Daily digest: Populous’s London Sphere will likely move ahead; self-healing, carbon-sequestering concrete research, and more

Totally Radial

Daily digest: Populous’s London Sphere will likely move ahead; self-healing, carbon-sequestering concrete research, and more

Concerns about light pollution and traffic prompted planning delays for the LED-clad MSG London Sphere, but now the project could soon move forward. (Courtesy Madison Square Garden Company)

Good afternoon and welcome back to another mid-week roundup of what’s going on in the world today. Here’s what you need to know:

Despite objections, Populous’s massive London Sphere is likely to move ahead

The London Sphere, a massive orb that would be able to hold up to 21,500 for concerts, conferences, esports matches, and more, is likely to win formal planning approval on March 22 (and it’s important to denote that this one is in London, as a twin venue also designed by Populous is already under construction in Las Vegas). The London Legacy Development Corporation’s planning committee will vote on whether the project should proceed, but the corporation’s planners have already stated that they believe the project should move ahead, despite it receiving over 850 objections over the building’s scale, siting, massing, and potential disruption caused by the LED screen-clad exterior. The Sphere was originally supposed to have opened in 2022 but was repeatedly delayed by planning inquiries.

H/t to the Architects’ Journal

An experimental concrete substitute could sequester carbon

Could a new self-healing concrete substitute help drive down embodied carbon while also sequestering it from the surrounding air? Researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute are claiming that their Enzymatic Construction Material (ECM) can be used to patch cracks in existing concrete and that it repairs itself when it binds with available carbon dioxide in the air, storing it away. While the material isn’t fit for high rises yet, it is currently strong enough to be employed in smaller-scale settings.

H/t to Construction Dive

A new permanent Color Factory is coming to Chicago

A third permanent Color Factory will set up shop in Chicago, this time inside of Willis Tower. Following its openings in New York and Houston, the 25,000-square-foot experiential art space, the new location will open to the public this June and feature work that references Chicago’s architectural heritage alongside old favorites like a room where endless confetti falls from the ceiling.

H/t to Artnet News

Ports could be on the hook for billions if climate change continues unabated

Surprising no one, ports around the world will be hit hard by rising sea levels, and the damage could total more than $25 billion annually by 2100, according to a new report from the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). Even by 2050, the damage could reach more than $10 billion a year if emissions maintain their current trajectory. Higher sea levels mean more powerful waves and storm surges, and a warming planet means more rain and more powerful storms—posing not only a threat to the physical infrastructure of those ports, but also the ships themselves.

H/t The Verge

Lawmakers pressure New York’s mayor to stick to his original parks funding commitment

New York City Mayor Eric Adams has seemingly walked back his campaign promise to bolster NYC’s green spaces and invest 1 percent of the city’s budget in the Department of Parks and Recreation, only proposing $500 million for 2022, about .5 percent of the $98.5 billion total. Now city leaders and lawmakers are teaming up to push Adams to stick to his original commitment and release a five-point plan on how his administration will improve waterfront access and keep up park maintenance. Much of the same group was also involved with the plan to push for one million new trees across New York, as tree cover is decidedly unequal across the city, with poor areas often featuring little or none.

H/t to Gothamist

A flat-packed home in London can be relocated instead of torn down

In other London news today, local firm IF_DO has completed a building constructed from totally modular components that can be taken apart and moved somewhere else instead of being demolished. The building sits on a “meanwhile space” that will later be occupied by something permanent once the local council decides and is scheduled to only remain on site for the next 11 years. The building was prefabricated from five timber-and-steel structural modules and contains 12 micro-units around a shared commons area and a small business incubator.

H/t to Fast Company