Courtesy Stefano Boeri Architetti

At the request of Italy's special commissioner on COVID-19, Milan-based firm Stefano Boeri Architetti has crafted a coronavirus vaccination campaign for the country. The firm's three-pronged proposal includes a campaign logo, a design for temporary vaccination pavilions, and "mobile information totems" that officials can situate in public spaces. The pavilions and the campaign logo feature a primrose motif, evoking the flower's association with rebirth and its early spring bloom and Italy's biodiversity. Crafted from timber and recyclable, biodegradable, and water-resistant fabrics, each circular pavilion will rest on a prefabricated wooden base to ease assembly and dismantling. The pavilion interiors are carefully segmented into vaccination areas, waiting areas, and a core for administrative staff, and the pavilion roofs feature solar panels that will generate the energy powering each pavilion.

“With the image of a springtime flower, we wanted to create an architecture that would convey a symbol of serenity and regeneration," Boeri said in the project description. "Getting vaccinated will be an act of civic responsibility, love for others and the rediscovery of life. If this virus has locked us up in hospitals and homes, the vaccine will bring us back into contact with life and the nature that surrounds us." [Stefano Boeri Architetti]

Nate Smith

Former Next Progressives firm SomePeople, founded by Kiki Goti, has completed an augmented reality installation in a narrow alley that aims to highlight often-overlooked architectural elements and help revitalize the city of Frederick, Md. Dubbed “Happy Stripe,” the curvilinear pavilion comprises fuchsia nylon ropes hanging from a bent steel frame. But it's also interactive. Visitors can use a mobile AR app to use the structure as a basket into which teams of up to 10 socially distant players can lob colorful, digital balls and score points. [SomePeople]

Spot, an agile mobile robot created by Boston Dynamics
courtesy Boston Dynamics Spot, an agile mobile robot created by Boston Dynamics

Why haven't robotics transformed architecture? Boston Dynamics construction manager Brian Ringley argues that the potential of robotics lies not in mimicking construction tasks, but in data capture. From project delivery to creating useful as-builts, the technology exists and is ready to be rolled out more universally. [ARCHITECT]

Courtesy IKEA

If you are itching for a holiday-themed craft, look no further than IKEA. The company has published the plans for its very own Gingerbread Höme, complete with a Joknokk table and chairs and a Billy bookcase. Bakers and builders can download the free and printable IKEA assembly instructions for each gingerbread element. Those with a 3D printer can take advantage of the 3D printer cookie cutter files. Now, all you need is a gingerbread recipe. [IKEA]

Piles of bagasse on a sugar plantation in Maui
Flickr/Creative Commons License/Forest and Kim Starr Piles of bagasse on a sugar plantation in Maui

ARCHITECT columnist Blaine Brownell, FAIA, dives into the potential of bagasse, a sugarcane waste product, to "develop new building materials and other products that retain the fiber's sequestered carbon while offsetting the use of less environmentally responsible alternatives." [ARCHITECT]

With the new year a mere two weeks away, Bloomberg Green asked sustainably minded architects Julien De Smedt of JDS Architects in Brussels; Casper Mork-Ulnes, AIA, of Mork-Ulnes Archiects in San Francisco and Oslo, Norway; and Koichi Takada of Koichi Takada Architects in Sydney to envision the houses that might populate Europe's greener future. The only requirement for the single-family residential projects, which the architects could situate anywhere in Europe, was that they needed to be net positive energy. [Bloomberg Geen]

Courtesy UNEP

The Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction's UN-backed "2020 Global Status Report for Buildings and Construction" has found that emissions from building operations hit their highest levels in 2019, accounting for 38% of the world's energy-related CO2 emissions. While the International Energy Agency estimates that building sector emissions need to fall by at least 6% each year in order to achieve a net-zero carbon building stock by 2050, GlobalABC has found that emissions-related improvements halved between 2016 and 2019. Hope lies, however, in pandemic recovery packages, which provide opportunities for greener project standards and building renovations. "Rising emissions in the buildings and construction sector emphasize the urgent need for a triple strategy to aggressively reduce energy demand in the built environment, decarbonize the power sector, and implement materials strategies that reduce lifecycle carbon emissions," said UN Environment Programme executive director Inger Andersen in a press release. [UNEP]

Courtesy of Kung-Hui (Bella) Chu, Texas A&M University

Researchers from Texas A&M University have developed a biodegradable plastic from sewage sludge. By combining the sludge with Zobellella denitrificans ZD1, a salt-tolerant bacteria from mangrove trees, the researchers created a polyhydroxybutyrate bioplastic that can be a substitute for petroleum-based plastics. "We have demonstrated a potential way to use municipal wastewater-activated sludge and agri- and aqua-culture industrial wastewater to make biodegradable plastics," said A&M professor Kung-Hui "Bella" Chu in a press release. "Furthermore, the bacterial strain does not require elaborate sterilization processes to prevent contamination from other microbes, further cutting down operating and production costs of bioplastics.” [Texas A&M]

Chemist Harold Hay pioneered alternatives to traditional air conditioning with his Skytherm system, paving the way for passive cooling innovations. Blaine Brownell dives into Hay's achievements and the promises of the systems that followed. [ARCHITECT]

This article has been updated to reflect the correct spelling of Kiki Goti.

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