The World's Largest Wooden City To Be Built in Sweden
Swedish real estate development company Atrium Ljungberg has announced it will build the world’s largest wooden city in Sweden. Named Stockholm Wood City, the large-scale urban project will be spread across 60 acres with 7,000 office spaces, 2,000 homes, and a plethora of restaurants and shops in Sickla, a region in the southern part of the nation’s capital city of Stockholm. The project, designed by global architecture firms White Arkitekter and Henning Larsen, is set to break ground in 2025, with the first set of buildings scheduled for completion in 2027.
“Working with wood can reduce the climate impact of buildings by up to 50% while significantly decreasing construction time,” according to a Visit Sweden press release. “Also being a renewable and locally sourced material, wood offers immense possibilities for sustainable urbanization and development. Research studies indicate that wooden buildings enhance air quality, reduce stress, increase productivity, and store carbon dioxide over their lifespan.”
Sweden is already home to one of the world’s tallest timber buildings: The Sara Cultural Center and the Wood Hotel in Skellefteå, which was completed in 2021, stands more than 260 feet tall. [Visit Sweden]
The Smithsonian Celebrates the Architectural History of the Geodesic Dome
The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., has partnered with Catholic University’s School of Architecture and Planning on a new exhibition entitled Reconstructing Weatherbreak: Geodesic Domes in an Age of Extreme Weather. The installation celebrates the architectural dome, a structure invented in 1926 by German engineer Walther Bauersfeld. While American architect R. Buckminster Fuller is credited with improving the design in the late 1940s, Canadian architectural designer Jeffrey Lindsay designed Weatherbreak, a lightweight, stable dome that could resist extreme weather conditions, in 1950.
“Weatherbreak was the first large-span geodesic dome built in North America and the first dome home in the world,” Abeer Saha, curator in the museum’s Division of Work and Industry, said in a press release. “Decades later, the nation and planet are focused on sustainability as it relates to climate change. This living exhibition adds to such urgent dialogue by reconstructing and contextualizing the dome for contemporary audiences in an age of extreme weather.”
Weatherbreak has been reconstructed after decades of sitting in storage. Visitors can see the exhibition in the NMAH’s Flag Hall through July 28. [National Museum of American History]
Higher Taxes on Luxury Goods Could Help Reduce Carbon Emissions
A team of researchers from the University of Leeds in the UK—comprising Yannick Oswald, Joel Millward-Hopkins, Julia K. Steinberger, Anne Owen, and Diana Ivanova—has published a paper in the journal One Earth that states opting for higher taxes on luxury goods over a uniform tax system could result in a reduction in carbon emissions, as higher taxes on luxury items could help countries "raise revenue and reduce consumption of polluting products," according to a New Scientist article on the research. The team created models of 88 countries to measure the impact of a higher carbon tax for luxury products on greenhouse gas emission rates. In their United States model, for example, they saw a 4.8% reduction in average national emissions with the higher carbon tax scenario opposed to a 4.4% decrease under a uniform carbon tax. The researchers concluded that if “all 88 countries adopted luxury taxes, it would deliver 75% of the emissions reduction needed to limit climate change to well below 2°C by 2050” according to the article. [New Scientist]
AIA Shares Views on Student Loan Debt Forgiveness, Affirmative Action, and Federal Design Style Mandates
The American Institute of Architects recently shared its views on three issues affecting architects in the United States. First—in a joint press release with the National Organization of Minority Architects, the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, and the American Institute of Architecture Students on June 29—the Institute voiced its support for affirmative action policies at higher education institutions in the U.S. On June 30, AIA expressed its concerns in an online statement regarding the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on student loan forgiveness. And last week, it shared that it strongly opposes federal mandates on architectural design styles. This July 6 announcement comes after the recently introduced Beautifying Federal Civic Architecture Act to the U.S. Congress that would require a Classical aesthetic for all civic projects. [The American Institute of Architects]
A New Experimental Garden House in Germany is 'Archaeology of the Future'
The Tane Garden House on the Vitra Campus in southwest Germany is a small experimental building designed by Japanese architect Tsuyoshi Tane following the theme “Archaeology of the Future.” The Garden House was unveiled to the public around June 15, during Art Basel 2023.
In a Q&A with Vitra, Tane was asked to share why he chose a theme that references the past and the future. “Like archaeologists, we begin a long process of exploration and digging up the memory of a place,” Tane said. “It is a process of surprise and discovery, a quest to encounter things we did not know, what we had forgotten, what has been lost through modernization and globalization. We believe that a place will always have memories deeply embedded in the ground and in history. We believe that memory does not belong to the past, but is the driving force that creates architecture. Through this process of thinking about the future from the memory of a place, archaeology gradually becomes architecture.”
The Tane Garden House, which can fit about 8 people, was built by local craftspeople using sustainable and local materials wherever possible. Inside, it features a small coffee corner, gardening tool storage, and space for intimate workshops. Outside, the house offers seating, a fountain for watering and cleaning garden work boots and utensils, and an observation deck on the roof. [The Guardian]
ARCHITECT Launches its 2023 Summer Reading List
ARCHITECT editors compiled a summer reading list of 12 architecture and design books, with topics spanning rewilding, interior design, tropical architecture, and more. Some of the newly published and forthcoming books on the list include Yasmeen Lari: Architecture for the Future, a retrospective on Yasmeen Lari—Pakistan’s first female architect and the winner of the 2023 RIBA Royal Gold Medal—John Pawson: Making Life Simpler, a visual biography by Deyan Sudjic on the British architectural designer’s career and the art that has inspired him; and Sky-High, a photography-filled hardcover by Eric P. Nash that surveys 12 skyscrapers redefining New York’s architectural vernacular. [ARCHITECT]
Furnishings Made From Recycled Shoes Could Inspire Manufacturers to Embrace Sustainability
In his latest piece, ARCHITECT columnist Blaine Brownell, FAIA discusses a new homewares collection made from recycled shoes, seen at the recent NYCxDesign Festival. He believes the collection, made by Brooklyn, N.Y.–based firm Particle, can inspire manufacturers to create more eco-minded furnishings. "As material sourcing and waste concerns intensify, Particle does not merely represent a fad but indicates a necessary shift toward cradle-to-cradle manufacturing and recycling processes," Brownell wrote last week. [ARCHITECT]
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