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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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Japan Has Plans to Build a Space Elevator (w/ Video)

Japanese construction firm, Obayashi, plans to build a soaring 96,000 meter elevator capable of transporting people and cargo into space at a fraction of the cost- and with only a fraction of the harmful emissions!- of current rocket flights. Really. Representatives from Obayashi claim that this science fiction-y idea is a possibility now, thanks to advances in solar efficiency and- more importantly- the development of the carbon nano-materials that make up the space elevator’s cables. “The tensile strength is almost…

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amish barn raising

Have You Ever Seen an Amish Barn-Raising? (Video)

Ohio’s Amish population is known for shunning many modern conveniences, which may lead some people to think that they’re not very much in tune with “trends” like environmentalism — but they’d be wrong. The Amish are Faithful stewards of their land, and work together to make the most of their resources and their community, and nowhere is that more apparent than during a good, old-fashioned barn-raising! The red-painted Amish barn is an icon of American architecture, but very few Americans,…

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Fitting In, Architecturally Speaking

One of the fundamental qualities of good architecturally designed buildings is that they fit into their own unique site. Two examples that couldn’t be more different but that are both beautifully designed buildings for their spaces are the Transustainable House and the Sempachersee Golf Course Club House. The Transustainable House is a residential home designed by Sugawaradaisuke Architects that was built this year. It is in Tokyo, Japan and it embraces the four major components of urban living. Those components…

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Beautiful Concepts to Consider in Architecture

One of the greatest things in the architectural and design fields that has come from modern technology is the ability to share conceptual solutions with audiences before they become built spaces. These ideas may never actually be built but they allow people to experience a variety of options and to explore uncharted waters of design. Here are three projects that push the boundaries of fantasy and reality and open the eyes of viewers to dream. The first building was designed…

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Urbana Creates Beautiful Experiences

When art is experienced it becomes part of a person and if the experience is grand enough it becomes part of the space it occupies. A design firm that specializes in such unique visual experiences is Urbana. Three of their projects that are beautiful, large-scale and interesting to explore are: May – September Draper Lumenscape May – September is a parking structure at Eskenazi Hospital in Indianapolis, Indiana. It was recently completed and fights the previous concept that a, “Parking…

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Sustainable Offices: Reclaimed 1970s Industrial Building

I recently received word from Kristi McCain promoting a reclaimed 1970s industrial building, located in Sunnyvale, California. The photographs are well worth looking at, plus a case study on the project. This proves you don’t always need to raze the old and build new. The existing structure looks as if it worked quite well, aided by some fine design. Regarding this reclaimed structure, McCain wrote, “I thought this eco retrofit might interest you: Stationed on Indio Way in Sunnyvale, CA,…

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Penda’s Unique Creations

In design, when concepts become creations that the world hasn’t seen before, then the job is well done. A young and upcoming firm is Penda and their goal is to create nothing that isn’t unique and thought out. Penda was started in 2012 by Chris Precht and Dayong Sun. Every project that they undertake becomes a work of art that is “custom-made” for that individual project. They specialize in architecture, interiors, industrial and installation. They have created residential spaces, commercial…

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Singapore SportsHub: World’s Largest Dome

Said to be the largest dome in the world, the Singapore SportsHub, designed by DP Architects, is an extravagant structure to behold. This news feed has been provided by Arch Daily. In the coming months, we will be writing more articles about domes. Singapore SportsHub by DP Architects Architects: DP Architects and Arup Associates Location: Singapore Sports Hub, 397718 Master Plan: DP Architects, Arup, AECOM Architecture Sport Venues: Arup Associates, DP Architects Architecture Office, Retail, Leisure : DP Architects Engineering: Arup…

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Mexico’s Largest Rooftop Solar Array Features SolarWorld Solar Panels with Racking System Design

An audio-headset factory in Tijuana, Mexico, is now home to the largest, privately owned roof-mounted solar installation in all of Latin America. The 1.16-megawatt system features solar panels, racking and system engineering fromSolarWorld, the largest solar manufacturer in the Americas for nearly 40 years.producer of audio communications headphones. The project is the second of SolarWorld solar panels at a Plantronics facility. In 2011, the headset manufacturer installed 608 kilowatts of roof-mounted and carport-mounted solar arrays at its headquarters in Santa…

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Ford Reduces Water Usage Enough For 1 Billion Showers

As water scarcity is reported around the world, some large organizations have tried to reduce their environmental footprint by conserving water. In some regions wasting water means someone else will have to do without. To address this growing problem and save some money to boot, Ford Motor Company has initiated a water conservation effort at its facilities globally. This has resulted in a water usage reduction of 61 percent (10 billion gallons), which is equivalent to 1 billion 5-minute showers. Overall, the…

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