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1999: The Petronas Towers – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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Innovation: High strength concrete
Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Year: 1999
By: Cesar Pelli, Thornton Tomasetti

The Petronas Towers designed by Cesar Pelli and Thornton Tomasetti are located in Kuala Lumpur and were the tallest buildings until 2004. These towers are a significant achievement because of the delicate concrete work that was done in this project. This was such an ambitious project that one separate construction company was needed for each tower; Samsung C&T for tower 1 and Hazama Corporation for tower2. Concrete was selected as the main component for the buildings because of huge cost of importing steel to Kuala Lumpur. The high strength reinforced concrete that was used is twice as effective as steel for sway reduction, a necessity for an area with high seismic activity, but caused the structure to weigh twice as much. Many records were broken during the construction during the construction such as the 54 hour concrete pour for each tower’s foundation and the need to have three separate concrete plants on site for adequate supply and quality control. The use of concrete also allowed for big open spaces within the building. The Petronas Towers have a central concrete core and the rest of the structure revolves around it. Without steel beams in the way, the spaces can be rearranged and rooms added and removed at will to create dynamic spaces for living and work.
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Written by Carlos Balderas

October 4, 1999 at 8:53 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

1992: The first photograph on the internet

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Innovation: The first photograph on the internet
Location: Geneva
Year: 1992
By: CERN, Tim Berners-Lee

The first photograph on the web was uploaded by Tim Berners-Lee in 1992, a few years after he helped create the world wide web. The photograph was of ‘Les Horribles Cernettes”, a parody music group made of of secretaries or girlfriends of CERN scientists. Although the first photograph posted online was intended to be humourous, the impact of online pictures has been immense. In addition to the wealth of information that the world wide web gave to people, the ability to browse pictures allowed for anybody to see anything in the world. Sights that required travel or physical photographs to see, could now be experience from any computer. This technology is still transforming our society. What started a picture has led to specialized softwares and sited dedicated to hosting images and has evolved to include videos. We can now access any video or image almost instantly. This complements the information that can be transferred over the web for any job or application.

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Written by Carlos Balderas

October 4, 1992 at 8:47 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

1990: BREEAM

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Innovation: BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method)
Location: UK
Year: 1990
By: BRE (Building Research Establishment)

The Environmental Assessment Method (EAM) developed by the building research establishment (BRE) in the UK was the first tool to measure the sustainability of new buildings. It rates buildings based on criteria such as energy, water use, materials, innovation, access to public transportation, and environmental impact. BREEAM is significant because the method has spread across the world and led to the creation of other regional ranking systems that also measure the sustainability of buildings. Equivalents in different regions of the world include LEED in North America, Green Star in Australia and HQE in France. The push towards sustainable buildings that been generated from the development of such ranking systems impacts architecture and engineering because it provides new objectives that must be integrated into the overall process of creating a building.  `

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Written by Carlos Balderas

October 4, 1990 at 7:26 pm

1990: The World Wide Web

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Innovation: The World Wide Web
Location: Geneva
Year: 1990
By: CERN, Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Cailliau

Following the creation of ARPA (Advanced Research Projects Agency) in 1962, research to improve military computer technology became a priority for the United States during the Cold War and ARPANET was soon created. This early form of the internet was mostly for government and educational purposes and consisted of interfaces that were not user friendly. This changed when Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Cailliau at CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) created a standard way to “mark up” a page. With this new hypertext markup language (HTML), and recently created internet browsers, a world wide web of interlinked documents was created. The ease of use made it feasible for the internet to become available for public use. From then on the information that the average person has access to has increased exponentially. In the context of engineering and architecture, information was able to be passed from office to office almost instantly. The world wide web has expedited the process of sharing information that is vital to projects and has led to a relatively seamless  design, planning and construction process.  `

Links for more information: [1] [2]

Written by Carlos Balderas

October 4, 1990 at 6:53 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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