This past week, the New York Times ran an interesting article about building green, not just in urban environments, but in suburbia too. The article deals with renovations as well as new construction and outlines some of the trials and tribulations home owners, architects, and builders can face when trying to build “green.” In light of tuesday being earth day I wanted to take a moment and discuss Green Residential Building (I wouldn’t go so far as to say architecture). Lately we’ve been plagued with ads telling us that all we need to do to save the planet is: change a lightbulb drive less use different soap insulate our windows switch to low flow faucets use cloth bags instead of paper or plastic etc But in reality these are just stop gap measures. Yes, they help. Yes, they are better than not doing anything. But without creating a real paradigm shift, that is to say the way we eat, work and live, we will always be playing catchup. Not only do we need to eat foods grown locally, but we also need to eat seasonally and organically. We need to work closer to home and in buildings that do not [...]
If you can’t be London, why not be Paris? At least that’s what NYC seems to think according to an article in New York Magazine. The article discusses that with the failure of the congestion surcharge, New York City officials are looking towards the changes that Paris has made since the turn of the century (from 20th to 21st) to be a more resident/pedestrian friendly place; specifically Paris-Plage, bike sharing and the new bus lanes and routes. It appears that NY may be looking at making some streets pedestrian only during the summer, and adding more bike routes. Having lived in Paris for a summer, I believe that parts of New York City that the are the most talked about – lower manhattan and midtown – are already as Paris-like as they can get; It is the outer boroughs that need to be brought up to speed. The reason for this is mass transit. The Métro is extensive within Paris much as it is in Manhattan (though the Métro does seem to run more trains it closes at 2am). This allows rapid movement within the city for pedestrians, sometimes it can be faster than driving. In addition, nothing short [...]
Inhabitat posted an article today about the Bahrain World Trade Center turning on its 3 very large turbines. It has been reported that these turbines can generate 10 – 15% of the buildings power needs. In the US – LEED requires a 20% alternative energy power generation on the building premises (solar, wind, geothermal, etc) to get one credit. For an oil nation this is a huge step – even if it may be a publicity stunt. Though I still have to wonder, three gigantic blades spinning in open air have got to be very dangerous for the surrounding birds. Unless of course these are the slow turbines.
Today, The New York Times ran an article about moving the proposed performance space from the as of yet still unbuilt World Trade Center Plaza to the proposed transportation hub at Fulton Street and Broadway. I just have to wonder if the people who propose these things have ever ridden mass transit? The last time I went into the City I took the Long Island Rail Road and arrived just as a Nicks game was letting out of Madison Square Garden: Penn Station was a Nightmare. I felt like a salmon swimming upstream just to get out of the system. I can’t imagine someone trying to get on a train or worse, enter the subway there.
The New York Times home and garden section ran an article about a home in East Hampton, LI designed by Architects Arakawa and Madeline Gin. From the picture, description and accompanying multimedia slideshow this house seems to have jumped out of the pages of a surreal comic book or the celluloid of the Michael Keaton, Geena Davis, Winnona Ryder, and Alec Baldwin film, Beetle Juice. There is a moonscape of shifting non-planar concrete and a din of color and forms that fill the main living area, and the facade of the structure is an assemblage of multicolor planes. The general design concept behind the house is to stave off death by refusing to allow the inhabitants to feel calm and at ease: it is the Architect’s belief that ease is the precursor to death. Whether or not this is architectural post rationalization not withstanding, this house definitely refuses to allow the senses to rest. This project seems to be the culmination of a career’s worth of work for this pair in exploring and perverting the de stijl and pop-art movements as a rococo creation for for the 21st century.
The blog anArchitecture has a post about Icon’s latest who’s who under 40 article. I find it interesting that in architecture, your considered stellar if you make a name for yourself before your 40, whereas in most other professions, thats when you need to be established. At least this means I have more than a decade to reach one of my goals â€“ to get my name in that list. When I put it that way, it seems almost easy.