Buildings are ideas made physical. They carry silent histories. They manifest culture, values, and technologies. And they also embody environmental impact. In terms of numbers, buildings account for about one-third of the world’s solid waste, energy consumption, and carbon emissions. They are serious and un-ignorable. The physical presence of buildings has always been imposing, and now the making of buildings has become imposing in a new way. The energy story involves a striking twist: in the past fifty years, operational energy—defined as the energy for things like heating, cooling, and lighting—has actually declined as a percentage of total energy consumption in buildings. At the same time, embodied energy—defined as the sum of all energy required to extract raw materials and then produce, transport, and assemble the elements of a building—has rapidly increased. This makes embodied energy an increasingly urgent topic for architecture. But where exactly is all of this embodied energy? How is it calculated? What are the forces involved? How is embodied energy actionable? And how might architects design with it? Perhaps one clue is time. Maybe architectural materials should no longer be considered static and permanent, but instead dynamic and continually transforming. And architects will actively design these transformations. They will study where matter has been, specify how it takes shape in building blocks, and plan where it ends up going. In addition to managing the technical performance of energy, architects should choreograph the acts of embodiment and dis-embodiment—and ultimately re-design the experience of time. Embodied energy is complex, and no single formula or framework is sufficient to encapsulate it. As architecture, engineering, and construction navigate the latest materials, technologies, politics, and environmental outlooks—as well as the increasingly important intersection of quantitative and qualitative factors in design—there has never been a better time to discard default thinking and experiment anew. David Benjamin is Founding Principal of The Living and Assistant Professor at Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP), where he has organized the symposium Embodied Energy and Design on April 22. Columbia GSAPP's Embodied Energy Pilot Project is supported by Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope®. Visualizations by Accurat, based on research by David Benjamin and the Embodied Energy Pilot Project at Columbia GSAPP.
Posts tagged with "David Benjamin":
To facilitate exchange and collaboration among its alumni, Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP) has launched the GSAPP Incubator, a co-working space for the school's graduates. The incubator, directed by Assistant Professor David Benjamin, has precedent in GSAPP's Studio-X, the Soho salon and exhibition space active from 2008–2014 (Studio-X's global branches are alive and well). Thirty individuals in 11 member groups will work on design projects and criticism across disciplines. The GSAPP Incubator shares space on the Lower East Side with NEW INC, the New Museum's incubator. Consequently, members will have the opportunity to forge partnerships with members of the museum and art worlds. The inaugural member groups' practices, studios, and partnerships range in focus from virtual reality to "urban acupuncture," emergency response, textile design, and resiliency. A(n) Office, founded by Marcelo López-Dinardi and V. Mitch McEwen, was picked by the US Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale to design for a seven acre property in Detroit. Eight graduates participate in [giving copy editors headaches as] member group : a workshop that "[examines] the spaces and modes of architectural practice that have emerged under the banner of 'alternative' – spaces which ostensibly operate in opposition to the institutions that surround them." Consortia, founded in 2014 by Christopher Barley, crafted digital strategy for the Chicago Architecture Biennial while Dong-Ping Wong and his group, "FAMILY + PLAYLAB + POOL," are building a floating, water-filtering pool, the world's first.
The MoMA PS 1 jury process that selected the “100 percent organic pavilion Hy-Fi” for its 2014 pavilion may have been a contentious group. The museum announced last month that David Benjamin, the principal of Brooklyn-based firm The Living, would design the temporary structure. But several sources have told Eavesdrop that one of the short listed firms (Collective-LOK, PARA-Project, WOJR, over,under, Fake Industries Architectural Agonism, LAMAS, Pita + Bloom) was in fact told that it—not Benjamin—had won the design competition. The architects were told to come to a PS 1 meeting to discuss moving forward as the winner, but after waiting for an hour they were told that a member of the jury was not there and the meeting could not take place. They waited patiently for another hour until they were asked to go home and wait—“don’t call us, we’ll call you.” Later that week, a MoMA official contacted the firm and told them that, actually, Benjamin and his firm had been selected as the winner of the coveted summer pavilion—oops, sorry. It was, of course, a devastating blow. So devastating that the architects are not willing to talk about the episode. So MoMA will go forward with the “organic” brick pavilion. Benjamin employer Columbia University reported in its May 15 GSAPP newsletter that “Kanye West and GSAPP faculty member David Benjamin (M.Arch ‘05) are working on a ‘strictly confidential’ project.” Though other sources claim that this project involves a “new type of movie theater and 3D entertainment experience,” can we expect Benjamin’s partner to take part in PS 1’s usually rollicking summer party to inaugurate the pavilion?
Today, the Architectural League of New York revealed its selections for the 2014 class of Emerging Voices, a distinction that honors young firms "with distinct design voices and the potential to influence the disciplines of architecture, landscape design, and urbanism." This year's pool of winners demonstrated an entrepreneurial spirit, according to the League, "pursuing alternate forms of practice, often writing their own programs or serving as their own clients." Winners are selected by a jury from a pool of invited firms. This year's international group of eight includes The Living (which just this week was also named winner of MoMA PS 1's Young Architects Program), Surfacedesign, SITU Studio, Ants of the Prairie, Estudio Macías Peredo, Rael San Fratello, TALLER |MauricioRocha+GabrielaCarrillo|, and Williamson Chong Architects. A lecture series is planned in March where each firm will present their work and design philosophy. Betsy Williamson, Shane Williamson, and Donald Chong Williamson Chong Architects Toronto According to the League:
“Context, materials research, economies of construction, building performance, and client-based collaboration” all shape the design approach of Williamson Chong Architects. Their work ranges in scale from furniture to master planning, including the House in Frogs Hollow and the Abby Gardens Food Community master plan.David Benjamin The Living New York According to the League:
New Yorkʼs The Living explores – through installations such as Mussel Choir, exhibited at the Venice Biennale, and the NYCEDC project EcoPark – “how new technologies come to life in the built environment.” The Living was just named as the winner of the MoMA/PS1 Young Architects Program.Geoff di Girolamo, James Lord, and Roderick Wyllie Surfacedesign San Francisco According to the League:
The landscape architecture and urban design practice Surface Design, Inc. focuses on creating landscapes that emphasize “personal histories and connections between culture and natural environment” with projects ranging in scale from domestic projects, to San Franciscoʼs Golden Gate Bridge Plaza, to Stonesfields Quarry Park in Auckland, New Zealand.Basar Girit, Aleksey Lukyanov-Cherny, Wes Rozen, and Bradley Samuels SITU Studio Brooklyn According to the League:
The firmʼs Brooklyn-based studio, divided between design and fabrication spaces, enables their goal to “leverage fabrication efficiencies, material re-use, flexible assemblies, and community involvement to create spaces that engage in living relationships with the urban context.” Projects have included the ReOrder installation in the Brooklyn Museum Great Hall; Heartwalk, installed in Times Square; and mapping and analysis projects.Joyce Hwang Ants of the Prairie Buffalo, NY According to the League:
Ants of the Prairie is an arts and research practice “dedicated to developing creative approaches in confronting the pleasures and horrors of our contemporary ecologies,” as seen in work such as Bat Cave and Bat Cloud and the currently under construction bird and bat Habitat Wall.Salvador Macías Corona and Magui Peredo Arenas Estudio Macías Peredo Guadalajara, Mexico According to the League:
Estudio Macías Peredo, acknowledging “the understanding of our regional situation (geographically and socio-culturally), where [a] craftsman is part of the building process,” embraces ideas of critical regionalism, as explored in the residences Casa Atlas and Casa Arenas.Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello Rael San Fratello Oakland, CA According to the League:
Rael San Fratello shies away from working within a set philosophy, trying rather “not to define, but rather to constantly redefine ourselves” with projects, ranging from the art installation Prada Marfa to their winning entry in the Sukkah City competition, “Sukkah of the Signs, aka the Homeless House,” that “try to do the most with the least.”Mauricio Rocha Iturbide and Gabriela Carrillo Valadez TALLER |MauricioRocha+GabrielaCarrillo| Mexico City According to the League:
TALLER IMauricioRocha+GabrielaCarrilloI focuses on “the importance of the vernacular, craftsmanship, sustainability, and socially-responsible design” in projects such as Plastic Arts School, Universidad Autónoma Benito Juárez de Oaxaca and the Hall for the Visually Impaired, Ciudadela.The League's Emerging Voices lecture series will take place at the Scholastic Auditorium located at 557 Broadway, New York. For exact dates and ticket information, visit the League's website. The 2014 jury included Fred Bernstein, Paul Lewis, Kate Orff, Thomas Phifer, Annabelle Selldorf, and Adam Yarinsky. Previous Emerging Voices winners include Jeanne Gang, Morphosis, Steven Holl, Tod Williams, Deborah Berke, Brad Cloepfil, Michael Maltzan, and many others.
Framed:Interfaces, Narratives, and the Convergence of Architectural and Internet Technologies Thursday, January 24 6:00pm-8:00pm AIA New Practices New York 29 Ninth Avenue/Axor NYC Showroom The Living, which sounds like an indie band but is actually one of the 2012 AIA New Practices New York winners, will conclude this year's New Practices conversation series with a bang. The firm has gained recognition for developing futuristic forms through new technologies and prototyping, and for "Framed: Interfaces, Narratives, and the Convergence of Architectural and Internet Technologies" The Living's David Benjamin, who also directs the Living Architecture Lab at Columbia's GSAPP, will sit down with Jonathan Lee, a designer at Google UXI, that company's design think tank. Following what promises to be a lively presentation and conversation, a reception will celebrate the conclusion of the New Practices series. The January 24 event, which is co-hosted by The Architect's Newspaper, will be held at Axor's NYC showroom. Free of charge with AIA CES credits provided. RSVP here.