Diggin’ the dome on the back.
According to researchers at Warwick Business School in Coventry, UK, beautiful architecture has a positive impact on human health.
PhD student Chanuki Seresinhe, associate professor of Behavioural Science and Finance Tobias Preis, and associate professor of Behavioural Science Suzy Moat published their findings in a paper titled Quantifying the Impact of Scenic Environments on Health.
Their methodology involved showing study subjects photos from the web site “Scenic or Not,” a crowdsourced resource of more than 217,000 geotagged photos from across Great Britain. Participants were asked to rate each photo on a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 indicating “very scenic,” and 1 indicating “not scenic.”
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Passive solar design principles have been recognized for decades and are on display in Frank Lloyd Wright’s Solar Hemicycle designs, to cite one high-profile example.
Once lauded for providing “free heat,” passive solar design principles are now recognized as being less effective at maintaining indoor comfort than superinsulated buildings.
As a new generation of do-it-yourself builders got busy experimenting in the 1970s, passive solar design ideas proliferated. Builders claimed that attached sunspaces, solar collectors, trombe walls, earth ships, and many more ideas could keep a house comfortable with minimal or zero use of fossil fuels.
Superinsulated designs, likewise, saw intense development in the 1970s, and have come to the forefront of green building thanks to the Passive House standard. This demanding approach focuses on improving air-tightness and insulation, decreasing thermal bridging, and setting rigorous levels for energy use.
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In Manhattan, Asia, and the Middle East, a new super-tall, super-skinny skyscraper form is gaining popularity. Though it’s unlikely they’ll ever be the dominant form, it seems that they fill a niche in crowded cities.
The structures’ smaller footprint enables them to squeeze on to smaller lots and make use of the vertical dimension. A project in Manhattan designed by Eran Chen of ODA New York – 303-305 44th Street – will contain 41 floors in its 600-foot height, though the building will be only 47 feet wide.
The design employs 16-foot gaps between floors to make room for gardens, enhance views, and reduce wind loads. The total gross floor area is 116,731 square feet, and floor plate area is 2,700 square feet.
This form of structure has its own appellation: the slender skyscraper.
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Green building is facing a number of changes, according to “The Godfather of Green,” Jerry Yudelson. A LEED fellow and former president of the Green Globes rating system, Yudelson has recently written a book, Reinventing Green Building, in which he identifies 10 “megatrends” he believes will impact certification systems, markets, government rules, and green building technologies through 2020 and beyond.
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Taliesin West is located in Scottsdale, Arizona. Like the original Taliesin in Spring Green, Wisconsin, Taliesin West is both a home and a laboratory for Frank Lloyd Wright’s building concepts. It’s also a home for the School of Architecture, which FLW organized with a hands-on, apprenticeship type of approach.
The surrounding landscape is, to be blunt, brutal. The number of plants that can cause serious pain is stunning. The cholla cactus thrives and seems to stalk the unwary hiker. Thorns easily penetrate thick-soled running shoes.
The built environment, however, makes up for the nastiness of the natural environment. The property, with its multiple structures, is a testament to FLW’s genius for creating compelling spaces, and advancing the art of building. The use of indigenous materials, in this instance, was successful in tying the structures to the site, as well as being economical.