Open-air Library by KARO

Nice project in Madburg, Germany. A small corner park turned into an outdoor library. The architects have re-used timber and cladding materials from an old warehouse along with repurposed beer crates!

via:Dezeen » Blog Archive » Open-air Library by KARO.

Posted by Ben

The Location Efficiency of Your Neighborhood (via Good)

I would love to see this implemented in Perth….

thanks GOOD

The conventional wisdom is that urban areas are better places to live if you’re trying to keep your carbon dioxide emissions in check. Among other things, cities have more stuff packed in a tighter space, meaning less driving. Thanks to a new interactive feature from the Housing and Transportation Affordability Index, you can now see exactly how much carbon dioxide cars accounts for in neighborhoods all over the United States.

I compared my hometown of Davis, California, to my current home in Los Angeles. Davis is on top and Los Angeles is below. The left-hand side of each graphic shows the carbon dioxide emissions from household auto use per acre; the right side shows carbon emissions from household auto use per household. The darker, redder colors mean higher emissions.

co2davis The Location Efficiency of Your Neighborhood

co2la The Location Efficiency of Your Neighborhood

Sure enough, while carbon emissions from car use are lower per acre in the smallish college town, they’re lower per household in the (more) densely populated city of Los Angeles. And Los Angeles isn’t even a particularly dense city. Conventional wisdom confirmed.

You can use the tool here to check areas you’re interested in. And kudos to the Housing and Transportation Affordability Index for helping us all better understand the location efficiency of housing.

Posted by phil

“Casual Carpooling” in San Fransisco…

“The single largest transport resource … in the entire country, are the empty seats in everyone’s car.” —Randy Rentschler


Every weekday, between 6:00 and 9:30 in the morning, a stream of cars and a line of pedestrian commuters converge at a Safeway supermarket in the Rockridge neighborhood of Oakland, California. Without a single raised thumb, the individual passengers fill the empty seats in the waiting vehicles. Once a car has three people, it jumps onto the nearby Highway 24, bound for the Bay Bridge. Thirty minutes later, the Rockridge cars drop off their passengers in San Francisco. Once in the city, riders walk to work or hop on city buses. It’s unregulated, efficient carpooling with total strangers.

This practice is appropriately known as “casual carpool” by locals. To anyone who’s tried to manage a daily commute from East Bay communities like Oakland or Berkeley into San Francisco, the benefits are immediately apparent. The passengers are freed from the rigid schedule of the Bay Area Rapid Transit trains. Missing a BART train can mean waiting 15 minutes for the next one, but the carpooling spots have a steady stream of cars, allowing for a fluidly unscheduled commute. The drivers, by carrying a carload of three or more people, get to use the fast, toll-free carpool lane for High Occupancy Vehicles on the Bay Bridge. They skip a $4 toll and the gridlocked traffic that builds up at the tollbooths.

via GOOD

Posted by phil

Erika-Mann Elementary School II – Berlin

This interesting project came across my desk this morning. Very interesting collaborative project – architecture students working with the kids…  Its fantastic to see their imaginations manifesting themselves.

It’s even more interesting to see that a project such as this obtains funding.  We have much to learn here in Australia…

I would love to hear what educators think about these spaces.

We feel no sympathy at all for any kid in Berlin who complains about school if their school is Erika-Mann Grundschule II . Not only do the principles of their school seem like they were actually created for children, the school’s recently revamped environment is amazing — perhaps not surprisingly as it was designed by the kids themselves with Baupiloten, a group of architecture students.

Some time ago, we wrote about Taka-Tuka Land Kindergarten which was also designed by the same Baupiloten studio. It is a group of architecture students at the Technical University of Berlin led by architect Susanne Hoffmann who founded the studio in 2003.

Baupiloten projects allow the architecture students to experience all facets of a real-life project, from design to budgeting, cost control and site supervision. The students also learn to present to clients and to convince them that their solutions are viable and practical.

A group of just under 10 architecture students worked on the Erika-Mann Grundschule II project. The kids who are using the space participated actively in the design process, giving the architecture students their views on how they will actually use the space, how it should function and what they’d love to see in their school.

Together they sought to lighten and cheer up the heavy and authoritarian air of their old school building from 1915. They developed a playful concept based on a fantastical world of the Silver Dragon. The farther into the building one moves, the stronger one feels the presence of the Silver Dragon whose spirit changes, moves, glows and shimmers.

The different spaces are called Snuffle Garden, Snuffling Room, Chill Room and Dragon’s Breath, each starting with a clean white background and offering freedom of expression in the form of flexible furnishings.

via thecoolhunter – Erika-Mann Elementary School II – Berlin.

Posted by phil