Search results for "sustainability"

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Dublin Design

Irish retrofit rediscovers golden rectangle proportioning systems
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Located in Dublin’s historic D4 district, Eaton House serves as Eaton Corporation’s new global headquarters. It is located in an early 19th-century Georgian neighborhood containing a mix of residences, small businesses, parks, and embassies. The project occupies the site of five original terrace houses dating to 1830. A new building replaced these houses in 1970 following their demolition.
  • Facade Manufacturer Poesia (glass brick); Savema S.P.A. (stone fabricator)
  • Architects Pickard Chilton (Design Architect); MCA Architects (Executive Architect); KA Architecture (Interior Design Architect)
  • Facade Installer Duggan Systems (window wall and glass brick); Eiregramco Ltd. (stone installer); John Sisk & Son Ltd. (general contractor)
  • Facade Consultants Barrett Mahony Consulting Engineers (structural); Meehan Associates (sustainability)
  • Location Dublin, Ireland
  • Date of Completion 2016
  • System adaptive reuse of 1970’s reinforced concrete frame structure
  • Products Arandis granite stone sourced in Namibia; custom hand-cast glass block, PPG Kynar finish on custom aluminum “portal” frames
This project, led by Pickard Chilton, was an extensive reuse of the existing 33,000-square-foot concrete frame structure. The architects designed the building retrofit to be of its time while respectful of its historical context, re-envisioning the exterior enclosure in linear coursed stone, clear vision glass, and handmade cast glass bricks. "One of the most important aspects of the facade design process was that this did not replicate the historical context,” said William Chilton, principal at Pickard Chilton. “The city was a great partner in this effort." The architects worked with the neighborhood community and city regulatory agencies throughout the design process to deliver the project. This involved meeting with historic oversight committees very early on in the process before a design was ever proposed. In parallel to this effort, and continuing through the design phases, the architects set regular meetings with residents in the neighborhood. Chilton said these conversations produced a healthy dialogue with the community which helped to inform the design process. "This was a very intense regulatory process, but ultimately very satisfying. The embrace of this project by the community has been particularly gratifying."
Once the overall design strategy was confirmed, the design process was executed very quickly over the course of a few months. An analysis of the original terrace houses revealed the facades were organized based on the golden rectangle.  The composition of the new facade works within the constraints of the existing 1970’s concrete frame while reflecting the original 19th-century terrace houses in its organization, with clear glass openings recognizing the original golden rectangle proportions. The architects realized these openings would actually decrease the amount of daylight that had been admitted into the building. To maintain their specific proportional composition, but introduce more daylight, the architects introduced cast glass into the facade composition after discovering the durable material was historically integrated into sidewalks in the neighborhood to admit daylight into basement spaces. The glass blocks were handmade to specific dimensions which coordinated with the proportions of the stone coursing dimensions so that mortar lines in the masonry facade would translate uninterrupted into the window composition. The effort led to a more open, productive work environment, improving daylight by 38 percent and helping the project to achieve a LEED-NC Gold rating. The cast glass bricks sit recessed within a secondary frame. Insulated glazing installed to the interior side of the cast glass to ensure thermal continuity without disrupting the unique hand-crafted aesthetic. The glass blocks are supported every few courses with horizontal metal rods. When looking from the interior, this tectonic assembly disappears. "An enormous amount of energy spent around the detailing to make this work,” said Ben Simmons, an associate at Pickard Chilton. “There wasn't a precedent we could look towards." MCA Architects collaborated closely with Pickard Chilton from the onset of the project to execute key exterior enclosure and glazing details like this. The materiality of the primary facade challenged conventional thinking about "historic" materials. After a mock-up comparing brick with a granite stone material, the architects convinced regulatory agencies and the owners to proceed with stone. In the spirit of the historically sensitive project, the installer worked closely with the architects on installation details focused on traditional hand-laid masonry construction craft. Metallic-coated aluminum "portal" frames offer a subtle luster to daylight reflecting off windows, adding a dynamic quality to the facade. This, paired with the sheen of a stone that resembles an iron spot brick, offers a facade that more dynamically responds throughout variable daylighting conditions. Eaton House has been recognized with four AIA awards, including an inaugural award from AIA Europe. "The project was diminutive in size, but quite significant in terms of its impact," said Chilton. "By doing this project, it really opened our eyes to the potential for this type of re-envisioning work. This was the smallest project we've ever done. It underscored our interest and commitment to seeking out projects of quality no matter the scale. If it's an interesting design problem, and the client has aspirations of quality, then we are all in."
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What an Honor

Here are the winners of the 2018 AIA Honor Awards in architecture
This is the first article in a three part series documenting the 2018 AIA Institute Honor Awards. This lists the winners of the architecture category, while additional segments contain the winners in the interior architecture and regional & urban design categories. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has announced the 2018 winners of the AIA Institute Honor Awards. The list contains projects from all around the world, and of varying programs and uses, and honors firms both large and small. From a girls’ school in Afghanistan to a municipal salt shed, this year’s widely diverse group of winning projects will be recognized at the AIA Conference on Architecture 2018 in New York City, in late June. This year's eight member jury panel included:
  • Lee Becker, FAIA (Chair), Hartman-Cox Architects
  • Anne Marie Decker, FAIA, Duvall Decker Architects
  • Susan Johnson, AIA, Strata; Anna Jones, Assoc. AIA, MOD Design
  • Caitlin Kessler, AIAS Student Representative, University of Arizona
  • Merilee Meacock, AIA, KSS Architects
  • Robert Miller, FAIA, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson
  • Sharon Prince, Grace Farms Foundation
  • Rob Rogers, FAIA, Rogers Partners.
  Project: Audain Art Museum Architect: Patkau Architects Inc. Location: Whistler, British Columbia, Canada From the AIA Jury: A beautiful, dynamic project that literally wraps users around nature, blurring the boundaries between man-made and natural. It creates a cultural magnet to help educate not only art, but eco-friendly design. The elegant structure hovers over a floodplain topography in an area that receives a large amount of snowfall, battling the elements through an architectural form that embraces the setting. Opportunity for people to live with art. The typology of the building is a stepping stone for Canada, a new icon, and a monument for British Columbia. It has helped elevate all of us. Project: The Broad Architect: Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Associate Firm: Gensler Location: Los Angeles From the AIA Jury: Simultaneously sedate and spectacular. It fits the context of the visually exuberant arts buildings in this neighborhood. More than holding its own as a figure, it also engages and takes the user in. The dark body-like, shapely vault is a beautiful counterpoint to the bright, thick, patterned light veil. The design intention is clear and carried through at every scale. The types of space created are unusual but engaging and composed. Project: Chicago Riverwalk Architect: Ross Barney Architects and Sasaki Associates Location: Chicago From the AIA Jury: A gift to city, it embraces Chicago's layered, diverse history by providing a range of amenities that provide forward looking opportunities. Transforms the once neglected downtown riverfront into a vast public space. Design that touches everyone. Subtle moments of education and insight into the ecology of the river, educating visitors and residents. It is the reinvention of urban life that brings attention back to the waterfront. Project: Gohar Khatoon Girls' School Architect: Robert Hull, FAIA, and the University of Washington, Department of Architecture Location: Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan From the AIA Jury: A beautiful and restrained aesthetic with limited means. Architecture is a modern take on Afghan history and masonry construction. This elevates respect for women and girls overall when state resources are used to this extent and design, adding an intent to create an urban oasis and promote community engagement. This space and the process communicates a new era for girls and women very powerfully. It is remarkably resourceful by integrating natural sustainability measures while operating within a weak infrastructure in the country. Project: Manhattan Districts 1/2/5 & Spring Street Salt Shed Architect: Dattner Architects in association with WXY architecture + urban design Location: New York City From the AIA Jury: The Salt storage building took what is usually an industrial construction built as economically as possible into urban art. It raises the bar significantly for civic infrastructure. Unapologetic platonic shape with beautiful skin with commitment to civic expression, environmental responsibility, and sensitivity to the urban context design solution that successfully integrates critical services into the neighborhood. The pursuit of a visual oxymoron to sanitation, and investment therein, is laudable and uplifting to an entire neighborhood and heavily used city corridor. Highly innovative. Project: Mercer Island Fire Station 92 Architect: Miller Hull Partnership Location: Mercer Island, Washington From the AIA Jury: Operations drives design and the execution is flawless. A necessary renovation turned modern reinterpretation of a traditional civic building into a simple box with layers of transparency that visually and physically connect the functions to the street. Great balance of functionality and warmth of materials make this a beautiful facility. Balanced work and relaxation are desired combo for firefighting facilities and certainly that balance is achieved here. As a public project, it is clearly a labor of love. Super judicious use of materials; great scale, sense of public awareness. Best of all this honors the incredibly hard working firefighters deserving of such a light space. Project: New United States Courthouse Architect: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP Location: Los Angeles From the AIA Jury: The design's fascination with natural light and white spaces is nicely contrasted by the golden wood interior figures and floors. The building's form is a representation of site and topography, functionality, environmental performance, civic presence, and public spaces. Traditional materials and architectural elements enliven its civic presence, while modern elements introduced through the glass assembly façade create an iconic image for a 21st Century courthouse building while also providing positive environmental performance. This powerful composition and the generosity of its public spaces gives the project a clear civic presence, separating it from its commercial neighbors. Project: Vol Walker Hall & the Steven L. Anderson Design Center Architect: Marlon Blackwell Architects Location: Fayetteville, Arkansas From the AIA Jury: A complimentary and progressive pairing of modern and traditional forms. Consistent orchestration of natural light and a sparse but powerful use of red to make landmark moments in the building is invigorating. Sets the opportunity for an interesting contrast between the old and new wings. The expanded facility unites all three departments – architecture, landscape architecture, and interior design – under one roof for the first time, reinforcing the School’s identity and creating a cross-disciplinary, collaborative learning environment. The overall design is a didactic model, establishing a tangible discourse between the past and present while providing state-of-the-art-facilities for 21st century architectural and design education. Every space seems equally well resolved, simple, elegant Project: Washington Fruit & Produce Company Headquarters Architect: Graham Baba Architects Location: Yakima, Washington From the AIA Jury: This sits on the landscape beautifully and creates space for meaningful community. The oasis among the warehouses is functional, sustainable, spatial and formal. The design idea is integral and cohesive. An idea with depth. Occupied spaces are oriented towards the heart of the place - the courtyard, avoiding views towards the surrounding freeway and industrial warehouses; earth berms surrounding the building focalize views out to the landscape and blurring the boundary of architecture and site. The owners’ commitment to creating a respite from the industrial environment for their employees led to an exploration of curating views and outdoor spaces. The result is a workspace that encourages quiet contemplation, community and productivity.
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Cladded Chattanooga

Rehabilitating Lookout Mountain’s historic "Castle in the Clouds"
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Originally built as a resort hotel, Carter Hall is a Tudor style concrete-framed stucco structure on the Covenant College campus outside of Chattanooga, Tennessee. Following a late-1970s recladding project, the landmark building was covered up in an effort to address ongoing moisture and thermal concerns. This rehabilitation project, led by Atlanta-based Lord Aeck Sargent (LAS), uncovers the original building envelope, implementing a number of robust performance overhauls while rediscovering the historic architectural look of this mountaintop resort. The effort has led to the allocation of between $3.5 million and $4 million dollars in historic tax credits. With matching funds from donors, and a phased construction process that allowed the building to remain operational throughout much of the scope of work, the liberal arts college is fully debt free upon the completion of the renovations. The building opened for the 2017-18 academic year following over ten years in planning and construction.
  • Facade Manufacturer Campbellsville Industries, Inc. (copper lantern); KEIM (mineral silicate finish)
  • Architects Lord Aeck Sargent
  • Facade Installer Southern Wall Systems
  • Facade Consultants Uzun + Case (structural engineering); Williamson & Associates, Inc. (building envelope consultant)
  • Location Lookout Mountain, GA
  • Date of Completion 2017
  • System cast-in-place concrete 
  • Products custom mix stucco created following testing of original stucco mix design
Before Covenant College was able to receive tax credits for renovations, Carter Hall had to claim a spot on the National Register of Historic Places, a list maintained by the National Parks Service. To earn this designation, the building had to be “purged” of its 1979 modifications, and converted back to its original state. Beyond facade improvements, this included restoring the original roof and building porches on the north and south ends of the building. LAS utilized extensive historical research, referencing original drawings and photographs of the building throughout the design of the project. The architects developed measured drawings in Building Information Modeling (BIM) software, which served as a foundation for the scope of work. One of the most illustrative examples of this is the crenellated tower of the building where precast concrete was introduced in parapet wall construction for durability considerations due to limited maintenance access. Four vertically-oriented high bay 2x4 LED fixtures with high lumen output were implemented into the custom top of the tower cap– a “lantern”–which was carefully reconstructed from historical drawings and photographs of the project.
One of the most significant challenges of the project, according to David Steele, associate at LAS, was addressing moisture infiltration concerns with the original building envelope. After uncovering the original facade, the architects developed a multi-year, full-scale, two-story mockup process that compared the original assembly of the building against a new proprietary steel stud and stucco wall assembly. The mockups were pressurized to simulate driving rain conditions in an attempt to drive moisture into the assembly. After testing in back-to-back years and inspection throughout seasonal change, the architects were able to prove the original wall assembly met ASTM testing requirements. Previous concerns about leaks in the building were attributed to detailing at original window openings. Window units in the retrofit project paired energy efficiency with a historic look. A thermally-broken aluminum window system with insulated glazing units was specified to match original mulled configurations and divided lite styles. In this regard, the full-scale mockup process ultimately offered the project team invaluable moisture and insulation ASTM testing and feedback for window and wall detailing. The resulting wall system pairs the original clay tile infill wall with an interior furring wall which offers structural backup by means of six-inch steel studs, and an additional insulative layer to the building envelope. The exterior stucco is finished with a mineral-silicate coating that offers at 25 to 30 year lifespan. Durability and low maintenance considerations extend to the roof where a new Ludowici tile roof replaces the original tiles from the same manufacturer, which had endured 90 years of high wind and rain exposure.   The project adds to a portfolio of educational and sustainable projects for the Atlanta-based architecture firm, which touts their design process as offering an “analytical approach to optimizing building performance.” Joshua Gassman, senior associate at Lord Aeck Sargent, will be speaking at the upcoming Facades+ conference in Atlanta. For more details, along with registration info, visit am.facadesplus.com. Gassman will be speaking about Lord Aeck Sargent and Miller Hull Partnership’s plans to deliver the first “Living Building” in the Southeastern United States. The 37,000-square-foot project on Georgia Tech’s campus aims to meet the International Living Future Institute’s rigorous certification. This effort supports LAS’ sustainability commitments as one of the first architecture firms in the country to adopt The 2030 Challenge, an initiative that called on the global building sector to immediately reduce energy usage by 50 percent in new buildings and major renovations in order to avoid hazardous climate change. More information about LAS Living Building efforts can be found here.
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Up for the Count

Learning from the 2017 global timber tower audit
AN Midwest Editor Matthew Messner spoke with Daniel Safarik, editor for the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CT­BUH), about its “Tall Timber: A Global Audit.” The audit documented proposed, under-construction, and built tall buildings that use mass timber as their primary structural materials. The Architect’s Newspaper: What Prompted the CTBUH to conduct an audit of timber projects around the world? Daniel Safarik: We track all kinds of tall build­ing construction routinely for the Skyscrap­er Center database and for our Global News feed on our website. The first well-publicized tall timber building was Stadthaus in London, which was completed in 2009. We noticed what seemed like a spike in announcements of timber tall buildings being proposed and constructed about four years ago [2013], and everything that has happened since has re­affirmed this impression. When we saw the buy-in from the U.S. government represent­ed by the U.S. Tall Wood Building Competition, in October 2014, that confirmed the impression that this really had momentum behind it, so we committed to tracking the two resultant projects through to comple­tion. Unfortunately, the New York project was canceled due to market feasibility concerns, but the Portland project is now under con­struction. So the momentum began to build from that point, and we formed a Tall Timber working group in late 2014. The group started working on a design manual in mid-2015, and that effort has now gotten a turbo boost with the audit and the upcoming workshop at our 2017 conference, which is bringing together a lot of the key participants. Were there any interesting surprises once the information was gathered? The most striking thing was the diversity of construction methods that are being used to create these buildings, which are specific to local jurisdiction and the nature of the tim­ber supply in each region. Of course, herein lies the difficulty of generalizing about what’s going on in tall timber worldwide, as well as coming to a consensus about classification and best practices—that is our challenge. What are some of the interesting discus­sions happening around mass timber? It’s encouraging to see the range of propos­als, from both a stylistic and construction standpoint. The primary discussions revolve around fire safety and code, sustainability, and the feasibility of modifying fabrication techniques from mass production of stick-built single-family and platform-framed low-rise buildings to something that is workable for high-rise. What do you think the next steps are, or barriers to overcome, for mass timber to become a common building method? The foremost obstacle is local fire codes. Most fire codes prohibit wood structures from rising above five or six stories. Many codes stipulate that a building of this height must also have a concrete base, particularly if there are commercial uses on the ground floor, such as restaurants, or if there is vehi­cle parking, to give one to three hours of fire protection that would allow safe exiting before structural collapse. This is predicated on the assumption that wood high-rises would use platform construction, with dimension­al lumber such as two by fours, beams, and joists, similar to those currently permitted. The key to mass timber’s viability as a struc­tural material for tall buildings lies in its name. Massive wood walls and structural beams and columns comprised of engineered pan­els have demonstrated fire performance equal to concrete and, in some cases, su­perior to steel. Wood unquestionably burns, so there would be smoke issues, as with any fire, which would require proper sprinklering, pressurization, and other tactics used in tall buildings today. But mass timber has to burn through many layers before it is structurally compromised—basically it “chars” long be­fore it collapses. As more jurisdictions come to appreciate the aesthetic, economic, and environmental advantages of tall timber, fire codes are expected to change. The second-biggest obstacle is a lack of standardization of construction materials, methods, and definitions. There are many forms of mass timber, and a wide degree of variance in approach when it comes to sup­porting tall timber structures. Thus, there is a range of techniques, from assemblages of highly similar panels for both floors and walls, to complex column/beam/outrigger combi­nations, such as are found in high-rises of steel and concrete. There are numerous pro­prietary systems, and the connections be­tween elements also vary widely—often it is the location and orientation of the steel con­nectors between wood elements that can make all the difference in how long a struc­ture can withstand fire or seismic action, and thus determine its feasibility under local code. Are there any proposals, speculative or real, that you are particularly excited about? I like the one we published in the CTBUH Journal for Chicago: the River Beech Tow­er. It would be great to see that go up in our home city.
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E for Efficiency

Large New York City buildings will now post energy efficiency grades
Of all the tools designed to provoke urban compliance, the most effective, it seems, is the old-fashioned letter grade. That’s the tool New York City restaurants have to use, for instance, to communicate their health department ratings to would-be diners. Thanks to newly-passed legislation, New York is becoming the first city in the country to require that "energy grades"—A to F ratings based on federal Energy Star energy efficiency scores—be posted at the public entrances of commercial and residential buildings over 25,000 square feet. Currently, the city collects energy and water usage data on private buildings over 50,000 square feet and public buildings over 10,000 square feet and posts the results for these 11,000-plus properties online. The new rules will broaden energy reporting requirements to owners of eligible private buildings, too, and cover around 20,000 structures total. On December 19, the New York City Council passed the bill, 1632A, authored by Council Member Dan Garodnick. If the mayor signs off on the bill, its first provisions will go into effect immediately, but owners won't have to post letter grades in 2020. To get their scores, building owners will need to fill out an online assessment of their property's performance, and the results will be available in a searchable database, in addition to being posted on the building's public entrances. “As the federal government shirks its stewardship of our environment, it is up to cities to step in,” said Garodnick. Despite the US's recent withdrawal from several global sustainability pledges, the city is still aiming, per the 2015 Paris Agreement, to reduce its greenhouse emissions by at least 80 percent by 2050. Efforts to do so include transitioning to a renewables-based electric grid, achieving Zero Waste landfills, and replacing fossil-fuel based heating and hot water systems with high efficiency systems. "Nearly 70 percent of greenhouse gas pollution in New York City comes from buildings,” said Rory Christian, director of the New York Clean Energy Environmental Defense Fund, in a prepared statement. “Requiring large buildings to post their energy efficiency grades is a natural next step in the evolution of the city’s energy policies.”
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Carbon Stacked

The country’s tallest timber building wraps up in Portland
As the race heats up to demonstrate that timber is a viable alternative to concrete for mid and high-rise buildings, Portland, Oregon, has been leading the way in realizing mass timber projects. The latest to claim the country’s tallest timber building crown is Carbon12, an 85-foot tall mixed-use building in Portland, designed by PATH Architecture. Built with a mix of glulam beams and cross-laminated timber (CLT) surrounding a central steel core, the eight-story building was designed to have a minimal environmental impact and promote Oregon’s local timber industry. As downtown Portland addresses a growing demand for housing, timber projects constructed with prefabricated CLT panels cut off-site, like Carbon12, hold a speed advantage over traditional steel and concrete techniques. Carbon12 features a mix of 14 residential units, each with their own recessed balcony, as well as retail on the ground floor and a mechanized underground parking system. While the exterior is clad in vertically striated metal paneling that recalls timber grain, PATH chose to accentuate the natural materials of the interior spaces by leaving the wood columns, beams, and undersides of the CLT slabs exposed for a warmer feel. PATH’s focus on sustainability as a requirement in part drove their decision to use timber for Carbon12. Because locally grown timber can sequester more carbon dioxide than is used to grow and transport the wood, it often has a smaller carbon footprint in production than steel or concrete. Carbon12 will also feature solar panels on the roof. Although Carbon12 is currently the tallest timber building in the U.S., it won’t be for long. The 148-foot tall, 12-story Framework building, also in Portland, is shooting to take the title once it finishes in winter of 2018. Designed by LEVER Architecture and the Framework Project, Framework will feature a wood core as opposed to steel. Still, as timber buildings continue to push higher and higher, they may be paving the way for the eventual acceptance of timber as a mainstream urban construction material. Carbon12 is now fully complete and units are available on the market.
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Outposts Everywhere

U.S. State Department releases final list of designers for worldwide embassies
Capping a search for new designers for the U.S. Department of State’s newest worldwide embassies, the Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO), responsible for constructing and maintaining embassies, has chosen 16 firms to provide design and engineering services for U.S. facilities around the world. The winning offices are expected to provide not only new construction services, but also to renovate existing buildings. The selection process for the Worldwide Design Services Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) began with 136 initial submissions, where firms were asked to provide a package detailing their approach and design capabilities. A 26 studio shortlist was released next, and competitors were invited to provide technical qualification documents and information on completed projects, followed by in-person interviews with the OBO selection committee. After winnowing the field down, the OBO’s final selection contains some surprises, with a healthy mix of larger and smaller studios from all over the country. See the full list of winners below: Mark Cavagnero Associates SHoP Architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro Krueck & Sexton Architects Ennead Architects Richard + Bauer Architecture Morphosis Architects Robert A.M. Stern Architects Kieran Timberlake Marlon Blackwell Architects 1100 Architect Allied Works Architecture Ann Beha Architects Studio Ma The Miller Hull Partnership Machado and Silvetti Associates According to the OBO’s announcement, “The final 16 selected firms presented the most highly qualified technical teams and demonstrated exemplary past performance, strong management and project delivery experience, a well-defined approach to public architecture, and a commitment to sustainability and integrated design.” While U.S. embassies have traditionally been thought of as fortresses disconnected from the urban fabric, newer iterations of the facilities have embraced a more holistic approach, one that doesn’t shun the surrounding city. The OBO has 285 facilities around the world, with $7 billion in projects currently under construction and in the pipeline.
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Open Oculus

Kinetic, retractable petals cap new landmark stadium in Atlanta
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When the Georgia Dome opened in 1992, its Teflon-coated fiberglass fabric roof was considered a modern marvel, stretching more than 395,000 square feet and weighing just 68 pounds. Atlanta's domed stadium hosted an impressive roster of sporting events in its 25 years of use, including three NCAA Men's Final Fours, two decades of SEC championships, two Super Bowls, two NBA seasons and an Olympics. Today, its new sibling, the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, offers perhaps more impressive engineering accomplishments and promises to draw impressive sporting events to the city. Completed in August 2017, the multi-purpose venue is officially the first LEED Platinum-certified professional sports stadium in the United States.
  • Facade Manufacturer Bird Air (ETFE); Canam Structures (steel fabrication); Alpolic (composite metal panels)
  • Architects HOK
  • Facade Installer Bird Air (specialty contractor); HHRM (construction manager); Hannah Solar and Radiance Energy (solar panels)
  • Facade Consultants Buro Happold; Hoberman; EcoWorks Studio (sustainability consultant)
  • Location Atlanta, GA
  • Date of Completion 2017
  • System ETFE roof pillow system; vertical single-layered ETFE film and cable net
  • Products adhered frit ETFE membrane; custom 4-layer ETFE roof pillows; composite metal panels by Alpolic
Among other industry-leading features, Mercedes-Benz Stadium is notable for its kinetic roof structure. While other stadiums with retractable roofs must allocate additional land for the entire roof assembly to open horizontally off the stadium, Mercedes-Benz Stadium offers an innovative space-saving solution by breaking down the geometry of the roof into eight triangular petals which retract in a radial fashion. The petals are composed of three layers of ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) membrane fabricated into air-inflated “pillows” involving more than 143,000 square feet of membrane. The lightweight material was selected for its durability and translucency. Each petal cantilevers approximately 200 feet inwards towards the center of the stadium on 16 secondary trusses which spring from four 720-feet-long primary steel trusses. This primary steel frame spans to concrete “mega-columns.” Nested within the steel framing of the oculus is the world’s largest media wall, an immersive six-foot-tall, 360-degree HD display covering over 63,000 square feet. Unrolled, the video board would stretch three football fields long.   HOK worked with an integrated team of engineers from the start, coordinating information with a robust digital toolset that included digital modeling software. Custom algorithms and parametric modeling tools integrated the stadium’s complex geometrical layout with tens of thousands of pieces of information about the roof structure and its behavior and movement during various load scenarios. The project ultimately generated over 18,000 sheets of steel shop drawings, and during peak fabrication involved 32 factories in the U.S. and Canada making and delivering steel pieces simultaneously. The facade of the project is composed of insulated metal panels and a transparent ETFE facade, which has been marketed as a “window to the city” offering seamless visual connection to the surrounding context. ETFE in the wall assembly was fritted in a range of coverage from 20 percent to 70 percent in response to solar orientation. The composition of the angular wing-like wall panels abstractly reference the stadium’s National Football League team, the Atlanta Falcons. Beyond the Falcons, the stadium flexibly hosts Major League Soccer franchise, and is expandable for major events that the Georgia Dome used to host–Super Bowls, NCAA Final Four Basketball tournaments, FIFA World Cup matches, and major concerts and performances. To accomodate geometric differences between a soccer pitch and football field, lower level seats are retractable and an automated curtain system attached to the roof structure comes down to bring soccer fans close to the pitch. Several impressive planning decisions beyond the facade contributed to the stadium's LEED Platinum certification. Design elements of the building envelope which contributed to the stadium’s LEED Platinum certification include integrated rooftop solar panels, improved daylighting from use of ETFE, and passive cooling benefits from the retractable roof. Gus Drosos, technical principal of HOK's Kansas City office, said the consistency of the attachments of the ETFE system throughout the project and detailing of complex corners were specific successes of the building envelope design that offered valuable insight into working with ETFE and might carry over into future ETFE projects.
Additional insight into the design and construction of Mercedes Benz Stadium will be offered at the upcoming Facades+ Atlanta, where a panel of architects from HOK, EcoWorks Studio, and tvsdesign will deliver presentations in a session titled, "Designing MBS: Secrets of the Mercedes Benz Stadium." For more information on the Facades+ conference series, along with registration information, visit Facades+.
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Stone Face

Natural slate cladding for a sustainable contemporary dwelling
CUPACLAD rainscreen cladding systems were specified for the refurbishment of this contemporary dwelling located near Pett in South Essex (UK). This family home combines sustainability with an eye on the future. The house, which has an internal floor area of approximately 4,300 square feet, was completed in 2014, after a construction period of 18 months. This private residence standing on a hilltop along the Sussex coastline was built to replace an old, undistinguished 1950s bungalow. The owners wanted it to be a sustainable, stylish home that would celebrate its hilltop location while meeting their needs as they grow older. The aim of Alma-nac architects was to create a building that makes the most of its enviable location in the natural environment, offering 360° views. The specified materials–natural slate on the facade, wooden window frames, stone walls in the garden–give it an additional boost to fit into its surroundings. The ground floor is angled in two directions away from the entrance to enclose a wind-sheltered space overlooking the meadow at the back. The upper level of the Split House features CUPACLAD® 201 Vanguard facades, helping to prevent moisture from seeping in while enhancing the contemporary look of the house. The architects also underscored the desire to engage with the environment, and CUPACLAD® 201 Vanguard gives it an additional boost to fit into its surroundings. "The home's split form acts like a large sundial on the site, and the materials and recesses on the facade accentuate this changing quality of light throughout the day," said architect Caspar Rodgers. CUPACLAD® 201 VANGUARD is a natural slate rainscreen cladding system with visible fixings. It combines stainless steel clips with slate texture to give a touch of modernity and reduce installation times compared to other ventilated facade systems. CUPACLAD® systems are lightweight, easy to install, and they help to create a modern building appearance. In new constructions and in renovation works, CUPACLAD® slate cladding systems can be adapted to every architectural design. They flaunt the extraordinary natural properties of slate, helping to improve the efficiency of any building and giving it a unique personality.
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Low Carbon Lab

2017 Best of Design Awards for Green – Civic
2017 Best of Design Awards for Green – Civic: Princeton University Embodied Computation Lab Architect: The Living Location: Princeton, New Jersey This simple but forward-thinking lab will host research on the future of buildings. Designed to evolve over time, the project features components and systems that can be swapped and upgraded—students and faculty will continually rewrite and adapt the structure. The Princeton University Embodied Computation Lab is a model for new sustainability and low-carbon features, including extremely low embodied energy through a glulam structure and envelope made of local timber. It is the first engineered wood building in North America with a five-ton gantry crane. The radiant floor uses waste condensate from the building next door, with no additional energy required. The building envelope is made of reclaimed New York City scaffolding boards that otherwise would have ended up in a landfill. The facade involves the use of custom algorithms trained to detect knots in wood—bringing the power of machine-learning technology to the physical world. “A lot is achieved in a relatively small built space.  The idea of an open source building with swappable components made from reused or repurposed materials with simple yet thoughtful detailing is pretty extraordinary.” —Nathaniel Stanton, principal, Craft Engineer Studio (juror) Architect of Record: NK Architects Structural Engineers: Buro Happold General Contractor: Epic Glulam Manufacturer: Structural Wood Systems Ceiling Fans: Big Ass Fans   Honorable Mention  Project Name: United States Courthouse, Los Angeles Architecture, Structural Engineering, Interior Design, Graphics: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP Location: Los Angeles
United States Courthouse, Los Angeles (Bruce Damonte)New United States Courthouse meets an energy target of 35k BTU/GSF annual consumption through a variety of sustainable design features. The most visible sustainable design feature is the facade—a solution that gracefully responds to the solar orientation of the site as well as principles of classic, federal architecture. Owner: General Services Administration General Contractor: Clark Construction Group Facade Contractor: Benson Industries LLC Blast Engineering: Applied Research Associates Inc. Mechanical and Electrical Engineering: Syska Hennessy Group Inc
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CLT Superstore

2017 Best of Design Awards for Office & Retail
2017 Best of Design Award for Office & Retail: Albina Yard Architect: LEVER Architecture Location: Portland, Oregon

Albina Yard is the first building in the United States made from domestically fabricated cross-laminated timber (CLT). This new 16,000-square-foot speculative office building utilizes mass timber construction, with a glue-laminated timber frame and CLT panels manufactured and prefabricated in Riddle, Oregon. The project’s primary goal was to utilize domestic CLT in a market-rate office building that would pave the way for broader adoption of renewable mass timber construction technologies in Oregon and the United States. The design approach reflects a commitment to this sustainable technology by developing an architecture focused on economy and simplicity, material expression, and the careful resolution and integration of all building systems to foreground the beauty of the exposed Douglas fir structural frame.

“As a structural strategy, mass timber is very similar to a cast-in-place concrete structure in terms of layout and function of its individual elements. The main difference is the character and humaneness of the remaining spaces.  It is very well-suited for this type of use.” —Nathaniel Stanton, principal, Craft Engineer Studio (juror) General Contractor: Reworks Structural Engineer: KPFF Consulting Engineers CLT Supplier: DR Johnson Lumber CNC Routing: Cut My Timber   Honorable Mention Project: Cummins Indy Distribution Headquarters Architect: Deborah Berke Partners Location: Indianapolis, Indiana This new office building reinforces an active pedestrian experience that is connected to downtown Indianapolis and its parkland. The unusually slender floorplan and high ceilings provide abundant natural daylight for every space and minimize reliance on electricity. A high-performance “calibrated” facade and an integrated system of fins and shades limit heat gain and increase thermal comfort.   Honorable Mention Project: Zurich North America Headquarters Architect: Goettsch Partners Location: Schaumburg, Illinois Located on a 40-acre expressway site in suburban Chicago, the North American headquarters of the Swiss Zurich Insurance Group reflects the company’s global reach and commitment to sustainability. Composed of three primary “bars” that are offset and stacked, the arrangement creates unique spaces for collaboration, opens views of the surrounding landscape, optimizes solar orientation for amenities, and provides programmatic flexibility.
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Windows 2049

Microsoft reveals renderings for its new Silicon Valley campus upgrade
Microsoft has gone big and broken ground on its new Silicon Valley headquarters, with a sustainability-minded plan to modernize its Mountain View, California outpost. The 32-acre campus might seem small when compared to the company’s sprawling, 500-acre flagship location in Redmond, Washington, but Microsoft’s pursuit of a net zero non-potable water certification under the Living Building Challenge will make them the first tech company to totally reuse non-potable water. The redevelopment plans come as WRNS Studio replaced SOM early last year as Microsoft’s designers of choice. The redevelopment is leaning hard on a green modernization, with Microsoft pursuing LEED Platinum certification for all of its new buildings, committing to the WELL Building standards for the interiors, and integrating cross-laminated timber (CLT) throughout all of the new buildings to cut material usage. In trying to meet their water-use reduction goals, and acknowledging California’s limited groundwater availability, the campus will feature rainwater catchments and an on-site wastewater treatment plant so that drinkable water can be recycled for other uses. Because the campus is next to Stevens Creek, the tech giant is also introducing a 4-acre, occupiable green roof solely planted with native species. Rooftop solar panels will also help cut the campus’s energy usage, while the buildings will let natural light in through their uniformly large windows. Not to be outdone by the main, Seattle-adjacent campus, the project will also include an underground parking garage topped by a soccer field and a new athletics facility, while returning the former parking lots to nature. Besides modernizing the office space of their 2,000 San Francisco Bay Area-employees, the new campus will feature a renovated dining hall, new theater, conference center, and a “Microsoft Technology Center.” Microsoft has provided a full fly-through video of their plans below. The new Mountain View campus plan increases the existing 515,000-square-foot campus to 643,000 square feet, and comes amidst the recent opening of Apple’s new space-aged campus nearby. Similarly, Microsoft's renovation of its main headquarters in Redmond, announced at the same time as its Silicon Valley campus, feels like a direct response to Amazon’s city-hopping HQ2 plans. Microsoft's Silicon Valley campus is on track to re-open sometime in 2019.