[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.
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.
[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.
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 power. What do you think? Via ecofriend.
The December 2006 edition of Buildings magazine included the Editor’s Choice Top Product Picks (about 100 different products) and I wanted to talk about one certain product. Assume the following: you’re a developer, you’re going green, and you’re working hard to get approval on something like a large PUD, or maybe something like what the guys at LandPooling do. Well, you’re going to have beautiful, open green space and the proper benches and lighting to allow residents to enjoy the development. Take a gander at the Knight family of products available at Forms+Surfaces. The Knight Bench is sharp looking and comes backed/backless, with/without armrests, in 6-foot + 8-foot lengths. You choose. The bench is surface mounted.
First, it’s fabricated with solid aluminum made of 95 % recycled content. The surface is then clear-coated to resist oxidation (not sure what the coat is). The wood slats are Ipe, which is a sustainably harvested wood that has the USDA Forest Products Laboratory’s highest rating for decay and insect resistance. The bench is fully recyclable, which is important when looking to the life cycle.
The Knight series also includes a litter receptacle, bollard (CFL or HID), and pedestrian lighting. The geometric design of the Knight series is completely amazing. You’ll note that Forms+Surfaces is a member of the USGBC and committed to sustainability (www.forms-surfaces.com).
Green building renovation is the future; there are so many inefficient structures and the time will come when deciding not to renovate a building would be similar to using a typewriter when you have a laptop. Why not start now? Natural Home Magazine is chronicling a developer who will take a seedy, dilapidated (Boerum Hill) Brooklyn building and remodel it with cutting edge technology and green features. The developers, Rolf Grimstead + Emily Fisher of R&E Brooklyn, bought it and plan to make it New York’s first American Lung Association Health House.
The interior will use IceStone recycled counters (C2C), salvaged wood or bamboo flooring, and Kirei board cabinets. Finishes will be with low or no-VOC water-based poly (American Pride). The house will be wired with solar energy via photovoltaic panels. Also, there will be a solar-thermal and gas-fired system to heat and cool the place. In addition, the developers will use the Health House criteria (regarding moisture + humidity control, energy efficiency, and air filtration + ventilation) to guide them in making the indoor air quality top notch. This should be an interesting project to follow throughout 2007.
93 Nevins/453 Pacific: 2 Eco-smart Townhouses [R&E Brooklyn]
Brownstoner Blog Post on the 2 Eco-smart Townhouses [Brownstoner]