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Rebuilding Japan After the Tsunami

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In the past year, we’ve seen many wrenching images of post-tsunami Japan. What has happened since March, and how much hope is there for the affected area’s recovery?

Media coverage was intense following Japan’s Tohoko earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011. Despite the scale of this disaster, coverage inevitably shifted to other news stories. The people of eastern Japan still have a long road ahead in the rebuilding and recovery process. How are they faring, nine months later?

Biophilia: Our Affinity for Nature Can Help Us to Transform Our Living Spaces

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What is it that makes a person like a building? Beyond simple differences in individual taste, scientists are identifying biologically based responses that determine our preferences.

Green design can mean many things. Even the most structured green building rating systems reflect this fact. At their most encompassing, rating systems can include far reaching social and cultural goals; at their most pragmatic, these systems still emphasize the importance of environmental quality for the end user. However, this type of imprecise consideration is often overshadowed by components that are more measurable, such as energy-efficient heating and cooling systems or water usage.

Construction Observer Training Programs

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What is the best way for a construction observer to train? Learning from a professional on site may be ideal, but other good sources of information include public agencies and the documentation they make available.

Columnist David A. Todd, P.E., CPESC, has 37 years of experience in the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry and has performed much construction administration during that time. He will answer questions from our readers or from his own practice and will provide answers based on his understanding of the construction process.

The Smith Center for the Performing Arts: Deco in Vegas

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DMSAS designs a new performing arts center that will outlast the $20 in your pocket.

Las Vegas is known for its over-the-top re-creations of period architecture and, in some cases, of entire cities. Where else can you view interpretations of Caesar’s Palace, an ancient Egyptian pyramid, and modern-day New York City? The newest addition to Vegas’s collection of notable architecture is an Art Deco behemoth inspired by the nearby Hoover Dam.

House of the Month: The Environmentally Conscious Cottage

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In an effort to reduce the environmental impact of a cottage located near federally protected land, David Jameson Architect, Inc., quite literally reduced the building’s footprint. When a Washington, D.C., couple purchased their Church Creek, Maryland, property, it was equipped with an existing cottage, but Hurricane Isabel damaged that structure in 2003, and erecting a new building on the site became controversial.

Safety Modifications to Historic Buildings

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The U.S. Post Office and Courthouse in South Bend, IN, designed by N. Roy Shambleau, was completed in 1933. Still in use today by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, it was renamed in 1992 as the Robert A. Grant Federal Building and United States Courthouse. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places, meaning that modifications to the exterior are not permitted. Any modifications to the function of the building must occur in such a way that the exterior remains true to its original design.

A Positive Alternative with Biofuels: A Win–Win for the Construction Industry

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As the construction industry continuously looks for ways to enhance its offerings to companies and clients, its abilities to do more with less and to offer better value by using better technologies will provide real benefit. It’s also rewarding for us drivetrain and energy nerds to see the application of some pretty cool and useful technologies such as biofuels that are morphing from research lab to fuel tank and from start-up enterprise to hyper-clean engine.

U.S. Infrastructure: Drinking Water

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This is the fifth article in Buildipedia's series on U.S. Infrastructure, following the January 8, 2010 feature on dams, "It’s About Dam Time!"

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) assigned the United States’ DRINKING WATER infrastructure a grade of “D-” on their 2009 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure. Easy access to fresh water is a modern convenience that we might take for granted in our daily lives.

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