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Rafael Viñoly Walkie-Talkie Tower Gains Approval (S2)

Walkie Talkie Tower

Soon, London is going to welcome another interesting object to the city’s skyline.  If you’re familiar with 30 St Mary Axe, you know what I’m talking about.  Now, developer Land Securities will get the opportunity to construct a new, 37-story, Rafael Viñoly-designed building that commentators affectionately call the "Walkie-Talkie" Tower.  City councillors were split on whether to approve the scheme, but ultimately it received a 12-8 vote for approval.  Some councillors were worried about its location and the asymmetrical impact to London’s skyline.  Another councillor said the building design is "striking, remarkable and [an] exciting standalone building."  To be located at 20 Fenchurch Street, Land Securities thinks the building is necessary to meet the market’s demand for efficient large floor plates. 

Like most towers being designed these days, this one will also include sustainable design.  One notable green feature is the roof garden and park.  The sky garden will be open to the public on the weekends, making it the highest accessible park in London.  Also, there will be a cafe and restaurant on the park level.  Via BD Online

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MiniHome: Ultimate Sustainable Mobility

Sustain Minihome

This is the Sustain Minihome, a green, urban RV for the modern-day recreationists.  When you see this, you won’t believe how much functionality and comfort can go into a mere 325 sf.  To get the real feel of it, go check out the HGTV video of Andy Thomson’s miniHome (the designer).  Nice.  I’m pretty sure this is going on the Christmas wish list.

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The Science Barge by New York Sun Works

Energy1k

This is unusual, but incredible, in a weird way.  The Science Barge is a sustainable urban farm powered by solar, wind, and biofuels, and irrigated by rainwater and purified river water.  It’s a mobile illustration of growing food in the city with no pollution or carbon emissions.  Check the solar panels and small wind turbines.  I’m thinking this is another illustration of the savvy behind solar and wind power for residential use.  Via Archidose.

TheScienceBarge

Arrowhead by SOM in South Quay, London (S2)

SOM Arrowhead

With the weird looking skyscrapers, there’s a business problem of having expensive, unusable space.  Often, the most pragmatic, profitable shape is the plain old rectangle.  So for the sake of staying grounded in reality, today I’m going back to the boxy, modern-style skyscraper.  Above is Arrowhead, a 525,000 sf office building under construction in South Quay, London (UK) by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.  The 26-story building is expecting an "excellent" rating under BREEAM, the environmental building assessment tool used in the UK.  Among other green features, Arrowhead will have a green roof on the top and a mid-level rooftop terrace.  The building also has a glass climate wall with external metal shading to retain heat gain in the winter and permit cooling in the summer. 

Good Links:
++Arrowhead, London, United Kingdom [SOM]
++SOM Gets Green Light for Office Development in Millennium Quarter [WAN]

SOM Arrowhead Lobby

::"S2" is short for "Skyscraper Sunday," a weekly article on green skyscrapers posted every Sunday::

Atkins' Al Sharq Office Complex in Kuwait City (S2)

Al Sharq Tower Recently, an Atkins office complex concept received big-time coverage by being awarded the 2007 MIPIM Architectural Review Future Projects Award in the Office category.  I’m blogging about it because I like some of the sustainable elements.  The 180 meter Al Sharq tower includes an executive gym, health club, spa, and swimming pool at the top.  The building also features planted sky gardens in strategic locations where people can step outside, take a break, soak in the view, and think.  Commenting on the building’s unique green attributes, Nicholas Bailey of Atkins in Bahrain said:

This is a green building – literally – because of its foliage camouflage.  Vertical fins to the street elevation, formed in colored glass, are fitted with integrated solar panels that contribute to the building’s energy needs.  The project showcases a new way of building the working environment.  It is no longer a cage to confine workers, but a creative living environment to encourage productivity.  The groundbreaking concept of the project is the provision of different scenarios where business can take place.  More images below. 

Good Links:
+Atkins Office Concept Wins International Award [atkins global]
+Kuwait Office Development Short listed for MIPIM Award [WAN]

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David Hertz Designed LivingHome Makes 2007 Met Home Design 100 List

Dh1

This year’s Met Home Design 100 list has a ton of green projects and products and one of the magazine’s choices is the David Hertz LivingHome shown above.  Built from a unique, aluminum-based panelized system, the Hertz home is about 2,650 sf with four bedrooms + four bathrooms.  For ease of reference, I’m going to refer to this home as DH1 (see also RK1 and RK2), which I think works because in all likelihood, LivingHomes will feature more Hertz designs in the future.  DH1 features a green roof and a private balcony that can be accessed by three of the four bedrooms.  And like the other LivingHome prefab products, it will be LEED certified. 

At a price point of about $215 psf, I hear LivingHomes is looking for the right client to take the plunge on DH1.  What does it take?  (1) land in or near Los Angeles, (2) intent to build within the next six months, (3) a budget of about +$750,000, (4) interest in building a green home, and (5) tolerance and patience throughout the process. 

To me, this is a no-brainer.  If I were out of college and established in business, I’d plop down a million in a heartbeat just to get the DH1 built and use it as a vacation home (at a minimum).  I’d buy it for the joy of having one of the greenest prefabs in the country and I’d let all my friends stay in it.  Actually, I’d probably hire a management company to lease it out by the day, week, or month, so anyone in the world could test out the joys of living in a modern + green home.  I’d invite builders from all over the country to stay in it for free and showcase the green benefits.  I’d make green viral.  That’s what you can do with a great-looking, high-performance home like the DH1. 

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