July 16 2014

San Francisco’s de Young Museum: “Smart” or Not?

July 16th, 2014Posted by 

When considering building materials, what do you think of? Glass, steel, concrete, stone, wood, and some subtleties in between? The utilization of these materials in a building, act as a palette for the designer, giving life or another dimension to the structure. But what if these materials could reach beyond their static existence and give […]

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July 04 2014

San Francisco’s High-Tech Urbanism

July 4th, 2014Posted by 

Everyday we see how technology is changing the way we live and work, but how is it affecting our built environment? San Francisco is one of the major test grounds for new ideas and technological innovation and it is here that our interaction with the physical world is also evolving. New ways to interact, communicate […]

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July 03 2014

Red Line Light Rail Plans Spark Needed Discussion Across Baltimore

July 3rd, 2014Posted by 

The City of Baltimore has a lot of problems, just some of which officials hope to solve with fourteen miles of new light rail. The new Red Line project will be the city’s second light rail line, this time connecting the long-neglected southwest Baltimore to the downtown area and through to southeastern neighborhoods. The hope […]

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July 01 2014

Three Querns Preserved & Operating Again on Patmos Island, Greece

July 1st, 2014Posted by 

In places with few residents, nicknames are extremely common. Patmos’ citizens tenderly call the architect Dafni Becket “Mylomama” (meaning the mother of querns). The reason for this nickname is because this Greek woman, who was a child of diaspora (from a mother who comes from Athens and an American dad, she grew up in Geneva) […]

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June 17 2014

Use of Public Transportation in Brazil Dropped 25% in Past 15 Years

June 17th, 2014Posted by 

The lack of adequate transportation policies and the frequent increase in taxes, as well as an increased purchasing power, caused a 25% drop in the use of public transport in Brazil in the last 15 years. Depending on the location, it is cheaper to use a motorcycle or a car than public transport. Not coincidentally, […]

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June 10 2014

Residence Surrounding Excavations in Ancient Corinth, Greece

June 10th, 2014Posted by 

This residence of 210 square meters is located in Ancient Corinth, Greece, in a plot where many archaeological digs have taken place. The main parameters of the design for the residence were to preserve the excavation “spirit” of the plot and the interconnection of the house with the historically interesting surroundings. The building has a […]

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May 28 2014

Connecting Buildings – Separating Social Classes: The Vasari Corridor in Florence

May 28th, 2014Posted by 

It may not be the most famous attraction in Florence, but it surely is the most intriguing one. The Vasari Corridor, an indoor passageway that defines the skyline of the Florentine center, has a total length of almost two kilometres and a rather interesting history.  Designed in the year 1564 by the architect and art […]

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May 15 2014

Architects and the War: “Architecture in Uniform. Planning and Constructing for WWII” in Paris

May 15th, 2014Posted by 

What were architects working on during WWII, and how did this affect the history of their discipline? Returning to this question, the current exhibition at the Cite de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine shows both how this period inscribed itself in the long history of architecture and how it brought on consequences for the twentieth century. […]

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April 02 2014

An Exploration of Verticality: The Towers of San Gimignano, Italy

April 2nd, 2014Posted by 

Six centuries before the creation of the modern vertical landscapes that characterize cities like Manhattan, a city scheme of a similar form, although of a different scale and social background, grew in towns of northern Italy: The urban landscape of the medieval towers. The construction of towers started in the late twelfth Century. They not only […]

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March 31 2014

Design Challenge: Reconstruct Canada’s Busiest Transit Hub without Stopping Service

March 31st, 2014Posted by 

Union Station in Toronto is overdue for a renovation. Last updated in the late 1980′s, it is dated; the connections between the three transit systems are inefficient, and the congestion during rush hour – and especially after hockey games – foreshadows the situation in twenty year’s time when ridership is expected to double or triple. The […]

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March 06 2014

Stuck in Place: The Aging Infrastructure of Washington D.C.

March 6th, 2014Posted by 

Manholes – like the one shown above – are a gateway into a labyrinth of unseen infrastructure that lies underneath every city. It is the architecture of the city; not in its most recognized form, but in its most essential. Few people notice it as they engage in their daily routines. However, this network of […]

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March 05 2014

The Duomo of Florence: A Symbol of Arrogance, an Eternal Landmark

March 5th, 2014Posted by 

In a city full of world-renowned architectural monuments, the Florence cathedral Santa Maria del Fiore, with its glorious dome, is still the most immediately recognizable element of the city. Looking to the size of the Duomo, one cannot help but think it’s even too big for the scale of the narrowed-street medieval city. Thus, it […]

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February 19 2014

Heating l’Enfant-Jésus Hospital of Quebec City, Canada with Supercomputers

February 19th, 2014Posted by 

In a series of articles published last year by Érick Rivard, various situations that could take advantage of the expansion of the Enfant-Jésus Hospital in our neighborhood were suggested. The Siberian cold hitting our neighborhood this winter has inspired me to talk about a different idea: heating the hospital with supercomputers! In hospitals a substantial […]

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February 06 2014

Kansas City, Missouri’s Clean Initiatives and the Clean Tech Bust

February 6th, 2014Posted by 

Clean technology was forecasted to revolutionize the way we live. Proponents of sustainable development long predicted the end of our ongoing addiction to fossil fuel. Recently however, the clean tech bubble has burst and effects of that can be seen at the local level. The shale boom, heightened competition among global manufacturers, mainly China, and less-than-conducive national energy […]

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January 20 2014

Toronto’s Planning Outpaces its Policy

January 20th, 2014Posted by 

In Scarborough, Toronto’s east end, a three-bedroom house will cost almost the same to buy as a two-bedroom condominium apartment. It isn’t difficult to guess which most home buyers might choose. Toronto’s Official Plan is to increase density in the city through mid-rise construction along designated avenues – arterial roads that could accommodate and become […]

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January 15 2014

Line B for Biodiversity: Installing a New Metro Line in Rennes, Brittany, France

January 15th, 2014Posted by 

What kind of environmental impact will the new B Line of the Rennes Metro have? What kind of “compensatory” measures will be put in place for the local fauna? All throughout the construction site, an ecologist is tasked with the analysis and protection of ecosystems. After civil engineering comes environmental engineering. At the construction site […]

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December 09 2013

Pipeline Explosion Exposed Qingdao’s Shortsighted Urban Planning

December 9th, 2013Posted by 

“Was it a planning problem or a design problem? Was it a technical problem or a management problem? Was it a business enterprise issue or a governmental issue?” China State Administration of Work Safety Chief Secretary Yang Dongliang asked these questions at a press conference after Sinopec’s Donghuang oil pipeline explosion caused sixty-two deaths and […]

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December 06 2013

Detroit Controversy over Converting I-375 into a Pedestrian-Friendly Surface Road

December 6th, 2013Posted by 

Detroit, Michigan is at a crossroads of urban development. I’ve covered the many urban planning controversies being discussed in the area: development and gentrification in Midtown and Downtown, transit problems, and increased bicycle use among them. If you’re interested in following a case study of urban ills and opportunity in the new American context, Detroit […]

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December 04 2013

“Recent Waterscapes: Planning, Building, and Designing with Water” Book Review

December 4th, 2013Posted by 

Recent Waterscapes: Planning, Building, and Designing with Water edited by Herbert Dreiseitl and Dieter Grau provides a comprehensive overview of innovative water-related projects throughout the world. The editors argue: “Coping with ever greater amounts of stormwater run-off from increased urbanization and fierce heavy downpours does not mean endlessly multiplying the number and capacity of technical […]

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November 28 2013

The In’s And Out’s Of Benziger’s Biodynamic Winery

November 28th, 2013Posted by 

The property now encompassing the Benziger Family Winery was once the site of an outrageous experiment to create a cabernet-infused marijuana strain called “Sonoma Coma.”  Although the pot production ceased once the property was sold to the Benzigers, the 1970’s vibe of health, harmony, and environmental philosophy continues under its new ownership.  The Benziger family’s […]

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