Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Building and Construction

BIG have designed the structure to stand as a metaphorical pin (Image: BIG)

The city of Phoenix wants to mark its place on the map, quite literally, with a new observation tower dubbed “The Pin.” Designed by Danish architecture studio BIG, the new addition to Arizona’s capital city will manifest itself as 430 ft (131 m) high tower topped by a giant sphere sliced into a spiraling open air observation deck that enables visitors to enjoy 360-degree views of Phoenix and the “Valley of the Sun.”  Read More

The Essence Financial Building in Shenzhen will have no exterior walls in its middle floor...

Dutch architectural firm OMA recently won a design competition for the Essence Financial Building in Shenzhen, China, with a concept that abandons western conventions for more contemporary ideas. Among other attributes, the plans call for shifting the elevators to the side instead of the center to allow for more creative office designs, and removing the exterior walls from the middle floor to create a large skydeck.  Read More

Konza Technology City is planned for completion around 2030

The Kenyan government intends to spend a reported US$14.5 billion on the creation of Konza Technology City or "Silicon Savanna," which Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki hopes will become Africa's answer to Silicon Valley. Recently underway, the ambitious venture will see the construction of a brand new city on 20 sq km (7.7 sq miles) of what is currently natural savanna, 70 km (43 miles) southeast of Nairobi.  Read More

Method Homes' Cottage prefabricated house

Whisper the words "prefabricated home" to yourself, and the image you'll conjure (if you're of like mind to me) is a distinctly modern arrangement of single-story cuboids made of cutting edge lightweight materials (or if not then of reclaimed or sustainably-grown natural matter instead), probably with scant decoration or adornment. Method Homes' Cottage Series comes as a welcome twist on the prefabricated house, adopting as it does a more traditional late 19th century American style.  Read More

York Minster (Image: Andy Barrett/Wikipedia)

York Minster is one of the largest Gothic cathedrals in Northern Europe and one of the great monuments of medieval architecture. Built in the city of York, UK between 1220 and 1472, it has suffered looting, vandalism, arson and a devastating fire after a lightning strike in 1984. Despite decades of restoration costing millions of pounds, the Minster still faces an implacable enemy, the air itself. In hopes of protecting the Minster from rotting away due to air pollution, Dr. Karen Wilson and Prof. Adam Lee of the Cardiff School of Chemistry, Cardiff University along with researchers at the University of Iowa have discovered that the key to saving the church may lie in olive oil.  Read More

Sisma Calce being applied to a building exterior

Changing building codes to ensure that new structures are less vulnerable to earthquakes is all well and good, but what about older buildings? If someone told you that the answer was wallpaper, you’d think they were crazy, but a team from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in Karlsruhe, Germany has developed a fabric to reinforce older walls. Marketed as “Sisma Calce,” the low-cost seismic fabric is designed to be plastered on walls to reduce earthquake damage or to at least give survivors a better chance of escape from falling debris.  Read More

The challenge for the designers is for staff to feel like they are sitting on a park bench...

The PNC Financial Services Group hopes to exceed LEED Platinum requirements along with promoting a healthy indoor workplace with its latest development – the Tower at PNC Plaza. Located in downtown Pittsburgh on the corner of Fifth and Wood Streets, the building will be approximately 800,00 gross sq.ft (74,322 sq.mt) in size with a construction budget of approximately US$240 million. The "breathing" design created by architecture firm Gensler moves away from the traditional closed air-conditioned environment and has the lofty aim of becoming the greenest skyscraper in the world.  Read More

B2, located at the intersection of Dean Street and Flatbush Avenue, is the first residenti...

Ground has been broken on the residential component of the $4.9 billion Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn, New York. The first of three residential towers to be constructed on the 22 acre (89,000 sq.mt) site, the B2 building will be 32 floors high and contain 363 units constructed using innovative prefabrication methods, making it the world’s tallest modular building.  Read More

A length of the paper-based bricks being extruded

Paper waste has already been used to create things like foam and batteries – now, a team of researchers from Spain’s University of Jaen are making bricks out of the stuff. Although the finished products still need a little tweaking before they're ready for prime time, they could ultimately give traditional bricks a run for their money.  Read More

The National Sports Stadium will be the centerpiece of the Singapore Sports Hub (Image: © ...

Due to a few hiccups thanks to the global financial crisis, the initial planned completion date of 2011 for the Singapore Sports Hub has come and gone. However, after construction finally got underway in 2011, the 35-hectare sports complex is on track to open its doors in 2014. The centerpiece of the development in Kallang is the new National Stadium that, upon completion, will boast the largest dome roof in the world.  Read More

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