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Archive for the ‘Design’ Category

Lansdowne Live

Controversy has been brewing in Ottawa over a proposal to turn a brownfield site into a stadium, to be called Lansdowne Live. John E. Martin, an Ottawa businessman, has invited Sherwood Engineers to join a group of politicians, government officials, architects, developers and community leaders to a private breakfast meeting this Thursday, Aug. 27, to discuss the situation. Sherwood will be presenting a case study based on our experience turning a brownfield site into a stadium in San Francisco. We will let keep you updated about the project as the dialogue continues.

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Daylighting urban streams has long made sense aesthetically, but now the environmental, traffic calming, and air pollution benefits can be quantified based on new studies of the famous Cheonggyecheon running through downtown Seoul.

From the New York Times:

Cities from San Antonio to Singapore have been resuscitating rivers and turning storm drains into streams. In Los Angeles, residents’ groups and some elected officials are looking anew at buried or concrete-lined creeks as assets instead of inconveniences, inspired partly by Seoul’s example.

By building green corridors around the exposed waters, cities hope to attract affluent and educated workers and residents who appreciate the feel of a natural environment in an urban setting.

Environmentalists point out other benefits. Open watercourses handle flooding rains better than buried sewers do, a big consideration as global warming leads to heavier downpours. The streams also tend to cool areas overheated by sun-baked asphalt and to nourish greenery that lures wildlife as well as pedestrians.

But four years after the stream was uncovered, city officials say, the environmental benefits can now be quantified. Data show that the ecosystem along the Cheonggyecheon (pronounced chung-gye-chun) has been greatly enriched, with the number of fish species increasing to 25 from 4. Bird species have multiplied to 36 from 6, and insect species to 192 from 15.

The recovery project, which removed three miles of elevated highway as well, also substantially cut air pollution from cars along the corridor and reduced air temperatures. Small-particle air pollution along the corridor dropped to 48 micrograms per cubic meter from 74, and summer temperatures are now often five degrees cooler than those of nearby areas, according to data cited by city officials.

And even with the loss of some vehicle lanes, traffic speeds have picked up because of related transportation changes like expanded bus service, restrictions on cars and higher parking fees.

“We’ve basically gone from a car-oriented city to a human-oriented city,” said Lee In-keun, Seoul’s assistant mayor for infrastructure, who has been invited to places as distant as Los Angeles to describe the project to other urban planners.

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BillMcDonoughA new report by DesignIntelligence surveyed architects about their interest in sustainable design. Their 2009 Sustainable Design Survey drew data from architecture and design firms throughout the US.

Here are the Top 5 Individuals cited as role models of green and sustainable design:
1. William McDonough
2. Ed Mazria
3. Bob Berkebile
4. Amory Lovins
5. Barack Obama

The list of Top 5 Firms cited as role models of green and sustainable design includes many of the architecture firms we partner with:
1. HOK
2. Perkins + Will
3. BNIM
4. Kieran Timberlake
5. (tie) Arup
5. (tie) Mithun
5. (tie) William McDonough + Partners

It’s encouraging to know that even in tough economic times, the push for sustainability goes on, and that these successful architecture firms recognize the importance of partnering with sustainable engineering companies like Sherwood Design Engineers.

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Local water supply in rural India

Local water supply in rural India from the New York Times

  • Dr. Nocera at MIT is reserching the ability to capture energy through photosynthesis, so that we can harness solar energy at night
  • A cap and trade system for carbon emissions is looking like it is gaining consensus as the best option for  accounting for externalities of pollution, but how much will it cost our society?
  • More on green schools, this time talking about “the halo” system that enables natural light to shine into the classroom even on cloudy days at Da Vinci Arts Middle School in Portland, Oregon
  • Design your own graywater capture system!
  • Google tackles office greening in London. Best way to increase recycling? Take away trash cans at individual desks.
  • How can a hotel go green but still cater to visitor needs? Take a hole out of the soap bar…
  • A new analysis report was released recently, showing that India could face a severe water supply problem if they do not change their usage patterns soon

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livablecontestheader2

Check out these awesome street ‘redesigns’ from the GOOD Livable Street Contest. There’s lots of ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures of how people would redesign their streets to make them more walkable, breathable, and permeable. While some of them would likely face technical challenges, they represent a good slice of the ideas out there for making better streets.

The contest is closed now, but due to the overwhelming volume of responses, they’ve given the judge an extra week to pick a winner. Check back May 18th for an announcement……

zerofootprint-competition

Treehugger brings word of the new Z-Competition: Re-skin old buildings to make them zerofootprint. Or at least, come up with scalable designs for retrofitting older, energy-inefficient buildings to reduce their consumption and improve functionality.

The competition will be judged on the aesthetics, energy efficiency, smart technology, return on investment and potential as a solution for a large number of buildings.

Like the X-Prize, this isn’t just a design competition. Five finalists will be chosen, their designs implemented and monitored over three years. The Z-Prize ca$h will be given to the building that has most reduced the energy per square foot.

Retrofitting existing buildings is one of our most pressing global challenges. It’s the most bang for the buck, the most quickly implemented, and with billions and billions of square feet of building stock out there, could represent a serious dent in carbon emissions.

The competition welcomes teams from all over the world.The deadline for the submission of designs is September 1, 2009.

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aia-top-ten-toast
The AIA  is toasting their Top 10 Green Projects in SF tonight, including Chartwell School. This is the 13th year of the Top Ten Green Projects program, and included contributions of more than 9,000 AIA Committee on the Environment (COTE) members and 65 state and local chapters.

We are very excited that Chartwell School was chosen as one of this year’s Top Ten, and we hope it continues to be an inspiring model as both a Green Building, and a Higher Performing School.

The evening will include remarks from guest Bob Ivy, editor-in-chief of Architectural Record and VP/ editorial director of McGraw-Hill Construction Publications, including GreenSource. Toasts will be led by special guest and Cote founding chair, Bob Berkebile, FAIA, and will feature a tribute to Cote leaders Gail Lindsey, FAIA, and Greg Franta, FAIA.

Congratulations to everyone who helped Chartwell make the list, and to all the students and staff at Chartwell school!

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Alleys?

Cargo being unloaded on 39th St

Cargo being unloaded on 39th St

Growing up in New York City, I was always told that part of the reason New York City is considered to be dirtier than other cities is because there are no alleys, so the trash is never hidden.  But does the fact that there are no alleys mean that there isn’t a heirarchy established by City Planning amongst the minor streets?  Our New York office is located in a building that spans the block from 39th to 40th Street in Midtown, with the main entrance on 40th St.  The 39th St entrance is a cargo entrance, and while people can enter through this entrance, they need a swipe card so visitors must go through security on the 40th St side.  But our building isn’t the only one with cargo access on 39th.  So does the 99 cent store next door to us, as well as the public library, both of which span the block as well.  Was this a coincidence, or did City Planning purposely dictate the locations of the loading entrances to these buildings, creating a more presentable 40th St, versus a 39th St clogged with trucks and cargo trolleys throughout business hours.

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