green design

This old ecohouse

Article: This old ecohouse

After a painstaking deconstruction process the Australian firm Riddel Architecture successfully built a new riverfront home in Brisbane with 95% of the materials from the previous house. The Hill End Ecohouse, as it’s called, is fully self sufficient in both water and power and has a monitoring system to measure the use of energy, gas and water as well as temperature and humidity. The north-facing roof has 3kW photovoltaic panels which generate more than enough energy for daily household requirements.

The Double-decker gets a makeover

Article: The Double-decker gets a makeover

There’s a lot of to love about the London bus of the days of yore – the charming, iconic red double-decker has provided commuters and tourists alike with an upper deck view of the city since 1956. Design, however, has never been one of its stronger points. The Routemaster, as it’s officially called, really does look as if someone had simply taken the wheels off of one bus and placed it atop another.

Why Design Now?

Article: Why Design Now?

“Why Design Now?”, the latest exhibition at Cooper Hewitt, poses a pretty silly question. I can’t think of a single reason not to design now or ever, for that matter. But if there are any skeptics out there, the plethora of good ideas and amazing, major-problem solving solutions in the form of everything from product design to community planning will surely shut them up.

The invisible streetlight wraps around branches, integrating itself into the surrounding environment.

Los Angeles gets its own Central Park

Article: Los Angeles gets its own Central Park

“There is no design,” says Sarah Lejeune, Santa Monica’s senior planner. No official design, anyway, but photos like this one show that planning is underway. She’s talking about the four freeway cap parks in the works for Hollywood, Santa Monica and downtown LA. A cap park is essentially a raised element built over a freeway that can support, among other things, parks. Hollywood’s cap park, also called Hollywood Central Park or Park 101, is the most developed of the three so far. Spanning 44 acres between Bronson Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard, the park cap would link up with downtown LA and join landmarks like Olvera Street, Chinatown and Union Station on one side and Disney Hall, City Hall and the Cathedral on the other, creating a “livable, walkable and unified downtown district.”

Sustainable housing for Haitians

Article: Sustainable housing for Haitians

Architect Joseph Bellomo’s egg-shaped house.

Even though the average temperature in Haiti seldom dips below 75 degrees, building permanent shelter for survivors is imperative for obvious reasons. You’ve probably seen pictures of the tent cities that the estimated 1.5 million homeless are currently living in. So did San Francisco-based architect Jospeh Bellomo, who was working on a modular structure for a client in Hawaii when the hurricane hit. Built to withstand tropical storms with a foundation of only a few concrete blocks, Bellomo immediately thought his project could be a perfect solution for displaced Haitians.

Paper is the new plastic

Article: Paper is the new plastic

The idea is so simple you have to wonder why no one thought of it before. The simplicity, of course, is part of the genius behind these two design proposals for boxing water instead of bottling it. The depressing reality of the post consumer waste that plastic bottles generate is staggering: of the 60 million plastic bottles thrown away each day in the US alone, only 14% get recycled, meaning 86% lay in a land fill for up to 1,000 years. That’s nearly 19 billion bottles a year. Finally, someone is doing something about it.

No color added: the new Coca-Cola classic

Article: No color added: the new Coca-Cola classic

Aluminum cans – with out without color – are recyclable. But so-called naked cans, like the one above designed by Harc Lee, not only eliminate the air and water pollution involved in the initial printing process, but also save on the energy required to later remove the toxic paint before recycling can even begin. It’s…