See the building and the walls in the lower left? They're designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. They're part of the ensemble he designed at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT). Mies and his office designed this corner around the same time they were designing the masterpiece on campus - Crown Hall.
With the Olympics nicely coinciding with my vacation, I think I’ve watched more coverage of the games than the average human should. Prior to the start of the games, I followed with interest the story of how Beijing was re-fashioning itself to host the games. Much has been written on this subject from the loss of the city’s “hutongs” to the “distorted” messages conveyed by the starchitecture. Some have referred to Beijing as a “Houston on steroids.”
Many viewers may not fully appreciate movies as a visual story-telling medium, but that fact came home to me dramatically the other night while watching “Juno,” the off beat, smart and funny film that just snagged a best screenplay Oscar. The deliberate use of architecture and public spaces, in particular, was quite effective although you probably won’t find these references in plot summaries or synopses.
This Labor Day weekend, Southern California is facing an extreme heat wave, with temperatures soaring well above 100 degrees. Air conditioners have to work overtime to keep indoor temperatures near 80, and California power resources are operating at near capacity. As condominiums bake in the sun (as they do most of the year around here), there is not a solar panel in sight.
While we are still waiting for renewable energy, a few simple measures could lead to big residential power savings. Enter the laundry line, one of the oldest and most practical ways to use solar energy. Electric clothes dryers not only require vast amounts of fossil fuel-derived power, they also pour heat into living spaces and strain cooling systems.