Defpoints


“What recession?” Green Architects Say
November 14, 2008, 7:11 pm
Filed under: Architecture, Design, Economy, Green

Matt Chaban writes about the one bright spot in the design economy in the Architect’s Newspaper.



McDonald’s, WalMart, Subway, Oh My!
November 9, 2008, 10:25 pm
Filed under: Design, Economy, Green, North America

retailers go green, big time.



Big box stores go green
August 11, 2008, 9:48 pm
Filed under: Design, Green

From the New York Times. I’ve seen dozens of student projects propose photovoltaics for big box roofs over the years. Why did it take so long for these stores?

Graphic from the New York Times

Graphic from the New York Times



“air-purifying” concrete
August 8, 2008, 5:55 pm
Filed under: Green

The University of Twente in the Netherlands has developed¬† a new concrete type — with a¬† titanium dioxide-based additive — that binds the nitrogen oxide particles emitted by car exhausts and turns them into harmless nitrates when under sunlight.

“With one rain shower everything is washed clean,” the institution said in a statement.

Concrete pavers based on this technology are now being put to the test in Hengelo in the eastern Dutch province of Overijssel.

One half of a road under reconstruction is being paved with the new, green bricks, and the other half with the ordinary variety.

A recent picture shows the special paving stone in a lab of the Twente University. A road in the small Dutch town of Hengelo is to be paved with air-purifying concrete in a trial that could lead to a breakthrough in the fight against rising pollution, scientists said.

A recent picture shows the special paving stone in a lab of the Twente University. A road in the small Dutch town of Hengelo is to be paved with air-purifying concrete in a trial that could lead to a breakthrough in the fight against rising pollution, scientists said.



Democratic Ecology
August 7, 2008, 7:43 pm
Filed under: Design, Energy, Green

Democratic Ecology wind turbine, Philippe Starck

By now, this personal wind turbine by Philippe Starck has shown up everywhere: the New York Times, Apartment Therapy, Inhabitat…. But it is still a cool and ballsy proposition—to have a personal windmill that could provide 30-60% of the energy for your home.



Blubberland
August 6, 2008, 8:52 pm
Filed under: Green, Landscape, Urban Design

A new book from MIT Press, Blubberland by Elizabeth Farelly, considers our excesses—space, McMansions, too large cars, supersized plates, plugged-in everything—and asks why it is so hard to abandon habits, relatively recently formed, that we know are destructive to our health, our environment, our social well-being.

In a short text in Architectural Record, she defines blubber’s spatial features—those vast empty calorie shopping malls and cul-de-sac neighborhoods dotted with McMansions and perfectly manicured lawns.

From Blubberland:

I, like you, drive too much. I buy too much–of which I keep too much and also throw too much away. I overindulge my children, and myself. Directly as well as indirectly I use too much water, energy, air and space. My existence, in short, costs the planet more than it can afford. This is not some handed-down moral stricture, nor any sort of guilty self-flagellation, but a simple recognition of fact. The consequences are obvious, and near enough now to see the warts on their noses. For my own future, as well as my children’s, I must change. And yet–this is what’s weird–I, like you, can’t. Cannot abandon comfort, convenience and pleasure for the sake of abstract knowledge. Can’t stop doing it. This is interesting.

It’s interesting because we think we are so rational, so intelligent, and yet we behave, both individually and as a herd, in such unintelligent ways. That’s what drove this book into being.



New Precast Concrete Sucks CO2 Out of the Air
July 31, 2008, 6:59 pm
Filed under: Green

From Clean Break, a Nova Scotia-based company has developed a precast concrete that sucks carbon dioxide from the air!