According to a study by Virginia Tech Ph.D. student in environmental planning and design Maria Saxton, downsizing from a typical U.S. house, which averages 2,631 square feet, to a tiny house reduces an individual's average ecological footprint by an average of 45 percent. Saxton surveyed 80 tiny-house owners who lived in their new abodes for a year or more, conducting multiple interviews to determine behavioral changes that arose following their move. "My most interesting finding was that housing was not the only component of participants’ ecological footprints that changed," Saxton writes. "On average, every major component of downsizers’ lifestyles, including food, transportation, and consumption of goods and services, was positively influenced." Among other positive behavioral changes, a respondent's ecological footprint downsized from 17.3 acres to 9.5 acres and they acquired less waste. Saxton did note that some negative environmental behaviors increased, such as eating out more frequently due to the tiny house's tiny kitchen size, and increased driving due to living in more remote areas. [The Conversation]

Courtesy Federation Square

After months of negotiations, Apple has canceled plans for a new Foster + Partners–designed flagship store in Melbourne, Australia's Federation Square after the government's heritage-protection agency voted to block the company's application to demolish the existing Yarra Building. "Apple and the Victorian Government have acknowledged that based on Heritage Victoria’s decision, the proposed Apple global flagship store cannot proceed," the minister of tourism, sport, and major events Martin Pakula said in a press release. Plans for the pagoda-like retail space were initially revealed in 2017 and immediately faced backlash when the local government opted to skip public notice of the development plans to replace the Yarra Building, which houses the Koorie Heritage Trust, an Aboriginal culture center. [Government of Victoria]

The Moon Village by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, in partnership with the European Space Agency and MIT.
SOM/Slashcube The Moon Village by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, in partnership with the European Space Agency and MIT.

In partnership with the European Space Agency and MIT, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill released a proposal for a permanent lunar settlement designed for the Shackleton Crater near the moon’s south pole. If realized, the moon village would include three- and four-story structures clad in regolith-based shells to provide protection from extreme temperatures, projectiles, regolith dust, and solar radiation. [ARCHITECT]

Last week, software giant Autodesk announced updates to its ubiquitous AutoCAD drafting software. Now, it is rolling out the latest release of Revit, its flagship building information modeling program. According to a company release, Revit 2020 will allow for more exact design documentation to better reflect design intent, such as allowing for the design of elliptical walls and curtainwalls while facilitating easier collaboration and project delivery. [Autodesk]

The pursuit of green building is characterized by well-documented approaches as limiting the use of raw materials, minimizing pollution, and increasing energy efficiency. However, one everyday element—insulation—is drawing controversy within sustainable design circles. In his latest story, contributor Blaine Brownell, AIA, argues for further exploration of alternative insulation products. [ARCHITECT]

On April 10, Exon, Pa.–based construction software company Bentley Systems announced that Nabil Abou-Rahme will be the new chief research officer for Bentley Institute’s Digital Advancement Academies. In this role, he will lead research in digital advancement for infrastructure solutions. [ARCHITECT]

See the thought leaders who will jury ARCHITECT's 13th annual R+D Awards program—and enter by April 19 to pay the early bird rate! [ARCHITECT]