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New Orleans: International Workboat Show –

At the International WorkBoat Show, over 1,000 marine product and service suppliers exhibited their watery wares. The conference had strands on Business Management (“Explore the various challenges and opportunities that come with running a maritime business); Safety (“For most marine operations, maintaining a safe workplace is a top priority and an ongoing challenge, requiring updates on current standards, best practices, and new maritime safety solutions”; Technical (“The marine industry is a constantly evolving technological environment, showing how the latest innovations can bring efficiency and enhance quality from the corporate office to the vessel engine room”); plus Legal and Regulatory (“Understand marine law, current rules and regulatory trends, and learn the status of key pending legislation so you can plan ahead to keep your business in compliance”). Remember, the Sea is a harsh mistress, and seafarers must obey her laws…. #wbmr15 #workboatshow

Las Vegas: FabTech 2012 #FabTechExpo

FabTech is billed as North America’s largest metal forming, fabricating, welding and finishing event, covering more than 550,000 net square feet and hosting over 35,000 attendees and 1,500 exhibiting companies. There were keynote presentations, panel discussions, a welding competition, new product presentations, even a comedy hour. Keynoter Peter Mayr, Chair of John N. DuPont, Lehigh University, took a look at what’s really going on in the US and in markets that impact the industry, presenting the economic outlook for the global economy with the clarity that business leaders have come to expect from the DuPont think tank. This was a must-attend for decision makers who needed the confidence to plan and position their company for success, and prepare for changes that are coming over the next few years. Another big theme was Solutions for a Qualified Workforce Pipeline. Wait. Our future employees come out of a pipeline…? #Fabtechexpo


Fabricate Friday: Beach + Howe Building in Vancouver BC

Beach Howe Tower Vancouver BC

Vancouver, BC is a world class city, tucked into the far West region of Canada. Long a gateway to the travelers going to Japan, Singapore & China, Vancouver sports a cosmopolitan lifestyle with old world influences. The variety of architecture ranges from totems by indigenous peoples who once thrived on what is now canyons of brick, steel & stone to Art Deco of the 1920’s to today current trend to build mix use buildings for an urban work, live, play lifestyle.

The Beach + Howe Building is just that. The triangular base is reset from the street and includes office & retail space. As the building rises, offsets are made to maximize both city views and limiting the amount of exhaust that travels upward from the Granville bridge. The Beach + Howe Building is designed by copenhagen-based studio BIG architects.

Once it opens, the Beach + Howe building will be Vanouver’s 4th tallest and largest residential complex. To read more about it, here is the Arch Daily, an online ezine for architects complete with specs and Design Boom with more renderings and perspective.

Fabricate Friday: May the 4th be with you – Happy Star Wars Day

More than any other movie in recent history, Star Wars, changed the way makers of films produced their product. It would be the “Force” that would do away with back lots for movie and now television. No more elaborate sets but 1000’s of frames of computer generated art and actors in front of a green screen. According to Wikipedia:

“Before Star Wars, special effects in films had not appreciably advanced since the 1950s. Star Wars was also important in the movement towards the use of computer initiated imagery in films. The commercial success of Star Wars created a boom in state-of-the-art special effects in the late 1970s. There was increased investment in special effects. Companies like Industrial Light & Magic and Digital Productions were created to provide them.”

So while you are standing in line for the opening of the Avengers and are amazed by the special effects, raise that Big Gulp up in respect and May the 4th Be with You

Star Wars Day

Fabricate Friday: These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise

“Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.” –opening monologue from Star Trek.

The Enterprise 4/27/2012 NYC Fly over

Coming of age in the 1960’s in Huntsville, Al home to the Marshall Space Flight Center, NASA was a big factor in our lives. While the rest of the state was embroiled in trying to save segregation, Huntsville was busy building rockets to send people to the moon and, at the time, beyond. After the Apollo missions, the next challenge was to find a vehicle that could be reusable. The Shuttle was born. Marshall Space Flight Center was once again buzzing with activity as they built the storage and delivery system for the liquid fuel.

The Enterprise was the 1st prototype and went into service in 1977 as a test model. While never actually used on a space mission, the Enterprise was from 1977-1983, was used for testing and flew frequent training missions over the Atlantic and Pacific.

Upon retirement in 1983, the Enterprise was taken to several locations before making its home at the Smithsonian’s Air Space Museum. One of those visits was a trip up the Hudson River in NYC. From our office in the 2WTC it was visible as it flew past the Statue of Liberty on the way to the Tappan Zee Bridge further up the river.

1983 USS Enterprise in NYC

In 2005, the decision was made to retire the Shuttle program and the last Shuttle mission was in 2011. It was decided that further funding of the Shuttle and NASA was not in the best interest of the United States even though some of our everyday essential item were first conceived at NASA. Did you ever think you’d be able to carry 5000 of your favorite songs around on an iPod? Thank NASA for radio miniaturization. Here is just a short list of 10. Neil DeGrasse-Tyson, head of the Hayden Planetarium, recently testified before Congress regarding the NASA budget, saying

“Right now, NASA’s annual budget is half a penny on your tax dollar. For twice that—a penny on a dollar—we can transform the country from a sullen, dispirited nation, weary of economic struggle, to one where it has reclaimed its 20th century birthright to dream of tomorrow.”

Today the Space Shuttle Enterprise takes its last flight before becoming a permanent exhibit at the Intrepid Museum in NYC, we are reminded that we need to continue to dream and inspire our children to do the same.

4/27/2012 Flying over Statue of Liberty & Freedom Tower

4/27/2012: between Freedom Tower & the Geary Building

Fabricate Friday: Hemp house in Ashville NC

Hemp House

House made primarily from hemp

Today is April 20, 2012 a date universally known at 420 day. We will skip the reasoning behind that but thought it would be fun to show on “Fabricate Friday” the 1st house made from a material called “hempcrete” made primarily from hemp with lime & water. It is a sustainable material that has been used as a building material for 1000’s of years. This is not the 1st house made from hempcrete as many communities in Europe, Asia and South America have been using it for years. Due to the regulations on the hemp industry by the US Governement, it is however the 1st one to gain approval in the U.S.

The biggest advantage of using hemp as a building material is that it is eco friendly and abundant if allowed to grow on its own. Beside providing carbon offsets while growing, the house itself continues to draw down carbon from the atmosphere. Mixing in the lime, allows the building to calcify over time, making the walls harder and more durable than the traditional wood or concrete used in building materials. Industrial hemp is not the same as the “how high” hemp. It is similar to bamboo in the fact that it regenerates itself very quickly and doesn’t require 40-100 years of new growth like tress do.

While it is an interesting concept, America still has a misconception of industrial hemp for use in building materials. The Hemp Growers of America have a very small lobby and very little money to convince Congress that using industrial hemp won’t turn entire generations into lazy, couch potatoes.

If you want more information regarding this project, here is the link to GizMag (many more pictures) and Push Design who gathered together the team that brought this project to Ashville.

Happy Earth Day on 4/21/2012.

Fabricate Friday: Delanoë Tower – Paris

Delanoë Tower

Delanoë Tower Paris France

Move over Dubai & Shanghai, Paris needs a spot on the skyscraper map.

The 50 floor Delanoë tower, so named after the Mayor of Paris, resembles the dancing towers in Dubai. The Delanoë tower was designed by Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron, of the Bird’s Nest fame from the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

It is also the 1st skyscraper in Paris in over 30 years. The mixed use glass structure at 1st look, depending on where you are standing is either very thin or massive. The footprint, as buildings go is long and thin- a flat triangle. the 1st floors will be a convention center with the next 30 floors a luxury hotel with all amenities. Rounding out the top will be offices. However Mayor Delanoë envisioned much more as explained in this press release:

The base of the tower should host a convention center. Then upstairs, we must find a luxury hotel from 300 to 400 rooms and offices. But the mayor of Paris has also wanted the implantation of businesses, including luxury, style restaurants, including pan, bars, shops. Equipment should also have their place: swimming pool, library, public gardens suspended. The municipality would also present a “museum of world languages.”

Scheduled to open this year, the word is still out on whether it is a “oui” or a “non”