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A chat with Interface Studio Architects principal Brian Phillips

Jetson Green talks shop with Brian Phillips, principal of Philadelphia-based Interface Studio Architects, which gained notoriety for its work on the 100K house.
The 100k house sits in the middle of the timeline for our firm, but serves as the clearest thesis statement.  We received a 2011 Pew Fellowship in the Arts allowing us to focus more on experimentation, research, and design competitions.  We are beginning to expand geographically while also scaling up the ‘100k thesis’ on bigger projects in Philly.  Recent assignments include Net Zero housing in Boston (through the Mayor’s E+ Housing initiative) and a theoretical project for what a 100k house might be for Detroit.
Original source: Jetson Green
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More on Reading Viaduct: Phase 1 will cost up to $8M

Inhabitat checks in with Paul Levy of Center City District on the Reading Viaduct plan.
The results of the study revealed that the community participants "strongly favored making the park an informal, leafy green space with plenty of grass and flowering plants, and with room to walk and sit." As a result, the design for the park includes wide shady, tree-lined walking paths, seating, accessible entrances, an outdoor classroom and even a place for dogs. 
Original source: Inhabitat
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Addressing satellite dishes that make Philly look like 'Area 51'

The Wall Street Journal digs into the "epidemic" of satellite dishes overwhelming the residential landscape in many cities.
Along some streets in East Boston, satellite dishes protrude from nearly every house, with some multifamily structures decked with as many as eight. Other cities are reporting a similar outbreak. "We have blocks that look like NASA or Area 51," said William Carter, a chief staffer for the Philadelphia City Council.
Original source: Wall Street Journal
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Inside Viridity Energy's microgrid moves

GreenTech revisits Philadelphia-based Viridity Energy's cutting-edge projects that aim to put a value on energy saved from SEPTA's regenerative braking system.
Viridity is already bidding battery-backed power into frequency regulation markets with partner and battery supplier Axion Power, which has installed Viridity’s system at its New Castle, Pa. manufacturing plant.

Original source: GreenTech
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A more humane, effective urban prison courtesy of two UPenn students

University of Pennsylvania architecture masters students Andreas Tjeldflaat and Greg Knobloch are re-thinking the urban prison, reports Fast Company.
499.SUMMIT would be composed of three violently geometric arches that’d rise, and overlap, in the heart of Jersey City. First, a word on why they selected Jersey City: In part, that was the assignment (for a course at Penn taught by HWKN’s Matthias Hollwich). But they also believe that a prime urban location could set the backdrop for a more humane prison experience. “Compared to the typically isolated sites chosen for prisons, this location would have several advantages: It would be close to family, friends, work opportunities, services and professionals needed and most of all; close to society, or rather, feeling as being a part of society,” Tjeldflaat tells Co.Design in an email. “This could make the transition back into society softer.”
Original source: Fast Company
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Inside NovaThermal Energy's bold move to warm a building with heat from sewage

Forbes dives into NovaThermal Energy's first project to warm a building using heat from sewage.

The building, the Southeast Water Pollution Control Facility in Philadelphia, will house the 1 million BTU/hour unit in its basement, where it will directly access and transfer heat from an adjacent sewage channel.
Original source: Forbes
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Kensington artist takes renovation work on the road

Philadelphia artist Lewis Colburn's exhibition, called "After the Architect Has Gone," is on display in April in Iowa City, reports Eastern Iowa Life.

Colburn places a model of his row house, portrayed in a serious state of renovation, on top of a chest of drawers.  Experimenting with new architectural-modeling software, Colburn creates a landscape form in one of the open drawers that represents an afghan or quilt, a sign of comfort.  The landscape models appear again on a drawing table, serving as places of rest for coffee mugs.  The piece also hints at a dining room table set for dinner, another emblem of domestic comfort.  A leaky faucet runs into a china basin; a bowl set in a bathroom vanity that is either being repaired or constructed.
Original source: Eastern Iowa Life
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Philly schools could get hands on India's $35 tablet

Philadelphia's Wilco Electronics is aiming for a procurement deal to bring Indian company DataWind's $35 tablet to Philadelphia schools, reports TechCrunch.
It can show video, administer quizzes, mirror class resources, and so on. A tool any teacher would love to have, if it isn’t more trouble than it’s worth. And there are many practical considerations. Charging the devices, keeping them clean, secure, and updated, preventing inappropriate usage, creating class-administration software… the list goes on and on. But that is, of course, part of what pilot programs are meant to explore.
Original source: Tech Crunch
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The E-Lane's fleeting reality and how Philly pedestrians walk on

Further proof that Mayor Michael Nutter is lining up a second career as an entertainer is the E-Lane video and weeklong April Fool's joke that shed light on the real problem of distracted pedestrians.


Meanwhile, Philly rates as the ninth most walkable city according to Prevention, which utilized Walkscore's grades to build a top-25 list.
This spring, Sister Cities Park in Center City opens, with attractions like a family-friendly café, children's discovery garden and play area, and a fountain commemorating Philadelphia's global sister cities—adding to the city's already 10,000 acre park system.
Original source: Prevention
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Introducing the Academy of Natural Sciences' museum exhibition and book

The exhibition, which opened last weekend, takes visitors along with academy scientists as they search for new species and study humanity’s collective impact on the environment. The book embraces a larger agenda.
To wander through "A Glorious Enterprise: The Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia and the Making of American Science" is to absorb the 19th century's passion for botany and zoology; the 20th century's mania for exploration of distant, difficult or desolate places; and present-day preoccupations, particularly environmental issues like water quality.
Original source: Academy of Natural Sciences
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United By Blue's marriage of mission with money

Inc. magazine dives into Philadelphia-based, organic apparel company United By Blue and the success of its mission-oriented approach.
Linton graduated from Temple University with two passions: entrepreneurship and water conservation. He was appalled by the fact that an estimated 14 billion pounds of trash are dumped into oceans annually. So when he founded United By Blue in 2010, he was determined to use the business to make a difference by connecting every sale to a cleanup project. It would be good for the environment -- and for marketing.
He designed a line of T-shirts, found a manufacturer in India, and began cold calling retailers. A year later, the shirts were in 175 stores, including six Whole Foods and 20 Urban Outfitters locations.
Original source: Inc. Magazine
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Kensington's New Paradise Laboratories recreates theater for a connected generation

Mashable writes about Kensington's New Paradise Laboratories and its incorporation of social networks into the production and presentation of its shows.
This innovative experience takes audiences through a rabbit hole on a visually stimulating online adventure. Stories evolve on social networks with multimedia components from YouTube and Sound Cloud. It can be hard to decipher what’s real and what’s fiction.
Original source: Mashable
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Chester Springs-based Y + B provides a new kind of boxed wine for N.C. store

The Sip...A Wine Store in Cary, N.C. sells organic, sustainably produced wines and recently did a testing with Chester Springs-based Y + B Wines, which gives new life to boxed varieties.

The organic wine business, although only 3% of all wine sold, is the fastest growing segment, experiencing 35% growth last year. Y+B ‘s business has quadrupled since opening in their base town of Philadelphia.

Original source: Cary Citizen
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Industrial designers look to develop sensual map of Philadelphia

Philadelphia architect, fine artist and teacher Joseph G. Brin interviews Industrial Design Society of American North East District VP Elect Stephan Clambaneva in advance of the organization's conference at the Pennsylvania Convention Center on April 13-14.

The workshop is called a “Sense of Philadelphia.” We intend to conduct a workshop to develop a “sensual” map of Philadelphiia.

Participants will split into groups and explore how to make the intangible tangible by using the five senses and the Great City of Philadelphia as inspiration. Using their sense kits each participant will capture his or her sense in a bottle, or in this case, a petri dish and in about two hours, the teams will manage to use these to generate a variety of potential new products or services that highlight, showcase, help experience or, in some cases, illuminate those quintessential sensual experiences only Philadelphia can offer!

Original source: Metropolis Mag
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Wrap-Up: Feeling the Flower Show from near and far

The Philadelphia Flower Show, which came to a close on Sunday, went Hawaiian this year, and judging by these reports from WHYY, Forbes and Big Island, Aloha is a five-letter word for breathtaking.

(from Forbes) The central thematic display this year is the "Orchid Wave," a semi-enclosed glass space in the shape of a wave with projections of 3-D fish, sea turtles, surfers, and other images that roll over the heads of visitors. Between the segments of constantly moving 3-D scenery are rows of what Flower Show officials say is the largest display of white orchids and anthuriums ever assembled. It has the feeling of being in an aquarium as it does a wave.

Original sources: WHYY, Forbes and Big Island
146 Design Articles | Page: | Show All
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