Author Archives: Stephen Hanley

Carbon Fiber is Architecture’s Lightweight Future

Carbon fiber is a miracle material. It is stronger than steel but weighs 90% less. Anca Trandafirescu and her husband, Glenn Wilcox—both assistant professors of architecture at University of Michigan and principals of Area in Ann Arbor, Mich. have won an award for an impressively strong, 14′ tall design that uses just 30 pounds of carbon…

New BioDome For Singapore Airport

Construction has begun on a new BioDome for Singapore’s JewelChangi Airport. Designed by Moshe Safdie Architects, the glass dome will cover nearly 1.5 million square feet of space and have retail, leisure and entertainment facilities as well as green spaces open to travelers and local residents. A Canopy Garden will hover over the main floor on tree-like columns and feature a natural…

New York Building a Floating City in Hudson Yards

Daniel Burnham, the architect of some of the world’s first skyscrapers, once said “Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized.” The developers of Hudson Yards, an entire new neighborhood rising on the West Side of Manhattan, have taken  Burnham’s words to heart. Faced…

New Green Roof Homes “Sprouting” in Sydney

Three new terrace homes featuring green roofs covered with native plants that can grow in small amounts of soil with minimal water are going up in Newtown, Australia- a suburb located just 4 miles from the Sydney Central Business District. Similar in concept to vertical gardens, the new green roofs will help provide thermal and acoustic…

Dynamic Glass Controlled by Your Smart Phone

View, a company headquartered in California’s Silicon Valley, has developed glass that can can change its tint in response to changes in an electrical control voltage. The technology promises to do away with the need for curtains and blinds and save up to 23% of the energy spent on lighting, heating and cooling during peak demand. View says…

Go Up, Down, and Sideways as the Wonkavator Gets Real

No, it’s a Wonkavator. An elevator can only go up and down, but the Wonkavator can go sideways, and slantways, and longways, and backways … squareways, and front ways, and any other ways that you can think of. It can take you to any room in the whole factory just by pressing one of these…

Behold: the 100% Maintenance Free House

An experimental maintenance free house built in Denmark is exploring ways to eliminate one of the single biggest obstacles to home ownership: upkeep. Designed collaboratively by RealDaniaBYG and Arkitema Architects, the dwelling is patterned after a traditional Viking longhouse and features almost 1700 square feet of interior living space. The designers anticipate the house will need no…

Famous Seattle Spite House Sells For Big Money

The tiny 830 square foot home known as “the Spite House” in the Montlake section of Seattle sold recently for $397,500- nearly $500/ft., which is pretty good for the area. As for why it’s called the Spite House? Seattle’s Spite House was originally constructed to irritate its owner’s next-door neighbor … who also happened to…

Cross Laminated Timber Ideal For Urban Buildings

Architect Michael Green of Vancouver is a strong advocate for using engineered wood products like cross laminated timber (CLT) to construct medium to high rise buildings.  His mantra is “The Earth grows our food. The earth can grow our homes. It’s an ethical change that we have to go through.” He says wood sequesters carbon dioxide…

Using Science to Get the Most Out of New Windows

Australia’s Sustainable Window Alliance (SWA) is using science to measure the properties of energy efficient windows for residential applications. The groups says that while windows represent only 8% of a home’s exterior surface, they can account for up to 60% of unwanted heat loss in winter and 91% of unwanted heat gain in summer … and that…

Indow Window Inserts Keep Heat In, Drafts Out

Sam Pardue, a former engineer at Intel, owns a 1906 Craftsman home in Portland, Oregon. “It has beautiful divided-light windows, with rippling glass,” says Pardue. “But I’m an environmentalist, and wanted energy efficiency at the same time.” To make his home more energy efficient while preserving the natural beauty of his original windows, he skipped installing…

China Embraces Growth with Vertical Cities

The United States has 9 cities with a population of 1,000,000 or more. China has 140- and that number is growing. China’s cities will not be like Los Angeles or Phoenix, however. Instead of sprawling expanses of suburbs and single family homes that stretch from horizon to horizon, China wants its cities to grow UPWARD…

Making an Existing Home More Energy Efficient

Matthew and Sue Seip recently purchased a house in Perkiomenville, Pennsylvania to be near family members who live in the Philadelphia area. Sue Seip, a professor at Philadelphia University, specializes in interior design, and Matt Seip has an architecture degree, so “we are very green-conscious, so to speak, and are both LEED-certified professionals,” she said. “Green building is…

An Energy Efficient Home Doesn’t Have To Be Expensive

make your home more energy efficient

40% of all the energy consumed in America every year is used for heating or cooling homes and commercial buildings. Modern insulation, fiberglass composite windows and draft reducing doors combined with passive solar design and the use of solar panels could cut that energy usage in half. So why aren’t more people insisting on higher energy…

Fiberglass Windows Are More Energy Efficient

For making energy efficient windows, fiberglass composites offer many advantages over wood, aluminum and vinyl. Wood warps and rots over time, allowing air infiltration that undermines the insulating power of the glass. Aluminum conducts heat and cold into the interior of buildings. And vinyl can weaken with age leading to a breakdown in insulating power. Fiberglass…

Intus Windows Offers CE Credits For Architects

Intus Windows is one of Europe’s largest manufacturers of super efficient windows and doors. Its products meet the rigorous German Passive House standards for residential and commercial buildings. Intus is now expanding its marketing area to America and offering US architects the opportunity to earn valuable continuing education credits while attending its presentations and seminars around the…

Bamboo, Plastic Bottles Make Eco-Friendly Greenhouse

Hanoi architecture firm 1+1>2, in collaboration with Action For The City, has designed an eco-friendly greenhouse that protects growing plants from the elements, provides a place for farmers to rest and a offers a creative play space for children to learn more about their environment. It also offers a break from the visual sameness of…

Environmental Testing For Construction Tools

If your brand new circular saw falls off the tailgate of your pickup onto the pavement, will it still work when you go to use it next time? Or if you live by the ocean, will the salt air corrode your nailing gun? Manufacturers of heavy duty construction tools subject them to rigorous testing before…