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San Francisco's Glassy Green 555 Mission Street (S2)

Night Rendering Rendering

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. 

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Agro-Housing Becoming an Option for China

Agrohousing

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

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Beach Road Ecoquarter, a Sustainable Mixed-Use Scheme

Foster's Beach Road

Foster + Partners is at it again with another sweeping master plan in some exotic location — this time, it’s a 150,000 square meter city block in downtown Singapore.  The scheme incorporates commercial, residential, retail, and two high-end hotels, the total package of which could achieve the Green Mark Platinum Rating, which is the highest rating under Singapore’s main green building rating system.  The ground-level canopy is blanketed with a ribbon-like structure that forms a series of vertical louvres.  These filter the sun and provide a framework for the planting which will transform the towers into a series of vertically linked green spaces.  Interestingly, the buildings’ slanted facades are oriented, rather exactly calculated, to catch wind and direct it downwards to cool the canopy level.  It’s amazing to look at, and I bet it will be quite the gathering place. 

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300 North LaSalle, Exposing LEED Benefits (S2)

Feature I received an email from a reader recently about the progress of 300 North LaSalle, which is a 60-story office tower under construction at the northwest corner of North LaSalle Street and the Chicago River in Chicago.  It received LEED-CS Gold pre-certification and should be ready for occupation near January 2009.  Back in 2005, developer Hines signed Kirkland & Ellis to occupy a mind-numbing 24 floors.  (too many lawyers in Chicago?)  The rest of the building, comprising about 400,000 sf will be available for lease.  And unlike many of the wicked shapes we see in some green buildings, the pragmatic, modern 25,000 rsf floor plates are good for tenants that like to use what they’re paying for.  The building was designed by Pickard Chilton, an architectural firm that is becoming increasingly known for their green office and professional buildings.  I’ve included some interesting background and images/renderings below. 

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Bahrain WTC Wind Turbines, Coming Soon (S2)

Bahrain WTC Turbines

The word on the street is that the three wind turbines on Bahrain World Trade Center will starting generating electricity the last week of October.  As you can see from the images below, construction of the towers is moving along nicely.  The turbines are expected to generate roughly 11-15% of the buildings’ energy needs, or 1100 to 1300 megawatt-hours per year.  Architecturally, this building explores new territory by integrating large-scale wind turbines with the structure.  I’m sure Atkins Architecture has worked out all the modeling on noise and vibration, so the world is excited to learn from this experience.  Enjoy the images below. 

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The Austonian to be Green, Austin's Tallest Tower (S2)

The Austonian

In a city known for its aversion to development and proudly celebrated with the phrase "Keep Austin Weird," what does it take to get the go ahead approvals on what will be the tallest tower in the skyline?  Quite simply, a commitment to green building.  The Austonian, developed by Benchmark Development and designed by Ziegler Cooper Architects, is going to be one of a kind in Austin.  And judging by the renderings, it’s going to tower over everything else in the city, too.  The 56-floor building will have 188 residential condominiums, with pricing from $550,000 (rough revenue analysis = 188 * $550k = $103.4 M).  But there’s also going to be some ground floor retail, and according to Emporis, construction is expected to be complete in 2009.

The Austonian will be built to Austin’s well-known Green Building Program, with features such as a rainwater capture system; high-performance, low-E glass walls; Mecho-Shades; and Energy Star-rated appliances.  There’s also going to be an urban garden a first-class fitness room on the top floor.  The tower will feature a glass and aluminum “skin” that is layered to provide depth to its slender shape.  So, all in all, it looks good and if you’re going to build high, at least it’s in the middle of downtown. 

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