Engineering group ARUP and art and design studio Rebar have announced a design for a rainwater-harvesting, solar-powered, portable pop-up spa that receives every watt of energy it requires from the sun. The energy comes from heat exchangers and efficient equipment to heat and power the “healthy hedonist” experience called SOAK. The shipping container-spa conserves resources with thoughtful engineering and provides the core experience of the conventional bathhouse in a microcosm. The project, a prime example of tactical urbanism, joins personal wellness with social vitality while combining the most intelligent form of energy and alternative resources.
World-renowned designer Philippe Starck has earned yet another feather for his cap in a recent collaboration with Riko, a European manufacturer of sustainable wooden buildings. Stemming from a drive to develop industrially manufactured homes that fulfill housing needs across the globe, the pair created P.A.T.H. (Prefabricated Accessible Technological Homes), a line of 34 turnkey homes merging timeless design, advanced technology, functionality, and sustainability. P.A.T.H. can be customized from layout and interior finishes to distinctive facades and roofing.
Miami’s development scene has been heating up in the past year with starchitects lining up for a chance to build in the Magic City. Zaha Hadid has been equally as hot with several irons in the fire since the last series of renderings for her first U.S. skyscraper, the residential One Thousand Museum tower on the city’s waterfront, were unveiled in April. Along with designing a stadium for the 2022 World Cup and the New National Stadium in Japan, she managed to find time to make plans for the already dramatic tower even more extraordinary. New details have recently surfaced on the project’s website about the fanciful sculptural structure, detailing the building’s sky lounge, aquatic center, and curvy-furniture-stocked lobby, not to mention Miami’s first private helipad placed on a residential complex.
The landmark Aluminaire House is homeless yet again. The situation is not so out of the ordinary, however, as preservationists and communities have recently been confronted with the futures of these pioneering modernist structures. In this particular battle, a team of architects is hoping to relocate the historic house, which has already been disassembled and rebuilt three times, to a vacant lot in Sunnyside Gardens, a landmarked district in Queens. The proposal to reassemble the house as part of a low-rise residential development at 39th Avenue and 50th Street is facing uncertainty from residents who would prefer the site be turned into a community park.
Last week, the Supreme Court ruled in a five-to-four decision that a Florida water management district violated private property rights by asking a local developer to help finance the environmental mitigation of building on wetlands in exchange for a construction permit. Justice Elena Kagan said the decision might cause a revolution in land-use regulation. “Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District” will retain an enduring impact on the capacity for local governments to influence new development.
London-based Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (AHMM) has applied for planning permission to build a 67-acre headquarters for Google in London’s King’s Cross, a swiftly evolving district. The firm’s designs incorporate a steel-framed structure with cross-laminated timber panels complemented by bold primary colored exposed steel elements. The plan integrates a rooftop garden along with shops, cafes, and restaurants on the ground level. Construction is set to begin early next year. Read More
New York Public Library (NYPL) president Anthony Marx has commissioned a third-party review of the projected $300 million cost to implement Norman Foster’s redesign of its central branch. To pay for this costly renovation, dubbed The Central Library Plan, the library will use $150 million allocated by the city for this specific project and raise an additional $200 million from the sale of the Mid-Manhattan and the Science, Industry, and Business Libraries. NYPL says consolidation will save it $7.5 million a year. Critics of the plan advocate preserving the central branch’s stacks and renovating the Mid-Manhattan Library instead.
Prominent planner and architect Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk has stepped down as dean of University of Miami’s (UM) architecture school after an 18-year-long tenure. Plater-Zyberk will continue to teach at UM, whose faculty she joined in 1979. During Plater-Zyberk’s term, UM’s architecture school became closely associated with traditional and Classical design and New Urbanism. The celebrated dean and her husband, planner and architect Andres Duany, are co-founders of Arquitectonica and planners of the pedestrian-friendly Seaside, a Florida panhandle town and setting of the movie Truman Show. Associate Dean Denis Hector will serve as acting dean.
The US National Academy of Sciences has published the results of a survey performed in April 2012 of the forests of Cambodia, which uncovered a monumental, intricate landscape of low-density urban sprawl connected to ancient ruins of Angkor Wat that dates back to more than 700 years, invalidating archaeologists’ current understandings of pre-industrial urbanism.
The world’s first festival of traveling vintage French carnival rides and carousels, Fête Paradiso, will make its United States debut on Bastille Day weekend, July 13–14, on Governors Island in New York City. The rare, museum-quality collection of late-19th and early-20th century attractions includes carousels, flying swings, and a pipe organ. Visitors will have the extraordinary chance to interact with the collected works, which will be available for public enjoyment each weekend from July 6 to September 29, 2013.