A Touch of Nature + Sustainability to Modern Architecture

A Touch of Nature + Sustainability to Modern Architecture

A tall building is not defined by its height or number of stories. The important criterion is whether or not the design is influenced by some aspect of “tallness.”It is a building in which tallness strongly influences planning, design, construction and use: the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat.

Yanko Design has pertinent pictures of the world’s main trendy construction types to illustrate that statement best. A Touch of Nature + Sustainability to Modern Architecture are the elements that come, as it were, to justify the tallness of these structures and take into account all ecological concerns as if to alleviate their higher demand in the required material, men and money.

The above picture is for illustration and is of Yanko Design.

Green Skyscrapers that add a Touch of Nature + Sustainability to Modern Architecture!

By Srishti Mitra on 9 June 2021

A Touch of Nature + Sustainability to Modern Architecture

Skyscrapers have taken over most of the major cities today. They’re symbols of wealth and power! And most of the skylines today are adorned with glistening glass skyscrapers. They are considered the face of modern architecture. Although all that glass and dazzle can become a little tiring to watch. Hence, architects are incorporating these tall towers with a touch of nature and greenery! The result is impressive skyscrapers merged with an element of sustainability. These green spaces help us maintain a modern lifestyle while staying connected to nature. We definitely need more of these green skyscraper designs in our urban cities!

A Touch of Nature + Sustainability to Modern Architecture
A Touch of Nature + Sustainability to Modern Architecture

Zaha Hadid Architects designed a pair of impressive skyscrapers that are linked by planted terraces, for Shenzhen, China. Named Tower C, the structure is 400 metres in height and is supposed to be one of the tallest buildings in the city. The terraces are filled with greenery and aquaponic gardens! They were built to be an extension of a park that is located alongside the tower and as a green public space.

A Touch of Nature + Sustainability to Modern Architecture

Polish designers Pawel Lipiński and Mateusz Frankowsk created The Mashambas Skyscraper, a vertical farm tower, that is in fact modular! The tower can be assembled, disassembled and transported to different locations in Africa. It was conceptualised in an attempt to help and encourage new agricultural communities across Africa. The skyscraper would be moved to locations that have poor soil quality or suffer from droughts, so as to increase crop yield and produce.

A Touch of Nature + Sustainability to Modern Architecture
A Touch of Nature + Sustainability to Modern Architecture

The Living Skyscraper was chosen among 492 submissions that were received for the annual eVolo competition that has been running since 2006. One of the main goals of the project is to grow a living skyscraper on the principle of sustainable architecture. The ambitious architectural project has been envisioned for Manhattan and proposes using genetically modified trees to shape them into literal living skyscrapers. It is designed to serve as a lookout tower for New York City with its own flora and fauna while encouraging ecological communications between office buildings and green recreation centers. The building will function as a green habitable space in the middle of the concrete metropolis.

A Touch of Nature + Sustainability to Modern Architecture

ODA’s explorations primarily focus on tower designs, in an attempt to bring versatility and a touch of greenery to NY’s overtly boxy and shiny cityscape. Architectural explorations look at residential units with dedicated ‘greenery zones’ that act as areas of the social congregation for the building’s residents. Adorned with curvilinear, organic architecture, and interspersed with greenery, these areas give the residents a break from the concrete-jungle aesthetic of the skyscraper-filled city. They act as areas of reflection and of allowing people to connect with nature and with one another.

A Touch of Nature + Sustainability to Modern Architecture
A Touch of Nature + Sustainability to Modern Architecture

Heatherwick Studio built a 20-storey residential skyscraper in Singapore called EDEN. Defined as “a counterpoint to ubiquitous glass and steel towers”, EDEN consists of a vertical stack of homes, each amped with a lush garden. The aim was to create open and flowing living spaces that are connected with nature and high on greenery.

A Touch of Nature + Sustainability to Modern Architecture
A Touch of Nature + Sustainability to Modern Architecture

Designed by UNStudio and COX Architecture, this skyscraper in Melbourne, Australia features a pair of twisting towers placed around a ‘green spine’ of terraces, platforms, and verandahs. Called Southbank by Beulah, the main feature of the structure is its green spine, which functions as the key organizational element of the building.

A Touch of Nature + Sustainability to Modern Architecture

Mad Arkitekter created WoHo, a wooden residential skyscraper in Berlin. The 98-meter skyscraper will feature 29 floors with different spaces such as apartment rentals, student housing, a kindergarten, bakery, workshop, and more. Planters and balconies and terraces filled with greenery make this skyscraper a very green one indeed!

A Touch of Nature + Sustainability to Modern Architecture

Algae as energy resources are in their beginnings and are seen as high potential. Extensive research work has dealt with algae as an energy source in recent decades. As a biofuel, they are up to 6 times more efficient than e.g. comparable fuels from corn or rapeseed. The Tubular Bioreactor Algae Skyscraper focuses on the production of microalgae and their distribution using existing pipelines. Designed by Johannes Schlusche, Paul Böhm, Raffael Grimm, the towers are positioned along the transalpine pipeline in a barren mountain landscape. Water is supplied from the surrounding mountain streams and springs, and can also be obtained from the Mediterranean using saltwater.

A Touch of Nature + Sustainability to Modern Architecture

Tesseract by Bryant Lau Liang Cheng proposes an architecture system that allows residents to participate in not just the design of their own units; but the programs and facilities within the building itself. This process is inserted between the time of purchase for the unit and the total time required to complete construction – a period that is often ignored and neglected. Through this process, residents are allowed to choose their amenities and their communities, enhancing their sense of belonging in the process. Housing units will no longer be stacked in repetition with no relation whatsoever to the residents living in it – a sentimental bond between housing and men results.

A Touch of Nature + Sustainability to Modern Architecture
babel_skyscraper_1
babel_skyscraper_2

In a world devoid of greenery, Designers Nathakit Sae-Tan & Prapatsorn Sukkaset have envisioned the concept of Babel Towers, mega skyscrapers devoted to preserving horticultural stability within a single building. The Babel towers would play an instrumental role in the propagation of greenery in and around the area. These towers would also become attraction centers for us humans, like going to a zoo, but a zoo of plants. Seems a little sad, saying this, but I do hope that we never reach a day where the Babel Tower becomes a necessity. I however do feel that having towers like these now, in our cities, would be a beautiful idea. Don’t you think so too?

Modular construction is like building with LEGOs on steroids

Modular construction is like building with LEGOs on steroids

Do Buildings Have To Be Permanent? wondered Jack Berning in Freethink that said in passing holds lot more stories like this. One question, though. Apart from the Modular construction being like building with LEGOs on steroids, are we back to a certain Nomadism that evolved into Sedentarism of permanent, immovable urbanisation of towns and villages throughout the world?
Could such a trend work its way to the MENA region since it is perhaps best at knowing all about nomadism?   Besides, and in this context, I wonder if building a new capital in Egypt is worth the trouble. In any case, let us see what it is all about.

The picture above is for illustration and is of Weebly

Modular construction is like building with LEGOs on steroids. Here’s how it could transform our cities.

Do Buildings Have To Be Permanent?

We live in a world surrounded by homes, shopping centers, and office buildings built to withstand the test of time, but there’s a problem with this focus on permanence.

In our dynamic and ever-changing world, permanent structures often end up generating massive amounts of waste, whether through demolition or abandonment. In fact, global construction waste is expected to reach over two-billion tons per year by 2025.

That’s why modular construction, a sustainable building technique that dates back to the 1800s, is starting to pick up steam once again. 

What is Modular Construction?

The concept behind modular building is reminiscent of a popular childhood pastime: LEGO sets. The construction process involves transporting multiple prefabricated buildings (the “bricks”) which are connected on-site to form a complete structure.

Global construction waste is expected to reach over two-billion tons per year by 2025.

The prefabricated sections are assembled away from the construction site and can be stacked in various configurations, such as end-to-end or stacked one on top of the other. Once the prefabricated modules have been placed, they’re conjoined to form one cohesive structure. It’s like LEGOs on steroids, using cranes for assembly rather than your fingertips.

And because of the ease with which these structures can be disassembled and transported elsewhere for reuse, modular construction could lead to exponential increases in efficiency in the building industry, if it becomes more widespread. This idea isn’t new, but recent unfoldings in technology, economic demands, and shifting mindsets are opening the door to a new wave of interest. 

The Benefits of Modular Building

Modular construction takes a radically different approach to building. Because much of the process takes place in a factory beforehand, projects can be completed in half the amount of time that traditional methods take, where all work is completed on-site. Factory-based manufacturing helps reduce delays from typical obstacles like bad weather and vandalism.

This time savings means a faster return on investment for landowners. And because prefab buildings use lightweight materials that are less expensive, they have the potential to deliver momentous cost savings. In the European and U.S. markets alone, modular construction could lead to an annual savings of up to $22 billion.

Because much of the process takes place in a factory beforehand, projects can be completed in half the amount of time that traditional methods take.

Perhaps most importantly, modular construction is more sustainable than traditional construction methods. Modular structures can be disassembled and relocated for new uses, minimizing the demand for raw materials and the energy expended to produce those materials. Additionally, building in a factory helps eliminate waste. Inventory can be more easily controlled and building materials protected from damage.

A few more perks — a primarily indoor construction environment leads to improved safety and less accidents for construction crews. It also results in improved air quality within the buildings themselves, as a factory-controlled setting eradicates the potential of moisture getting trapped within walls.

The primary drawback of modular buildings is less old-fashioned character or charm in their outward appearance, but that doesn’t mean the structures aren’t aesthetically pleasing. And despite a common misconception, modular buildings are just as structurally sound as traditional ones — they’re required to meet the same building codes. 

iMod Structures Lead the Way

Although modular construction has yet to be embraced by the masses, one company is paving the way. iMod Structures builds reconfigurable, relocatable buildings all over the world, from Virginia to Guam to Haiti. The company was founded in 2009 by John Diserens and Craig Severance, both former real estate investors.

Their factory, a 100-year-old structure where U.S. naval submarines were previously built, is located on Mare Island in Vallejo, California. iMod’s frames are manufactured in Mexico and China, but at the factory they’re equipped with walls, windows, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems.

The building process includes transporting the outfitted frames to a construction site, offloading them with a crane, sticking them together (just like LEGOs), and of course, setting up plumbing and electrical.

The secret to iMod’s efficiency is that they only produce a single, rectangular-shaped frame. Its shape and size makes it easy to transport while also providing versatility. For example, the structures are currently being used as classrooms that can adapt to meet the changing demographics of the Los Angeles Unified School District.

“Typically, it would take nine to 15 months to manufacture a classroom out in the field,” explains Mike McKibbin, the head of operations for iMod. “We’re doing that in twelve days.”

Once the demand for classrooms in a given region dissipates, iMod can simply disassemble the structure, load up their frames, and transport them elsewhere for reuse, without having to waste materials over the long term.

Modular buildings can be disassembled and relocated for new uses, minimizing the demand for raw materials and the energy expended to produce those materials.

“We don’t want our buildings to ever end up in a landfill. Ever,” says Reed Walker, head of production and design. “We want to take that system and use it again and again and again.”

While iMod’s capabilities are already impressive, they’re only beginning to scratch the surface of what’s possible. What if entire communities could be relocated and repurposed based on population changes?

Does any new construction really need to be permanent? The utilitarian benefits of modular construction hold the potential to transform our cities and make the construction industry more sustainable as a whole.

Egypt’s new capital – a smart city in the making

Egypt’s new capital – a smart city in the making

GLOBALFLEET‘s article authored by Alison Pittaway argues that Egypt’s new capital is a smart city in the making. So it will but some people are not happy. Let us see what’s it all about.

The image above is for illustration and is of Reuters.

Egypt’s new capital – a smart city in the making

18 May 21

Aside from the recent troubles in Gaza threatening war in the Middle East, decades of population growth and unplanned urban sprawl have taken their tole on Egypt’s economy.

The Government is building several cities, including a new capital, one million low-cost homes, plus an infrastructure of highways and bridges.

Egypt’s new capital - a smart city in the making
*Image courtesy of Shutterstock

This bustling regeneration has helped Egypt remain in growth in 2020, despite the economic shock of the Coronavirus pandemic.

However, some people are not happy. Citizens have been displaced and lost their homes to the building work. Others have seen their neighbourhoods transform too quickly. Analysts wonder how much of a difference the infrastructure boom will make while economic problems persist.

A new capital city

Under construction in the desert, east of Cairo (due to open later this year) is a a futuristic-looking city that many are calling “the new capital city”. Egypt’s President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi recently referred to it as “Hope city”. It’s officially referred to simply as the “New Administrative Capital”. It will be Egypt’s first smart city and is expected to house 6.5 million people. Covering 700 square kilometres of desert, it’s the size of Singapore.

Some people worry that the pace of change in Egypt is too fast and that the “old ways”, such as selling tomatoes from a donkey cart or driving a rickshaw, are being bulldozed and the people who rely on them forgotten.

Investing in the future

On the positive side, in Eastern Cairo and beyond, 1.1 trillion Egyptian pounds ($70 billion) (€53.7 billion) will be spent on transport between now and 2024. A third of that is for the new road network, which will connect many more citizens to transport networks, basic services and create the foundations for a raft of mobility services.

While being interviewed on television recently, Sisi was emphatic about the new developments: “We need to do this so we can make people’s lives easier, so we can reduce the amount of lost time, reduce people’s stress and stop the fuel being used causing more pollution.”

A 2014 World Bank Study put the cost of congestion in greater Cairo at 3.6% of gross domestic product. But while new roads are being built, old ones are poorly maintained.

Middle East’s first mobile natural gas fuel station opens in Egypt

Meanwhile, Egypt’s Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources has launched the first mobile facility to supply cars with compressed natural gas as part of the sector’s efforts to increase the supply of the fuel across the country.

The new station can transport and store up to 5,000 cubic meters of gas and supply up to 1,000 cars every 24 hours to public, industrial and commercial facilities.

The Ministry has plans for 10 new mobile stations across the country, especially in areas of seasonal consumption, such as tourist spots and resorts.

It’ll be interesting to see how this pans out. Will Egypt’s smart city be a step too far or will it become a shining example to the rest of the world? Time will tell.

Debunking Construction Integration Technology Myths

Debunking Construction Integration Technology Myths

Advanced Project Management & System Integration Project Management & System Integration elaborated on the current trends in the construction industry concerning its necessary but vital digitalisation. They came up with what is so apparent, i.e. deconstruct that heavy concrete slab of traditions and day-to-day routines that weighs on the industry. It is all about debunking Construction integration technology myths because Digital integration would otherwise be inefficient.

March 26, 2021

Few construction industry leaders would say they oppose data integration. Most acknowledge that combining different data types and formats into a central location allows access to complete, current and accurate information to help them make fact-based decisions instead of acting on hunches. So why doesn’t every engineering and construction (E&C) firm have a warehouse of integrated data? The culprit is often misinformation created by myths about data integration. We will debunk three of the biggest myths about costs, downtime, and complexity below.


Myth #1: Data integration cannot be achieved without high costs

This myth was once true, and some vendors still do quote integration approaches that are not feasible for many E&C firm budgets. But today, integration solutions once available only to enterprises atop the ENR 500 are now available to small and mid-sized firms. Recent breakthroughs in virtualization, iPaaS, and cloud computing have contributed to their lower costs and broader availability.

Virtualization

As defined by Tech Target, data virtualization is an approach to data management that allows an application to retrieve and manipulate data without requiring technical details, like data format or its physical location. As this technology has matured, it has driven total integration costs down.

Integration Platform as a Solution (iPaaS)

Gartner defines iPaaS as a suite of cloud services enabling development, execution, and governance of integration flows connecting any combination of on-prem and cloud-based processes, services, applications, and data within individual or across multiple organizations.

iPaaS is ideal for E&C firms. Collaborating and sharing information across multidisciplinary teams including owners, architects, consultants, engineers, contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers using different systems is the cornerstone of E&C work.

Construction organizations typically collaborate with teams across multiple cloud platforms, so when considering iPaaS, look for a cloud-agnostic solution. Some solutions offer packages with varying costs based on the number and/or complexity of flows (data sources) needed. Custom email alerts may also prove helpful, for example, if an error occurs or if a batch is completed.

Cloud Computing

Collecting servers in a single room or rack is no longer necessary. Geographic isolation of data sources is actually a business continuity / disaster recovery best practice. Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud were growing in popularity even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The sharp increase of remote work and video conferencing accelerated their growth.

E&C firms are deploying more hybrid-cloud and multi-cloud arrangements. Essentially, hybrid cloud refers to the combination of private and public cloud infrastructure, and some or many from an organization’s own data center. Multi-cloud configurations use multiple cloud providers to meet different technical or business requirements. The reason cloud computing, sometimes referred to as infrastructure as a service (IaaS), is so popular is that it allows for fast scalability, broad availability, and low total cost of ownership vs. managing everything in company-owned data centers.


Myth #2: Data integration requires significant downtime

Even during off-peak times, E&C firms want to avoid downtime. Today’s data integration solutions offer rapid time to value with development-cycle times reduced by as much as 33%. Some solutions may be able to eliminate workday downtime with only brief downtime on evenings and weekends.

Containerization, enabling developers to create predictable environments isolated from other applications, is also used by some solutions. With containerization, consistency is guaranteed regardless of where an application is deployed. Containers only use about 60 lines of code so they can be developed and deployed quickly to minimize downtime.


Myth #3: Managing a data warehouse is complicated

What is involved with keeping a data integration platform running?

The short answer is that it depends, but there are solutions that do not require a high degree of information technology (IT) overhead. Look for solutions that include intuitive dashboards to monitor and troubleshoot integrations, the ability to quickly review flows, rerun flows on demand, or view error details, if any.

If using iPaaS, consider a solution that includes a dedicated client-success (CS) manager. The CS manager puts an iPaaS subject-matter expert on your company team, instantly adding value while eliminating the learning curve for an existing team member to become proficient. And unlike a consulting relationship where the expert stays for a while to train your team but then leaves, a client-success manager is always available to create or troubleshoot flows.

Today’s construction and engineering world requires unprecedented external collaboration, with multiple parties outside your organization at every building, site, and external site. The mobile information, in turn, reduces data centralization, creating a greater urgency to adopt a data integration solution.

Want to learn more? Gaea Global Technologies, Inc. has decades of experience with construction and engineering solutions. Nexus, Gaea’s integration-platform-as-a-service (iPaaS) solution, was designed to automate construction processes across applications.

To learn more, visit https://nexus-platform.com/.

Smart Villages, Internet Cities or Creativity Engines

Smart Villages, Internet Cities or Creativity Engines

Here is the Abstract and some excerpts of Dr Ali Alraouf’s examining the Discourse on Knowledge Cities as published by Academia. It is of being or planned to being Smart Villages, Internet Cities or Creativity Engines.

The world’s growing cities are a critical fact of the 21st Century and represent one of the greatest challenges to the future. By the year 2050 cities with populations over three million will be more than double: from 70 today to over 150. When knowledge is perhaps the most important factor in the future of city’s economy, there is a growing interest in the concept of the “knowledge city”. Hence, what are the qualities of future cities becomes a crucial question. Leif Edvinsson defines Knowledge City as “a city that purposefully designed to encourage the nurturing of knowledge”.

Knowledge city is not just a city. It is a growing space of exchange and optimism in which each and every one can devote himself to personal and collective projects and aspirations in a climate of dynamism, harmony, and creativity.  There are already several cities that identify themselves as knowledge cities or have strategic plans to become knowledge cities. The list includes the following cities, for example: Barcelona, Melbourne, Delft, and Palmerston North. On the contrary, Arabcities are building technological isolated projects to promote the same concept. An examination of projects like Egypt’ Smart Village and Dubai’s Internet City and Knowledge Village will be helpful in evaluating the knowledge status of contemporary Arab Cities.

I’ll argue in this paper that the concept of ‘Knowledge Cities ‘is rooted in the urban, cultural structure of traditional Arab cities. Therefore, an attempt to foster this concept in today’s Arab cities would not be possible by building isolated technological statement scattered around the city. Alternatively, the rise of the network society, global networks, linked cities, and existence of smart communities should construct the basis for shaping Arab Knowledge Cities.  In addition, the paper will introduce the concept of “Urban Creativity Engines”, and examples of various types will be presented. I’ll argue that this is a more comprehensive concept for constructing and evaluating knowledge cities. Although this concept and its terminology is new, the paper will prove that there are many historical examples, regionally and internationally, of “knowledge cities” and “Innovation/Creativity Engines

Castells (1996 & 1998) has argued that a new type of society is rising in our contemporary cities due to the consequences of the information revolution. From a sociological point of view, Sassen (2000) has argued that cities in the information age should be reperceived as nodes of an immense network of commercial and political transactions.

The Emerging Knowledge Cities: International Attempts

Smart Villages, Internet Cities or Creativity Engines
Smart Village project in Cairo – Egypt, is it really smart?

There are already several cities that identify themselves as knowledge cities, or have strategic plans to become knowledge cities. These cutting edge cities are aiming to win competitive and cooperative advantage by pioneering a new environment and knowledge ecology for their citizens. The list includes some of these cities according to the Knowledge Cities Observatory (KCO) classifications: Melbourne, Australia – its strategic plan for 2010 emphasize the path towards enhancing its position as a knowledge city.  Delft, the Netherlands – the city clustered its knowledge intensive projects included in the “delft knowledge city” initiative in 5 themes: soil & water, information technology, innovative transport systems, environmental technologies.  Barcelona, Spain – the activity of Barcelona Forum 2004, which manifests the cultural perspective which Barcelona adopted as a main theme for its knowledge sensitivedevelopment. Accordingly, the city was chosen to host the founding meeting of the distinctive Knowledge Cities Observatory (KCO).  Palmerston North, New Zealand – this relatively small city puts education in the heart of its “knowledge city” manifest.  Monterrey City, Mexico – the new governor set the goal of becoming a knowledge city among his top 5 priorities.

Knowledge Cities/Zones: Regional Attempts

In an attempt to actualize the high-performance knowledge city different initiatives took place in the Middle Eastern cities. Experiences and lessons learned from real-world knowledge zone initiatives.  On the contrary of the strategic planning of European and American cities, Arab cities are building technological isolated projects to promote the same concept of claiming its new identity as knowledge cities. An examination of projects like Egypt’ Smart Village and Dubai’s Internet City and newly lunched project Knowledge Village will be helpful in evaluating the knowledge status of contemporary Arab Cities. 

Read more in the Academia‘s

Ali A. Raouf, PhD, M. Arch., B. Sc is an Egyptian architect based in Bahrain and interested in research related to architectural and environmental design.

Ali A. Raouf, PhD, M. Arch., B. Sc is an Egyptian architect based in Bahrain and interested in research related to architectural and environmental design.