January’s top news stories

1 February 2018 (Last Updated February 6th, 2018 09:14)

Danish window and skylight manufacturer Velux launched MyDaylight, and UK-based property developer George Downing Construction (GDC) broke ground on a £80m project to construct the Creative Arts Building at Leeds Beckett University. Designbuild-network.com wraps up the key headlines from January 2018.

January’s top news stories
MyDaylight allows users to view their rooms in virtual reality or in 360 degree simulations. Credit: Velux

Velux launches app to design rooms around sunlight

Danish window and skylight manufacturer Velux launched MyDaylight, an app which allows users to design the size and features of a room around the amount of sunlight it could receive.

The free-to-download app enables users to plan a room, either stretching its shape or inputting numbers for more specific dimensions, and position windows along its walls and, if applicable, roof. Within minutes, they are able to see a digital simulation of the effects of sunlight entering the windows and illuminating the room, either in a 360° simulation seen on their phone or through virtual reality (VR) goggles presenting the effects of sunlight onto the room before them.

Grant Sneddon, daylight expert at Velux, said he was eager for the company to take advantage of customers ‘getting more digital’.


GDC starts £80m construction project at Leeds Beckett University

UK-based property developer George Downing Construction (GDC) broke ground on a £80m project to construct the Creative Arts Building at Leeds Beckett University in West Yorkshire.

Designed by architect Hawkins\Brown, the new building will be delivered by Downing.

The facility will house the university’s School of Film, Music and Performing Arts and the fashion department.


MIT develops new design for student residence on Vassar Street

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US developed a new residence design for its undergraduate students at Vassar Street, Cambridge.

The design was a collaborative team effort that included architects, students, and staff members from the Division of Student Life and Campus Construction.

The Cambridge Planning Board gave the green light for the new building and construction works are expected to begin on the site at the West Garage parking facility.


Scientists use fungus spores to create ‘self-healing concrete’

Researchers from Binghamton University in New York proposed adding a fungus to the mix used to produce concrete to help it ‘heal itself’.

In an article published in The Conversation, team member Congrui Jin pointed out the vulnerabilities of concrete structures, saying: “It’s no secret that American infrastructure is ageing and in desperate need of rehabilitation.”

The American Society of Civil engineers graded US infrastructure a D+ in 2017 and predicted a loss of $3.9tn to US GDP, and the erasure of 2.5 million American jobs by 2025 as a result.


University of Illinois starts construction of residential complex

The University of Illinois in the US and American Campus Communities started construction of a new academic and residential complex at the university.

The development plan is currently in the final stage.

Designed by SCB architects, the ten-storey building will provide residential and academic spaces for students. It will be located along I-290 next to the Chicago Transit Authority’s recently renovated Peoria Street Bridge and Blue Line Station.


Carla Madison recreation centre opens in Colorado, US

The new four-storey Carla Madison 67,000ft² community recreation centre opened in Denver, Colorado, US.

The facility was inaugurated by city Mayor Michael B Hancock and Denver Parks & Recreation executive director Happy Haynes with community members, city officials, employees and guests present.

Hancock said: “This new recreation centre represents what makes Denver great, health and wellness, new opportunities, community, and innovation.


London Mayor approves £1.4bn Westfield shopping centre

London Mayor Sadiq Khan approved plans to build £1.4bn Westfield shopping centre in Croydon, UK.

This follows the approval of Croydon Council’s planning committee granted in November last year.

The redevelopment of Croydon’s Whitgift shopping centre will be carried out by the Croydon Partnership. This is a joint venture between UK property developers Westfield and Hammerson.


Howard Hughes unveils residential project at Ward Village, Hawaii

US real estate firm The Howard Hughes Corporation unveiled residential 60-acre community development A’ali’i project in Ward Village in Honolulu, Hawaii.

A’ali’i will feature 751 homes focused on smart living, with a mix of studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom residences.

Designed to provide luxury resort-style amenities, A’ali’i homes will have fully furnished kitchens with Bosch appliances, bedrooms and bathrooms.