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A Thermally Efficient Matrix of Buildings (S2)

Abu Dhabi Plaza A few days ago, Foster + Partners released design details of their newest mixed-use project in Astana, Kazakhstan — Abu Dhabi Plaza.  This clustered matrix of multi-level buildings will include retail, leisure, hotel, office, and residential uses.  David Nelson, Senior Executive and Head of Design at Foster + Partners said, "We are extremely excited to be working on this important project for Astana that will provide a new urban destination – visually and functionally. The design has resulted from a rigorous analysis of the city’s extreme climate, which has generated the unusual cluster diagram and has determined a façade that is both distinctive and highly efficient."  In this geography, the temperature can get as cold as -40 degrees Celsius, and Foster + Partners found that the compact situation of buildings helped to maximize thermal insulation during the harsh winter months.  The development also includes a series of temperate, year-round gardens with a network of sheltered pedestrian routes throughout the site.  Light shafts between the blocks will have laminated glass panels that shower colorful light, shadows, and patterns on the lower levels.

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Celadon Green Townhouses Are Popular

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Update 4/23/09: Celadon Eco Townhomes Now Complete!

This is a development by Origin Development called Celadon.  Celadon has 24 units of minimalist, modern, eco-friendly townhouses, and the good people of Charlotte are dang close to snatching up the entire lot.  Only two left.  Celadon was designed by a LEED accredited architect, so it looks to be green with a luxury twist  (certification will be through the NC HealthyBuilt Homes Program).  Green features include bamboo floors, natural skylights, recycled glass tiles, low-emitting cabinetry, energy-efficient appliances, fly-ash mixed concrete, unit submetering, high-efficiency HVAC, and xeriscaping, etc.

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Floating House by JM Finot, Clean Inspiration

Floatinghouse

To use the words of Bouroullec Design: the Floating House is a studio for resident artists and authors invited by the Cneai, national contemporary art center for publication.  Initiated in 2002 by a public commission and finished in 2006, this habitable barge was realized in collaboration with architects Jean-Marie Finot and Denis Daversin.  The simple lines of the structure are a pragmatic and poetic answer to the thin budget dedicated to this challenging project.  An aluminum skin enveloped by a wooden trellis delimits the long alcove laid onto the rectangular platform of the boat (23mx5m) … 

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mkLoft, Solar-ready Green Townhouse

Mkloft

Today, Michelle Kaufmann Designs officially announced their newest home, the mkLoft.  MkLoft is a townhouse loft home with 2 bedrooms, 1 loft, and 2 bathrooms, all wrapped up in a modern package.  The home has double-height living space, comes solar-ready, and has all the wonderful, green materials and interior details that come standard in MKD homes:  high-performance mechanical systems, low-flow plumbing fixtures, fsc-certified cabinetry, etc. 

One of the cool things about mkLoft is its scalability.  Units can be 2-story or 3-story, live/work or residential, and the lower level can be parking, retail, or studio.  You name it.  You can have one or one hundred units, depending on your project needs.  Developers can rely on the expertise of MKD for predictability in time and cost.  mkLoft prices out at $130 – $140 psf, and you’re in the lower price range if the project calls for +40 units.  mkLoft is the ultimate multifamily solution for developers wanting to go green.

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[Podcast] San Francisco Federal Building, Thom Mayne

There’s an interesting podcast with architect Thom Mayne, principal at Morphosis, and Andrew Blum (contributing editor at Metropolis and Wired).  This article at Treehugger explains the building’s green features and striking exterior.  Notably, it’s designed to use about half as much energy as a similar-sized office building.  Via Andrew Blum.

Neutra's Kaufmann House, On the Auction Block

Kaufmann House

Do you live in a house that has so much embedded history and character that it would be a major disaster if something ever happened to it?  There are homes like that.  A long time ago, a Pittsburgh department store businessman named Edgar J. Kaufmann, Sr., retained Frank Lloyd Wright to design a weekend home.  That home is the famous Fallingwater.  Kaufmann also commissioned Richard Neutra for home in Palm Springs.  That home is the 1946 Kaufmann House, a masterpiece of glass, steel, and stone.  But, as the story goes, it hasn’t always received masterpiece treatment. 

If the house could speak, I think, it would have an interesting story to tell.  Barry Manilow lived in The Kaufmann House for a bit.  It was neglected and abandoned for some duration of time, when Brent and Beth Harris stumbled upon it.  They bought it for a paltry $1.5 million and hired Leo Marmol and Ron Radziner to restore it.  I heard Marmol talk about its restoration about a year ago — they proceeded cautiously and deliberately to bring all the subtle details back.  The Harris couple acquired some surrounding plots of land and brought the glory of the original back to life. 

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