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Building and Construction

— Architecture

Zero energy home uses 40,000 recycled plastic bottles for insulation

By - March 11, 2013 32 Pictures
Italian architectural firm Traverso-Vighy and the Department of Physics at the University of Padua have teamed up to create an innovative zero-energy home dubbed “Tvzeb.” Located in the woodlands a few kilometers from the historic center of Vicenza, the home combines the use of recycled materials, geothermal and solar energy generation, LED lighting and wall and roof insulation made from 40,000 recycled plastic bottles. Read More
— Architecture

Self-sustaining "farmscrapers" proposed for Shenzhen

By - March 8, 2013 36 Pictures
As one of the most densely populated cities in China, Shenzhen has been dealing with a sudden population boom for years now, leaving urban planners scrambling for innovative building designs that manage resources and space more efficiently. There have been a few unusual proposals, but the latest design from French architectural firm, Vincent Callebaut Architects, probably takes the cake. The group recently revealed its concept for "Asian Cairns," a series of six sustainable buildings that resemble a stack of pebbles and produce their own food. Read More
— Architecture

Lagos' flood-beating floating school nears completion

By - February 14, 2013 13 Pictures
Design and urbanism practice NLÉ, led by Nigerian architect Kunlé Adeyemi, is building a new multilevel school in Makoko – a region of Nigeria's most populous city, Lagos. While that doesn't sound too unusual, the difference here is that in an effort to address the issues of land scarcity and poor waste management that affect the flood-prone area, this school is being built on floating platforms. Read More
— Architecture

The Pin: Spiraling 430-foot observation tower planned for Phoenix

By - February 10, 2013 20 Pictures
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
— Architecture

China's Essence Financial Building ditches traditional form for better function

By - February 8, 2013 12 Pictures
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
— Telecommunications

Kenya kickstarts multi-billion-dollar Konza Tech City

By - January 30, 2013 9 Pictures
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
— Architecture

Prefab meets the 19th century in Method Homes' Cottage Series

By - January 25, 2013 8 Pictures
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
— Architecture

Olive oil may save York Minster cathedral

By - January 11, 2013 6 Pictures
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
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