Posts tagged "What’s New In Architecture"

Redesigning New York’s Waterfronts

Hurricane Sandy's Damage in Dumbo Brooklyn

Hurricane Sandy’s Damage in Dumbo Brooklyn

Sandy, storm of the century, reeked havoc on 1/3 of  the US over the past few days and devastated many east coast cities, namely New York.

Many sections of the Manhattan waterfront were flooded.  The west side to Hudson Street, parts of the Lower East Side, Dumbo, Red Hook, Queens and Long Island City were submerged in water.  One wonders, could this have been prevented?

Over two years ago, MoMA and P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center created The Rising Currents exhibit.  The exhibit showcased five projects that addressed the concern for climate change over the next five years and how it will drastically effect Manhattan’s waterfront.

The harbor was divided into five areas and given to five teams (composed of members of n Architects-in-residence program at P.S.1).  Their goal, according to the Rising Currents project, was to “re-envision the coastlines of New York, and New Jersey around the New York harbor and to imagine new ways to occupy the harbor with adaptive soft infrastructures that are sympathetic to the needs of a sound ecology”.

The Rising Currents exhibition ran from March 24, 2010 to October 11, 2010.  Its unfortunate that a natural disater like Sandy had to happen before New York opened it’s eyes to the inevitable destruction.

The harbor divided into 5 zones

The harbor divided into 5 zones

Potential plan for zone 0 to stop sewage overflow and block higher sea levels

Potential plan for zone 0 to stop sewage overflow and block higher sea levels

nArchitects, Zone 3: An archipelago of man-made islands lines the coast of Staten Island and Brooklyn. These islands not only filter the storm waves, but will be programmed with specific functions to accommodate the expected spike in the population.

One Square Meter = Home Sweet Home

Bigger is always better, right? Not in this case.  Berlin based architect Van Bo Le-Mentzel created a one square meter house.

The “One-Sqm-House”, as it is named has a lockable door, window, built in desk and when flipped on it’s side,  a built in bed.  The only thing this house is lacking is plumbing (which means no kitchen or bathroom).

Le-Mentzel wanted a house of his own in which he could control where he went, which way his window faced and door opened, and who his neighbors are.  He drew a lot of his inspiration on aircraft cabins and their spacial savvy-ness.

The house is said to weigh a mere 90 lbs. and can easily fit into most elevators and subway cars.

Interested in occupying your own sq. meter utopia?  The materials to build one cost roughly $300, or it can be rented for a little more than $1 a night.  Visit airbnb for info.

What’s New In Architecture: Cutting Edge Technology

Holiday Inn is set to initiate a first in the hospitality industry.  In a handful of it’s properties, new “Open Ways” technology will let guests use their iPhone (or other smart phone) as your room key.  The idea is that guests who want a faster check-in experience can give the hotel their phone number at the time the reservation is made.  The hotel then sends them the “Open Ways” app that they can download to their phone.  Two or three days before arrival the hotel will text the guest their room number and a unique, encrypted sound code that they can use to unlock their room door.  Each lock will also contain the traditional room key device in case a guest’s phone loses power or gets left in the room, but the new technology is intended to make things easier for their guests.  Only time will tell if the technology will catch on but there are certainly many skeptics about how secure and effective the system is.   Some have questioned whether someone else could copy the sound with a recording device and then use it later to access the room.  Open Ways insists that the sound is encrypted and that if the sound is recorded and then replayed, the cryptology will prevent the sound from being accepted by the lock device.  Others have wondered if a phone gets lost or stolen if room security would be compromised.  Open Ways says there would be nothing on the phone or within the application installed that would identify the hotel or room which the application works to open doors.  Therefore it is no less secure than a traditional key card that might get lost or stolen and, in fact, since the code is not stored on the phone itself, but on a secure server, there is even more protection.  One last concern many potential users have is that Open Ways would have access to credit card information.  They say that the only information that the hotel transmits to them is the phone number which they use to communicate with you.  There is no reason that they need, or would get the credit card information from the hotel with which the reservation is made.

To see some videos to explain the system further visit:

Open Ways iPhone Apps  for Guests

Open Ways to Open Doors

What’s New In Architecture: Architectural Achievements

A recent edition of the Guinness Book of World Records listed what it determined were the five greatest architectural achievements of the past few years.  I suppose these would be up for debate but it is clear that their list isn’t based on design elements, but rather on things which have been done in a new, different, or bigger way.  Their list in reverse order includes:

5.         The Biggest Swimming Pool Ever Built -  The pool was completed in late 2006 and is located in Algarrobo, Chile.  It is 3,324 feet long and covers an area of 19.77 acres, or approximately the same area as 18 football fields.

4.         The World’s Largest Offshore Gas Platform – Off the coast of Norway, the Troll Offshore Gas Platform weighs 656,000 tons and stands 1210 feet tall.  It is the heaviest man made mobile object ever made and used enough steel to create fifteen Eiffel Towers.

3.         The Heaviest Building to be Relocated While Still Fully Intact – In 2004, the Fu Gang Building in China was relocated in one piece.  What made this so remarkable was that the building was 111 feet tall and weighed over 33 million pounds.  The building was moved 114 feet in just 11 days.

2.         The Largest Self Supporting Igloo – In 2005, 29 employees of the Hydro-Quebec LG-3 power station built an igloo with an internal diameter of just over 24 feet and an internal height of 12’-6”.

1.         Largest Solar Energy Roof – At an areas of 281,045 sf, or almost 6.5 acres, the roof on the Floriade Expo Hall in the Netherlands can generate 2.3 MW of energy.

What’s New In Architecture: NASCAR Museum Opens in Charlotte

The racing world is buzzing now that the NASCAR Hall of Fame has opened here in Charlotte.  But the architectural world has reason to be buzzing too.  The building was designed by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners who have designed many landmark projects around the world.  Charlotte and it’s new Hall of Fame can be added to that list which includes The Grande Louvre in Paris, The Bank of China Building in Hong Kong, The US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC,   The Allied Bank Tower in Dallas and The John Hancock Tower in Boston.

The project includes a 175,000 sf museum, 100,000 sf ballroom, 427,000 sf office tower and 1,000 space parking garage and the entire project took over 4 years from original planning to the opening last week. 

The architects have stated that the “sought to capture the essential spirit of NASCAR and its sport in architectural form.”  The catch phrase that they used to describe that spirit is “the speed and spectacle of the sport.”  Architecturally they took inspiration from the curving, sloped forms of the racetrack which they felt tangibly represented the dynamic nature and inherent speed of the sport.  Architecturally, this became apparent most obviously in the large sweeping element on the exterior of the building call The Ribbon.  The ribbon twists as a free form canopy to welcome the guests and then wraps the building exterior. 

Whether or not you are a fan of NASCAR, Charlotte’s presence in the architectural world has definitely taken a step forward with the new building.  

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