Monday, September 24, 2007

Tues / Wed Lectures at Harvard and UPenn

Harvard Graduate School of Design
Tuesday, September 25th
Gund Hall 6-7PM
Reception in Portico Rooms 7-9PM
GSD Upcoming Lectures

University of Pennsylvania
School of Design
Wednesday, September 26th
Lower Gallery Meyerson 6PM
UPenn Event Details

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Artificial Winter Microclimate for a Bamboo Garden
groooming // StoSS Landscape Urbanism

With perhaps the exception of skating rings and sledding hills, urban parks are rarely thought of as a destination during Milwaukee winters. The design constructs an artificial microclimate as a maintenance strategy to sustain vegetation in winter and make the park active year-round.

Erie Street Plaza sits at the confluence of Milwaukee’s three rivers and the channel to Lake Michigan. “Far beyond the reaches of downtown” this abandoned post-industrial site is what StoSS describes as “a long and cold walk from anywhere”. The design advocates the utilization of available on-site water resources to create an unconventional seasonal program.

The park features the Radiant Grove, a series of bamboo planting beds that are integrated with a network of steam pits structured beneath the ground surface. Each steam pit includes a low-energy pump that draws groundwater up from the river below. Immersion heaters in the pits heat up the water to 150 F (65.6 C) and emit hot steam, which creates a warm microclimate within the cold surroundings. This microclimate is intended to sustain the growth of the bamboo during the winter months.

StoSS’s illuminated bamboo grove aims to “create a welcome respite from cold winter winds, to warm the hands and bodies of those out for a winter run”. The thermal and visual effects at very cold temperatures are envisioned to be impressive, while at warmer temperatures, up to 50 F (10 C), the steam effect is “visible but more ethereal”. Visitors are envisioned to stroll through the “otherworldliness of this artificial ecology”. As winter fades and spring temperatures rise above 50 F (10 C) the system shuts off until next winter.

Images copyright StoSS Landscape Urbanism
(First in a series of excerpts from Living Systems: Innovative Technologies and Materials in Landscape Architecture)

Living Systems ToC

Excerpt from ToC (Download entire ToC)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

digestive // TX Active Photocatalytic Cement Available in North America

As featured in our Materials section, this new digestive material is becoming increasingly available:

TX Active, the new photocatalytic cement technology for self-cleaning and pollution-reducing concrete, now available in North America.

"Through photocatalysis, TX Arca reduces the maintenance requirements for concrete structures or buildings by destoying most organic and inorganic pollutants that come into contact with the concrete surface and cause discoloration. In addition to this self-cleaning benefit, TX Aria effectively destroys airborne pollutants, which are responsible for urban organic pollution."
Press Release for North America

"In a large city such as Milan, researchers have calculated – on the basis of test results – that covering 15% of visible urban surfaces with products containing TX Active® would enable a reduction in pollution of approximately 50%. "
Milan 2006 Press Release

Monday, September 10, 2007

Living Systems Launch Invitiation

Originally uploaded by woodshole
Here is our invitation to our three upcoming Fall lectures:

Harvard Graduate School of Design, September 25th
University of Pennsylvania, September 26th
Ohio State University, November 28th