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Tech Briefs

Tech Book Review
Three new books offer inspiration and practical advice for integrated, high-performance design.

 

Acoustics in school building moves toward the head of the class
From cacophony in the schoolyard and tense quiet during finals to the social jungle of the cafeteria and the read-out-loud of Roald Dahl: Maybe no acoustic environment is expected to perform in such a variety of ways as the contemporary school.

Photo ©Jon Linkins

Guggenheim face-lift retains original wrinkles
Architects, engineers, and consultants restoring Frank Lloyd Wright's Guggenheim grapple with the meaning of "authenticity.”

Photo © Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation/David Heald

BAM’s Next Wave: A Forward-Looking Institution Updates Its Own Look with a Nod to the Past
Since the 1970s, Hugh Hardy’s work for the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) has run the gamut, spanning new cinemas and a café for the experimental film and performing arts venue to, most recently, a faithful restoration of the 1908 facade of its historic Peter Jay Sharp Building.

Pictured: Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM); Photo © Peter Mauss/Esto

Crimps, Facets, and Folds
An ingenious Y-shaped mullion supports a quartz-like facade on Chicago’s Michigan Avenue.

Pictured: Spertus Insitute of Jewish Studies in Chicago, Illinois; Photo © William Zbaren

Groups advance two sets of high-performance building standards
In the not-too-distant future, there could be two U.S. standards for green buildings.

Pictured: Chandler Airport Commerce Center in Chandler, Arizona; Photo courtesy Green Building Initiative

Aiming at super-tall market, Mitsubishi opens record-breaking elevator testing tower
Inazawa City, Japan, is the home of Mitsubishi Electric’s elevator division, and accordingly, the city skyline includes six small peaks—all towers that the company uses to test its product.

Photo courtesy Mitsubishi Electric Corporation

Microalloy promises better steel structures
The U.S. Army, in conjunction with private industry, is involved in a multiyear research project that could yield stronger, lighter, and longer-span structures, for both civil and military applications. The research is examining the benefits of adding vanadium to steel.

Photo courtesy Simpson Gumpertz & Heger

Book Reviews
We review two recently published books: One tracks the relationship between the practice of medicine and architecture from ancient times to the present, while the other discusses the urgent need to reinvent medical facilities so they are better for patients and the environment.

 

Behind SANAA’s illusion of weightlessness
Now that the New Museum on Manhattan’s Lower East Side is complete, and its structure enclosed, there is little evidence of the system that supports the seven-story building that seems to be made up of nothing heavier than precariously stacked cardboard boxes.

Diagrams courtesy Guy Nordenson and Associates

Multifaceted structure supports audaciously sculptural BMW Welt
The 172,000-square-foot roof that seems to hover over Coop Himmelb(l)au’s BMW Welt in Munich does more than keep out the elements.

Photo © Duccio Malagamba

A base-isolated makeover for Pasadena's historic City Hall
Structural base isolation—effectively "floating" a building on rubber pads to safely ride out an earthquake—is nothing new in California.

Photo Victor Muschetto

California hospitals get a seismic reprieve
The California Building Standards Commission (CBSC) moved in December 2007 to allow the reclassification of potentially hundreds of seismically questionable hospitals in the state to avoid possible closure due to code noncompliance.

Fashioning an aural architecture
How do you protect a concert hall from extreme desert heat and noise generated by planes flying overhead? We examine how Barton Myers Associates and Architekton solved this problem in their roof design for the Tempe Center for the Arts.

Photo John Edward Linden

Hanging Loose
Perhaps the most famous cantilever in America is one of the shortest: Frank Lloyd Wright’s 1935 design for the exterior concrete terraces at Fallingwater, the longest of which extends a mere 15 feet to hover over the rush of Pennsylvania’s Bear Run stream.

Photo: © Justin Maconochie

Owners tout operational advantages, but dual LEED certification is slow to catch on
Since the launch of LEED for Existing Buildings (EB) three years ago, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has seen modest participation in its program focused on encouraging best practices in the ongoing operations and maintenance of already constructed buildings.

Photo: © Timothy Hursley

ASLA green roof yields impressive benefits
Earlier this fall, the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) released performance data for the green roof planted on its Washington, D.C., headquarters.

Photo: Courtesy ASLA

Conference examines a single material’s properties and its inherent ironies If there were a prize for the project most often mentioned during the conference “Engineered Transparency: Glass in Architecture and Structural Engineering,” it would go to the Glass Pavilion at the Toledo Museum of Art, in Ohio, designed by SANAA.

Photo: © Christian Richters

A structural riff in Norway: Snøhetta’s Tubaloon band shell
Now hear this. For a giant, cochlear band shell called Tubaloon, which hovered over Norway’s annual Kongsberg Jazz Festival this past summer, the designers of Norwegian architecture firm Snøhetta caught an echo from architectural history.

Photo: © Bjørn Owe Holmberg

Book Reviews
We seem to have two camps emerging in the nascent field of sustainable design: an informed one that remains sensitive to the high aims of architecture, ecology, and site, and then one we might call “design services 2.0,” a kind of appliqué of green technologies onto the leftover bin of expired architecture.

 

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Simple and bright, heliostats tap sunlight for lighting outdoor and, increasingly, indoor spaces

Green program developers embrace life-cycle assessments to gauge building performance

     
04/07   As prefabrication sheds its off-the-rack image, automation via 3D printing threatens to transform conventional construction

A super-small house achieves an ideal state of design integration

     
03/07   Following carbon footprints leads architects and consultants to their own doorsteps

On the greenhouse gas trail, one engineer aims beyond "carbon neutral"

Adobe launches a new Web-based conferencing platform and a fine-tuned version of Acrobat

SmartGeometry conference marries form with function (digitally, that is)

A new Web site simplifies finding green architects, builders

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02/07   Vertical and verdant, living wall systems sprout on two buildings, in Paris and Vancouver

An innovative vacuum-formed facade provides a sober enclosure for museum

     
01/07   Green Building Council hones rating system as a tool for combating carbon emissions

Second Life and Google Earth are transforming the idea of architectural collaboration

     
11/06   Zoomy Mercedes-Benz Museum ties curvy structure with complex spatial configuration
     
10/06   New airport security technology is slow to be implemented, but developments abound

LEED, green initiatives find widespread favor in energy-intensive airport terminals

     
09/06   Composite wood industry watches developments in California

Open-access digital archive of international archaeological sites set to launch

Report touts benefits of integrated design and tackles obstacles hindering adoption

07/06   Proposed LEED changes intensify debate over recognition of wood certification systems

To architects, building information modeling is still primarily a visualization tool

Mayors move to halt climate change with goals for carbon neutral buildings

     
03/06   Stretching the digital imagination
     
02/06   Unity Temple will use geothermal energy after its first major restoration

A Santa Fe architect calls for carbon-neutral buildings in the next quarter century

     
11/05   Sixteen years later, engineers fix leaks and overheating at Eisenman’s Wexner Center
     
10/05   Damaged buildings and widespread environmental hazards remain in Katrina’s aftermath
     
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Document and manage your designs

WTC investigators’ recommendations set agenda for change, but provide few answers

Unique assembly makes a new mural possible

     
08/05   Seismic framing technology and smart siting aid a California community college
     
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In Berlin, meticulous sitework and off-site production help piece together a sober memorial

     
06/05   Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC), Troy, New York

Design tools, presentation devices, and more

Channel glass and reflective aluminum brighten the Shaw Center

A planetarium’s curves hint at the mysteries of the cosmos

For one hospital owner, familiarity in design breeds success

     
05/05   In Osaka, an iconic entry and sculpture mark the spot of a mostly underground museum

GSA asks for guidance on using digital building models for design and construction

     
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Questions about materials strain the fabric of USGBC’s big tent

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12/04   Updates for 3D CAD, collaboration tools

Need a lift? New York firm designs a high-tech car-transport system

This London Bridge doesn’t fall down—it does a backbend

     
10/04   From balloon frame to CAD-tailored: Japanese precut framing technology comes to the U.S.
     
09/04   Why building information modeling isn’t working ... yet

From mark-up to practice management –Tech Products

New graduate program will explore innovations in design, fabrication, and construction methods

     
08/04   Studies of their health impact heat up debate over halogenated flame retardants
     
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California tests conventional and "green"products for emissions

Building industry professionals gather to pledge commitment to interoperability

     
05/04   The Art Institute of Chicago examines how best to archive digital design data

In the lab, paint makes NOx gases harmless—but can field trials make the same claim?

     
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Companies can build a power plant for free right in your backyard … if the price is right

     
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The Times banks on a mock-up to try out systems for its new building

For improving indoor air quality, is UV treatment the light at the end of the duct?

Don’t blow off steam—microturbines make cheap, clean energy from waste heat

     
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Fall conference presents new case studies in digital collaboration

Nonprofiter seeks to help designers take on rapid prototyping

Housing complex under construction in Manhattan boasts high-tech accoutrements

     
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Software interoperability makes strides, but hurdles still remain

     
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In Graz, Austria, a new arts center will speak its own digital language

Project team relied heavily on digital collaboration to rebuild the Winter Garden quickly

   

03/02

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Extranet use among architecture firms is hampered by skepticism

Autodesk puts "design" back into CAD –Digital Product Reviews

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