I would like to share with you my personal experience in a ‘Design-Analyse-Build’ way of design. Some of you might think, that it sounds not so innovative and most of the architects work in that way, that’s probably could be the truth, BUT there are some specific tips that make this experience unique.
In this post I will refer to the workshop that I shared in IED Torino Master SUS with the main coordinators ARCò and MCArchitects studio, about designing an off-grid sustainable school for Palestine, Gaza_Rafah.
Firstly, I want to meet you with a work plan, that we were followed:
1. Climate analysis of an area
2. Analysis of the state conditions and local features of the area
3. Understanding the type of users and their needs
4. Environmental strategies selection
5. Concept creation
6. Design process
7. Shadow, daylight and glare analysis using Ecotect
8. Model 1:1 scale prototype
The first step was to analyse the climate of the area to understand the possible environmental strategies we can use and make a list of parameters that is better to avoid or conversely exploit during design process. The most tricky stuff was to find the weather data for Palestine, because nowadays all the information about it is classified, due to the war. Finally we had to use weather data of Beer Sheeva that located nearby in territory of Egypt.
During most of the year temperature is above the comfort zone.. The winter is short, but is noticed with a humid winds. The summer period lasts almost 7 months and accompanied with high temperature of the air and wind.The difference between the highest and lowest temperature during the day is about 10°.With this climate is important to orient building to protect it from the direct sun during summer and to capture it during winter. Also the building should be covered from strong winter wind,but use the summer ones.
The second step was to find out the location of Rafah city and underline the main function of that place. One of the most important thing was to see the actual state of the construction site, that was almost impossible due to the hostilities.
Site location. Palestine. GazaStrip, Rafah
Rafah is situated in the southern part of the GazaStrip in Palestine, at the border with Egypt. According to the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel at Camp in 1982, Rafah was divided into two parts. One part was assigned to Egypt, the other part to the Gaza Strip. Nowadays Rafah is the only point of importance in the country.
The third step was to ‘meet’ the users. In this case we had to try being in their shoes, imagining lifestyle of a kid who was born and had been living all of his life in a war situation, always surrounded with fences and swaying wire in a lack of green safety spaces and entertainments.
The site is located in the central empty area of Rafah. It is surrounded with residential houses and a big warehouse.In the real-time the site is full of excavated earth, because of the erasion of the previous construction, after the bombing.
From 1948 the population of Palestine live in the war situation.. So the country has problems in many different fields, one of it belongs to children and it is lack of schools and areas for children activities
The fourth step was to choose the environmental strategies to follow to reach the off-grid building. This phase is strongly related to the climate analysis. In this case, is very helpful to see the vernacular architecture of a place to choose the right strategies.
The fifth step is a sort of summary of all the strategies we chose for the building – concept creation. Concept is the phase right before the design process, so it was important to choose the right orientation, shape, functional zones etc. We were also advice to make a simple symbol or logo that would describe our project in few seconds, that finally could become sort of a brend.
‘The Earth is our school, so let’s make the school with earth!’
One of the most important steps was analysis of the building with Ecotect, Autodesk 2011. For this project we had to make several calculations, such as: solar, shadow, daylight and glare analysis.
Usually shadow analysis is calculated for the longest and shortest day in the year, such as 21st of December and 21st of June. In this case we also did computings for 21st of march to get proper results and see if the overhangs are useful during al the year.
Solar analysis shows us the amount of sun hours that building surfaces receive during the day. It gives us the idea of facade protection from the direct sun. It also could be very useful to see the best position for the PV panels to let them produce the maximum energy.
Daylight factor analysis is the ratio of internal light level to external light level.A low asks for classrooms a 5% daylight factor. For art, craft, technological laboratories thatratio is even higher. Daylight can be used to offset the need for artificial lighting and hence reduce dependency and consumption on electricity and the greenhouse gas emitted. Effective daylight distribution must be achieved in a manner that brings visual satisfaction to the occupants.
Glare analysis is a calculation about number of direct sun or reflection coming from a very bright source outside the field of view. The reflection may cause discomfort as well as the additional annoyance of veiling or masking out the information which is being sought within that view.Ecotect Tool, Autodesk 2011">The result of analysis usingEcotect Tool, Autodesk 2011
The final step was a model in 1:1 scale that we built-in one of the parks in Turin city. It was a great chance to ‘feel’ the construction and understand the weak and strong points of it. In my personal opinion, it was one the best parts of design, when you make the proof to your ideas and drawings, so you can be sure that the techniques you had chosen is stable and can answer to your expectations.
The water footprint of an individual, community or business is defined as the total volume of freshwater that is used to produce the goods and services consumed by the individual or community or produced by the business.
The water footprint consists of three components: the blue, green and grey water footprint. The blue water footprint is the volume of freshwater evaporated from the global blue water resources (surface water and ground water) to produce the goods and services consumed by the individual or community. The green water footprint is the volume of water evaporated from the global green water resources (rainwater stored in the soil as soil moisture). The grey water footprint is the volume of polluted water that associates with the production of all goods and services for the individual or community. The latter can be estimated as the volume of water that is required to dilute pollutants to such an extent that the quality of the water remains at or above agreed water quality standards.
The past century has brought a lot of changes, like the explosion of human population, the creation of an expansive global economy and the increasing technological development. All of them have put unprecedented pressures on water. More specifically, our growing appetite for water-intensive food and manufactured good, the construction of large dams for hydro-electricity and irrigation, and the massive discharge of industrial waste into limited freshwater sources, have made water an increasingly limited and expensive resource.
Despite this obvious fact, people use large amounts of water: drinking, cooking and washing, but even more for producing things such as food, paper, cotton clothes, and almost every other physical product. This water can be named as virtual water.
The virtual water content of a product (a commodity, good or service) is the volume of freshwater used to produce the product, measured at the place where the product was actually produced.
It refers to the sum of the water use in the various steps of the production chain. The virtual-water content of a product can also be defined as the volume of water that would have been required to produce the product at the place where the product is consumed (consumption-site definition).
Water footprints can be hard to calculate, depending on how far up the chain of production you go, since everything you eat and buy used some water to produce. With our latest Transparency, I give you some examples of how much water is used in some of your daily activities, so that you can begin calculate your footprint and try to reduce your gallons.
To help put things in perspective, think about this: your standard trash barrel holds 32 gallons and a mid-sized passenger car-if pumped full of water has room for a little more than 800 gallons. So, the difference in the amount of water it takes to produce a pound of chicken and a pound of beef is enough to fill almost two whole cars.
Which result have you got?
Let’s compare it with the water footprint calculation of one friend of mine, Croatian architect Ana Bilan that did some research in that field.
According to her calculations she was able to reduce her water footprint more than twice, which sounds really impressive! So it was a matter of changing her habits, decreasing the direct water footprint and also the types of food she eats and products she uses to get a better result with indirect water Footprint.
The people behind More Than Green have organized a great summer course on July 15-26, 2013 in the mediterranean city of Alicante (Spain), where we will also be taking part together with PLAYstudio, Transsolar and Urban Think Tank.
Sustainability is not just an environmental issue but, and above all, a social, cultural and economic one. This course about URBAN DESIGN and SUSTAINABLE ARCHITECTURE proposes a complex incursion within the subject of sustainability understood not only as a problem but as an opportunity to meet new approaches to the city in a creative, innovative, playful and unprejudiced way.
Contents + Objectives
Improve your design skills: based on an open criticism of the “only green” approach for the construction of our future sustainable cities, this course offers a much wider, complex and playful perspective at the same time. Students will combine the design of a team project –about an specific case‐ with the supervision of guest experts and their master classes.
Build a knowledge frame –examples of good practices told by guest experts‐ where students take consciousness of the importance of broadening their understanding of sustainability according to the new world policies.
Create a typical multicultural situation of an international course where students coming from different places exchange their various backgrounds and modes of undertaking the sustainable urban project. The diversity of the faculties contributes to enrich this situation.
Methodology + Course Structure
Master classes, teamwork and project reviews within the context of four different ways of understanding sustainability: ENVIRONMENTALLY, SOCIALLY, ECONOMICALLY and CULTURALLY.
DIRECTOR: José Luis Oliver Ramírez (University of Alicante) + TRANSSOLAR: Matthias Schuler (Harvard GSD) + URBAN-THINK TANK: Alfredo Brillembourg (ETH Zurich) + ECOSISTEMA URBANO: Belinda Tato y Jose Luis Vallejo (Harvard GSD) + PLAYstudio: Iván Capdevila y Vicente Iborra (University of Alicante)
Alicante + Free time
It’s summer, you’re by the coast… who would dare to keep you away from having fun? Within the course structure, it is programmed a considerable amount of free time so the students can visit other cities or some interesting spots on the surroundings, enjoy the sun and the beach, or take part in different summer activities organized by the University of Alicante.
The University of Alicante offers you a wide range of facilities and affordable accommodation in several lovely locations from the historic city centre to the university campus surroundings.
Under the motto “The Sound of Cycling – Urban Cycling Cultures”, the Velo-city conference 2013 will take place this year in Vienna, a city that has been recognized for its efforts towards a highly livable and sustainable urban environment.
Velo-city conferences in general serve as a global communication and information platform aiming to address decision makers in order to improve the planning and provision of infrastructure for the everyday use of bicycles in urban environments. They typically bring together more than 1,000 delegates such as engineers, planners, architects, social marketers, academic researchers, environmentalists, businessmen/women, and industry representatives who join forces with government at all levels in order to build effective transnational partnerships to deliver benefits to cycling worldwide.
This year, the conference has been organized in three generic themes: cycling cultures, cycling cities and cycling benefits. It aims to offer a variety of inter- and trans-disciplinary approaches to cycling issues through different dialogue formats such as round tables, speed dating, open spaces and a world café, amongst others. To ensure a relaxed atmosphere and to facilitate networking, there will be also other activities like a Cycling Parade, a Bicycle Fashion Show, a Garden Party and some technical excursions.
In parallel to the conference, you can take part in the Cycling Visionaries Awards in the categories of Advocacy and Social Projects Science, Research and Development Design, Fashion and Cycling Equipment, Urban Planning and Urban Design Cycling and the Arts. We are curious about the entries, there’s quite a lot of innovation going on in the world of cycling but it’s not always visible to the general public.
On the conference’s website you can also read about some interesting cycling stories.
The trans-disciplinary research initiative “Low-Budget Urbanity. Frugal Practices Transforming the City” invites PhD and post-doctoral researchers to their first Early Career Laboratory from March 25th to 28th 2013 at HafenCity University in Hamburg.
Low-Budget Urbanity is a research programme that explores contemporary urban phenomena such as ridesharing and online hospitality networks, water-saving infrastructures and DIY-practices of house owners, and second-hand consumer cooperatives as saving practices that transform the urban setting. These self-organized saving practices all involve “complex encounters, connections and mixtures of diverse hybrid networks of humans and animals, objects and information, commodities and waste“ (Sheller and Urry 2006:2).
Public budgets are slashed, many cities are burdened with near-paralysing debt, and for private households, too, saving money often is less a virtue than the order of the day. As a search term of an exploratory and multidisciplinary research project, “low-budget urbanity” provides a relational perspective on those seemingly disparate austerity phenomena. The research focuses on the question of how these phenomena are transforming cities.
What is new is not that saving money constitutes a principle of individual practices (rationalized building, economic or political action, individual budget planning, etc.), but that the austerity imperative for the assemblage, i.e. the confluence and interaction of these principles has become a force that shapes and defines cities.
Next you can find a call for papers that many of you may find interesting, with the topic “What is the value of saving costs? The urban economics and politics of everyday saving practices”.
Do you have a dream about planting your own mango tree? The statistic probability that you who are reading this live in the city is over fifty percent, and the number is increasing. This means that fewer and fewer of us have the opportunity to grow our own fruit and vegetables, but are entirely dependent on the increasingly industrialized and transport-based large-scale agriculture.
Urban food production is a growing trend in many cities, and productive green spaces emerge on rooftops, in ditches, between buildings and on the left-over spaces without a specific use. The motives for cultivating food are diverse, some see it as part of a strategy to increase awareness and knowledge about the food we eat (food safety), others will create a focus on local food as one of the solutions to environmental challenges, while others grow their own garden just because it’s pleasure and to save money. Jennifer Cockrall-King claims in the book Food and the City that we are facing a food revolution as we have passed both the oil peak and peak water, and this begins to affect a growing global population:
Food and the City examines alternative food systems in cities around the globe that are shortening their food chains, growing food within their city limits, and taking their “food security” into their own hands.
In Oslo, Norway, urban farming occurs in a smaller scale, including the Geitmyra allotment garden where you can be assigned a soil patch for cultivation, and as guerrilla gardens, a more freely and actionist activity where the city’s leftover spaces are used for food production without formal permission of the landowners. The latest addition to this green trend where you can grow your own vegetables in Oslo is Herligheten (The Glory), an ecological initiative and project about urban food production initiated in April 2012 and developed during April and May 2012.
As part of a long-term development and urbanization of the waterfront in Oslo, the developer Bjørvika Utvikling has carried out several temporary projects from stunts to pavilions which have been standing there for a few years. The events and installations are bringing human activity into an area that for many years has been characterized by construction activities, but Herligheten differs from previous projects by a greater degree of activation of users and visitors, who are now shaping the new area of the city with green and consumable pleasures.
Herligheten is located at Loallmenningen in Bjørvika, a rocky “island” in the middle of a rough building site surrounded by roads, railway lines and the ventilation towers for the submerged tunnel underneath. It has found its home in an apparently gray and idle landscape between the Medieval park and the Oslo fjord, which has for many years been seen as a lifeless place in wait for better conditions. But during a few hectic weeks during spring the area has experienced a small, green revolution worked out by diligent volunteers who have transformed it into an oasis consisting of consumable plants, in what was previously a closed area for city residents.
As of today Herligheten consists of three main parts: Herligheten Allotment Garden with 100 allotments, a field measuring 250 m2 where several types of ancient grain such as spelt, emmer, einkorn and bere barley will grow, and an activity program consisting of a number of events and seminars for learning and exchanging ideas. As many as 3790 people applied in April to take part in Herligheten through the disposal of one of the 100 allotments, so it is clear that the people in Oslo have ambition to develop their green thumbs. We wish them good luck with the green revolution!
From the time of Heraclitus’ saying, “the only thing constant is change itself”, we have sought to make sense of our changing world. It can be argued that architecture in both the academic and professional realms is experiencing pressures as never before, and is shifting due to multiple factors. These forces include globalization, the expanding roles of technology, rapid urbanization, new energy policies, and regulatory agencies, among many others. What are the forces for change being exerted on our academic institutions and where do they come from? Are we still teaching in a way that is relevant to the contemporary practice of architecture, or perhaps we wish that practice would change?
The relationship between schools and the profession can be very permeable and often imprecise. Each informs the other, at times leading to greater relevance, at other times leaving disconcerting gaps. What role should schools and academics play in the face of our changing world? Will we be leaders or followers?
ACSA is The Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, a nonprofit, membership association founded in 1912 to advance the quality of architectural education. The 2012 ACSA International Conference will focus on CHANGE, and will explore these issues in relation to seven themes: Civic Engagement, Academia, Practice, Technology, Cities, Globalization, Sustainability and one flexible open category. The Co-chairs of the conference are Xavier Costa from Northeastern University and Martha Thorne, from IE University.
Review of the paper “Urban land teleconnections” by Karen C. Seto, Anette Reenberg, Christopher G. Boone, Michail Fragkias, Dagmar Haase, Tobias Langanke, Peter Marcotullio, Darla K. Munroe, Branislav Olah and David Simon.
Recently a research paper was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) concerning the conceptual development of global sustainability, in relation to both urbanization (urban sustainability) and land change. The paper argues that land change and urbanization dynamics are explicitly connected, and suggests “urban land teleconnections” as a new framework for dealing with global sustainability.
“We propose urban land teleconnections as a process-based framework for integrating urbanization and land change, for revealing their linkages and pathways across space and time, and for identifying potential intervention points for sustainability. Through the lens of urban land teleconnections, new and surprising diverse urban forms and processes, such as periurbanization, can be better understood and foreseen. The urban land teleconnections concept could also be useful to the wider research community to anticipate implications for global land resource use.”
More and more people live in the cities. The increasing urbanization is raising many discussions about sustainable planning, and this recently published paper feeds the debate with new inputs. Encouraging a reconsideration of the terms on which we base sustainable policies, the research is widening again our perception of the relationship between the urban field and land. The term “teleconnections” refers to climate science, where it is understood that events have impact over large geographic areas – when the waters of the North Atlantic go through a warm phase, fire incidents increase in the western United States. Just such urban land teleconnections explain the interrelation and invisible bond between urban processes and land use processes, which we must consider when planning our sustainable future. The key to develop strong sustainable planning, is to stop thinking of urban sustainability and land use sustainability as limited to local scale and place, and instead start to take into account the processes and global connections merging urbanization and land use.
“The virtual shrinking of distances between places, strengthening connectivity between distant locations, and growing separation between places of consumption and production are emerging topics in “telecoupled” human–natural systems and tropical teleconnections of deforestation [...] In an increasingly urban world, characterized by global ﬂows of commodities, capital, and people, where land that provides goods and ecosystems services for people is becoming more segregated from the space of habitation, teleconnections captures links between distant processes and places, and can be used to explore consequences of urbanization and land changes at great distances from points of origin that would otherwise go unrecognized.”
Urbanization and land change have so far been treated as parallel processes. Apparently this has limited the progress of the concept of sustainability. The paper states that a simultaneously treating of urban sustainability and land change as interwoven, non-separable processes is the keystone to advance in developing sustainability:
“The magnitude and accelerating rate of contemporary urbanization are reshaping land use locally and globally in ways that require a reexamination of land change and urban sustainability. Worldwide, urban populations are projected to increase by almost 3 billion by 2050 and the total global urban land area by more than 1.5 million square kilometers—an area three times the size of Spain—by 2030. Urban economies currently generate more than 90% of global gross value added, meaning few rural systems are unaffected by urbanization (3). Given such trends, we must reconsider how we conceptualize the many connections and feedbacks between urbanization and land change processes.”
The paper is confronting three understandings of the urban – land relationship that so far have been key themes in sustainability policies.
One is the Land Classiﬁcation Systems, on which the paper states:
“By deﬁnition, because urban is human-dominated, urban areas “appropriate” natural ecosystems, ecosystem services, and natural capital. By this logic, urban cannot be natural capital. However, such a conceptualization contradicts underlying principles of urban ecology as well as sustainability.”
The second theme is Place-Based Deﬁnitions:
“The place-based conceptualization enforces the idea that urban sustainability requires urban self-sufﬁciency. [...] However, decisions and behaviors that are local or even regional in scope do not account for critical consequences of teleconnections, which may undermine sustainability efforts at great distances or inﬂuence the overall sustainability for the entire system. Eating locally might undermine livelihoods of distant farmers who may be using less energy-intensive methods to produce food than local growers. Put another way, sustainability initiatives often focus on the importance of place while ignoring the processes of urbanization that may have farreaching effects on distant places and people. These processes can generate uneven and undesirable outcomes that may be undetected when focusing solely on place.”
On the third theme, Land Transitions, the paper argues:
“[...] Although not always explicit, a common assumption is that land transitions in Europe and North America can help understand future trends in Asia, South America, and Africa. Such assumptions disregard the realities that cultural differences inﬂuence conceptions, codiﬁcations, and uses of space and land, and that use of distant land to meet demand for local populations can signiﬁcantly alter the pathways of change. As a result, there is no universal or linear transition process; phases identiﬁed in one context can be shortened, prolonged, overlapped, or even omitted or transgressed elsewhere.”
Urban Land Teleconnections is suggested as a new key theme, a framework to address sustainability. In an immediate invisible network, urbanization and land change are constantly in a process of affecting one another. The term itself indicates that the concept of sustainable urbanization and sustainable land use has merged. Conceptualization of sustainability should contain both processes at once.
“By using an urban land teleconnections framework, we move away from conceptualizing urban sustainability and land as attributes speciﬁc only to a place, to begin to link dynamic global processes to their spatial “imprint”.”
This means that changes in nonurban places affects urban places and that change in urban space affects nonurban space. In this way, urban and land relations are interwoven in a global network wherein neither the themes Land Classiﬁcation Systems, Place-Based Deﬁnitions nor Land Transitions can stand alone to define the framework for developing sustainable concepts.
“ [...] we can study multiple urban regions jointly, rather than trying to aggregate and generalize across many disconnected sets of case studies, and consequently provide a more organized way to integrate knowledge globally. A more holistic analysis of the underlying and spatial effects of production, consumption, and disposal will enable development of policies that promote viable and fair solutions, and ultimately global sustainability.”
Unpackaged is one of the shops with interesting, environmental friendly, and ethical concepts. Their philosophy is simple and they are describing it with this statement: “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” (Buckminster Fuller)
The model of “world with less wasteful packaging” was created in 2006 by Catherine Conwayin, and company is achieving it one customer at a time. Unpackaged was set because Catherine wanted to refill her groceries using her own containers. She set up shop that made it really easy for customers to come and refill all their daily essentials. The products they sell are usually seasonal and from local production, with minimal transportation, mostly certified organic, and fair trade. In Unpackaged shop in London you can buy the exact amount you need or want so you don’t waste anything and also save money. And in the end going packaging-free means also that less waste will end in landfills.
How It Works? They are giving us some instructions:
- Remember to bring your containers* from home (if you forget, you can buy reusable containers here) - Come to Unpackaged & say hello – Weigh your containers at the counter then choose the product & amount you want – Take your goods home & enjoy – When you’ve run out, come back for a refill, simple as that!
*Containers: bring anything you like, there’s nothing to date that we haven’t been able to refill (even our lovely friend who likes putting lentils in old water bottles!) Bring glass jars, tupperware, old takeaway cartons, brown paper bags, plastic bags, old packaging.. if it’s heavy, we’ll weigh it first, if it’s light then just refill and we’ll weigh at the end.
As I am a student myself I thought it is important to not just talk about architecture and sustainability but also students, society in general and how we can make our world a better place and help others. See how small actions can do big difference to the world.
I will be going back to Denmark in august and it happens that I am in the situation of needing a bike. My old bike did not survive the last Danish winter and believe me when I tell you, that a student living in Copenhagen needs a bike to get around the city, to go the fast and easy way from home to the university and in my case it only takes 30 minutes by bike and not the 60 minutes by bus to get through the city…
Next Thursday May the 12th Gunter Pauli will be lecturing at IAAC from 12.00- 13.00
Dr. Gunter Pauli graduated with a degree in economics from Loyola’s University in Belgium and obtained his masters in business administration from INSEAD in France. He is an entrepreneur and founder of ZERI Foundation (Zero Emissions Research and Initiatives). The Blue Economy is an international community of companies, innovators and scientists, providing open source access to develop, implement and share prosperous business models that strive to improve natural ecosystems and the quality of life for all.
Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia Carrer de Pujades, 102, Barcelona,
IAAC Auditorium, Free Admission
For those of you who are not yet familiar with it, Appropedia is an appropriate technology wiki entirely dedicated to sustainability, poverty reduction and international development. Containing an encyclopedia, discussion forums and numerous links, Appropedia is a user generated open platform tool for empowering and informing. Anyone can add, remove or edit content.
Next monday (April 18) Saskia Sassen will be in Lisbon for an evening conference on ‘city civic movements in a global world’ at the presentation of the ‘GLOBAL CITY 2.0′ NETWORK (see document below ).
The Portuguese CIDADES PELA RETOMA movement is now challenging partnersworldwide to create a global network called GLOBAL CITY 2.0, an open invitation toindividuals, groups and institutions who wish to think about the role of URBAN CIVICMOVEMENTS and its potential to transform cities and beyond, specially in this hardeconomic times (http://globalcity.blogs.sapo.pt/).
ecosistema urbano lecturing at the EKODesign Conference, Istanbul April 14th
The fourth of EKODesign Conferences organized by Yapı-Endüstri Merkezi, the information centre of the building sector on ecology, sustainability, environment-friendly buildings and practices at the architecture and building sectors shall be held on 14 April 2011, Thursday at YEM Events Hall, Istanbul Turkey.
ecosistema urbano will be lecturing, presenting thir most recent works under the title of URBAN SOCIAL DESIGN as keynote speech.
Olympic game development is rushed, expensive and large-scaled. Now, more than ever, winning the right to host Olympic games also comes with large-scale responsibility. Olympic game hosts are given the opportunity to present their country as leader of the current times - and in our time, its becoming more and more obvious that such large-scale development must be carefully pursued by the sustainability conscious.
London took this challenge and ran with it. The new East-London Olympic park that will soon boast world-class sporting facilities for the 2012 summer Olympics was once, not too long ago, just an unvisited, industrial wasteland.
When people get to talking about the greenest city in the U.S., they’re usually referring to Portland, Oregon, which boasts an exceptionally, historically environmentally conscious, pro-active citizenship. Chicago, with its famous theater, symphony, and Navy Pier bi-weekly summer firework displays, is usually acknowledged for its art and music.
The Willis tower is tall – really tall. In fact this ¨planting¨ means there will soon be a vertical solar farm on the tallest building in America!
While Chicago is definitely not the most environmentally conscious city in America, as it lacks the extent of aggressive sustainable development policies and pro-active citizen initiatives that Portland owns, Chicago’s leadership in promoting ¨green¨ architecture is really something special.
Chicago is the city of the arts – it’s a visual city. Adorning the tallest building in the country with solar panels represents and promotes sustainable development as a partner of the American city.
The 1.3 million tourists who come to gape at the willis building each year will now have a bit greener of an image of what 21st century urbanism can be. I propose the addition of a vertical garden next…
Today Ecosistema Urbano has been announced as one of the Buckminster Fuller Challenge´s 21 semifinalists. Named “Socially-Responsible Design’s Highest Award” by Metropolis Magazine, this prestigious prize will award 100,000 dollars to one project strategy with potential to solve world problems through humanitarian action and environmental responsibility.
Ecosistema Urbano´s submission is What if Water… Community Macrophyte Lagoons, a water purification initiative that doubles to engage communities in water conservation activities. The purification system that has been engineered to assist the natural macrophite purifying processes in plants. After purifying the water, the natural system stores water for reuse on the project site or within the surrounding community. To support community macrophyte lagoons, which initiate physical networking at project sites, the creation of an online social network will allow community members to share their What if Water, Community Macrophyte Lagoons experiences with each other locally and globally.
What is Ecological Design? Resposible Materials and Contruction Practices
When constructing, In order to encourage stability of environmental and cultural systems that are already in place, ecological design should utilize the skills and resources available in the nearby areas. I wrote my last post about the necessity for buildings to be engineered so they may evolve in response to environmental changes. Today I will write about how, even more fundamentally, construction process should evolve in response to local contingencies and opportunities.
We can see examples of this practise in the last two examples of ecological design i´ve featured. The first, The Arup designed Druk white lotus school, used both traditional materials and traditional building methods. This supported the local economy, the local culture and avoided harmful environmental effects by limiting the distanace (and carbon-footprint) of material transport. With another take on responsible material usage, Morphosis’ FLOAT house design for New Orleans, acknowledged poverty pressures in affected flood zones all over the world, by (using local labor) assembling the house on-site from pre-fabricated components with all required wall anchors, electrical, mechanical and plumbing systems pre-installed. The affordable housing was designed as easy-to-transport, easy-to assemble sections so that the design may be reapplied throughout the 9th ward, as well as be adapted to the needs of flood zones worldwide.
What is ecological design? Human-nature Interaction.
Features of ¨green¨and ¨sustainable¨architectural design often emerge as solar panels, green roofs and other technologies that make up the checklist for LEED certification. But to identify features of ecological design is more complex.
Healthy ecosystems exist in a dynamic equilibrium of nutrient cycles and energy flows. To design ecologically is to consider the relationship between built structures and social structures as an evolving support system for environmentally responsible living. Ecological design does not only aim to produce low-impact architecture, but also works to support healthy relationships between culture and natural earth processes.
The media plays a crucial role in defining what these words mean because, lets face it, these words don’t have any universally acknowledged definitions. It´s been a challenge, of course, for the media to embrace this recent environmental enthusiasm and deliver news that is truly ¨green¨-worthy. However it has also been an incredible opportunity for these writers to decide, for the millions of their readers worldwide, what sort of initiatives really are worth the press.
Most of us assume that if the words ¨eco¨ ¨green¨or ¨sustainable¨ are in the headline of an article, than the writer is speaking about an environmentally and socially responsible subject. These articles inform public understanding of the environmental terms used and shape the culture that either embraces or rejects them.
WASTE TO RESOURCES- URBAN PROTOTYPE PLAZA ECOPOLIS led by ecosistema urbano is proud to announce our submission to the Buckminster Fuller Challenge. Named “Socially-Responsible Design’s Highest Award” by Metropolis Magazine, the Challenge is an annual international prize program that awards $100,000 to support the development and implementation of a solution that has significant potential to solve humanity’s most pressing problems.
We are thrilled to be a part of the Buckminster Fuller Challenge review process, which brings together influential design science leaders such as Josè Zaglul, Vandana Shiva, Danny Hillis, William McDonough, John Thackara and Hunter Lovins.
We entered this competition because of its reputation as the most prestigious Prize concerning social issues.
About 50 community-run green areas mapped: little urban gardens, play yards, edible gardens and areas for walking, resting, or simply talking. Citizens and associations acting together to reclaim the abandoned areas in Rome.
More than 100 sites together with the 65 spontaneous gardens registered by the Rome municipality.
Urban farms too and other interesting experiences such as Partecipation Houses, “Punti Verdi Qualità” and green areas maintained by established associations.
The map is in progress. Point us out any news and changes you know of.
This exhibition presents eleven architectural projects on five continents that respond to localized needs in underserved communities. These innovative designs signal a renewed sense of commitment, shared by many of today’s practitioners, to the social responsibilities of architecture. Though this stance echoes socially engaged movements of the past, the architects highlighted here are not interested in grand manifestos or utopian theories. Instead, their commitment to a radical pragmatism can be seen in the projects they have realized, from a handmade school in Bangladesh to a reconsideration of a modernist housing project in Paris, from an apartheid museum in South Africa to a cable car that connects a single hillside barrio in Caracas to the city at large. These works reveal an exciting shift in the longstanding dialogue between architecture and society, in which the architect’s methods and approaches are being dramatically reevaluated. They also propose an expanded definition of sustainability that moves beyond experimentation with new materials and technologies to include such concepts as social and economic stewardship. Together, these undertakings not only offer practical solutions to known needs, but also aim to have a broader effect on the communities in which they work, using design as a tool.
The Center for Ecoliteracy supports and advances education for sustainable living.
We believe that schools play a pivotal role in moving us beyond our growing environmental crises and toward a sustainable society. We recognize schooling for sustainability as a process that fosters abundant living on a finite planet and makes teaching and learning come alive.
We bring a passion to our work that stems from our conviction that the best hope for learning to live sustainably lies in schooling that returns to the real basics: engaging with the natural world; understanding how nature sustains life; nurturing healthy communities; exploring the consequences of how we feed and provision ourselves; caring about the places where we live and the people and creatures in them.
The Bauhaus SOLAR Award is being awarded for the first time at the 3rd International Congress Bauhaus.SOLAR in Erfurt on 10th November 2010.
Der Bauhaus.SOLAR Award for young talent is being sponsored by SolarInput e.V., Solarvalley Mitteldeutschland e.V., the German Solar Industry Association and the European Photovoltaic Industry Association. The award is being advertised all over Europe and is geared towards students and young graduates. It honours superb architecture and design projects from over the last two years which demonstrate innovative use of renewable energy and the award is endowed with 15,000 Euros. An international jury selected from architecture and industry assess the submitted works.
ECOLOGICAL URBANISM: Alternative and Sustainable Cities of the Future
Conference at Harvard University Graduate School of Design
April 3 – 5, 2009
The conference, which ran from April 3-5, 2009, brought together design practitioners, students and theorists, economists, engineers, environmental scientists, politicians and public health specialists, with the goal of reaching a more robust understanding of ecological urbanism and what it might be in the future.
The aim of this project is to make people aware of the increasing amount of rubbish we throw away and choices for its disposal. How many times have we thought to ourselves “What a pity to throw this away!”. It just shows how often people throw away items which can still be used. RCA wants to change our attitude towards these objects and offer them a second life: if we throw away something “with love”, then someone else may “love it again”. What has become useless to someone, can become useful to someone else.
RCA enables the public to think twice before getting rid of unnecessary belongings and points out the importance of “wasting” in a critical and conscious way.
Climate change is an urgent global challenge. In response to the Stern Report, the RIBA Trust launched “International Dialogues: Architecture and Climate Change|”, a major programme of symposia exploring climate change, ecology, architecture, design and urbanism. Inaugurated by Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai, Founder of the Green Belt Movement, the series brings together visionary thinkers and practitioners from a range of disciplines to consider new possibilities, design innovation, technologies and partnerships in the global effort to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
The Clinton Climate Initiative, from the William J. Clinton Foundation, has decided to promote 16 good practices in sustainable urban growth. Everybody is making list, as Forbes, but they don’t present very well the meaning of thist list. Through the website, we can see that the Initiative push the urban regeneration and the improvement of green energy as goals to reach better cities and better life’s. From this first post, our aim is communicate information about those projects, receive comments from our community and in two weeks offer a critical overview and some strategic keys to understand why some of the presented projects are in this list, and why some have no reasons. I hope we will generate some group of discussion on the present of our cities and some positive criticism on the ways to improve them.
The European Urban Knowledge Network has published an interview with Belinda Tato (Ecosistema Urbano):
Many people, organisations and governmental bodies would agree that cities play an important role in reducing the negative effects of climate change. In the past few years, this role has been actively debated at conferences, summits and informal meetings. Some organisations have a very clear and progressive image of what cities can do to tackle climate change related issues and strongly believe in large-scale transformations. An example of such an organisation would be ‘Ecosistema Urbano’, a Madrid-based architectural research and design institute that is strongly committed towards ecology and sustainability. Belinda Tato, architect at Ecosistema Urbano, believes that far more can be done to make cities more sustainable. “In the last few decades cities have grown considerably, but nothing has been done to explore new urban models to improve their efficiency, especially in relation to the management of resources.” According to Ecosistema Urbano, the ideal sustainable city can become a reality if more creative and holistic solutions are sought.
What do we think or talk when we refer to Sustain and Develop in the last years and for the forthcoming future? How can architects confront their work and ideas within the paradox that any new building, any new city will inevitably disrupt the natural ecology?