The new building form creates exclusive pedestrian streets and private outdoor patios

Building Hybrids

Just like in cars and food crops, hybrids are a way of optimizing the best attributes of the elements that are brought together. Shelter hybrids deliver higher quality living based on the same principle.

Bethel Baptist Church and Seniors Apartments by Robert Reimers Architects (Google Image)

Church Time : Renovation and Renewal

  Canadian statistics about faith and churchgoing show an institution in crisis – a crisis for the church but a real opportunity for communities, developers and builders. Here are some foreboding clouds with a silver lining. Until 1971 less than one percent of Canadians said they did not abide by any religion. By 2011 the…

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CatamaranPriests_traveling_across_kealakekua_bay_for_first_contact_rituals2

Navigation and Legibility

  In an earlier article, Beloved and Abandoned, we presented the grid plan, using Portland’s layout, as a historic relic perhaps deserving of attention but clearly unfit for replication in contemporary settings. That, evidently, is not occurring in any case. Several commentators quickly pointed to the supreme legibility of the simple grid as a counterpoint;…

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Photo Caption: Pedestrian Streets, featuring houses and offices, dominate this new district. All rainwater is collected for local use.

Low Carbon Communities

Many speak of the need to measure the sustainability of development projects in order to avoid confusion and prevent the unchecked “greenwashing”.  Sustainability measurements involve aspects such as energy use by housing units, offices, and cars; watershed protection and sensitive land preservation, to list just a few. But while some aspects are relatively easy to…

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Animals provided most transportation power until the 1900s

The Transformative Power of Energy

Transportation largely shapes a city. The power for transportation evolved from hoof and foot to fuels and to electricity. Electricity made transportation irrelevant to communication; it transported much of human excange on a wire or on waves. because of the density of communication skyrocketed while the dinsity of cities fell.

A reclaimed street becomes a stage

Renovating Cities – one block at a time

Just like buildings, cities need a good makeover once in a while. And the reasons are pretty much the same for both. Time has battered their infrastructure, which has either reached or surpassed its life expectancy. Also, during this life-cycle new systems have emerged that do the job better and, sometimes, at lower cost;   …

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A Contemporary Urban Pattern