An article titled the “Fireless Furnace” appeared in the Oct. 25, 1948, issue of LIFE magazine. There, postwar America witnessed the emergence of a futuristic technology that Lord Kelvin, the king of cold, only dreamed about a century earlier. The fireless furnace avoided burning fossil fuels by piping water through coils in the ground and then through a heat pump. But the technology was too expensive—about $3,000 installed—and too new to gain acceptance. “However, as the efficiency of getting heat from the earth improves, it is almost certain that eventually the heat pump will be able to compete successfully with
The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat has decided to measure a building’s height from the level of the “lowest, significant, open-air, pedestrian entrance,” to accommodate multi-use skyscrapers with several main entrances at different levels. The group also has decided to eliminate its height-to-roof category—acknowledging that fewer tall buildings have easily measurable, distinct roof elevations. Under the new criteria, the 800-meter-plus Burj Dubai, currently set to open as the world’s tallest building in January, will now be measured from the lowest of its three main entrances. Also, under the new criteria, the recently completed Trump International Hotel & Towers
As the Army addresses the lifestyle needs and concerns of its soldiers and their families—as defined by a 1983 survey and laid out for resolution in an “Army Family Action Plan”—many residential facilities the Corps of Engineers is designing and building resemble towns and villages rather than military bases. Photo: Marc Barnes, USACE Trend is toward designing bases as communities with more of a hometown feel. Photo: Ronnie Craige, USACE Prefab Purcell Construction Corp., Watertown, N.Y., has two contracts to build six five-story barracks buildings at Fort Lee, Va., using prefabricated structural steel panels. Purcell owns its own fabricating plant
Stakes are high for gaming giant MGM Mirage Inc.’s $8.5-billion CityCenter development on the Las Vegas Strip. The project’s turbulent history includes the death of six construction workers, a lawsuit between development partners over rising costs and funding woes brought on by the global credit crisis. Yet the 18-million-sq-ft complex of hotels, condos, casinos and entertainment space still is scheduled to open in phases, starting on Dec. 1. Photo: MGM MIRAGE CityCenter could be a big gamble for its owners and for Las Vegas city officials. Complex and its CEO, Bobby Brown, at its debut in 2007. The debut of
Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, Chicago, won a contract to expand Beijing’s central business district. The SOM plan calls for three new districts anchored by signature parks and green boulevards. The plan has other green aspects, which could reduce energy consumption within the district by 50%, reduce water consumption by 48% and landfill waste by 80% and result in a 50% reduction in carbon emissions.
The “implosion” of the faulty, 31-story condominium tower and interconnected four-level parking garage on South Padre Island in Texas is not going to be standard by any measure, says the demolition contractor. The razing by explosives is complicated by the failed structural elements—a consequence of differential settlement between the structural concrete tower and the post-tensioned garage; post-tensioned beams; the tower’s robust frame; the high water table; and sand that conducts vibrations to nearby buildings, says J. Mark Loizeaux, president of Controlled Demolition Inc. Slide Show Photo: Controlled Demolition Inc. Developer alleges flawed engineering led to failed columns and beams near
Ocean Towers LP has hired Controlled Demolition Inc. to raze its incomplete condominium tower on South Padre Island, which is plagued by 14 in. of differential vertical subsidence between the post-tensioned, low-rise parking garage attached to the tower. According to the owner, the tower’s weight caused a layer of expandable clay under an upper sand layer to compress. Settlement followed, causing damage to the garage at the connection to the tower. The developer stopped construction last year, when the frame was topped out and half clad. The building, designed by Walker & Perez Architects with construction managed by Zachry’s Coastal
The Marquette University Board of Trustees Sept. 24 approved moving ahead with the first phase of the university's new $100-million College of Engineering facility in downtown Milwaukee, Wis. Photo: Marquette University Artist's rendering of planned new building for Marquette University's School of Engineering. The first phase will involve construction of a five-story, 100,000-sq-ft building on the south side of Wisconsin Avenue between 16th and 17th Streets. Site preparation has already begun with soil testing and environmental demolition work on the interior of four university-owned apartment buildings. Marquette University President Robert A. Wild, S.J., said the university expects to break ground
After years of controversy and a total redesign, Forest City Ratner Cos., the developer of the Atlantic Yards megadevelopment in Brooklyn, N.Y., says it expects to begin construction of the development's centerpiece, an arena for the NETS basketball team, later this year. Ratner "anticipates" opening the facility, called Barclays Center, for the 2011-12 basketball season. Photo: SHoP Architects and Ellerbe Becket Redesigned basketball arena in Brooklyn. Ratner released renderings Sept. 10 of the redesign by Ellerbe Becket in collaboration with SHoP Architects. The original architect was Frank Gehry. Under the new design, the 675,000-sq-ft arena is clad in weathered-steel and
German architect Ole Scheeren, a partner with the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), Rotterdam, has unveiled his plan for MahaNakhon, Bangkok’s tallest skyscraper. The 310-m luxury mixed-use tower appears to be carved, with portions set back in seemingly random fashion. It will be primarily residential but also will include a Marriott hotel. The tower is located near a major transportation hub and is the central feature of a $515-million, 37-acre development that will contain public gardens and retail spaces. Construction is slated to begin in late 2009 and be completed in 2012.