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Calatrava’s Sundial Bridge Was Spawned by Salmon

Spawned by the need to protect a seemingly insignificant patch of gravel, not many folks know that Redding’s iconic Sundial Bridge rose as a result of an eco-challenge surmountable only by architect Santiago Calatrava’s sensitive and innovative expertise. Abandoned since the long-gone days of mining in Redding, California, submerged quarry beds along the north shore of the Sacramento River have historically served as spawning grounds for Chinook salmon. Four endangered runs form a 300-mile upriver stretch ultimately guiding an annual…

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Urban SkyFarm Soaring With Sustainability

Revisiting an oldy-but-goody originally published on InspiredEconomist.com Inspired by the ecological system of giant trees, the Urban Skyfarm is a prototype vertical urban farm project. Designed to support local food production and distribution, it also improves environmental quality through water and air filtration and renewable energy production. Urban Skyfarm Places First in Concept Category First Place Winner in the 2013 Green Dot Awards Concept category, The Urban Skyfarm is a vertical farm design proposal for a site located in downtown…

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Visit A Small Writer’s Shed & Haven In London

A visit to Surman Weston reveals a delightful small writer’s shed situated in the heart of London. Surman Weston has indicated their firm was “…commissioned by an author and illustrator to design & build a ‘writer’s shed’ in the borough of Hackney. Capitalizing on their multi-disciplinary backgrounds the firm acted as designers, project managers, and lead contractors.” Simply take a step inside to get the feel of this tiny space. The result inspires one to hide inside, lock the door, and…

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Wood Design Awards Are Worth Watching

WoodWorks, an initiative of the Wood Products Council, has announced winners of the 2016 Wood Design Awards, celebrating excellence in non-residential and multi-family wood design. “WoodWorks Wood Design Awards celebrate projects and design teams that showcase the innovative use of wood as both a structural and finish material,” said Jennifer Cover, executive director of WoodWorks/Wood Products Council. Cover stated this awards showcase ranges from mass timber to traditional wood-frame. “This year’s winning projects exemplify wood’s many attributes, from structural performance…

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Skinny Houses Adapt to Site Constraints

One of the most important decisions that gets made when designing a building, if not THE most important decision, is where to build it.  Site conditions can affect how big a house is, its shape, its orientation across cardinal directions, and- as such- how energy efficient the home has the potential to be. The skinny houses highlighted in the gallery, below were adapted to fit in some very tight spaces!   Skinny House in Long Beach Built on a Bet…

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The Evolution of Glass Houses

In 1949, when Phillip Johnson designed the world-famous glass house in New Canaan, Connecticut, it is doubtful he thought much about the adage, “People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.” I doubt Mr. Johnson specified much in the way of thermal-pane glass, either. Nor had solar windows yet been invented. Using windows as part of a passive solar design may have been in practice, but it was not yet a common practice. Nonetheless, Johnson’s post WWII  creation is…

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