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NEWS
JULY 2020

 

An occasional sampling of activity from across the diverse practice of Transsolar.

 


Projects

/ Recently completed and under construction

 

National Museum Playgrounds, Doha, Qatar

 

Landscape Architect TCL Taylor.Cullity.Lethlean
What we're excited about

  • - The creation of two outdoor playgrounds in Qatar’s varied climate (from moderate to hot and very humid)

  • - A whole bag of tricks was used to allow for outdoor comfort: radiant cooling mats and an air conditioning system, strategic choice of materials for the surfaces, efficient shading systems and the use of specially developed and optimized evaporative cooling systems

  • - 'Dry Mist', a technology developed by Transsolar, improves comfort by evaporative cooling


 

Residential and Seminar Building Bundwerkstadel, Tuntenhausen, Germany

 

Architect lbgo architekten
What we're excited about

  • - Historic building dating back to 1773 was stored in hundreds of individual parts for more than 40 years and has been rebuilt in a new location in painstaking detail

    - The energy and climate concept makes extensive use of passive measures, adding contemporary updates to this historic structure without altering the beautiful exterior


 

Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, Toronto, ON, Canada

 

Architects bucholz mcevoy architects + ZAS Architects
What we're excited about

  • - Construction is under way on this new headquarters for the Toronto region’s public conservation organization targeting LEEDv4 Platinum, WELL Silver and is a CAGBC Zero Carbon Building Standard pilot project

  • - Mass timber structure with no central fans or fan room and close connection to the adjacent forest and ravine

  • - Central atrium with outdoor air intake water walls and natural ventilation exhaust chimneys

    - Radiant heating and cooling served by geoexchange system


 

Global Flora, Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA, USA

 

Architect Kennedy and Violich Architecture
What we're excited about

  • - Addition of Greenhouse “Global Flora” to the Ferguson Greenhouses Complex from the 1920s serving as a platform for student engagement with nature and research that underpins progress in sustainability

  • - The design focuses on achieving the least possible impact on the natural environment while ensuring and enhancing plant growing conditions and high experiential quality for researchers and visitors


 


/ Selected work in progress

 

Downsview, Toronto, ON, Canada

 

Architects Henning Larsen and KPMB Architects

Northcrest and Canada Lands are working together to create a planning framework for the future of the Downsview neighborhood of Toronto, which is approximately 520 acres and includes the Downsview Airport, slated to close in 2023. 2020 will be spent developing an updated land use and development framework for Downsview. The first 12 months is only the beginning of what will be a multi-year process, to re-imagine and redevelop an area of Toronto that has dramatically evolved over time and will continue to evolve in the coming decades. The goal is to achieve a future for these lands that demonstrates how to build sustainable, resilient, vibrant, healthy, and complete communities. Transsolar is part of the team supporting this process, advising on microclimate, outdoor comfort, and energy strategies.

 

 


 

Jericho Lands, Toronto, ON, Canada

 

Project Lead Urban Strategies Inc.

Urban Strategies Inc. has been retained by the Musqueam Indian Band, Squamish Nation, and Tsleil-Waututh Nation and Canada Lands Company to lead the preparation of the Jericho / Comprehensive Development Concept Plan, which will form the basis of the City of Vancouver’s Jericho Lands Policy Statement. A spiritually significant place, the team is excited about this tremendous opportunity to restore and transform these lands and embed Indigenous values through the process, while demonstrating innovation in planning to create an inspiring, healthy, welcoming, transit supportive and resilient urban community design. Transsolar is part of the team supporting this process, advising on microclimate, outdoor comfort, and energy strategies.

Image courtesy of Urban Strategies Inc.


 

Mobility Hubs, Berlin, Germany

 

Architects LIN Architects Urbanists; LIA Labor Integrativ Gesellschaft von Architekten mbH

Upon the closure of the Berlin Tegel Airport, a research and industrial park will be created there for the ‘City of the Future’. A group of scientists, technology start-ups, manufacturers and system integrators will be established at Tegel. A traffic concept has been developed to promote mobility and quality of life. Electrically operated rental cars, rental e-bikes etc. need parking spaces and must be charged. These so-called ‘Mobility Hubs’ connect the various means of transport and make it easy to switch from motorized private transport to bicycles and public transport. Transsolar is studying the electricity consumption of the charging stations and other infrastructure and comparing it to the potential energy generation from photovoltaics.


 

Masterplan Polcevera Park – Under the Bridge, Genoa, Italy

 

Architects Stefano Boeri Architetti; METROGRAMMA MILAN

A memorial and greenhouse are the core of a larger park planned at the site of the 2018 bridge collapse in Genoa. Our recommendations enhanced the comfort performance of the beautifully designed park with vegetation providing wind protection in winter and shading in summer. The two buildings are fully naturally ventilated and target zero carbon operation, with on-site generation and storage.

 


 

Check out our additional work in progress here.



 

What we’re thinking about:

 

Urban Transformation Or Just A Fad?  

 

Everyone is talking about bicycles, and so are we! Not surprisingly, demand has increased to the point where major cities across the United States are reporting a bike shortage. The New York Times reports that in “March, nationwide sales of bicycles, equipment and repair services nearly doubled compared with the same period last year, according to the N.P.D. Group, a market research company.

During the global Coronavirus pandemic, the fear of getting sick or making others sick has catapulted the bike to the number one way to keep moving while also keeping your social distance. Cities around the world are reacting to this trend with pop-up bike lanes and closing stretches of streets to be used exclusively for biking and walking.

We’re wondering: Is this rapid urban transformation here to stay, or is it just another "summer fad"?
 

Commuting by bike has not been an attractive alternative for the majority of commuters. Bike infrastructure is often lacking, commutes are long, and weather can be unpredictable. However, the pandemic has shown that the status quo is not immutable. In less than three months many people have changed their way of living completely, including exploring transportation alternatives they may not have considered a year ago. Many people are afraid of using public transportation and are now discouraged to do so by their local governments. The desire to keep one’s distance while also not being bound to your immediate neighborhood has led many to explore two options: commuting by car or bike. Many cities are using measures to accommodate this desire for change and embracing the reality that bikes are a healthy alternative to cars, both for us humans and for our environment.

London is transforming parts of its downtown area to create one of the largest car-free zones of any capital city in the world. Paris is claiming 72% of street parking in the city center to make more room for people on the streets, and Milan is transforming 22 miles of streets expanding cycling and walking space. New York City has closed 100 miles of streets for the exclusive use of pedestrians and cyclists, and California, Boston, Minneapolis, Burlington, Philadelphia, and San Francisco have taken similar approaches. In Latin America, Bogota and Lima extended their bike network with more than 100 miles of emergency lanes.

It’s too early to know where the bikes’ new-found popularity will lead us. While some waning of this current hot demand for bikes can be expected, we hope that governments, community leaders, change agents and everyone in between will take action now to increase the future bike-ability of our cities and communities which will lead to a more permanent solution.

 

City planners: Think big and make small multi-hybrid centers, which allow commuters to reach everything they need within 15 minutes.
Mobility planners: Car velocity matters! The lower the speed, the greater the vision angle.
Urban Designers: Integrate different modes of mobility: walking, driving, biking. Consider dedicated, separated bike lanes for commuters.
Architects: Think further than the bike lane. How will commuters reach your building?
Bikers: You are riding a vehicle. Rules apply. Act accordingly. Lights and helmets save lives.
Non-bike commuters: Give it a try!

 

At Transsolar we’ve been ahead of the curve when it comes to embracing this new mobility trend. We have a huge diversity of bicycle commuters: from quick one mile NYC-riders via Citi Bike to 20+ kilometers through German forests. We frequently bike to project meetings (prior to the pandemic), and all of our offices offer shower rooms and bike storage.

In our own urban design work we think about how we can encourage maximum use of bike lines. How can we make them as comfortable as possible year-round and encourage their use even in more extreme seasons? How can they receive solar access in the winter to help with snow melt?

Something is definitely happening; the pandemic opened a door, and it is our mutual responsibility to take this opportunity to ensure a better future for our cities. Let’s hope our new-found love of bikes is more than a fad!



 

Transsolar Academy

  

After having worked from home for the past 12 weeks from their shared apartment in Stuttgart, the Academy Fellows are adapting to the new normal. They are supporting Transsolar engineers on project work and have started on their individual projects with support from their mentors: 

Ana has decided to continue her research on dehumidification in the tropics using desiccants; Francis chose to develop a carbon-neutral framework for buildings; Ketan is digging into the next dimension of building materials and working on improving our life-cycle assessment capabilities; Luke is setting up a strategy for a carbon-neutral Transsolar; Pablo is further developing one of Transsolar’s outdoor thermal comfort tools, and Sandhiya is augmenting our CFD-modeling skills to show the impact of vegetation on outdoor comfort.


 
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