Calculating Solar Potential

Calculate the solar potential of your home or potential residence, through the use of this inovative tool.

Recently featured in Springwise, RoofRay, is brand-new California startup that aims to give consumers better information so they can make more informed solar decisions.

Currently in beta, RoofRay is a solar array modelling service and community designed to help consumers evaluate solar for their homes or businesses.

Using the site's modelling tools, consumers can estimate how much solar energy a home could capture and how that would affect their monthly bills based on past weather conditions, current power bills, the slope of their house, and how much panelling their roof can hold.

One tool uses Google Maps to let users calculate the square footage of their roof and build virtual panels; RoofRay then estimates the output potential of the roof as well as financial considerations like costs of installation and upkeep and ROI.

Another section shows existing installations that have already been completed by other people, including specifics of the roof used and total peak power. Ultimately, RoofRay hopes to create "RoofRaytings" for buildings and provide them to real-estate search engines as an indicator of the solar potential of homes or businesses for sale. It also plans to create an online marketplace where solar installers and integrators can bid for consumers' business.

As RoofRay points out, homes' solar potential could become increasingly important as a factor in real-estate buying decisions. Making it easier for consumers to access that and other solar information will surely be a key step on the way to more widespread adoption of the technology and—the ultimate goal—less reliance on fossil fuels.


New Museum, New York by SANAA

The New Museum is New York’s only museum devoted entirely to contemporary art and it owes its cutting-edge new home in the Bowery district to Tokyo-based architects SANAA. The seven-storey building was conceived as a composition of metal mesh-clad boxes, which softly shift off the main axis, creating a dynamic effect as the building rises.Few words for the designers SANAA
Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa have been workingcollaboratively under the name ‘sanaa’ since 1995.sejima studied architecture at the japan women's university before collaborating with architect toyo ito. she launched her own practice in 1987 and was named ‘young architect of the year’ in japan in 1992.nishizawa studied architecture at yokohama national university and, in addition to his work with sejima, has alsomaintained an independent practice since 1997.
SANAA's projects

source: http://www.designboom.com/eng/interview/sanaa.html , www.wallpaper.com/architecture/best-new-public-building/2035


Renzo Piano and the new California Academy of Science

The new Academy rises on the same site of the former California Academy of Science in Golden Gate Park.The design required the demolition of most of 11 existing buildings, built between 1916 and 1991.
Its primary goal is to provide a modern facilitie for exhibition education conversation and research under one roof according to sustainable design strategies.
Natural ventilation insteed of airconditioning for large parts of the building, carefully chosen building materials, an efficient use and re-use of water, as well as the generation energy, are integral parts of the design.
An open-air observation terrace will enable visitors to get a close-up look at the roof’s lush canopy of plants. The view will encompass the densest concentration of native wildflowers in San Francisco. The expansive vista will also become an ideal location for watching Northern California’s birds, butterflies and insects. Skylights above the larger domes will open and close throughout the day, enabling sunlight to reach the exhibits below. The steep slopes of the rooftop's hills will draw cool air into the open piazza at the center of the building. Weather stations on the roof will monitor wind, rain, and changes in temperature to help inform the automated passive ventilation systems.
Below the earthen mounds is a 4 story re-created rain forest. Motorized porthole windows in the roof provide light and ventilation. A glass lobby and open exhibit rooms offer the sweeping natural views.
Renzo Piano's green roof cuts the building's energy needs by about a third.

For more on Renzo Piano in Future Architecture you can check out the following links:

Renzo Piano, The Satvros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre, Athens

Renzo Piano, The Shard at London Bridge


A first look at Madison Square Park tower

New York’s Madison Square Park is the latest place to go ogling some of the city’s newest skyscrapers. Cetra Rudy and OMA have each designed new towers on the park. Now the area is to get a forward-looking gleaming glass and green residential tower designed by Studio Libeskind, with spiraling gardens in the sky. The dramatic 54-storey tower will sit atop a 14-storey masonry structure that is an annex for the Metropolitan Life building, making it the city’s tallest residential tower. The design of the building was kept under wraps until recently when it was made public on the Architects Newspaper Blog, which scanned the images to the web from Daniel Libeskind’s new monograph. While the design of the New York Tower is in the embryonic stage.

Libeskind said the following today via statement:
“The design features a series of spiraling gardens extending the green of Madison Square along the facade of the tower. The tower is set back from its neighbors—maintaining views and maximizing light and air.” "We look forward to a continuing dialogue when the proposal enters the public review process”, he added.


Regenerating St.Petersburg historic city

HOK announce major new development to regenerate historic city

A major new master plan has been developed on the edge of St Petersburg aimed at regenerating the eastern fringes of the historic city. The master plan, created by HOK, covers 60 hectares and sets out the blueprint for city’s first Techno Park. Situated on the edge of St. Petersburg the park will be within a major residential quarter with some retail. The scheme will be financed through both public and private investment: about a third of the development will be State funded. The site will create a nurturing environment for students and alumni from the technical college. Tim Gale, HOK’s Head of Planning in London said: “The development is designed to take advantage of the synergies between the different uses, including office incubator units for start-up companies, and a training college.” The site will also retain existing apartment blocks in the center.

Shown here in the first big image, the tall blocks are office space with retail at the base and the circular building will hold the Headquarters for the development’s client, Techno Park.

Designed with sustatainability in mind Gale explains: “The green roofs and central water feature are designed to attenuate storm water runoff. The St. Petersburg metro and bus routes serve the site and it has a mixed use profile providing all services, including residential accommodation, on the campus thus reducing the need for vehicle travel. Cycle parking facilities are planned throughout the site, as are central recycling collection and composting depots.”

The project is due to start on-site in 2010 assuming planning permission is granted.

source: http://www.worldarchitecturenews.com/

Cities and Movies, Vol1: New York

It is difficult, nay, impossible to capture that one defining spirit of NYC. When they attempted to find one by getting, arguably, the three best NYC directors (Martin Scorcese, Woody Allen and Coppola, may be they should have thrown in Spike Lee and Sydney Lumet as well into the mix to see what would come of it) together to make New York Stories, what the audience received was three distinctly different voices of the city.
You have stories of love and despair, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Working Girl or even Dog Day Afternoon (after all Al Pacino wanted to pay for sex-change operation for his lover). Of crime and punishment, Godfather, Goodfellas, New York, New York, Gangs of New York and a legion others. The classic stories of an outsider in NYC, fighting to survive, battling odds in the face of the city's unyielding efforts at dehumanizing him like in Taxi Driver or Midnight CowboyThe entire oeuvre of Woody Allen where the city is the muse, a lover's embrace when things seem to go wrong or a friendly shoulder to lean on. Or finally the joie de vivre of streets in Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing and other movies which reflect that enduring spirit in the face of adversity that NYC is famous for. NYC is a kaleidoscope and aren't we glad that so many talented film-makers have created lasting stories and images twisting and turning it.


20+10+X Architecture Awards 3rd Cycle

Deadline: 23 January 2009

All projects submitted OR UPDATED by their architects after 24 October 2008 will be evaluated for the 3rd Cycle.

The aim of the WA Community Awards is to highlight and publish remarkable projects that might otherwise remain unnoticed by the international public but have the potential to inspire exciting questions about contemporary architectural discourse.


New Foster + Partners development in Paris

The first building within the Trapeze masterplan at Boulogne Billancourt, in the south-east of Paris – a seven-storey office development, designed by Foster + Partners – is now complete. The offices occupy a prime position within the mixed-use development and a transparent atrium maintains an important visual link between the river Seine on one side and a new park on the other.Built on the site of the former Renault headquarters, the building has an expressed white concrete structure, with a steel and glass façade. It is divided between two volumes, connected by a glazed, full-height atrium containing a café and two restaurants for staff.
This dynamic space incorporates panoramic lifts and suspended walkways, which appear to float at double-height intervals to allow uninterrupted views out to the river or the park. Above the entrance, giant translucent brise-soleils filter daylight down into the atrium, while a wave-formed geometric façade on the east and west elevations comprise curved vertical panels of alternate translucent and fritted glass.A rooftop pavilion to the east and the expansive south-facing balconies are accessible from the office floors and take advantage of the riverside location.

The 22,000 square metres of interior floor space provides a mixture of cellular and open plan configurations. The internal arrangement is flexible – the floor plates can be split either vertically or horizontally to accommodate multiple tenants. A fringe of shops enlivens the ground level and the boulevard between the river and the building has been landscaped to provide a waterside promenade.Designed with a progressive environmental strategy, the building has achieved a French HQE ‘Excellent’ rating.
The large volume of the atrium and the double-height spaces on the seventh and eighth floors promote natural air flow and the end walls of the atrium can also be opened with an automated system of pivoted glass panels to allow natural ventilation in mid-season.Grant Brooker, senior partner at Foster + Partners, said: “The new office development at Boulogne Billancourt continues our longstanding investigations into the nature of the workplace. We aimed to create a building with a focused and stimulating internal environment, with strong connections to the river and the park.”


Zaha Hadid designs plastic shoes

The award-winning architect collaborates with shoe company to create futuristic shoes In the era of the high-rise heel, it’s no surprise that an architect has been called upon to design women’s shoes. Architect Zaha Hadid, known for her abilities to mould metal and glass into spectacular buildings, has joined forces with Brazilian shoemakers Melissa to create a new women’s shoe.
The £200 limited edition shoe takes on features of one of Hadid’s grand-scale designs with cut out holes for the toes and diagonally sloping straps. "I have 30 years of research on different areas of architecture and design and this was a very challenging project," said Hadid, "not only in design but on the technical side.

The tallest building, AKA: Burj Dubai

Burj Dubai (Arabic: برج دبي‎ "Dubai Tower") is a supertall skyscraper under construction in the Business Bay district of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and is the tallest man-made structure ever built, despite being incomplete. Construction began on September 21, 2004 and is expected to be completed and ready for occupation in September 2009. The building is part of the 2 km2 (0.8 sq mi) development called "Downtown Dubai", at the "First Interchange" (aka "Defence Roundabout") along Sheikh Zayed Road at Doha Street. The tower's architect is Adrian Smith who worked with Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM) until 2006. The architecture and engineering firm SOM is in charge of the project. The primary builders are Samsung Engineering & Construction andBesix along with Arabtec. Turner Construction Company was chosen as the construction manager. The total budget for the Burj Dubai project is about US$4.1 billion and for the entire new 'Downtown Dubai', US$20 billion. Mohamed Ali Alabbar, the CEO of Emaar Properties, speaking at the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat 8th World Congress, said that the price of office space at Burj Dubai had reached $4,000 per sq ft (over $43,000 per sq m) and that the Armani Residences, also in Burj Dubai, were selling for $3,500 per sq ft (over $37,500 per sq m).

MVRDV Buildings

WoZoCos, a retirement complex in Amsterdam’s densely populated Western Garden Cities, 13 of whose units hang off the north facade as if suspended in the air. Completed in 1997. Frosilos, two silos converted into a Copenhagen apartment building.
A 22-story housing block, Mirador, on the outskirts of Madrid, with a central courtyard on the 12th floor. Mirador was completed in 2004
Parkrand Building, an apartment house in an Amsterdam neighborhood known as the Western Garden Cities, located at the edge of a park and raised on a deck. Completed in 2006
Studio Thonik, an office for a team of graphic designers, located in a courtyard on a dead-end street.
Completed in 2001.


Loft100 in Patra, Greece

Loft residential building 250m2
Designed by S-Archetype
This house, is located in a quiet residential area in the center of Patras. Contrary to first impression, the building structure has a complicated composition with four different levels forming the entire living area. The aim of the design is to create open, flexible living spaces, Surpassing the difficulties presented by the limitations and narrowness of the construction site, 5 meters width and 20 meters length(100m2).


Eyewear chain goes green

There are already a few brands of eco-friendly eyewear out there, ranging from those that simply refurbish old glasses to those with sustainable components or manufacturing processes. Singapore's Nanyang Optical retail chain, however, has recently begun an eco-conversion of its brand through which it will sell only eyewear brands that are significantly green. Three collections of green eyewear are now available in Nanyang stores, including award-winning LinkSkin, Flexis and Urband. LinkSkin glasses, for example, are manufactured to be RoHS-compliant using recycled materials with no lead, mercury, cadmium or soldering. Flexis rimless glasses, meanwhile, are constructed from recycled steel and polymer, also without the use of soldering, and Urband avoids soldering as well. As part of the eco-conversion of its chain of stores, Nanyang has also implemented a full-circle system that accepts old spectacles, contact lens case and solution bottles for recycling. A new look, including bamboo flooring, is part of the chain's rebirth as well. It's one thing for a retailer to offer select green products, but to embrace eco brands to the exclusion of all others and even redesign your whole brand around the concept? That takes eco-iconic to a whole new level—one that will surely cause competitors to turn green as well (from envy, if nothing else). One to bring to eco-minded (and far-sighted) consumers near you....? (source, http://www.springwise.com/)

The Big 5 Solar Energy Plants

International demand for solar energy has been steadily growing by 20-25% a year for the past two decades. In the United states, solar energy growth is about 60% a year. Looking at how fast solar energy plants are growing and how large they’re becoming year by year is reveals that the future for solar is shining bright.
World’s Largest Photovoltaic (PV) Solar Power Plants

By 2011, Deming, New Mexico, USA will be the home of the world’s largest solar power plant. This 300 Megawatt solar facility will be 15 times the size of the current largest solar plant on the planet. New Solar Ventures and Solar Torx are the companies behind the project. The solar energy plant will cover as many as 1,300 hectares and employ between 300 and 400 people. The project’s planners estimate that the plant will supply enough energy to power 240,000 homes.

The Solana solar plant, 70 miles from Pheonix, near Gila Bend, Arizona, USA, will compliment the Deming plant when both begin operations in 2011. It will produce 280 megawatts of energy, provide 1,500 jobs, and cover an area of 769 hectares. The solar power facility will be the child of Abengoa Solar and Arizona Public Service Company. However, the project depends on the United States Congress to renew clean energy tax credits, which would otherwise expire at the end of 2008.

Australia may briefly capture the prize for biggest solar with a plant near Mildura, Victoria, Australia. It will go into operation in 2010 and continue to grow in size until its completion in 2013. A project of TRUenergy and Solar Systems, the plant will generate 154 Megawatts of solar energy. With the Mildura plant complete, Solar Systems will continue to expand in Australia with the goal of 270,000 megawatts of output from a number of plants. Australia’s renewable energy goal is 20% by 2020.

An 80 megawatt solar farm in Fresno, California, USA will be completed by 2011. Cleantech, together with the California Construction Authority, will be responsible for construction. When finished, the plant will occupy about 260 hectares. It will be called the Kings River Conservation District Community Choice Solar Farm. In addition to this solar farm, Cleantech is in the preparing to develop several other facilities of a similar size also in California. In addition to these centralized solar energy plants, California’s Governor Scharzenegger pushed through legislation by the name of SB 1 with which California will add solar panels to one million roofs throughout the state by 2018.

The Waldpolenz Solar Park in Brandis, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, near Leipzig. It’s located on the site of a former military airfield. Talk about swords to plowshares. Now that the PV plant has received building approval, its construction is underway. Juwi Solar, the company spearheading the construction, has set a goal of completion of the plant for 2009. At that time, the facility will be able to generate 40 megawatts.


Greener Gadgets

This year's Greener Gadgets Conference will take place on February 27, 2009 in New York City. As part of the event, Greener Gadgets has once again partnered with Core77 to generate outstanding design innovations for greener electronics. This design competition challenges established design firms, emerging designers, and design students to come up with new and innovative solutions to address the issues of energy, carbon footprint, health and toxicity, new materials, product lifecycle, and social development.

Jean Nouvel wins the 2008 Pritzker

Jean Nouvel, the bold French architect known for such wildly diverse projects as the muscular Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis and the exotically louvered Institute of the Arab World in Paris, has received architecture's top honor, the Pritzker Prize.
Nouvel, 62, is the second French citizen to take the prize, awarded annually to a living architect by a jury chosen by the Hyatt Foundation.

"For over 30 years Jean Nouvel has pushed architecture's discourse and praxis to new limits," the Pritzker jury said in its citation. "His inquisitive and agile mind propels him to take risks in each of his projects, which, regardless of varying degrees of success, have greatly expanded the vocabulary of contemporary architecture."

Jean Nouvel's design of the Louvre Museum is almost iconic-ally poetic:



The site aims to bring readers a daily supply of architecture and design from around the web. Emphasizing all of the most interesting, an often magic architecture that we can find, by investigating how the rational thinking of architecture contrasts with the actual 'lived' world. The aspects of perceiving, conceiving and producing space will be examined in the hope of critically analysing how place is made. In a sense, the means end logic of a scientific world points to the will of the human mind to organise into neat conceptualised ideals.

Is this practice relevant to the production of urban space today?

The concept-city begins to crystallise architecture into ideology thereby excluding the notion of narratives, myths and poetry in everyday living.