China’s President Is Fed Up with Weird, Ugly Buildings in China

In China, there are beautiful buildings, and then there are weird ones.  It’s the latter kind which President Xi Jinping wants to end once and for all.

A paragon of simplicity and elegance: the Shanghai World Financial Center

A paragon of simplicity and elegance: the Shanghai World Financial Center

China is home to beautiful architecture.  For one, the ancient imperial palaces and temples are still a lovely sight to behold, exuding grandeur and elegance and an unmistakable character after all these centuries.  On a more contemporary note, there’s the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing (with its sleek curves, and titanium-and-glass dome) and the Shanghai World Financial Center (with its clean lines and dignified simplicity).

Somewhere along the way, something changed.

The construction boom years gave birth to a new breed of buildings in China: buildings that are audaciously designed.  The boom unleashed a creative outlet for architects and designers.  China’s immense land is a waiting tabula rasa where anything is possible.

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BEE Becomes USGBC LEED Proven Provider

BEE – Bisagni Environmental Enterprise Named LEED® Proven Provider™ by Green Building Certification Institute

 

Status Acknowledges BEE’s Role as High-Quality LEED Project Administrator

 

Shanghai, China — September 24th, 2014 — Today, BEE – Bisagni Environmental Enterprise announced that the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) has designated them a LEED® Proven Provider™ for the Interior Design and Construction rating system family. This designation was developed to streamline the LEED project review process for experienced organizations that demonstrate consistent excellence in administering LEED projects.

BEE LEED Proven Provider

BEE LEED Proven Provider

“Quality is at the core of the LEED certification process, and BEE has exhibited expertise in helping to bring healthy, high-performing buildings to the market,” said Doug Gatlin, vice president of program delivery, USGBC and GBCI. “The LEED Proven Provider model represents a great partnership between BEE and GBCI, because it allows GBCI to maintain a rigorous certification program and gives BEE the opportunity to deliver LEED projects to its clients faster.”

Alessandro Bisagni, Founder & Managing Director of BEE, views this achievement as a stepping stone towards furthering …

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The Six Threats to Global Food Security | World Food Day

Today, October 16, is World Food Day.  It’s a quiet, little occasion, with no exciting mass mobilization of people just like in Earth Hour (which last March was participated by hundreds of millions), but it’s very important nonetheless.

Clean Your Plate campaign  during the 1940s.

Clean Your Plate campaign during the 1940s.

We’re talking global food security here. Since 1981, when World Food Day was first celebrated, that has always been the concern. Every year, the event is given a theme (Food for All, Trees for Life, Youth Against Hunger, Fight Hunger to Reduce Poverty, Harvesting Nature’s Diversity, etc.). But whatever they’re called, they’re more or less a variation of that same big concern—food security all over the world.


Food Issues
We see our supermarkets and groceries all filled up with various foods each time we visit, so it’s rather hard to imagine there is such a food crisis going on. But know that …

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The Challenge for Skyscrapers, Our Cities, and Urban Planning

Moshe Safdie in his speech at the World Architecture Festival reflected on the need for urban planning to create better cities, not just pretty skyscrapers.

 

The recently concluded World Architecture Festival 2014 emblazoned a theme that’s very relevant for our times: “Architects and the City.”

Moshe Safdie (image from www.cityproject.it/)

Moshe Safdie (image from www.cityproject.it/)

Because, really, in an ideal world those two concepts—architects and cities—go hand in hand.  Thus the theme becomes an affirmation, an affirmation of the architect’s role in the growth of a city.  Architecture and urban planning have to work together. Architects aren’t just merely in charge of designing buildings; they’re responsible for the city that takes shape as those buildings are erected one after the other.  It’s as if people’s lives actually depended on them.

Think about it, a freshly-erected building doesn’t just alter the …

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Getting It Right: Indoor Playgrounds in Malls

A mall in British Columbia, Canada recently took flak for its newly-renovated playground for kids. The Guildford Town Centre, located in Surrey, B.C., reportedly spent $280 million on the renovation, scrapping the existing playground equipment—ladders, slides, swings, and all—and retrofitting everything with iPads instead.

The result is an interactive play space, which the mall’s spokeperson is proud to say is “new and unique.”

The Guildford Town Centre play area before the renovation (Image from huffingtonpost.ca)

The Guildford Town Centre play area before the renovation
(Image from huffingtonpost.ca)

At first glance, it seems a smart move to acquaint kids with technology (aren’t they already?).  Many parents however are just not happy with the new changes.

 

Screen Time for Kids

The big deal with that techified playground is that kids are much too exposed to various electronic screens already—from TVs to tablets, smartphones to gaming consoles.

Nowadays, even children as young as three or four are already being allowed to …

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