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Monday News Roundup

Nov 22, 2010

Innovative Brevi Bus Unveiled in Rural Putnam County (Passenger Transport)
Putnam County has many rural areas and many unpaved roads which still need access to public transportation. These new Brevi Buses will fill this unique local and national need.

High-Speed Rail: Track Record of Success (Passenger Transport)
A new study from the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG)—using lessons learned from other countries—found that high-speed rail can boost a nation’s economy, curb pollution, provide an appealing alternative to congested roads and airports, and conserve energy.

Grassroots Planning Transforming Waterfront (Planetizen)
A group of citizens calling themselves Destination Bayfront have led the charge to turn their underused waterfront into a destination hotspot.

Solar-Powered French Gym Offers an Energizing Workout (inhabitat)
Architect Jean Marc Rivet’s funky design for a small gym located in Saint Gilles, France features an imaginative profile that slopes toward the sky. The gym’s inclined, rounded boxes are certainly good fun, but they also provide raised surfaces that capture sunlight.

Building a better intersection for pedestrians (Spacing Toronto)
Would rounded Crosswalk edges to help keep pedestrians safe?

Living, Water-Recycling Building Wrapped in a Network of Tubes (inhabitat)
This artists’ atelier and office building in São Paulo, Brazil features a facade covered in plants sustained by a network of tubes that provide mist at regular intervals.

Tiny Transformer Apartment Has Moving Walls, Dropping Beds and More (Treehugger)
TreeHugger founder Graham Hill is trying to radically reduce his footprint and live happily with less space, less stuff and less waste on less money, but with more design. He calls it “LifeEdited.”

Will industrial land be rezoned for a new MEC store? (The Vancouver Sun)
Industrial land, especially land for light industries such as the little citizen-serving businesses that most of us depend on but few of us notice, is never very sexy. A big new store, especially one whose reputation is built on the greenest of business practices and the most ethical of sourcing, is.

New incentives would spur growth in Pioneer Square (Crosscut)
New higher zoning limits are coming to Pioneer Square and the south downtown Seattle neighborhoods. But will these changes achieve the desired effect of bringing more residents to these neighborhoods without harming the existing urbanscape?

Planet Re-use: a dating service for used materials (Treehugger)
There are some things that the Internet is very good at, including helping put people and people or things and things together. Nathan Benjamin runs a dating service for materials, putting people together with the used materials they need.

The Best Sustainable Designs From Greenbuild Day 3 (inhabitat)
Last week Inhabitat joined the architects, designers, and green building enthusiasts that filled the halls on the final day of Greenbuild 2010.

by Catherine Calvert, Director of Community Sustainability

There are fascinating movements afoot in the way in which our communities are responding to imminent changes in the supply of oil, the availability of food, the consumption of goods, and our habits of mobility.

One of the most interesting of these is the emergence of Transition Towns, as documented in “The Transition Handbook:  From oil dependency to local resilience” by Rob Hopkins (2009).  Hopkins is a founder of the transition movement, which began in the United Kingdom around 2005 following release of the film “The End of Suburbia.” Some of the earliest towns to adopt the principles of community organization, local resilience, and kicking the oil habit are Totnes, Lewes, Penwith and Bristol, which are now seen as models that can be emulated in other communities worldwide.

Transition approaches aim to move beyond conventional environmentalism, embodying the principles of permaculture to develop community-based solutions for long-term resilience.  The basic premise is that we have reached the end of the era of cheap oil, and that all our habits of consumption and mobility need to move away from oil-based practices, otherwise there will be dire consequences — shortages of food, fuel, water, supplies — essentially everything we need in order to survive.  Solutions to this dilemma can only be found through the process of relocalization, whereby we return to a more collective approach to our resources on the scale of the town or the neighborhood, and learn to meet our needs without large inputs of external energy or materials.

Transition advocates use the term “energy descent” or “powering down” to describe how we can collectively move away from this peak of oil consumption toward a more local-based and sustainable future, designing our withdrawal from oil addiction rather than having this occur as a series of crises or disasters.  Shocks to our systems may be unavoidable, but the better equipped we are to deal with them, the better our chances of survival and a positive future.

Transition Initiatives are based on four key assumptions:

  1. That life with dramatically lower energy consumption is inevitable, and that it’s better to plan for it than be taken by surprise.
  2. That our settlements and communities presently lack the resilience to enable them to weather the severe energy shocks that will accompany peak oil.
  3. That we have to act collectively, and we have to act now.
  4. That by unleashing the collective genius of those around us to creatively and proactively design our energy descent, we can build ways of living that are more connected, more enriching and that recognize the biological limits of our planet.

Emanating from the original transition towns in England, these initiatives are being undertaken by communities all over the globe, and the movement is spreading quickly.  Here is a global map of transition initiatives: http://www.transitionnetwork.org/initiatives/map

The movement is also gaining ground in the Pacific Northwest.  Some of the local examples having “Official” Transition Movement status are:

Transition Portland:
http://www.thedirt.org/tpdx
Transition Vancouver:
http://www.villagevancouver.ca/
The Golden Ears Transition Initiative:
http://goldenearstransitioninitiative.ning.com/
Sustainable Northeast Seattle:
http://sustainableneseattle.ning.com/

There are also other local groups listed as “Mulling”, such as Transition Bainbridge, the Snoqualmie Valley, Everett, and Pender Island.

The means of accomplishing transition vary by community, but some examples would be:

  • Conducting audits of Oil Vulnerability for local businesses, so that they can better understand the economic impacts of rising oil prices, and explore alternate means of operation to mitigate these.
  • Training community members to understand how current systems of food supply, energy use, building construction, waste processes, natural resources, and local economics work.  Increased awareness leads to examination of alternatives and collective innovation around adopting more sustainable strategies.
  • Creating a directory of local food producers, so that consumers can make informed choices and support local businesses.  This process also helps in identifying gaps in the local food supply which can be taken up as business opportunities by local residents.
  • Adopting a local currency that can subsidize and reinforce the notion of keeping consumer spending within the local economy.
  • Developing a local storytelling and education program that engages both adults and children, and encourages creative contribution to envisioning an alternative future.
  • Forming community support groups to assist individuals as they undergo the process of habit change, and addressing potential fears of unknown outcomes.

The Transition Town movement is interesting on two levels:  first, as an individual, to think about our personal patterns of consumption and how we might change these; and second, as architects and planners, to think about how we can design communities to reinforce desirable habits and support a less oil-dependent lifestyle.

“Powering down” is far more challenging in suburbia than it is in areas of more concentrated development because services and basic needs are so widely dispersed; car dependence seems inevitable for all but the most committed cyclists or pedestrians. Still though, there are strategies that can be adopted, such as conversion of lawns to edible landscapes (see Fritz Haeg’s work on Edible Estates), or pooling of community resources so that not every house needs to have a garage full of items that are used only occasionally (see services such as NeighborGoods and other similar sites).

A particularly appealing aspect of preparing for “powering down” is the focus on community members gaining many practical skills that have been lost or undervalued in the past couple of generations. Our depression-era parents or grandparents knew a lot about growing their own food, being frugal, and how to repair and mend to make things last.  Post-WWII North America underwent a period of collective abandonment of these values because goods became so cheap and abundant that making things last no longer held meaning.

How many of us have disposed of something because it was cheaper to buy a new one than get it fixed?.  Renewed interest in all things handmade or home grown is gaining interesting momentum, with the re-emergence of Americana (see Kurt B. Reighly’s new book “The United States of Americana“), or in the concept of homemaking, long ago devalued as a part of the feminist movement (see Shannon Hayes’s book “Radical Homemakers“).

In summary, “The Transition Handbook” is a highly accessible hands-on guide for any community thinking of pursuing a transition initiative.  From outlining the principles of resilience to explaining the psychology of change to step-by-step facilitation of the process, the book is humorous and wise, and generous in examples of how these changes have been undertaken in the original Transition Towns.  The time seems very right to pay attention to these lessons and become active as our own communities make this challenging, but necessary, leap toward resilience.

Monday News Roundup

Nov 15, 2010

Cities in Flux: Rebuilding New Orleans with better transportation (The City Fix)
How can transportation and urban development—from housing to public spaces to landscaping—repair a blighted American city?

Next Steps for Evergreen Line (The Buzzer Blog)
Here’s an update on TransLink’s proposed supplemental plan for 2011, which focuses on funding for the Evergreen Line, the North Fraser Perimeter Road, and several other key projects in our region

Pop-Up Cafes heading to New York City (Planetizen)
These “pop-up” cafes will be part of a two-year pilot program and up to 12 of them could begin to be installed in 2011. Participating restaurants will have to hire an architect to design the spaces, but the DOT will help with safety measures in the roadway.

Vancouver’s Transit Options with Pricetag (Planetizen)
Mayors in metropolitan Vancouver are facing two options for expanding transit service in the region — and a hard decision about how to generate the funding to make it happen.

New L.A. Planning codes could create transit sprawl (Planetizen)
A new group of activists in Los Angeles is warning that recently approved changes to the city’s planning code could make it easier for transit-related projects to be approved even if they are not in alignment with neighborhood planning documents.

Five materials improving sustainability in construction (Planetizen)
Joe Peach explains the technology behind five materials that will dramatically increase sustainability in the building industry. Among the list are wool bricks which are stronger, greater insulators and don’t require firing to set.

Futuristic Solar Skyscraper wins the Taiwan tower competition (Inhabitat)
This ultra-futuristic solar skyscraper by Romanian firm Dorin Stefan Birou Arhitectura was recently crowned the winner of the Taiwan Tower Competition. The 390-meter tower is designed to serve as an observation deck, office tower, museum, and urban park. The out-of-this-world skyscraper seems almost too far-fetched to be real — it even includes helium blimp elevators, a facade covered in photovoltaic panels, vertical axis wind turbines and a whole slew of sustainable strategies.

Why sustainable Agriculture is important to Walmart (Treehugger)
Guest post written by Beth Keck, senior director of sustainability at Walmart that talks about their global commitment to sustainable agriculture.

The future of tower renewal (Spacing Toronto)
Toronto’s Tower Neighbourhood Renewal plan (aka Mayor’s Tower Renewal) is an ambitious initiative with great potential to increase the quality of life of residents across the city through the combination of best practices in building retrofitting and neighbourhood revitalization.

Sustaiable hotel erected in 6 days (Treehugger)
This mesmerizing time-lapse video clip shows the rapid construction of the Ark Hotel in Changsha, China. It’s not amazing that this clip has been making the Internet rounds – it is amazing that a 15-story hotel could be erected in just under a week. There’s an even more fantastical element in the tale of this hotel: it’s builders claim it is an example of ‘sustainable’ architecture.

Cost effective Eco House made by hand for only $5000 (Green Building Elements)
Cash, that most basic element of our economy, can be in abysmally short supply for new young families scraping by on marginal jobs. Sustainable housebuilding may not be foremost in their minds.But one young couple in Wales managing on an annual income of just $10,000 went ahead and built their own cheap home anyway, sustainably, mostly out of materials from “a rubbish pile somewhere.”

12 year old makes homeless shelter from trash (Green Building Elements)
12-year-old Max Wallack stole the show at Design Squad’s Trash to Treasure contest with his “Home Dome.” The contest asked kids to repurpose trash into practical inventions.

Friday Feature: Dale

Nov 12, 2010


Who are you and what do you do?

Dale Rickard, an Urban Design and Transit Architect.

What made you decide to go into your field?
I discovered that I could make a living playing around with felt pens.

What did your family think of your chosen field?
It was a huge relief to them.

Who is the teacher who had the most influence on you and why?
The one person who has influenced my life the most has been my grandfather who was an architect from Glasgow.

What was the biggest hurdle you faced along your educational path? (academic, financial, motivational, family or peer pressure, outside distraction, etc.)
My biggest problem in my 20’s was choosing a single field, there were so many options.

What inspires you?
Living in Cities.

What schooling is required for success in your career?
Years of drudgery.

What kind of people are the most successful in your field? Are there any specific attributes?
Architecture is a very diverse field and there is room for people with a wide range of attributes.

What is the best advice you were ever given?
This advice comes from my wife the lawyer: never admit liability.

Is your field growing? (ie. is there room for new entries and is there career growth?)
Yes but new people entering architecture need to understand that architecture is cyclical following the real estate industry and global economies. Sometimes there is strong demand and sometimes there is unemployment.

What advice would you give someone considering a career like yours?
Find a wealthy spouse first.

Carve for a Cause 2010

Nov 10, 2010

Our firm has participated in Carve for a Cause for the last three years. The event is sponsored by Architects without Borders, and benefits their current and future projects providing design assistance to communities in need.

We’ll do a quick recap of previous submissions so you can compare them to this year’s.

2008: The Artichoke Lamp

Our inspiration:
This picture doesn’t show how much time this took or how hard it was to 
figure out how to make it work. Good thing we’re an office full of architects, right?
We ended up using a metal toilet paper holder, and attached the 
pumpkin “leaves” with long skewers and twisty ties. What do you think?

2009: Silence of the Squash

VIA’s Interior Designer actually steamed squash, skinned them, and then team members hand sewed them together for the final product. Creepy!

And our 2010 submission?
The [Pumpkin] Design Process…

A few team members were worried that we might be offending some professions that we work with, but we made sure to make fun of everyone equally, including Architects. Here are some detail shots:

[Click on the image to view the comments larger]
Need I say more, other than to point out the solar panels?
The date: October 34, 2009

Our prize?
Two staff members with tattoos [which I must say is better than the fake bloody arm from last year]:

Monday News Roundup

Nov 08, 2010

Will big business go green on its own?(Planetizen)
Mithin says that private enterprise has done a fairly good job of pushing green building standards on their own, driven by the economic incentive. But if there is plenty of cheap land and little regulation, business lack that incentive.

Andres Duany Uncovers Landscape Urbanist Takeover(Planetizen)

Duany (the famed architect and one of the founders of New Urbanism) reports that much of the Harvard Graduate School of Design is embracing the concept — even as they rebrand it “ecological urbanism”
Lookotels Seeks to Roll Out Prefabricated Capsule Hotels in Spain (inhabitat)

Capsule hotels are all the rage in Japan, and now Lookotels is aiming to bring the prefabricated modular building trend to Spain. The company has envisioned a 100-room hotel composed of factory-built capsules that could be constructed in less than 6 months. Lookotels coined the term “lowxurious” to describe their budget hotels, which are energy-efficient, low-cost, and low-maintenance.
Co-operative Housing Federation to manage Parcel 2 in Olympic Village/Southeast False Creek (State of Vancouver)

The city has chosen the Co-operative Housing Federation of B.C. to manage the one building it actually bid on, Building 2, the mostly market-rental building, for 60 years.
Rail and District Energy: Streets paved in better then gold (Sustainable Industries)

Combining efforts to lay tracks for rail transit and at the same time put in the underground pipes for conveying district energy could leapfrog all of our sustainability efforts.
Help the planet: Stop Wasting food(LA Times)

Producing it and then getting rid of leftovers require a lot of fossil fuel. Just taking a few simple steps can ease the problem.
Epic Bus ride: You can get from here to there on public transit(Crosscut)

Destination: Chile. Via public transit. Link by link, fans of ultra-cheap travel are using modern technology and old-fashioned patience to figure out how to get from, say, Seatac to San Diego and beyond.
Three different kinds of cyclists(Ashland Daily Tidings)

The study’s researchers found there are three types of cyclists in Ashland, as in Portland and many other cities nationwide, according to the Oct. 14 study by Kittelson & Associates Inc.
Making Cities Smarter and More Connected(Planetizen)

Singapore, Masdar, Songdo City- each of these municipalities are creating “systems of systems”, integrating their data from water, electrity, waste, etc. to make smarter decisions.

Guangzou abandons free fare experiment (Humantransit)
Guangzhou, the southern Chinese megacity that is to host the 2010 Asian Games this month, has abandoned a plan to offer free public transit while the Games are on.

Real bike paths for real bike transportation (Grist)
Shared-use paths result in inevitable conflict between cyclists and pedestrians.

Richmond, B.C. explores more density with coach houses and secondary suites (Vancouver Sun)
Renters looking for a suite over a garage in Richmond right now would have to settle in the city centre. But they may have more choices down the road if the city decides to allow coach houses in its residential neighbourhoods.

Apple invests in public transit (Switchboard)Check out the spiffy new subway station in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. Pretty nice, don’t you think? It’s actually not new but a thorough makeover, and a substantial upgrade from what it used to look like. It was funded with private money, by the Apple corporation, in conjunction with the company’s construction of a new retail store on adjacent property.

How to terrify a city by riding a bike

Editor’s note: just to be clear: this email is a satire and no one should actually follow the ideas suggested below…

[Remember this post on being terrified to ride a bike in the city? Well, here is a follow up response from guest post-er Craig Hollow]:

As a life-long member of the loose affiliation of bearded men in short pants often seen whizzing by at near-terminal velocities, a group that some might poetically refer to as the anarcho-cyclistas, I find myself uniquely qualified to share some of the wisdom gleaned from years spent rolling around Seattle on two wheels, and to provide you, dear reader and dearest rider, with valuable and true knowledge about the finer points of riding a bicycle in the paved paradise we call the city.

This information, gathered by the hard work of my very own thighs, will prepare you to wield the bicycle not as a mere tool for commuting to and from your soul-sucking job, but as a weapon against tyranny in the glorious fight for freedom of the streets. Brave rider, know that the bicycle, when properly used, may terrify the average citizen, accustomed as he is to quietly suffering his tragic automobile-induced Stockholm-syndrome, afraid to rise up and challenge the oppressive rules of the road that encumber and prevent us all from liberty.

A brief history of the Freedom Machine, commonly known as the bicycle

Since the invention of the ‘dandy horse’ in 1817 by the brilliant Baron Karl von Drais, the bicycle has struck fear into the hearts of those who prefer decency to democracy, order to exhilaration, and safety to speed.

Before this machine-for-freedom appeared, the average citizen rarely traveled farther than 25 miles from home. Thanks to hard work and lobbying of the brave membership of the League of American Wheelman in the 1880s, cyclists everyone of them, paved roads were constructed across America to increase the speed and pleasure of cycling, the same roads now plagued by the scourge of contemporary existence and enemy of freedom, the automobile.

Even Susan B. Anthony recognized the liberating power of the bicycle when she noted that “the bicycle has done more for the emancipation of women than anything else in the world.” Responsible for the invention of the paved road, women’s liberation, and our freedom to travel, the glorious bicycle has never been a greater threat to status quo than it is between the legs of a bona fide anarcho-cyclista today.

Gravity, the only law we must obey

It hardly needs to be mentioned that the lowest rung of the great hierarchy of the cycling universe is occupied by the neon-clad, safety-conscious apologists for automobile culture mucking up the streets everywhere with the clattering of their shifting gears and clicking freewheels.

These lowlife ‘commuters’ represent everything wrong with society today. Always busy signaling turns or calling out their slogan, “passing on your left!”, these idolaters have grossly diminished cycling with their absurdist notion that ‘Streets are for All.’ HA! Fools! Streets are for freedom machines!

As anyone who has ever straddled a set of cro-moly steel tubes attached to pneumatic tires can confirm, the pablum these ‘commuters’ spew about following the ‘rules of the road’ and ‘sharing the road’ is an affront to the sole true, universal law to which real cyclists adhere: Gravity.

So, fellow riders, cast off your handbrakes and commit yourself to the glory of physics! Let gravity and gravity alone tell you when and where to stop your bicycle, not the low laws of your fellow man!

The fluid nature of language and the forward momentum of the bicycle

Addicts of the nanny state, brainless believers in the car-paradigm, and other enemies of freedom are commonly afflicted by the fantasy that words have constant, unwavering definitions, that “NO” never means “YES” and “STOP” never means “GO.” It is the heartfelt duty of every anarcho-cyclista to battle against this slavish addiction to certainty, and there is no territory in this war to liberate language more important than the four-way stop.

Cowed by the threat of being ticketed by that enemy of everyone traveling on two wheels, the police officer, most people arrive at a four-way stop believing that the so-called ‘STOP’ sign means that all vehicles must come to a complete rest. We know that the one true law, gravity, often dictates otherwise.

Cyclistas, do your part to prove the relative meaning of words for your fellow citizens by letting gravity dictate your velocity as you fly through so-called ‘stop’ signs. Keep in mind that this technique is much more effective if you glare menacingly at nearby drivers as you ‘slalom’ around their immobilized cars.

Millinery for cyclistas: a brief note concerning the proper usage of the bicycle helmet

While State-supported oppressors attempt to foist helmets upon our freedom-loving heads in the name of safety, the cyclista intuitively senses that the helmet’s real utility is limited to potting plants or as an accoutrement appropriate only for human battering rams in Jackass movies. To prove this patently obvious fact, our friend, Science, has subjected that horrid creature, the automobile driver, to a series of tests designed to discover precisely how their dim, animal consciousness responds when approaching a cyclist from behind.

Not surprisingly to the hirsute among hardcore cyclistas, Science discovered that hair is the key to real safety. When coming up behind helmeted but hairless cyclists, the tested drivers were tempted to run them down, leaving mere inches between themselves and our feckless heroes on bikes.

However, when the cyclists rode with their hair liberated from the evil confines of helmets, the drivers were cowed into leaving a wide berth as they passed by the frightening sight of hair riding freely in the street. It is good practice for all helmetless cyclistas to periodically shake their beards at drivers. One sight of the bold waving of this facial flag of freedom is often sufficient to cause a driver to abandon their automobile forever and commit themselves thenceforth to cycling only.

One-way is bad, therefore All-ways must be good

On the streets, as in life, limits are, simply put, evil. Sadly, the cowering dogs who write laws from the safety of their government offices, far removed from the life of the cyclista, consistently fall prey to the misconception that a few simple rules can accommodate the hurly-burly complexity of real life. Perhaps the most glaring example of this foolhardy conceit is the one-way street.

What is patently obvious to the cyclista never occurs to the legislator, that without warning a sudden need may arise to turn in an unanticipated direction. Perhaps a fellow cyclista is seen across the road or a band poster with illegible script is spotted on a telephone pole and requires immediate attention or a beard convention spontaneously breaks out in the middle of an intersection, whatever the cause the need is clear: a cyclista may need to turn randomly at anytime, to stop or go at any moment. The one-way street is clearly an affront to freedom, as demonstrated daily by the hordes of cyclistas who risk their lives by bravely riding contrariwise on streets throughout the city.

Our bipedal comrade, the pedestrian

Perhaps, while seeking shelter from a particularly incensed driver or merely diverting yourself from the quotidian labors of wheeling your way through traffic, you have found yourself leaving the street for the narrow strip of pavement set aside for the noble denizen of the city, our friend the pedestrian.

This marvelous creature loves the cyclista like a whelp loves his master, with a healthy mixture of fear and awe. It is vitally important for the cyclista to continue to encourage and inspire the lowly walker, constrained as he is to a meaningless and trite existence on the sidewalk, by entering into his little world from time to time. This gay and joyous rite transforms the dull life of the pedestrian, often eliciting leaps and shouts.

Never hesitate to take an opportunity to give our little friends a taste of real freedom by riding on the sidewalk at the greatest velocity you can manage, trying whenever possible to surprise pedestrians by weaving between them without warning from behind.

Your sacred duty, your only joy

Friends, fellow anarcho-cyclistas, now that your knowledge of the proper and right role of the bicycle and its operation in the city has been increased, I encourage you to go forth into the streets and share your new-found skills with drivers and pedestrians wherever there is pavement. May your beard wave freely as your bold techniques of bicycle liberation inspire the world by your example. The time has come to show us exactly what kind of a person you really are.

Monday News Roundup

Nov 01, 2010

Belgium’s Médiacité Shopping Mall Complete (inhabitat)
The Médiacité in Liège shopping mall opened last October of 2009 in Belgium, and new photos of the naturally daylit mall and entertainment center have just been released. It is the first BREEAM certified project in Belgium.

Roosevelt Island Parking Sensors Will Point the Way to Smart Parking (Planetizen)
The new “smart” parking spaces on Roosevelt Island will be outfitted with Streetline’s patented parking system which includes ultra-low power sensors that communicate with one another to deliver valuable real-time information, such as how long a car is parked and when a car enters and leaves a parking space. The initial system also lays the foundation for smart parking meters allowing for easier payments and better pricing.”

Who will be the next TTC chair? (The Star)
The Star’s list of potential contender’s for the position.

Condominium market in Canada heating up (The Vancouver Sun)
Condominiums have become a hot sector of the Canadian real estate market, particularly as an option for first-time homebuyers spooked by the escalating prices for single-family homes, says a report.

Huge Living Wall with 10,000 Plants Completed in Canada (inhabitat)
While it’s not the largest living wall in North America, this vertical garden is certainly one of the most beautiful and diverse vertical gardens out there. With 10,000 individual plants representing more than 120 unique species, this living wall installation on the Semiahmoo Public Library and Royal Canadian Mounted Police Facility in Surrey is almost 3,000 square feet.

Israel’s Only Subway is a Mountain Climber (Planetizen)
The Carmelit system opened in 1959 and has 6 stations along its 1.8-kilometer track that climbs Mount Carmel in Haifa, a coastal city in northern Israel. According to DesignBoom, “the system transports around 2,000 people along the track each day and is among the most unusual subway stations in the world.”

The UniverCity project: An experiment in suburban urbanism (Grist)
UniverCity is an experiment in suburban urbanism in Burnaby, British Columbia, a suburb of Vancouver. Builders there are about one-third finished with this planned neighborhood next to Simon Fraser University that’s borrowing some of the best traits of Vancouver’s planning successes and fitting them to a challenging location — a 1,200-foot hill.

Delhi Looks at Major BRT Expansion (Planetizen)
Officials in Delhi are proposing a major expansion of the city’s new bus rapid transit system, suggesting an additional 345 kilometers. The plans include 18 new BRT corridors.

Environmental Problems Plague Dubai (Planetizen)
After decades of rapid urbanization, the emirate is now contending with a wide range of challenges to its environment and infrastructure.

Backyard cottages, coach houses, laneway houses: They’re a trend (State of Vancouver)
Where to go with laneway housing, how do they influence prices and accessibility?

Friday Feature: Trey

Oct 29, 2010


Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Trey and I create spaces that, hopefully, have a positive effect on people.

What made you decide to go into your field?

As a young lad I wanted to fly A-10’s for the US Air Force. Then my eyesight went south about the time I was taking a class in Architecture, and now here I am.

What did your family think of your chosen field?

They were very supportive of my decision. I think they wanted me out of the house too.

Who is the teacher who had the most influence on you and why?

Ezra Rice, my shop / drafting / Intro to Architecture teacher at Patch American High School. He was hard on us but fair, and he had a great outlook on life. He loved to tell us life lessons he learned from his great Gran Pappy, and how we will be better off for taking his class. He didn’t take any crap in the shop, “because it could get you killed!” or in the classroom, “because you will fail and end up living on the street with the bums!”

He also taught me the difference between a scale and a ruler.

What was the biggest hurdle you faced along your educational path? (academic, financial, motivational, family or peer pressure, outside distraction, etc.)

Well there was a little hiccup my second year where I did a little too much partying and my GPA slipped. That was a pretty big hurdle to overcome, but it did give me the opportunity to take some courses outside of the Architecture program that I otherwise would not have been able to. Other than that, financial obligations have probably been the biggest hurdle to overcome.

What inspires you?

Experiencing a well designed space, certain design magazines, a lecture by a favorite designer, and the biggest of them all, Mother Nature.

What schooling is required for success in your career?

A Bachelor of Architecture from Kansas State University.(Or a minimum of a 5 year degree from some “other” accredited institution.)

What kind of people are the most successful in your field? Are there any specific attributes?

I do not think there is one kind of person that is “most successful”. Pretty much any one can be successful as long as you work hard and stay focused.

What is the best advice you were ever given?

Aside from the life preservation advice, (don’t stick your tongue to that frozen metal!) and the ever popular “measure twice, cut once.” I would have to say it was when a bunch of my studio mates and I were trying to decide between doing an Internship at a firm or study in Italy for our 4th year Spring semester. Our professor said to us, “Go to Italy! You will get to experience work for the rest of your life.”
I still can’t figure out why we were having such a hard time deciding between the two.

Is your field growing? (ie. is there room for new entries and is there career growth?)

If the new billings index is correct, then yes, the field is starting to grow again.

What advice would you give someone considering a career like yours?

Be prepared to work hard. But also make sure you fit in time for your self. We don’t want you to burn out. Also, if you are still in school, Go to Italy! You will get to experience work for the rest of your life.

Friday Feature: Ivan

Oct 22, 2010

Who are you and what do you do?

Ivan – Intern Architect

What made you decide to go into your field?

I love to design.

What did your family think of your chosen field?

They were happy I chose something that makes me happy.

Who is the teacher who had the most influence on you and why?

He taught me to question everything.

What was the biggest hurdle you faced along your educational path? (academic, financial, motivational, family or peer pressure, outside distraction, etc.)

Learning how to write, again.

What inspires you?

Everything.

What schooling is required for success in your career?

Experience.

What kind of people are the most successful in your field? Are there any specific attributes?

That depends on how you define success. Money? Fame? Making clients happy? Making the world a better place? There are many examples of each, but they all share the same kind of drive.

Is your field growing? (ie. is there room for new entries and is there career growth?)

I don’t know. I guess Schools of Architecture are probably just as busy as when I graduated.

What advice would you give someone considering a career like yours?

Architecture is a vast field. Someone considering making architecture a career should understand what it takes to achieve what they are looking for, then find the most suitable path.