The relationship between the School and the House is formally manifested in the David Wright House Collaborative Fund, a supporting organization of the Arizona Community Foundation. The principal focus of the David Wright House Collaborative Fund was to develop a vehicle to raise the $7-million endowment on which the pledge of the House for the benefit of the School was conditioned. Over the past year, we have learned that the fundraising timetables of both parties do not lend themselves to a joint campaign.The original terms of the donation, which required that the school raise $7 million by 2020, proved difficult. Additionally, Phoenix residents reportedly weren’t thrilled over the potential conversion of the house into an educational facility and were worried about the traffic and noise the transformation would bring. Interested in buying a progenitor to the Guggenheim? You can put down your $12.9-million bids here. AN will follow up on this story when updates become available.
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DLR Group is currently at work repurposing an existing 1980s-era county jail in Phoenix, Arizona, as a new, state-of-the-art office space owned by Maricopa County. The now-decommissioned jail was originally designed to hold 700 inmates, but its population eventually swelled, incarcerating between 1,200 and 1,500 individuals at a time over the last decade of its life. The jail was decommissioned in the early 2000s and has sat vacant for a decade. After DLR Group’s planned renovations, however, the complex will have new life, and will house six levels of daylit office space and ground-floor community areas.
“The basic approach was to remove everything back to the superstructure and start over,” Larry Smith, principal in charge of DLR Group’s southwest division, said. Smith explained that the 350,000-square-foot structure will be surgically altered in order to absorb the new office functions.
Planned changes include completely removing the structure’s four mezzanine levels and replacing its exit stairs. The existing stairs are located awkwardly within each of the four square-shaped lobes of the complex, impeding open floor plan configurations. They will be demolished and their footprints filled, with new exit stairs to be located at each corner, beyond the existing building envelope, instead. These new glass-clad circulation cores will complement a new communicating stair at the center of the complex that will be topped by a solar light monitor designed to bring light into the building’s center.
The removal of the mezzanines will lower the overall size of the project to 270,000 square feet and raise floor-to-floor heights to roughly 16 feet. The arrangement allows designers to add a raised floor plenum housing ducts, telecommunications, and electrical and plumbing infrastructure to each level. Also as a result, the old cell windows—a thin, horizontal band of glass set in from the exterior facade—now act as ribbon windows that will wash interior surfaces with reflected sunlight. Closer to the floor, a second continuous band of windows measuring 32 inches tall will wrap the perimeter of every level. Along the southern facade, this ribbon window is wrapped by a louver assembly made from aluminum plates. New planted terraces will rise through the structure’s perimeter.
Along the ground floor, new entry lobbies will embrace surrounding street life and create a “changing entry procession from the new entry on the street to the lobby and then security zone” for new users, Megan Duffy, senior interior designer at DLR Group, said. The complex will feature community rooms on these levels as well as a large planted plaza along the street.
Demolition phase for the project starts this fall; DLR Group expects to finish construction at the end of 2019.
"It’s transformative for the school and a fantastic opportunity," Betsky told The Architect's Newspaper. "One of the things that sets our school apart is living and working in Frank Lloyd Wright's built works—this addition only enhances that experience and lets us build on Wright’s legacy."
Betsky also acknowledged that "without doubt," some work has to be done on the house before educational programming can start there. A structural analysis has been carried out, though repairs to cantilevers and fixing leaks and touching up areas of corrosion also need to take place. Phoenix-based architect Victor Sidy is working on the building, as is landscape architect Chris Winters.
Arizonan architect Eddie Jones, principal at Jones Studio, will be teaching at the design studio specifically launched for the David and Gladys House. The studio will begin this fall and students will engage in the building and its six-acre site's renovation. (Originally, when Rawlings first purchased the house, it only came with a two-and-a-half–acre lot. Rawlings then bought adjacent lots to try and restore its original acreage.)
"This is all about the house becoming a place that can help students understand the relationship between the landscape and the built environment," remarked Betsky. He estimated that renovation work could take two-three years but admitted this was "optimistic." "We do not want to interrupt the [design] work going on inside," he said. Once restored there will be limited tours, and the house will be open to the public.
For years, builders across the western and southwestern regions have been moving in piecemeal efforts toward developing Net-Zero Energy (NZE) housing models for mass production, as new regulations envision the near-future proliferation of NZE building types, and energy-conscious consumers begin to ask for these structures as well. NZE buildings—a widely and variously defined concept—generally produce as much energy as they consume over the course of a year. They aim to reduce overall energy consumption while also generating renewable energy on site.
Builders have discovered that the best way to standardize NZE building methods is to lower overall building energy consumption first, and only then tackle costly additions like green technology. That means increasing insulation values within building walls while also tightening the exterior envelope. It is also important to place mechanical equipment within conditioned spaces and to program interior spaces with an eye toward solar exposure. After energy-efficient appliances are specified and a building energy analysis is conducted, designers move to size energy systems appropriately for the remaining energy loads. This tactic generates tight, efficient buildings that require smaller and cheaper solar panel installations. Because many of the building-related approaches—like constructing walls out of larger two-by-six-foot studs to create a wider insulation cavity—are easy to do and do not require builders to learn new skills, these approaches have brought down the potential cost of NZE buildings substantially.
Using the above strategies, builders like Phoenix, Arizona–based MODUS Development are helping to bring NZE residential buildings into the mainstream even further by developing NZE buildings with contemporary massing and detailing at both single- and multifamily scales.
Ed Gorman, founder and president of MODUS, has been hard at work streamlining and modernizing existing NZE housing models in an effort to stay ahead of California’s plan to have all single and most multifamily residential construction be NZE-equivalent by 2020. When the change comes, MODUS will be ready. Gorman expects the housing market to move toward the wide adoption of NZE homes either way.
MODUS has completed work on several NZE developments across California and Arizona so far—most recently, a 41-unit development called Equinox in Scottsdale, Arizona. The project—the first NZE apartment complex in Arizona—is organized around a central courtyard, and the one- and two-story units feature deeply recessed balconies and loggia spaces. Gorman explained: “The balconies serve as a heat sink” to facilitate passive ventilation, and the structures “create shade directly from the architecture, the way a modernist building would, instead of as an applied afterthought.” The project came in at the same cost as a non-NZE construction and is fully occupied. The firm’s portfolio for the year includes three new NZE developments: two 20-townhome developments in Scottsdale and a 32-unit multifamily development in Tempe, Arizona.
For Gorman, the NZE strategy is a no-brainer. “Highly efficient buildings have higher tenant retention, often sell for as much if not more, and cost less to build than traditional buildings,” he said. “If you can make it work in the desert of Arizona, you can make it do anywhere.” The future of building in Arizona and California, it seems, is heading toward Net-Zero.
While urban farming has become a great catchphrase, it has yet to take hold in a significant way in most American cities and suburbs. However, an excellent model for its progression is DSGN AGNC’s Spaces Of Opportunity, an 18-acre site in South Phoenix, Arizona, that is much more than just a place for growing: It’s also a community hub, an art center, and a music venue.
“The idea is that farming here is an excuse to bring services to this area,” said DSGN AGNC principal and founder Quilian Riano. “A way to bring economic opportunity.”
The semi-suburban area is home primarily to low- and middle-income Latino and African American populations. It’s also the site of a food desert, meaning that fresh food is very difficult to find. “There are more liquor stores than grocery stores here,” noted Riano.
DSGN AGNC’s master plan for the project, undertaken with the Desert Botanical Garden and a consortium of local nonprofits, called Cultivate South Phoenix, lays out segmented plots for community gardens and incubator farms. Master farmers will teach apprentices agrarian skills, helping them progress so they can get their own plots to work. Spaces in between the plots will be lined by rows of flowering fruit trees. The spaces along the edges of these plots will take on myriad uses, including washing and cleaning stations housed in repurposed shipping containers; compost and animal areas; a 500-person, colorful corrugated-metal and solar-panel-topped stage; playgrounds; an outdoor gym; and walls for art.
Work on the project is already underway, and Riano said he hopes it will be fully up and running by this coming summer or fall. Its creation involves an iterative process that Riano calls “design, wait, build.” In other words, the firm comes up with a plan, but then the community inevitably changes it to better meet their needs, and then the designers scramble to catch up with an adjusted plan.
“The community already moved faster than my previous design,” said Riano, referring to his early efforts to start growing on the site. “I had to rethink completely. The design is constantly re-questioned, rethought, and reworked.”
He hopes the project—both its content and its development—will become a model for future urban farms and for urban development in general. Incorporating so many types of uses has helped not only with interest, but also with fundraising. Already money has come in from local philanthropists and education and arts foundations.
“It’s a design that is very flexible and very participatory,” said Riano. “We’re using every angle.” The team also plans to coordinate with local schools, churches, and businesses to maximize participation and support.
Like many of DSGN AGNC’s initiative across the country, the project is also filled with learning lessons, like how to farm, how to build, and how to bring residents, designers, nonprofits, and city officials together. The firm’s other highly collaborative projects include Under El-Space Pilot, a pop-up park under the Gowanus Expressway in Queens; INPLACE, a community plan designed to bring urban art and design projects to Youngstown, Ohio; and La Casita Verde, a flexible community garden built on the site of a derelict lot in Brooklyn.
“It’s not just about building, but about rethinking the design process,” said Riano, of his diverse body of work. “Everybody learns, including me.”
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ZGF Architects teamed up with Hensel Phelps Construction to deliver a custom 220,000-square-foot design-build cancer center for the University of Arizona at Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center. The facility incorporates an “evidence-based, multidisciplinary model of healthcare” and utilizes the most modern technologies. An exterior shade system, along with chilled beams—the first to be used in an Arizona healthcare setting—greatly contribute to the facility’s sustainability. The east and west facades are clad with a solar shading system composed of repetitive rectangular quarter-inch aluminum composite panels (ACP) perforated with half-inch diameter holes yielding a 40 percent openness factor. The panels are folded once at a calculated angle, bending outward to reveal a shaded view of the surrounding desert context from the interior. This copper-toned assembly takes on the coloration of the landscape, adding a contextual aesthetic to the project. The assembly sits 30 inches off a facade of stucco and curtainwall glazing—a dimension that allows maintenance access to the exterior envelope for cleaning and repairs. The panels are supported directly by a tube steel frame hung from a series of outriggers that cantilever from a hefty 16-inch reinforced concrete roof slab. These “diving boards” establish a dimensional grid that is constructed from the individual 15-foot-6-inch by 5-foot-3-inch panels. Additional outriggers on the same grid provide lateral support, tracking through the facade onto the slab edge. The project delivery was design-build, per University of Arizona’s requirements. Mitra Memari, principal at ZGF, said the process benefitted from a close working relationship between ZGF and Hensel Phelps, which previously teamed up to complete a different project on University of Arizona’s main campus: “Having gone through this process, one of the key factors in making a design-build project successful is the relationship. Hansel Phelps knows ZGF very well and our design aesthetic, and we know Hansel Phelps very well…specifically individuals who worked on the project. This played well for the university and the end product." Memari said the success of the collaboration is evident in the fact that, for the $74-million project, over 90 percent of the 450 RFIs received were “confirming RFIs” to provide clear communications and exact resolution records. The primary purpose of the screen system is to reduce peak mechanical loads in the building. More than 10 variations of the assembly were studied by the architects, who were looking for a configuration that maximizes view and reduces glare, while properly shading the building. The project team was able to work with the fabricator from a very early point in the project, which allowed it to quickly optimize panel material, size, and configuration. A full size mock-up of a corner condition further helped to inform detailing decisions. Two types of shading panels—one per orientation— were developed in response to solar angles. The repetitive geometry also contributed to a quick construction schedule. The north and south facades feature a curtainwall system from KT Fabrication with three types of custom louver designs integrated in it. The most impressive is a series of canted glass fins incorporating a custom gray 60 percent frit patterning. The glass louvers denote the central area and the main lobby of the cancer center, providing a low-glare interior environment. Chilled beams play a major role in the energy efficiency of the building, reducing energy usage by 23 percent. The system was a first for healthcare projects in both the state and the university. Chilled beams utilize piped water located in the ceiling to naturally (and quietly) heat and cool the air using convection. ZGF incorporates chilled beams into nearly every project it takes on, and has introduced the system into many projects around the country. Beyond the facade, Memari said that one of the greatest successes of the project is an interior “communicating stair” that promotes walkability for staff and visitors through a carefully detailed, highly visible positioning within the building. The stair reads as a folded sculptural element to connect the facility’s tall 16- to 18-foot floor plates. The project opened in August 2015 and recently received a 2016 AIA Healthcare Design Award.