Posts tagged with "LEED Gold":

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Miami’s Frost Museum of Science by Grimshaw aims to be paragon of sustainable architecture

Miami’s new science museum will open its doors on May 8, 2017. The Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science (or Frost Science, for short), which sits Miami's Downtown Museum Park, is part of Miami-Dade County’s initiative to make Miami a “cultural hub.” The 250,000-square-foot campus—designed by London-based Grimshaw Architects, who worked with local firm Rodriguez and Quiroga—is divided into four entities: the Planetarium, Aquarium, North Wing, and West Wing, which will include exhibit space, the Learning Center, the museum’s Science Store, and a museum café. The building is designed to be an exhibit itself, with examples of sustainable building practices and local wildlife. A rooftop urban farm and “Living Core” will be dedicated to showcasing native vegetation, while a solar terrace of photovoltaic panels will supply the building with energy. As part of the museum’s Everglades exhibit, there will also be an on-site wetland. These features should help the project achieve its expected LEED Gold rating. “The technology, engineering, and sustainability features found throughout the museum rival those on a global stage and will inspire and motivate generations to come,” said Frank Steslow, Frost Science President, in a press release. “Our goal is that Frost Science will be an international destination and vibrant educational space that encourages curiosity and investigation.” On top of the building’s built-in experiences, the museum will also feature exhibits on the history of flight, from dinosaurs to aerospace engineering, and the physics of light, and will, of course, provide ample opportunities to engage with local wildlife at the three-level aquarium. The museum is currently in its final stages of construction, awaiting the arrival of its new inhabitants. For more information about the museum’s exhibits or to purchase tickets, visit their website here.
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First look at DS+R’s new 14-story “Study Cascade” at Columbia University Medical Center

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  The Vagelos Education Center is a new state-of-the-art medical and graduate education building at Columbia University Medical Center. The building, designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) in collaboration with Gensler as executive architect, is a 100,000-square-foot, 14-story glass tower that incorporates technologically advanced classrooms, collaboration spaces, and a modern simulation center to reflect how medicine is taught, learned, and practiced in the 21st century. The design seeks to reshape the look and feel of the medical center and create spaces that facilitate a medical education. The project, which broke ground in September 2013, comes amidst a wider campus revitalization plan for CUMC that involves increases to green space, renovations to existing buildings, and the construction of new facilities. All new construction and renovation projects within this plan work toward the goal of minimizing CUMC’s carbon footprint and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2025. On a larger scale, the Vagelos Education Center will help to define the northern edge of the campus, providing a bridge to the surrounding Washington Heights community. In a press release, Elizabeth Diller, founding partner at DS+R said, “Space matters for structured and informal learning. To support Columbia’s progressive medical education program, we designed a building that will nurture collaboration.” This is reflected in the most captivating feature of the building: A highly transparent south-facing 14-story “Study Cascade,” designed to be conducive to team-based learning and teaching, that opens onto south-facing outdoor spaces and terraces. The organization of the interior spaces produces a network of social and study “neighborhoods” distributed along an exposed, interconnected vertical staircase that extends the height of the building.
  • Facade Manufacturer Josef Gartner (Glass Fin Curtainwall); Permasteelisa North America, (Unitized Curtainwall)
  • Architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro (design architect); Gensler (executive architect)
  • Facade Installer Josef Gartner (Glass Fin Curtainwall); Permasteelisa North America, (Unitized Curtainwall)
  • Facade Consultants Buro Happold Consulting Engineers P.C. (curtain wall)
  • Location New York, NY
  • Date of Completion 2016
  • System GFRC panels, Unitized aluminum mullion curtain wall, and an insulated stick built glass fin curtainwall enclosing a reinforced concrete core with post-tensioned concrete slabs
  • Products Bischoff Glastechnik AG (glass) ; Josef Gartner (glass fin curtainwall); Permasteelisa North America (unitized curtainwall); David Kucera Inc. (precast glass fiber reinforced concrete cladding), IMETCO (metal panels); Bilfinger (metal screen); Resysta Tru Grain Wood Composite (exterior wood); Blumcraft / C.R.Laurence (doors)
DS+R’s design takes advantage of an incredible view of the Hudson River and the Palisades. The building is composed of cantilevered post-tensioned concrete slabs cast with Cobiax void formers to achieve a lighter weight long span system. These slabs form the basis of the Study Cascade, and spring from a site-formed reinforced concrete core providing structural shear capacity for the building. The vertical core programmatically divides the education center into two halves: a south-facing active collaborative zone, and a north-facing series of specialized spaces that include classrooms, administrative offices, and a “Simulation Center” of mock examination and operating rooms. The facade system works to visually express these two types of spaces from the exterior. The Study Cascade reads more as a continuous unfolding of the ground plane in large part due to a highly transparent stick-built curtainwall system that incorporates glass fin supports, low iron glass, and a low-e coating. GFRC paneling follows the trajectories of the formal folds of the slab edges, further defining each interior zone. Around the side and rear of the building, at the location of specialized educational spaces, the slabs normalize into a more typical repetitive spacing, and are clad with a unitized aluminum mullion curtainwall integrated with GFRC elements to provide a more controlled day lit environment. Ceramic frit glazing, set in one large gradient pattern, transitions from transparent to opaque along the side elevation, filtering and diffusing sunlight while mitigating solar gain. Targeting LEED Gold certification, the building integrates a range of sustainable features, such as locally sourced materials, green roof technologies, and an innovative mechanical system that minimizes energy and water use. In addition to specialized glazing coatings and assemblies, the facade incorporates both fixed and operable shading to optimize the regulation of daylighting and solar gain by program area. “The Vagelos Education Center started with a clear vision as a place of excellence for higher learning that would also act as a much needed social center,” said Madeline Burke-Vigeland AIA, principal at Gensler. “Because of everyone’s deep involvement, it has transformed into something that exceeds even those high expectations: a vibrant new hub for Columbia's Medical Center campus.”
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Tessellated BIM cloud wraps new engineering school

An undulating aluminum panels rainscreen features around 9000 individual triangular panels, with 1000 high performance glass units.

York University is a research-oriented public university in Toronto known for its arts, humanities & business programs. Nestled into the landscape on the edge of campus and overlooking a pond and arboretum, the Bergeron Center for Engineering Excellence is a 169,000 sq. ft., five-story LEED Gold facility housing classrooms, laboratory spaces, offices, and flexible informal learning and social spaces. Designed with the idea of a scaleless, dynamically changing cloud in mind, ZAS Architects + Interiors designed an ovoid-shaped building wrapped in a custom triangulated aluminum composite panel (ACP) cladding with structural silicone glazed (SSG) type windows. Costas Catsaros, Associate at ZAS, says the building will help to establish the emerging school by establishing a dynamic, ever-changing identity. There are two main generators of the Bergeron Centre’s cloud geometry: the building floor plate shape, and various forces manipulating the topology of the cladding surface. The floor plan is designed around 8 curves: a primary curve establishing north, south, east, and west orientations, along with a radius at each corner. Center points of the radii provide reference points for additional sets of geometry and field surveying benchmarks during the construction phase. The resulting ovoid-shaped floor plate, challenged the architects with developing an effective way to wrap the building. They focused on the work of Sir Roger Penrose, a mathematical physicist, mathematician and philosopher of science, whose tessellation patterns inspired an efficient way to generate repetitive patterns using a limited number of shapes. Through an intensive design process, the architects were able to clad 85% of the building using only three triangular shapes, scaled based on industry standard limitations for ACP panel sizes. The other panels were cropped by undulating edge geometry along the soffit and parapet edge curves of the surface. To achieve a dynamic effect, the panels inflect at up to 2” in depth, creating an individualized normal vector per panel. By canting the triangulated panels, subtle variation in color and reflectivity is achieved. Additionally, the architects scattered color-changing dichroic paneling throughout a field of reflective anodized panels, while dark colored panels casually cluster around window openings to blur the perceptual edge between solid and void.  
  • Facade Manufacturer Flynn (building envelope system), Norwex Steel (steel fabricator)
  • Architects ZAS Architects + Interiors
  • Facade Installer Laing O’Rourke (contractor)
  • Facade Consultants Flynn (building envelope), Blackwell (structural engineering)
  • Location Toronto, Canada
  • Date of Completion 2015
  • System Curtain wall and custom rainscreen assembly clipped to cast-in-place concrete structure
  • Products Aluminum composite panels with dark gray, light gray, and dichroic finishes; Structural silicone glazed (SSG) windows by APA Systems (Ireland)
The building substrate framing is designed with the complex geometry of the rainscreen system in mind. A modular pre-framed structural unit was developed through a highly coordinated BIM information exchange process which resulted in custom support collar detailing at window openings, a unique two-piece girt system to provide concealed attachment for the ACP panels, and a method to allow for up to 1” of tolerance within the wall assembly through reveal gaps in the cladding. During this process, a design model was passed along from the architects to the structural engineer, who developed a construction model in a 3D CAD Design Software. This model was utilized to generate shop drawings, and shared with the steel fabricator, who shared the model with Flynn, a building envelope consultant, to coordinate the rainscreen panelization with respect to window openings in the building envelope. Catsaros says this was a very successful leverage of BIM technology: "It was a very intense process, but worth it in the end. Laing O’Rourke [general contractor] was able to close in the building a lot faster than if this had been done in a conventional process." Closing in the building early in the construction process was critical on this job, which required an opening date in time for the beginning of the school year in September. This required a peak in construction activity during the middle of winter, which would have presented difficulty on an open job site. The off site production and rapid assembly of the building envelope established a warm dry environment for the installation of sophisticated (and costly) laboratory equipment and building systems, none of which would have been possible with the threat of cold weather and moisture an open building invites.
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NBBJ’s “generative” courtyard office headquarters for Samsung

The two 10-story towers are clad in white metal and clear glass, carefully balanced to reduce solar heat gain and provide a sense of lightness.

Samsung’s new North American headquarters, designed by NBBJ, is a landmark facility in Silicon Valley embracing new urban guidelines developed by San Jose officials to prioritize active streets and environmental sensitivity. The project creates a sense of lightness with a transparent, environmentally responsible facade, and has been used as a case study project within NBBJ’s international network of offices. The compound is composed of two ten-story towers designed around an interior courtyard and floating open-air gardens. The architects adopted the diagram of a semiconductor as inspiration for the building, defined by an energized void space between separated slabs. Connecting stairs located at every two floors establish a centralized “3-D Main Street” linked by pocket parks. The ground floor extends an open public program into the adjacent city, providing a connection to the tech community. Despite working in a ten-story office tower, Samsung employees are never farther than one story from outdoor space. Utilizing a courtyard typology to maximize daylight and natural ventilation into a flexible open office layout, the project anticipates LEED Gold certification. The facade system for the facility plays a significant role in the project, achieving three key functions: encouraging social interaction, communicating a brand identity, and sensitively responding to the environment by incorporating renewable energy and managing solar conditions.
  • Facade Manufacturer Benson
  • Architects NBBJ
  • Facade Installer Benson
  • Facade Consultants ARUP
  • Location San Jose, CA
  • Date of Completion 2015
  • System white metal, glass exterior unitized panel
  • Products unitized curtain wall products (painted aluminum & glazed curtain wall), TS & metal stud framed with ceramic tile and plaster finishes.
Rather than designing an all-glass facade, NBBJ developed a white metal, glass, and terracotta exterior with an undulating gradient of punched window openings responsive to environmental criteria. For example, the building orientation is aligned to San Jose’s city grid, which is rotated off a north-south axis, causing direct heat gain to be managed across multiple facades. This assisted with solar heat gain concerns and established an aesthetic identity for Samsung’s headquarters. The interior facade is noticeably more transparent, utilizing a floor to ceiling glazing system. Collaborating with ARUP, NBBJ designed the facade to be a shop-built assembly—it was craned into place, ensuring a high-quality, controlled assembly process. The architects teamed with Benson, who fabricated the facade panels. The building is formally very simple, but becomes activated by people, fostering a collaborative environment. This is a “generative” building, designed for flexibility to allow for as many new ideas as possible. A collaborative, interactive spirit drove the project’s design from the start. The outcome is an open, tolerant, flexible building that enables possibilities and drives innovation.
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REX unveils a fluted glass office building in Washington, D.C.

As the United States capital,Washington, D.C. is a de facto magnet for smart people who want to make an impact on government. The city doesn't often make headlines for its contemporary architecture, though occasionally, a sharp new project breaks into the parade of undistinguished office buildings. One of those is a newly unveiled 11-story structure by Brooklyn-based REX at 2050 M Street, between Washington and Dupont Circles. While the client is Tishman Speyer, CBS will be the 400,000-square-foot building's primary tenant. The project's executive architect is Houston's Kendall/Heaton. The building responds to D.C.'s strict zoning codes and its prevailing office building typologies: the Neoclassical, Beaux Arts, or Brutalist box, and the smooth, soulless glass box. Zoning requires buildings to have similar height and mass, but do not regulate, or encourage, aesthetic harmony. As a result, statement buildings with similar width and height, but widely divergent styles, compete for attention. To reconcile this peculiarity, REX's building combines the mass of a stately Neoclassical building with a transparent, fluted glass facade. According to REX, the facade is comprised of "nine hundred identical, insulated-glass panels—11.5 feet tall by 5 feet wide—are subtly curved to a 9.5 foot radius through a heat roller tempering process." The floor-to-ceiling "mullion-less" windows allow sightlines that extend through the interior. The result is an exterior that catches light at regular but unexpected angles and throws pleasantly distorted images of its neighbors back at the viewer. To offset the rigidity of glass, the lobby is clad in decidedly non-vegan cowhide, and is large enough to accommodate a site-specific sculpture by an as-yet-unnamed artist. When it is complete in 2019, 2050 M Street hopes to achieve LEED Gold certification. See the gallery below for more images of the project. 2015 was a successful year for REX. In September, principal Joshua Prince-Ramus won the Marcus Prize. The biannual honor (and cash prize) is given to an architect "on a trajectory of greatness." As part of his Marcus Prize acceptance, Prince-Ramus will teach a graduate studio on adaptive reuse at University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee School of Architecture this Spring.
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Diamond Schmitt Architects Cleanse Building with Vertical Living Wall

At six stories high, this is the tallest living Biofilter wall in North America.

Neatly contained behind a glass and steel structure is Diamond Schmitt Architects and Nedlaw Living Walls’ latest creation: a 1,370 s.f. vertical living wall assembly, located within a prominent skylit atrium in Vanier Hall, a Social Sciences building on the University of Ottawa’s campus. What appears as a vertical leafy green decorative wall is actually a sophisticated system fully integrated into the building’s air handling system. Contaminated indoor air is drawn through the filtration mechanism—made of plant and root media—where microorganisms consume airborne pollutants as food, breaking them down into water and carbon dioxide. The biofilter effectively cleanses over 13,800 CFM of air. Birgit Siber, Principal at Diamond Schmitt Architects, has incorporated over a dozen large living wall installations in her projects: “One of the things I find so elegant about the initiative of using plants on a large scale within buildings is that it contributes to the indoor environment on so many fronts.” Not only does the wall cleanse dust and odor from the indoor air, but in the atrium, the living wall frames the school’s collaborative social space and functions as an acoustical attenuation device. The living wall can be seen prominently from the exterior, contributing to the school’s identity. The cost of the assembly was determined to be “cost neutral” by the University’s administration, which is seeking a LEED Gold Certification for the building. Biofiltration is a product of research developed at the University of Guelph’s Controlled Environment System Research Facility (1.5 hours west of Toronto), and resulted from an investigation done for the International Space Agency to purify air at a proposed lunar base. Siber teamed with researcher Dr. Alan Darlington, founder of Nedlaw Living Walls, to develop an installation to showcase his research 12 years ago.
  • Facade Manufacturer Nedlaw Living Walls
  • Architects Diamond Schmitt Architects, KWC Architects
  • Facade Installer Nedlaw Living Walls
  • Facade Consultants Nedlaw Living Walls
  • Location Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  • Date of Completion September 2012
  • System synthetic growth media fed by remote hydroponic system connected to return air system of HVAC
  • Products custom components
From this early collaboration between Siber and Darlington, a “no waste” spirit has driven the development of the system, which continues to evolve through seven built versions.  Darlington attributes these developments to an underlying desire to improve building performance, “We’ve done a lot of work to streamline and make this as efficient as possible without losing the aesthetics of this system.” The wall at Vanier Hall is loaded with creative features to close the energy “loop holes” found in traditional building systems. Storm water runoff and HVAC condensation are captured and reused for watering the hydroponic plants, while a sophisticated daylight-integral lighting system limits electricity usage used for plant growth to adjust lighting conditions on the plants. The biofiltration living wall system is scalable, having been deployed by Diamond Schmitt Architects and Nedlaw Living Walls in city halls, offices, and universities. It has been developed in coordination with both new construction and renovation projects. Darlington notes that under ideal conditions, roughly 10 square feet of biofilters can generate enough “virtual” outside air for 5-10 people. Diamond Schmitt Architects currently have two US projects under construction – a mixed use tower in Buffalo, and a stacked sequence of four two-story living walls in an academic building at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Architect Birgit Siber of Diamond Schmitt Architects will be speaking at the upcoming Cities Alive conference in New York City on October 6th on a panel discussion from 10:30am-noon entitled, "Living Walls Biofilters: Design, Operating Costs and Return on Investment."
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Gluckman Tang’s $24 million renovation of the Staten Island Museum opens after a decade

Ten years in the making, the renovation of one of Staten Island's oldest buildings—part of the Staten Island Museum expansion—is finally complete. Well, almost. Stepping into the refurbished Cultural Center building just off of Staten Island's seafront, the smell of fresh paint still hangs lightly in the air as designers and the team behind the project apply the final touches to Gluckman Tang Architects' (formerly Gluckman Mayner) design. Originally used by sailors, the 1879 landmarked 'Building A' at Snug Harbor follows the Greek Revival style of the adjacent structures. So far, it has taken ten years from proposal to opening, and four years to construct, at a cost of $24.4 million. Speaking to AN, James Young-Suk Lim, of New York–based Gluckman Tang, told of the difficulties they had in creating "acceptable climate conditions" for the galleries. "The project was unique as we had to keep so much due to the building's status as a national landmark," he said. The building was actually one of the first to be given landmark status by New York's Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC). Despite gutting the 18,000-square-foot building, opening it up for gallery use, Gluckman Tang appropriately employed a subtle design approach to the interior. During this process, load-bearing walls were replaced by structural columns, creating an open feel and giving visitors more space to explore. Much of the inside is white meanwhile fire-proof doors use frame fitting glass panes. The technique visually invites people into the galleries and continues to open up circulation spaces that would otherwise be empty voids. This minimalist approach also gave the museum and exhibition designers greater freedom and flexibility to adapt the space. In this instance, the exhibition design by Ralph Appelbaum Associates (also from New York) employs a similar minimalist glass strategy and complements the work by Gluckman Tang. Walls have been painted pastel green, creating an air of calmness and tranquility, with the subtle color change acting as a visual threshold between the gallery and circulation spaces. Keeping the temperature at 70 degrees and at 50 percent relative humidity (a museum requirement) was always going to be a tough task given the mandate to maintain certain historical elements of the building, notably the 19th century windows and window frames. Consequently, a new building envelope was created inside the existing structure. The architects installed floor-to-ceiling windows with Low E soft coatings that were recessed from the original bays. The windows act as a "vapor barrier," yet allow users to still view old windows. Translucent pull down blinds shade the art from damaging sunlight, while soft interior lighting modules placed along rails in the ceiling enhance the display. This feature allows the circulatory spaces that are not bound by daylight regulations to become brighter, amplifying the threshold existing between the spaces. In addition to this, the building is also a LEED Gold project. Some 18 geothermal energy piles were drilled 499 feet (500 feet requires mining permission) to provide energy to the building, of which the majority will be used for climate control. The latest addition to the Staten Island Museum will feature a diverse range of cultural and historical artifacts ranging from fish fossils to art from the island. The inaugural exhibitions will be open to the public on Saturday, September 19 at 10:00a.m.
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Unveiled> Egypt’s National Cancer Institute hires SOM for 9 million square foot campus

Looking to expand its footprint across 35 acres outside Cairo, Egypt's National Cancer Institute has hired Skidmore Owings & Merrill to design and plan nine million square feet of healthcare space for an “international nexus of cancer research, education, and discourse” that is targeting LEED Gold. Situated in Giza's Sheikh Zayed City, approximately 17 miles west of central Cairo, the sprawling new cancer center is organized around modules and separate circulation spines for staff and patients. The whole facility is undergirded by a massive support plinth sitting atop six levels below grade. Above that subterranean campus, six towers for inpatients shade outdoor courtyards, while four more comprise the outpatient facility. Both complexes connect to a “multilevel diagnostic and treatment platform” with imaging equipment, surgery centers and all kinds of treatment. The center includes ample space for training new medical professionals, including a 1,000-bed teaching hospital and research center, nursing and technician training institutes and a scientific center. Despite its mammoth size, the 200-acre campus is intended to feel cohesive, according to SOM's project description, because of its highly organized layout.
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Chicago’s Field Museum becomes just second such building to get Gold under LEED EB O+M

Chicago's natural history museum, the Field Museum, announced Monday it has earned a Gold rating from the U.S. Green Building Council under the LEED for Existing Buildings Operations and Maintenance (EB O+M) program, becoming just the second museum in the nation to do so. (The Madison Children's Museum is the other.) Two of the museum's halls already achieved LEED certification separately, including its Conservation Hall, which is LEED Gold. But Monday's announcement marks a building-wide rating seldom seen for such building types—the hulking museum, made of limestone and Georgian marble, comprises nearly half a million square feet. Its 3D Theater is also certified under LEED for Interior Design & Construction. Greening a museum that dates back to the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition was no simple task. (The current building opened in 1921, originally planned by Daniel Burnham and designed by his associate William Peirce Anderson.) In many places its neoclassical stone walls don't have an air gap with the interior brick and plaster, making it difficult to regulate the building's temperature. And, as was made clear when the museum applied for LEED certification, it doesn't function on a typical building's schedule. “A normal building might shut down at 5 [o'clock], but not for us,” said Ernst Pierre-Toussaint, the museum's director of facilities, planning and operations. More than 99 percent of the museum's collection is in storage, which has to be climate controlled and monitored constantly. Pierre-Toussaint said improving energy efficiency has been a goal for at least 15 years. Working with the Delta Institute—an environmental consultant that worked with the Field Museum on the project—Field Museum staff replaced about 30 percent of the building's 6,700 incandescent bulbs with LEDs, and installed 100 kilowatts of rooftop photovoltaic panels. Pierre-Toussaint said they hope to install up to 220 kW more—enough to offset 10 to 15 percent of the building's peak electricity demand —by 2025. The museum accounts for all of its natural gas consumption by purchasing renewable energy credits and carbon offsets. Much of the certification work came down to mechanical system logistics. The museum has 11 separate electric meters, and 13 for water use. Since some collections and accessible areas need to be heated—even during summer—while others are cooled, the museum installed demand-control ventilation to regulate air in sensitive exhibits individually. “We made huge strides over the past two years and are proud to share the results with our visitors,” said Richard Lariviere, the museum's president, in a press release. “One of the big challenges is planning long-term,” said the Delta Institute's Kevin Dick. “You can certainly make quick fixes. But you know an institution like this isn't going anywhere. So in 40 years what will this look like?”
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Louis Armstrong House Museum’s new center by Caples Jefferson ready to break ground in Queens

The Louis Armstrong House Museum, a National Historic Landmark in Corona, Queens, has received the green light from the city to start construction on its long awaited expansion plans. Located across the street from the renowned jazz trumpeter and singer’s restored home, the new $20 million addition, designed by Long Island City-based firm Caples Jefferson, will house exhibition space, designated research areas, and a “Jazz Room” for musicians. The center, featuring a gently undulating glass facade, will be roughly 9,000 square feet and is designed to respect the scale of the neighborhood while providing views of the musician’s home from inside the building. The firm plans on seeking LEED Gold certification for the structure by employing green strategies such as a green roof and the use of sustainable materials. Louis and Lucille Armstrong moved into the house as newlyweds in 1943, and lived there for nearly three decades before the musician’s death in 1971. Caples Jefferson has designed several local cultural institutions, including Queens' Theatre-in-the-Park, the Queens Museum of Art, and the recently completed Weeksville Heritage Center.
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Pictorial> Studio Gang’s sylvan retreat in Kalamazoo, Michigan

Studio Gang Architects' Arcus Center at Kalamazoo College in Michigan broke ground in 2012. Now photos of this sylvan study space are available, following its September opening. And they don't disappoint. The 10,000-square-foot building is targeting LEED Gold. Gang's press release said the new social justice center, a trifurcated volume terminating in large transparent window-walls, “brings together students, faculty, visiting scholars, social justice leaders, and members of the public for conversation and activities aimed at creating a more just world.” The open interior spaces are connected with long sight lines and awash in natural light—a cozy condition Studio Gang says will break down barriers and help visitors convene. The building's concave exterior walls are made of a unique wood-masonry composite that its designers say will sequester carbon. It also, says a release, “challenges the Georgian brick language and plantation-style architecture of the campus’s existing buildings.”
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Light Show: Computer Controlled LED Lights Wash Park Avenue’s Helmsley Building

On Monday, December 3, the "Jewel of Park Avenue" at 230 Park, aka The Helmsley Building, really began to sparkle as building-owner Monday Properties unveiled a new LED lighting display to a crowd huddled at the base of the building, staring upward with anticipation as rush hour traffic swirled around. Monday Properties President and CEO Anthony Westreich and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer stood together to push a giant red button, officially triggering the light show, which flickered into action, turning heads of passers by for blocks around as a live violinist provided musical accompaniment. Built in 1929, the 34-story tower stands guard over Park Avenue, terminating the street's vista looking south on the same block as Grand Central Terminal, and is one of the only buildings in Manhattan that you can literally drive through, underneath monumental stone arches. Designed by the same architects as Grand Central—Warren & Wetmore—230 Park was originally the headquarters of the New York Central Railroad Company and features many rail-centric decorations inside the building's ornate lobby. 230 Park has undergone an extensive renovation, bringing its 1.4 million square feet of office space into the 21st century and earning a LEED Gold certification. The new lighting scheme, designed by Al Borden of Philadelphia-based The Lighting Practice with LED lights by Lumenpulse, is part of the building's sustainability program, Westreich noted at the lighting ceremony, reducing energy requirements by 70 percent from the high-pressure sodium lights they replaced. “Our intent has been to give the building a lively nighttime appearance by reinterpreting its historic forms and proportions with concealed uplight sources,” Borden said in a statement. “During daylight hours, when downlit by the sun, the building’s architectural details have a familiar appearance. At night, we flip the source upside down and present a new way of looking at the building. People will see details very differently and have a new experience of the architecture.” Overall, more than 700 color-changing LED lights have been installed on the building, hidden from view on the street. Each is programmed into a computer than can coordinate a fanciful light show, as was seen at the unveiling, or a simple static light wash at night. Dynamic light shows can be expected during special events and on holidays like the Fourth of July or Thanksgiving. Chairman of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission Robert B. Tierney lauded the renovation and lighting efforts at the event, stating, "This is a model of restoration and preservation of one of the most important buildings in the city of New York, and therefore the United States." Scott Stringer was equally enthusiastic about the project during his speech, "The fact that this is a building that's sustainable, that speaks to reducing energy, is really about the future of cities around the country and around the world." While the wash of color along the building facade creates a vibrant profile for the building at night, the real power of the light is at the tower's ornate cupola, where the building's detail comes into view in stark contrast to the rigid grid of windows on Walter Gropius' neighboring MetLife Building.