Posts tagged with "Sustainability":

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The 2020 AIA COTE Top 10 Award winners raise the bar for sustainable building

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Committee on the Environment (COTE) has announced the recipients of the 2020 COTE Top 10 Awards, just a few short weeks later than normal. Usually synced with Earth Day, the big reveal of this year’s batch of superlatively sustainable projects—all demonstrating “the solutions architects provide for the health and welfare of our communities and planet”—was delayed due to the coronavirus crisis. As is wont with the prestigious COTE Top 10 Awards, the 2020 recipients are a diverse lot and truly run the gamut when it comes to building type, usage, and geographic locale. Just a taste of the winning projects: An adaptive reuse effort in which a defunct Austin, Texas, recycling center that was transformed into an airy creative office space; a distinctive 52-unit affordable housing complex (the only housing project recognized this year) for previously homeless and disabled veterans in Los Angeles’s MacArthur Park neighborhood; and a border crossing facility in the Chihuahuan Desert that’s architecture “serves and respects all people, embraces culture, conserves resources, nurtures ecology, protects habitat, celebrates diversity, and conveys a love of the land.” One winning project, the Environmental Nature Center and Preschool, Newport Beach, California, was singled out for its exceptional, resource-conserving post-occupancy performance data. Gensler made a strong showing and had three total projects recognized. Two are in New York City (Etsy’s Living Building Challenge Petal-certified headquarters in DUMBO, Brooklyn, and a much-praised overhaul of the Ford Foundation’s landmark modernist Manhattan headquarters) and the third is the aforementioned adaptive refuse project in Austin. On that note, Texan firm Lake|Flato (no stranger to the COTE Top 10) was also recognized for multiple projects, both of them collaborative efforts: The Austin Central Library and the Marine Education Center at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory in Mississippi. To be eligible for the COTE Top 10 Award, individual project submissions must meet stringent criteria that includes 10 measures such as social, economic, and ecological values, explains a press statement from the AIA. From there, a five-member jury evaluated each project based on the “effectiveness of their holistic design solution and metrics associated with the 10 measures.” The 2020 jury included: Robert Berkebile, FAIA, BNIM Architects; Roy Decker, FAIA, Duvall Decker Architects; William Horgan, Associate AIA, Grimshaw; Vivian Loftness, FAIA, Carnegie Mellon University; and Andrea Love, AIA, Payette. Below is the complete list of winning projects. You can learn more about each at the AIA COTE Top 10 Awards website. Austin Central Library, Austin, Texas — Lake|Flato Architects + Shepley Bulfinch  Per the jury: “The interior light-filled atrium has become a living room for the city, open to the community and all constituencies; the space is dynamic and offers many opportunities for citizens to find just the right spot to read, study, meet, or work.” U.S. Land Port of Entry, Columbus, New Mexico — Richter Architects Per the jury: “A port of entry is a challenging building type. The designers in this project not only met that challenge, but achieved more by showing us how the architecture of any kind can make human environments healthy and dignified. This is a thoughtful, durable building made to last.” Environmental Nature Center and Preschool, Newport Beach, California — LPA, Inc. Per the jury: “It introduces kids to responsible sustainability at a young age and is a place where people will want to send their children. It does all the right things—water, biophilia, resilience, and strong material choices.” Etsy Headquarters, New YorkGensler Per the jury: “Everything about the inhabitants, the building, and the use of the space are involved in the investment in sustainability as a way of life. This project is a celebration of health and craft and takes an existing fabric and transforms it into something more rewarding.” Ford Foundation Center for Social Justice, New YorkGensler Per the jury: “The new design adds adjustments and changes to its planning that make it more public and equitable. The garden is reestablished as a public oasis that invites the community in, and following the current values of the Ford Foundation, the building makes room for like-minded partners in a more collaborative structure.” John W. Olver Design Building, Amherst, Massachusetts Leers Weinzapfel Associates Per the jury: “The space is made possible by an innovative wood truss system showing us how to reach beyond the CLT systems to make larger spaces. Its courtyard guarantees views and access to campus to everyone within the building and is well integrated into the larger campus.” Keller Center at the Harris School of Public Policy, ChicagoFarr Associates (design lead and architect of record) and Woodhouse Tinucci Architects (collaborating architect, interior designer) Per the jury: “The opening of the floor plates to create a larger light-filled community atrium makes the interior expansive. This design intervention teaches us an important lesson on how to transform these large floor plate-existing buildings into healthy, desirable, light-filled spaces.” Marine Education Center at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory, Ocean Springs, Mississippi — Lake|Flato Architects in association with Unabridged Architecture Per the jury: “The design team’s thoughtful care shows everywhere. The complex is ordered not by an imposition of a construct of some kind, but by finding sites that create minimal damage and that would be above the flood plain and remain inherently resilient.” The Six, Los Angeles Brooks + Scarpa Per the jury: “The courtyard makes a public protected space and provides a communal harbor for a vulnerable population. Passive strategies are identified at the building and unit scale. The units are light-filled, and the courtyard provides ventilation.” UPCycle, Austin, TexasGensler Per the jury: “The design team here shows us how to make a great, healthy, sustainable, adaptive reuse project within a crazy tight budget.”
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David Baker Architects receives the 2020 AIA California Firm Award

David Baker Architects (DBA), a San Francisco architecture firm whose solution-oriented work zeroes in on some of contemporary society’s most pressing issues, has received the 2020 California Firm Award. The award, which will join the firm’s already crowded trophy chest, is among the highest annual recognitions bestowed by the American Institute of Architects, California (AIA CA). With recent recipients including Johnson Fain (2018) and HOK (2019), the award recognizes firms 10 years or older which have consistently produced work that has helped better the lives of Californians and those beyond via the built environment. Founded in 1982 by David Baker, a Michigan native who received his masters in architecture from the University of California, Berkeley, the firm is a trailblazer in the realm of affordable housing projects and designing around the values of equity, inclusion, and sustainability. A majority of DBA’s projects foster community, boost density, and champion vibrant, walkable urban streetscapes. As the firm writes: “We have a passion for and deep understanding of the power of humane and respectful environments to transform neighborhoods and elevate the lives of individuals and families.” In lockstep with the ongoing affordable housing crisis, DBA has expanded significantly in recent years, opening satellite practices in Oakland and Birmingham, Alabama, as well as launching an interiors studio and fabrication workshop as well as DBA_lab, a self-described “flexible research and experimentation studio” dedicated to small-scale and pro bono projects that “engage urban space and user imagination.” “There is real quality here, and one can tell David Baker design is impact-driven which equals work that lends itself to a higher cause,” said one award juror. Among the firm’s most lauded and recognizable work is 222 Taylor, a striking, brick-clad apartment house dedicated to low-income housing in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district; Five88, a mixed-use affordable housing complex in San Francisco’s Mission Bay neighborhood that was one of the largest buildings of its type completed in over a decade when it opened to residents in 2018; the Lakeside Senior Apartments, a wellness-centered facility for low-income and special needs residents; and Potrero 1010, a two-building residential infill project in San Francisco anchored around expansive public green space that was once a brownfield site. DBA’s diverse portfolio also includes micro-unit condo buildings, adaptive reuse loft projects, private residences, retail spaces, modular apartment complexes, green live-work spaces, community master plans, and a small handful of luxury boutique hotel properties, including the LEED Gold-certified Harmon Guest House in Sonoma County. As the AIA CA points out in a press release, the firm is known to “prioritize people over parking and to welcome all with materiality, space and a great front door—none of which are easy feats in the urban sprawl of the Bay Area.”

Living Future 2020 Online: Sustaining Hope Within Crisis

The Living Future annual conference is a game-changing platform for the green building movement’s most innovative leaders to come together to ideate and exchange expertise. This year, ILFI is taking a bold approach to its flagship event by pioneering a new type of powerful, inspiring, motivating, and interactive online experience that can reach more people with more content at a lower cost. Living Future 2020 Online will be a true ‘un’-conference that embraces the theme of “Sustaining Hope Within Crisis”, originally intended to reflect the climate emergency but even more relevant in light of the global COVID-19 pandemic. During these challenging times we believe that coming together as a community is paramount to creating a collective message of hope that can reach more people with greater urgency. We invite you to tell your story of hope at Living Future 2020. Through our 2-day live event and 6 weeks of follow-on content, we are providing an ongoing place to connect, collaborate, and sustain ourselves—and hope—through not only this crisis, but also give us the tools to sustain whatever continues to challenge us beyond today. More than a collection of workshops, panels and virtual opportunities for building community and online engagement, LF20 Online is the place for the green building, sustainability, and social justice community to come together at this moment.

Keynote speakers include Jason McLennan, creator of the Living Building Challenge and founder of the International Living Future Institute; and Katharine Wilkinson, Vice President of Communication and Engagement for Project Drawdown.

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Zaha Hadid Architects tapped for ultra-sustainable CECEP headquarters in Shanghai

London-based Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) has revealed that it will build the new Shanghai headquarters for the state-owned China Energy Conservation and Environmental Protection Group (CECEP) after the firm’s superlatively sustainable design was selected as the winner of an international design competition. The 2.3-million-square-foot project—a park-like “mixed-use urban campus” anchored by three interlocking office towers with integrated thermal mass—will take root at a riverside parcel near the Yangpu Bridge and serve as a showcase for a wide array of renewable energy technologies and conservation-minded features. They include rooftop and facade-integrated photovoltaic cells that feed into an on-site microgrid that will enable the campus to reduce its energy usage by 25 percent; a thermal ice storage cooling system whose use will be minimized by extensive external shading; rainwater harvesting; a waste heat recovery system; non-resource-intensive, biophilic landscaping design, and an advanced building management system that will “continually monitor the interior environment and automatically react to changes in internal conditions such as variations in temperature, air quality, natural daylight, or number of occupants.” What’s more, construction of the campus’s buildings will rely heavily on locally produced prefabricated components that, per ZHA, “will reduce the project's embodied carbon and also support the local economy while procurement will prioritize the use of recycled materials.” With “sustainability embedded into every aspect of its design and construction,” the project is aiming for a 90-point score in China’s Three Star Green Building Rating system—the highest number of credits ever achieved for a building in Shanghai. In addition to the office high-rises, the Huangpu River-facing compound will serve as a dining, shopping, and recreation destination encased by an ample amount of public green space. This “echoes CECEP’s commitment to environmental education by creating vital new public spaces for its staff and neighbouring communities to enjoy the natural world,” according to the company. This hearty communal spirit, however, doesn’t extend to all aspects of the project considering our new surface-paranoid reality. As ZHA noted, access to the office towers and other spaces will be controlled by no-touch biometric security systems that render contact with shared surfaces by CECEP staff and visitors completely moot. The CECEP campus is ZHA’s second major Shanghai project following Sky SOHO, which was completed in 2014.
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Op-ed: Climate change will bring us closer together like never before

A little over a month ago, I traveled to Los Angeles for the CarbonPositive Conference and Expo, along with about 200 of my peers from the architecture, planning, and construction fields. Giving the keynote address was Ed Mazria, founder of the Architecture 2030 initiative and one of my personal climate-action heroes. Mazria eloquently summarized the state of the climate crisis. The good news: Following a historic decoupling of GDP growth and emissions in the U.S., greenhouse gas emissions have plateaued despite significant economic growth between 2005 and 2019—and we are now at the beginning of the same decoupling globally. The bad news: The time for preventive measures is over, as we find ourselves at the very center of climate change. Now back in Chicago, I am marking the 50th anniversary of Earth Day in quarantine by pondering over Mazria’s even-keeled prognosis. I’m also thinking about Greta Thunberg, whose address to the World Economic Forum in September put things even more bluntly: “Our house is on fire.” While there are a lot of questions about this fire that we need to answer—What went wrong? How will we pay for everything? Where, and perhaps how, will we live now?—the first steps seem simple: stop everything, save others, save ourselves. Crises bring clarity to what matters most. The current global pandemic provides a different parallel to the climate crisis, this time from the world of epidemiology. For weeks now, the prevailing national discourse has come to us through the medical language of symptoms, transmission, and underlying conditions. But the human story is far more revealing. While individual viruses do not discriminate between hosts, the epidemic does, disproportionately impacting people based on wealth, ZIP code, insurance status, job security, and the color of their skin. Illuminating the perils of ignoring known threats and exposing the real cost of social inequity, COVID-19 has pushed many of us to reconsider much more than our epidemic preparedness. With so many signs and warnings, how did things get this bad? The atmosphere, much like the novel coronavirus, will not simply back down in response to our anxieties and isolated efforts; neither carbon nor pathogen will respond to anything short of a well-coordinated and collective effort. If my neighbor shelters-in-place but I do not, the epidemic ensues. If she recycles and reduces her environmental footprint, but I do not, the planet still loses. But rather than simply diminishing the importance of the determined individual, this situation highlights our overwhelming need for the leadership each of us is capable of providing. To collectively address these crises, we need all the technological solutions we can imagine, combined with bold government action. But what we also need, in equal measure, is a shift toward social innovation and a reinvention of our own attitudes. In his 2017 book Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming, environmentalist Paul Hawken argues that humanity has undergone an existential “Othering,” by which the species has conceptually elevated itself above the natural world. As he explained in a talk at the Illinois Institute of Technology last September, repairing this rift entails a sort of “coming home,” a return to harmony with the planet. As I consider my own path forward, I’m also inspired by another of Hawken’s observations: Either we despair in the thought that the climate crisis is happening to us, or we decide that it is happening for us. Before our home is lost to the fires raging around us, can we use the crisis as an opportunity to step back and envision an alternative way forward? Pandemics and climate change do not affect us all equally. Nevertheless, the immediate steps needed to stall the crises, and the longer-term solutions that might reverse their effects, cannot be undertaken alone. We are truly in this—in all of this—together. Tom Jacobs is a partner at Krueck + Sexton Architects in Chicago and co-founder of Architects Advocate for Action on Climate Change.
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Plant Prefab’s latest factory-built offerings are big on sustainability, Scandi vibes

Timed to coincide with this year’s Earth Day, Plant Prefab, the sustainability-focused factory spinoff of venerable Californian prefabricated home design and development company LivingHomes, has unveiled two fresh dwellings as part of a new design partnership with modular architecture studio Koto. While LivingHomes has garnered a reputation for developing modern prefab homes designed by an array of top-flight architects including KieranTimberlake, Brooks + Scarpa, and the late Ray Kappe (plus a housing crisis-minded 2018 ADU collaboration with Yves Béhar), its teaming with Koto marks the first time the company has worked with a firm/designer based outside the United States. With offices on the southwest coast of England and in Northern Ireland, Koto took a distinctly Scandinavian approach to modular home design; clean yet cozy, earthy yet cutting-edge, and possessing a strong connection to the natural world with plenty of natural light and ventilation. Plant Prefab’s Koto LivingHomes—available in two sculptural models that seem best suited for windswept beaches and craggy hillsides—are two of the more well-composed prefab homes to hit the market as of late. The Koto LivingHome comes in two models. The larger is a courtyard-oriented four-bedroom structure dubbed Piha (Finnish for “courtyard”) that measures 2,184 square feet. Yksi (Finnish for “first) is a cantilevered two-bedroom residence—in renderings, it appears as a moody nouveau surf cottage for the British seaside—that’s roughly half the size. Per a press release, both pared-down homes embrace a “characteristic Scandinavian design” that eschews fussy design details while maximizing “light, space, and connectivity to nature” and “facilitating comfortable, biophilic living with a minimum carbon footprint.” A smaller carbon footprint is standard with all Plant Prefab-built homes, and the Koto line wants to cut that down even further. Like all customizable LivingHomes, the Koto models are built to be net-zero and include the standard sustainable bells and whistles: Super-efficient heating and cooling systems, low-flow fixtures, recycled insulation, LED lighting, smart energy monitoring systems, and so on. But with the Koto LivingHomes, Plant Prefab opted to up the ante by pledging to work, along with Koto, to ensure that homeowners orient their new homes in a manner that maximizes energy efficiency. Using as much carbon-sequestering wood in its construction as possible, Koto LivingHomes are factory-built using the patented Plant Building System, an efficiency-boosting hybrid method that combines modular units with panelized components, or “Plant Panels” that include integrated plumbing, electrical, and other necessary infrastructure. Both Koto LivingHomes are now available for purchase directly through Plant Prefab, and range in price from $419,000 to $830,400 and up. As a provider of residential housing during the COVID-19 pandemic, Plant Prefab’s factory is still up-and-running in accordance with California law.
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Work is underway on the world’s largest commercial Living Building in Portland

Portland-headquartered architecture firm ZGF has shared a first look at PAE Living Building, a handsome and highly efficient commercial building that broke ground last month in Portland’s historic Old Town District. As ZGF claimed in a press release, “PAE Living Building tells the story of Portland: aspirational, progressive, and yet deeply rooted in Pacific Northwest history.” In addition to being reflective of the idiosyncratic city that it calls home, the 58,700-square-foot, mixed-use project is designed to last 500-plus years and will stand strong—literally, as it meets the highest level of seismic criteria—as a superlative-laden paradigm of next-level sustainable building design and advanced engineering. On track to achieve full seven-petal Living Building Challenge certification, PAE Living Building is the first structure in Portland to meet this hard-to-reach performance standard established by the Seattle-based International Living Future Institute (ILFI). With an expected opening date of summer 2021, the PAE Living Building is slated to be the largest commercial-use Living Building not only in Oregon but also, as it stands now, in the entire world. It’s also the first Living Building to be developed and funded as a speculative office building through the standard commercial real estate development model. Gerding Edlen is the project developer. “This demonstrates,” as noted by ZGF, that “Living Buildings are not only technically possible on a dense urban site, but also financially viable.” ZGF is working alongside PAE, an engineering firm founded in the late 1960s in Portland by SOM expats. Today, the firm specializes in ultra-sustainable builds including passive house and LEED Platinum projects. PAE is overseeing the technology design as well as the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems in its namesake building. Rising five stories above the corner of SW First Avenue and Pine Street, the building’s ground level will include retail along with bike storage and related facilities—showers, lockers, and a fitness center—for employee use. The second floor will include market-rate commercial office space available for lease, while the third through fifth floors will serve as the new home base for PAE. Described as a “building of firsts,” some additional inaugural feats to be realized at the PAE Living Building include a five-story vacuum-flush composting waste system, the first urinal-to-fertilizer system, and one of the first photovoltaic-powered battery storage systems in downtown Portland, which will provide a two-way power connection with the city’s utility network and electrical grid. Other notable features include a 71,000-gallon rainwater cistern that will allow the building to meet 100 percent of its water needs through on-site collection and treatment; a 133 kW on-site rooftop solar array and an 195 kW off-site array located at a partnering affordable housing development that combined will enable the building to produce 105 percent of its energy needs over the course of the year; and the use of materials throughout that support productivity, health, and comfort while meeting the ILFI’s stringent Red List requirements. In terms of energy use, PAE Living Building is slated to consume 18.6 kilo-BTUs per square foot per year. By comparison,  40.8 kilo-BTUs per square foot per year is consumed by new built-to-code Portland office buildings. Because the Living Building Challenge considers a wide range of factors outside of a building's materials and resource usage, the project ranks high in terms of car-free accessibility and satisfies the Place Petal with a WalkScore of 99 out of 100 and a large number of bus routes (23) and rail lines (6) within a half-mile of the site. As Michael O’Mara, associate principal with ZGF, explained to AN, one of the greatest challenges in fulfilling Living Building’s rigorous standards has been achieving net-zero energy in a National Landmark District where solar panels cannot be visible and therefore are confined to the strictly to the roof, with no overhangs a la the Bullitt Center or placement of panels on the building face allowed.  Yet “one of the positive outcomes” from this snag, as O’Mara pointed out, “was that it provided the base infrastructure for the nonprofit [housing development partner] to utilize renewable energy for their project without additional upfront cost.” And while attempting to achieve net-zero energy with limited on-site space has proved challenging, the fact that the building will not have any visible solar panels helps it seamlessly meld into a historic quarter known for its cast-iron Victorian Italianate architecture. Where some high-performance buildings wear, for better or worse, their deep green credentials conspicuously on their proverbial sleeves, PAE Living Building took a more refined, considered approach. Abiding by the Red List-free imperative imposed by the ILFI “was and still is a challenge,” as O’Mara noted to AN. “This is primarily due to the fact that the industry is still not at the point where enough manufacturers are offering red list free material solutions,” he said. “As more projects demand and advocate for red list free solutions, this will start to change and it will become easier to find materials as the selection range increases.” Designing a building that meets such high standards of sustainability within an urban historic requires high levels of consideration, collaboration, and creative workarounds. As O'Mara makes clear, it hasn't always been easy. But ZGF hopes that the PAE Living Building will demonstrate, especially to commercial real estate developers, that reaching for such a high bar isn't only not impossible, but necessary. “There is no excuse not to design to LBC standards,” explained Kathy Berg, ZGF partner, “and in fact we cannot afford not to.” “If we do not consider our actions as we build moving forward, all that we are building now will be significantly impacted by climate change,” she said, noting the building's historically flood-prone site. “This is not an option, this in an imperative.”
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Blaine Brownell appointed as University of North Carolina’s new director of the School of Architecture

Last week, the University of North Carolina College of Arts + Architecture announced that Blaine Brownell will become the next director of the UNC Charlotte School of Architecture. Brownell will be coming to the school following his position as the director of graduate studies and interim director of the Master of Science in Architecture–Sustainable Design Program at the University of Minnesota School of Architecture. As an architect, former Fulbright scholar, and recently added member to the American Institute of Architects College of Fellows, Brownell has extensively written and taught classes on contemporary materials in relation to current sustainability initiatives. A Bachelor of Arts in Architecture and a Certificate in East Asian Studies from Princeton University provided Brownell an initial and longstanding interest in both fields. According to his academic biography, Brownell’s research “considers emergent materials and applications with three particular areas of focus: technology, sustainability, and East Asia, with an emphasis on Japanese architecture and design.” One of the first books he authored, Matter in the Floating World(2011), compiled his conversations on contemporary material practices with leading Japanese architects and designers that include Tadao Ando, Shigeru Ban, Kazuyo Sejima, and Kengo Kuma. His most recently authored book, Transmaterial Next: A Catalog of Materials that Redefine Our Future (2017), mines the revolutionary building materials of the past to predict which might be next to transform the building industry.  “We enthusiastically welcome Blaine Brownell as next director of the School of Architecture,” said Brook Muller, dean of the College of Arts + Architecture, in a press statement. “Professor Brownell is a nationally recognized leader in sustainable design research and education, having published extensively on advances in building materials that will have revolutionary impacts on the profession and industry. He brings significant experience with consensus-based curriculum redesign and a deep understanding of the social and cultural context of sustainable design imperatives.”
Brownell’s appointment will become effective July 1, at which point Dr. José L.S. Gamez will step down as interim director.
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Home 3D printed from locally sourced clay takes shape in Italy

Italian architect Mario Cucinella of Mario Cucinella Architects (MC A) has long been a champion of 3D printing technology. But while architecture students and firms commonly reserve space of their desks for a 3D printer to create high-fidelity scale models as communicative tools, Cucinella has set his sights much higher than the rest. Last September, printing began on the architect’s first prototype of a two-room house in Massa Lombarda, a quiet comune east of Bologna, Italy. Named TECLA in a nod to an imaginary place in Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities, the home was engineered by Italian company WASP to become the very first to be entirely printed from a locally-sourced clay that is both biodegradable and recyclable. That material is extruded through a pipe and set in place using a Crane WASP, a modular 3D printing system that can print objects as large as 21 feet in diameter and as tall as nine feet. TECLA’s earthy color, layered texture, and lack of right angles lends the home a resemblance to prehistoric dwellings and non-human habitats. And like those precedents, TECLA is also a product of its immediate environment and uses virtually zero waste. “Together with WASP” Cucinella said in a press statement, “we aim at developing an innovative 3D-printed prototype for a habitat that responds to the increasingly urgent climate revolution and the needs of changes dictated by community needs. We need a paradigm shift in the field of architecture that gets closer to the needs of people, thus finding an answer for the "Earth" within the "earth". A collaboration that becomes the union between empathic architecture and the application of new technologies.”

TECLA was developed through a set of research programs within the School of Sustainability, a program in Bologna founded by Cucinella to “train the design leaders of the post-carbon era,” according to its website. The time-efficient and materially resourceful project was established to address both the ballooning of the global population and the environmental impact associated with the building industry.

The first prototype received planning approval in May of last year, and construction is scheduled to be complete within the next few months.
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A net-zero, cross-laminated timber apartment complex will rise in Boston

Thanks to support from the U.S. Forest Service and the Softwood Lumber Board, developer Placetailor and Boston-based architecture firm Generate have collaborated to design a carbon-neutral apartment block in Roxbury, a neighborhood in the south end of Boston. Named Model-C, the 5-story, 19,000-square-foot building will contain 14 residential units above an affordable co-working space on its ground floor. Model-C will be assembled using a cross-laminated timber (CLT) kit-of-parts and will be net-zero energy and net-zero carbon for its first decade of operation. The CLT rooftop will allow for the easy installation of solar panels, and the building’s walls will be insulated with natural mineral wool. The entire building, including bathroom “pods,” will be prefabricated in sections off-site and assembled from the ground up to reduce the need for scaffolding. Its plans have been certified by PassivHaus and meet the standards of the new Boston Department of Neighborhood Development’s “Zero Emissions Standards,” part of the city's Climate Action Plan. Once complete, Model-C will be one of the only totally timber buildings in Massachusetts, and one of the least energy-intensive buildings in America. Generate sees Model-C as a demonstration of a modular cross-laminated timber system the firm will apply to other sites in response to different topographical conditions and coding requirements. “Over the past year,” the firm's website states, “Generate has been transitioning out of the academic setting of the MIT Mass Timber Lab, and into industry by actively seeking progressive developers to deploy its first demonstration project, which they hope will serve as a catalyst in the Greater Boston area, and eventually in North America.” While mass-timber buildings are currently limited to six stories in North America, Generate is currently exploring the application of their system to buildings as tall as 18 stories tall in response to the 2021 Tall Wood building codes. The project received zoning approval last September and construction is expected to begin this June. Given the expediency of the prefabrication method developed by Placetailor and Generate, as well as the elimination of an interior framing system, the project can be completed as early as winter of next year.
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France mandates public buildings be built with at least 50 percent timber

Instead of forcing a uniform style of federal architecture, French President Emmanuel Macron wants to go green with government-funded structures. The Times reported that after 2022, Macron is aiming for all new public buildings in France to be built with at least 50 percent wood or another bio-sourced material. Not only that, but the President has his sights set on creating 100 urban farms across the country in an effort to bolster its large-scale sustainability measures. Julien Denormandie, the French minister for cities and housing, said the move was inspired by Paris and its recent low-carbon mandate to build structures that are at least eight stories or higher for the 2024 Summer Olympics from timber. “If it is possible for the Olympics, it should be possible for ordinary buildings,” he said in a statement. “I am imposed on all the public entities that depend on me and which manage development to construct buildings with material that is at least 50 percent wood or from bio-sourced material.” Dominique Perrault’s master plan for the river-adjacent Olympic Village includes a series of mid-rise developments that comprise 2,400 units of housing, offices, shops, restaurants, and activity centers. Located in the lower-income neighborhood of Saint-Denis, most of the buildings will be passive or energy-plus structures that utilize wood or other sustainable materials. City Lab pointed out that Paris is using the international sporting event as a way to regenerate the inner suburbs of Northern Paris. The project broke ground on its 126-acre site in November. The push to use eco-friendly materials on big building projects has already started in other cities across France too. In Bordeaux, the country’s first mass timber residential tower is currently under construction as part of a three-structure development called Hyperion. Designed by Jean-Paul Viguier, the 187-foot-tall building will feature 16 stories of housing and office space built around a concrete core. Each floor, which cantilevers slightly over the one below it, will be made of cross-laminated timber. Hyperion is expected to open next year.  As France increases the build-out of these sustainable structures, the country is also boosting access to nature throughout the country’s densest urban enclaves. Denormandie said the first set of urban farms, a group of 30 locations, will be announced this summer. The government also wants to build 90 low-carbon “eco-neighborhoods” that can adapt to extreme weather events such as heatwaves and floods. A new group called France Ville Durable is spearheading the effort.  
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Expo 2020 Dubai pavilions will showcase global innovations in sustainability and design

Long before the telephone, the airplane, and the internet, the original World’s Fair was created in 1851 as a method of presenting the achievements of all the world’s nations in a single setting. Countless modern accomplishments—among them, the telephone, the Ferris wheel, the dishwasher, and even the Eiffel Tower—have all debuted at various World’s Fairs hosted by prominent cities around the globe. And though international communication has dramatically improved since its inception, the World’s Fair lives on as the “World Expo”—a multi-acre exhibition for which countries around the world create pavilions emblematic of their respective cultures and exemplary building techniques. Expo 2020 will be held in Dubai, a city in the United Arab Emirates that has gained international standing in the last half-century and has since maintained one of the world’s fastest-growing economies. The expo master plan, designed by American design, architecture, engineering, and urban planning firm HOK, will host 190 pavilions across 1,083 acres between the cities of Dubai and Abu Dhabi and will be divided into three themed districts: Opportunity, Mobility, and Sustainability. While the majority of the pavilions have had their designs already approved and are currently in the construction phase, the Fentress Architects-designed U.S.A. pavilion has recently met financial troubles, leaving some of its features up in the air; Arabian Business reported that the UAE stepped in last week to help with necessary funding. AN has rounded up a selection of the most striking, interesting, or technologically advanced pavilions that will go on display when Expo 2020 opens on October 20: Austria—Querkraft Architekten
The 47 truncated cones of the Austria Pavilion will be constructed using 9,000-year-old-soil to demonstrate the country’s application of traditional techniques to contemporary challenges. The cones will be arranged to naturally ventilate the exhibition space and Viennese-style coffeehouse contained within as an alternative to the air conditioning technology commonly used throughout the UAE. They will have the added effect of animating the exhibition floor in a pattern of light and shadow as the sun moves overhead.
Bahrain—Christian Kerez Swiss architect Christian Kerez has designed a 21,000-square-foot pavilion for Bahrain with an imposing facade that sharply contrasts the interior, which will host live weaving stations and an open exhibition space. The roof will be supported by 187 evenly dispersed columns—each less than two inches thick—that recall the country’s weaving tradition on a massive scale. Set to be completed within a nine-month timeframe, Kerez told News of Bahrain last December that the pavilion “is quite complex, though it looks very simple, [and] at the moment we have three different international companies working together to make this project a success.” Belgium—Assar Architects and Vincent Callebaut Architectures The architects of Belgium’s pavilion describe it as a “green ark”—both for its wooden boat-like design and its goal of producing more energy than it consumes during the duration of the expo. Multiple green spaces throughout the building will be supported by smart technology programmed to efficiently grow the produce that will feed the pavilion's visitors. While the pavilion will exhibit Belgium’s various innovations over the centuries, the country’s world-famous culinary history is the main attraction. Brazil—JPG.ARQ, MMBB, and Ben-Avid The Brazil Pavilion recreates the feeling of exploring the Amazon basin using an expansive body of water enclosed by a lightweight tensile structure. Visitors can traverse the atmospheric interior either by using a black concrete path or walking through the shallow water to get up close to the sounds, scents, and sights (via images and videos projected onto the ceiling) of the Brazilian riverside. The water has the added effect of naturally cooling the main exhibition space as well as the enclosed multipurpose room on the upper floor. Finland—JKMM The Finland-based architecture firm JKMM is blending the climatic aesthetics of its native Scandinavia with those of Saudi Arabia to produce an Arabic-style tent that appears to be made of snow. Before interacting with its main exhibition space, visitors will pass through the pavilion’s slender entrance to enter a ‘gorge,’ a curved wooden space reminiscent of a Finnish forest. The light wooden elements of the gorge will contrast the rough brushed concrete of the exhibition space, which will highlight Finland’s contributions to sustainable technology and health science. Germany—LAVA and facts and fiction As a country long dedicated to energy technology, Germany will be represented by a multi-story building its architects liken to a campus to recall the “campus learning experience.” The building’s spaces will be loosely arranged under an amorphous roof encased in a translucent ETFE membrane, recalling the engineering feats of German architects Frei Otto and Konrad Wachsmann. The pavilion will guide visitors through its major exhibition spaces—The Energy Lab, The Future City Lab, and The Biodiversity Lab—using wearable devices uniquely designed for the space. Morocco—OUALALOU + CHOI Following their design for the Morocco Pavilion at the 2015 Expo held in Milan, OUALALOU + CHOI return with an adobe brick building inspired by the ancestral construction techniques commonly found throughout Moroccan villages. The firm’s design attempts to recreate the experience of the country, rather than its iconic aesthetics, by tying the pavilion’s galleries together with a continuous ramp that recalls the narrow and dynamic streets of the Moroccan medinas. The Netherlands—V8 Architects The pavilion representing the Netherlands is, according to its architects, “more a biotope than a building.” With an enormous, cone-shaped vertical farm at its center, the pavilion will maintain a relatively low temperature thanks to a passive cooling system. The design of the interior recalls both Dutch landscapes and the traditional geometric patterns of Arabic culture. The entire space will be constructed using locally sourced materials that will all be reused within the region following the Expo’s closure.