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Prada and Versace Unite to Restore Milan's Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II Landmark

Architect: Most Recent News - 3 hours 55 min ago
One of Milan's most beautiful landmarks is the soaring glass and cast iron arcade that sits adjacent to the city's majestic Duomo. Built in 1865 in honor of Italy's last King, the gallery signalled Italy's newly brokered unity and is frequently dubbed the world's first shopping mall.

Palm Reading

Architect: Most Recent News - 4 hours 26 min ago
Los Angeles resident Brent Green was driving home from work and took a route he doesn't usually take to get to his neighborhood. As he neared his home, he noticed something a little odd: people were stealing palm trees.

This Strange Stockholm Wind Farm Generates Power Through Writhing Tentacles

Architect: Most Recent News - 4 hours 26 min ago
The proposed "Strawscraper" would create energy from the gyration of thousands of follicles.

Yellen in June 2009: Sluggish Recovery, Low inflation for "few years"

Calculated Risk - 4 hours 33 min ago
The Federal Reserve released the transcripts for the 2009 FOMC meetings today. Here is SF Fed President Janet Yellen in June 2009:
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. At our meeting in late April, we had begun to see hopeful signs of impending economic recovery, and subsequent economic and financial developments have strengthened the view that the economy is bottoming out. Even so, the outlook over the next several years remains disturbing. My modal forecast shows economic growth resuming next quarter, but I expect the recovery to be quite gradual. The output and employment gaps are, at a minimum, quite large, so it will take a long time to regain full employment under current monetary and fiscal policy settings. Although downside risks have diminished, I remain concerned that the recovery is still fragile.
...
And, of course, labor markets continue to deteriorate badly. It’s a sign of how bad things really are that near euphoria broke out with the announcement of 345,000 nonfarm jobs lost in May. The unemployment rate is soaring month by month, and, even worse, it appears to understate the true extent of the deterioration, given the unusually high incidence of permanent, as opposed to temporary, layoffs, and the unprecedented increase in involuntary part-time work....

My forecasts for output and employment are similar to the Greenbook’s, so I won’t go into the details. I do want to emphasize that I anticipate a rather sluggish recovery, not the rapid V-shaped recovery we have frequently seen following deep recessions in the past. The process of balance sheet repair that households and financial institutions are undergoing will result in subdued spending for an extended period, and monetary policies here and abroad are not able to play as big a role as usual in promoting recovery because of the constraint of the zero lower bound on short-term interest rates.

... [E]ven under the typical recovery simulation, which has much stronger growth than in the baseline, the unemployment rate remains well above the 5 percent NAIRU by the end of 2011, and inflation hovers around 1 percent. This outcome reflects the large unemployment and GDP gaps estimated for the first quarter. ...

So, to conclude, if the recovery is as slow as the Greenbook and I expect, it will take quite a number of years to get back to potential output. As a result, I expect core inflation to drift lower over the next few years, falling below the 2 percent rate that seems best to me.
Note that Yellen correctly forecast that the recovery was starting (this was June 2009), but that the recovery would be sluggish - not V-shaped - because of the need for "balance sheet repair" (I made the same argument in mid-2009), and that inflation would be low for some time. Many analysts were forecasting a strong recovery (ignoring the reasons for the recessions) and high inflation.

New Murals by '1010' Expose Hidden Portals of Color in Walls and Buildings

Architect: Most Recent News - 4 hours 35 min ago
Installatoin view, Limbus. Hashimoto Contemporary Over the last year or so, German street artist 1010 (previously) created several of his fantastic spray paint portals in locations around Germany, Panama, and the United States. 1010 brings surprising layers of depth to drab facades and

Emergent Shorelands of the Great Lakes

Architect: Most Recent News - 4 hours 35 min ago
Dramatic fluctuations at the water's edge create zones of opportunity for landscape designers and planners.

Legendary lost ‘City of the Monkey God’ discovered buried in the Honduran rainforest

Inhabitat - 4 hours 40 min ago

lost city in honduras

Legendary lost cities are the stuff of children’s stories and Disney movies, but once in a while, they’re part of real life too. One of these ancient rumored cities has been discovered in the rainforest of Honduras. Known as the “City of the Monkey God,” archaeologists have been working for years to track down the abandoned city’s resting place, and they’ve finally done it.

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Categories: Building Green

03042015 Architect Morning News Roundup Lucas Museum

Architect: Most Recent News - 4 hours 41 min ago
ICYMI: Aaron Betsky writes about his time at Taliesin, Washington, D.C.'s Dunbar Senior High School is now LEED Platinum certified, and ADP reports that 212,000 non-farm jobs have been added in February.

ISM Non-Manufacturing Index increased to 56.9% in February

Calculated Risk - 5 hours 8 min ago
The February ISM Non-manufacturing index was at 56.9%, up from 56.7% in January. The employment index increased in February to 56.4%, up from 51.6% in January. Note: Above 50 indicates expansion, below 50 contraction.

From the Institute for Supply Management: February 2015 Non-Manufacturing ISM Report On Business®
Economic activity in the non-manufacturing sector grew in February for the 61st consecutive month, say the nation’s purchasing and supply executives in the latest Non-Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business®.

The report was issued today by Anthony Nieves, CPSM, C.P.M., CFPM, chair of the Institute for Supply Management® (ISM®) Non-Manufacturing Business Survey Committee. "The NMI® registered 56.9 percent in February, 0.2 percentage point higher than the January reading of 56.7 percent. This represents continued growth in the non-manufacturing sector. The Non-Manufacturing Business Activity Index decreased to 59.4 percent, which is 2.1 percentage points lower than the January reading of 61.5 percent, reflecting growth for the 67th consecutive month at a slower rate. The New Orders Index registered 56.7 percent, 2.8 percentage points lower than the reading of 59.5 percent registered in January. The Employment Index increased 4.8 percentage points to 56.4 percent from the January reading of 51.6 percent and indicates growth for the 12th consecutive month. The Prices Index increased 4.2 percentage points from the January reading of 45.5 percent to 49.7 percent, indicating prices contracted in February for the third consecutive month. According to the NMI®, 14 non-manufacturing industries reported growth in February. Comments from respondents have increased in regards to the affects of the reduction in fuel costs and the impact of the West Coast port labor issues on the continuity of supply. Overall, supply managers feel mostly positive about the direction of the economy."
emphasis added
ISM Non-Manufacturing Index Click on graph for larger image.

This graph shows the ISM non-manufacturing index (started in January 2008) and the ISM non-manufacturing employment diffusion index.

This was close to the consensus forecast of 56.5% and suggests slightly faster expansion in February than in January.  Overall this was a solid report.

Red flags when looking at purchasing an old home

Archinect - 5 hours 14 min ago

What should one look for when purchasing an old home?  If the owners have painted all the surfaces, how can you tell if there is underlying damage?  What raises red flags in your mind?  Is there a simple test to check that plumbing is adequate?  What do YOU look for when you are buying, or advising someone on buying a home?

Categories: Design Feeds

Maya 2015 LT + Windows 8.1 = Slow Performance in Viewport

Up and Ready - 5 hours 26 min ago
Please check out this solution: http://knowledge.autodesk.com/article/Maya-LT-2015-SP3-runs-too-slow-on-Windows-8-1 The workflow is also noted here: http://forums.autodesk.com/t5/maya-lt-general/selection-performance-issue-with-maya-lt-2015-sp3/m-p/5527396#M1315 David Lau
Categories: Navisworks, Revit/BIM

ADP: 212,000 Jobs Added in the U.S. in February

Architect: Most Recent News - 5 hours 56 min ago
ABI_UP_600Wa_HERO Payroll company ADP and Moody's Analytics report that the United States economy added 212,000 jobs last month. Construction added 31,000 jobs, manufacturing added 3,000 jobs, and professional and business services added 34,000 jobs.

This massive Death Star is made from 500,000 LEGO bricks

Inhabitat - 6 hours 13 min ago

Click here to view the embedded video.

California’s LEGOland resort just unveiled the latest addition to its Star Wars Miniland; a 1900lb model of the Death Star that is made from over 500,000 LEGO bricks! The replica weaponry, which measures 13 feet high and eight feet wide, will hover above visitors to the exhibition and is equipped with its own [LEGO] planet-destroying super laser.

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Categories: Building Green

Reviewed: Walkable City

InterCon - 6 hours 17 min ago

Jeff Speck WalkabilityWalkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time

By Jeff Speck

In One Line: From broad strokes to streetscape specifics, the author covers the deficiencies of modern street planning that hinder the pedestrian experience as well a coordinated attack to solve them. 

In the age of millennials, walkability is all the rage. If you’re talking to people born after 1975 then chances are giving planning preference to bikers and walkers will get you some head-bobs or thumbs up. The data continually points to younger populations being less interested in automotive access and more keen on what can be accomplished within the radius of walking or riding. There’s plenty of great reasons for that, but it also means that conversations can get propagated with reoccurring lessons that eventually ascend to border on truism.

When Jeff Speck’s Walkable City was recommended to me, I admittedly assumed that it fell into the low murmur of promoting this slow but persistent generational shift in the planning sphere. As an architect in New York I thought: sure, I like all that stuff. I imagined that the book would be filled with a bunch of the words that often make it into Intercon posts: walkability, alternative transit, street trees, urban realm, bike lanes. Probably just more of the same song and dance that roars from the long and growing (though well-intentioned) bandwagon of anti-auto parlance.

I was severely mistaken.

Speck does touch on many if not all of the expected areas of where pedestrians fit into the urban ecosystem and why their inclusion is imperative, but where most designers stop he only begins. From there he digs deeper with the perspective of a planner well-versed in rolling up his sleeves and thrusting his hands into the colliding traffic worlds of pedestrians and automobiles.

In a topic as large as street and transportation planning, there are certainly plenty of broad assertions and critiques that can cover a great deal of ground, but it can be tempting for authors to stay in the stratosphere of ideas. In Speck’s case, he moves easily between the scales of macro and micro to give solutions for large scale ideas paired with every day specifics. It is a nice balance of both worlds.

As a lover of data, the author did not disappoint me, always diligent in inserting sources that provide insightful research to strengthen his points–sometimes contrary to expectations. For instance, despite being a pro-pedestrian advocate, he would definitely not be accurately described as anti-car, promoting instead a proper balance between the transportation groups rather than our current deference to vehicular travel.

“Cars of the lifeblood of the American city. Even in our most successful walking and transit cities, they are everywhere, contributing activity and vitality to the streetscape. Past failures have taught us that banning them outright brings with it more risk than reward.”

His conversational character is complemented by the fact that he is a professional that does not speak in absolutes and platitudes. For every position that he argues, he will be quick to concede the inevitable exceptions even if they represent the vast minority–the mark of a veteran that knows the design profession is simultaneously a world where everything has been done and full of unique circumstances.

The bulk of the book is broken up amongst his “Ten Steps of Walkability” that focus on individual (but interconnected) facets of planning points that can steer our urban spaces in a better direction. The book is far from dry, but it is certainly focused. So while it may not be restricted to an audience of design professionals, readers would likely need to be enthusiasts for the mechanics of forces that comprise our population’s daily movement.

In the end, there very well may be a walkability bandwagon, but it is because it was started by the diligent efforts of people like Jeff Speck decades ago.

Rating: 4 star rating

Find a copy of the book here


Filed under: Book Reviews Tagged: environment, sustainability, traffic engineering, Urban Planning, walkability
Categories: Building Green

Housing market has long way to go: Lennar CEO

CNBC - 6 hours 19 min ago
The housing market keeps improving but still has a long way to go to fully recover, Lennar's Stuart Miller tells CNBC.

Koenigsegg unveils the world’s fastest hybrid hypercar

Inhabitat - 6 hours 41 min ago

Click here to view the embedded video.

A growing number of hybrid supercars are putting their gasoline-dependent counterparts to shame, with Porsche and Ferrari debuting impressive concepts and even Bugatti rumored to be following suit. But the newly unveiled Koenigsegg Regera might just be a game-changer; debuting at the Geneva Motor Show, the 1,500 horsepower supercar blasts through from 0-249mph in under 20 seconds, and Koenigsegg calls it the “fastest accelerating, most powerful production car ever.”

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Categories: Building Green

ADP: Private Employment increased 212,000 in February

Calculated Risk - 6 hours 54 min ago
From ADP:
Private sector employment increased by 212,000 jobs from January to February according to the February ADP National Employment Report®. ... The report, which is derived from ADP’s actual payroll data, measures the change in total nonfarm private employment each month on a seasonally-adjusted basis.
...
Goods-producing employment rose by 31,000 jobs in February, down from 45,000 jobs gained in January. The construction industry added 31,000 jobs, the same number as last month. Meanwhile, manufacturing added 3,000 jobs in February, well below January’s 15,000.

Service-providing employment rose by 181,000 jobs in February, down from 206,000 in January. ...

Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, said, “Job growth is strong, but slowing from the torrid pace of recent months. Job gains remain broad-based, although the collapse in oil prices has begun to weigh on energy-related employment. At the current pace of growth, the economy will return to full employment by mid-2016.”
This was below the consensus forecast for 220,000 private sector jobs added in the ADP report. 

The BLS report for February will be released on Friday and the consensus is for 230,000 non-farm payroll jobs added in February.

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