14 minutes 26 seconds ago
© ArchDaily © ArchDaily

It is expected that within the next few of decades, Earth will have absolutely nothing left to offer whoever/whatever is capable of surviving on it. Although the human race is solely responsible for the damages done to the planet, a thin silver lining can still be seen if radical changes were to be done to the way we live on Earth and how we sustain it.

Since architects and designers carry a responsibility of building a substantial future, we have put together an A-Z list of every sustainability term that you might come across. Every week, a new set of letters will be published, helping you stay well-rounded on everything related to sustainable architecture and design. Here are the terms that start with letters G, H, and I.

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14 minutes 26 seconds ago

Each year, about 40,000 people in Essex County, New Jersey, get evicted. Almost half of them are in the city of Newark, where more than three-quarters of the population are renters.

As housing in Newark, spiked by a surge in interest from priced-out Manhattanites, grows more expensive, evictions keep getting filed—“sometimes arbitrarily; sometimes because of poor management,” said Newark’s mayor, Ras Baraka, who’s trying to balance his city’s reviving fortunes with the needs of its many low-income residents. And sometimes, “simply because landlords want to lease it out in order to raise the rent for other folks.”

Last year, Newark became one of only three cities in the country to pass legislation that provides free legal assistance to all low-income renters facing eviction through an Office of Tenant Legal Services, with the ultimate goal of reducing the number of evictions citywide by a quarter. Now Newark’s anti-eviction program is getting a boost that Baraka hopes will help the city aim even higher: The city is one of 10 in the U.S. that will participate in an 18-month national economic mobility initiative funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Ballmer Group.

The program, sustained by a $12 million grant, will support local projects intended to improve residents’ economic health at various stages of life. It’s a goal inspired by Bloomberg Philanthropies’ 2018 American Mayors Survey—in which many city managers and mayors identified economic issues as their local key challenge—and by Harvard economist Raj Chetty’s Opportunity Atlas, which highlighted how widely economic potential can diverge for children living in different zip codes.

Chosen for the strength of their intervention ideas and their commitment to data-driven solutions, as well as their need, the participating cities represent a geographically and economically diverse selection of urban areas wrestling with various shades of inequality. In the Northeast and Rust Belt, Newark is joined by Rochester, New York; Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio; Detroit and Lansing, Michigan; and Racine, Wisconsin. Further afield, New Orleans, Louisiana; Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Tulsa, Oklahoma round out the list of participants getting a philanthropic boost. These are places where the economic pain of residents isn’t necessarily captured in unemployment rates or growth numbers.  

“We know that city leaders are trying to help address this issue of rising income inequality and economic challenges, [but] the research says that traditional indicators of local economic success, like job growth, don’t always translate into greater upward economic mobility,” said Andrea Coleman, who works on government innovation programs at Bloomberg Philanthropies. “If they can’t just look to job growth, what should they be looking to?”

Each community is hoping to find its own answer by executing projects that fall into three broad categories: education (both early and continuing), housing affordability, and jobs training and financial planning.

Newark’s pilot will focus on continuing to connect at-risk tenants with legal resources, says Natasha Rogers, Newark’s Interim Deputy Mayor and director of the Department of Economic and Housing Development. That effort should reduce the number of eviction filings, she says, as well as increase the number of eviction appeals won. Detroit, where one in five renters face eviction, is addressing housing, too, by connecting low-income residents with programs to foster economic stability.

Rochester’s plan involves connecting low-income families with regular cash assistance—the same principle that undergirds Stockton, California’s Universal Basic Income (UBI) project pilot. Many households in the upstate New York city are eligible for tax rebates through the Earned Income Tax Credit, but don’t know to take advantage of it, so they turn to payday lenders or pawn shops for short-term support. Rochester’s pilot will teach more families about how to claim this cash and also help stagger the annual payouts, UBI-style: All families will be able accept the full EITC payment upfront, but they’ll be incentivized to put 20 percent into a city-run savings account that is paid out every three months.

Besides helping people save, says Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren, the initiative aims to protect low-income residents from for-profit tax preparers, who have a high error rate. To gauge the effectiveness of the program, the city will run a long-term randomized evaluation of its impact and meet with the cohort of cities to swap best practices throughout the year. The ultimate goal, the mayor says, “will be to be able to help people remain out of poverty for the rest of their lives.”

Albuquerque too, will try nudging youth away from payday lenders or damaging financial habits, by setting them up with bank accounts early. Tulsa, already a pioneer when it comes to data-driven city initiatives, will connect unemployed and out-of-school young people with job training. Racine, where one in four adults lack a high school diploma, will focus on supporting adult education, while Dayton will focus on early childhood education interventions.

Collectively, the cities involved in the economic mobility initiative are trying to build a better pipeline of opportunity. “We’re thinking about both what we’re doing to help people climb the socioeconomic ladder, but also [about] actually helping individuals not have a single negative event in their life derail their futures,” said Simone Brody, the executive director of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ local government empowerment initiative, What Works Cities.

Can an 18-month-long project really be expected to move the needle on long-term—often systemic—problems? To find out, Bloomberg Philanthropies expects participants to take their baseline economic temperature and track any Bloomberg-funded bump using data from the Opportunity Atlas, an interactive measure of economic health developed by Harvard University with help from the U.S. Census Bureau. They’ve also been matched with advisors from Results for America and the Behavioral Insights Team, along with experts from Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Government Excellence, the Harvard Kennedy School’s Government Performance Lab, and the Sunlight Foundation.

As Mayor Warren of Rochester says, one of her city’s pervasive problems is that they’re “program-rich but results-poor”—a lament likely to resonate in many American cities where nonprofits play a powerful-but-hazily-defined role. That’s one reason why this initiative, organizers say, so emphasizes measurable impacts.

“This is not an issue that’s going to be tackled overnight, or through a single policy,” said Coleman. “At the end of 18 months, it’s about assessing the results, sharing what’s been learned, and potentially scaling what works to other cities as well.”

14 minutes 26 seconds ago

taking inspiration from natural fibers and geometric structures, the duo has transformed rigid planks of timber into a flexible material.

The post tesler + mendelovitch develops a bendable wooden textile to create sculptural interiors appeared first on designboom | architecture & design magazine.

14 minutes 26 seconds ago

Former Finance Minister and MDC deputy Tendai Biti says only the opposition has the credibility to create the change desperately needed. 

The ruling party and government headed by Emmerson Mnangagwa must work with the opposition to succeed, according to the former Finance Minister.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa and ZANU-PF are presiding over a worsening economic crisis, says former Finance Minister Tendai Biti.

Zimbabwe is in crisis. But to expect the ruling ZANU-PF government to resolve this is improbable at best. It is, more likely, impossible.

Today nearly four out of every five Zimbabweans just about survives in absolute poverty. On average, Zimbabweans are poorer now than they were at independence in 1980. Informal employment is at 95%, which is why the civil service has more than doubled over the last ten years to 600,000 employees – this is the only place government can create jobs.

Whole communities today live on less than 35 cents per person per day. In practice, this pays for a small dollop of maize, four leaves of vegetables, and a cap of cooking fat. We have a term for this, Tsaona, which means living by “accident”.

But the crisis Zimbabwe faces is no accident. This is a man-made calamity. Over the last 39 years of independence, ZANU-PF has presided over the disintegration of the productive sector of the economy. Driven by sheer incompetence, greed, and the need for regime survival, the party has completely destroyed a once thriving economy.

Firstly, industries closed in the face of government parties opposed to foreign investment. Secondly, infrastructure failed to be maintained and no investments were made; even today, Zimbabwe continues to rely on the Kariba hydro-electric facility opened in 1959 by Queen Elizabeth II. Thirdly, the backbone of Zimbabwe’s economy was ripped out when the farming sector was politically redistributed through ill-planned and badly-executed land reform exercises, aimed not at empowerment of citizens but the enrichment of elites. Fourthly, to paper over these deep problems and continue to make profits for the elites, monetary policy became a tool for further enrichment, resulting in Zimbabwe’s inflation reaching 500 billion percent.

In today’s Zimbabwe, the elites prosper, in spite of the misery, and because of mal-governance. They use their preferential access to dollars to arbitrage against other local, artificial digital currencies. Furthermore, they have created cartels that are able entirely control the import and distribution of fuel coming into the country.

Meanwhile, the military and other favoured clients are offered mining concessions that are then parcelled out opaquely to friends, local and foreign. Finally, the government’s agricultural scheme, appropriately named “command agriculture”, amounts to a $4 billion private piggy bank used to finance everything from private vehicles to dowries.

ZANU-PF cannot realistically be expected to reform a system that it not only profits from, but on which its rule depends. Future reform has to dismantle the corrupt political economy, whilst also expanding the productive sector.

The only time in the last four decades there has been a serious attempt at reform was during the Government of National Unity between 2009 and 2013, when I served as the Minister of Finance. During this period, three critical actions were introduced.

One, it was recognised that the government could not spend what it did not have. We described this as the “eat what you kill” philosophy. This immediately provided confidence and clarity to foreign investors and our international partners. Two, we dollarised the economy, thereby ridding the country of the opportunities for arbitrage against the inflating Zimbabwean currency. Three, we opened up the economy thereby incentivising the private sector.

Without governance and transparency, the only investors we will get in Zimbabwe are cowboys and opportunistic traders, a mafia by another name. Without political change and the necessary will, reform will only amount to empty words. As I often say, it’s just putting lipstick on a crocodile.

Major political, institutional, and socio-economic reforms are required in Zimbabwe. To achieve the confidence required to boost the productive sector, the country requires a transitional mechanism to implement agreed reforms and track economic revival.

Political dialogue should open the way for these long overdue and much needed changes.

Moreover, the opposition should be incorporated into the government. This is our only choice of a more positive future. Only the opposition has the credibility to create such change.

Partners interested in the plight of Zimbabwe’s people, and not just short-term profiteering, should urge Zimbabwe’s government to the negotiating table. A failure to do so will be measured in a loss of hope and a grave humanitarian crisis which can only be met by increased state repression.

The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is ready to play its part in Zimbabwe’s recovery. The call is now in the court of ZANU-PF and its supporters, foreign and local.

The post ZANU-PF cannot fix Zimbabwe’s crisis. It needs the opposition. appeared first on African Arguments.

14 minutes 34 seconds ago

The preliminary qualification review on the bidding of Curator of the Opening Ceremony of Brewery Arts Festival and Architectural Exhibition (Luohu•2021) has been completed. The result is hereby publicized as follows:

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1 hour 14 minutes ago

A large palm‐lined entry courtyard creates a dramatic sense of arrival with a grand staircase floating over a cascading water feature.

This getaway home designed by SAOTA in Uluwatu, on the south‐western tip of the Bukit Peninsula of Bali, Indonesia, is dramatically perched high on a limestone cliff edge. Ulu means “land’s end” and watu means “rock”, which aptly describes the rugged beauty of wild, arid peninsula. Uluwatu is also known for having some of the world’s best surfing beaches, and its steep, rocky cliffs provide sought‐after elevated ocean views.

SAOTA designed the house on a large east‐west‐oriented site facing the ocean on the eastern side. The scale of the site allowed for the design to accommodate a resort‐inspired layout with separate suites and living spaces in a fragmented arrangement that weaves together indoor and outdoor spaces. A series of courtyards, gardens and other planted terraces are deftly woven into the architecture, combining structured and naturalistic planting and creating a sense that landscape and architecture are meaningfully integrated. In fact, the design was partly inspired by the way in which rocky ruins are, in time, reclaimed by the landscape, and come to seem almost as if they are part of it.

A large palm‐lined entry courtyard creates a dramatic sense of arrival with a grand staircase floating over a cascading water feature. Monolithic stone‐clad walls add a singular design statement to the experience of entering the house. The centralised entrance creates a focal point on arrival, where a lounge, dining room and covered terrace form the core of the cellular arrangement of buildings and pavilions, which radiate outwards, organically interspersed with planted courtyards and terraces. A large courtyard to the west provides an enclosed counterpoint to the vast views to the east.

This resort‐inspired home in Bali’s iconic surf destination, Uluwatu, puts a contemporary spin on local materiality and vernacular architecture.

Not only does the fragmented nature of the building and outdoor spaces do away with internal passages entirely, but it also facilitates the home’s “chameleon quality”, a responsive arrangement that expands or “shrinks” to accommodate both small and large groups of people. Even if the owner was to visit without guests, he could occupy the main suite and living areas without being aware of the additional guest rooms, so the grandeur of the arrangement never loses a sense of intimacy. Similarly, throughout the plan, large spaces such as the entrance, pool terrace and western courtyard are balanced with intimately proportioned living spaces.

The way in which architecture and external courtyards are interwoven means navigation through the buildings involves constantly crossing between architecture and landscape, facilitating a powerful sense of place. The seamlessly integrated indoor‐outdoor lifestyle is also a response to Bali’s climate. A range of covered outdoor spaces and courtyards, pavilions and terraces offer a variety of outdoor experiences with varying degrees of cover. The porous nature of the design encourages naturally cooling cross ventilation to flow in from the ocean. When the heat becomes oppressive, it’s possible to retreat into the fully enclosed, air‐conditioned lounge and dining areas.

Aesthetically and stylistically, SAOTA took inspiration from the local architecture’s unique hybrid of mass and lightweight elements, evident in traditional temples as much as in contemporary buildings. The arrival areas of the house are characterised by large‐scale, monumental mass walls featuring dark local stone cladding deeply scored by hand, in keeping with the scale and character of the house. Organic weathering imparts a sense of natural patina and materiality.

In the main living areas, the distinctive vernacular timber pavilions typical of Balinese architecture have been reinterpreted using glass curtain walling, and the local lightweight timber roofs have been re‐envisioned as a floating concrete roof form, beautifully crafted with board‐marked concrete. This subtly playful refence to the timberwork prevalent in the local architecture has once again been elevated in keeping with the scale of the project. The eye‐catching slope of the roof is a climatically appropriate response to the east west‐orientation of the house, inviting in the morning light and opening up ocean views to the east, while providing shelter from the harsh afternoon light from the west.

SAOTA took aesthetic inspiration from the local architecture’s unique hybrid of mass and lightweight elements.

Throughout the house, the texture of the concrete and natural finishes such as local stone have been overlaid with distinctive timberwork. Vertical screens, joinery and decorative metalwork, such as the faceted bronzed aluminium behind the bar and in the cigar lounge, enrich the raw materiality with thoughtful details. Honed and unfilled travertine floors provide a luxurious finish underfoot while the continuity of the finishes imparts a sense of calmness and cohesion. High‐quality imported European furnishings and finishes introduce a sense of understated luxury with a contemporary take on pared‐back mid‐century design.


Project Name Uluwatu
Project Location Bali, Indonesia
Architects SAOTA
Project Team Philip Olmesdahl, Mark Bullivant, Dominik George, Tasneem Mohamed & Carl Schmidt
Architect of Record H+H Architecture
Project Manager Penjor Bali Mandiri
Structural Engineer Saka Undagi Design
Lighting Consultant Nipek
MEP Engineer Wija Kusuma Nadi (Design & Construct)
AV Consultant Twotimesmono
Quantity Surveyor Penjor Bali Mandiri
Contractor CV Adi Jaya Utama
Interior Designer Molteni & C
Landscaping Bali Landscape Company
Photographer Adam Letch


The post SAOTA’S FIRST COMPLETED PROJECT IN BALI appeared first on Leading Architecture & Design.

1 hour 14 minutes ago
Noise pollution and city planning – why local government and industry have a collective responsibility when building cities of tomorrow: a view from Marloes Meer, Head of Sector and Market Intelligence at Saint-Gobain

Marloes Meer, Head of Sector and Market Intelligence at Saint-Gobain

Densification, urbanisation, construction, redevelopment. In an environment with a strong demand for urban housing, we’re hearing those words more and more often, and frequently in context of official city planning, where various metropolitans have committed to rapidly increasing the availability of housing to meet demand.

The UN predicts that by 2050, two-thirds of people will live in cities. South Africa is following the global trend of rapid urbanisation: 63% of South Africans are already living in urban areas and the statistics will rise to 71% by 2030. By 2050, eight in 10 people will be living in urban areas.

It’s not a phenomenon unique to Johannesburg, Cape Town or any other large city and highlights an issue facing cities across the globe: how do you deal with the noise of densification?

As cities grow, it becomes harder for residents to cope with the noise (which can lead to or exacerbate health issues). Added to that, there is increasing importance on new energy-efficient building methods and a drive for offices and homes to be highly insulated and more airtight to conserve heat in winter, which may make them too warm in summer. The concurrent growth of urbanisation and densification and a focus on environmental sustainability, which is fast gaining traction, places greater emphasis on new energy-efficient building methods and the need for designers and developers to refocus their efforts to build effectively and efficiently.

At Saint-Gobain we know that the built environment has a huge impact on people’s health and wellbeing and on the environment.  Poor acoustics can have a direct influence on health and behaviour. Epidemiological studies have shown, for instance, that the risk of heart attack for those living close to very frequently used streets is around 20% higher than for residents of quieter streets, and that the risk of obesity increases with the proximity of an airport¹.

When we are acoustically comfortable, we are more productive, happier and experience fewer health issues. Research has shown that well-designed sound environments in offices or schools help to improve concentration and enable better communication. Learning is more effective and less tiring when students can comfortably hear and understand their teacher.  A French study indicated that noise can hurt academic scores: for every 10-decibel point increase in noise, the language and maths skills of students decreased by 5.5 points. In hospitals, reducing the stress and sleeplessness created by high noise levels helps patients recover faster and facilitates the work performance of the staff. In our homes, protection from noise contributes to a sense of security and privacy.

Johannesburg’s skyline is changing as a result of demand for housing, a greater focus on densification to meet that demand, the conversion of old commercial spaces into residential areas and the development of high-rise apartment buildings.  Try as we might, we cannot get away from every-day inner-city noises, and residents often have no choice but to contend with disturbances from traffic, sirens and construction, noisy neighbours, and background noise from appliances, ventilation systems or electronic equipment.  As homes and offices cluster tighter together, what can developers do to reduce noise and contribute to improved wellbeing?

Urban expansion creates challenges for policy makers in terms of managing noise pollution. In an ideal world, cities would take measures to prevent noise pollution before it becomes excessive instead of waiting until their citizens’ health is already at risk. One solution is to legislate and issue fines to businesses and individuals who violate noise ordinances. While this may discourage some from making excessive noise, others—especially large industries —might simply consider the fines to be a part of the cost of doing business and do nothing to change their practices. It also doesn’t address the point of minimising noise pollution during construction where the traditional approach has been to build thicker walls – a method that brings both cost and environmental issues.

We believe that jointly, our industry, comprising manufacturers, architects, contractors, developers and building/home owners have a common responsibility to develop and utilise alternative construction or renovation solutions which minimize the impact noise on the interior environment.

If the cities of tomorrow are to succeed, industry and policy makers need to collaborate and deploy efforts to design and implement better measures to mitigate noise pollution in more and more densely populated cities.


The post WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CITIES OF TOMORROW? appeared first on Leading Architecture & Design.

1 hour 14 minutes ago
© Roy R. Pachecano, AIA © Roy R. Pachecano, AIA

Giovanni Battista Piranesi didn’t use Photoshop®, nor Illustrator®—Learn to “see” space in this exciting debut course with Roy Pachecano that offers an exciting opportunity in New York City, the art and design capital of the world, to learn how to translate ‘natural views’ into drawing. Whether you are an architect, illustrator, or simply someone who loves to draw and be outside this intensive workshop is for you.

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1 hour 14 minutes ago
Sika’s specialised products were specified for the rehabilitation of the Komati River Bridge on the N4 Toll Route.

The Komati River Bridge refurbishment project works had to be completed under live traffic conditions after a number of defects were identified during a scheduled inspection.

SMEC South Africa was appointed by Trans African Concessions (TRAC) to undertake the detailed inspection, rehabilitation design and construction supervision of the Komati River Bridge refurbishment project. The bridge is situated on the N4 Toll Route, Section 8 and is an important river crossing for freight traveling between South Africa and Mozambique. 

During a scheduled inspection, a number of defects were identified. Defects included locked bearings, shear cracks and flexural cracks in the deck beams. The shear and flexural cracks were believed to have been related to thermal loading caused by the locked bearings.

March 2017 saw the start of the project where Sika’s specialised products were specified by DSC Zendon whom the client, TRAC appointed to complete the rehabilitation. Jaun-Roe van Wyk, Sales Consultant for Sika South Africa, recommended Sika’s most renowned products.

Sikadur-52 ZA was used for crack injection. This was completed by drilling 6mm holes into the cracks to a depth of 20mm. The injection was by means of copper piping used to inject the epoxy into the crack which was bonded to the concrete with Sikadur-31 DW epoxy mortar. The crack was thereafter closed with Sikadur-31 DW and allowed to cure for 24 hours.

Sikadur-30 was used in conjunction with the composite carbon fibre plates which were cut to the correct sizes as specified. All areas that had to be strengthened were inspected for damages and repaired during the concrete preparation stage. Any unevenness or protrusions were grinded flush in the concrete preparation stage.

The product Sikadur-330 was used together with the SikaWrap carbon fibre fabric. All the areas that were strengthened were prepared by means of grinding before applying the SikaWrap.

Sikadur-330 was applied as a bedding layer onto the clean concrete surface.  The SikaWrap was then applied onto the wet epoxy adhesive and the surface of the cloth was rolled with a ribbed roller. This was to ensure that all trapped air or bubbles were removed from the layered material and that the resin was pushed through the cloth. A second coat of Sikadur-330 was applied to cover the fabric evenly to ensure complete wet out of the SikaWrap.

One of the key challenges during this project was that works had to be completed under live traffic conditions. Therefore, the N4 had to remain open during the rehabilitation process. Over and above the traffic conditions, crocodiles in the river below posed an additional safety risk, especially during the rainy season when flooding was an issue.

Regardless of the challenges faced, the rehabilitation works were successfully completed in six months.


The post RELIABLE REFURBISHMENT SYSTEMS FOR KOMATI RIVER BRIDGE appeared first on Leading Architecture & Design.

Sustainability Week 2019

Sustainability Week