This is a quality video by Wall Street Journal’s Dana Mattioli featuring Andrew Shapiro, founder and CEO of GreenOrder. GreenOrder is a sustainable marketing and strategy firm that’s been called the "Green McKinsey" on occasion. Shapiro takes Mattioli through 7 World Trade Center, explaining the building’s several green aspects, including the rainwater reclamation system, floor-to-ceiling windows, design for natural lighting, and white roof. You’ll notice also the layout of employees, which is a little more collaborative and fluid. Experts laud these open layouts as a way to do more with less space, and thereby, save materials. I’m still unsure as to whether tighter quarters can be more effective, especially with the extra noise and commotion — I definitely think it depends on the job type. It probably reduces internet usage, though.
Austin recently witnessed the groundbreaking of Block 21, a $260 million mixed-use development in downtown being built to platinum certification under the USGBC’s LEED program. Block 21 includes a 250-room W Hotel® and 200 residential condominiums, a new television studio for the world- renowned Austin City Limits, a 2,200 seat live music venue, the Austin Children’s Museum Dell Discovery Center, retail space, restaurants, and an open-air public plaza. The project is expected to be one of the first mixed-use developments in the world built to this level of LEED standards.
The 35-story building will include the five-star W Hotel on the lower levels and 200 units of residential condos on the upper levels. The 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom condos will range in size from 643 to 3,183 sf, with top-of-the-line, luxury finishouts. The development will also include a state-of-the-art spa, a signature restaurant, and 47,000 sf of retail space.
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.
Floor-to-ceiling glass panels, accented with glass and metal fins … this is 555 Mission Street. The base of the building will have a public plaza with a so called "garden of light"– an organic, living space with fiber-optic light wands. The 33-floor building is will be state-of-the-art and with all those windows, it’ll need to filter the natural light without burning up the interior in the summer. Slated for completion in the third quarter of 2008, the building will have dual-panel, insulated glazing windows with low-e coating. In total, 555 Mission Street will have approximately 550,000 rentable square feet and what seems to be incredible views of the city and the bay — I really like this first image below. Word is, the building will be LEED certified,
although I haven’t been able to verify that or the level of planned certification. See updates below.
In China, there’s a massive exodus from the rural to urban areas, but it’s controlled because the country doesn’t have enough housing for everyone that wants to live in a city. At the same time, urbanization accentuates the air and soil pollution problems. So, Knafo Klimor Architects proposed an agro-housing project that blends agriculture and high-rise housing in one structure. This agro-housing project brings the food-supply directly to the building, and to the extent that residents can realize the benefits of urban farming, there is a decreased reliance on transportation for agricultural products (shopping and delivery to stores). Plus, with the building’s integrated water capture systems, the project has the potential to reduce water consumption and runoff. Residents could make money off the crops, too.
This agro-housing project is going to be built in Wuhan, China. As you can see from the renderings, the building has quite the elaborate labyrinth to control water, air, and heat. Structurally, it will be made with SIPs and a majority of the materials will come from steel, aluminum, and terracotta — all materials that can be recycled at the end of the building’s life. Via Dwell.