Staggered volumes help make Portland’s Slate building an energy-efficient marvel

August 15, 2017 by  
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Portland, Oregon’s new mixed-use development , known as Slate, consists of a shifting stack of volumes that reflect the vibrancy and complexity of the neighborhood. The development, designed by Works Progress Architecture for co-developers Urban Development Partners and Beam Development , earned  LEED Gold certification as an energy-efficient complex that takes the curtain-wall system to the next level. The 10-story development has six floors of apartment units, up to four floors of co-working office spaces and around 7,800 square feet of retail space at street level. Its modular, rectangular shapes have a sculptural quality on the east and west elevations, while a flat, clean look dominates the north and south side of the building. Related: Oregon’s Largest Education Building Achieves LEED Platinum Certification The architects worked closely with the glazing contractor to create a unitized curtain-wall system. Dallas Glass installed Wausau Window and Wall Systems, which can be put in place in a fraction of the time needed to install field-glazed systems. Related: Cherokee Mixed-Use Lofts is a LEED Platinum Award Winning Design The facade was thermally improved to respond to the challenges of Portland ‘s climate. This thermal barrier is combined with solar-control, low-e, insulating glass to achieve a high performance for solar heat gain control, condensation resistance and high visible light transmittance. The system also facilitates optimal natural ventilation in order to reduce the reliance of HVAC systems. + Works Progress Architecture Photos by Joshua Jay Elliott , courtesy of Works Progress Architecture

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Staggered volumes help make Portland’s Slate building an energy-efficient marvel

Vancouver on track to kill wasteful single-use packaging

June 29, 2017 by  
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Vancouver , Canada wants to become a zero-waste city – no easy feat for an area with over 600,000 people. But as part of its Greenest City Action Plan , the city is exploring options to limit single-use packaging, like all those coffee cups, plastic bags and foam take-out containers littering our landfills . This summer they’re launching a pilot program to allow restaurants to fill take-out orders in reusable containers brought by patrons. Vancouver is teaming up with Vancouver Coastal Health to allow retailers and restaurants to fill orders in customer-brought containers. They pointed to container share programs in San Francisco, New York City, and Portland as examples of alternatives to the single-use waste issue in the past. Vancouver Coastal Health will work to ensure food safety and health for the program. Related: Insidious single-use coffee pods banned in German city Mayor Gregor Robertson said in a statement, “Vancouver is on track to be the greenest city in the world by 2020, and taking these next steps to reduce coffee cups, Styrofoam , and plastic bags from our landfills will take our environmental leadership to the next level.” He called for city residents to weigh in on reducing single-use packaging waste. If you live in Vancouver, you can find out about zero waste events or sound off on your ideas here . Even though Vancouver is taking large strides towards becoming a zero waste city, they’ve got a long way to go. According to city officials, 2.6 million coffee cups are tossed into the garbage every single week there, while around two million plastic bags end up in the trash. They also frequently find foam in Vancouver shoreline cleanup projects. But the effort to prioritize a zero waste future is a positive step, as the city encourages its citizens to shift their thinking on waste . Via the City of Vancouver ( 1 , 2 ) Images via Wikimedia Commons and Takahiro Sakamoto on Unsplash

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Elon Musk-inspired Hyperloop Hotel could be the future of travel

June 22, 2017 by  
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Imagine zipping between cities in mere minutes—all from the comfort of your hotel suite. That’s the futuristic vision of the $130 million Hyperloop Hotel, a proposal built upon Elon Musk’s Hyperloop One high-speed train system currently in development. Designed by University of Nevada, Las Vegas graduate architecture student Brandan Siebrecht, the Hyperloop Hotel envisions seamless transport between 13 cities with a proposed flat fee of $1,200. The visionary Hyperloop Hotel won the student section of this year’s Radical Innovation Award , an annual competition for futuristic hotel designs. Siebrecht’s winning design uses reclaimed shipping containers as mobile, customizable hotel rooms that zip between cities at near-supersonic speeds through tubes and dock at designated hotels. Guests could travel across the U.S. without leaving the comfort of their pods and handle the entire process, from reservation to travel arrangements, with their smartphone. Siebrecht created the design for America’s 13 largest cities including Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Denver, Sante Fe, Austin, Chicago, Nashville, Washington, D.C., New York City, and Boston. He drew inspiration from Musk’s Hyperloop test track, the DevLoop, located just outside Las Vegas. If successful, the high-speed train could zip travelers from Philadelphia to New York in 10 minutes. Related: Elon Musk reveals boring tunnels are for the Hyperloop Guests can customize the layout of the repurposed modular shipping container hotel rooms. Each hotel room includes areas for sleeping, bathing, living, and flex. Siebrecht estimates that the construction cost of each docking hotel between $8 and $10 million, and believes construction of his hotel concept feasible within the next five to 10 years. + Radical Innovation Award Via Business Insider

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SCAD students save a piece of American history with vintage train car restoration

June 22, 2017 by  
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The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD)’s award-winning tradition of historic preservation hit another home run for Preservation Month. SCAD students salvaged a piece of American history that would have otherwise disappeared when they restored of a rare 1911 wooden passenger train car. The students turned the railroad preservation project into an educational opportunity and intentionally left parts of the train car in its found state to teach visitors about the preservation process. Owned by the nonprofit Coastal Heritage Society , the decrepit rare train car was originally brought to the Georgia State Railroad Museum from the city of Augusta. As part of a spring student project, three graduate and eight undergraduate SCAD students carefully restored the 1911 train car to complement the SCAD Museum of Art, an adaptive reuse project that turned an 1853 antebellum railroad depot into a modern museum. The train car is currently displayed alongside the museum. Related: SCAD Students Transform an Atlanta Parking Garage into Ecologically Responsible Micro-Housing Community “SCAD knows well the stories of Georgia’s railways—our award-winning SCAD Museum of Art rises proudly from the ruins of the nation’s oldest surviving antebellum railroad depot,” said SCAD President and Founder, Paula Wallace. “Now, the nation’s premier preservation design program helps narrate another tale for the appreciation of railfans for generations to come.” Students’ preservation work included replacing the train car’s exterior wood siding, refinishing woodwork, and stripping the original mahogany panels of layers of paint and shellac. + Savannah College of Art and Design Images by Dylan Wilson

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Portland debuts newly designed thief-proof bike racks

June 13, 2017 by  
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Portland , Oregon is home to more bike parking spaces on city streets than any other city in North America. But that also means there are more opportunities for bike thieves . So the city is rolling out a new bike rack design to deter would-be crooks. Bike burglars in Portland have recently attacked not a bike’s lock, but the rack to which it’s connected. Bike owners lose their ride, and the city has to replace the racks. The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT), which wants city residents to feel their bikes are safe, turned to a new design to thwart thieves. Related: Crazy SkunkLock makes would-be bike thieves vomit From the outside the new racks don’t look like anything special – CityLab described them as tubular arches. But inside there is a “free-floating, steel-wire cable routed through the hollow steel piping of the rack,” according to PBOT communications specialist Hannah Schafer. “This makes it difficult to cut through, because the wire moves when the blade attempts to get purchase.” Then, 10 inches above the ground is a bar spanning the bottom of the rack for extra security. The bar prevents a thief from unscrewing bolts to slip a U-lock around the bottom of the rack, according to Schafer. She told CityLab, “In addition, if a potential thief were to cut through the bike rack and wire rope, the bar makes it difficult to pry the rack apart and slip a U-lock off.” Radius Pipe Bending manufactures the new bike racks for the city. PBOT said they’re not able to replace all 7,000 racks currently in the city with the new design – the new racks cost around $5 more than the old ones – but new installations and maintenance will feature the new robber repellent design. Check out the city’s schematic here . Via CityLab and the Portland Bureau of Transportation Images via BikePortland.org Facebook and Portland Bureau of Transportation

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The world’s first self-driving grocery store just hit the streets of Shanghai

June 13, 2017 by  
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The world’s first self-driving supermarket just landed on the streets of Shanghai – and it could be coming to your neck of the woods in the near future. Developed by the folks behind the Wheelys bike cafe , the Moby is a solar-powered market on wheels that actually helps the environment by filtering smoggy air. It’s also packed with artificial intelligence, it features drone delivery, and it’s open round-the-clock without staffing. Wheely’s Moby Store is the future of shopping. Instead of driving to the store and waiting in line, the store will come to you – and you can check an app to see if a Moby is nearby. The Moby is powered by the sun and is able to run autonomously – although stores will be controlled by remote or human drivers until self-driving vehicles are legalized. Related: New Wheelys 4 bike café cleans smoggy air and turns coffee grounds into fertilizer Shopping at Moby couldn’t be easier: you just step in, take what you need and head out. All purchases are automatically tallied without the need for a checkout counter. Or you can order a drone delivery – each store has 4 drone pads for quick delivery. Moby keeps track of what is purchased and uses artificial intelligence to restock inventory. When the store needs to be restocked, it will drive itself to the warehouse and fill up. The Moby Store can also operate as a mini pharmacy and coffee shop, features first aid devices (like a defibrillator), and provides an ATM in addition to the usual grocery fare. Lest you miss the interaction with a clerk, shoppers will be greeted and helped by the holographic store assistant, Hol. If the store doesn’t have what you need – or if you have a special order – you can just tell Hol and it will be ready for you next time you drop by. The Moby store was developed in cooperation with Himalayafy and Hefei University and it’s currently in beta testing in Shanghai. + Wheelys

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The world’s first self-driving grocery store just hit the streets of Shanghai

UPS rolls out first e-bike delivery in the United States

December 8, 2016 by  
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The United Parcel Service (UPS) recently announced their first e-bike delivery program in the United States. Continuing wide-ranging sustainability efforts, the company chose Portland , Oregon to host their environmentally-conscious program. 109 years ago, UPS got its start delivering messages and packages via bicycle . Although the company eventually steered towards delivery by automobiles and airplanes, bikes may now be making a comeback, according to UPS Senior Vice President for Global Engineering and Sustainability Mark Wallace. On November 21, UPS’s special electronically-powered tricycle started making deliveries in Portland, a city the company chose because they already deliver via bicycle there seasonally. Related: This solar-powered e-bike has a top speed of 30 mph Portland mayor Charlie Hales said in a statement, “Portland, like all cities, is looking for ways to fight urban congestion and pollution. It’s great when a company like UPS brings us a unique solution that will help us combat climate change and protect the environment.” UPS’ e-bike could allow the company to ramp up sustainable delivery, as they can carry more, travel further, and navigate hills easier than traditional bikes. Deliverers can either pedal the bike or allow the electric motor powered by a battery to do the work. According to UPS, the e-bike is most energy-efficient when a human is pedaling and relying on battery power at the same time. UPS tested e-bike delivery service in 2012 in Hamburg, Germany, where they evaluated both bicycle and on-foot delivery methods. The successful experiment saw emissions reduced and traffic eased, according to UPS, and in 2015 it was announced the program would continue for two more years. UPS will now assess the e-bike’s design and reliability, and how well the bike fits into Portland. Should the pioneering pilot project work, the company hopes to deploy more e-bikes, possibly as soon as 2017. + United Parcel Service Images courtesy of United Parcel Service

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The ultimate sustainable rain jacket is here

July 3, 2016 by  
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A new rain jacket from Columbia is being touted as the world’s first eco-friendly, high-performance jacket without the use of any toxic perfluorinated compounds. Called the OutDry Extreme EcoShell, the fabric is a breathable and sustainable solution to extreme weather. Not only has the Portland, OR sportswear company eliminated PFCs, but it’s also found a way to make the garment from 100% recycled content.

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The ultimate sustainable rain jacket is here

How ‘diversion architecture’ will make outdoor concert festivals more sustainable

May 20, 2016 by  
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Everyone looks forward to outdoor music festivals, but most large scale gatherings contribute a staggering amount of waste. That’s why every year Happy Valley, Oregon hosts The Pickathon Music Festival, one of the world’s most sustainable concert events. Pickathon has taken the waste-free concept very seriously ; building stages from recycled or recyclable materials, eliminating bottled water and plastic utensils, and providing an EcoShuttle service to and from the grounds. Partnering with The Diversion Design/Build Studio at Portland State University’s School of Architecture , Pickathon’s student-led experiment explores a new wave of sustainable design: Diversion Architecture. The concept shows that collective gatherings need not require an enormous carbon footprint ; it just requires thoughtful design. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g3Al_646xss&feature=youtu.be Grandparents perform Grandparents “Kids In The Alley” on the Pickathon Tree-Line Stage at Pendarvis Farm. For the past 4 years, Portland State University’s Diversion Design and Build Studio student-led design experiment has partnered with Pickathon, focusing on two core strategies: the diversion of non-typical, re-used materials, and the diversion of non-typical experiences like those embodied in festival gatherings. RELATED: Portland architecture students build incredible outdoor stage from 520 recycled pallets The Pickathon story involves a constant re-thinking about the way we use materials and how we might minimize consumption. A telling example of this design process was the move to eliminate bottled water from the weekend festival (likely the highest grossing line-item at a typical summer music festival). In order to eliminate bottled water, Pickathon decided to truck-in drinking water and offer it free of charge to anyone bringing their own cup. Further, in order to eliminate the use of plastic cups, Pickathon designed a special stainless steel pint mug that could be used for water but which would also be the sole vessel allowed for beer purchases; give them your cup, they’ll fill it with beer. This simple design change immediately eliminated both plastic water bottles and plastic cups from the festival, and created a remarkable fully-embraced culture around the thoughtful re-use of everyday items. The stainless steel cups are re-used year after year. Silverware, tableware, and indeed architecture soon followed suit. Image © Dylan Vanweelden It is important to note that the goals of Pickathon should not be primarily understood as the desire to design a sustainable music festival, but as the desire to design a relevant, responsible and thrilling community experience of contemporary music. The founders of Pickathon , now in its 16th year, continue to insist upon a creative agenda in all aspects of the event. As they state: Since day one, the idea behind Pickathon has always been pretty simple: what does it take to be the best weekend festival of the year for music lovers? …Innovation has always been at the center of this process and through the years many important elements have come together; collaborating widely on yearly, diverse lineups that are built on the idea of great music being the sole criteria; refining six unique performance venues designed to create juxtaposing alternate realities; ….maintaining a low crowd density; becoming the only large music festival to eliminate plastic and minimize single use items; recruiting the finest food and drink purveyors in the land; focusing constantly on eliminating “normal” festival hassles; enabling families to thrive. This attitude mirrors that of Portland State University with regards to sustainable architecture; sustainable design must be poetically engaged in the material human world or risk being irrelevant to the human dilemma on this planet. Image © Tim LaBarge With these innovations to the typical music festival already churning away, Pickathon approached the PSU School of Architecture with the challenge to design and implement a 1,000-person performance area as an addition to the existing festival infrastructure. This new performance space, named the Tree-Line Stage , had four primary design criteria: • To continue Pickathon’s philosophy of high-experiential impact coupled with low-environmental impact. • The site was to be returned to its found condition, an idyllic meadow leaning gently towards the horizon of the Cascades. • Costs to be kept to an absolute minimum. • The performance area needed to be a completely new design, every year, in order to keep the concepts of low-impact design at the front of the community’s mind. The Diversion Design/Build Studio is currently designing a new Tree-Line Stage for the 2016 Pickathon Festival and will soon be sharing the design process with you. Inhabitat readers will have a special opportunity to vote for the initiating re-used material, design intentions, and experiential effects – stay tuned for this exciting series. + The Diversion Design/Build Studio at Portland State University Travis Bell is Assistant Professor in Ecological Design at Portland State University’s School of Architecture teaching lecture courses, design studios, and design/build courses. Travis’ primary interest lies in making architecture that is in closer alignment with the natural patterns of our environment. This primary interest grounds a research, teaching and design agenda focused on appropriate material choice, the prioritization of authentic craftsmanship, passive systems design, adapted historical technologies, explorations in Critical Regionalism and temporary architectural solutions.

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How ‘diversion architecture’ will make outdoor concert festivals more sustainable

Researchers discover toxic heavy metals in Portland’s trees and air

April 6, 2016 by  
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We don’t often think about whether there are toxins in the trees around us, but researchers in Portland, Oregon recently made a very unsettling discovery. Common tree moss in the area contains dangerous  heavy metals  like arsenic, and it isn’t just in the trees – it’s in the air, too. Read the rest of Researchers discover toxic heavy metals in Portland’s trees and air

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