Challenge for Ecobuild is reducing greenwash and white noise

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White noiseToday is the first day of Ecobuild, which claims to be the world’s largest exhibition dedicated to sustainable construction and fit-out. Some 1,500 organisations are taking part in the event in East London which last year attracted 58,000 visitors from around the world. While undoubtedly successful, influential, with great intellectual content and a showcase for some truly innovative and effective products, the approach of Ecobuild invariably begs the question: in a world in which every supplier claims to be environmentally friendly, how are their customers expected to make the right choices?

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Widespread adoption of BIM moves closer

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The widespread adoption of Building Information Modelling (BIM) in architecture, design and construction has moved closer with the publication by the Construction Industry Council (CIC) yesterday of the BIM Protocol, a legal framework for BIM projects. The use of BIM as a collaborative way of working that utilises digital technologies for more efficient methods of designing, creating and maintaining properties has been described as a game-changing ICT and cultural process for the built environment, with the Government’s intention to require collaborative 3D BIM on all its projects by 2016

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American Institute of Architects opens design and health project

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Via Verde

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) is working with the Clinton Global Initiative and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for Advanced Urbanism (CAU) to examine the relationships between design, urbanism, and public health. The collaboration is part of the AIA’s Decade of Design Commitment to Action, which aims to make positive changes through design in the global urban environment. Alexander d’Hooghe, director of the MIT CAU explained: “We are investigating the scale of urban design, architecture, as well as planning, in relation to health today, whether related to obesity, or to climate change.” More →

Building designers should pay more heed to what users need

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The future for London's skyline

The future for London’s skyline

These past two weeks have seen me playing and working in what I believe is fondly referred to as “That London” by those who live and work in the rest of the United Kingdom. Whilst resisting the temptations of the capital’s fleshpots, I’ve had the time to reflect on the design of public spaces and wonder at the architectural munificence that gave us, within a single square mile or so; The Shard, The Gherkin, St Pauls Cathedral and the engineering marvel of Tower Bridge (I also had the chance to sample Japanese octopus balls, but that, as the saying goes, is another story altogether).

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Updated: nearly all London boroughs seek exemption from office conversion plan

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City-of-London

Earlier, we reported that London’s Mayor Boris Johnson openly believes that London’s key business districts should be exempt from proposals to allow offices to be turned into homes without planning permission. Now a report emerges from CBRE that all but a handful of London’s boroughs are to seek to make themselves exempt from the rules.  According to the research, only Barking and Dagenham, Greenwich, Croydon and Kingston are unlikely to seek an exemption. Four other boroughs are discussing plans with the Greater London Authority (GLA) and the remaining 25 are set to apply to make themselves exempt.

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US Federal government confirms green-building requirements

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A new study prepared for the United States Department of Defense (DoD) by the National Research Council has given the seal of approval on the importance of green-building certification programs as tools to reduce energy use and other operational costs. “This reaffirmed what we’ve been saying all along – that LEED makes good economic sense,” said Fleming Roberts, Associate, Policy & Advocacy at the US Building Council. “The report recommended that the Department of Defense should require its new buildings or major renovations to be designed to achieve at least LEED Silver certification.” More →

Greenbiz publishes latest State of Green Business report

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Green Biz_0000Greenbiz has published its sixth annual State of Green Business report, setting out what it claims are the ten key environmental trends for organisations to look out for in 2013. Many focus on the overlap between pure business goals and corporate social responsibility, for example in terms of managing supply chains to reduce risk, making more efficient use of resources, the impact of new technology and working practices and the role of creating value through a healthy working environment.

Room for improvement in public sector workplace management

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Portcullis HouseLast week technology company Citrix announced that the UK Government could cut its property costs by a third by adopting flexible working policies. It used a Freedom of Information request to discover how much space each public sector employee in the UK is allocated and how much it costs then applied a formula to work out how this would be affected by greater adoption of flexible working. What was interesting was not just the up-front argument you would expect from an ICT provider but also the discovery that the average employee is allocated 1.1 workstations with some enjoying 1.6. More →

Arup publishes its vision of the 2050 building

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Itsailvereport218x281Arup has published a new report called It’s Alive, which aims to describe how buildings in our cities could look and function in 2050. The study has been produced by Arup’s Foresight + Innovation team and predicts that “structures will be fully integrated into the fabric of the city, responsive to changes in the external environment, and designed for continuous adaptability, according to real-time needs and demands of its users.” The report includes a series of artist’s impressions, to illustrate how building features such as photovoltaic surfaces and algae-producing biofuel pods might enable buildings to produce food, energy and resources. More →

Model new site announced for BIM aficionados

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BIM

The UK’s BIM (Building Information Modelling) Task Group is launching a Digital Plans of Work site on February 28. The latest phase in the government’s plans to make the UK the world leader in BIM, the site will enable users to keep an online version of their work. BIM is also attracting support worldwide. Today, US construction giant ZMG Construction threw its weight behind the technology saying: “New technological developments continue to revolutionize the construction and design industries — and building information modelling, or BIM, is foremost on the list of these major technological advances.” More →

Tallest tower to be built in Pakistan, claim developers

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Burj Khalifa - there to be shot at

Burj Khalifa – there to be shot at

Just as we were getting used to the idea of the Kingdom Tower in Jeddah relieving the Burj Khalifa of its short-lived crown as the World’s tallest building, news emerges that Abu Dhabi Group is planning to top them both as part of an investment of some $45 billion in several Pakistani cities. The proposed projects include ghastly sounding replicas of the Seven Wonders of the World along with a huge tower in the city of Karachi. Whether all of the mooted projects see the light of day is one to debate given the parlous state of the World’s finances.    More →

Architects appointed for Kingdom City project

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Kingdom CityTwo architectural practice have been appointed to carry out masterplanning for the $20 billion Kingdom City project in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Kingdom Holdings, the firm owned by Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal has appointed US-based Calthorpe Associates as lead masterplanner for the 5.3 million square metre development, while Gulf based Godwin Austen Johnson has been named urban architect. Kingdom City is a vast mixed use development which will also be home to the world’s tallest building the Kingdom Tower.  The project will be completed in three-phases with Kingdom Tower be built in phase-one, infrastructure to be created in phase-two, and details of phase-three yet to be revealed.

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