I read this interesting article and through I would share with all you architecture enthusiasts! I appreciate Pre-fab construction and am anxious to learn the outcome of such a fascinatingly quick and inexpensive building method.
A new worlds tallest building! Check it out!
Construction on Sky City officially kicked off last weekend in Changsha, capital of Hunan province. Broad Group, which is building Sky City, is shooting for an April 2014 completion. By May or June, the 30,000 people it plans to accommodate (pdf) can start moving in. That also means that in the time it takes to gestate a human baby, Broad will finish a structure that hits 2,750 ft (838 meters)—ten meters higher than Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the world’s current tallest building.
Broad seems confident it can pull this off. “We are the pioneers, the pioneers of men,” sings a chorus in hardhats on Broad’s website. “We are the geniuses, the geniuses of technology.”
Not everyone is so sure. It’s not clear that Broad Group can afford its $1.47 billion price tag, say Chinese critics, and constructing in such haste compromises safety. On top of that, there’s no actual need for Sky City.
Zhang Yue’s prefab revolution
Zhang Yue, head of Broad Group and the brain behind Sky City, has made headlines for turning his mastery of factory production (he made a fortune in air conditioning manufacturing) toward feats of construction. Broad prefabricates each story offsite so that it can be transported for turnkey assembly in the last three or so months of the project. That means not just structure, but heating and plumbing, will be pre-made in a factory. While modular construction isn’t uncommon elsewhere in the world, no one has ever tried to build something on this scale.
What’s less well known is who’s going to pay Sky City’s $1.47 billion price tag. Though Broad Group boasts “mid-range costs“ (link in Chinese), that’s just slightly less than Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, which cost $1.5 billion (some estimate that the Dubai building cost billions more in total investment).
Chinese media report that Broad’s 2011 revenue was only $650 million. The investment is to be handled by Sky City Investment Corp, which has just $33 million yuan in registered capital (link in Chinese). Costs so far include the $64 million Broad paid for the property last November, and its $860 million contract with China Construction Fifth Engineering Bureau for infrastructure.
The city government, once skeptical of the project, is now gung ho, reports China Radio News, though provincial officials may be missing paperwork, reports Xinhua. While funding arrangements, if any, aren’t clear, an anonymous industry source told Hexun News that it’s likely that the local government is lending financial support (links in Chinese).
It’s also unclear how costly it will be to maintain the erected structure. "It won’t be hard to build the skyscraper, but it will be difficult to operate it," said Ren Zhiqiang, one of China’s leading real estate developers. Maintenance costs for residential homes can be steep; managing high-rise apartments typically cost three times as much as regular buildings, according to estimates cited by 21cn.com. And that’s not even taking into account the wear and tear on common spaces.
Sky City’s cash flow challenge
That strongly suggests that it’s going to need cash flow. But from where?
Burj Khalifa offers little guidance as it’s mainly office buildings and hotel rooms; Sky City will be 83 percent residential. Plus, an investment syndicate backed the project, and around 90 percent of salable space was sold early on.
Does anyone really need Sky City?
Places like Seoul or Hong Kong—cities with scarce space—might have use for Broad’s vertical utopia. But Changsha hardly exemplifies crippling urban density. And its 7-million population wouldn’t be enough to fill Sky City (link in Chinese), remarked Beijing Institute of Architectural Design head Wu Chen recently.
That’s particularly true since it’s out in the boonies. Sky City will be 9.3 miles (15km) outside Changsha’s outer ring road, pretty much smack dab in the middle of what used to be farmland.
And yet the structure will be a microcosm of urban life. In addition to apartments, Sky City will have office and hotel space, as well as schools, shops, recreational facilities, hospitals, gardens and community spaces. Although Sky City plans to pack in the amenities, many prospective residents will still have to commute to work. The building’s businesses will also need huge shipments of goods to feed, clothe and entertain the Sky City’s patrons and residents, which could lead to traffic jams.
It’ll need some bigger roads. Broad Group
In that, Broad appears to be disregarding human scale and walling people off from their surroundings, both common features of Chinese urban planning. As one Changsha resident told 51dc.com, “If they finish it, I’d stay in the hotel, but living in a building that massive would be a little terrifying” (link in Chinese). Not all potential residents see it that way. “If the price is low enough, I’d consider trying it,” another Changsha resident said. “Eating, living, shopping all in one building—that could be really convenient.”
Broad Group’s T30 hotel might not be much to look at. But, hey, it was built in just 15 days (Peng hongwei/Associated Press)
With housing sales slowing, Changsha’s uptick in land sales will boost housing supply by early 2014. Broad Group’s dearth of experience in residential real estate (link in Chinese) and its ultra-speedy nine-month deadline both pressure to sell quickly—and if its lack of apparent investors continues, possibly at a loss.
Is it safe?
Those are good reasons for Broad Group to build on the cheap. But many are worried that will compromise safety. “There’s no precedent for this type of construction,” Yin Zhi, director of Tsinghua University’s School of Urban Planning and Design, told China National Radio (links in Chinese).
“This leaves only two possibilities: either this technology will stun the world with its brilliance,” Yin said. “Or it’s a sham.”
BSB’s buildings are bolted together from pre-fabricated units built in factories like this one. (Associated Press)
Broad Group’s lack of experience in erecting buildings of Sky City’s height is troubling. Sky City is more than six times taller than the tallest building Broad Group has ever made (a 30-story hotel in the Hunan city of Yueyang which it built in 15 days).
Materials are also an issue. The Burj Khalifa was made of aluminum, silicone and glass, as well as a foundation of concrete and steel. In order to be constructed pre-fab, Broad Group uses mainly steel.
And though prefabricating makes the building lighter in theory, that’s still incredibly heavy. Tsinghua’s Yin said that, from a structural standpoint, after 100 meters, building specifications have to change. Broad Group may know that—or it may not. ”Broad regards these as internal patents, so it has never released the technological details,” Yin told CNR. “So you can’t really judge [whether it's safe].”
The company dismissed concerns about weight. “Anyone who has seen the schematics knows safety isn’t an issue,” said Zhang Yue. “This is a pyramid structure, and will be built using methods no different from the normal approach.”
Zhang Yue’s “pyramid” approach. Broad Group
Then there’s the speed issue. The Burj Khalifa took around six years to complete; Sky City will be done in nine months.
It’s not clear what the rush is, but its tight deadline could leave insufficient time for testing the structure. Lu Meng, the chief architect for Concord Century Holdings, told CNR that after every 12 to 13 stories, the layout of the heating and plumbing systems have to be switched around, and the foundation has to be reinforced (link in Chinese). “These things take time, and aren’t a matter of man triumphing over nature,” he says. “I think two years are more reasonable.”
Sky City bodes ill for the economy
Of course, Sky City could be a triumph, paving the way for fast, cheap, clean construction that will help China urbanize. But as is often noted, economist Andrew Lawrence years ago identified construction of the world’s tallest buildings as a turning point for an economy’s collapse.
Despite the country being riddled with ghost cities and empty shopping malls, dozens of skycrapers are being erected, fueled by vanity or politics or cheap capital. Currently, three 600-meter-plus projects are underway, while seven are in the planning stages.
Sky City on the far right, with Dubai’s Burj Khalifa next to it. Chinese skyscrapers in red; Taiwan’s in green; Dubai’s and the US’s in blue. (Motiancity.com)
Changsha’s Sky City is an example of the latest wave of building in China’s smaller cities, where local officials see big landmarks as ways to raise their cities’ profiles. Recent examples include the proposed 700-meter-plus Suzhou project, or a 400-meter skyscraper in Yinchuan, the sleepy capital of northwest China’s Ningxia, which Broad happens to be building.
Sky City will still be the tallest of these. Whether a symbol of China’s ambition or its excess, the building has a shot at becoming a monument to its moment in history. That’s not lost on Broad Group’s CEO, who in a recent interview invoked the Great Wall, the mammoth stone bulwark built by the Qin Emperor in BC 220 to protect against northern hordes. ”Compared with the Great Wall,” said Zhang (link in Chinese), “there is no essential difference.”
This Year, Ron and Alisha from our office went to the annual IAHA Maintenance Management Clinic. This clinic is held in Decatur, Illinois at the Decatur Conference Center and Hotel.
The IAHA Maintenance Management Clinic creates an opportunity to meet over 400 housing professionals from both the public and private sector who attend the Clinic each year to see what is for sale and what is new to make their jobs easier. At our Clinic, main functions such as breaks, evening receptions are held in the Exhibit Hall to insure maximum access to the participants of the Clinic.
Housing professionals from the public and private sector come together once a year to attend this specialtraining seminar which includes Housing Authority Executive Directors, maintenance and management purchasing agents, staff, not-for-profit sponsors of housing projects, private developers, property managers of subsidized housing developments and HUD officials. This wide variety of prospective clients insures you an opportunity to sell your product to those who attend the clinic and also opens the door to other possible clients through word of mouth. You have the opportunity to see more people in two days and get more positive exposure of your product than you can in three months using conventional methods.
Stop by booth 67 and say Hi to Ron and Alisha!
We all appreciate the time and effort of the AIA Illinois Architects who went to lobby for some important issues that affect specifically Architects, but ultimately everyone. Thanks again!
Above: Ron with Sen. Dave Syverson
Below: A group pic from the AIA Illinois website. I haven't found Ron in this one yet, but I have found at least one other Rockford area Architect!
The following are a Brief synopsis of 3 Bills discussed with legislature.
Accessibility Standards Update (HB 1462/ Rep. Sente)
With the adoption of the 2010 ADA Standards it has become
increasingly difficult to decipher what is necessary under the
Illinois Accessibility Code. Under HB 1462 the state must begin
aligning the Illinois Accessibility Code with the 2010 ADA
Standards. Professionals will be able to refer to one code when
making necessary designs. It is time to encourage Illinois to
update the Illinois Accessibility Code for easy, one stop
Status: This bill has passed the House State Government
Committee without opposition.
Testing Blackout (SB 1792/Sen. Martinez, HB 1344/Rep.
The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards
(NCARB) testing service will be down for 8 to 12 weeks this
summer. Interns with a bachelor’s degree only have till January
1, 2014 to complete their testing requirements.
SB1792/HB1344 extends the time in which architectural interns
may complete the exam. Providing for our future architects is
an important role in keeping the profession competitive.
Status: These bills have passed House and Senate
Historic Building Credit (SB 336/ Sen. Manar,
HB122/ Rep. Harris)
This credit will encourage private investment in historic
properties. Urban, suburban, rural communities and the State
of Illinois will benefit from the jobs and economic development.
The bill allows credit up to $3 million per project on state
income taxes equal to 20% of the qualified cost of the project.
The state is expected to return $7 for every $1 invested, in
income and sales tax dollars.
Status: These bills are assigned to Revenue Committee.
While Ron was at the Capital, he took some time to appreciate some great architecture. Below are some pictures he took while there. Enjoy!
Harry S Truman inherited a White House that was in horrendous shape. After the British nearly burnt it to the ground in 1814, the construction of 20th-century innovations—indoor plumbing, electricity, and heating ducts—had also taken its toll on the structure. The building was nearly 150 years old, and it showed its age. In November 1948, the building was in a near-condemnable state, as The New York Times reported:
The ceiling of the East Room, elaborately done in the frescoes of fruits and reclining women and weighing seventy pounds to the square foot, was found to be sagging six inches on Oct. 26, and now is being held in place by scaffolding and supports.... But it took the $50,000 survey authorized by Congress to disclose the fact that the marble grand staircase is in imminent danger. Supporting bricks, bought second hand in 1880, are disintegrating.
The social events of the 1948 holiday season had to be canceled. And with good reason: Experts called the third floor of the White House “an outstanding example of a firetrap.” The result of a federally commissioned report found the mansion’s plumbing “makeshift and unsanitary,” while “the structural deterioration [was] in ‘appalling degree,’ and threatening complete collapse.” The congressional commission on the matter was considering the option of abandoning the structure altogether in favor of a built-from-scratch mansion, but President Truman lobbied for the restoration.
“It perhaps would be more economical from a purely financial standpoint to raze the building and to rebuild completely,” he testified to Congress in February 1949. “In doing so, however, there would be destroyed a building of tremendous historical significance in the growth of the nation.”
So it had to be gutted. Completely. Every piece of the interior, including the walls, had to be removed and put in storage. The outside of the structure—reinforced by new concrete columns—was all that remained. See images of the reconstruction below. (Photos and captions are from the National Archives.)
The inside of the White House, after being gutted in 1950. (National Archives)
Window openings provide bursts of light into the cavernous interior of the White House, supported only by a web of temporary steel supports. The exterior walls rest on new concrete underpinnings, which allow earth-moving equipment to dig a new basement. (National Archives)
This photograph was taken from the east entrance of the lower corridor of the White House, looking west with the East Room above. The workmen are demolishing the walls of the lower corridor. (National Archives)
A view from the Servant's Dining Room to the bottom of an underpinning pit approximately 30 feet below. The concrete underpinning here will support a steel girder reaching to the roof of the White House. (National Archives)
A bulldozer removing debris from the inside of the White House, during the renovation of the building. The bulldozer had to be taken apart and moved into the White House in pieces, as President Truman would not allow a hole large enough to fit the bulldozer to be cut into the walls of the White House. (National Archives)
View of the north wall of the second-floor corridor of the White House during the renovation. The truss work in the walls of the North Hall have been removed. (National Archives)
View from the first floor landing to the basement during the removal of the Joliet stone steps from the main stairway of the White House. (National Archives)
Two unidentified men stand in what remains of the second-floor Oval Study above the Blue Room. The north wall and part of the floor have been removed for the installation of steel shoring columns. (National Archives)
Detail of the north wall of the Blue Room after the removal of the plaster from the walls. The jambs of the doorways to the Red Room (left) and Green Room (right) have also been removed. (National Archives)
View from the Lincoln Room northeast into Rose Room. (National Archives)
View of the northeast corner of the White House during renovation. Workmen are installing reinforced steel for laying of the concrete roofs of the Fan Room and other rooms in this area. (National Archives)
To underscore the size of the massive new ventilation system being installed above the tunnel in the new White House basement, the photographer placed workmen inside the illuminated ductwork. (National Archives)
These cupcakes are labor intensive, but SOOOOO worth the end result. I have made them before and they are the perfect sweet treat for your SWEETHEART.
I have garnished them with a small strawberry with the greens left on and sliced in half OR with the hull removed and then sliced in half to look like a heart.
Happy Valentine’s Day.
- Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line muffin tins with 24 cupcake liners.
- Combine the cake mix, oil, egg whites, and water in a mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase the speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Stir in the chopped bittersweet chocolate and scoop the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them two-thirds full.
- Bake in the preheated oven until golden and the tops spring back when lightly pressed, 15 to 20 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake should come out clean. Remove the cupcakes from the pans and cool completely on wire racks.
- Beat 1 cup cold whipping cream on medium-high speed until the cream has thickened, about 1 minute. Add confectioners' sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Stir in the frozen raspberries, toffee bits, and chopped toasted hazelnuts.
- Remove the centers of the cupcakes using an apple corer or paring knife, cutting out the middles in a funnel shape by holding the knife at a 45-degree angle. Spoon or pipe the filling into the cupcakes. Refrigerate the cupcakes while you prepare the ganache.
- Place the semisweet chocolate pieces in a heat-safe bowl. Bring 1/2 cup heavy cream to a boil. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate; cover the bowl and set aside for 5 minutes. Whisk the chocolate and cream until well combined; allow the ganache to cool until it reaches a spreadable consistency, about 1 hour. Spread a spoonful of ganache evenly over each cupcake. Refrigerate the cupcakes while you prepare the frosting.
- Melt the white chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl by heating for 1 minute, stirring after 30 seconds. Allow the white chocolate to cool until almost room temperature but still fluid. Cream the butter and cream cheese together. Blend in the melted white chocolate, vanilla extract, and food coloring (if using). Spread the frosting on the cupcakes. Serve immediately, or refrigerate until serving.
Found this blog post on Linked in this week and thought I would share with you all for a good laugh; Enjoy!
10 Things We Do:
5 Things Architects Can’t Do:
My last blog entry left you with a teaser about one of my favorite books, It’s called Cradle to Cradle and it was written by Architect William McDonough and Chemist Michael Braungart. Right away when you open the book you realize something is a little off about the book itself.. Its not made of paper at all, it’s a plastic material that is infinitely recyclable as a book, the ink is non-toxic and also recyclable. Not to mention its waterproof so you can read in the pool! The physical format of the book lends itself to the books message. We need to rethink the way we make things!
Reduce, reuse, recycle," urge environmentalists; in other words, do more with less in order to minimize damage. But as William McDonough and Michael Braungart argue in their book, this approach only perpetuates a one-way, "cradle to grave" manufacturing model that dates to the Industrial Revolution and casts off as much as 90 percent of the materials it uses as waste, much of it toxic.
Why not challenge the notion that human industry must inevitably damage the natural world? they ask. In fact, why not take nature itself as our model? A tree produces thousands of blossoms in order to create another tree, yet we do not consider its abundance wasteful but safe, beautiful, and highly effective; hence, "waste equals food" is the first principle the book sets forth.
In the cradle to cradle model, all materials used in industrial or commercial processes—such as metals, fibers, dyes—fall into one of two categories: "technical" or "biological" nutrients. Technical nutrients are strictly limited to non-toxic, non-harmful synthetic materials that have no negative effects on the natural environment; they can be used in continuous cycles as the same product without losing their integrity or quality. In this manner these materials can be used over and over again instead of being "downcycled" into lesser products, ultimately becoming waste.
Biological Nutrients are organic materials that, once used, can be disposed of in any natural environment and decompose into the soil, providing food for small life forms without affecting the natural environment. This is dependent on the ecology of the region; for example, organic material from one country or landmass may be harmful to the ecology of another country or landmass.
Follow the link below to a great synopsis of the book (though I highly recommend finding it at the library or ordering it on amazon)
Hope you enjoyed learning about one of my absolute favorite books, I hope you get the opportunity to pick it up and read what it is all about.
I thought this was an interesting article so I decided to share it with you all.
I am a big advocate of environmentally conscious and efficient architecture, so I love seeing development in this area. By utilizing highly efficient design these buildings are able to generate more power than they use from sunlight and wind. I am excited to see these technologies applied and hope that developments like this one spark environmental interest in other developers. As the technologies become more efficient, smaller and cost-effective we can hope to see more and more buildings incorporate "green" technologies.
For my next post I'll write a short bit on my most recent favorite book that relates to this subject "Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the way we make things" by William McDonough and Michael Braungart.
So keep checking back to the Tyson and Billy Blog for more exciting posts!
The article and photographs comes from inhabitat.com
Located near the border of Mexico in El Paso, TX, the Paisano Green Community is the first net-zero housing project for seniors in the nation. Designed by Boulder-based Workshop8, the senior housing project was funded through an ARRA Capital Fund Recovery Competition grant from HUD. In addition to the project's zero energy status, the green community is seeking LEED Platinum certification and is a certified Enterprise Green Community.
Paisano Green Community is a new typology for public housing and generates more energy than it uses. Solar photovoltaics on the roof and two wind turbines work to power the 73-unit facility and any excess is sold back onto the grid. Energy efficiency was a high priority in order to make the most of the on-site renewable energy generation. Each unit also features an air-source heat-pump water heaters. The buildings were partially prefabricated off-site as panelized sections and then assembled on site to ensure quality construction and minimize waste.
This infill development is located on the corner of Paisano and Boone and is bordered by the County Coliseum, the El Paso Zoo and the US Customs truck depot. In order to create a safe haven for the residents, Workshop8 arranged the buildings around a the edge of the site to create a strong perimeter and a safe central garden space. Residents enjoy views of the garden rather than views of the customs. All the buildings were optimized for solar passive deign with large overhangs to protect from overheating but still provide lots of natural daylighting. The project also provides space for a community building and commercial spaces like a grocery store, barber shop and office space. Residents have easy access to bus lines and surrounding shopping.
I feel compelled to share a wonderful chicken recipe and a terrific accompaniment. I hosted a gathering last night and these two dishes paired with a potato dish were absolutely delicious.
The chicken was so flavorful, moist, and tender it melted in your mouth. It was so easy to make too, you friends will think you slaved over this meal. I would give both recipes 5 out of 5 stars!
- Yield: 4 Servings
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 4 whole boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1/4 cup butter, divided
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Combine the seasonings and coat chicken breasts.
- In large saute pan melt half of the butter and cook chicken over medium heat for about 7 to 8 minutes, turning once.
- Pour the cream into the skillet and lower the heat.
- Simmer for several minutes, stirring until the sauce thickens then add the remaining butter.
- When butter is melted place chicken breasts on four plates and top with the sauce. Yield: 4 servings.
Green Beans Amandine
- Prep/Total Time: 20 min.
- Yield: 6 Servings
- 1 pound fresh or frozen green beans, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt, optional
- Place beans in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes or until crisp-tender; drain and set aside.
- In a large skillet, cook almonds in butter over low heat. Stir in lemon juice and seasoned salt if desired. Add beans and heat through. Yield: 6 servings.
Nutritional Analysis:One 1/2-cup serving (prepared with margarine and without seasoned salt) equals 92calories, 7 g fat (0 saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 50 mg sodium, 7 g carbohydrate, 0 fiber, 3 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 1-1/2 fat, 1 vegetable.
I made this last night for dinner and it was super simple and very tasty. Paired with some crusty bread or garlic biscuits and a salad, it hit the spot.
I garnished it with fresh chives for color.
My only modification to cut a few calories was that I used fat free half and half instead of the heavy cream.
(1 cup of heavy cream = 821 calories,1 cup of fat free half and half = 143 calories)
(Saved 678 calories!)
- 1 pound leeks, cleaned and dark green sections removed, approximately 4 to 5 medium
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Heavy pinch kosher salt, plus additional for seasoning
- 14 ounces, approximately 3 small, Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced small
- 1 quart vegetable broth
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
- 1 tablespoon snipped chives
Chop the leeks into small pieces.
In a 6-quart saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the leeks and a heavy pinch of salt and sweat for 5 minutes. Decrease the heat to medium-low and cook until the leeks are tender, approximately 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the potatoes and the vegetable broth, increase the heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and gently simmer until the potatoes are soft, approximately 45 minutes.
Turn off the heat and puree the mixture with an immersion blender until smooth. Stir in the heavy cream, buttermilk, and white pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning if desired. Sprinkle with chives and serve immediately, or chill and serve cold.