Weekly Blog Favorites for July 30

Disney embraces green. The 4,500-square-foot VISION House seeks to promote green home awareness that will imprint children with green design and products both prosaic and visionary, much as an earlier generation embraced recycling

VISION House’s purpose is to engender sustainable thinking, says Green Builder Media CEO Sara Gutterman. Green Builder Media collaborated with Walt Disney’s Imagineers to “innovent” VISION House, combining the media company’s expertise in green living with Disney’s expertise in entertainment.Disney expects 15 million people will see the home during the next three years.

Via Metropolis Magazine POV Blog

Makeover for Washington DC’s Union Station. Amtrak has revealed an ambitious conceptual master plan that would increase the number of tracks, trains, and travelers that can be handled at what is now the East Coast’s second-busiest station.

The National Trust, as part of the Union Station Preservation Coalition, has helped prepare a report that recommends ways to best preserve Union Station’s historic integrity. The full report can be downloaded at www.PreservationNation.org/UnionStationReport.

Via Preservation Nation Blog

The Future of Olympic Architecture. Hosting the Olympics creates a unique opportunity for a city to show off its character and style. There’s no better way to empower a forward-thinking, progressive population than by constructing bold, progressively designed event spaces and stadiums. But at what cost has constructing these venues become?

London has taken a revolutionary approach to host “the world’s first truly sustainable Olympic and Paralympic Games, leaving a legacy far beyond the departure of the Olympic Flame,” according to London2012.com. The city has purposefully designed some of its buildings to be easily disassembled and recycled once the Games have concluded.

Via Mashable

How Far Has Bike and Pedestrian Advocacy Come? In 1980, the very first Pro Bike conference with 100 people convened in Asheville, North Carolina. Thirty-two years later, the Pro Walk/Pro Bike: Pro Place has expanded to 1,000 advocates, reflecting the dramatic transformation of bicycling advocacy into today’s active transportation movement.

Project for Public Spaces interviews three advocates who have played very active roles in this transformation, looking back over the past three decades and reflecting on lessons learned thus far.

Via Project for Public Spaces Blog

Parks are part of our healthcare system. Green spaces are crucial to solving hypertension, anxiety, depression, diabetes – “the diseases of outdoor living,” Dr. Daphne Miller, a professor of family and community medicine, University of California, San Francisco, told conference attendees at the Greater & Greener: Reimagining Parks for 21st Century Cities in New York City.

The more someone spends outdoors, the less likely they are to suffer from mental or physical disorders. In a separate panel on healthcare and parks, Dr. Deborah Cohen, senior natural scientist at RAND, and Sarah Messiah, a research professor at the University of Miami presented study results that measured “play in communities,” examining activity levels of residents using parks in Los Angeles.

Via The Dirt

Weekly Roundup for Week of June 4

Endangered sites. The National Trust for Historic Preservation has released its 2012 list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.

NTHP has produced the annual list for 25 years, drawing attention to more than 230 sites—including buildings, landscapes, and entire communities—that risk destruction or significant damage. The 2012 sites are:

- Bridges of Yosemite Valley, California - Ellis Island hospital complex; New York Harbor, New York and New Jersey - Historic U.S. post office buildings - Joe Frazier’s Gym; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - Malcolm X — Ella Little-Collins House; Boston, Massachusetts - Princeton Battlefield; Princeton, New Jersey - Sweet Auburn Historic District; Atlanta, Georgia - Terminal Island; Port of Los Angeles, California - Texas courthouses - Elkhorn Ranch; Billings County, North Dakota - Village of Zoar, Ohio

Via Architectural Record

Related: Preservation Nation and The Cultural Landscape Foundation


Design venture. A team of 6th grade entrepreneurs / venture capitalists have formed a strategic alliance with Lake | Flato to work on the design of some major new civic architecture that is being called a "game changer" for the AEC industry.

The projects on the drawing boards were conceived and masterminded by the 6th graders with design consulting services performed by Lake | Flato. The projects include a rotating restaurant up in a tree with toboggan slides and ice skating rink, a subterranean river walk with a medieval weapons gallery, a mobile cooking school and cupcake shop made of train cars, and a chocolate mining facility and associated defensive fortifications on Ganymede (7th moon of Jupiter).

Via: The Dogrun


Buckminster Fuller Winner. The Buckminster Fuller Institute, which annually awards a $100,000 prize to support the ongoing development and implementation of a strategy that has a significant potential to solve humanity’s most pressing issues, has announced a winner for the 2012 Buckminster Fuller Challenge.

“The Living Building Challenge” seeks to lead the charge toward a holistic standard that could yield an entirely new level of integration between building systems, transportation, technology, natural resources, and community. If widely adopted, this approach would significantly enhance the level of broad-based social collaboration throughout the design and building process and beyond, dramatically reducing the destructiveness of current construction, boost the livability, health, and resilience of communities.

Via Arch Daily

Related: "Bucky" via TraceSF


A Canopy as Social Cathedral. Architecture review on an angular glass canopy designed by Preston Scott Cohen that covers 11,000 square feet of North End Way, a pedestrian alley in Battery Park City.

Part of what makes this a notable public space is the quality of construction: the granite sidewalk, the lighting, the stainless-steel and glass storefronts, the street furniture. Goldman Sachs, whose headquarters at 200 West Street backs onto North End Way, owns and developed the arcade, which is zoned for public use. But it’s the canopy, which Goldman also commissioned, that formally elevates what is really just a gap between two buildings into something almost as inspired as the nave of a great Gothic cathedral. – Michael Kimmelman

Via New York Times