Posts Tagged ‘Construction and Maintenance’

One Man’s Meat is another Man’s Poison Library & Learning Center by Zaha Hadid

09/04/2011 Comments off

When concepts at other places threaten to fail due to the consequences of the international financial crisis, just that is a lucky strike for the new campus of the University of Economics Vienna, the project of which, the central Library & Learning Center by Zaha Hadid, designed as a light-tower, is currently under construction. Since the plans for building upon the 88,000 sqm large area were already there when the wave of economic stimulus packages provided an unexpected boost.

As desired, the design of the Library & Learning Center embodies a brand for the new campus of the University of Economics Vienna. Individuality, expressiveness, presence and identity are not only the formulae of the future economic elite, but also the requirements buildings will have to meet. The shaping idea for the LLC is the integration of the “walk-along-park“ from the master plan with its place sequences and traffic streams into the building. And apart from that, through the folding formed inside the structure, through which two entwined building parts arise into a third dimension. The gap evolving from this – sometimes broad and generous in the open lobby, or strict and narrow in the canyon-like opening hallways – becomes directly visible and can thus be directly experienced by the user.  The opening winds upwards in spirals and leads into a self-study room at the top level – with a gorgeous view across the treetops. Will that keep students away from their books? Public and semi-public functions wind up along the various height levels.

According to the master plan the campus creates urban spaces within a green environment, at the transition between the voluminous buildings of the Vienna trade fair premises and the superordinate free area of the Prater nature preserve. A chance you get only once in a century, to have the possibility to build a university, also in terms of ideas. And a boost for the economy – in multiple respects. Living and learning at the campus – gladly so, day and night at the LLC…

260,000 cubic meters of soil have already been moved aside, and also seven meters below ground level construction works are in full swing. Whoever wishes to follow the construction progress may do so through one of the four webcams that have been put online at It’s worth it.  

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Roof Terrace with Rhine View– Kap am Südkai

09/04/2011 Comments off

With its red tower it nearly looks like a light-tower – matching the new Rheinauhafen. The eleven floors belong to the building Kap am Südkai, for which the architectural bureau KSP Engel und Zimmermann from Frankfurt was responsible for from design documentation and investment planning down to using it for their own purposes.

 From the outside it is pretty plainly structured, since it falls neatly in line with the neighboring “Siebengebirge“. However, taking a closer look pays off, since the peculiarities can be spotted in the details: Already when entering the building it becomes clear that the architects had many ideas concerning details. On nearly 12,000 square meters the building cores of contrasting color meet on the roof area to form the building’s spine. Including a generous roof terrace granting a wide view.  

However, this is not accessible to anybody like the first floor, which is open to interested visitors and can also be used as a showroom for exhibitors. If you wish to get from the first floor to the roof terrace you will have to pass the openly arranged offices of the upper floors. Arranged around the building’s colored cores one can already guess the view across the river Rhine provided by their glass fronts, a view one can enjoy unhindered from the roof terrace. “Room for working people, their guests and the public“ the Rheinauhafen intended to create with the Kap am Südkai according to its marketing slogan. And the concept seems to work.


The in-house “KAP Forum“ offers unusual meals such as “Salade Niçoise“ or potatoe almond balls in a mediterranean setting to employees and guests alike. And some think while getting treated by the creations of chef Steffen Kimmig, that there might be even more details hidden inside the Kap am Südkai. The extra weight gained there or inside the nearby chocolate museum can then be lost again while taking a walk along the Rhine shores. Read more…

Eucalyptus Wood Products

08/04/2011 1 comment

ArchWeek Image

Weyerhaeuser‘s Lyptus® wood products include lumber, veneer, plywood, and flooring made from fast-growing eucalyptus trees on plantations in Brazil. The hardwood lumber features a rich, cherry coloring and a grain similar to mahogany, and can take a wide range of stains and finishes. The plywood combines a natural veneer surface with a variety of core options, and is available in light, medium, and dark color sorts to match the lumber. The veneer is available as both flitches for custom applications and layons for plywood lay-up. Applications for the product suite include cabinetry, millwork, trim, furniture, store fixtures, and flooring. (Pictured: paneling.)

Germany’s Q1 Building Boasts a Dazzling Facade of 400,000 Metal “Feathers”

06/04/2011 Comments off

The intricate metal façade of the new Q1 building in Essen, Germany is not just a feathery design element — it also serves as a sophisticated sun shading system. Designed by JSWD Architetken, the open metal shell frames a multi-level panoramic window that spans the entire building. The unique brise soleil saves the company countless dollars that would otherwise be spent on energy and climate control.
Eco Design, Sustainable design, JSWD Architekten, Q1, Thyssen Krupp Quarter, sun shading system, green architecture, energy efficiency in buildings 

The shading system is composed of approximately 400,000 metal “feathers”, which are anchored into 3,150 routered stainless steel moveable stalks, which move and breathe with the touch of a controller. The stainless steel louvres have several functions that transform the façade to allow more or less light into the building. The 1,280 motorized elements can be closed to create a more solid enclosure, follow the position of the sun, or be entirely open to allow maximum solar exposure.

The metal feather elements vary in shape from trapezoids to triangles and rectangles. Aside from the shading benefits, the different feather-like elements create a dazzling façade that sparkles like a fish’s scales when the sun catches them just right. The metal elements block of the harsh sun while keeping the interior cool, reducing the need for air conditioning and climate control. The 1,280 elements also can move independently, directing natural light into tight interior spaces, reducing the need for electric lighting. Q1’s glittering metal shell successfully combines cutting-edge architectural design with an innovative, sustainable and energy-efficient building system.

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Top Green Business Ideas from 2010

05/04/2011 2 comments

R, G, and B LEDs [7].

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Green business practices have not faded as many trends do, more than likely because these practices have a very real impact on our future. In 2010 we have seen the continued growth of past green practices and the emergence of new ones. As businesses develop the old and new ideas to improve on environmentally friendly services and products, they decrease the negative impact that we are having on the earth. At the same time, businesses are saving money and winning customer loyalty with their adoption of some of these green practices.

Take a look at some of the best green business ideas that came out of 2010 to see where you and your company can make improvements on saving our planet.

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The Borneo Sporenburg development in Amsterdam

04/04/2011 3 comments

The Borneo Sporenburg development lies in one of Amsterdam‘s former working harbors. The city and West 8 Urban Design & Landscape Architecture planned an urban development with a density of 40 dwellings per acre (100 dwellings per hectare).

The area was, therefore, subdivided into strips, and the block on which the Stuurmankade 266 to 304 townhouse project by KCAP was constructed is part of several elongated tracts of land.

The block is 79 feet (24 meters) deep and unites the two extreme edges of the site. One side looks out across the water, while the other is part of an intimate, urban texture of narrow streets. The back-to-back dwellings are built above an internal street — a parking solution that enabled use of the ground-floor level for residential functions, which results in lively neighbor relations. The units also have patios and roof terraces, which are used as private outdoor spaces.

Dwellings on the north side are oriented toward the water. With two-story glazed lower facades, they take advantage of the natural light and view. The south-facing dwellings are oriented toward the inner street. Their elevations have a more closed design to ensure privacy. They also have a roof terrace facing an alleyway, which accounts for the staggered frontage.

A key question when discussing narrow houses is — what is considered narrow? The answer is based on historic precedents, which have been influenced by site conditions, cultural traditions, and technology.

On Amsterdam’s Singel Street, for example, there is a habitable unit whose front measures 3.3 feet (one meter). This, of course, is an extremely narrow space, probably a leftover gap between two structures.

Analyzing a room’s dimensions to ensure its proper functioning is one process for determining the best width of a dwelling. Highway-transit regulations could also be a consideration. When prefabricated, a unit with a width ranging from 14 to 16 feet (4.3 to 4.9 meters) can be shipped from a plant to a construction site without a front- or rear-car escort. A wider structure would be more expensive to deliver.

The minimum width of a dwelling also depends on the creativity of the designer. Past designs show that a 12-foot (3.7-meter) structure built on one to three levels can contain basic amenities.

It can accommodate a living room and kitchen on the ground floor, two fair-sized bedrooms on the second, and two more rooms in the basement or attic. The wider the design, the easier it is to fit functions within it. For my purposes here, dwellings up to 25 feet wide (7.6 meters) qualify as narrow.

Narrow houses can be detached, semidetached (attached on one side), or attached on both sides to form a row. When constructed in rows, they are commonly planned as part of a multistory, multifamily, high-density project.

Since their introduction centuries ago, and even more so today, their attraction has remained their groundedness. Whether used by one or several occupants, the design offers easy access to a back or front yard. Unlike apartment living, where a number of occupants share the main door, parking garage, outdoor spaces, and hallways, narrow townhouses offer independence and privacy.

The trade-offs include the narrow width, which can restrict interior flexibility, and reduced natural light to middle units. Front and rear yards also tend to be smaller compared to those of detached dwellings.

When cost-effectiveness is sought, choosing a suitable type of dwelling is a high priority. With a cottage, for example, the cost is lowered by building two stories on a single foundation, reducing land and infrastructure expenses. Another option, known as the “stuck townhouse,” offers further savings by placing two-story dwellings on top of one another. The savings, however, depend on the size of the overall footprint. Choosing a narrow design for these building types would lead to further cost reductions.

An alternative to a narrow single-family building is a multifamily layout with independent dwelling units. This type is known as a duplex when split in two, and a triplex when used by three households. By combining the design attributes of the single-family with “the plex,” additional housing types emerge, such as the fourplex, which is essentially two attached duplexes.

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Bright Green Shipping Container Hut Welcomes Visitors to Evergreen Brickworks In Toronto

03/04/2011 Comments off

Evergreen Brickworks in Toronto is an environmental community center that has transformed the former Don Valley Brick Works factory into a showcase for urban sustainability. The mostly outdoor 12-acre site features a restored park and examples of green design, urban farming and much more. Welcoming visitors to the community center is an eye-popping, bright green hut, built from a shipping container and other reclaimed parts salvaged from the brickyard. Designed and built by Levitt Goodman Architects, the Brickworks Welcome Hut is serving as a temporary orientation center for visitors and is built with the same focus on sustainable building as the rest of the site.

For the Welcome Hut, Levitt Goodman repurposed a 20 foot shipping container and painted it bright green, which is Evergreen’s signature color. Two barn doors on either side open the space up to welcome visitors in from either direction and a bump out window box adds an interesting architectural element, not to mention a cool place to put some more plants. A scupper on the roof directs rainwater down a chain and into a rain barrel on the side of the hut.

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