Don’t Swim Off Your Balcony

Amazing new dual 37 story residential towers in Mumbai, India called the Aquaria Grande.

And it features…glass balcony pools!

I doubt you can do laps in these things, but maybe nice just to cool off and enjoy your luxury living arrangements.

Wonder if this up to building code?

Also, if you don’t swim, can you use it as an aquarium or perhaps for catching the fish of the day? 😉

(Thanks to Dave Zeppieri, Sr. for the post on Facebook)

How Our Colony On Mars Will Get Built

Absolutely amazing development in robotics…

According to the Wall Street Journal, Harvard University researchers have developed autonomous robots inspired by termites or ants.

They can build complex structures by working in a group or swarm.

Each robot is independent, yet by being programmed with the target structure, they work harmoniously together to build the structure without further guidance.

They have sensors along with a set of rules that enable them to interact with each other and the environment to get the job done.

They can even build stairs to enable themselves to get to higher levels of the structure and add the next set of building bricks.

The robots are 8″ by 4.5″ with pinwheel tires for traction and are powered by off-the-shelf motors.

“Each robot ‘walks around the structure until it sees something that needs to be done and then does it…they can recognize errors and correct them.'”

Perhaps, the robots can not only learn from the termites, but we can learn from the robots. 😉

The Great Big Apple Donut

The Great Big Apple Donut

Some people think the new Apple HQs (or Apple Campus 2) looks like a flying saucer or spaceship–to me, it looks like a great big donut. 🙂

In all seriousness though, the planned Apple HQs is so cool–I love it!

Bloomberg BusinessWeek (4 April 2013) has a terrific article about this awesome design project.

Some of the facts about this planned facility:

– Houses 12,000 employees
– Has 4 concentric rings.
– 2.8 million square feet (2/3 the size of the Pentagon)
– 176 acres of trees, including the vast courtyard in the center which will have apricot, olive, and apple orchards.
– 40-foot high walls of concave glass
– 700,000 square feet of solar panels (enough to power 4,000 homes)
– Climate-responsive technology such as window treatments that automatically open and close
– Costs about $5 billion (1.1 billion more than the new World Trade Center)
– Move in expected 2016
– Just 2 entry roads
– 4-story underground garage
– 2 R&D labs
– Fitness center

While some think that this building is vanity, I think it is a work of art, and perfectly suits the innovativeness nature of the company.

Apple’s HQS is a reflection of itself, not just another building. The beautiful, sleek, and high-tech building melds with the company’s design philosophy and vision for great consumer products.

Just like Apple’s unique positioning in being able to integrate hardware and software solutions for their customers, their new HQS is a unification of their physical work environment with their internal vision for themselves as a company and the amazing products they put out.

Unlike some organizations which are foolishly tearing down all their walls and working as if they in sitting in Starbucks, Apple understands how to marry the need for a social and collaborative work environment with a proper and respectful functional space.

Apple’s building will be beautiful and functional just like their computing devices…and they remain true to themselves and us. 😉

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Cupertino Government)

Overcoming The Height Factor

I really liked this law enforement elevation product called the Mobile Adjustable Ramp System (MARS) made by Patriot 3 in the United States.

It is fitted on top of armored or unarmored personnel carriers and used by law enforcement or SWAT teams to carry out raids and rescues on multiple stories simultaneously.

Two independent moving hydraulic platforms can be fitted on a single vehicle and each ramp can extended independently by remote control.

The ramps extends over 40 feet, enough to gain entry to the second and even third stories of buildings, unto an aircraft, breach a fenced perimeter, or even be used as a sniper post. 

According to the Ideas and Discoveries Magazine (Dec. 2012), MARS has been fitted on the Ford F550 pickup truck and at $370,000–can seat 9, hold 40 gallons of gas in an armored tank, go up to 100 miles per hour, and as an armored-cased vehicle, it “can withstand up to 24 hours of relentless gunfire.”

While this vehicle may look a little funny, it serves it’s purpose which it to take the height advantage away from the bad guys–get in and get out–quickly and safely.

Prefabricated Skyscrapers

Prefabricated_houses

Eleven years after the 9/11 destruction of the World Trade Centers, we are still waiting for the new Freedom Tower to go up.

Yes, there were political disputes on what type of building and memorial would be erected, what security features would be included, what the insurance would pay, and so on.

But then there is also just the shear length of time it still takes us to build a building—a skyscraper, but also other smaller and simpler structures too.

Wired Magazine (October 2012) is reporting on a new method for building construction coming out of China.

Unfortunately, China has been known for some time for unsafe building practices—perhaps doing things on the cheap and then paying for it in terms of consequences later.

Yet, this new technique promises to increase safety, as well as speed, while lowering costs.

If you are willing to give up some building pizzazz, then Broad Sustainable Building is perfecting the prefabricated skyscraper—and these have tested “earthquake-proof” for a 9.0 quake, cost only $1,000 per square foot (versus $1,400 normally)—a 40% savings, and a 30 story building can be built in just 15 days!

Now, Broad says that they even want to erect a 220 story mega skyscraper in 6 months—by March 2013.

Here’s how they do it:

  • Identical modules—each section is prebuilt in identical modules in the factor.
  • Preinstalled fixtures—Pipes and ducts are threaded through each module in the factory for AC, hot and cold water, and waste.
  • Standardized truckloads —with two stacked pallets, each pallet has everything needed to erect a section including wall panels, columns, ducts, bolts, and tools.
  • Lego-style assembly—sections are lifted by crane and installed quickly in snap-like fashion, including pipes and wires.
  • Slotted exterior—heavily insulated walls and windows are hoisted by crane and slotted into the exterior of the building.

Aside from a standardized, consistent, high quality building—it is energy efficient, generates less than 1% the construction waste, and is safer to construct.

As with the rest of the industrial age, this is just the first step in mass producing—in this case buildings—and like the Ford Model T, which came in only one color black and evolved to meet consumer tastes and needs, these building will soon come in all sorts of shapes and sizes but at a fraction of the cost and the time to build.

This is enterprise architecture applied to building architecture making use of modular design and construction, standardization, and consolidated engineering, manufacturing, and assembly to develop next generation products.

(Source Photo: Minna Blumenthal)