Archives For Architecture

Astroturfing Leed

April 6, 2014 — Leave a comment

leedexposed

LEED and BREEAM are the two competing certification schemes for ‘green’ building in Architecture. I have made a few BREEAM reports and have read a little up on LEED in case I should ever need to take part in certifying a building I’m working on. These schemes are a little bit of hassle and consume some time, also some points to gain credits in the scheme look a little easy to achieve especially considering the different regulations we have here in Finland say to the UK where the BREEAM scheme is based. But overall I think these to certification systems are fantastic. Why is that?

Well the short answer is that they add value to a project. The longer answer is that they add a layer of QA to the design that can be justified back to the client and contractor. It also allows the design team to quantify and properly cost environmental measures that save money to the project in the long-term but are often more expensive up front. They encourage environmental standards up and allow clients to better audit their assets down the line. These two tools in short should be used a lot more. They help make building more environmentally friendly and they help drive change not only in the building industry but in the way we use buildings.

They are gaining in popularity so it shouldn’t have come as a surprise that an Astroturfing organisation has been set up in the USA to oppose LEED. The organisation is called leedexposed and thanks to Lloyd Alter at Treehugger and Sara Johnson at Architect Magazine the arguments they make have been debunked and the man behind the Astroturf organisation has been partially exposed to the light. The man behind it is Rick Berman, who appears to be able to say anything for the right price. I have a simple idea just boycott the companies who fund his company (and tell them why) here is the list.

OMA in Pasila

January 27, 2014 — Leave a comment

oma_pasilaOMA has teamed up with YIT one of the big developers active in Finland and submitted a design for the Pasila One competition. No one else tabled a bid so the city has a difficult decision to make and no reference group to refer to. The Pasila area has three basic redevelopment zones and Pasila One is the most eyecatching. It is the redevelopment of the train station and surrounding area, a large amount of service space and three super blocks worth of mixed use development three times the size of Kamppi in central Helsinki. The city wants to make it into a business and media hub, and clearly Pasila One sitting ontop of a crossroads between road and train access corridors has vast potential to be a great, busy, urban center ready to contribute an urban buzz to the surrounding area.

How good is the proposal though?

Links:

 

Week Review 6

September 29, 2013 — Leave a comment

Soviet era miners' cable car

Chiaturas’ extreme geography made the use of a cable car system widespread. Since the 50′s this soviet era system hasn’t had much work done on it.

In central Turkey, an ancient people dug, over 200 underground cities. The deepest of these, under the present day town of Derinkuyu, goes over 250 feet below the Earth’s surface.

Ross Langdon RIP.

The Brutalist masterpiece that is Preston Bus Station has gotten a reprieve from being knocked down.

Another post looking at mapping the age of buildings in different cities, a good overview here.

Week Review 5

September 10, 2013 — Leave a comment

De Karel Doorman

Ibelings Van Tilburg has reused an old Department store due to be demolished as a plinth for a new housing hi-rise in Rotterdam. It’s a Densification, mixed use project that is very compelling, perhaps even a little controversial, read more with this nice write-up by Anneke Bokern in Uncube.

If you are walking in London watch out for the Walkie-Scorchie otherwise known as 20 Fenchurch Street by Rafael Viñoly building which can melt cars developers have blamed the problem on “the current elevation of the sun in the sky

Engineers will construct a mile-long ice wall around the Fukushima nuclear plant in an attempt to stop the continuing leak of radioactive water, and set to cast a cool $320 million.

Anyone who in their job has to use some sort of CAD tool will know how the complexities of the interface make for a frustrating block to the flow of design thinking and conceptualizing. You have to concentrate on mastering the interface at the expense of understanding and designing the thing in question. Elon Musks video showing a little of what they are doing at SpaceX hints at the exciting, intuitive future of CAD. (via)

Week Review 4

September 4, 2013 — Leave a comment

amsterdam_bydatebuilt

The above picture is of Amsterdam with the buildings coloured by date of construction. A dataset of 9,866,539 buildings to come up with this amazing map. It is a mesmerizing experience and informative, Rotterdam bombed by the Nazis in WWII is light blue compared to the red of Amsterdam which wasn’t bombed. (via)

How do you get rid of a listed building when you are redeveloping? Add a new elevation and ‘partially demolish it’ as is the case in my hometown of Edinburgh with the old Scottish Provident building on St. Andrews Square. It’s a beautiful 60′s building in its own right and in context I agree with Malcolm Fraser. Keep it.

UCL’s New Hall Housing a student apartment block in London had won this years Carbuncle Cup in the UK. An award for the worst building. Why is it so bad, well read this article on the Guardian about it. Cheap, ugly,designed to maximise paid student numbers  cramming them together like battery hens. Not only this but like in the example in Edinburgh above planning regulations have been bent and floated cynically. A deserved winner.

Scottish Castles are cheaper than New York Apartments, is this really a surprise? What are the three rules of Property development again? Location, Location, Location.

Week Review 3

July 21, 2013 — Leave a comment
In china the largest building in the world has opened.

In china the largest building in the world has opened.

Anyone mulling over the worlds current economic problems should look at the white elephants of Spain. Following my post about the catacombs of Paris an old one but good one about the caves of Nottingham. Any time you are in a shopping center you are being monitored. The future of construction via the always excellent architechnophilia.

Week Review 1

June 15, 2013 — Leave a comment

hcl_ala

ALA win the Heksinki Central Library Competition. The best of the six shortlisted entries wins, and a kind of homecoming from the preeminent office in Helsinki finally with a major public building in their hometown.

Pritzker Architecture Prize committee will not honor Denise Scott Brown‘s request for Pritzker recognition. It makes them look bad twice over refusing to acknowledge the fact of their collaboration, and for looking totally sexist too! See Kazys piece.

Jarret Walker of Human Transit nails it with cynisism is consent. Nothing should be welcomed more than constructive complaints.

The BBC charts out the future of thinking and breathing buildings and of cities as ecosystems.

2013 RIBA Awards winners announced. I’ve only had a cursory look at this but the list looks long and deep on quality.

Mayor Bloomberg unveils $20B plan to build new NYC defenses against climate change.

Following the first proper post on declad about The Lego House, some more lego news.

To inspire more co-creations, LEGO has launched its Cuusoo platform in beta. Anyone can submit a project idea and those that reach 10,000 votes will be reviewed by LEGO and potentially turned into real products. If the project reaches production, the person who submitted the idea will receive 1% of the total net sales of the product. Via

Hapy Birthday Kevin Roche.

The Lego House

June 13, 2013 — Leave a comment

LEGO House concept

Last week the Architects corner of the internet was lit up1 by BIG’s latest design The Lego House, a lego experience center near LEGO HQ in Billund Denmark. But the building is just the latest link in a chain which joins Lego and Architecture together.

automatic-binding-brick-1949

Automatic Binding Bricks 1949

In 1949 Ole Kirk Christiansen with his company LEGO started manufacturing Automatic Binding Bricks what we would all recognise today as the Lego brick the only difference being a slot in the sides for windows and doors and the absence of the hollow tubes in the undersides that would be added in 1958. The first sets were focused on building Architectural structures.

Over the years as Lego expanded as a business and a brand it has inspired many Architects as children, it’s also been used directly as a design tool, Jørn Utzon used lego bricks to help him lay out the design of his last building the Utzon Centre as sketching had become harder for him in his old age.2

sydneyoperahouse

Jørn Utzon Sydney Opera House

Again at the start of this century lego rediscovered it’s Architectural roots, Adam Reed Tucker pitched an idea to Lego to release sets of world landmarks. Lego supported him in setting up his company brickstructures and themselves started a range of Architectural classics at architecture.lego. This all came together with the increasing diversification and mediatisation3 of Lego their ‘system of play’ giving way to the ‘narrativization’ of their ranges. From plain bricks where you must construct the models and the stories yourself, increasingly lego systems come with a ‘world’ built in, whether its Lego Star Wars or Hero Factory. They have also embraced newer ways to play and experiment with the lego system. You can download software and design in 3d anything you want, then order the pieces to be delivered or reprogram their hackable robotic bricks Mindstorms.

BIlego

Bjarke Ingels lego self

BIG is a good fit for Lego having used it in their models for exhibitions before, Bjarke Ingels even has his own lego persona. Also BIG understand the requirements of a project like this to extend beyond the plain numbers of the program to embody lego both into the Architecture and for the visitors to the building. The projects composition allows you to be below, above and within the Lego block inspired design. It is an easily quoteable building and it will itself become a link in a lego chain brand that projects lego into galaxies further and further away.

 

lego_top

  1.  Archdaily dezeen wired coDesign  []
  2. I can’t find corroboration for this except for my memory of a lecture about Utzon I attended. But it rings true to his way of working ‘Utzon rarely used a sketchbook, but would draw on anything that was available. He drew the initial plan for an art museum at Silkeborg, in Denmark, with poured salt on a restaurant table in Sydney, which he then photographed with a borrowed camera. The design was based on Buddhist caves he had visited near the Gobi Desert, but the museum was never built. Another friend recalled Utzon using a charred stick on a pavement to sketch the cross-section of a cave-room he had seen in China, which was to form the basis for his design for a new house; sadly the sketch was washed away by a thunderstorm that same night.’ The Telegraph. []
  3. See Beyond Beyond the Brick: Narrativizing LEGO in the Digital Age by Aaron Smith []