Plastic road surface might be streets ahead of asphalt
Before 1962, the basic design of the modern bicycle had changed very little since the early 1880s, when the ‘safety bicycle’ was developed in England. All subsequent designs followed this established model until Alex Moulton came along and literally reinvented the wheel.
The essence of the Moulton bicycle is its simplicity, and in each of its fundamental elements, a radical rethinking of convention. Rather than the large wheels and hunched riding position of the standard bicycle, Moulton introduced the concept of smaller wheels and a space-frame system with rubber suspension. The result is a lightweight, fast and remarkably strong machine. An aesthetic object, it is also a delight to use – flexible, responsive and comfortable to ride. Like other engineered objects that I find exciting, its appearance and performance are indivisible – it has a kind of sparse beauty. It is also recognised the world over as the ultimate riding machine – the highest speed officially recorded for a bicycle ridden in a conventional upright position was set by 1986 by Jim Glover on a Moulton AM7.
Alex Moulton was a remarkable man and a brilliant engineer. His professional life was devoted to the research, development, design and manufacture of advanced and innovative products. Before turning his attention to bicycles, he worked alongside Sir Alec Issigonis at the British Motor Corporation, developing the rubber suspension system for the Mini; and Moulton’s subsequent hydragas suspension systems were a feature of numerous British production vehicles.
I have many fond memories of time spent with Alex Moulton, especially at his home in Bradford–on–Avon. Like many creative individuals there was no division between his passion for design and day-to-day living.
Tribute to Oscar Niemeyer by Norman Foster
I was deeply saddened to learn of the death of Oscar Niemeyer. He was an inspiration to me – and to a generation of architects. Few people get to meet their heroes and I am grateful to have had the chance to spend time with him in Rio last year.
For architects schooled in the mainstream Modern Movement, he stood accepted wisdom on its head. Inverting the familiar dictum that ‘form follows function’, Niemeyer demonstrated instead that, ‘When a form creates beauty it becomes functional and therefore fundamental in architecture’.
It is said that when the pioneering Russian cosmonaut, Yuri Gagarin visited Brasilia he likened the experience to landing on a different planet. Many people seeing Niemeyer’s city for the first time must have felt the same way. It was daring, sculptural, colourful and free – and like nothing else that had gone before. Few architects in recent history have been able to summon such a vibrant vocabulary and structure it into such a brilliantly communicative and seductive tectonic language.
One cannot contemplate Brasilia’s crown-like cathedral, for example, without being thrilled both by its formal dynamism and its structural economy, which combine to engender a sense almost of weightlessness from within, as the enclosure appears to dissolve entirely into glass. And what architect can resist trying to work out how the tapering, bone-like concrete columns of the Alvorada Palace are able to touch the ground so lightly. Brasilia is not simply designed, it is choreographed; each of its fluidly-composed pieces seems to stand, like a dancer, on its points frozen in a moment of absolute balance. But what I most enjoy in his work is that even the individual building is very much about the public promenade, the public dimension.
As a student in the early 1960s, I looked to Niemeyer’s work for stimulation; poring over the drawings of each new project. Fifty years later his work still has the power to startle us. His contemporary Art Museum at Niteroi is exemplary in this regard. Standing on its rocky promontory like some exotic plant form, it shatters convention by juxtaposing art with a panoramic view of Rio harbour. It is as if – in his mind – he had dashed the conventional gallery box on the rocks below, and challenged us to view art and nature as equals. I have walked the Museum’s ramps. They are almost like a dance in space, inviting you to see the building from many different viewpoints before you actually enter. I found it absolutely magic.
During our meeting last year, we spoke at length about his work – and he offered some valuable lessons for my own. It seems absurd to describe a 104 year old as youthful, but his energy and creativity were an inspiration. I was touched by his warmth and his great passion for life and for scientific discovery – he wanted to know about the cosmos and the world in which we live. In his words: “We are on board a fantastic ship!”
He told me that architecture is important, but that life is more important. And yet in the end his architecture is his ultimate legacy. Like the man himself, it is eternally youthful – he leaves us with a source of delight and inspiration for many generations to come.
The debate around expanding London’s airport capacity was brought into sharp focus last year through independent proposals by Foster + Partners for the Thames Hub. Since then, the development of other ideas for the expansion and rebuilding of airports by leading architects such as Gensler, Weston Williamson and Farrells has highlighted the important role that responsible and entrepreneurial proposals have to play in furthering the airport debate as well as in achieving solutions.
With the official review into London’s airport capacity having launched in November, NLA has invited a series of these architects to set out their proposals and ideas for meeting London’s airport capacity needs.
Very interesting the development of alternative power sources. Mainly if takes natural sciences and bio-engineering into consideration. The study of the amazing termites in Univesity of Florida is getting close to something amazing. Check it out on the university’s NEWS.
The questions that comes to me are:
1. How many decades?
2. And then what?
In other words: It is just another warning to us on how important renewable energy is.
Today I came across this very interesting site.
If you like your Sustainable “gadgets” you porbably will like the Sustainablog. Have fun!
Source: Deloitte Website
Deloitte, the business advisory firm, has acquired dcarbon8, a leading carbon and sustainability consultancy, as it expands and evolves its environmental and sustainability consulting practice.
The deal sees Guy Battle, a founder of dcarbon8, become a Deloitte partner and its employees join Deloitte.
dcarbon8, a ‘grand prix’ award winner at the 2008 Green Business Awards, is at the forefront of carbon management services especially focussing on embodied carbon within products and complex supply chains. This includes the capacity to deliver Carbon Trust and Planet Positive certification of products, businesses and buildings. dcarbon8 also increasingly specialises in developing corporate sustainability and communications strategies to meet the challenges laid out by the UK Government for the low carbon economy.
John Connolly, CEO and senior partner at Deloitte, commented: “dcarbon8 is a leading innovator in carbon and sustainability consulting and already advises a number of blue chip clients. We are delighted to welcome its team to Deloitte, where their expertise in carbon footprint, water and sustainability advisory services will complement and enhance our existing credentials as we seek to establish leadership in this field.
“This deal will bring together pioneering and highly skilled people from both organisations enabling us to offer an increased range and depth of carbon and sustainability advice to a broader number of clients.”
Guy Battle, founder and director of dcarbon8, commented: “The challenges facing business as the world moves towards a low carbon economy are enormous. We see the move to Deloitte as a fantastic opportunity to combine our respective skills adding the necessary depth and resource to allow us to meet the growing demands of our customers in this field.
“I have been very impressed by Deloitte’s absolute commitment to developing their environmental expertise and especially their commitment to becoming the leading professional services firm for the green economy. We are incredibly excited at becoming a central part in making this vision a reality.”
This news follows the announcements in January that Deloitte is adding Drivers Jonas, the property advisory specialist, to the firm to create a groundbreaking new real estate advisory business, and that Deloitte has also acquired ReportSource, the leading business performance and information management consultancy, boosting its UK Consulting arm.
Notes to Editors:
In this press release references to Deloitte are references to Deloitte LLP, which is among the country’s leading professional services firms.
Deloitte LLP is the United Kingdom member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu (‘DTT’), a Swiss Verein, whose member firms are legally separate and independent entities. Please see www.deloitte.co.uk/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of DTT and its member firms.
The information contained in this press release is correct at the time of going to press.
dcarbon8 helps businesses reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and stimulate responsible carbon management throughout the supply chain. Its primary aim is to reduce global warming by promoting responsible environmental and sustainable practices throughout the world economy. dcarbon8 achieves this by encouraging companies to develop loyal and strategic environmental business alliances throughout their supply chains from supplier to consumer. dcarbon8 helps companies to identify and reduce the carbon footprints of their operations and activities as well as in their products and supply chain.
As I have mention on a previous post, I will be with the British Mission meeting a variety of professional in Brazil.
The two main events to be the UKTI Seminar on GREEN AND SUSTAINABLE BUILDING SEMINAR that will happen in SÃO PAULO on the 28/10/09 and in RIO DE JANEIRO on 30/10/09.
I will be talking a bit about bio-climatic design and the use of vegetation on an integrated MEP Design.
I hope I will see you there!
Gostaria de compartilhar que estarei junto a missao britânica que estara falando sobe sustentabilidade na semana que se inciia em 26/10/09.
Os principais eventos sendo os Seminário sobre Prédios Sustentáveis para a Asbea que ocorrera dia 28/10/09 em Säo Paulo e 30/10/09 no Rio de Janeiro.
Eu vou estar falando um pouco sobre projeto bio-climático e sobre nossos últimos trabalhos com o uso integrado de vegetaçäo nos sitemas de engenharia predial.
Para maiores informaçöes visite o Site da Asbea.
Espero encontra-los lá!