News briefs

August 11, 2010

  • Wisconsin mandates that all state buildings be green. Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle recently signed an executive order designed to spur the "greening" of state government buildings in Wisconsin. Under the order, state buildings will be subject to energy efficiency goals and green building standards based on the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED rating system. The order proposes that new state buildings be at least 30% more energy efficient than current commercial codes require.

  • First sustainable construction awards include German rail station. The design for a new railway station in Stuttgart, Germany, and an urban integration project in Caracas, Venezuela, are gold medal winners in the first Holcim Awards, a sustainable design competition created by the Swiss-based Holcim Foundation. The silver went to a regional master plan and renewal strategy for the Mulini Valley near Amalfi and Scala, Italy; the bronze was bestowed on a low-cost housing and urban renewal project in Montreal, Que. The winners, which were selected from among more than 3,000 submissions from 118 countries, shared $1 million in prize money.

  • Two top African-American architects lobby for Smithsonian project. Two of the nation's top African-American architects recently spent a day in Washington, D.C., in an effort to ensure black architects take the lead in designing the Smithsonian's new National Museum of African-American History and Culture. Philip Freelon of the Freelon Group, Raleigh, N.C., and Max Bond of Davis Brody Bond, New York, toured the site opposite the Washington Monument and met with museum officials.

  • Seismic retrofits lag in Los Angeles area schools. The Los Angeles Unified School District has retrofitted just nine of the 145 school buildings that safety experts determined are at risk of collapse during a major earthquake. The buildings include classrooms, auditoriums, and administrative offices on more than 60 campuses across the city. The total statewide tab for the retrofits could reach $5 billion.

  • LA shocked to discover it has a river, wants to use it. Inspired by river renaissances in cities from Providence, R.I., to San Antonio, Los Angeles is rediscovering the inland Los Angeles River. The 51-mile waterway (currently almost entirely covered by concrete) is the focus of a 20-year master plan for restoration that the city will release next January.

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