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Anti-Smog Design with Solar Drop + Wind Tower [S2]


Anti-Smog is a prototype project envisioned for a post-industrial area of Paris that aims to invent a new architecture — auto-sufficient, depolluting architecture, reactive to its environment.  The Vincent Callebaut Architectures prototype relies heavily on building-integrated, green innovation such as vertical axis wind turbines, rooftop solar panels, and living walls and greenery.  The result is a design that not only borders on positive energy as a self-sufficient structure, but one that moves into a refreshing realm of natural architecture that can clean and replenish the surrounding air.

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Portland's First SIPs House to Save 70% on Bills!


Update: 8/7/08 – check out Seed’s blog documenting the project at

Yesterday Seed Architecture Studio and Kaya General Contractors announced plans to build the first house in Portland using structural insulated panels ("SIP").  This sustainable home design is targeted to save 70% on bills (compared to a home built to current energy code) utilizing tech such as LED and fluorescent lighting, efficient appliances, passive cooling, and the ultra efficient SIPs.  Speaking of the home, Seed Architecture Studio owner Darin Dougherty said:

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Discovery Tower Peaks with a Mini Wind Farm [S2]

Discovery Tower Wind Turbines

Construction just began on what could be one of the most innovative office towers in the U.S.  Located at 1501 McKinney Street in Houston, Discovery Tower is a 30 story office building that will cost upwards near $300 million to build.  And as you can tell from the above renderings, the pinnacle was designed to have 10 wind turbines.  But that’s not just some fancy, green add-on to an otherwise generic building.  Discovery Tower will be built to achieve LEED Gold certification from the USGBC. 

With construction set to finish in the second quarter of 2010, the Gensler-designed green skyscraper will have air filtration, water-efficient plumbing, and an energy efficient heating and cooling system, among other things. 

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A Prefab M-Hotel on the Cusp

m-hotel by tim pyne

I love the possibilities and ideas presented by the m-hotel from Tim Pyne.  That said, I can’t say there’s anything green about the concept (that is soon to be a reality) other than two things, possibly: (1) it’s a non-permanent structure (7-10 years) where the parts can be reused differently in the future and dismantled to make way for a different use on the site, and/or (2) it’s a prefab structure and prefab has the potential for green benefits such as material savings, lower construction waste, and minimized site disturbance, etc.  But still, it’s cool and innovative.  The m-hotel is designed as a series of steel-framed slot boxes that slide into the frame (which makes for easy dismantling in the future). 

The striped m-hotel as you see above is being considered for Sclater Street in London.  If approved, the hotel will have 32 units each measuring 16 x 36 feet (576 sf).  Work may begin as soon as this summer and should be complete by end of the year.  I can’t wait to see the finished product. 

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Hawaii Gateway Energy Center, a Fascinating Display of Solar Potential


The Hawaii Gateway Energy Center (HGEC) is a 3,600 sf, $3.4 million facility situated on the south coast of Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii.  The new building serves both the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii and the Hawaii Ocean Sciences and Technology Park.  And as you may be able to gather from the images and models below, HGEC is a fascinating display of the future potential for synergies of solar power and building efficiencies.  The entire building is designed as a thermal chimney that captures heat and creates air movement using the structural form and thermodynamic principles.  Also, with the help of glazing, the building orientation and design pretty much eliminates the need for electric lighting during the day.  Notably, HGEC consumes about 20% of the energy that’s required by a comparable building. 

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Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation Synagogue, a Modern LEED Platinum Building

JRC Synagogue

The Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation synagogue is a beautiful building on 303 Dodge Avenue in Evanston, Illinois.  The Chicago Tribune reports that it’s "believed to be the first synagogue designed to achieve the highest level — platinum — in the [USGBC’s LEED] rating system."  That’s probably true.  The  JRC board of directors mandated LEED Platinum certification, but my search of LEED Certified projects does not list the JRC synagogue yet.  Nevertheless, it’s a fine example of green architecture in the religious building context, which is something we don’t see too often. 

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