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Posts Tagged ‘boston society of architects’

 

 

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Several civic-minded design and construction businesses have once again entered the Rhode Island Community Food Bank‘s annual Canstruction contest. The display at the Providence Place mall combines fun with a message about hunger in the state and the need for canned goods.

LLB Architects of Pawtucket and Shawmut Design and Construction of Providence are the geniuses behind the display featuring the Left Shark, an Internet celebrity since one of singer Katy Perry’s backup dancers at the 2015 Super Bowl went rogue.

I remember seeing another Canstruction event last year, at the Boston Society of Architects. It’s easy to see why this sort of work needs to be done by designers and builders: it’s really hard to make cans look like anything but cans. The BSA cans were donated to the Merrimack Valley Food Bank in Lowell.

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Photo: Boston architecture firm IKD.
Designer Timothy Olson, material supplier Fraserwood/Mack Magee. The wood is cypress. “The presence of natural materials such as wood is associated with lower stress and positive feelings.”

There’s a great exhibit about using wood in construction at the Boston Society of Architects on Congress St. in Boston, but only until Tuesday, September 30.

I was surprised to learn that nowadays it is actually possible — and maybe even safer — to use wood for city buildings.

According to the BSA website, the timber “exhibition celebrates wood as the region’s most sensible and abundant choice of material for urban building, highlighting its flexibility and technical qualities, including timber’s potential to combat climate change.

“Yugon Kim, founding partner of IKD, Associate/Director of TSKP Boston, and co-curator of the exhibition explains, ‘We now know that timber is a superior structural building material that should be considered alongside steel and concrete. The carbon offset and sustainability benefits of wood make it an ever-relevant and timely building material in the urban landscape.’

” ‘Urban Timber: From Seed to City’ shows that recent developments — including numerous successful implementations of timber as primary structural for midrise buildings in Europe — point to a different future.

“The exhibition includes a number of case studies, examples of existing wood technology and recent material innovations in the many kinds of engineered timber available to the building industry today.”

Read more about the exhibit here.

Meanwhile, at Andrew Sullivan’s blog (here), we find a quote from James Hamblin about why trees are good for our health: “It is becoming increasingly clear that trees help people live longer, healthier, happier lives—to the tune of $6.8 billion in averted health costs annually in the U.S., according to research published this [year]. And we’re only beginning to understand the nature and magnitude of their tree-benevolence.

“In the current journal Environmental Pollution, forester Dave Nowak and colleagues found that trees prevented 850 human deaths and 670,000 cases of acute respiratory symptoms in 2010 alone. That was related to 17 tonnes of air pollution removed by trees and forests, which physically intercept particulate matter and absorb gasses through their leave.”

More from Hamblin at the Atlantic.

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People interested in imaginative uses of space to make cities more livable should get over to the Boston Society of Architects on Congress St. before September 29, when an intriguing exhibit closes.

Eight of us visited at lunch today, and the BSA’s marketing director went around the Reprogramming the City exhibit with us pointing out highlights and answering questions.

We saw photos of a lamppost that doubles as an umbrella, a staircase in Hong Kong (below) made into a public lounge, bus stops in Sweden using sun lamps at night, a “low line” community space under a highway (like New York’s high-line concept but under not over), a repurposed parking machine that spits out “tickets” describing how a nearby problem area has been fixed by the city of Boston, street mosaics in Portugal that have a QR code for accessing tourist information, and a Dutch solution to recycling teddy bears and other usable goods curbside for passerby to pick up. The list goes on.

I tried to round up more people to join the excursion, but business meetings at lunch seem to come first. It always surprises me that folks don’t take advantage of cultural activities at lunch: we are surrounded by really nice ones. At least the farmers market is popular. People always have time for that.

More on Reprogramming the City at the BSA website, where you can take an audio tour.

Update 9/18/13 — See some great pictures from the exhibit at the Boston Globe, here.

Photo: Scott Burnham
The Cascade by Edge Design Institute, 2007, Central Hong Kong.
Right, Urban Air by Stephen Glassman, 2010.

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