Songdo International Business District in South Korea

September 2nd, 2015 | Green Buildings, Green Technologies, Intelligent Buildings, Living, Working, Building | No Comments »

Songdo International City © Swlee8851/cc-by-sa-3.0

Songdo International City © Swlee8851/cc-by-sa-3.0

Songdo International Business District (Songdo IBD) is a new smart city or “ubiquitous city” built from scratch on 600 hectares (1,500 acres) of reclaimed land along Incheon‘s waterfront, 65 kilometres (40 mi) southwest of Seoul, South Korea and connected to Incheon International Airport by a 12.3-kilometre (7.6 mi) reinforced concrete highway bridge, called Incheon Bridge. Along with Yeongjongdo and Cheongna, it is part of the Incheon Free Economic Zone. The Songdo International Business District will feature the Northeast Asia Trade Tower and the Incheon Tower. Schools, hospitals, apartments, office buildings and cultural amenities are to be built in the district. Replicas of architectural hallmarks, including New York City’s Central Park and Venice’s waterways, will also be incorporated. This 10-year development project is estimated to cost in excess of $40 billion, making it one of the most expensive development projects ever undertaken.

Built on 600 hectares (1,500 acres) of land reclaimed from the Yellow Sea off Incheon, about 56 kilometres (35 mi) from the South’s capital Seoul, Songdo district is the largest private real estate development in history. By its completion date in 2015, the district was planned to contain 80,000 apartments, 5,000,000 square metres (50,000,000 sq ft) of office space and 900,000 square metres (10,000,000 sq ft) of retail space. The 65-floor Northeast Asia Trade Tower became South Korea’s tallest building. Computers have been built into the houses, streets, and offices as part of a wide area network.

The Songdo IBD was part of former President Lee Myung-bak‘s effort to promote green and low-carbon growth as an avenue for future development after 60 years of reliance on export-oriented manufacturing. The nation launched a $38 billion economic stimulus package in January 2009, with over 80% of the total earmarked for green investment. The Framework Act for Low Carbon Green Growth, passed by Korea’s National Assembly in 2010, increased this to $83.6 billion spanning five years. Under this initiative, the Songdo IBD is being developed as a sustainable city with more than 40% of its area reserved for green space, including the park of 40 hectares (100 acres), 26 kilometres (16 mi) of bicycling lanes, numerous charging stations for electric vehicles and a waste collection system that eliminates the need for trash trucks. Also, it is the second city in the world to have all of its major buildings in par or beyond LEED‘s requirements, after Greensburg, Kansas.

Three additional foreign university campus opened in 2014, for a total of four total universities located within an international business district some 60 kilometres (40 mi) from Seoul, including the first overseas university that opened in Korea, the State University of New York, Stony Brook. The schools will be funded by the Ministry of Knowledge Economy, the Incheon Free Economic Zone and the Incheon Metropolitan Government. The development is part of a $35 billion effort by the Korean government to form an international business district that houses competitive universities from around the world. In spring 2014, George Mason University (Fairfax, Virginia) opened its Korean campus in Songdo to support undergraduate academic interests and professional development programming for local corporations. Additionally, University of Utah anticipated opening a satellite campus in March 2014 with several American bachelor’s degrees offered in Social Sciences, along with an M.A. in Applied Linguistics.

Read more on Sondo and Wikipedia Songdo International Business District. Photos by Wikimedia Commons.

Jardins du Trocadéro in Paris

August 29th, 2015 | General | No Comments »

Panorama from the Eiffel Tower at the sunset © - Alexander Kachkaev/cc-by-2.0

Panorama from the Eiffel Tower at the sunset © – Alexander Kachkaev/cc-by-2.0

Jardins du Trocadéro (Gardens of the Trocadero) is an open space in Paris, located in the 16th arrondissement of Paris, bounded to the northwest by the wings of the Palais de Chaillot and to the southeast by the Seine and the Pont d’Iéna, with the Eiffel Tower on the opposite bank of the Seine.

The main feature, called the Fountain of Warsaw, is a long basin, or water mirror, with twelve fountain creating columns of water 12 metres high; twenty four smaller fountains four metres high; and ten arches of water. At one end, facing the Seine, are twenty powerful water cannons, able to project a jet of water fifty metres. Above the long basin are two smaller basins, linked with the lower basin by cascades flanked by 32 sprays of water four meters high. These fountains are the only exposition fountains which still exist today, and still function as they once did. In 2011, the fountain’s waterworks were completely renovated and a modern pumping system was installed.

The entire site was formerly the garden of the original Palais du Trocadero, laid out by Jean-Charles Alphand for the Exposition Universelle (1878). The present garden has an area of 93,930 m2, and was created for the Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne (1937). This was the design of Parisian architect Roger-Henri Expert. During the exposition in 1937, the pavillons of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union were facing each other on opposite sides of the Jardins du Trocadéro.

With sloping fairways that run along the river, the garden terraces feature a number of sculptures, some dating from the 1930s, including:
  • at the first level below the Palais de Chaillot, the matching stone statues L’Homme by Pierre Traverse, and La Femme by Daniel Bacqué, both leaning against stone pedestals
  • two gilded bronze fountain sculptures in their own square basins, Bull and Deer by Paul Jouve and Horses and Dog by Georges Guyot
  • 21-foot bronze Apollo with lyre (or Apollon musagète) group by sculptor Henri Bouchard
  • a matching 21-foot bronze Hercules with bull, by Albert Pommier
  • two matching stone groups on pedestals towards the southeastern end of the fountain, La Joie de vivre, by Léon-Ernest Drivier and Youth by Pierre Poisson

Read more on – Jardins du Trocadéro, – Jardins du Trocadéro and Wikipedia Jardins du Trocadéro. Photos by Wikimedia Commons.

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