July 7, 2017

Vertical forest to pop up in Utrecht

Filed under: Architecture,Dutch first,Nature by Orangemaster @ 4:13 pm


In Utrecht near Central Station, in the new district of the Jaarbeursboulevard, Milanese firm Stefano Boeri Architetti will erect the ‘Hawthrone Tower’, a Dutch vertical forest after having won an international competition.

“The 90-metre-tall tower will be covered by 10,000 plants of many different species, aimed at creating ‘an innovative experience of cohabitation between city and nature.’ The green façade will allow Hawthorne Tower to absorb more than 5.4 tons of CO2, scrubbing the air for healthier living conditions for both residents of the tower and the wider city.

Construction will start in 2019 and should be finished in 2022. As well, on the ground floor it will also house a ‘vertical forest hub’, a research centre for the implementation and education of urban forestation worldwide, open to the public.

(Links and photo: dearchitect.nl, archdaily.com)

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June 10, 2015

The art of noise reduction at Schiphol Airport

Filed under: Aviation,Design,Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 2:11 pm


Visual artist Paul de Kort was asked a few years ago to design the Buitenschot land art park, a huge 33-hectare park with a series of ribbed hedges and ditches surrounded by trees that form a noise-reduction green space right off Schiphol Airport’s biggest runway, the Polderbaan. Sadly, you can’t see the park from the air and that would partially explain why I’ve never noticed it before.

The airplane noise experienced by nearby residents is mostly low frequency ground noise that radiates backwards in an oblique fashion from planes during take-off, and De Kort’s aesthetic yet functional park of furrows was inspired by 17th century German acoustic techniques as well as local farming techniques.

Completed in October 2013 Buitenschot features small parks, bike paths and foot paths. De Kort also incorporated art pieces that drew on the history of the project, like the ‘Listening Ear,’ a parabolic dish on a small pyramid one can stand in that amplifies ambient sound, echoing the park’s noise reduction purpose and a diamond-shaped lake where visitors can create ripple patterns on the water surface while standing on a bridge equipped with a wave generating device.

(Links: www.pauldekort.nl, www.smithsonianmag.com, www.schiphol.com)

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September 19, 2010

Zaandam turning green

Filed under: Architecture,Art by Branko Collin @ 6:34 pm

No, the headline is not about environmental technology but about paint. We wrote earlier about the hotel in Zaandam that is made to look like it’s constructed of dozens of the green wooden houses that are typical for the area. It turns out that this was just part of a plan to give a much larger part of the inner city that look, including city hall.

Trendbeheer has more photos of the work in progress.

Alderman Hans Luiten told De Volkskrant in March: “There have been times where I wondered if I could deal with this much identity.” The new city centre is a response to the neglect of the old one. Luiten: “In the past you would not have wanted to be found dead there.”

The man behind the reshaping of the centre of Zaandam into a green Disneyland/nightmare/whatever is architect Sjoerd Soeters who was also responsible for Java Island in Amsterdam. “All his works have been discussed vehemently among architects, but are also appreciated much by their users”, Volkskrant adds. It appears that behind Soeters’ façades lurks a strong vision of livable streets. Which may be why the main street on the aforementioned Java Island is a foot and bike path.

(Photo of the new city hall in Zaandam by Wikimedia user Arch who released it in the public domain)

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August 16, 2009

The Electric Kart project [HAR 2009]

Filed under: Automobiles by Branko Collin @ 1:59 pm

The E-Kart or Electric Kart is an experiment to see “whether we can somehow conceive our own home-built electric vehicle—we bought an old go kart frame and converted it to a zero emission kart, using parts from an electric scooter,” according to its makers, Anthony Liekens and Walter Schreppers.

I talked to Liekens at HAR. The electric scooter was used simply because they had one available from China that wasn’t rated for use on the road in Belgium, and also because this solution was cheaper than getting the required parts separately. Originally, they wanted to buy an electric motor that would draw 4800 watts. The current scooter-based model uses 500 watts.

When I visited E-Kart Village, Anthonie was mourning a flat front tire, but in true hacker spirit, he told me that they were looking into the many and diverse applications of duck tape to overcome this problem. And sure enough, a day later I saw the kart zip across the campground again.

The E-Kart has a top speed of 23 km/h, and because it can access all its torque immediately, accelerates very fast. The E-Kart blog has lots more info, including videos and a complete, illustrated history.

Now it’s off for me to the last of the talks of HAR 2009. I hope you enjoyed reading about the camp as much as I enjoyed attending.

Update: I appear to have forgotten to include the link to the E-Kart blog, an oversight I have now corrected (see first paragraph)—B.

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