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Send in the Clouds – MIT in bubbly bid for London Olympic Tower

Thanks to writer Julie V. Iovine and the folks at The Architects Newspaper, I came across this project.  It looks fantastic and I would love to see it built.  Although I admit I am not so sure I would ever reach the top to put my head in the “clouds”.  My fear of heights and intended airy and light feel of the structure might stand in my way. This of course assumes I ever travel to London.

A proposal spearheaded by MIT's Senseable City Lab envisions an inhabitable sculpture for London's 2012 Olympics.

All Photos Courtesy Raise the Cloud

In early November, British architects discovered with dismay that Mayor Boris Johnson of London was conducting a secret competition to select a designer for a $33 million beacon for the 2012 Olympics. Brushing aside the standard procurement process—which involves publishing a notice in The Official Journal of the European Communities—Johnson invited 30 firms to submit proposals for a prominent addition to the city’s skyline.

A Guggenheim-like spiral wrapped in cable netting will support the clouds, with much of the structure open to the public.

Called “the Cloud,” the structure starts with a slender spire that is ringed by a spiraling ramp, stabilized with a cable net, and sturdy enough for strollers and bicyclists to mount to a sky full of bubbly spheres. This upper aerie would host three types and sizes of spheres: The largest and most structural are Buckminster Fuller–type geodesic domes; next, cable-net bubbles would cluster around observation decks; and then, blurring the edge, bunches of hot-air-filled balloons create that head-in-the-clouds feeling.

The EFTE inflatables would be covered in a new type of distributed LED that is readable from any direction and could provide a constant stream of information, including game statistics, weather forecasts, traffic advisories, alien greetings, and presumably, advertisements.

Olympic visitors at play in "the Clouds."

Intended to stand 400 feet tall, the Cloud will barely have a footprint, sustainability-wise. Photovoltaic film, whose effect will be magnified by mirrors, is spread over the spheres. And while visitors can only ascend the one-kilometer ramp on foot or by bicycle, they can descend by means of a “regenerative lift” that uses the same braking system as a Prius to recoup electricity, as will water-wheels embedded in the column through rain collection.

The exact size of the Cloud remains to be determined. Taking a page from the grassroots innovations of the Obama campaign, the team has organized a structure that can expand or contract depending on donations. The density of the cloud cover—the number of spires and individual clouds, in fact—will depend on how many people sign on to contribute.

London Mayor Boris Johnson envisions a beacon for the Olympics, and mit's is only one of several proposals thought to be under consideration.

While the contenders—said to include Foreign Office Architecture—have yet to be named, one team is already spreading the word about their entry on Facebook. Carlo Ratti, architect and director of MIT’s SENSEable City Lab, joined forces with German engineer Joerg Schlaich, Arup, artist Tomas Saraceno, corporate sponsor Google UK, and others to create what Ratti described as “not a building for London but a symbol of global ownership.”

The Facebook page Raise the Cloud was launched on November 11 with 1,000 fans and counting, according to Ratti, who would like to see as many as three spires covered in clouds at the as-yet-unselected site. “We can build our Cloud with five million pounds or 50 million,” he said. “The flexibility of the structural system will allow us to tune the size of the Cloud to the level of funding that is reached.” Whether or not selected by Mayor Johnson to be the official 2012 Olympic Tower, the Cloud is certain to attract plenty of air time.

aia, architect, architects, architecture, architecture critic, buildings, carbon-neutral office building, construction, Design, eco building, Engineering, green building, modern architecture, new buildings | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Send in the Clouds – MIT in bubbly bid for London Olympic Tower

Danish Architect Bjarke Ingels: 3 warp-speed architecture tales

If you cannot spare 18 minutes now, be sure to come back when you can.  This is a must for architects, designers, green & sustainability enthusiasts and thinkers of all kinds.

From TED.com TEDTalks podcasts

Danish architect Bjarke Ingels rockets through photo/video-mingled stories of his eco-flashy designs. His buildings not only look like nature — they act like nature: blocking the wind, collecting solar energy — and creating stunning views.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4AYE3w5TWHs]

About TEDTalks

TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes. Featured speakers have included Al Gore on climate change, Philippe Starck on design, Jill Bolte Taylor on observing her own stroke, Nicholas Negroponte on One Laptop per Child, Jane Goodall on chimpanzees, Bill Gates on malaria and mosquitoes, Pattie Maes on the “Sixth Sense” wearable tech, and “Lost” producer JJ Abrams on the allure of mystery. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, and TEDTalks cover these topics as well as science, business, development and the arts.

architect, Design, eco building, Green Architecture, green building, green buildings, Green Built Environment, Landscape Architecture, modern architecture, modern buildings, new buildings | , , | 2 Comments

BIG to Design Shenzhen International Energy Mansion

Amid the real estate and construction doldrums here in the US, it’s nice to see that exciting buildings are still being planned in other countries.

big_shenzhen_energy_mansion_04

From RADDblog:

Copenhagen-based BIG, in collaboration with ARUP and Transsolar, was awarded the first prize in the international competition to design Shenzhen International Energy Mansion, the regional headquarters for the Shenzhen Energy Company.

 Located in the center of Shenzhen, China the 96,000 square meter project will be integrated with the surrounding environment and designed to withstand the tropical climate of the city. BIG’s winning proposal was selected by the jury experts from Shenzhen Municipal Planning Bureau chaired by Alejandro Zaera-Polo and client representatives.

 The headquarters rises 200 meters creating a new landmark visible from the highway in the cultural, political and business center of Shenzhen. BIG envisions combining a practical and efficient floor plan layout with a sustainable façade that both, passively and actively reduce the energy consumption of the building. The façade is conceived as a folded skin that shades the office complex from direct sunlight and integrates solar thermal panels, reducing the overall energy consumption of the building.

big_shenzhen_energy_mansion_06

BIG explaining the project:

Modern Vernacular

The tropical climate of Shenzhen calls for a new approach to designing office buildings. How can we create comfortable working spaces in a tropical climate while reducing our energy consumption? The construction principle of the typical modern office tower is replicated all over the world. It has the advantage of a practical floor plan, and economical structural system.  But in tropical conditions the glazed curtain wall facades normally result in high energy consumption for air conditioning and poor views through coated windows. To achieve a comfortable working environment in these conditions an office building would especially need two things: Shading from direct exposure to sunlight, and dehumidification of interior air.

We are proposing a tower based on an efficient and well-proven floor plan, enclosed in a skin specifically modified and optimized for the local climate. We propose to enhance the sustainable performance of the building drastically by only focusing on its envelope, the facade.

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House on the Water / formodesign

Catching up a bit on my surfing for great or provocative architecture I came across a house in Arch Daily.  It really feeds the imagination as you explore the spaces and place yourself inside. 

HOW1

HOW2

HOW3

Check out a few photos and click over to the Arch Daily post for much more here.

architecture, green building, modern architecture | , , , , | Comments Off on House on the Water / formodesign

Great Green Buildings of the World – ACROS Fukuoka

fukuoka_green_roof1Twice in the last 24 hours I have come across this green building located in Japan in the news.  Yesterday for its award of being named having 1 of the top 5 green roofs in the world (I can’t recall where I read; so if interested check your search engines) and again moments ago on the Urban Igloos Blog.  It is very striking and I want to bring it to your attention.  Apparently this acclaimed project is not getting much exposure in the US, according to Urban Igloos, so let me do my part.

For the full article and more photos visit the Urban Igloos Blog 

architecture, eco building, green building, green buildings, Green Built Environment | , , , , , | Comments Off on Great Green Buildings of the World – ACROS Fukuoka

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