UNStudio unveils twisting Green Spine high-rise proposal for Melbourne

August 14, 2018 by  
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Dutch architecture practice UNStudio and Australian firm Cox Architecture have unveiled “Green Spine,” their proposal for the $2-billion Southbank Precinct overhaul in Melbourne, Australia. Selected as part of a shortlist that includes the likes of BIG and OMA, UNStudio and Cox Architecture have envisioned a twisting, greenery-covered high-rise for the 6,191-square-meter Southbank by Beulah site. The mixed-use development will be integrated into the urban fabric with a wide array of programmatic features and indoor-outdoor spaces. The twisting “Green Spine” refers to the landscaped space on the street level that appears to seamlessly flow upward to wrap around the two towers and culminates in the “Future Gardens” at the top of the residential tower. The low podium will comprise the majority of the mixed-use spaces and be open to both residents and the wider community. The podium will include a marketplace, retail, entertainment areas and a BMW experience center. The development’s various podiums will cater to the city’s temporary exhibitions and are flexible enough to accommodate different uses from art shows to festivals. “This multifaceted spine is created by the splitting open of the potential single mass at its core, thereby forming two separate high rise structures and causing them to reveal the almost geological strata of their core layers as they rise above a light-filled canyon,” explains UNStudio. “As a result of this design intervention, the towers that result on either side can enjoy porous city views and vastly improved contextual links. The orientation of the Green Spine enables an extension of the public realm on the podium, the continuation of green onto the towers and facilitates orientation to the CBD and the Botanical Garden at the top of the towers.” Related: UNStudio designs cocoon-like pavilion made of 100% recyclable materials The landscaped buildings are expected to mitigate the urban heat island effect, absorb noise and fight against air pollution . The “Green Spine” will be constructed with materials and textures local and native to Australia. The buildings’ high-performance glass facade follows passive design strategies, while external shading fins control solar gain. Energy and water usage will also be minimized wherever possible. + UNStudio + Cox Architecture Images via UNStudio

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UNStudio unveils twisting Green Spine high-rise proposal for Melbourne

MIT’s breakthrough self-shading windows change from clear to dark in an instant

August 12, 2016 by  
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Three MIT chemists just gave us a glimpse into the future of smart windows . Their groundbreaking “self-shading” window can quickly change from clear to dark – and then stay that way without using any electricity . The windows could help everyone from homeowners looking to save on heating and cooling costs to pilots trying to get a clearer view out the cockpit window. The MIT researchers’ work was published this week in the journal Chem . In the paper, the chemists detail their innovative use of electrochromic materials to bypass issues involved with creating self-shading windows. For example, transition lenses in eyeglasses are able to change from clear to dark, but the process is relatively slow. Related: MIT researchers discover silk holds the key to vastly improved filtration This isn’t the first time electrochromic materials have been used – they can be found in Boeing 787 windows that darken over time with the flip of a switch. But those Boeing windows still take a few minutes to change. The positive ions that help with the color change move slowly, delaying the darkening process. To solve that issue, the MIT chemists used materials known as metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), which conduct ions and electrons quickly. Again, the use of MOFs isn’t new, but the MIT team is the ” first to harness them for their electrical and optical properties ” so their windows darken quickly. Further, it’s easier to create windows that can tint blue or green, but the MIT’s windows are nearly black. Once the windows turn dark with the help of a little electricity, they stay dark without using any power until a switch is flipped to clear them up again. Paper co-author Mircea Dinc? said , “It’s the combination of these two, of a relatively fast switching time and a nearly black color, that has really got people excited…These could lead to pretty significant energy savings.” Via MIT News Images via Wikimedia Commons and Khalid Abdulaziz Kaabi and Dennis Sheberla/MIT

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MIT’s breakthrough self-shading windows change from clear to dark in an instant

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