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The Sustainable, High-Performance illumaWALL by Duo-Gard

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The "illumaWALL," which is a translucent illuminated wall system designed to project a programmable million+ colors, has been singled out by both Architectural Record and Buildings magazines in their 2006 lists of top products.  If I must say so, that’s quite the achievement.  The illumaWALL incorporates translucent polycarbonate glazings with programmable LED lighting for custom design/build applications.  Depending on the type of energy a project is looking for, the illumaWALL could be used both in the interior and exterior, and in commercial, retail, hotel, education, entertainment, industrial, healthcare, or residential uses. 

From what I understand, the wall will also contribute LEED points towards a building owner’s certification.  The translucent polycarbonate glazings minimize heat gain and glare (which leads to lower heating and cooling costs) and the LED lighting incorporates low-voltage, low-heat design.  Not bad.  I could see how the illumaWALL would be good for a restaurant, spa, or retail store, depending on the overall design and brand concept.  Via PRNewswire + Duo-Gard + Info PDF

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LEED Gold David L. Lawrence Convention Center: The Three Rs in 2006

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The David L. Lawrence Convention Center (DLLCC) was conceived from a design competition in 1999, which was won by Rafael Vinoly Architects, P.C..  After a few years of construction and phased openings, the large structure was completed in September 2003.  After receiving LEED Gold certification, the Pittsburgh structure became the world’s first green convention center.  What’s interesting, however, is that the DLLCC just released some statistics from 2006 detailing the building’s operating performance. 

In their press release, the DLLCC explained its green performance within the framework of the 3 Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle): 

  • Reduce – utilizing the natural ventilation system for 58 days, roughly 33% of Exhibit Hall’s event days, eliminated the need for artificial heating and cooling;
  • Reuse – reclaimed more than 4.75 million gallons of water via the water treatment facility and reused about 1,500 wooden pallets;
  • Recycle – recycled 65,480 pounds of paper and cardboard (equivalent of 557 trees + 229,000 gallons of water) and 1,720 pounds of glass, plastic, and aluminum. 

General Manager of DLLCC, Mark Leahy explains, "These practices and results are reinforcing the community’s belief that greening has a short and long-term positive impact on Pittsburgh and the region."  Exactly.  Yet another example of positive economics and green buildings. 

Skyscraper Sunday: The Modern + Green Skyscraper Movement

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[Runtime = 4:13 min.]  I wanted to include this video within my post, but E&ETV disabled the embed function, so head over to Youtube this jolly Christmas eve to watch a good primer on green skysrapers.  With modern skyscrapers, everyone is focused on sustainable, energy-efficient structures.  These days, most skyscraper design integrates LEED, as an overlay to the rest of the design process.  The video narrative goes through some of the most popular green skyscrapers, such as World Trade Center Complex, Hearst Tower, and Bank of America Tower.   

Modern Rammed Earth: Red Hill Residence (Australia)

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I’m a big-time proponent of green buildings, but if I hear straw bale, adobe, tee pee, or the like, I tend to lose interest.  And the same goes for rammed earth.  That is, until I saw the Red Hill Residence, which happens to be a modern rammed earth home, designed by Christopherchris Architecture.  Not sure what rammed earth is?  Wikipedia + Earth Architecture.  Here’s the home’s description straight from an article translation:

A contemporary new home for a young family relocating from a busy city environment to the Mornington Peninsula. Constructed primarily from locally sourced rammed earth and ship lapped cedar paneling, the house is sited across the ridge of the property.  The elemental form of the building is enhanced by the contrasting and intersecting selection of material, textures and colours, threaded together by the linear rammed earth wall. Key views to the valley are enjoyed from all living areas and bedrooms, whilst the master bedroom is privileged to a unique vista down to the peninsula and onwards to bass straight.

This Australian home is a beauty!  Tell me this:  would you buy it?  I think I would, but I’d like to hear more about the pros and cons of rammed earth building.  So far, we know that rammed earth can be molded and contoured to create modern, expressive buildings.  Feel free to drop a comment so everyone reading will gain from your insight and experience.  Via Moco.

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Hive Modular Video: Modern, Semi-Affordable + Light Green

[Run time = 2:21] If you’re a prefab enthusiast, you’ve probably heard of Hive Modular–they’re pushing the envelope on modern, highly-customized, affordable modular homes.  I’ve included a short video with Paul Stankey talking about some of the benefits of modular building.  Notice, prices are going to be variable due to extreme variations in land costs, but a Hive Modular will run about $100-200 per square foot, generally speaking.  And while the company makes it’s homes energy-efficient and has less construction waste (than site built homes), their focus is on modern design.  As the company’s relationships grow, they plan to incorporate more green amenities into their plans.  Via Moco.

Hive_modular_front Hive_modular_interior

Skyscraper Sunday: City of Arabia's "Green" Times Residences

City_of_arabia_times_residences_1 Dubai has money like no other place I’ve ever seen.  They’re working to beat Taipei 101, so they can have the tallest building in the world.  Now, they’ve announced this building called Times Residences, which is aiming to be the only rotating residential structure in the world.  Solar energy will be stored and used to rotate the 80,000 ton, 30-floor structure, 52 degrees every 24 hours.  The project will cost about $109M/Dh400.  Construction is slated to begin June 2007 and end in the first quarter of 2009.  Units will range in size from 1-5 bedrooms and everything will be up-scale + luxurious.  The project was designed by Glenn Howells Architects + Palmer and Turner

In total, there will be 200 residences and everyone will have a 360 degree view due to the solar- powered rotation.  Apparently, one will also be able to tell time by the way the building is lined up, etc.  Although prices for the residences have not been released, sales are expected to begin in March 2007.  What’s more, the developer, Dubai Property Ring, plans to build 23 more rotating towers in each of the world’s time zones.  Whether the building actually gets built is another story.  And although the company states the technology will allow the building to rotate 5 mm/second using a mere 21 electric kettles’ worth of electricity, I’m thinking there must be a better use for all that solar powerWhat do you think?  Via ecofriend.

Extra Links:
Rotating Tower to be Solar-Powered [Gulf News]
Dubai to Get ‘World’s First Turning Tower’ [Middle East Times]
Dubai Plans First Rotating Skyscraper [USA Today]



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