AEC Pros

Public Art or Hotel? Vancouver Fairmont Pacific Rim

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If you have been following the Go Green channel, you've probably read about Vancouverism and the eco-density of downtown Vancouver. Below are a few snapshots of one of the newest contributors to the towering skyline that caught my eye while we were out exploring Vancouver. Right across the street from the Vancouver Convention Center, the Media Center of the 2010 Winter Olympics, is the Fairmont Pacific Rim.

Vancouver Gathers at Robson Square

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What do Arthur Erickson, Robson Square, and The Olympics all have in common? The ability to attract crowds.

"On Saturday night, more than 50,000 people milled around Robson Square in downtown Vancouver. 50,000 in one small area! On Sunday, it got worse. The crowds were so heavy that the media dubbed it Super Sunday," writes June Campbell.

Tweeting Convenience Receptacle Meters

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One Step Closer to the Jetsons

In the news this week there has been talk of inanimate objects that can Tweet their status to humans via their Twitter accounts.  Included in this array were a house plant that can complain about being under- or over-watered and a pair of shoes that can advertise when they take steps.  Entertaining, for sure, but the one category that caught my attention was electric meters that can Tweet data.

Vancouver City Councillor Suzanne Anton on Eco-Density

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Vancouver models much of its urban planning on the principle of eco-density, a term developed largely by City Councillor Suzanne Anton. There was no better place for us to interview Suzanne than at the Coopers Pointe on the waterfront looking across toward the Olympic Village. While in Vancouver, we wanted not only to cover the Olympic architecture but to grasp the essence of a city which is reputed for its very low ecological footprint per capita. It is no coincidence, I believe, that William Rees and Mathis Wackernagel developed the concept of an ecological footprint at The University of British Columbia.

We're Going Nuclear! (Again)

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On Tuesday of this week, President Obama announced construction plans for the first new U.S. nuclear power plant (actually two new reactors at an existing plant) in almost three decades.  Touting the benefits that nuclear power offers to the environment (in particular, fewer carbon emissions as compared to similar-sized coal burning plants), the U.S. government will back $8.33 billion in loans for the reactor additions to the Alvin Vogtle Electric Generating Plant in Burke, Georgia.  The loans program is run by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and has previously sponsored infrastructure projects concerning wind turbines and cleaner coal burning power plants.

Guardrails: Design Criteria, Building Codes, & Installation

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Designing and Installing a Safe System
Almost every commercial and public building, whether it is an office building, sports arena, place of worship, or school building, contains a guardrail system. Guardrail systems are installed to provide safety and protection for the building occupants and are placed at or near the outer edges, of flights of stairs, ramps, landings, platforms, balconies and accessible areas of roofs. They will also be found at the perimeter edge of any opening or accessible surface, such as an open­ing for a stairway, or at a location where operating conditions require limited access to a designated area in order to guard against accidental falls.

A Remarkable Torch Starts The Olympics Opening Ceremony

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The Opening Ceremony of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics evoked a sense of awe in Carla D'Errico, freelance writer of travel and architecture, who gives her response to the ceremony in an interview below. In short, the artistic directors David Atkins and Ignatius Jones deserve the highest esteem for their spectacular video arts show. In addition, while the Olympic torch may seem to be of little consequence when it comes to sustainability, the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics Torch that kicked off the ceremonies on Friday night is actually a remarkable example of green ingenuity.


2010 Olympics Begin: Vancouver Convention Centre

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In 1978, municipal, provincial, and federal Canadian governments began working together to plan the development of a convention center – complete with cruise line and hotel amenities -- on a waterfront property in Vancouver that had been used earlier in the century as a railway pier.

Nat'l Engineers' Week Presents The Future City Competition

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Middle School Kids Design Sustainable Cities to Help Those in Distress

At 7:30 a.m. on a winter Saturday, a time when most kids are still sleeping, professional-looking seventh and eighth graders were already buzzing around pushing carts that were loaded with table-sized futuristic city models and getting them into place for a day-long judging process. The projects that these students were rushing about represent hours of thinking, designing, researching, and collaborating with mentors and classmates to create: An Affordable Living Space For People Who Have Lost Their Home Due to a Disaster or Financial Emergency.

Kleen Energy and Clean Energy in the News

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The tragic explosion at the Kleen Energy plant in Middletown, CT on February 7th reminds us that construction is dangerous work.  Our sympathies go out to the families of those impacted by this recent accident.  The explosion apparently occurred while the crew was purging natural gas lines.  A nuance of this story is that this power plant was still under construction and not yet operational.  Also, there’s been debate in various blogs and news articles about potential fatigue among the construction crew.  Were they under too much pressure to get too much done too quickly?

Extruded Polystyrene (XPS): Improved Wall Performance

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A building's wall system must constantly fight the invasion of rain, air, vapor and thermal attacks.The wall's ability to provide a barrier to each of these elements relies upon the use of appropriate materials, installed in the correct sequence.  There is no such thing as a perfect wall system; however, a wall system that performs with greater efficiency using new efficient materials is achievable.