells to create a protective cladding for buildings:
By Michael Evans
As bizarre as it may seem, the University of Greenwich School of Architecture and Construction is poised to use ethical synthetic biology to create 'living' materials that could be used to clad buildings and help combat the effects of climate change.
Researchers from the University of Greenwich are collaborating with others at the University of Southern Denmark, the University of Glasgow and University College London to develop materials that could eventually produce water in desert environments or harvest sunlight to produce bio fuels.
Working with an architectural practice and a building materials manufacturer, research is taking place using protocells to fix carbon from the atmosphere or to create a coral-like skin, which could protect buildings. For those not in the know, protocells are made from droplets of oil in water that allow soluble chemicals to be exchanged between the drops and their surrounding solution.
Professor Neil Spiller, the new head of the University of Greenwich School of Architecture and Construction and himself a professional architect, is most enthusiastic about the use of protocells. Previously Vice Dean and graduate programme director at the University College London's Bartlett School of Architecture, he has been investigating their use for some time.
He said that the research team at Greenwich was currently looking at methods of using responsive protocells to clad cities in an ethical, green and sustainable way. A key feature was the desire to use ethical synthetic biology to create large scale, real world applications for buildings. READ MORE >>
Nice recap of some of the year's greenest buildings - receiving RIBA, Green Good Design and AIA COTE Top Ten Green Award recognition worldwide.
(CNN) -- Some house important corporate meetings; others are family homes. Some are gearing up to welcome top athletes while others open their doors to school children each day.
But all these buildings have one thing in common: This year they have won coveted architecture awards for innovative design and construction methods and for promoting sustainability.
CNN puts the global spotlight on a handful of buildings that have been recognized not only for their good looks but for their green credentials too.
Casa Locarno -- Locarno, Switzerland
Overlooking Lago Maggiore in Switzerland, Casa Locarno was designed by Designyougo and insulated to low energy standards. Instead of using conventional heating, solar collectors on the roof provide energy for the low temperature under-floor heating, as well as for hot water during most months of the year. READ MORE >>
Elizabeth Demaray, an associate professor of fine arts, is cultivating lichen on the sides of New York City skyscrapers to counteract the lack of native vegetation found in the city. Her "Lichen for Skyscrapers Project" was featured as part of New York's Art in Odd Places Festival from Oct. 1-10 and is currently on view as a site-specific installation on 14th Street between Union Square Park and the Hudson River.
"Metropolitan centers figure into local temperatures in an interesting way," Demaray says. "They are sometimes referred to as 'urban heat islands' because they create heat and they trap heat. A large part of this process is due to the materials that we build with and the actual architecture of the buildings that we create."
Demaray says one of the ways to reduce heat in these cities is to cultivate lichen, which forms a protective barrier, insulating its supporting building from harmful elements. It can lower cumulative temperatures by absorbing sunlight and reflecting heat due to its light color palate while making oxygen and creating green space on the sides of buildings. READ MORE >>
This year’s Solar Decathlon student design competition showed off new technologies and unique innovations in many areas, including alternative energy, passive heating and cooling, and water conservation and reclamation.
Sponsored by the Department of Energy, the biennial Decathlon is a program that challenges collegiate teams to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive.
From Sept. 23 to Oct. 2, 19 teams and their solar-powered houses competed in 10 categories (each worth 100 points) that included engineering, hot-water generation, affordability (a new category this year), market appeal, energy balance, and architecture.
This year’s winner, the University of Maryland’s WaterShed house, was inspired by the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem. The nearly 900-square-foot home is made of two rectangular sheds that form a split butterfly roofline which maximizes solar-energy generation and collects rainwater along a central axis. The two sheds are connected by a third, smaller module that houses the bathroom. Rainwater collected from the roof via the central axis mixes with the house’s greywater from the shower, clothes washer, and dishwasher, in constructed wetlands located under the bathroom and along the decks. READ MORE >>
The Low Cost, Low Energy House project by sustainable.TO won the latest DesignByMany challenge: “Passive House for New Orleans.” The challenge asked professionals and students in the architectural, engineering and construction community to submit a proposal for a passive house in New Orleans that addresses the need for affordable, sustainable home design in neighborhoods that are still recovering from Hurricane Katrina.
“The Low Cost, Low Energy House, is an incredibly thoughtful and viable response to the goals of this challenge,” said David Fano, partner, CASE. “With the knowledge of participants from across the globe coming together to tackle this challenge through great submissions like Low Cost, Low Energy House, the hope is that design professionals will walk away with new ideas that can help move the industry forward and inform future building projects in a positive way.”
Low Cost, Low Energy House sensitively combines the rigors of the passive house standard with a contemporary reimagining of the shotgun typology. Using an elegant linear organization, both passive and active environmental systems are deeply integrated with program, circulation and the building enclosure. The simple building shape lends itself to the demands of airtight, thermal-bridge free construction through the opportunity for more cost-effective, higher-quality prefabrication. READ MORE >>