Learn From London’s “Solar Death Ray” Tower

In London last week, a parabolic “death ray” of sunshine reflected off the city’s newest skyscraper burning cars and singing carpets in adjacent street level shops.  It’s a cautionary tale for glass-clad towers in sun-intense Middle East, where robust assessment of a building’s impact on its environment is largely optional. This structure at 20 Fenchurch […]


Green Designers’ Cloudy Thinking

Rotterdam-based architects MVRDV were smacked with a powerful backlash after unveiling their design for The Cloud, a pair of posh residential skyscrapers located in Seoul, Korea. Hovering about 300 meters above the streetscape, the towers are linked at the 27th floor by a ten-story-high girdle of cubist forms, intended to represent a pixelated “cloud“. The building […]

How Math Can Make Greener Cities

Climatology models applied to urban planning could yield greener cities. If you have ever walked down the street in a city full of high rises and felt a sudden blast of cold air, or witnessed a swirling mass of dried leaves, chances are you experienced an artificial microclimate created by the surrounding buildings. It turns […]


Tel Aviv Puts Jaffa Skyscraper Plans on Hold

Photo by Dan Keinan, Haaretz. A modernist skyscraper was built with no connection to the existing urban context, and plans for a row of similar towers threatened to destroy the character of the historical city center. This so outraged the residents of the area that they managed to bring about a complete ban on skyscraper […]