The New Year's edition of AP's Product Developments column begins to resolve seven areas of resilience discussed at the recent Greenbuild: the discussion focused on making simple, yet impactful changes that can be enacted locally. One item from the list of seven is Food Security. The Breadfruit Institute at the National Tropical Gardens in Kaua'i have shown how the breadfruit tree is an integral component to agroforestry in the tropics, and it has gifted many varieties to to alleviate poverty and food insecurity in the region. The nutritionally complete Breadfruit literally grows on trees—the long-lived tropical tree yields an abundance of nutritious starchy fruit for decades. Beyond fruit, every part of the tree can be used to provide food, shelter, medicine, mobility, cooking utilities & storage. A testament to cultural heritage's wisdom of resilience, breadfruit trees were brought to Hawaii by the Polynesians, as the robust tree is easily propagated in hundreds of varieties and quickly matures to produce fruit. Here's a sneak preview of best practices and products from the Jan-Feb issue on the future of resilience.
New & Noteworthy
Climate Tile is a new scalable climate adaption system for future cities. It transforms future sidewalks to collect and manage water, whilst contributing to the growth of an urban nature and improved microclimate. Climate Tile can catch and redirect the projected 30% additional rainwater due to increased precipitation from climate change. It prevents overloads within the existing drainage infrastructure and reintroduces the natural water system in existing cities’ infrastructures through a process that manages rainwater from the roof and sidewalks and ensures that excess water is directed to the appropriate place. The system works in synergy with roads, bike paths, signage, urban furniture, town squares, as well as urban nature. Climate Tile can catch and redirect the projected extra 30% more rainwater to prevent overloads within the existing drainage infrastructure and reintroduce the natural water circuit in the existing cities through a simple process that manages the rainwater from the roof and sidewalks and ensures that excess water is directed to the appropriate place.
Closing the gap from fairy tale to final frontier, mushroom mycelium promises to feed the global population on earth, and house the first colonies of humans on Mars. In collaboration with renowned astrobiologist, Dr. Lynn Rothschild, a senior researcher at NASA's Ames facility, architect Chris Maurer of Red House Studios has introduced NASA to the idea of Mycelium on Mars. The project is being funded by NASA through the NIAC (NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts) program, which looks to support breakthrough technology for space exploration and habitation. Maurer states that they presented the self-assembling mushroom mycelium habitat dubbed Redhouseredplanet at the NIAC Symposium. "We got very positive feedback for submitting to Phase II, which will take us much closer to Mars," says Maurer. Maurer and Redhouse Studio have also proposed the biocycler, a device that, in concert with cultured bio-binders, reconstitutes construction waste into useful building materials.
Neuroarchitecture, or the neurobiology of architecture, is the larger science surrounding concepts like place and wellbeing, environment and behavior, and the effects of Biophilia. Texas Tech, in conjunction with Sky Factory, has conducted fMRI imaging studies that show how people's brains respond to the illusory sky conditions with a unique activation of the cerebellum. "It's been 6 years since you penned "Your Brain on Sky" article about our neural research," writes David A. Navarrete, Director of research initiatives for Sky Factory, creator of authentic sky images. "Look where we're at now…" he says, reporting that that nine out of the Top 10 American hospitals [ranked by U.S. News & World Report] feature Sky Factory's multisensory illusions of nature to enhance the patient experience. Its installations are increasingly being specified in corporate settings at Fortune 500 companies, schools and government facilities. Sky Factory presented the neurobiology behind its products' unique therapeutic effects at the Salk Institute during an ANFA (Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture) symposium last September.
Mounting scientific evidence shows that unplugging from screens and plugging-in to nature is crucial to maintaining creativity, productivity, vitality and even sanity. One way to ensure humans benefit from nature is to give them easy access to the outdoors, says Kirt Martin, Vice President of Design and Marketing for Landscape Forms. Oftentimes, programming underutilized landscapes can be more economical than developing interiors. Landscape Forms' latest collaboration with Kem Studios has precipitated the Upfit system to create productive outdoor destinations. Essentially, Upfit is an adaptive structure to create outdoor rooms, such as classrooms, social hubs, or contemplation spaces.
Sunweave from Mohawk is a carbon-neutral, red list-free broadloom carpet collection that merges woven construction with today's desire for artisanal materials, authenticity and warmth in contract spaces. Shadow Pass features a grand linear ombré shadow that transitions along the loom for dramatic installations. Shadow Pass derives its inspiration from the notion of shadows being nature's handcraft as subtle color and value shifts mimic the sun's daily progression.
German manufacturer Wilkhahn released Landing at Orgatec. Landing responds to the tendency for spontaneous conversations in the in-between spaces in our days. The decorative, sound-absorbent wall reliefs create an inviting atmosphere for spontaneous "stopovers" in places where space is lacking, such as aisles and cross-over spaces. With added acoustic insulation; Landing encourages users to meet and talk. It also improves acoustics, creates niches, takes weight off feet while standing and even provides space for drinks and smartphones. With multiple configurations, Landing can be used for perching or leaning on, as shelving, or a privacy screen. The flat and three-dimensional upholstered, textile-covered elements are available in seven colors that fit seamlessly into any design.
A shingle roof that failed less than 10 years after Prospect Mountain High School (Alton, NH) was built prompted school administrators to search for a long-term solution. The roof was retrofitted with Garland's R-Mer Shield, a structural standing seam metal roof system with numerous benefits, including: panel widths up to 24 3/4 inches to reduce costs and simplify installation; the strength to withstand 200 mph winds; unlimited thermal expansion and contraction; and a 1/2-inch clearance between the panel and substrate for ventilation and to reduce condensation and ice damming.
PAC-CLAD Reveal Panels were key to the overall design concept. "We wanted the building to have a high-tech, contemporary look but be economical," said Mary Beth Branham, principal, LS3P Columbia. "The PAC-CLAD panels were economical yet offered a nice blend of systems and profiles that could create the contemporary, industrial aesthetic we were going for." PAC HWP, Flush and Tite-Loc metal roofing panels were used as well in 5 colors.
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