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Mumbai's Cybertecture Egg

Mumbai's Cybertecture Egg

India has been on world architecture news for a while now. Antilla has hardly left the headlines,  Cybertecture Egg has already taken a place on top.

Talk of intelligent design- this building will surpass all that fall in this category. You will see it built by 2010.

The concept. The concept was inspired by considering the world as an ecosystem allowing life to evolve. Elements of the design and intelligence systems will work together to give the building’s inhabitants the ‘best space to work in’.

The design. The 32,000 sq m egg-shaped building will accommodate 13 floors of offices bringing together “iconic architecture, environmental design, intelligent systems, and new engineering to create an awe-inspiring landmark in the city.”

Within the building, there will be a series of innovative systems such as ‘cybertecture health’ which is designed to keep track of the inhabitant’s health including blood pressure and weight. The data collected may be retrieved and sent to a doctor if deemed necessary.

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general_motors_building.jpg$3 billion-one, $3 billion-two, and $3 billion- its is. A building to sell for $3 billion does sound insane but this insanity is nearing to become a reality. Larry Silverstein, developer of ground zero, has bid $3 billion for General Motors Building on Fifth Avenue, in the Manhattan District in New York.

Indeed, with its commanding view of Central Park and its Fifth Avenue address, the building is a trophy property and a symbol of New York corporate power since General Motors moved its boardroom and some 3,300 employees there 40 years ago. Since then, though, G.M.’s presence has shrunk to three floors from 26, and its contractual naming rights for the property expire in 2010.

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This week in news we find two of Frank Gehry’s projects declared obsolete- Winton Guest House in Minnesota, and Santa Monica Place mall in Santa Monica.

In early 2007, the University of California, Irvine, razed one of his buildings—a computer science center—to make way for a new engineering complex, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported at the time.Winton House

Mike and Penny Winton, the original clients of Winton Guest House, sold the guest house as well as their main residence, a 1954-vintage house by famous architect Philip Johnson, to Kirt Woodhouse, a real estate developer, in 2002. Woodhouse divided the 12-acre property into three separate lots, and was able to sell Johnson-designed residence but not one by Gehry’s . It stayed on the market for too long with no buyers.

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New York HotelsIs it fair for one architect to design 36 hotels in a prestigious urban district like Manhattan, especially when New York is home to some of the finest architects and designers of the world?

Architect Gene Kaufman is designing 36 hotels in Manhattan, including three that will share a single building on West 39th Street near Times Square, right, and three more on West 40th Street.

The developer of most of Mr. Kaufman’s projects is the McSam Hotel Group, which is based in Great Neck, N.Y. Its chief operating officer, Gary Wisinski, said Mr. Kaufman “has a wonderful and deep knowledge of Manhattan, and is well respected at the Buildings Department.”

Fred A. Bernstein of New York Times reports the architecture design trends diverting from aesthetics to economics in Manhattan.

What he brings to the table, he said, is the ability to maximize the number of hotel rooms on a given site. Recently, he said, a client showed him another architect’s plans for a hotel in Lower Manhattan; Mr. Kaufman was able to alter the plans to squeeze in 25 percent more rooms. In the current market, a mid-range Manhattan hotel room — typically 250 square feet — is worth $400,000 to $500,000 to the developer.

To hoteliers, Mr. Kaufman provides entree into the sui generis Manhattan market. But to architecture and to the city of New York, is he providing compromised aesthetics suppressed by self-centered motives of a few businessmen?

Read on: In Hotel Design, He’s Mr. Prolific

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Gensler Building 2008 GreenUnited Kingdom- Gensler’s design for Herman Miller’s international headquarters, also called Village Green, has been short listed for Corenet’s 2008 Sustainability award and is the first building in the UK to receive both BREEAM (excellent rating) and LEED (gold) accreditation. The 20,000-square foot facility is located in Chippenham, England.

Several notable details that make Village Green green and intelligent:

  • Natural ventilation. A computerized system adjusts airflow, eliminating the need for air conditioning.
  • All timber is from FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) sustainable sources.
  • Recycled aggregate building materials are sourced from within 30 kilometers.
  • All carpeting is recyclable.
  • Energy-efficient lighting is activated by movement sensors.
  • Seventy-five percent of the building is exposed to natural daylight and 95 percent of the office space includes a view of the outside.
  • Cycle racks and showers are provided to encourage alternative transportationInteriors

‘Village Green provides an efficient and dynamic work environment for employees and it also has become a popular customer destination,’ says John Portlock, president of Herman Miller International. ‘It also serves as a living case study about the possibilities that exist with sustainable design.’

Read more: Gensler short listed for Corenet’s 2008 Sustainability award

 

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The architecture profession is experiencing a change in the way it perceives the built environment. The ‘Go-Green’ movement is catching up, as the architects and designers understand their responsibilities towards future, and have become aware of their role in easing the world’s energy related problems.

Architecture in design has many active and passive solutions and ideas of making built environment and its maintenance less energy-wasteful, but when these architectural ideas reach the user they are sometimes discouraged due to the high initial investment and installation costs.The user is compelled to opt for ‘brown’ power rather than ‘green’ power and shelf his energy-smart building venture. Its at this point that the idea of a ‘green’ or ‘self-sustaining’ built environment seems very distant.

However, Jigar Shah, 31 year old Managing partner of Sun Edison, has come up with a triumphant solution to mitigate this long standing problem. Sun Edison functions as a one-stop shop and will not only develop the project but also manage and install the equipment on user’s rooftop at no upfront costs or investments. In return the user has to buy solar power from Sun Edison for less or same as what they are paying for their utility power. With the promise of bringing solar power to user’s doorstep at no extra costs, this certainly appears to be not only a highly energy sensitive idea but also economically beneficial.

‘It has been deciphered that in half an hour earth receives enough solar energy to take care of its entire energy requirements for one year. For every 100kw installed, the avoided carbon dioxide emissions are equivalent to planting 11000 trees.’

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