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Poll

Which

  • 21st century architecture is better than earlier architecture
    2 (66.7%)
  • 21st century architecture is worse than earlier architecture
    1 (33.3%)
  • beer is better than either
    0 (0%)

Total Members Voted: 3

Topic: 21st century architecture (Read 25169 times)

  • jax
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21st century architecture
Buildings say a lot about the builders and the people who elect to use them. What buildings of this century would you like to highlight and why? Which are the best? Which are the worst? Which are interesting, which are boring? Which ones probably wouldn't be made before or after? How will they affect the neighbourhood, how would they age?

What can we say about current architecture? What should we be quiet about? What are the hopes and fears?

  • Frenzie
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Re: 21st century architecture
Reply #1
I think one of the best developments we're seeing is (near) energy-neutral buildings. I believe starting in 2015 already, all new houses in Brussels have to be (near) energy-neutral. Although we live in an ancient apartment, we already treat it as if it were energy neutral by simply closing the living-room door. Our body heat combined with a computer or two usually suffice to keep it at 17-18°, and only when it's freezing, especially when there's also wind, is the occasional intervention from the furnace required. The thermostat is set to 17°.

Lest you think we live in a fairly nice and modern apartment, we don't. Only the living room has double glazing, and even so insulation is abysmal. The ceiling is higher than necessary at 3.2m (2.5m should do), and doubtless badly insulated too. I don't understand the high ceilings anyway. Remove those 70-80cm of unnecessary height from each apartment and you've got another apartment! Of course, that's a question for the architects in 1960 or whenever this place was constructed; it's hardly something that can be changed now.

What I fear is that usable space won't improve. By being more efficient with height, you can give everyone more space without much of a significant cost. Instead, landlords seem to make the apartments in height-efficient buildings even smaller, akin to the dystopia in Billennium. Except my fear relates not to overpopulation--at least, we've had the technology to stop that for decades--but to unbridled capitalism. That is, I think we need norms not only about energy use, but also more about livability both inside and outside the house.

  • ersi
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Re: 21st century architecture
Reply #2
All the highrise buildings highlighted in media this century are very bad. Since I generally don't follow architecture news, I don't know of any positive examples. From what I've seen, small-scale city-planning (I hope this is the right term) has been forgotten, even though small-scale planning would be the saving grace for the planet. Land is being given away for corporate highrise buildings in ever larger chunks. There may be some amusing specimens among the buildings produced, but I haven't noticed any edifying or ergonomic or economic ones.

@Frenzie
I don't even know what energy-neutral means, but sure this great innovation will reach our place too in no time. It comes from Brussels, so it must be absolutely fabulous. The previous great innovation that we blindly adopted (looks like irreversibly) was the "saving" lightbulbs that cost ten times more than previous lightbulbs and burn through ten times faster (literally) because here in our dark climate you need to switch the lights on and off often and those things are not built for that. Also, the new bulbs don't emit heat like the old bulbs did. Heat is really vital in our climate. The old bulbs are already prohibited and not in sales here. Some smart people bought up large stocks in time.

  • Frenzie
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Re: 21st century architecture
Reply #3
It comes from Brussels, so it must be absolutely fabulous.

Don't confuse Brussels the arrondissement with the EU government. :)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Low-energy_house

Btw, halogen lights are just as inefficient as traditional bulbs. Our halogen light actually contributes a fair bit to living room heating.

  • Belfrager
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Re: 21st century architecture
Reply #4
Ah ah, one of mine preferred threads. :)
A matter of attitude.

  • jax
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Re: 21st century architecture
Reply #5
The original thread was quite graphics intensive, we'll see how this one works out.

  • ersi
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Re: 21st century architecture
Reply #6

It comes from Brussels, so it must be absolutely fabulous.

Don't confuse Brussels the arrondissement with the EU government. :)
I don't, but there are sure signs that the EU government has always been confused about this.


The original thread was quite graphics intensive, we'll see how this one works out.
I can confirm what I said earlier. I spot no likeable architecture, none existing and none upcoming. Of course, I must admit that I am heavily biased in favour of the countryside.

  • ersi
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Re: 21st century architecture
Reply #7
And, for example, you don't seem right for me about the "switching problem": it's exactly the opposite as I could judge by 1) their "construction", 2) my own experience with them

It's hard to define the switching problem. It could be something to do with my ancient wires and/or voltage instability. Anyway, the old bulbs lasted just fine and they emitted proper heat. The old burning bulb really burns!

And I consider the invitation to come shopping seriously. It's been too long since I was in Russia.

  • Frenzie
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Re: 21st century architecture
Reply #8
A mammal like homo needs 1) air, 2) air. Are you an ant?
I hate the dystopya you tend to configure: the rooms become lower and lower, and people who don't fit the current 1m ceiling get eliminated. Right? Carve a cave for yourself and live there, will you, and leave us the eternity.

You might have a point insofar as people larger than 2.10m or so are concerned, but since my primary point is to insulate the damn floor, ceiling & roof (and outside-facing walls) it's an implementation detail and hardly a dystopia. Also, in this place the doors are a mere 2m so it's really not like they were being the least bit considerate of tall people. I also advocated for compensating for the loss of useless vertical space, especially space exceeding 3m, by more than making up for it in horizontal space.

As far as I get, they don't seem halogen for me. You must be mistaken... In what we had in question.

Ok, so a quartz-halogen bulb is 3-4% efficient compared to the ye olde bulb's ±2%. So sue me, it contributes 1% less to room heating. :P

  • Frenzie
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Re: 21st century architecture
Reply #9
Unless you're saying that incandescents are bad for people because they're bad for cacti, what's your point? :right:

  • ersi
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Re: 21st century architecture
Reply #10

Unless you're saying that incandescents are bad for people because they're bad for cacti, what's your point? :right:

To everything I said previously, I can also add that they are near-perceptibly flickering, and this is another dead serious point to me, as I am a book-reading person. I hate cold light. I hate their colour range. I hate flickering. I hate it that they burn out fast in my particular lamps. What is there to like? Will they save the world somehow, like electric cars were supposed to?

  • Frenzie
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Re: 21st century architecture
Reply #11
Funny, the flickering is the primary reason I don't mind seeing traditional bulbs go--although I think it's quite fair to say that incandescent halogen bulbs are the direct continuation of traditional incandescent bulbs.

  • Frenzie
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Re: 21st century architecture
Reply #12
I was just pointing out that you could not fully understand the differences between the types of lighting devices.
For example, you mentioned halogens - but they're not the same as fluorescents,

I said halogens are an evolution of incandescent light bulbs. If they're not they're not, but fluorescents are unrelated to that statement. I grew up with some rather pleasant fluorescent tubes in our living room--much nicer light than any classic incandescent bulb I've seen. (These were not, of course, those unpleasantly white industrial fluorescents.)

  • Banned Member
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Re: 21st century architecture
Reply #13
(These were not, of course, those unpleasantly white industrial fluorescents.)
Maybe.
I suppose that, being of the same construction in principle, they may differ widely in their perceptible output depending on the purpose they're produced for.

  • Frenzie
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Re: 21st century architecture
Reply #14
As far as I know, halogens have quite long been a different type of lamps than both incandescent and fluorescent.

A traditional bulb is filled with e.g. nitrogen or argon; a halogen bulb is (obviously) additionally filled with some kind of halogen like iodine. This is supposed to greatly increase longevity as well as to minutely increase efficiency. My ten-year-old daily-used halogen bulb still seems to be going strong, so I guess that's at least one data point in favor.

For what it's worth, I just read the specification for one of those ones I'm now using (energy saving "white light" ones), and the Russian term has no "halogen" translations

A halogen bulb is not a savings bulb.

  • Banned Member
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Re: 21st century architecture
Reply #15
A halogen bulb is not a savings bulb.
Indeed!
Quote from: Light & lighting for succulent plants
  Quartz halogen lamps produce a clean white light, at a colour temperature of about 3500°K*, extending into the blue and ultraviolet part of the spectrum which is moderately hazardous to eyes and skin during prolonged exposure. There is also considerable production of infra-red in the form of radiant heat which, at close range, may scorch foliage and other delicate materials. It is inadvisable to stare at unfiltered quartz halogen lamps as their high filament brightness, heat and ultraviolet emission may cause irreversible eye-damage.
*
Quote from: same
Typical Colour Temperatures
1000°K: candle, oil lamp
2000°K: sunrise & sunset, high pressure sodium lamps
2700°K: "warm white" fluorescent lamps
2850°K: ordinary tungsten household bulb
3000°K: studio lamps, photofloods
3500°K: quartz halogen lamps
4000°K: clear flashbulbs, blue photofloods
4100°K: "cool white" fluorescent lamps
5000°K: blue flashbulbs, electronic flash, average daylight
6000°K: bright midday sun, Metal Halide (HID) lamps
7000°K: lightly overcast sky
8000°K: hazy sky
10,000°K: heavily overcast sky
11,000°K: blue sky, no sun
20,000°K: shadows in mountains on a clear day

  • ersi
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Re: 21st century architecture
Reply #16
A halogen bulb is not a savings bulb.
See, I am not good with that terminology. The Brussels regulation as propagated over here talks about savings bulbs only, not about what they technologically are. Again, definitions are important. I don't know if it's halogen or whatever. All I know for sure is that the old bulbs were better in several ways, but they have been replaced in shops with something less manageable, called savings bulbs.

  • Frenzie
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Re: 21st century architecture
Reply #17
It was probably my fault. What I meant was that if you don't like savings bulbs, you can always try halogen bulbs. Many require different fittings, but they're also available with classic fittings. Afaik halogen bulbs aren't nearly as prone to breaking as those "savings" bulbs are.

If it's true that I can't easily buy classical bulbs anymore because of regulations (or at all), that doesn't sound good for the environment. I get the impression that the lifetime of a savings bulb depends primarily on the number of times it's switched on and off. I guess I could leave it on while I'm not in the room, but that'd do quite the opposite of saving anything.

  • Banned Member
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Re: 21st century architecture
Reply #18
...if you don't like savings bulbs, you can always try halogen bulbs.
Quote
...which is moderately hazardous to eyes and skin during prolonged exposure. There is also considerable production of infra-red in the form of radiant heat which, at close range, may scorch foliage and other delicate materials. It is inadvisable to stare at unfiltered quartz halogen lamps as their high filament brightness, heat and ultraviolet emission may cause irreversible eye-damage.

  • Frenzie
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Re: 21st century architecture
Reply #19
Okay, ignore halogen bulbs from places where they've never heard of anti-UV coating. Actually that's part of the reason for the specialized fittings on models without it; they fit only in a light with a separate filter/protection.

  • jax
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Re: 21st century architecture
Reply #20
Modern European houses are getting good at retaining heat in winter time, a major energy loss. In Norway triple glazing (two insolating layers in windows) is standard. However the big challenge will be to keep cities cool in summer, most cities are much further to the south than European cities are. Energy wasted will turn into heat, which will waste more energy to get rid of. How can we build buildings that don't get hot, and how can we lead the heat away?

Each man his A/C is not the solution.

  • ersi
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Re: 21st century architecture
Reply #21
Jax, read about this technique http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_tower

In hot dry areas they have known how to build houses for millennia. Did people become stupid all of a sudden? Granted, it's not good for hot and wet areas, but surely there's some ingenious indigenous technique there too, if we are just smart enough to appreciate it.

  • Frenzie
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Re: 21st century architecture
Reply #22
Insulation techniques, whether natural of artificial (I'd say preferably a little of both) help both with keeping warm and keeping cool, as ersi's link illustrates. I suspect both south-east China and Japan should already have better solutions for their climate than a building style imported from the US or northern Europe, or otherwise they might look to import from the Italian north or the southern US--then again, the southern US might be where they first started foregoing any attempts to build appropriate to the local climate and instead just stuck in A/Cs.

It seems obvious to me that you need exterior shutters to keep solar heat out in summer. Shutters or curtains inside the house might help a little, but it's really already too late. (For that matter, if you drop 'em at night in winter I'm sure they help just a little bit more with insulation too.) In Dallas they seem to have heard of shutters, so why not in Fuzhou? Okay, that's a bit of a facetious question, but if you install an A/C it should be some kind of addition to techniques that have existed for millennia, preferably but not necessarily brought into the twenty-first century, not a replacement for long-proven techniques.

Edit: Looks like Louisiana has a so-called passive house. In other words: we have the technology, and despite its present small scale it's apparently no more than about 5% more expensive. The rest is politics.

Re: 21st century architecture
Reply #23
Not a whole lot of 21st century architecture here in my area, but the little bit that has been built has been impressive.

  • Frenzie
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Re: 21st century architecture
Reply #24
London is apparently not so big on the 21st century architecture. ;)