Monday, June 15

a cool first

XERO Project, a proposal for an "X" of greenways and zero-energy building design in downtown Dallas, earned one of three first-place prizes in the Re:Vision Dallas design competition on May 28, 2009. The juried competition—led by The City of Dallas and Urban Re:Vision in partnership with Central Dallas CDC and BC Workshop—sought visionary ideas in sustainable urban and architectural design by asking the question, "What if one block in Texas became the sustainable model for the world?" The competition team awaits a meeting with the Central Dallas CDC to present their design and to build the most sustainable district in America.

Thanks to City Farmer News, i love these news pieces, they make my day coz change cant happen without political support and leadership.


Annuska said...

Hi Kel!
I just sent you a link to Inhabitat- they send you info on such undertakings and other design issues through Facebook.
I think you will like it!

wombat064 said...

And if only they could do something like this in Australia.

Kel said...

annuska- thanks for that link- full of amazing stuff.

wombat- hello! yes, sigh. we can dream huh?

Jen said...

Yes, but why does it need to be a facade of glass and steel which rate so highly in embodied energy?...(I just love to critique this sort of stuff!)

Jen said...

Ive a had a better look at it now, and I guess I dont believe it can be 'zero energy'...but its an aspirational project and its great to see this sort of thing valued by the judging panels, and its not without design nouse...

Kel said...

im of the understanding that zero enery is a calculation based in zero sum inputs and outputs , so technically possible.

Jen said...

Yes, absolutely! I dont know a whole heap about this but there are people that look at the cradle to cradle cost of buildings in terms of energy (check out Robert and Brenda Vale). But it seems to me it is always a matter of what is included in the calculation of 'energy in and energy out'. Alot of new "zero energy" projects include only the operating cycle of the building in these assessments. This means that they may have incredibly energetically expensive environmentatal systems (PV arrays, etc) but are 'zero energy' if you only look at what happens after the building is occupied. (ie: the 'carbon' running costs associated with the running of the buildings environmental systems.)
But even this is a step in the right direction, and competitions like this generate positive press about better ways of doing things!
When architects start recycling buildings, mindful of the embodied energy they are 'saving', I am more convinced.

Jen said...

Thanks for this post Kel, this post has got me fired up and thinking about this project more and more. The best thing about the design, in my opinion, is the integration of landscape (greening) strategies into the architecture, and the creation of 'food', and its exchange in and around the place where people live. Great news for locavores, and signifying a shift in thinking about this whole economy around food production. Yeah! This is potentially real and positive change, and it sounds like it will go ahead. But how to implement this in such a way that the community gets behind this? This is sometimes a hopeful notion when our capitalist economy offers the ease and culturally sanctioned 'supermarket' and 'mall' as place to shop. Its not architects that make this stuff work, its communities.

Also, I would have to agree, in part, with this criticism of the project, cited on the link:

Navin R Johnson Says:
June 12th, 2009 at 1:43 pm

'It seems like this project relies on the dream of a large scale urban planning project for the success of its implementation. At the scale of the city block it is just a high-rise bar building in a park. In essence it is an unconvincing revision of Le Corbusier’s Unite block.'

What this suggests is that there may be new models for this kind of 'green building' that need not be executed on this scale, and this architectural format.

This is the stuff my final year architecture students are pondering... big questions, great questions...thanks!

Kel said...

Jen- hehe..glad to provide you with some fire fodder, thats always the plan! Its the integration into urban space the old fashioned concepts of food production and potential reconnection which so many people are yearning for and dont know how to find it or what it may look like. enjoy your day!