Friday, November 9, 2012

Hovering Donut Makes News But Green Historic Preservation Takes the Cake

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You might have seen the interesting news from the Municipal Arts Society's (MAS) annual meeting in New York around the design competition for the area around Grand Central Station.  This part of Midtown Manhattan is in the process of being rezoned to allow for greater density and more high-rise buildings.  One of the more interesting (and in my mind unworkable) designs is of a giant donut platform that hovers between two skyscrapers.  The donut moves up and down the buildings to allow different views of the city for folks in it.  I'm sort of meh about it but it seems to have caught the public's attention.  You can read about it here.  It is sort of derivative of the London Eye and to me seems like the Eye of Sauron in the Lord of the Rings.  Especially from this vantage point.  Odds are, it will not get built since it was a design competition and not an actual funded project, but it is great to see ideas emerge.

One piece of information that did come from the conference that will have more lasting impact on the region is the new document titled Greening NYC's Historic Buildings:  Green Rowhouse Manual that focuses on how to preserve the rowhouses of New York while making them energy efficient and green.  There are sections on wall and roofs, windows and doors, heating and cooling, lighting and electrical wiring, plumbing and water efficiency, appliances and plug loads, indoor health, outdoors, fuel efficiency, and incentives and programs.  You can download the manual here.  It is a nice addition to the emerging practical information on green building and historic preservation.

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