Search results for "sustainability"

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$1.7 billion Gadget

London dispatch: Bloomberg HQ should not have won this year’s RIBA Stirling Prize
This week, Foster + Partners’ Bloomberg European headquarters in London picked up the 2018 RIBA Stirling Prize, an award ostensibly given to the best building in the U.K., marking the third time Norman Foster's firm has won the award. But was it actually the best piece of architecture on the shortlist of six projects? No. Let me start off by saying that the Bloomberg headquarters is by no means a bad building. The judging panel, chaired by Sir David Adjaye, was right to say the project “pushed the boundaries of research and innovation in architecture." They added in a statement: “Bloomberg has opened up new spaces to sit and breathe in the City,” and went on to laud “the visceral impact of the roof-top view across to St Paul’s from the concourse space,” the office’s helix ramp and its “dynamic new workspaces.” However, all of these listed items of praise are merely examples of pricey green gadgetry and fancy add-ons. While good in their own right, they have not come together well enough to form an exemplary piece of architecture worthy of winning the RIBA Stirling Prize. Inside, amid the myriad of seating, the scheme feels like a glitzy airport at times with stock markets being displayed on screens emulating departure boards. Views out are also hard to come by, besides one panorama of St Paul’s and a vista of the city reserved for Bloomberg's higher-ups as they dine.  The Bloomberg HQ may have also carved a new thoroughfare through this part of London, but it’s hardly space to breathe. The public feels somewhat ushered through the massive slabs of sandstone by undulating bronze fins that dominate the facade, being employed further up to aid air circulation and shun views out in the process. The only spaces where you don’t have to be a paying patron at an establishment to sit are two benches at the site’s southern corner, both of which have seating dividers to prevent rough sleepers. Poor people it seems shouldn’t be allowed to rest when in the presence of a $1.7 billion building. And that’s the project’s biggest issue: money. “Some people say the reason it took almost a decade to build this is because we had a billionaire who wanted to be an architect working with an architect who wanted to be a billionaire,” said former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg at his building’s unveiling. Norman Foster is the U.K.’s wealthiest architect. This year, partners at his firm shared $30.4 million between them, a 43 percent increase on last year despite a downturn in profits and turnover with the company having to lose staff in the process. As critic Oliver Wainwright noted in a tweet, Foster's 'non-resident in the UK for tax purposes' status prevented him from even picking up the award in person. What does all this say about architects and the profession? That to design a good building you must find a client with apparently limitless pockets? That as an architect it is more important to be obscenely wealthy over everything else? Bloomberg’s London HQ is a far cry from last year’s winner, dRMM’s Hastings Pier, which exemplified civic architecture at its best. That delightful scheme made extensive use of timber salvaged from a fire that burned down the previous pier. It was truly a community project. dRMM held close consultations with the public and the charity funding it, and the pier was built for the public of Hastings (and those visiting, of course).   There were far better examples of architecture on this year’s Stirling Prize shortlist too. Take Waugh Thistleton Architects’ Bushey Cemetery for example. Using walls of rammed earth sourced from the site it rests on, the project demonstrates genuine material innovation and manages to convey a sense of weight and be delicate at the same time. Bloomberg, meanwhile, shipped in 600 tons of bronze from Japan and granite from India, and despite the similar earthy tones, feels dauntingly heavy. An example of working wonders when on a budget was also shortlisted: Storey's Field Centre and Eddington Nursery in Cambridge by MUMA. Like Hastings Pier, this was a celebration of civic architecture, with a community center and kindergarten surrounding a landscaped courtyard. “By building at a lower height than approved at planning…Bloomberg shows a high level of generosity towards the City,” the judges commented. In light of this, Jamie Fobert Architects’ Tate St Ives was arguably more adept at concealing space. Buried underground, yet still allowing bucket loads of light in, the museum has somehow doubled in size. It’s a remarkable piece of architectural contortion that keeps locals and the museum happy. Another shortlisted project, Níall McLaughlin Architects’ Sultan Nazrin Shah Centre for the University of Oxford, like the two aforementioned projects, articulated light in spectacular fashion. The project provided a lecture theater, a student learning space, seminar rooms, and a dance studio of immense quality and leads by example the quality of spaces students deserve. London studio Henley Halebrown’s Chadwick Hall student accommodation for the University of Roehampton, the final project on the list, did the same. A win for the project could have sent a message about what the standard of student housing in the U.K. should be. The majority of current student housing stock is dire. With space standards for student housing thrown out of the window due to it being temporary accommodation, the area has become a safe bet for investors looking to cram as many units in for a guaranteed profit. A message, in fact, was sent, coming in explicit form from RIBA President Ben Derbyshire. “This building is a profound expression of confidence in British architecture—and perfectly illustrates why the U.K. is the profession’s global capital,” he said in a statement. “This role and reputation must be maintained, despite the political uncertainty of Brexit.” This, however, feels like a lazy excuse to award a project the Stirling Prize. Defaulting to listing “Brexit” as a reason should not be in the criteria. Neither should sustainability, a high standard of which should be a baseline for all shortlisted projects. Let BREEAM (the U.K. equivalent of LEED) deal with recognizing that. The RIBA Stirling Prize doesn’t have to send any message, though. It just has to recognize the best building, and this it has not done.
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A Meeting of Modern Minds

Exhibit Columbus National Symposium embraces progressive preservation
How do historic places live for now? This was one of many questions presented during the 2018 Exhibit Columbus National Symposium held in Columbus, Indiana, from September 26 through 29. Using many of Columbus’s High Midcentury Modern structures as venues, curators, architects, and creators explored how architecture, art, and design can be used to make better places to live and inform new approaches to preservation that incorporate modern heritage and civic initiatives into the future of cities. A collaboration between Landmark Columbus, AIA Indiana, AIA Kentucky, Docomomo US, and Newfields, Exhibit Columbus kicked off with alternating programming, featuring a symposium one year and an exhibition the next. This year’s Exhibit Columbus National Symposium complements the 2019 Exhibit Columbus Exhibition, which invites artists and architects to create outdoor works that are inspired by and communicate with Columbus’s more than 80 structures, works of art, and landscapes designed by significant architects and artists, including Eliel and Eero Saarinen, Robert Venturi, Harry Weese, I.M. Pei, and Alexander Girard. Exhibit Columbus follows the original ethos of philanthropist and Cummins Corporation executive J. Irwin Miller, who saw the built environment as a means to create social change and saw a need for the revitalization of his hometown as it approached the mid-20th century. Establishing the Cummins Foundation in 1954, Miller offered to pay all architect fees for new public buildings in Columbus, which brought emerging architects to the small midwestern city to build schools, factories, offices, and houses of worship, and kickstarted the architectural radicalism that Columbus now defines itself by. The 2019 exhibition will bring 18 projects to downtown Columbus, including five J. Irwin and Xenia S. Miller Prize Installations, five Washington Street Installations, six University Design Research Fellowships, and the design team from Columbus High School’s C4 program. The symposium’s intent was to activate multiple aspects of the afterlife of historic places, giving the exhibition a collaborative, thoughtful context. While the bulk of the content related to Columbus’s High Midcentury Modernism, the conversations explored other sites and projects where progressive preservation has been implemented. The Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research's recently-acquired Usonian Smith House, and #NEWPALMYRA, an effort to reconstruct the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra as a virtual environment, were both part of separate discussions on interpretation and connection. The sense of progressive preservation at Exhibit Columbus was refreshingly unburdened by the lack of old-school historic preservation and architectural history thought chains, and discussion instead focused on innovation, creativity, and participation over historical facts delivered by academics. This was clearest in the presenters' choice of language; the overwhelming use of "cultural heritage" over "historic preservation" during sessions brought the field in America one tiny step closer to the cultural, community-centric model practiced in Europe. Discussions on sustainability looked at the role that historic architecture and design might play in making cities more equitable, not as the central pillar of the well-worn idea that the greenest thing is what’s already built, or the notion that a community can only venerate one period and thesis of historical significance. The most vital discussions occurred around exhibitions as civic action, and how historic sites might break out of their stasis and engage future creators and users of design, culminating with the introduction of the J. Irwin and Xenia S. Miller Prize Recipients, an exciting collection of firms tasked with creating the site-responsive installations that will mingle with Columbus’s existing heritage, a vision of the creative future of Columbus that could work anywhere.
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Building Well

The Tech+ Workplace conference leads the cutting edge of workplace design

On September 25, The Architect’s Newspaper hosted its inaugural Tech+ Workplace conference. Located in New York City's Urban Tech Hub, the event brought together experts in the fields of office design, space planning, and facilities. Panels were split into three categories: Designing for Wellness, Designing for Performance, and Designing for the Future.

Melissa Marsh, Founder and Executive director of PLASTARC and Senior Managing Director - Occupant Experience at Savills Studley, and David Briefel, Sustainability Director at Gensler, examined new technologies driving higher standards for healthy work interiors. Both recognized the growing importance of following sustainable protocols, such as the Living Building Challenge and the WELL Building Standard. For Briefel, adherence to these standards includes the insertion of biophilic elements into his design process, including green surfaces, and natural shapes and patterns that encourage place-based relationships.

Technology is rapidly assuming greater tasks in workplace design. For HLW’s Director of Strategy and Discovery Mat Triebner, analytical tools allow for the mass collection of data on how occupants use their space. For the redesign of Willis Towers Watson’s New York’s headquarters, Triebner’s team effectively mapped the interior function and use of spaces. Following the collection of data, HLW produced a pilot redesign for the headquarters, reducing meeting rooms, while boosting common areas and mobile workstations.

John Capobianco, Design Director and Principal at IA Interior Architects' New York office, similarly described the accrual of data as key to a process based on “testing, learning, and integrating.” Capobianco zeroed in on his practice’s Scotiabank Digital Factory project as an example of design encouraging agile collaboration. The 70,000-square-foot office space is centered around a series of rotundas interlinked by axial paths, with the intended goal of fostering a string of “next generation ‘we’ spaces.”

Founded in 1978, FXCollaborative has consistently placed itself at the forefront of architectural technology. Guy Geier, Managing Partner at FXCollaborative, broke down emerging tools being adopted by architectural practices. For Geier, virtual reality is taking on a larger role in the presentation of prospective projects as well as the actual design process. FXCollaborative is also increasingly using building information modeling to track pedestrian flows and environmental conditions, crafting layouts and cladding to accommodate preexisting site characteristics.

The Urban Tech Hub, led by Robinson Hernandez, is located within the 1-million-square-foot Company Building adjacent to Grand Central Terminal. Currently undergoing a SHoP-designed renovation, the Hub is dedicated to the support of tech-related entrepreneurs from the pre-seed to full-growth stages.

The next Tech+ event will be hosted in San Francisco on February 8, 2019.

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New Chair in Town

Renee Y. Chow named new Department of Architecture chair at UC Berkeley
The College of Environmental Design (CED) at the University of California, Berkeley, has named professor of architecture and urban design Renee Y. Chow as its new Department of Architecture chair. Chow has taught at the CED since 1993 and was the associate dean for undergraduate studies at the college before beginning her current tenure in July. Chow held the Eva Li Chair in Design Ethics between 2005 and 2010 at CED, as well. Chow earned her M.Arch I and SBAD degrees from the Massachusettes Institute of Technology (MIT) and has also previously taught at MIT. Chow is also principal of Studio URBIS, an architecture and urban design practice formed in collaboration with her partner, Thomas Chastain. Projects completed with Studio URBIS include single- and multi-family structures, institutional and commercial buildings, and several development plans and studies. In a press release announcing her appointment, Chow remarked, "I hope to immediately strengthen our connections with the larger CED community—including professionals and alumni and with residents and agencies in the Bay Area." Chow added, "I want the Department of Architecture to be seen as a resource and a partner in exploring the future of architecture and environmental design." Chow has taught for over 25 years at the university. During this time, she has taught beginning and advanced design studios, design seminars, and housing seminars. Her practice and research focus on the “intersection between architecture and its locale,” according to the press release. Chow is the author of Suburban Space: The Fabric of Dwelling and Changing Chinese Cities: The Potentials of Field Urbanism, two works that interrogate the urban challenges of the 21st century and issues that arise from those challenges, including rising density in China, and environmental sustainability and urban diversity in the United States. CED dean Jennifer Wolch praised Chow in a statement as “one of the most highly-regarded educators in the field of architecture today.” Wolch added,  “At a time when technological innovation is reshaping the field, the design education and training of architects require clear vision and values. I'm delighted that Renee will be leading the College of Environmental Design's Department of Architecture."
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Best of Design Awards

Win an Archigram print by entering the AN Best of Design Awards 2018
Up for grabs at this year's AN Best of Design Awards is a signed 1971 print from Archigram. Made by Diana Jowsey in Endell Street, Covent Garden—Archigram's London Studio—the print includes features drawings from Peter Cook, Warren Chalk, David Greene, Ron Herron, and Michael Webb. For your chance to win this coveted print, enter the AN Best of Design Awards 2018 where there are 45 categories for submissions. In the sixth edition of the awards, winners will receive the signed Archigram print and will also be exposed to 1,000,000 AN readers and members of the AEC design community. Other worthy projects will be shared on AN's social media channels and will also be published in a special 2018 Design Annual publication created specifically for AN Best of Design Awards. The jury will judge submissions using several criteria: the strength of the presentation, evidence of innovation, creative use of new technology, sustainability, and, most importantly, good design. The jury will be composed of Tei Carpenter (Agency—Agency), Andrés Jaque (Andrés Jaque), Pratik Raval (Transsolar), Jesse Reiser (RUR Architecture DPC), and Archpaper's very own William Menking and Matt Shaw. The 45 categories are:
  • Adaptive Reuse
  • Building Renovation
  • Restoration & Preservation
  • Architectural Lighting – Indoor
  • Architectural Lighting – Outdoor
  • Architectural Representations – Analog
  • Architectural Representations – Digital
  • Building Renovation
  • Cultural
  • Public
  • Education
  • Healthcare
  • Commercial – Hospitality
  • Commercial – Office
  • Commercial - Retail + Mixed Use
  • Digital Fabrication; Facades
  • Green Building; Infrastructure
  • Interior – Institutional
  • Interior – Healthcare
  • Interior – Hospitality
  • Interior - Residential
  • Interior - Retail
  • Interior - Workplace
  • Landscape – Residential
  • Landscape – Public
  • Student Work
  • New Materials
  • Research
  • Residential – Multi
  • Residential– Single
  • Small Spaces
  • Temporary Installation
  • Exhibition Design
  • Unbuilt – Commercial
  • Unbuilt – Cultural
  • Unbuilt – Education
  • Unbuilt – Public
  • Unbuilt – Residential
  • Unbuilt - Urban Design
  • Unbuilt - Landscape
  • Unbuilt - Interior
  • Urban Design
  • Young Architects
Eligibility: Projects must have been completed within one year’s time of the submission deadline. Landscape projects must have been completed and Unbuilt projects initiated within two year’s time of the submission deadline. The Best Of Design Awards is open to Canadian, Mexican, U.S., and international firms (e.g., architects/consultants/engineers/manufacturers), but projects submitted must be located within Canada, Mexico, and the United States. Please submit by this Saturday, September 29, 2018 (Midnight PST), to be in the running for a chance to win. More information and how to register can be found at archpaperawards.com/design.
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Big Terminal Energy

Pelli Clarke Pelli creates a collection of new civic nodes in San Francisco
The Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects (PCPA)–designed Salesforce Transit Center and its 5.4-acre rooftop park in San Francisco are now officially open to the public. Decades in the making, the opening of the $2.1 billion, 1.2 million-square-foot terminal this August capped off eight years of construction and followed the completion of the 1,070-foot-tall Salesforce Tower next door in February. Taken together, the three elements—terminal, tower, and park—represent the beginning of a new era that, according to the planners behind the transformative project, is driven by a focus on public space and public transit. Dubbed the “Grand Central Terminal of the West” by its civic boosters, the new multimodal transit center is meant to be the crown jewel of a new high-rise, mixed-use, transit-oriented neighborhood anchored by the multifunctional rooftop park and capped off by the tower. The arrangement is one of the many by-products of a far-reaching district plan crafted to embrace the terminal and reshape the city’s skyline. Designed as a massive, skylit, indoor-outdoor living room sandwiched between transit and a park, the terminal is geared for public use first and foremost. Inside its cavernous halls, terrazzo-based flooring by Julie Chang, a light installation by artist Jenny Holzer, and a fountain by James Carpenter enliven the grand and formal spaces designed by PCPA. A total of 3,992 perforated white aluminum panels—designed in collaboration with British mathematician Roger Penrose—wrap the terminal, skinning a bulbous, undulating object that sneakily cuts across the neighborhood. The lacey wrapper brings light into a second-story bus terminal and helps to dematerialize the massive complex. This visual transparency becomes physical porosity along the ground floor, where the multiblock building spans over city streets, weaving through the commercial district with its 85,349 square feet of retail space. Fred Clarke, a founding partner at PCPA, described the transformative project and the whirlwind of construction it has engendered as “transit-oriented development at a scale we haven’t seen before” in the United States. Clarke observed, “Our car-oriented society typically works against this building type, so we feel like we are cutting new ground here.” The expression is quite literal in this case, as the complex begins 125 feet below ground, where a five-block-long concrete box acts as a massive foundation for the complex containing below-grade ticketing, retail, and concourse levels. For seismic resiliency, the 1,000-foot-long terminal is designed as three structurally isolated sections connected by a pair of 2-foot-wide expansion joints that allow each piece to move independently. Thornton Tomasetti is the engineer-of-record for the project and served as a sustainability consultant for the Salesforce Tower project, as well. The also building comes outfitted with one of the largest geothermal installations in the world, according to the architect. It is a design that not only allows for impressive energy efficiency, but also reduces the need for the clunky air handling units on the roof that would typically accompany conventional HVAC systems. Situated 70 feet above grade, the terminal is topped by a new public park designed in partnership with PWP Landscape Architecture. Flower beds and tree pits of varying depths meander around the rooftop, where the verdant park is home to 100 trees, a 1,000-seat amphitheater, three sculptural lanterns, a playground, and a 1,000-foot-long fountain by artist Ned Kahn, among other elements. The stormwater-retention-focused park is also sculpted by artificial mounds concealing elevator overrides and mechanical equipment. Standing beside all of this is the Salesforce Tower, a tapered pinnacle defined by rounded corners, “classical proportions,” and a large crown that lights up with a large-format LED video artwork by artist Jim Campbell. The 61-story tower connects directly to the park and touches the ground with a light, open lobby that is meant to enliven the district, “in a simple, elegant way,” according to Clarke.
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Tricks of the Trade

SOM uses interdisciplinary collaboration to design innovative facade systems
On September 21, Facades+ is coming to Chicago for the first time in three years. The conference features moderators and speakers of leading firms from across the country. Skidmore, Owings & Merril—the architecture and engineering firm that has called Chicago home for over 80 years—will have a particularly strong presence at the upcoming conference. To learn more about what Chicago’s largest firm is up to and to investigate larger industry trends, AN sat down with SOM’s Dan O’Riley, associate director, and Lucas Tryggestad, technical director. The Architect’s Newspaper: For over a century, Chicago has been at the forefront of architecture and engineering. What do you find most interesting about facade and structural innovation in Chicago today? Dan O’Riley: What’s most interesting about innovation in Chicago is that, aside from all the advancements the industry has made in materials, design, and construction over the years, the city continues to innovate based on the same philosophy of discovery and collaboration that has always put Chicago at the forefront of architecture and engineering. Chicago is the city that “makes no little plans,” and while nothing is built without reference to the past, the city is constantly looking towards the future. For example, 400 Lake Shore Drive, currently under development, blends contemporary materials, such as glass, with traditional materials, such as terra-cotta, matching historical vernacular, but creating something totally new. We’re also seeing new designs and concepts that go beyond the standard limitations of glass, which are applied to facades at larger scales, such as the Apple Store in the shadow of the Tribune Tower. And projects such as the IIT Innovation Center are experimenting with new facade materials, such as ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) foil cushions. Together these types of innovations continue to keep Chicago at the forefront. Currently, what projects are you working on that demonstrate SOM’s longstanding synergy of architecture and engineering? Lucas Tryggestad: For 80 years, SOM has operated at the forefront of design, engineering, and urban planning. While each project is unique, collectively the firm’s projects represent the integration of these disciplines. Several of our current and recent projects represent this synergy through the facade expressions, the space layout, and how buildings interact with their contexts. In North Sydney, Australia, 100 Mount Street has an innovative, cross-braced exoskeleton structure and soaring glass curtain wall. It has an offset core and two rows of columns that allow for a 6-meter cantilever running the whole length of the facade. In Salt Lake City’s financial district, our 111 Main project is a Class A office tower anchoring a larger urban redevelopment in the area. To ensure that the project would not compromise the functionality of an existing theater at its base, the entire structure is suspended from a steel hat truss on top of the building, allowing the theater to slide under the tower’s south side. These synergies have always been integral to SOM’s buildings throughout the firm’s history, visible here in Chicago from the Inland Steel Building, the Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) and 875 North Michigan Avenue (formerly John Hancock Center), to projects currently underway, such as “The Porch” on 330 North Green Street. How can AEC firms confront the challenges and opportunities presented by sustainable design in facade systems, and how can fenestration and enclosure innovation to boost performance? DO: Innovations in sustainable design for facades and facade systems must begin from a holistic point of view. The initial stages of a project’s design should account for and integrate different building systems and programs within the building, drawing input and expertise from different design and engineering disciplines to create better and more informed high-performance solutions. The idea of high-performance design at SOM is an interdisciplinary collaboration integral to the total set of design activities that develop sustainable environments responsive to their environmental context and recognizing the impact of the built environment on the planet’s collective resources. By prioritizing collaboration, AEC firms have the opportunity to design and take advantage of integrated mechanical systems, active facades, and energy-efficient strategies for solar control, thermal comfort, glare, and other factors affection a project’s overall sustainable performance. For example, the Roche Diagnostics Learning and Development Center in Indianapolis, designed by SOM, has a building enclosure that utilizes high-performance, low-e coated, argon-filled insulated glazing units and a window-to-wall ratio of less than 60 percent. The east, west, and southern facades also incorporate computer-controlled exterior Venetian blinds to protect and regulate the building envelope. Interdisciplinary collaboration allowed the project team to respond to the needs of the client and the context of the project itself to achieve a very strict set of high-performance goals, with great success. SOM is increasingly taking on transportation-related projects; Moynihan Train Hall, Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport Terminal 2, Denver Union Station, to name a few. What lessons from these projects are translatable to tower and super tall construction? LT: SOM is active across a wide range of practices and research areas, including transportation, aviation, healthcare, urban planning, and interior design. While each project is distinct, the lessons learned from what we’re doing for an airport terminal, for example, inform what we’re doing for a rail and transit hub. This is the value of working within an integrated practice, where ideas and strategies are continually evolving to create buildings that are distinctive and synthesize programmatic function, structural rationale, and environmental sustainability.
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Earthworks

The American Society of Landscape Architects names their best projects of 2018
Rejoice, lovers of landscape architecture, because the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) has published their 2018 ASLA Professional Awards and awarded their top honors to projects across the U.S. and Canada. The Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates–designed Brooklyn Bridge Park, a project twenty years in the making but closing in on the finish line, took home the Award of Excellence in the General Design category. The transformation of a formerly-industrial landscape into a leisure-oriented waterfront park that simultaneously knits together formerly disconnected communities paved the way for an entire generation of similar projects. Ross Barney Architects and Sasaki’s revitalization of the Chicago Riverwalk, another urban landscape project that has been heavily lauded in the past, was recognized with a General Design Honor award. The ASLA chose a wide variety of winners this year. West 8 Urban Design & Landscape Architecture’s master planning and landscaping of the Main Fountain Garden at the Longwood Gardens was honored alongside a culturally sensitive native cemetery in Nunavut, Canada, and an international sculpture center in the grasslands of Fishtail, Montana. In the Residential Design category, the Word + Carr Design Group’s Balcones Residence in Austin, Texas, received the Award of Excellence. The landscape balances positive and negative space and creates a dialogue with the house’s boxy, concrete forms while requiring little maintenance. The top prize in the Analysis and Planning category went to A Colorado Legacy: I-25 Conservation Corridor Master Plan, a master plan by the Design Workshop - Aspen which created a strategic vision for a 17-mile-long stretch of Interstate 25. Other than offering solutions to the urban sprawl surrounding the interstate, the plan serves strategies for preserving up to 100,000 acres of open space while promoting sensible development. Three projects received Honor awards in the Research category, each tackling resiliency in one form or another. The University of Pennsylvania’s interactive Atlas for the End of the World - Atlas for the Beginning of the Anthropocene tracks the decline of biodiversity worldwide as conservation clashes with development and climate change; Mahan Rykiel Associates tracked the 1.5 million cubic yards of sediment dredged from Baltimore Harbor in Design with Dredge: Resilient Landscape Infrastructure in the Chesapeake Bay; and Ayers Saint Gross explored sustainability strategies for the National Aquarium in Baltimore with their Urban Aquatic Health: Integrating New Technologies and Resiliency into Floating Wetlands project. In the Communications category, the Landscape Architecture Section, Knowlton School, The Ohio State University took the Award of Excellence for their free, online library of historical landscapes. The database, 100 Years of Landscape Architecture at The Ohio State University, offers virtual tours of historical and contemporary landscapes around the world, inlcuding in virtual reality, and is meant to serve as both a teaching and landscape architecture recruiting tool. Last but certainly not least, Design Workshop received the Landmark Award for their From Weapons to Wildlife: The Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge Comprehensive Management Plan. The ambitious plan demonstrates how a 17,000-acre Superfund site could be converted into one of the country’s largest urban wildlife refuges. Now in its third phase, the plan was put into implantation in 1992 as the U.S. government and Shell struggled to remediate what was once a testing ground for biological and chemical weapons. A full list of this year’s Professional Award winners is available here. No less important are the recently announced 2018 ASLA Student Awards, available here.
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Lets Talk About Steel, Baby

Facades+ Chicago will explore structural and facade systems at dizzying heights

On September 21, Facades+ is coming to Chicago for the first time since 2015. At the conference, speakers from leading architecture, engineering, and facade consultant firms will discuss their bodies of work and lead in-depth workshops. Workshops will cover modular facade design, the challenges and triumphs of large-scale work in Chicago, and how to control the quality, quantity, and directionality of light through facade design.

Dan O’Riley, associate director at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), and Lucas Tryggestad, technical director at SOM, are the conference co-chairs.

Located on the southwest corner of Lake Michigan, Chicago is the metropolis of the Great Lakes and has the architectural output to prove it. Since the second half of the 19th century, the city has been at the forefront of design and engineering, pioneering both steel-frame construction and the skyscraper.

For over 80 years, SOM has called the city home. Over the course of its nearly century-long operation, SOM has designed and engineered thousands of projects in over 50 countries. These include the world’s tallest tower, Dubai’s approximately half-mile tall Burj Khalifa, the ongoing conversion of the 1913 Beaux Arts James A. Farley Post Office into the Moynihan Train Hall, and the forcefully engineered Hancock Tower.

Founded in 1979, Chicago’s Kreuck + Sexton has stamped its footprint across the country. Institutional projects such as the Grogan | Dove FBI Building and the Spertus Institute feature faceted and folded glass facades that are coordinated with the functions of interior spaces.

Outside of the realm of supertall and infrastructural projects, local firms such as Landon Bone Baker are demonstrating the creative and sustainable possibilities of affordable and mixed-income housing across Chicagoland. Nearby projects Terra 459, Rosa Parks Apartments, and The Jackson serve as templates that can be emulated across the country.

The rise of Chicago’s broad portfolio of stone and glass-clad skyscrapers could not have occurred without the great density of engineering and facade systems firms located in the region. Ventana and other Chicago firms continue to push the envelope of facade and structural systems with projects such as the Kellogg School of Management, a collaboration with Toronto's KPMB Architects, which features an undulating 160,000 square-foot curtainwall.

Further information may be found here.

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No More Dirty Fuels

Spokane, Washington, aims to be free of fossil fuels by 2030
The city council of Spokane, Washington, has adopted a new ordinance that would make it the second city in the state after Seattle to set the goal of being powered entirely with renewable energy by 2030. The so-called Fossil Free Spokane initiative will create a new Sustainability Action Commission in the city that will update Spokane’s Sustainability Action Plan to include a specific climate action roadmap aimed at reducing its fossil fuel consumption down to zero. The plan aims to do so by deploying a mix of community-benefitting sustainable energy initiatives that include creating a low-income solar program, expanding regional access to clean transit, and working with local utility providers to transition to renewable generation methods.  “Creating an electrical grid from 100 percent renewable energy is urgent, but requires collaboration across all sectors,” said Spokane council member Breean Beggs during a recent meeting. Beggs added that work was already underway with local utility Avista to “create a pragmatic and cost-effective approach to upgrading Spokane’s electrical grid.” The pledge will bring the number of American cities vying for 100 percent renewable energy generation to 79, a group that includes large, medium, and small-sized cities, including Salt Lake City, Utah, Sarasota, Florida, St. Louis, Missouri, San Diego, California, and Concord, New Hampshire. These cities are all aiming to derive all of their energy from renewable resourced by 2030 or 2032, according to the Sierra Club. At the county level, nine counties have made the pledge, including Multnomah County, Oregon, Buncombe County, North Carolina, and Pueblo County, Colorado. The state of Hawaii has signed on to a similar promise, as well. Though it might seem like a pie-in-the-sky effort, five smaller American cities have already hit this lofty goal. Those cities are Aspen, Colorado, Burlington, Vermont, Greensburg, Kansas, Rock Port, Missouri, and Kodiak Island, Alaska.  A recent report by the environmental group CDP found that over 100 cities worldwide generate a majority—over 70 percent—of their power from renewable sources, up from just 42 in 2015. The report found that 40 cities worldwide are entirely powered by clean energy and that investment in renewable energy sources was highest across Europe, Africa, and Latin America, where billions of dollars in recent clean energy investments are remaking the energy portfolios around the world following the signing of the Paris Agreement in 2015.
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Desert Green

Mexico is building Latin America’s largest solar installation
While the current American government squanders time and opportunity in the pursuit of short-term profit by imposing disruptive tariffs and curtailing sustainability-focused goals, Mexico is powering ahead with a broad effort to generate up to 35 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2024.

As a part of that transformative effort—until recent years, Mexico’s energy industry operated as an oil-forward, state-run monopoly that was one of the world’s largest crude oil producers—Italian energy giant Enel is working on a 2,900-acre solar panel installation in the state of Coahuila that will generate enough electricity to power 1.3 million homes by year’s end.

The gigantic installation covers more area than 2,200 football fields and will yield the largest solar installation within Latin America and the largest outside of China and India, QCR reports. The installation will be made up of 2.3 million solar panels that are designed to move with the sun in order to generate the largest possible amount of renewable energy and will be joined in coming years by a slew of new solar installations. And while the American solar business has been booming in recent years, efforts by the Trump administration to knee-cap the country’s sustainable energy revolution with new tariffs have helped to ensure that the positive economic benefits of this energy transformation will be enjoyed by foreign firms. In Mexico’s case, it is European companies that will see the greatest reward: According to QCR, Spanish energy firm Iberdrola is building two solar parks in Mexico, with Holland’s Alten, Britain’s Atlas Renewable Energy, and Enel each working on additional installations of their own. Enel is working on a pair of wind farms in Mexico, as well. Despite Trump’s fossil fuel–oriented approach to energy policy, the American green energy movement continues to grow at a healthy clip. A recent report indicates that roughly 18% of America’s energy comes from renewable sources, a figure that is greatly surpassed in states like California, where officials recently moved to require solar panels on all new homes starting in 2020. The state recently hit its 2020 30 percent renewable energy goal two years early, and last year, the state’s California Independent System Operator, an outfit that tracks energy production, briefly reported that a whopping 67 percent of California’s energy came from renewable sources. To boot, a 2017 report from the United States Department of Energy found that the solar industry alone employed more American workers than all of the fossil fuel industries combined. For now, government-led energy reforms in Mexico are due to move ahead amid their own presidential transition while America continues to rely on the private sector for its energy transformation.
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Green House

This mental health facility creates calm with a perforated green facade
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San Miniato is a small Italian hill town just outside Florence. In medieval times, the town connected northern Europe and Rome, and today its hilltop landscape is dotted with luxury tourist lodgings scattered between landmarked palaces, seminaries, and homes. Arising from this historical context is the town's newest building, Casa Verde, a mental health facility for young women.
 
  • Facade Manufacturer Saverio srl and Carmine Pagano srl (perforated metal panels)
  • Architects LDA.iMdA architetti associati
  • Facade Installer Carmine Pagano srl (general contractor)
  • Facade Consultants STUDIO TECNO srl (structural engineer)
  • Location San Miniato, Pisa, Italy
  • Date of Completion 2017
  • System steel frame w/ cement board and perforated metal sheet cladding
  • Products Knauf AQUAPANEL® Exterior Wall
The project is inspired by historical and social values of “home” paired with the spirit of the forested surroundings. A loose arrangement of dormitories are arranged around a central courtyard and clad with a perforated green metal skin that is held off of ground level to offer transparency to the surrounding landscape, which is peppered with centuries-old cypress trees. Casa Verde prioritizes social sustainability as well as sustainable land use. Hillside maintenance efforts were supported by reusing existing foundations from vicoli carbonai, or charcoal alleys, which were developed in the Middle Ages as an extension of San Miniato’s defensive system. Lightweight paneling on the facade helped minimize dead loads on the foundation to maintain the slope stability. Art by and about the patients has shaped the facility. Drawings from younger patients were edited, scaled, and applied to the ground floor glazing system, while Italian artist Mercurio-S17S71 created Shamans, a contemporary work that features portraits of Casa Verde’s patients. The extension to the existing orphanage was sensitively planned to protect the formal massing of the original plan, while additions to the complex are articulated through more contemporary expressions of shape and material. Openings on the main elevation connect users of the existing structure to the addition. The facade coloration results from a study of leaf shades in different seasons. Like a full tree canopy, the facade’s perforated screens are perceived as porous from up close, but massive and opaque from afar. Openings in the metal panels filter daylight while ventilating the thermal envelope beyond the screen. Beyond the facade, the architect explained that the interior spaces were purposefully designed in a minimal scheme to “recreate the feeling of being in a carded wool space (in view of neuropsychiatric disorders).” A base light gray color is paired with a color scheme of greens, blues, and oranges that covers furniture and architectural detailing to delineate the facility’s services.