SOM unveils images of new undulating mixed-use tower in China

April 9, 2018 by  
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SOM recently just unveiled the first images of a spiraling mixed-use tower planned for China . The Hangzhou Wangchao Center features an undulating glass façade and eight mega-columns that slope outward at the corners. This design helps to minimize wind loads and optimize the center’s performance and efficiency. The Center will offer hotel, office and retail spaces in the heart of  Hangzhou . As a result of an integrated architectural and engineering strategy, the tower’s distinct silhouette minimizes wind loads and creates flexible floor plates. Related: SOM’s diagrid glass tower rises like a Chinese paper lantern in Beijing In addition to the large sloping corner columns, architects designed secondary perimeter columns that branch out to maintain equal column bays. A Vierendeel transfer truss above the lobby connects the secondary columns to the corner columns. This structure allows for the use of planar glass panels as cladding material. The tower is slated for completion in 2021. SOM said, “Located at the intersection of several major transportation networks, the tower is a beacon of performance-driven design and is emblematic of Hangzhou’s future as a new global destination.” + SOM Via ArchDaily Images by Brick Visual

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SOM unveils images of new undulating mixed-use tower in China

Shigeru Bans Mt. Fuji World Heritage Center opens in Japan

January 3, 2018 by  
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Japan’s Mt. Fuji World Heritage Center, designed by Pritzker winner Shigeru Ban , is officially open to the public at a time when visibility of Japan’s highest peak is at its best. Located 20 miles southwest of Mt. Fuji in Fujinomiya, Shizuoka Prefecture, the sculptural building pays homage to Fuji with its inverted latticed cone that, when seen in the reflecting pool, mimics the shape of the famous dormant volcano. Shigeru Ban’s design for the new Mt. Fuji World Heritage Center was selected from 238 entries in a competition commissioned shortly after Fuji was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2013. The highlight of the 3,400-square-meter facility is the viewing tower and ascent, where visitors walk up a 193-meter spiral slope simulating a climb up the Japan’s highest peak. Full-height glazing at the highest part of the tower frames views of the 3,776-meter-tall mountain. Related: Shigeru Ban uses shipping containers and paper tubes to create a surprising mobile museum Glass walls surround the Mt. Fuji World Heritage Center, giving it a sense of lightness, while the timber latticed cone is split between the interior and exterior. The facility also includes an exhibition room with a 4K theater and a touch screen with clips explicating the beliefs, culture, and nature of Mount Fuji. The Mt. Fuji World Heritage Center opened December 23, 2017. + Shigeru Ban Images via Shigeru Ban

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Shigeru Bans Mt. Fuji World Heritage Center opens in Japan

Glowing Maggies Center by Steven Holl Architects opens in London

December 28, 2017 by  
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Just in time for the holidays, Steven Holl Architects completed the latest Maggie’s Center, a building the U.S. firm describes as having “a new joyful, glowing presence.” The luminous building at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London is one in a network of drop-in centers with the charitable purpose of helping anyone who has been affected by cancer. Filled with natural light during the day and lit from within at night, this new Maggie’s Center is a sculptural beauty that takes inspiration from the church’s medieval heritage. Founded by Maggie Keswick Jencks and Charles Jencks in 1995, the Maggie Keswick Jencks Cancer Caring Trust and the network of Maggie’s Centers seek to help those affected by cancer with free support, information, and advice. Located on the grounds of NHS hospitals, the buildings that house Maggie’s Centers also double as uplifting design destinations, having been designed by leading architects such as Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, and Snøhetta. At the Maggie’s Center at St. Barts, Steven Holl Architects fashioned a curved three-story building—one of the few centers with a more vertical rather than horizontal profile—that draws the eye with its glowing matte glass facade decorated with colored glass fragments that evoke the “neume notation” of 13th century Medieval music. The glass facade is also organized in horizontal bands like a musical staff. “Interior lighting will be organized to allow the colored lenses together with the translucent white glass of the facade to present a new, joyful, glowing presence on this corner of the great square of St. Barts Hospital,” wrote the architects. Related: Light-filled cancer center harnesses the healing power of nature The architects continue to say that the building was envisioned as a “vessel within a vessel within a vessel,” referring to the glass cladding as the outer layer on a branching concrete frame that holds an inner layer of perforated bamboo . The inner bamboo shell wraps around an open curved staircase and is bathed in colored light that changes over time and by season. The ground floor welcomes visitors with a rest area, counseling room, kitchen, and dining area. The first floor comprises a library and two additional rooms, while the topmost floor opens up to a public roof garden with flowering trees and a multipurpose space for yoga, Tai Chi, meetings and more. + Steven Holl Architects Images by Iwan Baan

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Glowing Maggies Center by Steven Holl Architects opens in London

Critically endangered red wolf may be forced into extinction by GOP

December 1, 2017 by  
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There are only 45 to 60 red wolves left in the wild, concentrated in a small area of North Carolina — but for Republicans, that is simply too many. The  Canis rufus, which was declared endangered in 1982 and critically endangered in 1996, has seen only slight growth in its population over the last 30-plus years. As such, the wolves have been protected through a captive breeding and reintroduction program funded by the federal government. But now with Republicans controlling the Senate, a covert push is underway to eviscerate the protective agency and force these red wolves into extinction. As IFLS shares, the initiative is  buried in a Senate report , written as: “The Committee acknowledges the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission’s request that the [Fish and Wildlife] Service end the Red Wolf recovery program and declare the Red Wolf extinct.” The claim is that “landowners and other species” are being impacted by the wolves and that “the program has failed to meet population goals for the red wolf”—though, notably, absolutely no research or data was accompanied to back up the statements. If passed, the program would come to a close next year. Related: Red Wolves Critically Close to Extinction After Hunters Kill 10 Percent of Population “Senate Republicans are trying to hammer a final nail in the coffin of the struggling red wolf recovery program,” Perrin de Jong, a Center for Biological Diversity staff attorney, said in a  press release . “It is morally reprehensible for Senator Murkowski and her committee to push for the extinction of North Carolina’s most treasured wild predator. Instead of giving up on the red wolf, Congress should fund recovery efforts, something lawmakers have cynically blocked time and time again.” The handful of existing red wolves are the result of an aggressive reintroduction effort started in 1987 to bring them out of extinction. Even today, the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) reports they are “one of the world’s most endangered wild canids,” though they have made “good progress” in rebuilding the population, despite illegal poaching and interbreeding with coyotes. The goal has been to grow the number to 220 red wolves. Rather than disassembling the program, the Center for Biological Diversity is calling on pols to improve it: “The science demonstrates that red wolves are still recoverable. A 2014  report  by the nonpartisan Wildlife Management Institute concluded that recovery would require augmenting eastern North Carolina’s existing wild population of fewer than 45 red wolves with two additional wild populations and investing additional resources to build local support for red wolf recovery.” Both the subcommittee and the Interior Department will decide the fate of the wolves. Unfortunately, as the two are under the control of the GOP, a party that has little interest in environmental conservation, the future of the red wolf is bleak. Via  IFL Science Images via Center for Biological Diversity

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Critically endangered red wolf may be forced into extinction by GOP

Gangnams answer to Central Park will pop up in the heart of Seoul

November 2, 2017 by  
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Dominique Perrault Architecture has been tapped to design the Gangnam International Transit Center, a gargantuan and nature-filled transit terminal that aims to alleviate congestion in the heart of Seoul . The $1.15 billion project will span 160,000 square meters with six underground floors topped by a 30,000-square-meter public plaza described by the architects as a response to New York’s Central Park and London’s Hyde Park. A crystalline glass roof will bring natural light and air deep into the subterranean levels, and gives rise to the project’s name, Lightwalk. Introducing a mammoth complex into the heart of the capital is no easy task. In hopes of advancing Seoul’s agenda toward pedestrian friendly development, the architects created a subterranean transit terminal with the upper two levels dedicated to public and commercial purposes including an exhibition hall, a museum, a library, and a shopping mall. The remaining four floors will be used as parking lots and as bus, subway (for lines 2 and 9), train transit and transfer centers. Over 600,000 transit passengers are expected to use the underground terminal daily—roughly twice the number of visitors to Seoul Station. Aboveground, the landscaped plaza, called The Green Land, will be ringed by a double line of high canopy trees, while pocket parks and large grassy areas allow for a wide variety of activities, from private picnics to food festivals. A wide glass roof, called the Light Beam, runs the length of the plaza to bring natural light to the underground floors and will be supplemented by solar light pipes. The transit terminal will also house an underground park covered in greenery and illuminated by natural light from the light beam. Related: MVRDV wins bid to design Seoul’s High Line-inspired park “It is a minimalistic, yet incredibly powerful gesture, which marks the presence of a new major integrated public transportation station for the city of Seoul,” write the architects. “Spanning between the two main road of the Gangnam district, Bongeunsaro and Teheranro, the Lightwalk creates a landscape intervention linking the two axis and acts as an orientation mark from all sides. Rooted in the ground, it is the symbol of a renewed Seoul, which aims to become more pedestrian friendly, a landmark for all underground infrastructures worldwide, where users can experience natural light and air, deep into the ground, in the Groundscape.” Construction is expected to begin in 2019 with a tentative completion date in 2023. + Dominique Perrault Architecture Via ArchDaily

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Gangnams answer to Central Park will pop up in the heart of Seoul

For the first time ever, scientists spotted an object from outside our solar system

October 26, 2017 by  
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Until recently, every asteroid and comet that zipped by Earth came from within our solar system. That just changed, as scientists discovered an object with a trajectory not tied to our Sun. The direction of its approach suggests the asteroid came from Vega, one of the closest stars beyond our Sun. Based on limited observations, astronomers now believe this is the first visitor of its kind to be observed. The preliminary findings were published earlier today by the International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Center (MPC) . Said Gareth Williams, the MPC’s associate director, “If further observations confirm the unusual nature of this orbit, this object may be the first clear case of an interstellar comet.” When the object — named A/2017 U1 — entered the solar system , it moved at 26 km (16 miles) per second. At that speed, it could travel 8,200,000,000,000,000 km (more than 850 light years) in 10 million years. Related: Earth’s water may not have originated with comet collisions after all Researchers failed to see it approach the Sun on September 9, partly because of the path of its approach and also because it is estimated to be just 160 meters (525) across. On October 18, however, observers using the PANSTARRS 1 telescope in Hawaii noticed something peculiar about its orbit. After attention was given to the comet, it was later declared to be an asteroid. Reportedly, the PANSTARRS asteroid entered the solar system from the direction of the constellation Lyra. That’s very close to Vega, a star located 25 light years away. If calculations are correct, it took the asteroid nearly 300,000 years to reach Earth . When it passed by our planet on October 14th, it was 24,000,000 km (15,000,000 miles) away. Now, A/2017 U1 is headed out of the solar system, never again to return. Via Sky and Telescope Images via NASA/JPL/Horizons 1 , 2

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For the first time ever, scientists spotted an object from outside our solar system

Hurricane Jose strengthens to an "extremely dangerous" Category 4

September 8, 2017 by  
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Hot on the heels of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma is yet another natural disaster, Hurricane Jose. The “extremely dangerous” Category 4 hurricane is located east of the Leeward Islands and is forecasted to transit west-northwest into the Atlantic Ocean in the coming days. This is the first time in history two hurricanes with 150-plus mph winds have been recorded at the same time. According to the National Hurricane Center , Jose has sustained winds near 150 mph.  As a result, Antigua, Barbuda and Anguilla, St. Martin, and St. Barthelemy — islands that were just battered by Hurricane Irma — are now on a Hurricane Watch as of Friday at 11 a.m. When Irma passed over Barbuda, a tiny Caribbean island of 1,800 residents, 95 percent of the buildings were destroyed, said Prime Minister Gaston Browne. Cuba and south Florida are now preparing for the destruction Irma is expected to unleash. Related: This image of Hurricane Irma from space will blow your mind This is the first time on record two hurricanes with 150-plus mph winds have been recorded at the same time, said Colorado State University meteorologist  Philip Klotzbach . And, it turns out humans deserve most of the blame. For years, scientists have warned that unsustainable habits would exacerbate climate change , resulting in melting glaciers, rising sea levels , and worsening natural disasters due to increased precipitation and a few other factors. The only silver lining from this situation might be that the events inspire more people to invest in sustainable initiatives. + National Hurricane Center Via CNN Images via National Hurricane Center, Pixabay

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Hurricane Jose strengthens to an "extremely dangerous" Category 4

This app helps corporate buyers evaluate solar and wind projects

June 21, 2017 by  
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New service from the Business Renewables Center simplifies the comparison of contracts, including virtual power purchase agreements.

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Architect tops Japanese community center with a series of striking wooden roofs

March 3, 2017 by  
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Hiroshima-based architect Hiroshi Sambuichi has covered a cultural center in the small Japanese island of Naoshima with a series of strikingly beautiful wooden roofs . Much of the design of the complex is based on traditional Japanese architecture – including the low-rise hipped roofs, which strategically provide fresh air circulation throughout the buildings. The complex is comprised of multiple buildings that share a series of wooden roofs . The largest roof covers the main volume of the community hall, which is built into a grassy slope. Made out of multi-tonal Japanese cypress or “hinoki,” the massive roof follows the low incline of the landscape. A large triangular opening is carved into its apex, which lets additional fresh air into the interior. Related: Kengo Kuma’s new community center hides a hilly indoor landscape under its zigzag-roof The two roofs cover four buildings underneath, which have multiple indoor and outdoor spaces – another feature that pays homage to traditional Japanese architecture . “A structure that provides protection from rain while allowing breezes to gently pass through, it inherits the principles of the Japanese traditional thatched roof,” said Sambuichi. Inside, natural materials create a simple and elegant atmosphere. The flooring is made from Hinoki panels, some of the walls are made out of adobe clay, and some rooms have compacted earth flooring made from a leftover solution from a local salt factory. The complex also has a number of typical Japanese tatami rooms, which were laid out to receive optimal air circulation. “Emulating the traditional layouts found in Naoshima, gardens and verandas are placed at the north and south, so that breezes will pass through the tatami rooms,” said the architect. To further cool the interior spaces in the hot summer months, an innovative system feeds underground water into pipes in the community center’s ceiling. Via Dezeen Photography by Sambuichi Architects

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Architect tops Japanese community center with a series of striking wooden roofs

Foster + Partners breaks ground on major transit-oriented project in downtown San Francisco

December 9, 2016 by  
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Foster + Partners has just broken ground on Oceanwide Center—a major transit-oriented development that will dramatically transform the heart of downtown San Francisco into a more walkable and interconnected place to live, work, and play. Designed in collaboration with Heller Manus, the mixed-use urban project is located in the city’s Transbay Area near Market Street and the financial district. The development will feature environmentally friendly design that includes adaptive reuse and LEED-seeking structures and systems. Despite its modern design, the Oceanwide Center will be skillfully woven into the existing urban fabric through the addition of 26,000 square feet of new public space to tie the building into the public realm. The urban project will also include two mixed-use towers: a 625-foot, 54-story residential and hotel tower, along with a 910-foot, 61-story residential and office tower along First Street. All together Oceanwide Center will provide 2.4 million square feet of new hotel, office, and residential space. Two historic buildings on First Street will be restored and revitalized. The First Street Tower can be seen as a visual beacon for the project with its eye-catching crystalline form that articulate the facades on the skyline. The interior features an open layout with offset cores. The structure is 30% lighter than traditional buildings with a central core of similar size, yet is designed for seismic stability. Its innovative MEP and vertical transportation systems are designed to meet LEED Platinum certification. The second mixed-use tower, which contains a new Waldorf Astoria hotel and is designed to LEED Gold standards, is located along Mission Street and will be clad in stone with unique ‘glass vitrine’ windows. Related: Foster + Partners unveil plans for a pair of hurricane-resistant high rises in Miami “I have always had a great fascination for San Francisco – a city with a youthful spirit has allowed it to constantly reinvent itself, yet retain a unique sense of urbanity,” said Lord Foster. “The Oceanwide Center encapsulates that essence – it is a pioneering example that combines spaces to live and work with a vibrant public realm in the heart of the city. The project now marks a major milestone with its groundbreaking, as the evolution of a sustainable model of high density, mixed-use development that I have always promoted.” The Oceanside Center is expected to be complete by 2021. + Foster + Partners Images via Foster + Partners

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Foster + Partners breaks ground on major transit-oriented project in downtown San Francisco

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