Posts tagged with "Michael Green Architecture":

Katerra acquires Lord Aeck Sargent as expansion continues

Fresh on the heels of design/build company Katerra’s acquisition of timber-oriented West Coast firm Michael Green Architecture (MGA) less than two weeks ago, the $3 billion construction company has now added the Atlanta-based Lord Aeck Sargent (LAS) to its impressive portfolio. The additions of MGA and LAS, a studio founded in 1989 that offers a full suite of landscape architecture, interior design, architecture, and urban planning services with an emphasis on sustainability, has doubled Katerra’s design staff. The move is a prudent one for Katerra as it expands its architecture licenses to 31 states, along with British Columbia and Alberta in Canada. LAS has experience working in nearly every type of project, from academic to mixed-use to multi-family housing; as Katerra expands the types of modular, kit-of-parts buildings it offers (and with $1.3 billion in projects already under development), this expertise will likely help production move along more smoothly.

“By aligning ourselves with a company that is disrupting the design and construction industry, Lord Aeck Sargent will help deliver high-quality design to more people throughout a broader geographic range,” said LAS president Joe Greco in a press release. “We look forward to breaking new ground with a company that is poised to transform and optimize the industry. Katerra shares our vision of the power of design, innovation and technology, and a desire to deliver high-quality projects.”

Interestingly enough, LAS is the second advisory firm from Katerra's design consortium, formed in 2017, to be purchased by the technology company. It remains to be seen if Katerra will also try to acquire Lake|Flato or Leers Weinzapfel Associates in the future.  

Katerra acquires Michael Green Architecture as it expands into the timber market

Unicorn design/build company Katerra is continuing its impressive expansion from start-up to $3 billion tech-and-construction giant with the recent acquisition of Vancouver’s Michael Green Architecture (MGA). The Canadian architecture studio is known for pushing the boundaries of timber construction (including some of the largest mass timber buildings in the U.S.), and Katerra reportedly wants to use their expertise to bring down construction costs as well as better understand the material. The key to Katerra’s success lies in its vertically integrated business model; the company moves its projects through a single pipeline and handles everything from design, to engineering, to construction, using prefabricated modules to standardize the process. With $1.3 billion in projects under various stages of development–many of which are already framed with mass timber–the company is constantly searching for ways to optimize its production. Before acquiring MGA, Katerra was already hard at work building out their 250,000-square-foot cross-laminated timber (CLT) panel factory in Spokane, Washington. MGA had been an early adopter in the mass timber construction game, and the firm, jointly based in Portland, Oregon, as well as British Columbia, has continued to push timber towers taller. Joining Katerra, was for the 25-person studio, a natural progression according to founder Michael Green. It also happens to align the weight and financing of a major Silicon Valley player behind the studio. “Two values convinced me to join with Katerra,” Green told Vancouver magazine, “addressing our impact on the climate and making good architecture affordable. This acquisition gives us the opportunity to address both of those issues at scale.” Through the use of mass customization (using a kit of parts to design distinct buildings instead of a “one size fits all” modular approach) and mass timber, Katerra is hoping to lower its construction costs by up to 30 percent. While land prices are typically the largest slice of the development cost pie, Katerra is bringing down both its material as well as labor costs. But the choice was about more than that, according to Katerra's head of architecture, Craig Curtis. In order for the company to continue expanding, it would need to bring aboard more design talent, and MGA has had experience with timber buildings of all scales. On MGA's side, Katerra won't be fully consuming their practice, and the firm will still handle a stable of its own projects independently.

Michael Green Architecture brings mass timber tower to New Jersey

Half a million square feet of mass timber office space is coming to downtown Newark, New Jersey, thanks to international firm Michael Green Architecture (MGA) and New York–based developer Lotus Equity Group. Lotus has described the project as the largest timber office building in the United States, and the tower will anchor Riverfront Square, a massive 11.8-acre, mixed-use development in Newark’s Central Business District. The building itself will forgo the typical steel and concrete core, instead using cross-laminated timber (CLT) beams and panels, and rise from a concrete foundation. Most of the project’s space seems horizontally aligned, as the building is composed of three stepped volumes that top out with the 11-story tower. This makes sense, as mass timber high-rises are still a touchy regulatory topic; the Wall Street Journal notes that the tallest timber building previously approved in New Jersey was only six stories tall. While the core, slabs, and wall panels will all be made from wood, the facade of the building will likely be clad in brick, metal paneling, or more wood. The structural elements will remain exposed throughout the interior and create a warm, welcoming environment inside. Outdoors, employees will be able to make use of several roof decks and related amenities. “Good buildings are good neighbors and we envision a sustainable, efficient and architecturally-stunning future for Newark,” said Michael Green, founder and principal of Michael Green Architecture, in a press release sent to The Architect's Newspaper (AN). MGA is no stranger to timber construction, as 95 percent of the studio’s projects are in wood. Part of their commitment is driven by environmental concerns, as concrete and steel production accounts for 10 percent of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. Conversely, timber buildings sequester carbon dioxide in the wood and can reduce a project’s environmental footprint. The development of Riverfront Square is being led a number of high-profile architecture firms, including TEN Arquitectos, Practice for Architecture and Urbanism, Minno & Wasko Architects and Planners, and MGA. Once completed, Riverfront Square should bring up to 2,000 residential apartments, 2 million square feet of Class A office space, 100,000 square feet of retail, 185,000 square feet of hotel space, 31 maker spaces, and a 30,000-square-foot arts and cultural area to downtown Newark. The drive to attract tech talent to Newark is likely motivated in part by Amazon’s search for a city to build their second headquarters in; Newark made the 20-city shortlist released last month, after promising $7 billion in tax incentives to the tech giant.

Our studio visit with Michael Green Architecture

Michael Green Architecture (MGA) is a leader in the design of mass timber structures. The firm, jointly based in Portland, Oregon, and British Columbia, Canada, has been a pioneer in mass timber construction since the early days of glulam. Now, as mass timber technologies proliferate and gain wider acceptance, MGA is poised to make the next great leap in mass timber construction: full-fledged mass timber automation and prefabrication. “All of our projects are made from wood,” Michael Green explained over telephone, before adding that 95 percent of the firm’s work is specifically built using mass timber. The approach is due mostly to preference, as Green is a trained millworker who began his career decades ago working for renowned architect César Pelli designing “big buildings in steel and concrete around the world.” Those whirlwind experiences left the architect starved for ways to reengage with natural materials and craft, so after returning to his native Canada, Green opened his own wood-focused office. Throughout the early mass timber era, the architect was among the first to consider its widespread use and architectural potential. Today, the office focuses on utilizing mass timber elements in a variety of building types—for example, when tight urban conditions call for compact and efficient structures. The firm also works with institutional clients seeking long-term facilities and “100-year” buildings, which mass timber can easily provide. Green sees working in mass timber as “an opportunity to insert a lot of passion” into building projects that work as explorations in industrial design and are planned with a keen understanding of how they will be put together. This industrialized construction process suits Green, who explained that construction remains the last “major industry left on Earth that is still craft-oriented,” meaning that every building is built essentially as a one-off, custom prototype with none of the cost-saving benefits of industrialized factory production. That’s where mass timber comes in—building components are produced to order in controlled factory settings, where weather, temperature, and other variables are tightly relegated. The firm is currently working with technology start-up Katerra, which is looking to utilize the potentials of mass timber to automate and integrate the construction process nationwide. Wood Innovation and Design Centre MGA recently completed work on the Wood Innovation and Design Centre in Prince George, British Columbia. At the time of its completion, the nearly 97-foot-tall, six-story structure was the tallest all-timber structure in the world. The lower three floors of the project contain facilities for students pursuing wood-focused engineering degrees while the upper floors house governmental and wood industry–related office spaces. The building is clad in an elaborate system of louvered wood shutters that are optimized by exposure to mitigate solar glare. Aside from the structure’s mechanical penthouse, there is no concrete used in the building. Instead, the “dry” structure integrates CLT floor panels, glulam columns and beams, and mass timber walls into a complex design that conceals electrical and plumbing services within its relatively thin floor panels. North Vancouver City Hall The renovation and expansion of a municipal City Hall structure in North Vancouver, British Columbia, is one of the firm’s earliest mass timber projects. The 36,000-square-foot renovation bridges a repurposed 1970s-era structure and an existing library building with a new double-height mass timber and glass atrium. The 220-foot-long space is topped with CLT roof joists propped up on large CLT columns. Where the atrium meets the existing offices, clerestory windows provide views between public and business areas. The exterior of the long and narrow addition is clad in charred wood—a material that also wraps the exterior surfaces of other building elements—creating a new and dramatic exterior courtyard. Empire State of Wood As part of MGA’s early mass wood experiments, the firm worked with Finnish wood and paper group Metsä Wood on their speculative wood initiative. For the project, the firm was tasked with redesigning an iconic steel structure using mass timber elements. Naturally, MGA chose to envision the Empire State building as a mass timber tower, replacing steel girders and beams with glulam structures joined by metal plates. With slight modifications to the existing tower’s structural design, MGA was able to pull off a mass timber replica that matched the Empire State Building’s height inch for inch. Réinventer Paris/Baobab Tower The firm’s Réinventer Paris project proposes a large-scale, 35-story mass timber tower complex that would span over Paris’s Peripherique highway belt. The innovative and speculative proposal attempts to explore a new model for high-density housing that encompasses a variety of functional uses—market-rate and social housing, a student-oriented hotel, and a bus depot—dispersed throughout a series of high- and midrise timber structures. The timber towers feature CLT columns that frame indoor-outdoor verandas, with lower buildings clad in wood louver assemblies.  

Newark’s Bears stadium will be replaced by a 2.3-million-square-foot mixed-use development

Is it finally Newark’s time to shine? Recent projects, like James Corner Field Operation’s Passaic Riverfront Park revitalization and now the redevelopment of Bears & Eagle Riverfront Stadium, have slowly been pushing the city into developers' line of sight.

Ever since the minor league Newark Bears baseball team folded in 2014, the stadium once touted as a “saving grace” has been left largely empty. It was then sold for $23.5 million in 2016 to developers Lotus Equity Group, who will lead the redevelopment of its site in hopes that the project will spur a revival of the city's downtown. 

Lotus chose Vishaan Chakrabarti of New York–based Practice for Architecture and Urbanism (PAU) to lead the master plan as well as a portion of the architectural design. The master plan includes turning the eight-acre site into a 2.3-million-square-foot mixed-use development. It aims to be, as Chakrabarti said to The Architect's Newspaper (AN), a “renaissance for Newark.”

He said the city is currently anchored by its institutions: the Newark Museum, Newark Library, Rutgers University, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), and New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC). What the city lacks, however, is a connective tissue, according to Chakrabarti. Wide streets designed for automobiles create “a kind of physical archipelago,” he said, describing how “every institution is an island onto itself.”

What will be replacing Bears stadium is a dense, mixed-use development made up of residential, office, retail, and cultural space, with an emphasis on community-centered programming. Two housing blocks and one commercial office block will make up the master plan's superblock; a piazza in the middle will hold retail shops and host public programs. There are also plans to bring another cultural venue into the site, which will tie the development back into the city and the surrounding institutions.

Pedestrian movement will be prioritized. Parking garages will be relegated underground, streets will be designed with the pedestrian and non-automobile transportation in mind, and there are plans to only have one shared street for automobiles running through the site.

Chakrabarti, Michael Green of Vancouver, British Columbia–based Michael Green Architecture, and Enrique Norten of New York–based TEN Arquitectos will be leading the design for the three main buildings. “We wanted three different architects from three different places, with each one bringing different sensitivities,” Ben Korman, founder of Lotus Equity, said, adding that the mix of designs will bring a “creative tension.” 

The site’s proximity to educational institutions, certain tech industries, and transit infrastructure (Penn Station is 15 minutes away by train) will help attract Manhattanites looking to move out of the city as well as those who work in Newark, according to Korman.

“It is a transforming project,” Korman said. “Ultimately the vision is to create a significant project that would serve as a model for others to follow.”

The designs and plans are scheduled to be completed by mid-2018, with groundbreaking tentatively aimed for early 2019.

WIDC: Isn’t it good, Canadian wood?

facadeplus_logo1
Brought to you with support from
 
Timber was the obvious choice for the Wood Innovation and Design Centre (WIDC). This sturdy carbon-storing material is increasingly an alternative to concrete or steel in mid-rises and “plyscrapers.” For a province-owned building in Prince George, British Columbia, mandated to use local products, Michael Green Architecture (MGA) won the competition with a “dry structure” using no concrete slabs above grade (except one small vibration-controlling roof panel, notes project manager Mingyuk Chen) and deploying wood everywhere from posts and beams to mullions.
  • Facade Manufacturer Guardian Industries Corp.; Brisco Wood Preservers; Kawneer
  • Architects Michael Green Architecture
  • Facade Installer PCL Constructors Westcoast, Inc. (contractor)
  • Facade Consultants RDH Building Engineering, Ltd. (building envelope); Equilibrium Consulting, Inc. (structural engineer)
  • Location Prince George, BC (Canada)
  • Date of Completion 2014
  • System Cross-laminated timber (CLT)
  • Products Columns and timber by Structurlam; facade and glazing by Guardian Industries Corp., Brisco Wood Preservers, Kawneer; Blinds and shades by Hunter Douglas Architectural
The 97-foot WIDC was North America's tallest all-wood building when it opened in 2014. A site-specific code amendment allowed nonresidential construction for this project, recalls Chen. Its lowest three floors house programs of the University of Northern British Columbia and Emily Carr University, with wood-industry offices above. Materials include cross-laminated timber (CLT), mainly Douglas fir, for floor panels, shear walls, and core shafts and stairs; Douglas fir glulam for columns and most beams; laminated veneer lumber for the window mullions, entrance canopy, and feature stairs; parallel-strand lumber for load-transferring beams; and Western red cedar, charred or natural, for cladding. The facade, notes principal Graham Finch of envelope specialists RDH, uses Kawneer curtain-wall units of aluminum veneer attached to wood framing, with high-performance triple glazing and irregular patterns varying from solar-gain-maximizing southern fenestration to prefabricated structural insulated panels on the north. CLT is counterintuitively fire-resistant, Chen notes, needing no chemical treatment; if exposed to fire, it forms a carbon “sacrificial layer” slowing the char rate. Onsite dampness mitigation poses minimal challenge, Finch adds, noting that timber construction is widespread in Europe and ready for prime time here. “It forces you to go back to first principles and rethink.... It's not that it's hard; it's new, it's unique,” he says. Growing the WIDC's materials, he adds, took Canada's forests under three minutes. RDH Managing Principal/Senior Building Science Specialist Brian Hubbs will be speaking about "Facades for Wood High-Rises" at Facades+ New York City on April 6+7.

Largest mass timber building in U.S. opens tomorrow in Minneapolis

The seven-story, 220,000-square-foot T3 office building in Minneapolis’s North Loop district will become the tallest modern wood building in the U.S. when it opens tomorrow. Designed by Michael Green Architecture and the DLR Group, the T3—which stands for Timber, Technology, Transit—features nail-laminated timber (NLT) clad in weathering steel. While the building resembles the nearby historic warehouses in the district, its efficient structural system is about one-fifth the weight of a similarly sized concrete building, according to StructureCraft, which worked on the project. Leaving the interiors bare also eliminated costly coverings. StructureCraft fabricated T3's NLT panels in nearby Winnipeg, Manitoba, and was able to build 180,000 square feet of timber framing in less than 10 weeks. Typically, the estimated time of construction in a timber building is an average of nine days per floor. The NLT panels were combined with a spruce glulam post-and-beam frame and a concrete slab. Most of the wood used came from the Pacific Northwest region, sustainably harvested after being killed by the mountain pine beetle, and all of the wood was certified under the Sustainable Forestry Initiative Guidelines. The result is a simple massing with an airy brightness, thanks to the exposed wood. “This will have the ambiance of the old warehouses with timber beams that everyone wants, but solves all the problems of energy efficiency and light,” real estate firm Hines director Bob Pfefferle told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Timber frame construction has been praised as an environmentally responsible choice. In addition to being made from sustainable lumber, which is less energy-intensive to extract, the building will sequester about 3,200 tons of carbon. However, mass timber construction has been slow to take off—T3, for example, was supposed to break ground back in November 2015. Thankfully, a slew of timber-framed buildings is set to open in the next year—perhaps ushering in a new era of downtown towers.

An architect from Vancouver wants to build the world’s tallest wooden skyscraper over a roadway in Paris

Back in March, AN wrote about Rüdiger Lainer and Partners' plan to construct a wood skyscraper in Vienna. The so-called HoHo project would rise 276 feet and be about three-quarters wood. Now, Vancouver-based architect Michael Green, whose eponymous firm is behind “the tallest mass timber building in the United States” has proposed a timber tower for Paris that would be 10 stories taller—making it the tallest such structure on earth. That is, if it gets built. The tower is part of a mixed-use scheme called "Baobab" that Michael Green Architecture (MGA), along with Paris-based DVVD and developer REI France, submitted to Réinventer Paris—a city-sponsored competition that asked architects to propose "innovative urban projects" at one of 23 sites across town. MGA and its teammates went with Pershing, an under-utilized site that the competition says "will be at the heart of the Porte Maillot renewal operation, a strategic part of Greater Paris, linking the central business district with La Défense.” Along with the wood tower, which MGA says is carbon neutral, Baobab has a mix of market-rate and subsidized housing, a hotel for students, agricultural facilities, a bus station, and an e-car hub. The development would span across an eight-lane roadway. “Our goal is that through innovation, youthful social contact and overall community building, we have created a design that becomes uniquely important to Paris,” said Michael Green, Principal of MGA, in a statement.  “Just as Gustave Eiffel shattered our conception of what was possible a century and a half ago, this project can push the envelope of wood innovation with France in the forefront. The Pershing Site is the perfect moment for Paris to embrace the next era of architecture.” Shortlisted proposals are expected to be announced this summer, so we will have to wait until then to see if Baobab has a chance of taking shape. [h/t CBC News]