NEW BRIEFS: Voters reject peace center for Alcatraz... Feds fine contractors for Ground Zero hazards... Dubai Rose Rotana Tower tops list of 2007’s tallest buildings

March 01, 2008 |

Voters reject peace center for Alcatraz.Voters in San Francisco have rejected a measure that would have replaced Alcatraz Island’s infamous prison with a peace center, at a cost of $1 billion. Alcatraz gets 1.4 million visitors a year. Of those who voted, 72% opposed the change.

Feds fine contractors for Ground Zero hazards. The federal government fined two contractors—Bovis Lend Lease and the John Galt Corp.—that were hired to dismantle a condemned Ground Zero skyscraper. The $464,500 fine was issued for more than 40 safety hazards at the former Deutsche Bank tower in lower Manhattan, where two firefighters died in a fire last summer.

Dubai Rose Rotana Tower tops list of 2007’s tallest buildings. At 1,093 feet, Dubai Rose Rotana Tower stands atop the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat’s list of the 10 tallest buildings completed in 2007. The New York Times Building (319 meters, 1,047 feet) placed second, with the China International Center Tower (269 meters, 883 feet) in third.

Campus sustainability program launches rating system pilot. AASHE, the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, has selected more than 90 colleges and universities to participate in the pilot phase of a green building assessment system called STARS (Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System). AASHE hopes to launch the official version of STARS in spring 2009.

Navy training facility under siege. The U.S. Navy, under pressure from the Defense Department to get rid of outmoded buildings, may be planning to demolish “The Box,” a stark but handsome steel-and-glass building co-designed by Skidmore Owings & Merrill’s Bruce Graham, architect of Chicago’s Sears Tower and the John Hancock Center. Located at Naval Station Great Lakes near Chicago, the moth-balled facility was once used to train Navy gunners.

Secure concrete core is changing today’s tall buildings. Three skyscrapers under construction that will surpass the height of Taipei 101 in Taiwan (the world’s tallest building) are using a sealed, hardened concrete core system that protects the core, even if the rest of the structure is damaged. The 1,776-foot Freedom Tower in New York City, the Chicago Spire (2,000 feet), and the Burj Dubai (2,700 feet) will all have hollow concrete spines anchoring floors that will cascade and twist around them.

LA mayor unveils ambitious solar energy plan.Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced a solar initiative that will create more than 400 “green collar jobs” over the next three years. The initiative involves the installation and maintenance of solar panels on buildings throughout the city, in addition to providing small businesses with lighting efficiency upgrades and offering a 35% discount for new renewable businesses.

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