Daily digest: A quick flicker brought down New York’s subway system, what happens when you burn Hempcrete, and more

In A Flash

Daily digest: A quick flicker brought down New York’s subway system, what happens when you burn Hempcrete, and more

The 7 train heading further into Queens (Harry Gillen/Unsplash)

Welcome back to another Tuesday roundup of news you need to know (or interesting longer reads, at the very least).

Here’s what’s going on today:

How did a momentary flicker bring down half of New York’s subway lines?

If you live in New York City, you might have noticed your lights flicker on Sunday night as a transmission feeder from a powerplant in Long Island City failed. The rest of the electrical grid quickly picked up the slack and the interruption wasn’t enough to even restart most PCs, but for the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA), the dip in current was catastrophic. The official New York City subway Twitter account sent out a warning shortly after that service had been disrupted on all seven numbered lines and the L, and riders who were stuck between stations had to wait up to an hour before service was restored and they were allowed to leave.

When power momentarily went out, the MTA switched operations over to a battery system that was supposed to bridge into the agency’s banks of gasoline-powered generators. When Con Edison restored electricity, the system was supposed to automatically reintegrate with the power grid; neither of those things happened and operators weren’t notified as they should have been, either. Governor Kathy Hochul was swift to announce an investigation into the cause of the cascade of failures.

H/t to the New York Times

The Champlain Towers South site officially hits the market

The 1.88-acre site of the Florida condo tower collapse that left 98 dead is officially for sale. After a bidder offered $120 million for the Champlain Towers South property earlier in August, Avison Young has put the property at 8777 Collins Ave on the market. A live bidding process will also take place sometime in the near future, in approximately 60-to-90 days from now either in person or over Zoom. It’s presumed that the extant $120 million bid will form the floor for any future offers.

Meanwhile, discussions on when and where to have the memorial to those who died when the tower collapsed on June 24 are still ongoing.

H/t to the Miami Herald

If Hempcrete catches fire, does it go up in smoke?

It’s not just a high thought but more of a practical consideration that architects building with sustainably sourced materials need to know; how flammable is Hempcrete? Not very, it turns out. The lightweight hemp-concrete mixture doesn’t smoke when exposed to fire and can reportedly withstand 60 minutes of direct burn time, and up to 120 minutes of fire exposure if the design is tweaked appropriately. Combined with the carbon sequestering properties of the plant matter in the mixture, Hempcrete could be a boon for those looking to build sustainably while adhering to local fire codes.

H/t to Archdaily

The Center for Architecture and AIA New York announce academic scholarships

This morning the Center for Architecture and AIA New York jointly announced that they would be handing out a combined $102,500 in academic scholarships as part of their Scholarships & Grants program.

  • Two merit-based $7,500 grants were awarded through the Center for Architecture Design Scholarship for students seeking their first accredited design degree at a New York State-based school;
  • Five $7,500 grants totaling $37,500 were awarded through the Allwork Scholarship for students seeking their first accredited design degree at a New York State-based school, based on nominations from their respective schools’ dean or department chair;
  • $45,000, split between two $20,000 grants and one $5,000 grant, was awarded to three New York City public high school graduates to help further their architectural education through the Walter A. Hunt, Jr. Scholarship

The MoMu Antwerp reopens with a suite of supersized “Fashion Balls

The ModeMuseum Antwerpen (MoMU), Antwerp, Belgium’s fashion museum, has reopened to the public after lockdown with an interactive series of outdoor occupiable balls. The sculptures will be on display through September 29, running in tandem with the Fashion 2.021 Antwerp – Fashion/Conscious exhibition. While the public can climb into the giant Fashion Balls and pretend that they’re skirts, models from the museum have used them as the base to show off eye-catching and exotic outfits.

H/t to Designboom