Friday, February 27, 2015

Apple’s New Mothership

TGIF to the viewers!

For this week’s YEOW, we’d like to share with you the Apple Campus 2.

Check out Apple’s new corporate headquarters in Cupertino, California, scheduled to open sometime next year. The campus sits on175 acres, and houses up to 13,000 employees. The new building is circular in shape with four stories totaling 2,800,000 square feet. Read below for some of its green features:
Although critics charge that Apple's sleek new campus will exemplify the worst aspects of car-centered suburbia, the vision is loaded with green elements. Here are six that stand out.

1.Fruit trees

The new plan will transform an existing site almost entirely covered with buildings and asphalt into a landscape featuring almost 7,000 trees – including the apple, apricot, cherry and plum fruit trees that made San Jose's orchards thrive long before silicon was invented.

"When Apple Campus 2 is finished, 80 percent of the site will be green space, said Lisa Jackson, vice president of environmental initiative for Apple," in a video describing the project. (That's about 100 acres.) "We're maximizing the natural assets of the area. This area has a great climate, so 75 percent of the year, we won't need air conditioning or heating, we'll have natural ventilation."

2. Renewables

What's more, the campus will run entirely on renewable energy. The plan calls for about 8 megawatts of solar panels to be installed on the roof of the main, spaceship-shaped building as well as the parking structures. An unspecified number of fuel cells also will be installed, with the rest of the electricity needed for operations sourced through grid-purchased renewable energy.

Primary opposition to the site has centered on its transportation plan. To combat those criticisms, Apple has expanded its Transportation Demand Management program, emphasizing the use of bicycles, shuttles and buses that will link employees with regional public transit networks. Roughly one-third of the employees (about 5,000 people) are likely to use this option.

3. Net-zero building design

Apple's unusual four-story circular design meant to accommodate 14,200 employees has raised eyebrows, but if you look beyond the shape, the structure itself is being designed to create as much energy as it uses. There is a strong emphasis on energy-efficiency: the passive heating and cooling systems will use 30 percent less than a comparable campus. A central site will contain fuel cells, back-up generators, chillers, condenser water storage, hot water storage, an electrical substation and water and fire pumps.

4. Attention to water conservation

Attention has been paid to reducing the number of impermeable surfaces on the site. (Up to 9,240 of the parking spots, for example, will be underground so that Apple can invest in landscaping that absorbs water. A recycled water main is under consideration, and other steps have been taken to minimize water consumption by about 30 percent below a typical Silicon Valley development. Those measures include low-flow fixtures, the use of native plans and roof rainwater capture.

5. An expanded waste management program

Apple already diverts about 78 percent of the waste associated with its existing headquarters from landfills. The proposal calls for the company to recycle or reuse any construction waste; from an operations perspective, it will step up recycling from solid waste sources as well as the use of composting.

6. A sharpened focus on commuting alternatives

As part of its transportation program, the plan calls for buffered bike lanes on streets adjacent to the campus that are segregated from vehicular lanes and that also allow for bikes to pass each other. The focus will be on encouraging all employees that live within 15 minutes of the campus to use sustainable or public transportation alternatives. The site will start with 300 electric vehicle charging stations, with the built-in capacity to expand.

"By working with the local utility SRP to supply its new factory completely with additional renewable energy, such as geothermal and solar power, Apple is recognizing the importance of integrating renewables into the grid," said Noah Horowitz, senior scientist for the Natural Resources Defense Council. "Their approach starts with energy efficiency in the facility's design and operation, and then ensures the load is met by renewables; this will benefit Apple's shareholders as well as the environment."



Friday, February 20, 2015

From Old to New (How Historic and Modern Buildings Collide )

Claire and Marc Bourgie Pavilion of Quebec and Canadian Art

Location: Montreal, Canada

Client/ Owner: Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

Firm Name: Provencher Roy + Associés Architects

Provencher_Roy Wins RAIC’s 2015 Architectural Firm Award
With construction of the new Claire and Marc Bourgie Pavilion of Quebec and Canadian Art at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the architects at Provencher Roy + Associés Architectes have achieved a remarkable conversion of a heritage church. At a time when conservation of the religious patrimony is a challenge all over the world, this architectural intervention is an exemplary model of the genre. Its excellence has been acknowledged by the 2010 Canadian Architect Awards of Merit, the Grand Prix du design 2011, and the Prix d’excellence 2011 from the Institut de développement urbain du Québec, which, upon presentation of its award, congratulated Provencher Roy + Associés Architectes for “its thorough architectural reflection with regard to this project, its exceptional urban integration, and its design, which brings past and future together.” In 2012, the pavilion received the Award for Architectural Integration of Montreal Architectural Heritage Campains.
Underground Passage connects all four art pavilions and allows visitors to enter the museum free of charge. This plan shows the connection between the Historic Church and the new addition.
Montreal-based practice Provencher_Roy has been selected to receive the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada’s (RAIC) 2015 Architectural Firm Award. Chosen for their consistent, high quality work that spans 32 years, the 150-person firm was also praised by the jury for their dedication to mentorship.
“Provencher_Roy was chosen for the breadth and consistently high quality of work over many years,” said the five-member jury. “They have worked with a broad range of clients and project types. The firm is recognized for its collaborative work and the excellence of its working and peer-learning environment.”

Friday, February 13, 2015

Land Planning in Old... "New France"

An interesting approach to land planning that was once exercised in French colonial holdings. The "Seigneurial System" or "Ribbon Farms" placed an emphasis on ensuring equitable access to roadways, waterways, and public utility access.

The Hidden Link Between Medieval Land Parceling and Modern American Psychology

  • 3:00 PM  |  

image: Google Maps satellite via Tim De Chant

The flight from Boston to Chicago isn’t the most scenic, but if you’re lucky enough to snag a window seat – no mean feat these days – study the patchwork landscape with a discerning eye. About 40 minutes into the flight, you’ll notice something a bit peculiar (at least for North America): Instead of the usual tableau of square or rectangular farmsteads, you’ll see ribbons of agronomy.

These ribbon layouts are a ghost of geography: a relic from when France parceled land in Canada back in the 1600s. What’s most intriguing to me, though, is how ribbon farms – or rather the lack thereof in much of the United States – shaped attitudes toward modern transportation, and continue to shape our psychology as a nation today.

Because with ribbon farms, the expectation is that transportation is king.

By starting with the transportation network and then building out from there, ribbon farms come with certain efficiencies. Part of their elegance is how easy it is to transport goods from them. Within a ribbon farm, moving around is a bit more difficult – the farthest part is much farther away from the house and barn than the most distant part of a square farm. Butbetween farms and markets, ribbon farms are superior. Roads running past ribbon farms can serve more addresses over the same distance; neighbors are a short walk away; cities and crossroads closer than you’d expect.

The transportation-centric layout of ribbon farms in North America traces its roots back to medieval times. When France was trying to stabilize its colonial foothold in the New World back in the 17th century, Cardinal Richelieu (an adviser to the king and powerhouse in French politics) hatched a plan. To encourage more intensive settlement, he parceled the land similarly to the way it was divided in France: in long, thin strips oriented perpendicularly to a transportation route – which in Nouvelle France was primarily the St. Lawrence River.

Much of arable North America, however, was not allocated in ribbon farms. The Public Land Survey System carved up large portions of the United States into one square mile sections, each of which were subdivided to create farms and aggregated to form townships. Canada adopted a similar system, the Dominion Land Survey, for its prairie states.

So when the U.S. started with square farms, the process and the results were theexact opposite from ribbon farms: We plotted the farms first and then pondered the logistics. It’s therefore no surprise that Americans feel transportation should come to us instead of the other way around. We pick a place to live and then figure out how to get where we need to go. If no way exists, we build it: roads, arterials, highways, interstates … and so on.
And it’s this quirk of geography – the shape of a typical American farm – that I believe influenced the development of the entire nation.
Here’s how: Roads snaked out to farms where they were needed, which is to say nearly everywhere. Farmsteads, and later suburban houses, were more or less evenly distributed across the landscape rather than concentrated alongside existing roadsides. In regions dominated by ribbon farms, transportation was clearly the foundation. But in much of the rest of North America, parcels were delineated first; transportation routes followed.
The fact that the farm, not the transportation, came first is important. It was a geographic case of the tail wagging the dog.
Flexible and distributed transportation networks are really the only solution compatible with this way of thinking. Trains, which rely on a strong central network, never had a chance. We were destined for the automobile all the way back in 1787, when we first decided to carve up the countryside into tidy squares.
Town, section, range. Pick your plot, worry about the details later. It’s the American way, and it’s driven the psychology of an entire nation.
Editor’s Note: An earlier, unedited version of this article appeared on the author’s blog
Editor: Sonal Chokshi @smc90

Friday, February 6, 2015

A Different Kind of Architecture

MIT Invents A Shapeshifting Display You Can Reach Through And Touch


We live in an age of touch-screen interfaces, but what will the UIs of the future look like? Will they continue to be made up of ghostly pixels, or will they be made of atoms that you can reach out and touch?

At the MIT Media Lab, the Tangible Media Groupbelieves the future of computing is tactile. Unveiled today, the inFORM is MIT's new scrying pool for imagining the interfaces of tomorrow. Almost like a table of living clay, the inFORM is a surface that three-dimensionally changes shape, allowing users to not only interact with digital content in meatspace, but even hold hands with a person hundreds of miles away. And that's only the beginning.

To put it in the simplest terms, the inFORM is a self-aware computer monitor that doesn't just display light, but shape as well. Remotely, two people Skyping could physically interact by playing catch, for example, or manipulating an object together, or even slapping high five from across the planet. Another use is to physically manipulate purely digital objects. A 3-D model, for example, can be brought to life with the inFORM, and then manipulated with your hands to adjust, tweak, or even radically transform the digital blueprint.

But what really interests the Tangible Media Group is the transformable UIs of the future. As the world increasingly embraces touch screens, the pullable knobs, twisting dials, and pushable buttons that defined the interfaces of the past have become digital ghosts. The tactile is gone and the Tangible Media Group sees that as a huge problem.

"Right now, the things designers can create with graphics are more powerful and flexible than in hardware," Leithinger tells Co.Design. "The result is our gadgets have been consumed by the screen and become indistinguishable black rectangles with barely any physical controls. That's why BlackBerry is dying."

In other words, our devices have been designed to simulateaffordances—the quality which allows an object to perform a function, such as a handle, a dial or a wheel—but not actually have them. Follmer says that's not the way it's supposed to be. "As humans, we have evolved to interact physically with our environments, but in the 21st century, we're missing out on all of this tactile sensation that is meant to guide us, limit us, and make us feel more connected," he says. "In the transition to purely digital interfaces, something profound has been lost."

The solution is programmable matter, and the inFORM is one possible interpretation of an interface that can transform itself to physically be whatever it needs to be. It's an interesting (and literal) analogue toskeuomorphism: while in the touch-screen age we have started rejecting interfaces that ape the look of real world affordances as "tacky" in favor of more pure digital UIs, the guys at the Tangible Media Group believe that interface of the future won't be skeuomorphic. They'll be supermorphic, growing the affordances they need on the fly.

Although the inFORM is primarily a sandbox for MIT to experiment with the tactile interfaces to come, it would be wrong to dismiss this project as mere spitballing. "We like to think of ourselves as imagining the futures, plural," Follmer says. "The inFORM is a look at one of them." But while the actual consumer implementation may very well differ, but both Follmer and Leithinger agree that tangible interfaces are coming.

"Ten years ago, we had people at Media Lab working on gestural interactions, and now they're everywhere, from the Microsoft Kinect to the Nintendo Wiimote," says Follmer. "Whatever it ends up looking like, the UI of the future won't be made of just pixels, but time and form as well. And that future is only five or ten years away. It's time for designers to start thinking about what that means now."

For more information see link below: