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    ArchitectureWeek Notes No. 580
    Dear ArchitectureWeek Readers,

    ArchitectureWeek No. 580 is now available on the Web, with these new design and building features, and more. This Notes edition is sponsored by Wiley:


    Concise, Practical Guides for Today's Design Professionals

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    The first Passivhaus project, in Darmstadt, Germany (1991), designed by Wolfgang Feist, marks a significant milestone in the evolution of the solar house from an exotic species, towards a new dwelling template suitable for mainstream adoption. Photo: Courtesy Passive House Institute

    Evolving the Solar House
    by Anthony Denzer

    By the end of the 1970s, a significant discourse emerged about the solar house's aesthetic problems and potentials. In numerous cases, solar architecture was treated as a historically emergent type with a secure and inevitable future. One example from 1978:

    The first steam powered vessels to cross the Atlantic looked like awkward sailing ships not steamships (just as the first automobiles looked like awkward carriages, not Model T's). They carried a full complement of sails because their reliability was well below 100%. It was not long before they achieved the reliability necessary to evolve their own form and their own structure, vastly different from the form of its progenitors.

    Solar building is beginning to embark on this same sort of evolution — awkward, not able to do the job alone, working with adaptations of unsuitable existing forms. The turning point will be when we change our commitment from an add- on, booster mentality to a 100% solar sensibility. At that point evolution will be swift and irreversible. Solar devices, solar buildings and solar villages will rapidly develop appropriate forms and structures.

    Such an evolution did not mature in the 1970s. In 1981, architecture critic Paul Goldberger concluded: "... architecture based on the requirements of solar energy, whether passive or active, is bringing us some very disappointing buildings... To be blunt about it, most solar houses are just plain ugly."

    When President Reagan was elected in 1980, it foreshadowed the end of an era for solar energy. He immediately slashed the budgets for solar energy by two-thirds. At SERI, Denis Hayes was fired and the staff was cut from 950 to 350. In 1985, Congress allowed the solar tax credits to lapse and companies like Solaron folded.

    George Löf recalled: "When they removed the subsidies the market disappeared." Some of these companies and their technologies, Thomas Friedman has noted, "ended up being bought by Japanese and European firms — helping to propel those countries' renewable industries." Finally, the Reagan staff removed the solar panels from the White House roof in 1986, even though the system was performing well.   >>>

    full story online (30 images, 15 free)

    BattersbyHowat designed the four-story, four-unit residential building at 2386 Cornwall Avenue in Vancouver, B.C., built on an infill lot with distant water views. Photo: Ivan Hunter

    B.C. Apartments by BattersbyHowat
    by Christopher Macdonald

    In both the emergence and ensuing development of a modern architectural idiom in Canada's Pacific Northwest, designs for the detached family home have served an important role as crucibles of exploration and research.

    New materials and building technologies have been allied with challenges to conventional social habit, while the rugged terrain, lush vegetation, and benign climate have provided a profound measure to the artifice of design.

    The domestic projects of BattersbyHowat fully embrace this tradition and bear witness to the potential of 'patient searching' to discover experiences of uncommon poise. David Battersby and Heather Howat consistently produce compositions possessing at once clarity and suggestive potential — what might be thought of as domestic topographies.

    The Vue at Kitsilano

    A speculative development prominently located opposite Kitsilano Beach in Vancouver, this multi-family building contains four residential units. Each suite occupies an entire floor. The long, narrow mid-block site has a north-orientated view towards the ocean and Stanley Park peninsula, but is overlooked by adjacent properties to the east and west.   >>>

    full story online (14 images, nine free)

    The addition of this wrap-around deck to a 18th-century home provides a convenient outdoor living space while respecting the home's Federalist motif. Photo: Mick Hales

    Staying Put in Style: Wrap-Around Remodel
    by Duo Dickinson

    An 18th-century Federal farmhouse had multiple lean-to additions tacked onto it over its first 200 years. These served not so much to reach out to the landscape but to separate those within the house from it.

    In addition, plantings that were once under control began to consume not only the home's walls but also any potential for a view from the windows that actually caught a glimpse of a backyard pond.

    The new owners removed all of the overgrown foliage and built a carefully crafted deck that celebrated its supports — rather than having apologetic pipes or spindly four-by-four-inch (10-by-10-centimeter) pressure-treated posts.

    Stainless-steel cable rails provide a code-compliant barrier without blocking the view, and mahogany rails afford a nice location to rest an afternoon cocktail.   >>>

    full story online (four images, all free)
    P&P Image

    Schmidt Hammer Lassen designed a new library building for the University of Aberdeen campus in Aberdeen, Scotland. Photo: Adam Moerk

    People and Places
    by ArchitectureWeek

    Scottish Design AwardsMoshe Safdie in Los AngelesRIBA Awards 2013Foster + Partners in MunichSFMOMA Addition Breaks GroundSmithGroup JJR in Salt Lake CityDiederendirrix Architects in EindhovenSiegel & Strain Architects at UC DavisAIA-ALA Library Design Awards

    Scottish Design Awards
    The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS has announced 12 winners of its RIAS Awards for 2013. In addition to winners in its main awards section, as it continues to evolve the program, RIAS also announced three new sponsored topical subcategories for use of timber, for sustainability, and for resource efficiency.

    The RIAS Awards 2013 winners include:

    The Sir Duncan Rice Library, Aberdeen, Scotland
    Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects
    Area: 15,500 square meters (167,000 square feet)
    Client: University of Aberdeen
    Dates: Construction period 2009 - 2011
    Engineer: Arup & Partners Ltd
    Quantity Surveyors: Davis Langdon LLP, Landscape

    Jury comment:

    This is a contemporary international structure within one of Scotland's most important historic settings. Its internal arrangement cleverly challenges preconceived notions of "the library".   >>>

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     Technology Update

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    New Language Content Packs for Autodesk Revit 2014 - BIM and Beam, 2013.0624

    Revit to CAD: Nothing to Fear - BIM Aficionado, 2013.0622

    Revit 2014: Options for Double Click - IMAGINiT Technologies Support Blog, 2013.0621

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    SketchUp Tools : PUSH / PULL - Sketchup-UR-Space, 2013.0620

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    New Product


    Product News - New Kitchen Faucet from Dornbracht

    Pivot, designed by longtime Dornbracht collaborator Sieger Design, is the company's latest addition to its iconic Tara Ultra series. Deck-mounted and an ideal solution for kitchen islands, this articulated combination faucet and pot filler has an unusually long arm projection of 21-2/3 inches and provides hot and cold water anywhere within the 360-degree radius where it rotates. It means pots can conveniently go straight from the cabinet to the stovetop without a stopover in the sink.

    See our comprehensive visual catalog of architectural products, powered by DesignGuide!

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    Contents, RSS, and Surface of the Week

    Pyramidal built-up wood ceiling (CR-003)


    Architecture Quiz this week's new question...

    When early American townships were being developed, it was common to offer lots of various lengths along street frontages. Depending on a person's inclinations or financial strength they might purchase a lot of 1, 2, 3, or 4 rods wide. How wide is a 4-rod lot?

    Architecture Answer for last week's quiz...

    At the time the Dirigible Dock building was first built (1929), it was considered by some to enclose the largest unobstructed space in the world. Each end of the building had two doors measuring 202 feet (62 meters) high. Each door pivoted on a single pin at the top. Guess how these doors were designed to be pulled open. By teams of horses, a system of weights and pulleys, or with a locomotive?



    Classic Home 069 — Tucson Mountain House, by Rick Joy Architect

    "This house in the foothills near Tucson, Arizona was designed for the region's harsh weather extremes, including severe daily temperature swings and long dry periods interrupted by torrential rains. A long circulation spine separates the two long parallel wings of the house. The larger wing contains a master bedroom suite at one end and a large, open common kitchen, dining, and living space at the other, with an enclosed utility room between. A guest bedroom and large covered patio make up the second, smaller wing.... "


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