Search results for "sustainability"

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Jury Perspective

Jean Lin of Colony talks the future of independent furniture design
When Jean Lin founded Colony in 2015, she established a new kind of platform for New York City’s thriving community of independent furniture, lighting, textile, and object designers. The multihyphenate creative—a fashion designer, editor, trend forecaster, professor, entrepreneur, and consultant—set up the gallery based on a co-op fee system rather than the standard commission model. This made it a more feasible and attractive option for many of the city’s emerging talents. Today, Colony’s roster includes design studios like Fort Standard, Allied Maker, Moving Mountains, Vonnegut/Kraft, Earnest Studio, and Hiroko Takeda, to name a few. Lin has also spearheaded initiatives such as the charitable design organization Reclaim NYC and the Tribeca Design District event. She is also a member of the NYCxDesign Steering Committee and on the board of the Female Design Council. As a member of this year’s AN Best of Products Awards jury, Lin spoke to The Architect’s Newspaper contributor Adrian Madlener about the current state of furniture and product design while touching on the issues facing the industry and changes that have taken place in the past few years.
The Architect’s Newspaper: What are some of the challenges for independent designers today?
Jean Lin: Independent designers are the most prone to the impact of a changing economy—it affects them on a micro level. For many of the talents that show at Colony, the difficulty is in determining whether they can grow while staying true to their initial goals. Right now, they might be manufacturing their own furniture. If they decide to hire new people or outsource production, how will they be able to maintain the identity of their practice?
AN: Are these talents addressing or shying away from some of the larger problems society is currently dealing with, such as sustainability, the pace of technological advancement, or gender-based, racial, and economic inequalities?
JL: What these small companies do is personal. It’s hard to miss what they’re about. The designers I work with are very socially and environmentally conscious. A lot of the causes that are getting wide, mainstream attention now have been addressed by this community for a long time. Seattle-based duo Grain had a ten-year anniversary exhibition at Colony in September. They are sourcing materials responsibly, and their entire practice is based on sustainability. It’s inherent to what they do, and so they don’t need to promote it as something radical.
AN: Can these issues also be addressed through aesthetics and form?

JL: Good design is always about the interaction between an object and the environment it occupies—the people it interfaces with. There are ways that we can talk about social and ecological issues through form and aesthetics. Is the product masculine or feminine? How long does that piece last versus how long will that piece seem appealing? However, I wouldn’t say that what’s coming out now is a direct visual or formal reflection of everything that’s going on in the world. What designers are now taking into closer consideration is how they source material, what companies and vendors they decide to collaborate with, and how they run their businesses. Sometimes, it’s simply a question of being active and not apathetic toward the things that are changing in the world around them. That awareness seeps into everything they do.

AN: How do these changes in the way talents work affect trends?

JL: The talents that are leading the way are now pushing themselves to create timeless pieces. This is a reaction to Instagram culture, the latest and flashiest designs that often look the same, go viral, and get all the attention—but only for a fleeting moment. I love trends and believe they become popular for valid reasons, mainly because they are approachable at the given time. Right now, monolithic forms and earthen jewel tones are all the rage, but next year we could be talking about much more delicate shapes and a different color palette. Trends get pushed to their threshold and spark antitrends that then take over. The designers that show at Colony are using material, but in an aesthetic and formal language that can last much longer. 

AN: Do the collectible and art design markets create economic conditions that give independent designers the time and space necessary to develop these types of designs? 

JL: I don’t see the collectible design market as something that has a great impact on the wider design industry. It’s aspirational and only targeted to the 1 percent of people who are able to afford a luxury item that isn’t necessarily functional, and perhaps it’s more reflective of artistic expression. What truly pushes designers to innovate is a different kind of high-end market that is educated in the quality of craftsmanship and the value of good design. Emerging designers are finding a comfortable place in the market. The upper middle class, interior designers, and the hospitality industry are starting to appreciate the quality of this output. In turn, there is a demand for beautiful, functional, and well-crafted work that doesn’t have to sit on a shelf to be acknowledged. 

AN: You mentioned that interior designers are important clients. This is especially true in New York City, where a strong surge in real estate is keeping the industry busy. How are independent designers faring in other parts of the country?

JL: This summer, Colony and Design Milk launched an initiative called Coast to Coast to help dispel the misconception that the only design market in the United States is New York. I think that this city is an amazing commercial and creative center for design. I also think that the sentiment that people never have to leave because all the best talents come or sell here is too insular and no longer accurate. We visited Detroit, Nashville, New Orleans, and Santa Fe to get a better understanding of how the independent design movement has expanded. Many local or transplanted talents are becoming a force for good in their communities, helping to change the market and creative landscape. I’m now planning to orient Colony with a broader focus and to incorporate design from different parts of the country.

AN: The independent design or maker’s movement has been going strong for the past 15 years or so. Is there a potential for autonomous talents to collaborate with larger manufacturers and the contract market?

JL: It would be a challenge. A lot of independent talents have altogether discounted the possibility of collaborating with big companies. The gap between these two areas of design is wider than ever. Unlike in Europe, major manufacturers and design brands in the United States don’t have the time to dig in and find talents who aren’t on a top 10 list. They’re always going to go with the star designers they’ve worked with before. This reality forces and facilitates independent design companies to grow, out of necessity. However, large companies definitely look to young and emerging talents as a resource, even if they don’t give credit where credit is due. As independent practices become a stronger commercial force, this will happen even more. The good news is that consumers are also seeing the value of well-made furniture and product design, even if it has to be sold at a higher price point.

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A Darker Shade of Berry

2018 Best of Design Awards winners for Commercial — Hospitality
2018 Best of Design Award for Commercial — Hospitality: Saxum Vineyard Equipment Barn Designer: Clayton & Little Location: Paso Robles, California Located in West Paso Robles, California, this unassuming agricultural storage facility was constructed using salvaged oil drill stem pipes, WT steel, Douglas Fir plywood, and perforated metal screen panels. Sliding barn doors are clad in a tube steel frame forged from remnants of the winery’s shoring wall. The pole barn sits sentry as the first structure near the entry of the 50-acre James Berry Vineyard. The building’s renewable energy system speaks to the winery’s commitment to sustainability. Its prime objectives are to provide an armature for a photovoltaic roof system—offsetting more than 100 percent of the adjacent winery’s power demands—and to provide covered storage for farming equipment. Mounted on the pole barn, a future rainwater harvesting system will collect just under 30,000 gallons annually. Honorable Mention Project Name: Brightline Designer: Rockwell Group Location: Florida: Miami, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando
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buildin' green

New building products from Greenbuild help to meet LEED standards
Meeting LEED standards isn’t easy. If you’re trying to design a healthy building environment, a great place to start is Greenbuild, the annual conference and expo dedicated to sustainability in the built environment. From November 20 to 22, professionals in architecture, design, construction, engineering, and planning flocked to Chicago's McCormick Place to learn more about environmentally friendly building materials and practices. You’ll find our favorite products that we saw below. Each answering to a different set of needs, they help to enhance building efficiency, human health and wellbeing, and promote sustainable design. Landmark Premium Double Hung Window  Silber Double hung?! Silber’s Landmark Premium Double Hung window opens in two directions: outward and downward. It is passive house–rated with thermal insulation and a multi-point locked, triple gasketed sash, making it airtight. Formawall with Halogen-Free Insulating Foam Core CENTRIA Dress up the facade and meet sustainability goals with Formawall. It can be used to make both vertical and horizontal designs. Better yet, the insulated panel system makes for a healthy building environment with a halogen-free foam core that provides thermal efficiency and moisture control. Mermet USA GreenScreen Nature Draper High-tech shade expert Draper paired up with sun control textile purveyor Mermet to offer a 100 percent fiberglass shade that’s 100 percent recyclable. GreenScreen Nature blocks up to 51 percent of sun, undesired heat, and harmful UV rays, helping to meet those green LEED building codes. It is offered in seven mineral-toned colors.   Metropolitan AF-690 Benjamin Moore Benjamin Moore’s color of the year is a cool, very agreeable shade of gray dubbed Metropolitan AF-690. Featuring cool undertones in a “neutral spectrum,” the shade and its harmonious 15 corresponding hues create “impactful common ground.” Living up to its namesake, it makes any room look “Metropolitan AF.” Pentagonals Tarkett Pentagonals is a collection of colorful modular tiles made of rubber, making it perfect for high-traffic areas. Pick and choose three different shapes to create virtually endless design combinations. And, with the help of Tarkett’s online visualizer tool, you can get motivated by the online inspiration gallery and create custom layouts with the design platform. Aromatic Cedar Columbia Forest Products Bye-bye pests and mildew! Cedar protects kitchens, pantries, basements, and indoor spaces alike from stink with its inherent natural properties (especially its scent). Columbia Forest Products' ¼-inch-by-4-feet-by-8-feet aromatic cedar plywood panels are offered in both mirrored and symmetrical styles.
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ISTBEST

2018 Best of Design Awards winners for Unbuilt – Education
2018 Best of Design Awards for Unbuilt – Education: Arizona State University Interdisciplinary Science and Technology Building 7 Designer: Studio Ma Location: Tempe, Arizona The Arizona State University Interdisciplinary Science and Technology Building 7 (ISTB-7) by Studio Ma will be an interdisciplinary science and research complex that incorporates a new generation of sustainable design solutions, as well as climate-responsive, regenerative technologies. ISTB-7 is a next-generation, triple net-zero facility, envisioned as a prototype for a stand-alone, closed loop infrastructure that ultimately produces and collects more energy and water than it uses. The cross-laminated timber frame building anchors a new research precinct on the Gateway Edge of ASU’s Tempe Campus. Wastewater and air is recycled through a central biome located within the facility’s massive daylit atrium. Set for completion in 2020, the 258,000-square-foot building will support advanced research in sustainability and robotics to help solve the emerging energy, water, and food crises. Honorable Mentions Project name: Bedford Stuyvesant Community Innovation Campus Designer: Ten to One Location: Brooklyn, New York Project name: 80 Flatbush Public Schools Designer: Architecture Research Office Location: Brooklyn, New York
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Building Public Trust

How the Trust for Public Land is converting schoolyards to playgrounds
The third and last case study in this three-part series related to breaking borders is an interview with Carter Strickland, the New York State director of the Trust for Public Land (TPL), regarding the TPL's Schoolyard to Playground Program. The previous interview was with Deborah Marton of the New York Restoration Project. The Architect’s Newspaper: Can you give me some background on the Trust for Public Land Schoolyards program and how it breaks down borders? Carter Strickland: Since 1996, the Trust for Public Land (TPL), has been working out of its New York City office to partner with the City of New York and its Department of Education, to transform low-performing asphalt “play yards” into multi-benefit play spaces used by the schools during the school day and the local community after school, on weekends, and on holidays and vacations—including all summer. Our work breaks down the physical border between schools and the surrounding community by unlocking fences and opening a new neighborhood park and breaks down institutional and other borders by involving the community in the visioning and design process before the park is built, and in the programming and use of the park after it is built. AN: How do you choose where to work? CS: Over the last 20 years, TPL has worked with the city to identify asphalt schoolyards that offer little in play value—mostly barren, uninspiring asphalt yards that have no play equipment except for rundown basketball courts, that shed water from their impervious surfaces to the storm sewers and retain pools of water days after rainstorms, and, because they are black asphalt and absorb the sun’s rays, are increasing the urban heat island effect. These areas are surrounded by high wire mesh fences; they have all the charm of a prison yard. Worse, they were historically locked up, only used by the school, and not available to poor communities starved for open space. We look for principals, teachers, and custodians who are ready and willing to invite the community in. AN: How has the program grown? CS: That model was pursued on a small scale initially dependent on corporate funding, with 12 sites built in the first eight years. By 2004, the city had obtained mayoral control of the school system and was open to public-private partnerships, and TPL was able to formalize its partnership in an MOU with the NYC Department of Education and the NYC School Construction Authority to renovate schoolyards. The agreement provided 2 to 1 matching funds from the City of New York for the development of five playgrounds a year for five years, a pace maintained from 2004 to 2007. Former mayor Michael R. Bloomberg launched PlaNYC, a comprehensive sustainability plan for the city that adopted a goal of having every New Yorker live within a 10-minute walk of a park. To meet this goal the city encouraged creative approaches and especially cross-silo efforts, and the program really took off. The city entered into a partnership with TPL, which would serve as the community engagement intermediary with schools and neighbors, the Department of Education (which Mayor Bloomberg got control of from the State of New York), and the Department of Parks & Recreation, which designed and built the playground transformations, and approximately 150 more part-time schoolyards were transformed into full-time community playgrounds between 2007 and 2013. The PlaNYC work wrapped up but NYC Department of Environmental Protection stepped up as a funder for parks that absorb water to meet the goals of the NYC Green Infrastructure Plan, and many councilmembers and borough presidents sought to fund these mini-parks for the benefits of their communities. Recently, New York State has funded playgrounds in central Brooklyn as part of its comprehensive Vital Brooklyn health initiative. To date, TPL has worked with the city and various funders to build 197 green playgrounds, with 15 more in various stages of design and construction. AN: What are the environmental benefits of the initiative? CS: Since 2013, TPL has designed playgrounds to include green infrastructure elements such as rain gardens and absorbent turf fields, turning each of the spaces into a stormwater capture system. This has helped the city to meet its legal mandate to reduce stormwater runoff going onto the Combined Sewer System (CSS) in NYC that contributes to Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs) during rainstorms, a significant source of pollution to the nearby rivers and harbor waters. AN: Can you explain the design process? CS: TPL and its consultant landscape architects work with students, teachers, and neighbors to design a new, full-service playground for the school’s use, with new play equipment, sports fields with synthetic turf (it was determined that real grass would not survive even one week of intense use), a running track, performance areas, trees, and gardens with both flowers and places to grow vegetables. We spend five-to-ten weeks in the schools and community, with schoolchildren measuring the grounds, undertaking a sun/shade analysis, surveying the community for a recreational needs analysis, and learning about budget and other constraints. Our professionals turn this data and vision into alternative designs, which are then voted on by the school community. In this way, we transform not only public spaces but empower the community and students with knowledge and the experience of improving their neighborhood. AN: How is TPL using New York City as a prototype for work across the country? CS: The TPL Schoolyard to Playground model has been replicated in other cities in the US, including in Philadelphia, where it works with the very progressive Philadelphia water department in creating “water-smart” playground in both parks and at schools, as well as in Newark, New Jersey, and in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Epilogue Use of vacant lots for parks and community gardens is not a new idea. A March 28, 1896, article in Scientific American article titled “Cultivation of Vacant Lots by the Poor,” described prototypical gardens on New York City vacant lots intended to be a prototype for cities across the country. While the focus was on food production the social value cannot be discounted. An important difference between this work and that of the three leaders interviewed is an attitude that works across demographics and socioeconomic borders. They are opening up space and expanding attitudes about how we treat one another. This progressive move away from the anti-planning that Commissioner Silver described to an open and inclusive process is helping us move beyond postwar attitudes that created so many urban ills. Every organization is buttressed by new data, analysis, and design tools to make more public space available in the growing city. Parks Without Borders has very meaningful perceived and real physical impacts. To the extent that that streets, sidewalks, neighborhoods, and parks become more fluidly connected to the city, quality of life in neighborhoods across the five boroughs will improve. The work of NYRP in developing vacant lots and underused NYCHA property for community gardens has had a transformative impact on the social and economic well-being of underserved communities. At Trust for Public Land, opening up schoolyards has direct benefits on local neighborhoods, and engagement of kids, teachers, and principals in a design process that involves both form-making and environmental considerations will have a long-lasting impact on the people involved in the development process. The city of the future is evolving as a greener connected polis thanks to the efforts of these and other visionary leaders. Borders are opening on the city level as political rhetoric nationally suggests a grim alternative.
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The Big Wins

AIA announces its 2019 Firm of the Year, Whitney M. Young, Jr., Award
Everyone’s been talking about Richard Rogers’s big win as the 2019 American Institute of Architects (AIA) Gold Medal recipient, but he isn’t the only visionary being honored at next year’s AIA National Conference on Architecture in Las Vegas. Four other firms and leading architects will be recognized by the AIA for their career-long contributions to the fields of architecture, engineering, and design. Check out the boundary-breaking winners below: 2019 AIA Architecture Firm of the Year: Payette This 86-year-old, Boston-based firm paved the way for some of the industry’s biggest technical advancements. Founded in 1932 by industrial engineers Fred Markus and Paul Nocka, the interdisciplinary organization is home to over 160 employees that specialize not only in architecture, but visualization technology, building science, landscape design, interior architecture, fabrication, and data science. Its massive portfolio features large-scale health, science, and academic facilities for global institutions such as Grainger Hall for the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina; the Rajen Kilachand Center for Integrated Life Sciences and Engineering at Boston University in Boston, Massachusetts; and the Biosciences Research Building at the National University of Ireland in Galway, Ireland. 2019 AIA/ACSA Topaz Medallion: Toshiko Mori Toshiko Mori, founder and principal of her namesake firm, has an extensive background teaching architecture. The AIA and the Association of the Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) will recognize Mori next year for excellence in architectural education. She’s taught at the Cooper Union, Columbia University, Yale University, as well as the Harvard Graduate School of Design, where she’d worked for 23 years. She was the first female faculty member there to get tenure, and became chair of the architecture department in 2002, leading the program for six years. Through her New York–based firm, which she established in 1981, Mori most recently designed the Thread Artist Residency & Cultural Centre in Sinthian, Senegal, as well as the Center for Maine Contemporary Art in Rockland, Maine. 2019 AIA Whitney M. Young Jr. Award: Karen Braitmayer As founder of the Seattle-based consulting firm Studio Pacifica, Karen Braitmayer advises architects, developers, government and state agencies, as well as schools on accessible design. After starting her organization in 1993, she’s become widely recognized for her leadership in promoting equality, inclusivity, and social sustainability for people living with disabilities. The AIA’s Whitney M. Young Jr. Award will be given to Braitmayer for her work in advancing human rights. She’s served on the boards of the Northwest ADA Center, the Northwest Center for People with Developmental Disabilities, and the United States Access Board, which President Barack Obama appointed her to in 2010. Her firm works regularly with Olson Kundig, the city of Seattle, and Starbucks. She’s consulted on projects with Kiernan Timberlake, Oregon State University, REI, Kaiser Permanente, Nike, and Amazon. 2019 Edward C. Kemper Award: Robert Traynham Coles Robert Traynham Coles’s eponymous firm, opened in 1963, is the oldest African-American–owned architecture studio in the Northeast U.S. His work has widely influenced the city of Buffalo, where he was born, raised, and spent most of his 50-year career. Coles will receive the Edward C. Kemper Award for his legacy within the AIA. From 1974-1976, he served as the organization’s Deputy Vice President for Minority Affairs and was appointed to the College of Fellows in 1981. That same year he received the Whitney M. Young, Jr., Award for his commitment to social justice and equality in the industry. In 2016, Coles published his memoir Architecture + Advocacy in which he detailed his career-long effort to design architecture with a social conscience. He has taught at various institutions such as Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Buffalo, and the University of Kansas.
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Top Five

MoMA picks five finalists for the Young Architects Program 2019
The Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1 have announced the five finalists for next year’s 20th annual Young Architects Program (YAP). The finalists are each invited to propose an installation design for PS1’s outdoor courtyard in Long Island City, Queens. The winning proposal will be revealed in early 2019 and installed next summer. The selection below hints at MoMA’s commitment to showcasing forward-thinking architects who use eye-catching design, strategic planning, and social media to garner global influence. Not only do these teams create innovative spaces and experiences, but they incorporate imaginative materials and movement into every project they pursue.  Meet the finalists below: Pedro & Juana Ana Paula Ruiz Galindo and Mecky Reuss Mexico City This Mexican design duo has made major splashes in the architecture world since establishing their firm in 2012. Many of their projects feature furniture-driven designs, as seen in their interior public space installation, Dear Rudolph, for the 2015 Chicago Architecture Biennial. The pair met in 2005 while attending SCI-Arc and formed their practice years later. Not only do they design their own furnishings and fixtures for many of their projects, but they incorporate art and whimsy into every piece. For the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial, Pedro & Juana created a festive and colorful ceiling full of lanterns and planters within the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Low Design Office (LOWDO) DK Osseo-Asare State College, Pennsylvania DK Osseo-Asare of the Austin, Texas-based firm LOWDO explores the links between sustainability, technology, and geopolitics. Together with his design partner, Ryan Bollom, the young practitioner designs eco-friendly family homes and living systems. In 2017, they created the Agbogbloshie Makerspace Platform (AMP), a transnational project that helps bolster maker ecosystems in Africa by teaching students and young professionals how to reuse recycled materials. One of the firm's biggest projects includes designing and planning the new towns of Koumbi City in Ghana and Anam City in Nigeria. Oana Stanescu & Akane Moriyama New York Romanian architect Oana Stanescu is a founding partner of the New York–based design firm, Family, and cofounder of the Friends of +Pool nonprofit. Her work in architecture features a multidisciplinary approach, which can be seen in the ambitious design of the world’s first floating pool and Family’s 2013 stage design for Kanye West’s Yeezus tour. Stanescu recently stepped out to start a practice under her own name, taking her extensive experience working on exhibition design, public housing, and commercial projects, as well as urban development, with her. She’s has held teaching positions at MIT and Columbia University GSAPP, and served as a critic at Yale and Harvard.  Stockholm-based artist and designer Akane Moriyama weaves the fields of architecture and textile together in her work. After studying at both the Kyoto University of Technology in Japan and the Konstfack University College of Arts, Crafts and Design in Sweden, she began incorporating the practices of dying, knitting, sewing, and printing into her projects. In 2013, she won the Center for American Architecture and Design's competition CURTAINS, installing a large-scale prism made of billowy, sheer drapes in a courtyard at the University of Texas at Austin. Her work has been shown widely from Tokyo to Venice. Matter Design Brandon Clifford Boston Matter Design, led by director and cofounder Brandon Clifford, isn't afraid to experiment. The Boston-based design/research studio regularly publishes architectural research into new fabrication techniques but also combines the theoretical with the practical in using those same techniques to create products. This synthesis of research and practice is at the heart of Matter Design; for example, take The Cannibal's Cookbooka guidebook for constructing walls from interlocking pieces of scrap masonry, and Cyclopean Cannibalism, a real-world realization of a "recipe" from the book. Carving, stacking, and discovering new twists on ancient craft techniques have driven much of Matter Design's research. The studio was also recognized with an Architectural League Prize for Young Architects + Designers in 2013. TO Carlos Facio and Jose G. Amozurrutia Mexico City To TO founders Carlos Facio and Jose G. Amozurrutia, the line between art and architecture was meant to be blurred. TO, a small, three-year-old Mexico City–based practice, regularly blends hand-crafting with architectural ideas. For their 2016 Hermés Pavilion in Milan, the studio collaborated with Taller Mauricio Rocha + Gabriela Carrillo to abstract one element of a typical building—the colonnade—into a spiraling structure made solely of brick piers. The resultant interplay of light and shadow was just as important to the project as the columns themselves, demonstrating the studio's attention to architecture's more ethereal qualities. Past YAP winners include Dream the Combine (2018), Jenny Sabin (2017), and Escobedo Soliz Studio (2016).
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Wanna Buy?

New York’s Van Alen Institute has sold its building
New York's nonprofit Van Alen Institute has sold its building, the organization said in a Monday press release. The sale of its property at 30 West 22nd Street in Manhattan closed on November 28. The organization explained the sale by saying that its offices no longer host exhibitions or a bookstore as they used to, and the institute presumably does not need its prime storefront real estate. "Our current ground floor space is no longer adequate to support our staff or audiences," Van Alen said in a statement. "We have been located elsewhere in New York City in the past and intend to purchase a new home in the future." The statement went on to say that "a rebalancing of assets was in order to ensure the long-term sustainability of the organization," after the Flatiron District property's value had increased faster than expected. The statement also said that the organization was outgrowing its current space and that a buyer had offered to buy the building at a price that exceeded what the Institute would earn from rents. The organization will remain at its current location for the immediate future while it looks for a new home. The news comes on the heels of the announcement from David van der Leer that he is stepping down from his role as the organization's executive director to pursue his own consulting projects. No permanent replacement has yet been announced.
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Poutine on the Ritz

Sidewalk Labs releases a new site plan for its Toronto neighborhood
Alphabet subsidiary Sidewalk Labs is continuing to refine its plans for Toronto’s waterfront Quayside neighborhood. The tech company released its first look at the mass timber development in August of this year and has now released a more in-depth breakdown of how its 12-acre site will be developed. The latest vision of Quayside comes in advance of a roundtable on December 8 with community members and elected officials, the second-to-last such meeting before the release of the master innovation and development plan in 2019. The new draft site plan, which Sidewalk Labs described as “more Jetsons, less Black Mirror,” has slashed the development’s height and set specific affordable housing and sustainability targets. Quayside, which will be 90 percent affordable in accordance with the area’s existing zoning, is leaning on mass timber for its mixed-use towers. The Vancouver-based Michael Green Architecture was tasked with creating a kit-of-parts that could work with buildings of every scale. Each building will be anchored by an open-air “stoa,” covered walkways supported by rows of V-shaped heavy timber columns. New York's Beyer Blinder Belle is responsible for the project's master planning. Development will now be clustered around 12 mixed-use mass timber towers, with the tallest topping out at 30 stories. The tallest building in the sensor-integrated smart neighborhood was originally supposed to reach 50 stories tall. Sidewalk Labs now expects approximately 5,000 residents to call Quayside home, and have earmarked 20 percent of the units as affordable, and another 20 percent as below-market rate. Fifty percent of the development’s housing will be rental units. On the transportation side, Quayside is positioning itself to connect with Toronto’s light rail network. The neighborhood is also looking into a “flexible street” system that can transition from supporting traditional cars to autonomous vehicles once the technology comes to fruition. Quayside is shooting to reduce emissions over a typical neighborhood by 75-85 percent through a combination of geothermal wells and solar panels. The timber used, all of it locally sourced in a boost to the Canadian lumber industry, will also produce less carbon dioxide emissions overall when compared to a typical concrete-and-steel building. As Engadget noted, Sidewalk Labs has been less-than-successful in its attempts to create a trust to oversee the massive amounts of data the neighborhood would collect on its residents. Last month, the project’s lead expert and consultant, Ann Cavoukian, quit over concerns that the trust would not be able to anonymize the information it was receiving. Following the final roundtables and the approval of a master plan in 2019, Sidewalk Labs expects construction of the project to last three to five years.
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Rent the Planet!

Airbnb expands into ground-up housing
Not content with monopolizing the home sharing market, Airbnb will soon start designing their own houses. Yesterday, Airbnb co-founder Joe Gebbia announced that the tech company would begin recruiting architects, engineers, industrial designers, roboticists, and more to join their housing prototype initiative Backyard. More than just a design exercise, Airbnb is looking to create sustainable, flexible units to infill a wide variety of unused spaces. Backyard is an initiative of Samara, the product development lab launched by Airbnb in 2016 to study design and urban planning issues (or, as they describe it, “exploring the future of human connection”). Although the company hasn’t released specifics as to the types of units that Backyard will be building, the scope will go beyond accessory dwelling units (ADUs), the typical micro-dwellings slotted into backyards or other under-utilized parcels. Gebbia has indicated that these homes will act as living labs that are able to change and adapt along with their inhabitants, breaking the typical cycle of consumption and disposal. The increased flexibility will also boost the Backyard units’ rental appeal, as they’ll likely be adaptable based on guests’ needs as well. Trying to design one home that can be used forever and changed to meet its users’ needs has been a hot topic lately—take for example the modular Open House revealed earlier this year. The U.S. is currently beginning construction on about 3,300 new homes a day, and with that number only expected to rise, the amount of waste generated is staggering. “We began with a simple question,” wrote Gebbia,“What does a home that is designed and built for sharing actually look and feel like? The answer is not simple at all. Other questions quickly emerged. Can a home respond to the needs of many inhabitants over a long period of time? Can it support and reflect the tremendous diversity of human experience? Can it keep up with the rate at which the world changes? Can we accomplish this without filling landfills with needless waste? It’s a tall order.” Backyard’s homes will likely be at least partially prefabricated and fully integrate smart-home technologies to help meet the company’s sustainability goals. No design details have leaked out yet, but Backyard is hoping to unveil its first wave of prototypes for testing in fall of 2019.
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Brutalism at its Best

Moshe Safdie’s personal Habitat 67 unit gets upgraded and restored
Safdie Architects has officially completed a two-year-long restoration of Moshe Safdie’s personal unit at Habitat 67, a landmark apartment complex designed by a young Safdie himself for Montreal. The project was done in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the seminal structure. Safdie’s light-filled duplex unit is located on the 10th floor of the 238,500-square-foot brutalist building and overlooks the Saint Lawrence River and downtown Montreal. The careful restoration of the prefabricated piece of architecture has been a serious undertaking. Safdie Architects worked to bring the entire facility into the 21st century by upgrading its technical systems to modern sustainability and energy conservation standards. They also stripped the exterior concrete walls that showed severe signs of decades-long water damage in order to repair, insulate, and waterproof the envelope from the harsh Canadian winters.   For the interior of Safdie’s apartment, the design team restored the space to its original 1960s condition. They repaired the wood parquet flooring, installed new windows, and restored the sliding patio doors that retract into the concrete walls. The wood-slatted terraces were revamped to include the clear polycarbonate railings found on the original structure. The bathrooms, outfitted with molded fiber glasses, were also rehabilitated, along with the fixtures and fittings. The kitchen was completely restored as well. Now in mint condition, the unit will be dedicated to the public realm as a resource for research and tours as Safdie Architects continues an ongoing restoration of the building’s envelope.
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Cantilevered Construction

University of Miami School of Architecture completes its new concrete studio
The University of Miami School of Architecture has added a concrete home for design research and collaboration to the institution’s Coral Gables campus. Designed by Arquitectonica, the 20,000-square-foot Thomas P. Murphy Design Studio features a new digital fabrication lab and ample collaborative space. It’s the first construction completed on the site in the past decade. The project broke ground in October 2015 and opened to students this fall semester. Located on the edge of the campus, the stark structure stands out among a swath of palm trees and nearby boxy buildings. Though it may look dramatic, its design centers on a simple geometry, according to Arquitectonica principal Raymond Fort. It’s a single, oversized shed featuring two main materials and a southern sloping edge that blocks harsh sunlight while aligning the building with Southern Florida’s modernist architectural style. “Even though the forms appear to be expressive, we wanted to keep it as simple as we could with the components of the architecture visible,” he said. “The 25-foot cantilever curves at the bottom to address the portico of the nearby Perez Architecture Center, designed by Leon Krier, which is the center of the architecture campus.” From the exterior, Arquitectonica’s dynamic design studio looks sleek and shaded. But inside, loads of daylight seep into the structure through glass window walls, and an exposed ceiling showcasing the building’s mechanical elements gives away its structure. The open plan studio is designed around a 25-foot square module that allows up to 120 students to rearrange workstations as they see fit. For private meetings, juried critiques, and seminars, students can utilize scattered cubes with glass walls or curtains running through the center of the nave-like space.  Showing off the structure’s core through a transparent layout was a deliberate design decision—one that was lauded by both the students and the university administration. Previously, students were confined to cramped studio space within the old, Marion Manly–designed buildings, which were originally built to house returning veterans from World War II. Arquitectonica envisioned a modern and industrial open plan for the Thomas P. Murphy Design Studio to directly fix the spatial constraints architecture students faced within the old facilities. While each of the school’s buildings features one-of-a-kind designs, none brought together studio space under a single roof. “It complements the school’s constellation of buildings that constitute a campus-within-the-campus,” said Dean Rodolphe el-Khoury in a statement. “The vast studio space designed to enhance co-creation and the digital fabrication lab, among several other features, are welcome additions to our beloved historic and award-winning facilities.” Not only was the structure designed to elevate the students’ daily experience, it was built to serve as a teaching tool by showcasing the basics of modern design, construction, and sustainability. It can operate during the day without any artificial light thanks to the 18-foot-high hurricane resistant glass panels and remain cool at night due to the large envelope of thin concrete covering the interior. These materials ensure the project will remain durable for years to come. An official dedication ceremony for the Thomas P. Murphy Design Studio, named after the late father of Coastal Construction CEO and President Tom Murphy, Jr., will be held on November 29.