Search results for "sustainability"

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Two in One

A house of intersecting volumes in upstate New York house offers a geometric, sustainable retreat
Sitting alone in a dense forest clearing, the Sleeve House is composed of two simple intersecting volumes whose relationship produces a series of complex interior spaces and experiences. Designed for urban clients by New York-based actual/office (a/o), the home, two hours north of Manhattan in the Hudson Valley, offers an escape. With expansive views of the Catskill and Taconic mountain ranges and generous spaces provided for art display, the Sleeve House provides a certain lifestyle through architectural moves and a selective material palette. The 2,500-square-foot house is composed of one small and elongated prism slipping into a larger but stouter one. The irregular spaces produced between the two provide for the public programs of the house. An entry gallery leads guests to a large living area, the home’s grandest space. The remainder of this in-between is used for a stair leading to the smaller inner volume, which is mounted in the middle of the house upon concrete supports. Neatly arranged within this volume are the private spaces—bedrooms, a bath, and a study—distinctly separate (formally and metaphorically) from the home’s public areas. “The project is interested in being contemporary, yet having some reference to its context and its site,” explained a/o founder Adam Dayem. “One of the references is old agricultural buildings, barns, and silos you find in upstate New York. They are very simple volumes sitting in the landscape and have these rough and weathered facades from sitting in the elements for one hundred years.” Throughout, a selective palette of materials emphasizes the formal moves of the project while enforcing the separation of public and private. Inside and out, both volumes are clad in shou sugi ban–charred wood siding. Through alternating the orientation and spacing of the continuous black boards, the geometry of the house is emphasized, while at the same time, its surface is activated with depth and pattern. Along with structurally supporting the house, large concrete walls provide space to hang art. Exposed concrete and glass further accentuate the form, appearing on both the exterior and interior. The ends of the volumes are capped with massive glass walls, framing views of the countryside for the enjoyment of which the house was sited. The high level of detail is carried through to the mechanical systems, which are meant to provide comfort while addressing sustainability concerns. The house’s entire electrical system is supplied by solar energy, a true advantage, considering the building’s relatively remote location. Triple-paned glass and radiant heat embedded in the foundational slab keep in as much heat as possible during often brutal Northeast winters, and a heat and energy recovery ventilation system efficiently heats and cools the home all year. Finding a contractor to build a leaning house with unconventional detailing presented its own challenges, but the project’s location in upstate New York helped. “I found that there is a serious culture of high-end design and construction up there. Some contractors did say no, but the contractor I went with, Lorne Dawes, is maybe not a typical contractor. He won’t say no; he will say, ‘Let’s figure this out.’”
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Morning Face

Facades+AM in Washington, D.C. to spotlight the District's particular building culture and challenges
Washington, D.C. has a vibrant architectural culture, not limited to the neoclassical masonry of government buildings and major museums. The upcoming Facades+AM conference gives the District design community a chance to share ideas on building envelopes' contributions to sustainability and occupants' quality of life. Compressed into the morning of March 15 at the Washington Plaza Hotel, the nine-presentation event will address three essential themes in facade design: transparency, opacity, and connectivity. Gathering architects, specifiers, engineers, and others in the field, this Facades+AM is Washington, D.C.'s fourth annual event in the Facades+ series. According to conference chair John Jackson, a senior facade consultant at Simpson Gumpertz & Heger, the conference's regional focus allows “a nice balance of projects to showcase–projects that we might not see every day here in DC, but also projects right here in the District which are custom, inspirational, and innovative.” He added that a knowledge transfer from “big, cool, fun projects with endless budgets” to quotidian practice is a high priority. Each panel will include an architect/designer, a consultant/engineer, and a contractor/fabricator to foster interdisciplinary conversations. Glass is the typical skin-type featured at Facades+ events and Jackson’s own specialty, but he made sure to include a broad range of facade types. The opening panel considers glass curtain walls and custom glazing systems. The second panel addresses the construction and performance of opaque walls, such as brick cavity walls, terra cotta, and metal panel rainscreens. The closing panel looks at connections between glass and opaque systems, which Jackson describes as often being a “no man's land," given the "ambiguity and lack of clarity of who 'owns' the design." Jackson anticipates lively discussion of new and innovative technologies that are advancing facade performance on multiple fronts. “The industry is constantly pushing greater improvement in the thermal performance of the envelope,” he said, and is now being more carefully looked at by code reviewers. Increasingly higher-performing building envelopes contribute to energy efficiency, occupant comfort, and control of condensation, particularly in humidified spaces. In the buildings of today and the future, “we expect to see full thermally broken aluminum-framed curtain-wall systems, for example, and high-performance insulating glass with low-E coatings, argon-filling, etc.” New materials and technologies challenge clients to balance performance, cost, and risk, drawing on both predictive estimates and direct experience; though testing using industry standards such as ASTM and AAMA are incredibly valuable, he says, “nothing will ever replace Mother Nature and the test of time.” The city poses its own unique set of climate and planning challenges. The mid-Atlantic climate of Washington, D.C. has wide temperature fluctuations from month to month and season to season, which requires careful attention to the design of exterior walls and hygrothermal performance.  The swing seasons also offer ample opportunity for building users to enjoy fresh air from the outdoors with operable envelope elements, which are particularly popular in multifamily residential buildings, yet less so in commercial and institutional projects. The District's height limit also typically results in cast-in-place concrete as the structural system of choice, which results in limited building lateral movement under wind loads, for example, compared to tall and more flexible steel skyscrapers often found in other cities, which has an effect on the design of the facade joints.  D.C. building owners, he adds, often with government end users, can also present unique challenges in other respects, including design of glazing systems for security requirements such as blast, forced entry, and ballistic resistance. The conference website lists the speakers and topics, along with details on registration, sponsors, and the ten other Facades+ events across the US in 2018. Bill Millard is a contributor to the AN, Oculus, Architect, Metals in Construction, LEAF Review, Icon, Content, and other publications.
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45th Pritzker Prize Laureate

Balkrishna Doshi is the 2018 Pritzker Prize winner
Balkrishna Doshi is the 45th Pritzker Prize Laureate and the first architect from India to win the prize. For over seven decades, Doshi has been committed to shaping and nurturing India’s modern architectural milieu and is an important voice in the industry’s global discourse as an architect, urban planner, and educator. He worked closely with Le Corbusier and Louis Kahn and completed over 100 projects of varying scales with his firm, Vastu-Shilpa. Doshi deftly integrates the principles of modernism within the realities of the Indian climate and context. His work addresses serious social issues, developing low-cost housing and urban planning throughout India’s cities, particularly in Ahmedabad, India, where he is based. According to the 2018 jury citation: “With a deep sense of responsibility and a desire to contribute to his country and its people through high quality, authentic architecture, he has created projects for public administrations and utilities, educational and cultural institutions, and residences for private clients, among others. Doshi is acutely aware of the context in which his buildings are located. His solutions take into account the social, environmental and economic dimensions, and therefore his architecture is totally engaged with sustainability.” After studying architecture in Mumbai, Doshi joined Le Corbusier in Paris in the early 1950s, returning to Ahmedabad to work on several of Corbusier’s buildings there and ultimately overseeing Chandigarh. In 1962, Doshi collaborated with Louis Kahn on the Indian Institute of Management, continuing to work with him into the 1970s. Doshi founded his own practice, Vastu-Shilpa Consultants in 1956, and later established the Vastu-Shilpa Foundation for Studies and Research in Environmental Design in 1978. He has spent subsequent years developing cities and townships as well as notable educational and cultural facilities. Some of his most iconic projects include Aranya Low Cost Housing (Indore, India), which won the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 1996, ATIRA low-cost housing (Ahmedabad, India), his office, Sangath (Ahmedabad, India), and IFFCO Township (Kalol, India). The works are site-sensitive with protective overhangs and subterranean spaces to mitigate the extreme climate, interlocking volumes and fluid layouts to promote interaction, and overlapping spaces that connect the indoors to the outdoors. “Every object around us, and nature itself—lights, sky, water and storm—everything is in a symphony,” Doshi explained in a statement. “And this symphony is what architecture is all about. My work is the story of my life, continuously evolving, changing and searching...searching to take away the role of architecture, and look only at life.” The 2018 Pritzker Architecture Prize ceremony will be hosted at the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto, Canada, in May, and Doshi will give a public lecture in partnership with the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design at the University of Toronto on May 16, 2018. For more information, visit the Pritzker Prize website.
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Preferred Palette

AN's Top 50 Interior Architects' favorite building materials and products
AN Interior’s inaugural top 50 interior architect list featured emerging and established firms across the U.S. The editors surveyed the Top 50 highlighted in the March issue and asked them to reveal their favorite building materials and products. The list below entails what made the cut. To honor them, the editors of The Architect’s Newspaper and AN Interior will celebrate 2018's leading design minds in New York's A&D Building. You can meet the acclaimed architects and AN’s editors inside over 20 participating showrooms, this Thursday, March 8. Architects and designers alike can register to attend here.
Toshiko Mori Principal, Toshiko Mori Architect “By designing sheet lights instead of bulbs, Kaneka OLED creates products that emit light evenly, softly, and with excellent color rendition—close to natural light. The LUCE Rotatable Floor Light’s ability to move allows for the creation of different atmospheres. The ambient glow is also bright enough for reading.”
Leonidas Trampoukis and Eleni Petaloti  Founders, LOT
“We needed a lightweight product to renovate an existing facade on a townhouse in Brooklyn that could be more than just paint, but also an extension of the interior materiality. We were amazed by the texture, availability, duration, fast installation, and clarity of Equitone fiber cement panels.”
(Courtesy Hank Mardukas Photography) Stephanie Wexler Interior Designer, archimania
“One of our favorite building materials is Richlite, a composite panel material made from post-consumer recycled paper. We recently used it as a wall and door material for renovations to the attic of the Tobias Residence, a home on the historic register. We envisioned a modern material that amplified the contrast between old and new construction, as well as something structurally sound that offered color all the way through and had finished edges. Once the product was coated with a sealer, the material produced an enhanced tactile quality that reflected natural light throughout the day.”
Benjamin Aranda  Principal, Aranda\Lasch “Technically sophisticated and visually shocking, the ALPI Lignum Wood Laminate by Ettore Sottsass is still, years later, so much fun to use.”
Andre Herrero Principal, Charlap Hyman Herrero “Sisal is a stiff fiber made from an agave plant of the same name, most commonly used to make rope or twine, but also found in fabrics, rugs, and wall coverings. For us, sisal is a subtle yet compelling material in interiors, lending a natural, summery feel to a given space. In a booth for Patrick Parrish Gallery at the Salon Art + Design fair, we covered both the floors and the walls with it for complete effect. Sisal has a way of visually situating the works of art and furniture; it supports them and gives them a warm backdrop.” Andrew Holder Co-Principal, LADG “Plywood is a beautiful product because it embodies so many contradictions. It can appear to be very refined and highbrow, but at the same time it is a ubiquitous component used in the roughest kind of ad hoc construction. The exterior surface is monolithic and continuous, but the cross section at the edge is exactly the opposite—clearly made of many trees in thin slices all oriented in different directions. It has the appearance of being effortless and low-cost, but is in fact a very difficult material with finicky tolerances, especially as you approach the limits of bending or machining it at a small scale. The big stacks of sheets at the lumberyard look like they are already buildings.”
Bryan Young Principal, Young Projects “We have worked with encaustic cement tiles in multiple scenarios, but recently have found success making custom colors and patterns through a partnership with a fabricator in the Dominican Republic. Locally, these tiles are very common and therefore are an economical selection for a custom finish. On our Playa Grande Retreat project, we created a custom pattern and color palettes for the bathroom floors throughout the building. More interestingly, we applied a different selection of tiles to clad the exterior facades of the Glitch House. The tiles create a shifting graphic pattern that visually reverberates with the physical geometry of the pixelated concrete block walls to create some really interesting optical effects.”
David Darling Founder, Aidlin Darling Design
“In the Bay Area, we are fortunate to have a handful of incredible ornamental metal fabricators that coax life out of seemingly innocuous metals. A favorite of ours is cold-rolled steel plate with a blackened patina. A great metal finisher can bring a subtlety and warmth out of this traditionally utilitarian material, affording us the ability to use it in more intimate, as well as communal spaces.”
Clive Wilkinson President, Clive Wilkinson Architects
“We often use rubber flooring on our projects for circulation and amenity spaces due to its excellent durability and sustainability. It’s also very comfortable and quiet underfoot. For the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, we worked with nora systems’ rubber to develop custom colors, which are much more saturated than the company’s standard offering. The bright, bold colors bring an incredible amount of energy into the labs and really encourage the patients to get up and move.”
Brian Johnsen Principal, Johnsen Schmaling Architects “Much of our interior work exploits the tactility and inherent textures of wood, concrete, and stone. We often use sheets of back-painted glass as an aesthetic counterpoint, one that contrasts the haptic qualities of these materials with a perfectly smooth, highly reflective finish. To avoid the green tint of regular float glass, we usually specify low-iron glass, which allows us to achieve the exact chromatic hue to complement the overall interior palette. Large sheets eliminate visible joints, further enhancing the appearance of immaterial perfection.”
Rafael de Cárdenas Founder, Architecture at Large “When working with hard surfaces, anodized aluminum is our preferred treatment for adding a saturated color. It has the ability to create a sense of refinement and contemporaneity, here, on the ceiling of Au Pont Rouge department store, it enhances other unusual materials and colors in the space.”
Ezequiel Farca and Cristina Grappin Founder and partner, Ezequiel Farca + Cristina Grappin
“Recinto stone is a volcanic stone of great hardness, different types of porosity, and a special tradition in the colonial architecture of Mexico. We use recinto stone because it adapts to the chromatic and textural palette used in the studio. The material has allowed us to apply it in floors and walls, and consolidate objects of our own design. It achieves interesting finishes depending on its use, from honed surface for terraces and outdoor furniture to polished gloss for design objects, or natural finish in innovative pieces that celebrate the aesthetics of the raw element.”
Mark and Amy Leveno Principals, OFFICIAL “We like Filzfelt because of its quality and well-curated colors. For the Civitas Capital Group headquarters in Dallas, we used the Filzfelt ARO Plank system in the conference room niches both for sound absorption and as a backrest for the integrated bench. The deep grooves of the plank system added texture to assist in visually breaking up a large space.”
Aaron Schiller Principal, Schiller Projects
“In the Chilmark project, I collaborated with the principals of Gray Organschi Architecture. We were very interested in utilizing the structural walls of the house and the retaining walls of the property to express the nature of the rural ecology, slicing into the landscape itself. To that end, we went to Pennsylvania and bought a huge amount of throwaway wood used in large-scale farming. The wood appears extremely weathered due to the nature of the enzymes that leak into the boards during the farming processes. We upcycled this stock, milled it into usable formwork. I was on-site assisting in the carpentry and overseeing the proper layouts for weeks at a time. When the lining finally came off the wood, it revealed this deeply embedded graining and wood patterning on the face of the concrete. It was as if we were able to freeze the exposed landscape and use it as part of our building process.”
Alex Mustonen Partner and cofounder, Snarkitecture “We’re interested in the idea of a sphere as an architectural material to infill a space. The glass marble sphere is inherently playful and can be unpredictable in its movement.”  
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Culture Shock

Studio Gang and SCAPE unveil plans for Arkansas Arts Center expansion
What does a cultural hub for the 21st century require? With their newly unveiled design for the Arkansas Arts Center in Little RockStudio Gang and SCAPE Landscape Architecture have a few ideas in mind: flexibility, inclusivity, community, and a nod to sustainability. The expansion and renovation, which is scheduled to break ground in 2019 and open in 2022, addresses a number of concerns from the existing 1937 structure and the work of eight subsequent additions. ("A very complicated puzzle," as museum director Todd Herman described the existing space.) In addition to selective demolition that will reveal the original facade, the first course of action involved uniting the spaces, which the architects plan to accomplish with the addition of a pleated covered walkway spine that links the city-facing north entrance with a new southern entrance connected to parkland. “Starting from the inside out, the design clarifies the organization of the building and extends its presence into MacArthur Park and out to Crescent Lawn,” Studio Gang Founding Principal Jeanne Gang said in a statement. “By doing so, the Center becomes a vibrant place for social interaction, education, and appreciation for the arts.” In addition to the central corridor, the expansion will also include an indoor-outdoor dining space and a multifunctional area called the Cultural Living Room that's designed to welcome visitors to engage and relax, while also offering space for large-scale events and performances. Specific attention will be paid to the sustainability of the materials and mechanical systems, underscoring the connection to nature that's at the core of the project, which has been described as a "museum in a forest." Critical to that concept is the SCAPE's new plan for the landscape, which increases parkland with more than 250 new tress and a variety of new paths and trails. SCAPE founder Kate Orff found inspiration for the design in Little Rock's unique ecology, which spans from the Mississippi Delta to the bluffs of Emerald Park. “This an exciting moment for the Arkansas Arts Center, central Arkansas, and the entire state,” Herman said of the $70 million project in a statement. “The reimagined Arts Center will be a welcoming place that encourages prolonged and meaningful interaction with the collection and programs at the Arts Center. It is intended to be a gathering place for the community that highlights the interplay between the AAC and the surrounding park.”
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It Takes Two

New renderings revealed for Portland’s 970-foot twin towers
Portland, Oregon–based William Kaven Architecture (WKA) has revealed the full vision behind the firm’s eye-catching proposal to add a pair of interlinked high rise towers to downtown Portland’s 32-acre mixed-use Broadway Corridor site. The updated plan comes in response to an RFQ put forth by economic redevelopment agency Prosper Portland meant to generate ideas for how to best reconnect the city’s Chinatown and Pearl District neighborhoods. WKA revealed the tower component of the proposal late last year. Prosper Portland’s vision calls for demolishing an existing central postal facility and removing an on ramp to the NW Broadway bridge in order to spur more transit-oriented development, reorient the neighborhood around an expanded central greenway, and promote equity and sustainability goals within the heart of the city. Under WKA’s vision, the site, currently co-owned by the Postal Service and the Portland Housing Bureau, would give way to a nearly five-million-square-foot redevelopment scheme that includes not just the pair of high-rise towers, but also calls for a new covered market hall, a new museum, a public reflection pool, and several low- and mid-rise housing towers. Describing the project, WKA partner and founder Daniel Kaven said, “This is a historic opportunity to revitalize a core area of our city. Our vision is to develop an urban district capable of accommodating Portland’s rapid growth and provide the building blocks of future transportation resources. It is our hope to work with the City of Portland and its stakeholders to fully realize a vision that will both be an architectural draw to Portland and spur economic and cultural development far beyond the scope of the project.” If built according to plan, the scheme’s twin tower component would reshape the Portland skyline. The interlocking towers differ in their heights, with the tallest of the two slated to rise 970 feet. The rectilinear and diagrid-wrapped towers would be connected 680 feet up by a truss-supported bridge containing an indoor botanical garden, among other programs. If completed as planned, the towers would be the tallest in the city and among the tallest on the West Coast. New renderings released for the proposal show a neat grid of mid-rise structures surrounding the expaanded  greenway, with a site plan indicating that the new developments will be connected by a new underground transit station. The transit station is delineated along streetlevel by a large butterfly roof structure capped with moss. It is expected that a full build-out of the project would include additional design teams. Prosper Portland is expected to reveal a shortlist with project finalists in March of this year. A timeline for full implementation of the project has not been released.
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A place for all people

Richard Rogers talks cities, Manhattan, and modern architecture
After recently publishing his book, A Place for All People: Life, Architecture and the Fair Society, Lord Richard Rogers sat down with The Architect's Newspaper Managing Editor Olivia Martin to discuss modernity, cities, buildings, Manhattan, and his infamous sense of color. What does modernism mean to you? It could be contemporary. People get mixed up. I always say everything is contemporary in its age—good buildings and good books, those are contemporary in their time and they tend to reflect the period… if you are lucky they get ahead of it, they push it a little bit. Good buildings are a reflection of their place, culture, politics. Modernism is more than a movement. Did you always know you wanted to be an architect? Did you ever have any sort of ideological struggle with modernism? Well, I come from architecture. My cousin is a well-known architect. My mother was a potter and my father was a doctor and you put the two together and you get an architect. When I was young, I was less sure. But I went to Yale to do my graduate work and I had, without a doubt, the greatest architecture scholar ever: Vincent Scully. Nobody changed my life as much as he. And I was just stunned coming here [to New York City]. I was a Fulbright Scholar and we came over on the Queen Elizabeth. So I left Southampton, a sleepy town, where nothing is more than four stories high and people had their caps and bicycles. It was all very nice and English. Then I woke up early the next morning and looked out at the porthole and WOW. That’s the vision, out of all the visions I’ve ever had in my life, that has really stayed with me. It lifts me whenever I think about it. Wall Street didn’t exist at that point, so Midtown was the high point. It was fantastic, it blew my mind away. In terms of modernity, I’ve never had any problems with it. Modernity was born in that postwar period in the states. Chicago was fantastic and beautiful, but everything was happening here [in New York]. I have to say it’s not the same now; it has changed. Certainly we have gotten more used to it. Partly though, I think it’s because the most typical building in Manhattan is an office building and architects have done them so often they can do it with their eyes closed… Not all, you can’t say that, there are some amazing American architects. But there are quite a few. New York is on a grid and so you’ve got the grid, core in the middle, sometimes glass, sometimes stone, but all the same in variation. It is still a stunning city but it has lost that amazing shock that it once had for me. You have some very iconic building typologies, notably your penchant for an exoskeleton of sorts, could you discuss that? For Lloyd’s Insurance of London, we won the competition even though we had not built any office buildings before, which is amazingly daring. We said that if you put the core in the middle, you are putting it in the center where you want activity. We push it to the outside, which lets you play with form and light and shadow—which is what architecture is about. Otherwise, buildings are all flat. They are. There is no greater flat building in the world than the Seagram, so I am not saying that Mies isn’t great, I learned so much from Mies. But by articulating corners, doors… I like trying to put much of the workings on the outside because otherwise they get in the way. Any typologies you haven’t been able to realize? Oh many, many, many. I would say that now New York, which does have such stunning towers, is no longer cutting-edge... probably at cutting it in pure straight functions in dollars per square foot. That they are very good at. And obviously the people who run these jobs—we are just finishing now at Ground Zero—are immensely professional, but it makes life difficult for the architect when the client says, “I know EXACTLY what I want, more or less.” It often pushes the architect into a narrower response. If New York isn’t the most cutting edge, where is? Yesterday I was a judge of the Pritzker Prize and we made the choice—can’t talk about it. But, it was extremely interesting, the number of Indian architects and Southern American architects, there are architects dealing with problems like housing for the poor and working with immensely exciting new materials and places and responding to this. In that sense, it is better it is broader. I can phone and e-mail as easily as I can go next door. The digital is global. So on the one hand the world is getting smaller… Politically, well, let’s not discus it. So developing countries have better architecture? They have a better chance. Looking at your dress, it’s not about the most expensive, it’s about looking good, feeling good, and feeling it fits you. [Editor’s Note: My dress is from Zara.] I think there is more change now. My book is partly about inequality. In fact I suppose it’s a key piece of it and we are going through an amazingly unequal time. There is a greater gap in the GDP than ever before. The world is changing and becoming a micro-system and this has created tremendous political unrest. Another issue I talk about is sustainability. In architecture, it’s about loose fit, long life. Lloyd’s is an example of loose fit. They wanted a good building that would last them into the future. Since we built that, 50 percent of the city has been demolished and rebuilt because needs change. Energy systems change. Renzo Piano and I built the Pompidou Center forty years ago and the air conditioning system has changed, so we are in the process of updating it. So, there are still problems, but we don’t have to empty the building or start over, so they are better problems. I know you don’t love Los Angeles or Houston, or really any car-centric cities. But with autonomous cars on the rise, do you think those types of cities can evolve? Well, a sprawling city will consume three times more energy than a compact one. And if climate change is the most likely thing to really blow us up, that is something we should pay attention to. Of course if you want to live in the countryside you should live there, but in energy terms, it is more efficient to live in the city. People also like to see other people. I know lots of people in Los Angeles who like it, so this is not the law, just my opinion. I love bumping into people and the piazza and I think that is such an important thing. I have a piazza in my house. It’s a really good square where you can be on your own with your thoughts or with other people. Plus, not everyone has access to a car, even in Los Angeles. Many cities now, including London, are making the streets smaller, more friendly to the non-car. We still need better transport, it’s not as good as it should be. What are some of your favorite buildings (not built by you?) I can’t do that. I can talk about types of buildings. Yesterday I was outside the Seagram Building, it is still a fantastic building. I learned two things during that period in the States. I learned a lot from your industrial plants. I loved to see how very flexible and dynamic they were, not just a square box with windows in it. Why do we encase structure? If you want to change it, then you have to rip it up. Air conditioning, for example, is changing at a fast rate. Buildings have to be able to respond, so I look for responsive buildings and industrial buildings. I also studied the Case Study houses in Los Angeles. They taught me a lot about housing fast, cheaply, and flexibly. You are known for your colorful outfits. How do you decide what to wear? I was brought up with a mother who would wear brightly colored socks when she came to pick me up from school and everybody would laugh. Growing up that way, I didn’t suffer from shock of the new. And then England was very gray and we had to ration. And visually, the British don’t have a very good color sense to begin with, great ear, good at writing, we all have different strengths…. But I come from a country with a lot of color all around me. I’ve always enjoyed color–like public space–although public space is probably better.
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An Eye for an Oculi

Winner of 2018 City of Dreams Pavilion Competition announced

The City of Dreams 2018 winning installation, Oculi, was created by New York–Pennsylvania firm Austin+Mergold in collaboration with Maria Park (Cornell) and consulting engineers Chris Earls (Cornell) and Scott Hughes (Silman). Oculi will be comprised of old metal silos, similar to those in upstate New York, that will frame sky views and track the sun’s path. The silos’ interiors will be painted to match the changing sky throughout the day, so that visitors may find themselves in a space mirroring the sky above.

The pavilion will be assembled on Governors Island for the summer season, pending fundraising and approvals. After, it will be installed as an “experimental housing cluster” in central New York.

The City of Dreams Competition, now in its seventh year, is hosted by FIGMENT, the Emerging New York Architects Committee, the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter, and the Structural Engineers Association of New York. The competition tasks architects with creating a thoughtful installation that promotes sustainability and addresses economic and natural resources. The jury included David Benjamin, founder and principal, The Living; Anna Fixsen, senior web editor, Metropolis Magazine; Benjamin Gilmartin, partner at Diller Scofidio + Renfro; Ann Ha, partner at BEHIN HA DESIGN STUDIO; Jorge Otero‐Pailos, director and professor of historic preservation at Columbia University GSAPP; and Risa Puno, artist.

Austin + Mergold, founded by Jason Austin and Aleksandr Mergold, engages in what they call “slow architecture,” which is reminiscent of the slow food and slow design movements. According to their website, “We see our work process as slow architecture. Believing that it is preferable to rethink and repurpose existing resources than to tap new ones, we infiltrate existing systems that are responsible for built form, rather than reinvent the wheel each time. We explore local vernacular conditions to discover how an efficient (and economical) reconfiguration of available materials, forms and methods, informed by the latest advances in technology, can result in an improved quality of life for communities and individuals. For us, this is sustainable design—both vis-à-vis the environment and our own business—and it is particularly well-suited to the twinned economic and ecological crises that we face today.”

 

They will be mentored by Josh Draper, founder and principal at PrePost and lecturer at CASE, The Center for Architecture Science & Ecology, an architectural research center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute for the duration of the design and installation.

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Bean Downtown

How will Boston handle its largest wave of development to date?
In Boston, a booming job market is drawing people back from far-flung suburbs and remaking the region, but it is also exacerbating a housing-affordability crisis and forcing difficult conversations about the future of the city. Greater Boston is riding a wave of development that is perhaps the largest the region has ever seen. By 2030, the city of Boston projects its population will top 700,000, a number it has not seen in 60 years. “The vast majority of our growth is happening in the inner core of the Boston region, so within the city of Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, Everett, Quincy, and in some of the other municipalities within the Route 128 corridor,” said Eric Bourassa, director of the transportation division at the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC). “This is a trend we’ve been seeing over the past decade, and we’re just predicting more of this growth.” The MAPC is in the process of updating the 30-year plan it released in 2008, highlighting housing, sustainability, and transportation. Another regional planning group, the Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization, is updating its periodic long-range regional transportation plan. But change is happening quicker than the region’s existing plans can reflect. Data from the MAPC shows the region added more than 225,000 jobs between 2009 and 2015, and nearly two-thirds of them were in those inner-core cities. In July, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Boston’s non-farm employment rose 2.1 percent compared to the previous year, outpacing the national rate of 1.5 percent. The engines of that growth are Greater Boston’s dozens of colleges and universities, and the biotech industry that grew out of them in the 1970s. Biotech turned Cambridge’s Kendall Square from an undeveloped urban frontier into a regional hub home to the highest concentration of biotech companies in the world, but many migrated to the area around Route 128 during the 1980s and ’90s to build suburban campuses. Today some of the same genetic engineering startups that began that transformation, like Biogen, are reinvesting in Boston and Cambridge. That trend is likely to continue. Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker recently announced his plans to put another $500 million into the life-sciences industry over the next five years. In addition to Kendall Square, the South Boston Waterfront—better known as the Seaport—has gathered a growing share of those new jobs in a growing portfolio of pricey office developments and luxury condos. Many suburbs are also becoming more dense. Needham, Natick, and Framingham are among the further-out cities developing around commuter rail stations in their downtowns. Two areas of Somerville are undergoing massive redevelopments tied to public transit, as well: Assembly Square, which recently landed the new offices of the state’s largest private employer, Partners Healthcare; and Union Square, which is preparing for major changes ahead of getting the first new MBTA train stop in decades. Matthew Littell is principal of the Boston design firm Utile, which is working on the Cambridge Master Plan, and was a lead consultant on Imagine Boston 2030, Boston’s first citywide plan in 50 years. His firm analyzed demographic patterns in the region and found that younger employees in industries like tech tended to cluster around the inner-core cities and neighborhoods where they worked, compared to Boston’s bankers and lawyers, who still generally preferred houses in the suburbs. Littell pointed to Autodesk’s decision to supplement its office space in the suburban Route 128 corridor with a new space in the Seaport. “That’s a classic example, and the only reason these companies are moving is to attract and retain talent,” he said. “The young, smart folks don’t want to be out in Framingham or Waltham. They want to be in downtown Boston or Kendall Square or somewhere like that.” MAPC socioeconomic analyst Sarah Philbrick agreed that young people are flocking to the inner-core cities in search of walkable neighborhoods and city life, and businesses are following them. “Businesses want to attract these workers and therefore decide to locate in highly desirable locations,” Philbrick said. “I don’t believe many businesses would pay the high rents of the core if this were not the case.” Real estate is booming along with the regional job market, but housing is coming up short, and local business leaders worry that could hobble their ability to attract top talent. Finding enough skilled employees is already an issue in a state with one of the nation’s lowest unemployment rates—soaring housing costs could drive away would-be residents. “We just we don’t have enough housing to meet the demand,” said Bourassa, “and so we lose a lot of young professionals who can’t afford to live here.” The MAPC estimates only about two-thirds of the region’s housing needs are being met. Some worry that could lead to long-term stagnation or brain drain away from Greater Boston. “I have a real question about how sustainable this rental housing boom is actually going to be in the long term,” said David Hacin, principal of Hacin + Associates. “There’s a lot of pent-up demand here, but it’s hard to build in the Boston area. It’s a very expensive market from a construction cost point of view, and when you combine years-long review processes with limited site opportunities because it’s a mature market, you run into problems of affordability.” The City of Boston said it’s trying to address that problem. Mayor Marty Walsh has pledged 53,000 new housing units as part of a new housing plan—a sizable effort that may have contributed to median rent in the inner-core cities dropping for the first time since at least 2009. Still, Barry Bluestone, professor of political economy at Northeastern University and lead author of the Boston Foundation’s Housing Report Card, estimates the region needs around 160,000 new housing units by 2030. So far statistics show that efforts to ease the housing crunch are having mixed results. The pace of new housing construction in the same inner-core cities seeing the most population growth has slowed lately, according to the Foundation’s report card, published in November. In its report, the Boston Foundation found that the City of Boston has issued more than 41 percent of the new housing permits in the region this year, almost double its share five years ago. But fewer than one in five new units put on the market since 2011 were affordable, less than half the rate seen between 1996 and 2003. Meanwhile, the number of permits issued outside the city of Boston declined this year, while more than half of renters reported paying more than 30 percent of their income on housing, according to the report. The region’s recent growth spurt may be making that problem more severe, but it should not come as a surprise, said Michael Goodman, executive director of the Public Policy Center at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. “Population growth is contributing to some of the congestion and growth pressure being experienced in Greater Boston,” said Goodman. “But our transportation and housing issues are primarily the result of inadequate infrastructure investment and counterproductive zoning regulations which limit new housing development.” With more people and corporations calling Boston home, housing advocates are calling on local governments to direct the benefits of a growing tax base into more affordable housing initiatives. “Even in Boston, there continues to be a challenge of creating a housing stock that benefits working households along with everyone else who strives to live in the city,” said Barry Bluestone, lead author of the Boston Foundation’s housing report, in a statement. He recommends the creation of “21st-century villages,” defined as multistory mixed-income buildings located near public transit. In an interview, Bluestone expanded on that idea. Many communities around Boston currently prohibit accessory dwelling units and, in some cases, ban multifamily housing outright, he said. “In the past, everyone has acknowledged there’s a housing problem, but they’ve mostly looked to their neighbors to solve it,” said Bluestone. Now that the whole region’s housing market is feeling the squeeze, however, more local governments are starting to take note. On December 5, municipal leaders from 14 cities and towns in the Boston area came together to identify a regional housing goal and recommend zoning changes to help them get there. “I’ve been looking at housing for two decades, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen this kind of coordination,” said Bluestone.
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Concrete Strategy

Mecanoo interprets Moorish vernacular architecture for Spain's Palace of Justice
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Constructed adjacent to a UNESCO World Heritage site, the new Palace of Justice in Córdoba, Spain delivers a contemporary take on the traditional courtyard typology and Moorish screening techniques found throughout the city. Led by Dutch firm Mecanoo and Spain's AYESA, the 51,000-square-foot super dense project was initially awarded after a competition in 2006, and after a long delay, it was designed and built from 2014–2017.
  • Facade Manufacturer Prehorquisa (GRC); Riventi (aluminum); Schüco (windows)
  • Architects Mecanoo Architecten; Ayesa
  • Facade Installer Ute Isolux Corsán-Copcisa (contractor)
  • Facade Consultants Ayesa Seville (Structural, mechanical and electrical engineer; fire safety, sustainability, lighting, acoustics; and roofs and facade consultation)
  • Location Córdoba, Spain
  • Date of Completion 2017
  • System GRC panels; anodized aluminum screen
  • Products GRC sandwich panel by Prehorquisa, composed of approx. 3-1/2" expanded polystyrene insulation between 3/8" GRC sheets; custom bronze anodized aluminum screen system by Riventi
The exterior cladding is responsive to large massing blocks that accommodate deep courtyard recesses for daylight admittance. These voids in an otherwise imposing monolithic block doubly function as spatial dividers for various internal zones serving civic, judicial, administrative, and institutional spaces. The resulting semi-public patio spaces offer up an opportunity for admittance of natural light and ventilation deep into the core of the block, where a central circulation “spine” runs. The cladding strategy is precisely coordinated with the massing of the building, relying on 33 versions of white glass fiber reinforced concrete (GFC) panels, articulated with a loose grid of punched window openings and recesses in the facade for texture. The depth of this system offers solar shading at glazed openings to help buffer the building’s occupants from southern Spain’s subtropical climate. A large cantilevered entry, and numerous courtyards, assist in the self-shading strategies of the building massing. A bronze-anodized aluminum lattice composed of vertical plates and horizontal tie rods clads the courtyard walls. These screens sit outboard of various window configurations to accommodate the office program beyond. While the Córdoba city center is located south-east from the site, the building volume was condensed to create a generous ramping entrance square to the north which connects the Palace of Justice with the existing Huerta del Sordillo gardens. The building contains a courthouse with 26 courtrooms, a wedding room, a Forensic Institute, offices, a cafe, an archive, a prison, and a parking garage.
"One can say that the sustainability of the building is not achieved by expensive technological mechanisms but by an intelligent interpretation of the vernacular architecture," said Mecanoo, referring to the unique shaping of their building, in a press release. "The massing strategy creates urban integration through fragmentation. It follows a similar strategy to the spontaneous growth process of medieval cities resulting in a volume which is carefully sculpted to adapt to the surrounding context. This results in a puzzle-like structure which hints its process of formation and emulates the experience of the dense historical center of Córdoba." Francine Houben, a founder of Mecanoo, will be delivering a keynote presentation at The Architect's Newspaper's (AN) upcoming Facades+ New York conference, a two-day event in mid-April focused on the design and performance of the next generation of facades. More information on the conference, along with registration details, can be found at facadesplus.com.
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Emerging Voices 2018

Modus Studio gets ahead by sticking to its Arkansas roots
The Architectural League of New York’s Emerging Voices award and lecture series highlights individuals and firms with distinct design “voices”, singling out those with the potential to go on to even greater heights. 2018 saw two rounds of judging; first by a panel of past Emerging Voices winners, and a second to pick the winners. The first-round jury included Virginia San Fratello, Sebastian Schmaling, Wonne Ickx, Lola Sheppard, Marcelo Spina, Carlos Jimenez, and Marlon Blackwell, as well as members of the second-round jury, Sunil Bald, Lisa Gray, Stella Betts, Jing Liu, Paul Makovsky, Tom Phifer, Chris Reed, and Billie Tsien. AN profiled all of the emerging voices firms in our February print issue. Modus Studio founder Chris Baribeau will deliver his lecture on March 1st, 2018, at the SVA Theatre in Manhattan. Modus Studio might have started in 2008 as a two-man operation in cofounder Chris Baribeau’s back office, but the firm’s expansion to 24 people and a full fabrication shop shouldn’t have come as a surprise. The office’s intensive focus on the surrounding Arkansas environment and their hands-on approach have drawn attention both inside and outside of the state. “A thinking–making philosophy really evolved out of our passions, from working through college, working on construction, working on fabrication,” explained Baribeau. “It set the tone for the rest of our professional work.” Modus is a frequent collaborator with the University of Arkansas and has designed for the school a pair of mass timber residence halls, an athletic area master plan, and, most recently, a sculpture studio— although the firm has realized nearly every type of project. Its single-family homes typically draw on the surrounding geographies and ecosystems to influence the final forms, as is the case with Van Huset on the Bluff, a stark cabin overlooking Beaver Lake, in northwest Arkansas. Educational work has a special place in the studio’s canon. Green Forest Middle School, Modus’s first project, was also the first school that either Baribeau or cofounder Josh Siebert had ever worked on. Having to leap into a new building typology meant engaging heavily with the community at every step of the school’s design and construction, an approach that has carried over to all of their projects afterward. Timber and sustainability are prominent through-lines in many of Modus’s built works, no matter the intended use. Working with timber allows the studio to harvest wood directly from the trees on-site, or if they’re not able to do so, connect with Arkansas’s timber industry. Even Modus’s Fayetteville office, a reclaimed warehouse clad in timber that was charred in the fabrication shop, is winning notice, as it was Arkansas’s only LEED Platinum– certified building in 2017. “We’re very connected to the natural world,” said Baribeau. “And being in the Ozarks, the language of the rugged mountains and valleys and rivers connects us to the outdoor world. We’re straddling this dynamic place that’s somewhere between the manmade and the natural world. Our buildings are about fitting into the landscape and drawing inspiration from the context around the site.” Modus views its location outside of the “major design cities” as a boon. Arkansas is in the process of rebuilding and infilling its urban centers, providing the studio an opportunity to experiment while allowing them to build their brand through projects that serve the community. While Modus has begun working on projects as far north as Illinois, Baribeau is most proud of the K–12 schools that the studio has designed for low-income, rural areas. “We’ve found, particularly in this region of Arkansas, how rural communities are really underserved in terms of good design. The hub of that community, their tax money, the local football team, all focuses around the public school. For us, the ongoing tilling of the soil is to raise the bar for rural communities."
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Custom Curtainwalls

University of Washington’s molecular engineering complex is now complete
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Six years after the University of Washington opened its 90,000-square-foot Molecular Engineering and Sciences Building (MolES), a new addition, the Nano Engineering and Sciences Building (NanoES), has nearly doubled the size of the complex located at the center of the University of Washington (UW) Seattle-based campus. The Seattle offices of Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects LLP (ZGF) programmed and designed the two-phased MolES and NanoES buildings, which together provide 160,000 square feet of research space in the field of interdisciplinary molecular engineering considered critical for ensuring future economic, environmental and medical health worldwide. NanoES features unique fabrication and characterization equipment to measure and manipulate molecules at the nanoscale. This second phase relies on custom-engineered products from Wausau Window and Wall Systems to achieve more stringent building and energy codes than were initially in place for phase one.
  • Facade Manufacturer Viracon (glass fabricator); Tubelite Inc.(entrance systems); Wausau Window and Wall Systems (glazing and shading systems)
  • Architects Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects LLP (ZGF)
  • Facade Installer Herzog Glass, Inc. (glazing); Linetec (glazing, entrance, and shading systems finisher); Hoffman Construction Company (general contractor)
  • Facade Consultants University of Washington, Capital Projects Office (Owner)
  • Location Seattle, WA
  • Date of Completion 2017
  • System Structurally glazed, unitized curtainwall
  • Products INvision 8250i-HRX Series 4-SSG curtainwall with 4250z Series zero sightline, project-out awning windows (by Wausau); VNE-63 solar-control, RoomSide Low-E, argon-filled, insulating glass (by Viracon); ClearStory exterior sun shades (by Wausau); Therml Block entrances with thermal strut (by Tubelite); 70 percent polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) resin-based liquid paint (by Linetec)
An intensive three-day series of design charrettes brought together the owner, architects, general construction company, curtain wall manufacturer, and glass installer at the onset of the project. Based on the charrettes' targeted value, design goals, code requirements and LEED Silver criteria, Wausau's four-sided structurally glazed (4-SSG) unitized curtainwall system was selected for the project. "The 4-SSG unitized curtainwall was glazed and sealed in Wausau’s factory-controlled conditions. This achieved the targeted designed performance and industry-leading, 10-year warranty required for the project and for the UW campus facility plan," explained Brad Glauser, Wausau’s Northwest Territory manager. "The units were built one lite wide by one floor tall, with interlocking vertical mullions that aligned with the adjacent rain screen’s stone façade, thus creating a true continuous thermal envelope." One benefit of ZGF's integrated design approach was improved communication, which led to a reduction of Addenda, Requests For Information and Architect’s Supplemental Instructions submitted during the pre-construction and construction process. The resulting assembly of the unitized system was installed and enclosed within five weeks. Some of the curtainwall units on NanoES were up to 16 feet tall. To carefully install each unit, lift equipment hoisted each unit onto embeds at face-of-slab, where they were anchored with J-Clips. In total, more than 22,000 square feet of curtainwall were installed on the project.
Integrated within the curtainwall are zero sightline project-out awning windows with both manual and motorized operators. In certain areas, windows are programmed to automatically open at night to provide natural ventilation and lessen energy load demands on the HVAC system. Complementing the high-performance curtainwall and window systems, custom, 6-inch-deep aluminum fins at vertical members and 24-inch-deep exterior sun shades were integrated into the building envelope. ZGF designed customized shadow boxes, similar to those on MolES, to add visual depth to the assembly. These elements are all protected with a two-coat "Silver Shadow" mica coating that matches the neighboring MoIES building.   Linetec manufactures the resin-based liquid paint through a process that captures the materials volatile organic compounds (VOC) content using a 100 percent air capture system and safely destroys the VOCs with a regenerative thermal oxidizer. Linetec then reuses its heat energy byproduct to improve process energy efficiency. This process of reuse is completed before the material exits the paint line. "The combination of durably finished, 4-SSG unitized curtainwall and high-performance glass achieved UW's requirements," summarizes Glauser. "We exceeded the national forerunning Seattle Energy Codes, as well as UW's energy-efficiency goals with low solar heat gain coefficient, low U-Factor and high condensation resistance. At the same time, high visible light transmittance was maintained, providing occupants with access to daylight, a transparent connection to views and interior comfort. We stayed ahead of schedule and within budget. In my book, this definitely is a success story." Elaborating on this success in the Daily Journal of Commerce, ZGF's associate partner Nicole Cooper, AIA, concluded, "The strong partnership between UW and the design team, as well as a commitment to sustainability, brings the Molecular Engineering and Sciences Building and the Nano Engineering and Sciences Building together to create one high-performance building that fosters a collaborative research environment for years to come."