Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Broadway Malyan's help in Singapore

Singapore is a large thriving city-state with a lot of development and redevelopment, and it is difficult for us from a distance to know the details of potential sites, as so many can be found on Googlemaps.

Our dear friend Jason Pomeroy of Broadway Malyan's office in Gateway East, Singapore has identified an excellent site on Beach Rd, right next to an MRT station that is under construction. This is scheduled for a mixed use development, and is just what we would like. Jason is sending more photos soon. Jason has been a regular visitor to our design studio (managing to fit in a visit to Nottingham when he comes to England), and delivers a special lectures on skycourts, civic spaces in the sky - wonderful stuff!

I am very happy that this meets our criteria for a good site - and it encourages the preservation of the ground plane, so we will need a good groundscraper to serve whatever goes up into the sky.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Briefing for the module, London and ARM

The Date for Briefing is now Wednesday 30th October at 3pm in the Marmont Lecture Theatre, soon to become Marmont Workspace.

Note that the Field course in London leaves from the Cripps Hill/Lenton Hall Drive junction at 8am on Thurs 1st October.

We have also decided that the ARM (Architectural Research Methods) workshops will take place in the Marmont too, at 11am on Mondays, starting on the 12th October. (The first ARM lecture is 1300 on the 5th October in the Coates building.C24.)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Presenting the Module

So twice today, Phil and DNc had to present the module - to Diploma and Masters students. The sessions went well, and there seems plenty of interest. We shall not know the exact numbers until next week, as the voting forms are not finally in until Friday.
Phil's powerpoint showed all 5 site cities, plus a glimpse of previous work. We have not met the M.Arch in Technology students, so are wondering if any of those will pick TBI. Our emphasis on the first semester is more on Urban Design aspects than on Technology, so we would be content for them to wait till second semester.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sing of Singapore!

DNC and Phil have been considering the virtues of Singapore. We have considered the inspiring examples of its urban developments, its highly organised society, and some outstanding tall buildings. It has some of the most advanced thinking on eco-design, rainwater collection, green roofs, transport, traffic, housing design etc.
Yes, chewing gum is still banned, but that does keep the streets clean!
We were going to use a site in Kuala Lumpur (capital of Malaysia) but our friends who were going to provide site information dried up. So we are looking for suitable sites in S'pore, and have friends there who could help. Our students would find it easier to get the information than from Kuala Lumpur.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Visions towards 21st C Post Oil society

I don't want to sound a depressing note, so early, but really, this graph shows that Sustainability is a VERY important topic. It is about our very survival. You can see why if you view a wonderful, albeit terribly scary lecture on this very topic by Lee Morris, of WS Atkins, given at the CTBUH Dubai Congress. http://www.blip.tv/file/1118768   But have we, or the Earth itself actually gone over the tipping point? Architects can do 'this and that' with new buildings, and new ecotowns, but what about the 98% of buildings and cities that already exist?
How can the earth cope with the huge and still growing population, in a world where we can no longer accept high deathrates? This lecture deserves to be listened to in full!
This is the topic with which we will be starting the Architectural Research Methods working group.

First meeting with MArch students

We had a welcoming meeting with the M.Arch students, those who have already registered for Sustainable Tall Buildings, or those thinking of it; DNC and Phil presenting. We described the three main areas of interest: 'Urban Densification', 'Patterns of life and work with tall buildings', and 'Bioclimatic design of tall buildings', and the outline of the three semesters of the course.
This Blog, the Facebook area, Web CT and Email will be important means of communication with the groups and individuals. There are lecture courses and seminar courses such as ARM, HRI, DTM and FCT which also provide background information for the design task.
There will be a meeting on Wednesday in which people finally choose their pathway through the year, and that will finally decide how many do our course and the design project.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

An Eco-urbanism view of Tall Buildings

Do we really want Tall Buildings, or do we really need them?
Phil and DNC will be running a workshop in the Architectural Research Methods module. The group will study the question of ‘Densification’ as a strategy for urban sustainability. We know that Tall Buildings have higher embodied energy. Taking the longer view, into the ‘Olduvai’ post-oil era, dense cities may be more sustainable, and tall buildings can provide a large population with an urban habitat with a smaller footprint. Aside from the minority of extreme iconic structures, the majority of working tall buildings do a good job, but could do it better. The work will include mapping and statistical data, virtual modelling, and scenario building, making comparisons of high and low density urban habitats, considering embodied energy and energy consumption holistically.

If we have too many students in the workshop group, we will find other ways to avoid repetition by offering other topics, such as patterns of living and working in high-rise (with reference to past mistakes, and more recent Asian experience); Ecodesign concepts in tall buildings.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Starting in September - Sustainable Tall Buildings!

The term is about to start at the end of September and we have had most of the course planned many weeks ago. Here's a few highlights:

Phil Oldfield has arrived from Chicago and has joined the team as a full member of staff.
• We have a London field course planned in October, and a day in Manchester later in the term.

• For the first semester, we are sticking to our main plan of a 'pocket tall building' on sites in 5 different parts of the globe, where there is a need for our students to research CLIMATE, CULTURE and CONTEXT.
• The main project will start in October, before which we will do some short tall building design exercises.
• This year, the sites will be Chicago, Rotterdam, Mumbai, Abu Dhabi and Kuala Lumpur - all of which present interesting levels of difficulty.
• Since this is going to be almost bigger than the Olympics, cities around the globe are welcome to apply to us to be chosen in 2010 :)

• For the second semester, we will continue the project that we have successfully done for the last three years, a 'Super-Tall Bioclimatic Mixed Use skyscraper', in a capital city location - London. We have an excellent site in London, a sort of outdoor urban laboratory, on which we can test out far-out concepts such as vertical farming, algae generating towers, solar and wind experimentation, extreme density, parks in the sky, sports or educational towers and much more.
• As this course is still unique, we are exploring the means of distance learning, using webcasts, movies, pdfs, summer school, for those who cannot afford the full year of Masters course.

Yes.... this is the World's first Masters course in Sustainable Tall Buildings - starting on Monday 21st Sept!
We are starting this blog to share with our present students and tutor team, to keep in touch with the alumni of our previous Tall Buildings design studios, and to help those who might come in future to find out more of how the course progresses.