Archive for October, 2010

The Future of Green Architecture: A Floating Museum

October 29, 2010

Physalia is half-boat, half-building, and all green. This mammoth aluminum concept by Belgian architect Vincent Callebaut is meant to travel Europe’s rivers, making filthy water drinkable. At the same time, the ship generates more energy than it uses.

A coat of titanium dioxide paint brushed onto the silvery shell will neutralize pollution by absorbing ultraviolet rays, enabling a chemical reaction that decomposes organic and inorganic toxins. (It’s the same technology used in certain high-tech concrete that breaks down airborne particulates.) As the vessel whips along, purifying waterways, it can draw on both solar and hydro power. Turbines under the hull transform water movement into electricity, and rooftop photovoltaic cells harness energy from the sun. The roof doubles as a nursery, whose carefully selected plants help filter river gunk, whether from the Thames, Rhine or Euphrates.

 

But Physalia isn’t just designed to be a working ship. The vessel will also be a floating museum of sorts. Scientists who study aquatic ecosystems can hole up in the dedicated “Earth garden” lab, and tourists can visit temporary exhibits in a “water garden” or settle into a submerged lounge that could easily pass for a London nightclub. Callebaut, 33, dreamed up the idea after last year’s United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen shone a long-overdue spotlight on global water issues. He has some lofty terms for his project: It’s a “nomadic hydrodynamic laboratory,” a “fragment of living earth,” and a “floating agora” on a “geopolitical scale.” Others might just call it a cool idea.

Source: Popsci

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Floating Architecture Docks in Shanghai

October 29, 2010

SPARCH Architects adds a floating pod city to its giant cruise-ship terminal.

Shanghai Chandelier

SPARCH Architects, in charge of the master plan for Shanghai’s new cruise-ship terminal, has released renderings of its crown jewel: a collection of pod-like restaurants and bars suspended by cables from a 130-foot-high, glass-clad archway. The so-called “Shanghai Chandelier” was designed in part in response to some Shanghai city planners’ desire to open up the notoriously jam-packed city in anticipation of the 2010 Expo, themed around “Better City, Better Life.” Lifting the restaurants off the ground might crowd the skyline, but it offers views through the arch to a new waterfront park.

That park is there because most of the $260 million, 2.8 million-square-foot terminal isn’t there: it’s underground. The terminal master plan involves a network of courtyards carved into the landscape with buildings sunk into them. The first construction phase finished in October, and the entire terminal is set to open in May, in time for the Expo.

With a terminal this enormous, China is betting that the cruise industry booms in Asia. It’s been growing–Royal Caribbean started to operate out of Dubai in January with cruises around the Middle East and Shanghai saw more than 100 ships dock in 2007, up from only 10 in 2004–but the new terminal might be overly ambitious. About 150,000 cruise tourists came through the port in 2008. The new terminal is built to handle a yearly load of 1.5 million. Will it have to? It’s designed around 88,000-ton ships–huge, but not as big as behemoths like Royal Caribbean’s 220,000-ton Oasis of the Seas. (That ship needed a new terminal at Port Everglades, Florida designed just for it.) That’s because the Shanghai terminal’s site on the Huangpu River isn’t that great a port for these giant new ships. The biggest of the big can’t even get to the terminal because the river is too narrow and the Yangpu Bridge over it is too low for them to fit under. Most big ships, then, go to Hong Kong, or another port on the mouth of the Yangtze, outside of Shanghai. Royal Caribbean says it’ll use smaller, “intimate cruise ships” in the new port–a fitting oxymoron for a city bent on balancing smart urbanism with boomtown extravagance.

Shanghai Chandelier

Shanghai Chandelier

Shanghai Chandelier

Source:  Fact Company (by   William Bostwick )

Lajedo de pedras apareceu a 400 metros da margem, diz canoeiro

October 29, 2010

O que era água do rio Negro no período de cheias no porto de Manaus (AM) hoje abriga carros, caminhões, barracas e barcos. A areia que aparece pelo recuo de 100 metros da margem está sendo usada para comércio e como via de caminhada por viajantes e carregadores dos mais variados produtos.

Na maior seca do Rio Negro em 108 anos, a paisagem muda ao longo de seu curso. O canoeiro José dos Santos conta que um lajedo de pedras “reapareceu” no meio do rio, a cerca de 400 metros da margem. “Elas só foram vistas em 1963, quando também houve recorde de vazão do rio. Em 1983 um barco bateu nelas e ficou encalhado. Mas não dava para ver. Agora, em outubro, ela reapareceu”. O lajedo virou atração turística a banhistas.

O também canoeiro Pedro Roque, de 62 anos,  diz que “há lugares que não dá para passar” pela primeira vez em muitos anos porque leitos de igarapés estão secos.

Foto: AE

Água recuou no Porto de Manaus por conta da seca que atinge o Estado

O carregador de feira Analzido Gomes da Silva, de 32 anos, explica que, na seca, o trabalho sempre é mais díficil. “Prejudica muito para a gente. Fica tudo mais longe e o carreto mais pesado”. Como a margem do rio está afastada do porto e os barcos não conseguem atracar no local, os carregadores precisam caminhar os cem metros de areia para abastecê-los com mercadorias.

A distribuidora de queijos Helem Lima, de 26 anos, vai ao porto buscar o alimento para revender três vezes por semana. “Levar todo o queijo para o barco durava em torno de 30 minutos. Agora, dá 1h30, 2h. A produção está menor. Com pouca água, as áreas de pasto diminuem e, consequentemente, os gados e o queijo. Em época de cheia fazemos 500 quilos por semana; em seca, 200, 300 quilos chorando.”

Nível do Rio Negro

No último domingo, o nível do Rio Negro chegou a 13,63m, um centímetro a menos que o recorde de 1963. É o nível mais baixo em 108 anos, desde que a medição começou a ser feita no Porto de Manaus. Na segunda-feira, subiu para 13,65m e , na quarta, atingiu 13,70m. Daniel Oliveira, chefe do setor de hidrologia do Serviço Geológico do Brasil, o CPRM, afirma ao iG que, apesar de o rio Negro estar subindo desde domingo, ainda não é possível saber se a vazão chegou ao fim. “O rio Negro é decorrente do que acontece no Solimões, sobe e desce de acordo com ele”, explica. A água do rio Solimões voltou a cair, após dias seguidos de alta.

A seca no Amazonas fez com que 38 dos 62 municípios decretassem situação de emergência, segundo informou a Defesa Civil do Estado. Mais de 62 mil famílias já foram afetadas pela estiagem e pelo baixo nível dos rios. No interior, há comunidades isoladas e barcos impedidos de atracar nos portos. Em Manaus, há leitos de igarapés secos bem no meio da capital.

Segundo o CRPM, o rio Solimões já alcançou o menor nível da história nos principais pontos de medição. O rio Amazonas também já quebrou recorde com o menor nível registrado desde 1970, quando iniciou a medição.

Veja abaixo imagens de Manaus antes e depois da seca.

Source:  Lectícia Maggi (http://ultimosegundo.ig.com.br)

Rising Temperatures, Disappearing Coastlines

October 26, 2010

Source: http://www.npr.org/news/graphics/2008/jan/flooding/

Dutch Architects Plan for a Floating Future

October 26, 2010

Architects in Holland are showing the rest of the world a way of turning adversity into opportunity.

The inevitable rise in sea level that comes with climate change is going to make it increasingly difficult to control flooding in low-lying Holland. But instead of cursing their fate, architects are designing a new Holland that will float on water, and the Dutch government seems willing to try out the scheme. Holland has made other countries begin to question, too. Who says you have to live on dry land?

With the exception of the major highways, it feels like you can’t drive more than a mile or so in the Netherlands without running into water. It could be the sea; it could be a river; it could be a canal.

Source: Joe Palca ( www.npr.org )

Climate Displacement in Bangladesh

October 19, 2010

Bangladesh has among the highest death rates in the world from the hazards of tornadoes, strongwind, lightning, and hail. Current technology provides ineffective warning and communication.Social vulnerability to hazards is high due to poverty, weak housing, illiteracy, and lack ofemergency services. Four steps are proposed to reduce risks from severe local storms in Bangladesh. Install Doppler radar to detect storms, train meteorologists, and developmethods to convey warnings to villages and residents. Develop severe local storm educationmaterials with text and visual information about storms and storm safety. Distribute these toschool children and in billboards, posters, and through emerging technologies such as mobile phones. Construct household-level Bangladesh Ono Storm Shelters in a targeted communityand monitor their acceptance and use. Ensure that women are represented at equal numbers tomen in the education and decision-making for severe local storm reduction and recovery.

CAKED in sweat and slime, Mohamed Abdul Wozad pauses for breath before heaving another basket of river mud on his head, and starting up the slippery path towards the embankment above. A lifetime resident of Gabura Island in southwest Bangladesh, Wozad lives at the battlefront of global climate change, a 28sq km patch of damp earth clasped in the estuarine fingers of Bangladesh’s sprawling river network.

Bangladesh squeezes its roughly 160 million population into an area one-sixth the size of NSW. More than 80 per cent of those people survive on less than $US2 ($2.28) per day; many under constant threat from floods, droughts and cyclones. Together with the Maldives and a few other island states, Bangladesh tops virtually every index of countries most vulnerable to climate change. Experts say Gabura Island and the surrounding areas are the worst affected. In recent years it has been made a poster child by activists, who paint many of the country’s problems as the rotten fruit of Western greed.

“Climate change is not causing anything new, but the frequency and intensity are increasing,” says Ainun Nishat, formerly Bangladesh’s representative at the International Union for Conservation of Nature and now vice-chancellor of BRAC University in Dhaka. “There were massive floods in 1988, 1995, 1998, 2000, 2004 and 2007. Statistically, the 1988 flood was a hundred-year event, but in 1995 and 2000 the water levels were similar [to 1988], and in 2004 they exceeded the 1988 level.”

Bangladeshi scientists say crops are failing in northern parts of the country due to changing weather patterns and, farther south, storms and sea-level rise are destroying property and contaminating arable land with salt. Environmental groups, who blame anthropogenic global warming, argue that if these problems worsen they could trigger catastrophic migration, even though migration experts are sceptical about such claims. In practice, however, it is very difficult to identify the effects of climate change among a welter of other possible causes; far less prove the link between local problems and global emissions.

“It is not yet clear whether these are long-term trends, but our observations on the ground match predictions based on IPCC climate change science, and we are using this as a proxy indicator that climate change is happening in Bangladesh,” says Mozaharul Alam, research fellow at the Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies. “The major indications of climate change have come in the past 10 to 15 years, but the locals would say they have begun to observe unusual events over the past five to 10 years. If we really want to claim these problems are due to climate change we need more analysis and more longitudinal data.”

Sources: Risk Factors and Social Vulnerability, Displacement solutions

Buckminster Fuller – Triton floating city

October 19, 2010

Triton was a concept for an anchored floating city that would be located just offshore and connected with bridges and such to the mainland. It was a collection of tetrahedronal structures with apartments and such.

Sources: Triton floating city, DPR Barcelona.

Belen, Iquitos, Peru – Floating City

October 19, 2010

Sources:

http://www.hobotraveler.com/2008/06/amazon-river-balsa-wood-houses.html

http://www.totallyzen.com/belen-floating-city-peru-mesmerizingly-beautiful-and-simple.html

http://www.travelpod.com/travel-photo/darrenkatie/1/1251581269/28_a.jpg/tpod.html

Amazon river houses – Peru & Brasil

October 19, 2010

In April of 2008, the expedition team crossed from Peru into Brazil. Even though the landscape didn’t change very much between the two countries, they noticed several changes in the way that people lived. Most noticeably is the difference between houses in Peru and houses in Brazil. Houses in Peru were almost always made of materials gathered straight from the rainforest. Roofs were made of woven palms in Peru. Only in larger villages did a few houses have metal roofs. Walls of Peruvian houses were built from wood taken right from the forest. All of the houses were open-air, meaning they didn’t have any windows. The walls were only a few feet tall to let the breeze flow through. It was extremely rare for a community to have electricity while we were in Peru.

A typical house found in the Peruvian Amazon. Note that it’s constructed from materials all found from the rainforest.

Many traditional houses along the Amazon River are built on rafts. The houses then rise and fall with the water levels that change from seasonal flooding.

Look at the difference between this floating house in Brazil, and the Peruvian house above. What differences do you seen between the materials the houses are made from?

Along the Amazon, nearly every house in Brazil has a metal roof. Many houses along the Brazilian Amazon are made of plaster and look very different than the traditional rainforest homes of Peru. In addition to having more modern-looking houses, most Brazilian communities regularly have electricity, but usually only for a few hours each evening.

Brazilian communities consist of houses made from materials bought in cities, like plaster, bricks, and metal. Also note the electrical pole. Most communities have electricity for a few hours each day.

The towns and cities that line the Amazon River are also much more developed than those of Peru or Colombia. In Peru, most families have a small farm located away from their communtiy. These small family farms are called, chakras (CHA-kras). On a typical chakra, famlies grow bananas, yucca, mango, rice, melons, and other fruits and vegetables. The family eats most of what they grow. Some people have food left over, so they’re able to sell it at small markets.

Cities and larger communities are becoming more common along the Amazon as we draw closer to the Atlantic Ocean.

In Brazil, small family farms have been replaced by large cattle ranches. Cattle ranches line the river bank. Nearly all trees have been cut down close to the river. About 1 kilometer back from the river bank, the rainforest is full and has many trees. There is a law in Brazil that says farmers can only deforest 30% of their land. However, most of that land they clear is near the Amazon River.

From talking with older people who have lived along the Amazon for many years, things have changed. People no longer grow the majority of their food, and they rely on buying things from cities to build houses and boats.

What impact do you think these differences in building materials has on the rainforest? Do you think that there is an impact on the small communites if people start buying materials from outside their community? Do you think that the changes between Brazilian and Peruvian lifestyles and uses of the rainforest have an impact on the rainforest, society, or the planet? What would happen if people in Peru started having large cattle ranches like in Brazil?

Source: http://www.wildernessclassroom.com/amazon/2008/10/taking_shelter_in_the_brazilia.html

 

Floating Architecture gallery-OS 2012. London

October 19, 2010

Source: Arhiconst (Simion Popa)