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Ecosistema Urbano is a Buckminster Fuller Semifinalist!

Category: ⚐ EN+ecosistema urbano+sustainability

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. continue reading

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2012Architecten and a little more about their ¨superuse¨

Category: ⚐ EN+architecture+creativity

2012Architecten were recently featured in my ecological design fundamentals post for their ¨superuse¨ of building materials. Rather than an afterthought,  material usage plays a central role in the design processes of these dutch architects. Approaching each project with the unique mindset that local discarded materials will shape their final design, the creations of 2012Architecten are not only examples of sustainable architecture practice, they are also fun, exciting examples of  urban creativity at it´s best. 2012Architechiten are ahead of thier time and, fittingly, thier projects tend to have a futuristic feel.  The three projects featured  below utilize, for example,  rotor blades, cable reels, sinks and steel beams that once held a textile factory together.

Wikado: continue reading

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Ecological design fundamentals: responsible materials and construction practices

Category: ⚐ EN+architecture+fundamentals+sustainability

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. continue reading

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Norden Fund Travel/Study Grants

Category: ⚐ EN+competitions+educación


Norden Fund Travel/Study Grants:  An opportunity for students and recent graduates:

The Norden Fund, offered by the Architectural League of New York, annually awards students and recent graduates up to $5,000  in travel/study grants to pursue projects in the field of architecture, architectural history, or urban studies. continue reading

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call for proposals: WATER AS THE SIXTH BOROUGH

Category: ⚐ EN+competitions+design

Organized by Planet One and Terreform One, the One Prize: NYC 6th Boro challenge is accepting design proposals that envision New York City´s 6th borough as the water that surrounds it. These propositions should describe a plan for a ¨NYC Blue Network¨ including the expansion of waterborne transportation, linking the five boroughs with transit hubs, incorporating ferries, water taxis, bike shares, electric car-shares, electric shuttle buses, providing in-water recreation, educational events, cultural activities, pavilion halls and climate resilience. If you can pull all of that off, you´ll be entered into the competition  for the 10,000 dollar cash award prize and ten tickets to the NYC Clean Tech World Expo 2014. There are also three Honorable mention prizes worth 1,500 dollars plus one Expo ticket each. And hey, if you don´t make the top 4, well at least you´ll be recognized by some of the U.S.´s top leaders, academics, practitioners, and thinkers for trying to make the world a better place. continue reading

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ecological design fundamentals: evolving, responsive structure

Category: ⚐ EN+architecture+design+fundamentals

What is Ecological Design? Evolving, responsive structure

We all know, It´s not enough to engineer a building´s electricity to run on solar panels if it´s not perpetually sunny out. For  temperate, seasonal climates, a variety of ¨green¨ design elements are usually used to lower energy consumption for ¨sustainable¨ building projects.

Beyond utilizing technologies like solar panels and wind turbines, ecological design processes embrace seasonal and environmental changes, planning and designing to meet them halfway. Projects have an evolving, informal structure, and take direction from nature herself. Rather than install bike racks to gain LEED points, ecologically designed architecture is structured, from the very core, to respond to change and challenges of the local environment in which it stands.

My last ecological design fundamentals post featured the Druk White Lotus School, set in the northern heights of ladakh, India. Arup engineers faced considerable climate challenges when designing the campus which, because of it’s 9,000-25,000 ft altitude, is very, very cold. However, because of its 9,ooo-25,000 ft altitude, it is also very, very sunny. The building´s design, which revolved around natural lighting and heating techniques for the local conditions, is another reason to consider the campus a prime example of ecological design. continue reading

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ecological design fundamentals: human-nature interaction

Category: ⚐ EN+design+fundamentals+sustainability

 

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. continue reading

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Green Coverage: They say money doesn’t grow on trees, rather, trees grow on money

Category: ⚐ EN+sustainability+the environment

green – eco – sustainable

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.

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Local River: living room agriculture

Category: ⚐ EN+creativity+design

With Local River, french designer Mathieu Lehanneur has introduced a whole new dimension of conscious eating for fish-eating locavores.  His freshwater aquarium-refrigerator design allows conscious foodies to raise their own fish and grow a vegetable patch in their living room. The system is supported  by the natural exchange and interdependence between fish and plants: The plants extract the nutrient-rich water for growth while simultaneously acting as a natural filter, purifying the water to provide a healthy environment in which the fish can grow themselves. This process mimics natural pond ecology and maintains the vital balance for the ecosystem in which the fish live. It also allows fish eaters to better trace their culinary footprint, which, in an age of fish-decline due to extreme overfishing, is something worth acknowledging. continue reading

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In Berlin: Reclaiming Dark Spaces

Category: ⚐ EN+creativity+urbanism

Artists in Berlin utilize a forgotten beer cellar, an old soviet bunker and an abandoned power station.

Berlin is well known for it’s population’s frequent reclamation of abandoned tenement buildings, but the past couple of years have seen an even more impressive trend of the reuse of seemingly uninhabitable dark spaces for art showings and cultural gatherings.

Galerie Unter Berlin
Eight meters below ground, Galerie unter Berlin exists in the cellar of a former brewery. The 500 square meter space recently opened to the public in fall 2010 and serves as a venue for gallery art and performance pieces. continue reading