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Defining a Paradigm for Energy Efficiency The Rise of the Sun Informing Design The Energy Information Evolution in Design Education AMBLER BOILER HOUSE CREATIVE ENERGY

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contents tapping into energy in this issue of CONTEXT, we examine the concept of energy and take a look at the professionals who are shaping the future of its impact on architecture and design. are we reading the writing on the wall? can future energy crises be averted by the creative thinking of design professionals?

5 EL editor’s letter 6 UC UP CLOSE


COVER Photo: Dominic Mercier

10 Defining a Paradigm for Energy Efficiency Building 661 in the Philadelphia Navy Yard served as a recreation center for more than 50 years before it was shuttered in the 1990s. Vacant for nearly 20 years, it’s now at the center of a revival that’s proving the potential of advanced energy retrofits. by DAVID RIZ, AIA

16 The Rise of the Sun Informing Design The American built environment has been defined by our easy access to non-renewable fuels. With new metrics, technologies, tools and partners available to assess the influence of the sun on design, will our dependence on cheap fuels change? by Jeffrey R. S. Brownson

20 Energy Information Evolution in Design Education As the place of energy analysis in architecture and design evolves, Drexel University’s Smart House and Smart Initiatives are engaging students in meaningful research. by simon tickell, AIA, and d.s. Nicholas, AIA



ON THE COVER The artist collective Rabid Hands created the “Society of Pythagoras” in Powelton Village’s Hawthorne Hall during this summer’s Hidden City Festival. For more on the festival’s creative energy see page 24.

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CONTEXT The Journal of AIA Philadelphia CONTEXT Staff Managing Editor Dominic Mercier Circulation Gary Yetter Art Director Dominic Mercier Layout and Design Dominic Mercier Publisher AIA Philadelphia CONTEXT Editorial Board Harris M. Steinberg, FAIA – Chair Penn Praxis David Brownlee, Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania Steven Conn, Ph.D. Ohio State University Susan Miller Davis, AIA Sally Harrison, AIA Temple University Hilary Jay Stephen P. Mullin Econsult Corporation Rachel Simmons Schade, AIA Drexel University Anthony P. Sorrentino University of Pennsylvania Todd Woodward, AIA SMP Architects AIA Philadelphia Board of Directors Robert Hsu, AIA President Antonio Fiol-Silva, AIA President-Elect Jim Rowe, AIA Treasurer Keith C. H. Mock, AIA Past President Nancy Bastian, AIA Director Nicole Morris Dress, AIA Director

Robert J. Hotes, AIA Director Carol A. Hermann, AIA Director James Scott O’Barr, AIA Director Francesca Oliveira, AIA Director Denise E. Thompson, AIA Director

From the President

Considering the city’s history and

the missions of both AIA Philadelphia and the Center for Architecture, I’m happy to report our organization con-

Todd K. Woodward, AIA Director

tinues to make tremendous steps for-

Jules Dingle, AIA AIA Pennsylvania Director

portance of good design to the public

Robert C. Kelly, AIA AIA Pennsylvania Director Elizabeth C. Masters, AIA AIA Pennsylvania Director Michael Skolnick, AIA AIA Pennsylvania Director

ward in presenting the value and imat large. As the summer winds down, we can look forward to celebrating the best in design by our member firms at the annual Awards for Design Excellence at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel October 14. Our Design on the Delaware Committee has assembled a strong program for our annual conference, which includes

Erike De Veyra, Assoc. AIA Associate Director

keynote speakers Cathleen McGuigan, editor-in-chief of Architectural

Alan Urek Public Member

Group; architect, writer, and former director of urban design for To-

John Claypool, FAIA Executive Director Editorial and Project Submissions Editorial and project submissions are accepted on a rolling basis. Contact the editor at dominic@ For advertising and subscription information call AIA Philadelphia at 215.569.3186. The opinions expressed in this - or the representations made by advertisers, including copyrights and warranties, are not those of the editorial staff, publisher, AIA Philadelphia, or AIA Philadelphia’s Board of Directors. Copyright 2013 AIA Philadelphia. All rights are reserved. Reproduction in part or whole without written permission is strictly prohibited. Postmaster: send change of address to AIA Philadelphia, 1218 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107.

Record; Kai-Uwe Bergmann, AIA, a partner at Denmark’s Bjarke Ingels ronto Ken Greenberg; and sculptor Stacy Levy. Additionally, this summer Hilary Jay joined our staff as the Director of the Center for Architecture. Hilary, an award-winning journalist, curator and entrepreneur, takes on this new position tasked with developing new, vibrant programming and creative fundraising solutions. In addition, Hilary brings with her the DesignPhiladelphia festival, which becomes a signature event of the Center for Architecture. Uniting disciplines for the past nine years - from architecture to interior design, fashion to product design, multi-media and graphic design - DesignPhiladelphia brings together individuals and organizations from across the design spectrum and the public while building valuable relationships within the community. The festival joins an exceptional slate of Center programs, which include the Edmund N. Bacon Prize and Lecture and annual Ed Bacon Student Design Competition; the 10part Building Philadelphia Lecture Series; the prestigious Louis I. Kahn Memorial Lecture, which this year featured Ted Flato, FAIA; and our ever-popular walking tour of modern Philadelphia. DesignPhiladelphia and all of the Chapter and Center programs present a rare opportunity for architects to connect with the public in very accessible ways. As AIA Members, I encourage you to participate as often as you can. You’ll not only enrich your own design experiences but spread the importance of good design, as well.

Robert Hsu, AIA 2013 AIA Philadelphia President

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editor’s letter


Agents of Change It has recently become fashionable to insist on an impending energy crisis - Ivan Illich, “Energy and Equity” (1973) Much has changed since 1973, but concern with energy availability and energy consumption are issues that have periodically garnered public attention over the last 40 years. Periods of public concern and perceived scarcity have each time been followed by periods of perceived abundance, when energy concerns have faded to the background. However, given the current state of the world’s energy reserves, population growth, and increasing energy costs, it is clear that architects (and design professionals of all disciplines) will be required to become more energy conscious and energy literate in the coming decades. We have all seen the statistics indicating the large contribution of buildings to our overall energy use, which indicates the impact that we can have on our collective energy future. I hope that our impact is a positive one, but without increased awareness and knowledge, it could just as easily be neutral or even negative. In the Energy Issue of CONTEXT, we try to scratch the surface of this issue and to illustrate examples of design professionals, and others, who are thinking about energy and its impact on architecture and design. We hope that the contributions contained in this volume prompt you to reconsider issues of energy as a significant factor in both your professional and personal decision making. Forty years from now, perhaps it will be fashionable to discuss the energy crisis that was averted by the creative thinking of a generation of design professionals.

Todd Woodward Guest Editor

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Laurie Actman the Deputy Director of the Energy Efficient Buildings Hub guides her organization AS IT leads by example

By JoAnn Greco Sitting with Laurie Actman in the sunlit conference room of a 1911 barracks building that overlooks the Philadelphia Navy Yard’s Marine Parade Grounds, things seem pretty normal. But hidden away from the Romanesque arches and covered porches of the Energy Efficient Buildings Hub, where Actman serves as deputy director, is one of the nation’s most thorough set of monitoring instruments. The data that these gauges and gadgets collect will provide information on the degree to which the building’s technologies and systems impact its energy usage. “It’s axiomatic that you can’t manage what you can’t measure,” Actman says. In doing so, the Hub is not only helping its landlord, the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corp., but is leading by example. This two-year-old consortium of 27 organizations - established by the U.S. Department of Energy and led by Penn State University - has a mission of reducing energy consumption in the commercial buildings sector by 20 percent by 2020. Intricately connected, a second goal seeks economic development. “We need to make sure that we take advantage of all of this activity to try to foster market growth,” Actman says. Green tech, she adds, “can become a workforce cluster just like pharma or life sciences.” For Actman, 43, the work calls upon the unique blend of civic wonkiness and green savvy that’s guided her throughout her career. Her B.A. in political science and master’s

Photo: Dominic Mercier

up close

in regional planning, followed by some early experience in D.C., got her off to a smart start. In 2000, she returned home to Philadelphia, working for the Chamber of Commerce before joining the Nutter administration to help launch the Office of Sustainability and jump-start the Metropolitan Caucus. When the Caucus created a program called Energy Works, Actman realized that there was “a big public-private nexus around energy efficiency and its intersection with city planning and real estate development.” But it wasn’t until she landed squarely in the private sector that she found her calling. At Viridity Energy, a Philadelphia-based smart grid company, she helped building owners leverage their energy loads to realize savings - and make money. “I really began to understand the value and cost of energy,” she says. “I didn’t know anything about loads, the grid, how the price of electricity was set, how a building could be optimized for performance and reap economic benefits.” Indeed, according to the Hub, $618 million could be generated in regional spending by investing in energy efficient retrofitting. Using a demonstration project model, the HUB has centered much of its own energy on its own building and Navy Yard neighbors like the Rhoads Industries shipbuilding facility where it helped install a solar roof. It acts as a consultant, charging no fees and making no sales. “We have no skin in the game,” says Actman. “We don’t recommend any one vendor, for example - we’re trying to create more opportunities for more vendors, then get out of the way.” It’s also embarked on an ambitious project to relocate its headquarters elsewhere in the Yard. The Penn State Center for Building Energy Education & Innovation will be a newly constructed training facility for building operators, energy auditors, and others in the arena, as well as an incubator for the development of new business ventures. Needless to say, its integrated design process neatly checks off a comprehensive list of sustainability measures, including ground source heat pumps, energy recovery ventilators, high efficiency LED lighting, high performance insulation, and a vegetated roof for stormwater management. A second component of the new headquarters is perhaps more promising since it involves applying advanced energy retrofits to Building 661, an old, now-vacant recreational facility. When it reopens as the Penn State Center for Building Energy Science, the 1941 building will serve as a “living lab” of repeatable and scalable systems, with built-in monitoring and verification, that can provide real object lessons by using “off the shelf” products - not cutting edge ones - according to KieranTimberlake, architects for the $30 million project.


Since the majority of buildings in the U.S. are existing - rather than new-builds - and buildings are responsible for 40 percent of the country’s energy generation, the importance of retrofitting is critical, Actman points out. That goes for historic properties, too, which is why the Hub is currently working with the Historic Preservation department at the University of Pennsylvania to identify barriers for sustainably renovating historic properties. “It’s important to find some degree of alignment,” Actman says, “so that these properties can remain useful and competitive in the marketplace.” Mostly, though, the Hub is interested in getting owners of ordinary multi-family and commercial buildings onboard the energy train. “These folks want proven things that work,” says Actman. “We’re

“It’s important to find some degree of alignment so that these properties can remain useful and competitive in the marketplace.” trying to get them to consider retrofitting instead of doing nothing, by putting together a menu of integrated and relatively easy fixes not just the windows, roof, HVAC, or lighting, but everything as a whole.” The Hub is “looking for the biggest bang for the buck,” she adds, citing the consortium’s role in helping to implement - and eventually manage - the city’s new Energy Benchmarking Law as one of its chief accomplishments thus far. Set to go into effect next year, the law requires owners of buildings with more than 50,000 square feet of interior, commercial space to collect data on electric, oil, natural gas, steam, and water usage, and to make that information available to potential renters or buyers. Philadelphia is an early adaptor of the program and Actman praises the idea for “its transparency” and for the fact that it will encourage tenants to consider energy efficiency - intricately wound up with operational costs, of course - when shopping for commercial space. Education on the part of all parties is key, believes Actman. “I love it when building owners and business owners in the market tell us that the work we’re doing is really important and valuable to them,” she says. “There’s a great community of collaborators that I’m proud to be part of.” JoAnn Greco is a regular contributor to Her writing on the built environment has also appeared in The Washington Post, Planning, Metropolis, The Atlantic Cities, ArchitectureBoston, and Urban Land. context | SU2013 | 7



Architecture and Energy: Performance and Style By Rashida Ng

Architecture and Energy: Performance and Style Edited by William W. Braham and Daniel Willis Published by Routledge 187 pages ISBN: 9780415639309 context | SU2013 | 8

Prompted by a simple question about the relationship between style and energy-efficiency in architecture, the recently released book Architecture and Energy, edited by William W. Braham and Dan Willis, provides thoughtfully progressive arguments that position the discourse of energy within the broader context of contemporary social, cultural, economic, political, and technological debate. Often discounted, the issue of style brings to the fore the muddled intricacies of architecture and culture that many architects would prefer to disregard. As Braham explains, “Architectural styles make visible the construction and maintenance of socioeconomic orders, putting efficiency discussions in a larger context.” Over the preceding decades, the declining availability of finite energy resources has provoked increasing attentiveness to issues of energy efficiency and renewable energy sources that resonate like the refrain of a familiar song to most architecture and design professionals. Through a reassessment of the issue of style, this edited collection of essays repositions the debate about energy, providing fresh insights on the opportunities for civic response in light of the real and present limitations of scarce, yet valued resources. This widened perspective

serves to elucidate the opportunities for architects to advance the discourse on sustainable environments. The volume provides a comprehensive look at the relationship between architecture and energy from multiple vantage points. Braham and Willis, architecture professors at the University of Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania State University respectively, are joined by an international roster of leading scholars including Thomas Abel, a professor at Zu Chi University in Taiwan, Luis Fernández-Galiano, an architect and professor at the School of Architecture in Madrid, John Thackara, author and senior fellow at the Royal College of Art in London, and Simos Yannas, a director at the Architectural Association in London, among others. Though varied in perspective, the voices of the contributors coalesce around associated themes that expound on the interconnectedness of our energy systems. Resisting the temptation to oversimplify the challenges posed by the issue of energy, the authors embrace these complexities and the paradoxes of the topic without hastening towards absolute conclusions. Mindful of the potential to exploit the present social directive for more environmentally responsive buildings, the authors are suspicious of the possibility of a “green style” to provoke meaningful advancement of the field. At


the same time, they suggest that the performance of buildings should in some way be made visible through its design. However, they unambiguously reject a narrow characterization of the correlation between architecture and energy as purely technical. At a time when the profession of architecture is generally embracing more quantitative accounts of building performance, this title offers a timely and cautionary perspective that highlights the specious potentials of numeric metrics. It authoritatively challenges a commonly accepted notion of energy efficiency as the preeminent response to the present dilemma. Calling into question the reliability of our predictive models, Fernández-Galiano expressly cautions against the use of metrics that could be perceived as “a conscious and deliberate plan to dress voluntary decisions with an aura of inevitability.” Distinguishing between predictive and exploratory analysis, he acknowledges the role of the latter to act as a policy and pedagogical tool that can provide beneficial comparative data, while rejecting the notion that our predictive models can accurately forecast the actual energy usage of the building over time. Willis astutely explains, “the factors that will determine how a building ‘performs’ are nearly unlimited in number … only partially quantifiable, and therefore cannot lead to an ‘optimum’ solution.” As a whole, the book warns against an unqualified technical approach to the evaluation of a building’s performance and the

tempting, yet deceptive belief that it’s overall energy usage can be optimized through design. While it is commonly accepted that energy usage is related to formal attributes such as solar orientation, surface to volume ratios, and overall square footage, the social and economic equities of energy usage are far less frequently cited. Specifically, the nearly direct correlation between access to energy and wealth is rarely questioned. Architecture and Energy broadens the debate about the distribution and use of scarce resources into the social realm. Thackara remarks, “Resource efficiency is, at heart, a social process, not a technical one.” Comparing the near 1:1 ratio of energy inputs to calories consumed in areas with subsistence agriculture to the 12:1 ratio in the industrialized world, Thackara discredits the link between access to energy and quality of life. Historically, the availability and abundance of energy capital has enabled largely unfettered growth of cities and towns through the shifting of resources towards the service of ambitions that are independent of the natural flow of energy systems. Revealing the inherent efficiencies that persist in communities without access to the wealth and power afforded by energy choice, this book appeals for more creative, even radical, approaches to the limits of energy resources. At the same time, the authors are cognizant of the reality that the distribution


of energy is not about individual buildings, but about larger systems, as they petition for more extensive shifts in all aspects of energy capital - social and technological. Architecture and Energy commendably frames a series of critical dilemmas faced by contemporary culture and society, in acknowledgement that countless aspects that dictate patterns of energy usage are outside of the purview of architects. In so doing, it shifts the conversation about energy production and use, underscoring the need for productive evolution of policies and cultural norms that ultimately affect the spatial distribution of energy systems. This book departs from the outlook that the future of energy policy has already been determined through imminent regulations that will mandate significant reductions in energy usage. In contrast, it embraces the instability of globalization and provokes renewed discussion about how energy is quantified, distributed, and viewed by society. Ultimately, it encourages architects to acknowledge the limitations of work that occurs within the boundaries of our discipline and to engage in the broader social and political debate. It provides a valuable tool for the education of future architects, presenting an actionable source of inspiration for future policy, theory, and practice in architecture. Rashida Ng is an Associate Professor at Temple University in the Architecture Department and a registered architect. context | SU2013 | 9


DEFINING A PARADIGM Building 661 in the Philadelphia Navy Yard is a Georgian-style brick building constructed during World War II. It served as a recreation center for more than 50 years until it was shuttered in the mid-1990s when naval operations left the shipyard. The building stood vacant for nearly 20 years as investors and city planners began to transform the Navy Yard into the burgeoning urban development it is today. By David Riz, AIA

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Abundantly daylit through punch windows and skylights, with roofs supported by beautiful wood trusses, Building 661 is emblematic of buildings of similar age, composition, and size throughout Philadelphia and the region. They are still useful, but they often lack the modern systems to keep them operating efficiently. Building 661 is now in the midst of a revival aimed at proving the potential of advanced energy retrofits to reduce energy consumed in the commercial buildings sector by 20 percent by the year 2020. Though the building is modest in size, it offers a mighty proposi-

tion that - if heeded - could have huge effects not only on how buildings are upgraded, but on how architects, engineers, builders, and owners interact in the process. At the helm of the revival is the Energy Efficient Buildings Hub, a consortium of academic institutions, federal laboratories, global industry partners, regional economic development agencies, and other stakeholders led by Penn State that joined forces to secure up to $130 million in federal grants from the Department of Energy in 2011. The charge of the EEB Hub is to establish the Philadelphia region as a national center for energy efficiency research, educa-

FOR ENERGY EFFICIENCY tion, policy, and commercialization. EEB Hub operations will be headquartered at Building 661 - recently dubbed the Building Energy Sciences Center - a “living laboratory” that supports the research, development, and demonstration of current and emerging energy-efficient systems, as well as technologies to nurture the transformation of commercial building processes. From this building, the EEB Hub consortium will develop and deploy modeling and simulation platforms; demonstrate the market viability of integrating energy-saving technologies for whole building system solutions; identify policies that accelerate market adoption of energy-efficient retrofits of commercial buildings; inform, train, and educate people about proven energy-saving strategies; and help launch business ventures that will exploit market opportunities for providing whole building energy-saving solutions. While reducing energy consumption on

a regional basis is a tremendous goal on its own, what is perhaps more revolutionary is the EEB Hub’s mission to change how architects, builders, and owners interact and deliver projects. With this in mind, the design process for the renovation of Building 661 was highly collaborative and deliberate, and the full team, including EEB Hub representatives, architects, engineers, builders, and others, were conscious of creating a paradigm for others in the industry to follow. Traditional project delivery methods separate architects and engineers from builders by not inviting them to the discussion until a design is complete. Recognizing that segregated design and construction phases would result in fragmented solutions, the client set up an integrative model, in which all stakeholders participated in all aspects of the design and construction effort. Furthermore, successful decision making requires detailed information about quality, cost, and schedule that

can inform the process and assure participants that the results will be consistent with the project’s values. Therefore the team used iterative cost modeling to focus on the project as a unified whole rather than a series of individual components. As early in the process as possible, specific cost targets were collaboratively developed and validated. Cost, constructability, and logistics are considered fundamental design parameters, allowing alternatives and options to be developed and analyzed in parallel. On this project, the iterative cost model was dynamic, allowing for updating in realtime as the design work evolved. The team was empowered to focus design work to a detailed estimate, rather than estimating a detailed design after the fact. This iterative approach provided critical input that informed, supported, and promoted good design decisions by including critical information as the project was developed. context | SU2013 | 11

A misperception exists that integrative process, which typically requires more time and cost up front, is only applicable to high-budget buildings. But because it is particularly relevant to advanced energy retrofits, the EEB Hub wants to streamline and scale integrative processes to make them accessible to small and mid-size building owners, helping owners to understand that more upfront time and cost leads to more value for the construction - and is directly linked to energy performance. Fundamental to integrative process is the collective establishment of project values, governance, schedules, and a target budget. The project is governed by an integrated design group, made up of representatives of the architect, builder, and owner, tasked with tactical aspects of shepherding the design. A second group, the Building Steering Committee, made up of client, user, architect, and builder representatives, is responsible for strategic oversight of the project as a whole. These groups meet frequently, with some crossover of members to ensure commonality and continuity of objectives. Meetings do not end when the design is complete - they continue well into construction. When conflicts or cost issues arise, they are evaluated by the building steering committee, and the integrated design group accepts their conclusions. It is refreshing as an architect to be a member of the committee that makes the final decisions, rather than merely receiving them. This dynamic allows architects to think about the project in much broader terms than just design, and it lets clients understand that they have a responsibility in factors that drive cost. In the case of Building 661, our process has never gone “backwards.” All decisions have been made through the filter of the project values. The project was initiated with a series of workshops to establish values, governance, overall and week-to-week schedules, and a target budget. Our initial design phase then started with a workshop focused on selecting integrated systems that met programmatic needs while demonstrating energy efficiency, including a mandate to use “state-of-the-shelf” technologies; in other words, systems that are both accessible to and economical for the commercial building marketplace. As the EEB Hub team’s initiating document states, “All projects need context and background for determining at the outset why the project is being undertaken. What problems does it solve? What does it mean to represent? Who are the stakeholders and what are their objectives?” The establishment of a values matrix, a representation context | SU2013 | 12

of the varied values the parties intend for the project to represent, anchors the project in a certain context that allows the parties to work across the creative tensions of varying values and arrive at the best built environment solution. Building 661 Values Matrix Influence: As a regional collaboration creating national energyefficient innovations that foster job growth and economic development, we will influence the industry to design, implement, and operate integrated energy-efficient renovations. We will influence public owners to use integrative project delivery processes. Repeatable Demonstration: We will demonstrate incorporation of replicable energy-efficient technology, processes, and procedures that are affordable, workable and efficient. We will demonstrate that public projects can deliver projects on an integrated basis within the procurement challenges this project faces. Learning: We will use processes and technologies that allow us to learn and share our learning about the efficacy, affordability, repeatability and constructability of efficient and effective energy retrofits through synergistic integration of dependable components and subsystems. Collaborative Environments: We will create a collaborative, multi-dimensional, and highly functional work environment to serve both short- and long-term goals and provide a nexus for regional demonstration, learning, and influence in accordance with EEB Hub requirements and Penn State educational goals. Systems Integration: We will create efficient and effective energy retrofits through synergistic integration of dependable components and subsystems. Cost Certainty: We will be good financial stewards and will spend all available initial funds to maximize scope and minimize long-term facility costs with constant consideration of premium/affordability. Time Reliability: We will be a highly reliable team who makes decisions at the most responsible moment and creates a safe and quality work environment. Reflecting on these values, we notice that the last three - systems integration, cost certainty, and time reliability - are desired for most building projects. But what is interesting is that the first four - influence, repeatable demonstration, learning, and collaborative environ-

ments - are outsized in relation to the modest scale of the building. This suggests that each retrofit project conceived or influenced by the EEB Hub is a reflection of its values. They are not isolated events each subsequent retrofit site becomes part of a network of feedback loops and lessons learned. Thus, the energy-saving goal is brought about by a critical mass of influence, with incremental change leading to massive change. On the cost side, we wanted to make sure we were not so excessively above the energy goal that it couldn’t be replicated by others. We needed to make the goal aspirational but achievable in a mass market. For example, originally we wanted to use triple-glazed windows, and R-40 walls, but we realized we didn’t need to go to such great lengths. Affordable efficiency was a more important value than reaching a 90 Energy Star rating; even though we reached 95 without extraordinary measures, we could settle for a rating of 75. Therefore, repeatable systems integration became the value that would guide all other decisions. With this in mind, most of the initial phase was spent deciding that this goal would be best met if it represented the types of spaces and programs encountered in different retrofits throughout the region. We divided the building into three

distinct programmatic zones, each defined by a different integrated systems approach, with the concept that their cost, operations, and performance could be compared within the building and viewed by the public. While this plan may seem costly and inefficient, it aligns with multiple project values including repeatable demonstration, learning, and systems integration. Once the approach was finalized, all subsequent decisions were viewed through the lens of the program and integrated systems. Early in the process, it became clear that this was an opportunity to create architecture of “infrastructure” to support both the didactic display of the three integrated approaches, and also to foster seamless collaboration among EEB Hub’s task teams. Therefore, our work as architects on this project was less about detailing and materials and more about identifying impactful changes - such as removing a central wall to create a large daylit atrium, and inserting a new mezzanine for meeting space that also serves as an armature for mechanical systems. Our process at Building 661 differed greatly from a typical project, where the architectural solution is worked out first, and the mechanical engineers must then follow behind to conceive ways to make it

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The Center for Building Energy Science is entered from a wood boardwalk situated under a canopy of trees in a park-like landscape of London Plane trees, clusters of ornamental apple trees, and other low-level plantings. The lobby opens up to a large skylit atrium, conceived as the heart of the building from which the EEB Hub activities are visible to visitors. The atrium is a highly flexible space that can be used for informal gatherings, displays and exhibits, conferences, and industry networking events, with glass walls to provide views of lighting systems, building controls, and building information modeling labs. Bleacher-style stairs will be used as seating for lectures, demonstrations, and gatherings. A new steel mezzanine inserted overhead provides break-out and informal gathering space for large symposiums and an Immersive Construction (ICon) Lab and serves as an efficient armature for systems distribution. The building is divided into three discrete programmatic zones with appropriate integrated mechanical systems for testing and verification of each system. Energy efficiency strategies include: • Passive and active chilled beams serving large public spaces and workrooms • Under floor air delivery with displacement diffusers serving the second floor high-occupancy spaces • Variable refrigerant volume system serving the first floor offices • Dedicated outdoor air (DOA) unit with exhaust air energy recovery (enthalpy wheels) and desiccant dehumidification • Demand controlled ventilation • High efficiency condensing hot water boiler • Heat recovery chiller providing regenerative heating and reheat during cooling season • Automatic lighting controls in all non-utility spaces, vacancy/occupancy control in enclosed spaces, and time of day controls in common areas • High efficiency LED lighting • Insulation added to the existing walls (R-24) and roof (R-30). Use of spray foam insulation maximizes impermeability of building envelope, reducing heat loss due to air infiltration. • New double glazed, low-e, argon-filled units with thermally broken frames to replace existing windows, with higher performance glazing on the south facing windows and skylights • Manual interior shades below skylight • Trees on east and south side of the building to prevent glare and to act as exterior shade • Reduced overall lighting power by approximately 8.5 percent below ASHRAE 90.1-2007 baseline Benefits: 1. The energy model indicates that the proposed design performs 42.9 percent better in terms of annual energy consumption and 32.6 percent in terms of annual energy cost relative to the ASHRAE baseline, meeting Penn State’s requirement for 30% energy savings relative to ASHRAE 90.1-2007 (the relevant baseline for LEED version 3). 2. The proposed design is expected to earn 13 of 19 possible LEED EAc1 points. Sixteen additional LEED EAc1 points may be achieved by proposing an atypical calculation method for airtightness improvements, resulting in 38.7 percent energy cost savings. 3. The proposed design has an Energy Star rating in the range of 94-97, meeting the project goals of 75 or higher. 4. The energy use intensity (EUI) for the proposed design is 40 kBtu/sf-year, nearly half of the baseline design energy use intensity (EUI) of 71 kBtu/sf-year.

The Building Energy Education and Innovation Center (Building 7R), a newly constructed building across the street for Penn State’s College of Engineering, will accommodate building operators, building energy auditors, and other practitioners of building energy efficiency, and will serve the development of new business ventures in building energy efficiency. It represents a prototypical commercial building with capability for hands-on training, assessment, and problem solving associated with energy-efficient building operations. While the renovation of Building 661 focuses on integrated solutions for energy reduction in retrofits, the Building Energy Education and Innovation Center (Building 7R) utilizes alternative energy strategies that can be more easily envisioned in new buildings, such as ground source heat pumps with energy recovery wheels in a decentralized system, and an experimental solar PV array that will test different types of solar panels. Brick screens provide passive solar shading for south-facing facades, and high-performance translucent glazing for the north and west elevations. It has an integrated stormwater management system via a green roof and cistern to collect rainwater for irrigating the landscape and toilet flushing. Sensors in the green roof will monitor the efficacy of irrigation and hydration, as well as its ability to moderate the temperature of the solar panels. Energy efficiency strategies include: • High efficiency ground source heat pumps • Displacement ventilation in auditorium • Demand controlled ventilation • Energy recovery ventilators • Decentralized mechanical equipment that minimizes fan energy and length of duct runs • Automatic lighting controls in all non-utility spaces, vacancy/occupancy control in enclosed spaces, and time of day controls in common areas • High efficiency LED lighting • 10kW rooftop photovoltaic array that supplies a DC power grid ceiling in the technology classroom, an electric car-charging station, and visible battery storage for demonstration • Vegetated roof for stormwater management • Grey water system that filters rainwater for re-use • Innovative brick screen shading on the south façade that reduces heat gain and mitigates glare in the classroom and training spaces • Innovative translucent panel assemblies on the north and west facades • Reduced lighting loads through passive daylighting strategies in the classrooms • Double glazed, low-e, argon-filled windows • High performance insulation at the exterior walls and roof • Reduced overall lighting power by approximately 38% below ASHRAE 90.1-2007 baseline Benefits: 1. The proposed design performs 32% better in terms of annual energy consumption relative to the ASHRAE 90.1-2007 (the relevant baseline building for LEED version 3). 2. The 32-percent reduction in energy consumption exceeds Penn State’s requirement for 30% energy consumption savings relative to the ASHRAE 90.1-2007 baseline. 3. The energy use intensity (EUI) for the proposed design is 38 kBtu/sf-year, compared to the baseline design model energy use intensity (EUI) of 53 kBtu/sf-year.

“The question we take away from this project is how will the EEB Hub - and ultimately the design and construction industries - convince owners to understand the value proposition of the integrative process and encourage them to modify their contracts to embrace collaboration rather than codify conflict? Ultimately, it will come down to dollars and cents.” work. When there are budget issues, value engineering will affect integrated systems first. In this case, the integrated approach to envelope, daylighting, mechanical systems, controls, and verification systems was primary and could not be jeopardized by value engineering or other decisions. While the energy-efficient systems receive much of the attention, what we are only beginning to understand is the precise impact that integrative process has on energy consumption. Energy-saving technology is widely available - what stands in the way of implementing it is a process that results in fragmented solutions because values have not been set and cost is not controlled. It does not matter how great the technologies are if they are not deployed in an integrated manner. Integrative process is the key to guaranteeing that the systems integration will be designed and implemented to meet the goals. The establishment of shared values, combined with a flexible, dynamic cost model, allowed the team to expand the project from its original scope of a renovation and addition to a renovation plus a new building and landscape. This was achieved without adding cost or time to the project. A key lesson of this approach was to establish and make known to all team members a maximum project budget that includes all contingency and project fees, so everyone can understand the relationship between construction cost and project cost. Through the process, we came to understand that exceeding budget in the early criteria design and early detailed design phases was not cause for knee-jerk value engineering, but rather a prompt to think creatively to reduce the costs in targeted increments, so the project values could remain intact. We also learned the value of maintaining a reasonable contingency throughout the phases. For the EEB Hub, we maintained a 10 percent contingency until the project went out to bid. To keep the project on budget, we moved a number of items that were “nice to have,” but not critical to project values, to an “add alternates” list in the bid documents. These items could be added back if the bids were in line with the cost model, and a sufficient construction contingency remained intact. This approach gave all stakeholders the discipline to remain focused on parts of the project that were truly critical to its success. The question we take away from this project is how will the EEB

Hub - and ultimately the design and construction industries - convince owners to understand the value proposition of the integrative process and encourage them to modify their contracts to embrace collaboration rather than codify conflict? Ultimately, it will come down to dollars and cents. Projects employing the integrative process need to prove to building owners that a slight increase in soft costs will result in an appreciable increase in building performance for less construction cost. It will take time and will require a seismic shift in a 100 year-old mindset - much like the LEED certification process, which was initially rejected by many clients due to its perceived added cost, and is now considered almost boringly mainstream. We may look back someday, shaking our heads at the often dysfunctional nature of design and construction, and acknowledge that change began at a small former recreational building at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. DAVID RIZ, AIA, is a principal at KieranTimberlake. David has 23 years of experience as an architect, and has dedicated much of his practice to developing effective collaboration processes leading to award-winning, sustainably designed buildings. PROJECT CREDITS OWNER: Pennsylvania State University ARCHITECTURE: KieranTimberlake CONSTRUCTION MANAGER: Balfour Beatty GEOTECHNICAL ENGINEER: Pennoni Associates MEP/FP ENGINEER: Bruce E. Brooks Associates STRUCTURAL ENGINEER: CVM CIVIL ENGINEER: Hunt Engineering LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT: Studio Bryan Hanes COMISSIONING AGENT: ARAMARK ENVIRONMENTAL/LIGHTING DESIGN: Atelier Ten GENERAL TRADES CONTRACTOR: Ernest Bock & Sons MECHANICAL CONTRACTOR: Devine Bros. ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR: EJ Electric PLUMBING CONTRACTOR: Dolan Mechanical context | SU2013 | 15

Photo Courtesy Tim McDonald

Energy use is coupled to the locale and the comfort expectations of the client, as well as the availability of inexpensive fuel resources. The history of energy use in the American built environment has been defined by our easy access to non-renewable fuels. By Jeffrey R. S. Brownson

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OPPOSITE PAGE: A solar array atop Plumbob LLC’s passive house project Belfield Townhomes, the first Passive House Certified project in Pennsylvania. The 15kW array across three houses is designed to have the houses meet Net-Zero-Energy status.

Pennsylvania alone has been defined by the original booms in the geofuels (nonrenewable stocks of energy resources embedded in Earth’s crust) of coal (1850s), petroleum (1860s), and now unconventional natural gas from shales. However, easy access to geofuels has dulled our perspective and our collective wisdom regarding the surrounding environments in which we design, build, and live. I pose that our dependence on cheap fuels in design has evoked a distinct separation of energy use from awareness of unique meteorological climate regimes. Furthermore, we have new metrics, technologies, tools, and partners to assess the influence of the Sun about the built environment. Yet in order to access these tools, we need to learn of the importance of radiometry, used in complement with thermal awareness and photometry to guide design. Radiometry means measuring full energy intensity of light coming from the sun and surrounding sky/ ground (called irradiance), while photometry means measuring the surrounding light with respect to the eyes’ visual response only (discarding the majority of the optical spectrum, called illuminance). Over hundreds of years (thousands, actually), development in solar technology implementation - cultivating the Sun to increase comfort and ease living in society - often emerges in response to constrained or restricted access to traditionally accessible fuels (wood, gas, fuel-derived electricity). Increased use of solar-aware vernacular in Roman architecture in early centuries BCE was linked to high demand and limited access to wood.

from a basic need into a luxury. This luxury dramatically increased demand for wood in the Italian peninsula, leading to regional deforestation. As the price of wood increased, people in Rome increased adoption of close substitutes for space heating: solar thermal space design. And so we observed the emergence of the portico and the piazza in the vernacular. Throughout history, fuel constraints have emerged in several forms, but each results in a higher cost for fuels and a corresponding pressure to seek out energy alternatives. We find that access to fuel can be restricted in several identifiable forms: 1. Physical inaccessibility due to regional resource depletion (e.g. deforestation) or supply chain disruptions (e.g. oil embargo), 2. Exceptionally high demand for fuels that outstrips supply, 3. Being accessible but only at high risk to the community, and 4. From socially restraining policies, regulations, and laws. Pressure to adapt to new energy sources has occurred repeatedly throughout history, and many times society has turned to more effective use of the solar resource as a result. The accessibility of fuels strongly affects our societal perceptions of the Sun. During periods of increased fuel constraints, research into the use of solar energy is often socially advocated and the solar resource has been interpreted as ubiquitous and vast. However, we may contrast these periods with alternate periods when fuels have been easily accessible, inexpensive, and unconstrained. In the

The increase in solar vernacular also lead to broader social impacts in Roman communities with corresponding development of legal rights to solar access in urban settings. Wood fuel in both early Greece and Rome was a necessity for heating during winter months, as well as a required resource for cooking. However, with the advent of hypocausts (ancient under floor wood heating) in Rome the first century BCE, wood fuels transformed

world of cheap fuel, when there is no pressure to adapt to energy alternatives, we tend to revert to a sense that our structures can function as if they were independent of their meteorological and microclimatic surroundings. In such times (including right now in the USA) a light-induced energy conversion from the Sun is socially deemed diffuse and insufficient for performing useful activities to support society. Our engines of creativity

seem to come to a jarring halt over the many supposed obstacles in making solar energy a reality. We can project that in the near future new modern fuel constraints will emerge, tied to the ever increasing global demand for energy. While local gas production may ease our concern in some respects, other constraints and corresponding higher energy prices will emerge from environmental laws restricting biome disruption (tied to ground water supplies and ecosystem disruptions from spills or industrial energy production land use), and from social limitations to access and burn our non-renewable resources (tied to greenhouse gas emissions and curbing climate change). Those constraints will each lead to increased costs for fuel, and increased interest in substitutes like solar energy. Examination of economics and social behavior leads one to pose that the perception of solar energy as diffuse is a result of the availability of geofuels combined with the perceived necessity of those fuels to support the comfort demands of our clients within the USA. This is a shortcoming of creativity, and exploration of the solar resource will undoubtedly reveal new opportunities for design and client preference for clever solar options. The current combination of easily accessible fuels and qualitative descriptions of the solar resource has lead to a pervasive and debilitating delusion among the majority of Americans: that the solar resource in their region is clearly poor. In complement, there has been a general absence of solar design included with respect to building orientation and daylighting over the last five decades. We can infer that this common view is a direct result of surpluses in accessible geofuels like coal, petroleum, natural gas, tar sands and oil shales. In fact, the annual solar resource in the American Southwest is only about 25 percent greater than in our own Midatlantic region. The entire Midatlantic region has the resources more akin to much of southern France or northern Italy: better than Paris, London, Vienna; more like Bordeaux, Milan, even Marseille. So why would we have such a skewed sense of solar energy incident in our own regions, yet project that the “grass is greener” in other similar parts of the globe? context | SU2013 | 17





Sun Luminance





photometry Illuminance Artificial Lighting





Electricity: Photovoltaics

We do not measure the power from the Sun tied to our buildings. Even though we may be aware of the value of daylight and a warm sunspace, air temperature is unintentionally, yet frequently separated from the driving flow of solar gain (irradiance). On a sunny day, we walk into a shaded area under a tree and interpret the air as cooler, when the actual temperature is close to the same—what is missing is the solar gain that warmed your skin. Years of passive solar research have occurred in architecture, and we still tend to treat air temperature as more important than the radiative gains that produce the air temperature. The Sun-surface interactions are integral to building performance and integration with the locale, yet we continue to treat the influence of the Sun as peripheral, rather than fundamental. There are three fundamental drivers to energy behavior in the built environment: 1. The Sun, in the form of irradiance or solar gains. We observe flows of energy gains over seasons, months, days, hours. This is wireless remote energy transfer that creates the baseline for all other energy flows 2. The Earth, in the form of thermal coupling from the ground. This is often also residual solar energy, stored within the soil over seasons. The solar thermal gradients reach down, while the geothermal gradients reach upward. 3. People, in the form of thermal coupling of the building with the people occupying the space. Each body is a 100W thermal radiator within the built environment. We are all familiar with the effect of dozens of 100W generators in the space of an office making an enclosed space stifling. Riding on top of these three baselines are the marginal influences of unwanted heat from plug loads and lighting, and the conditioning of space in attempts to deliver comfort. Our awareness for these three drivers of building behavior, and our ability to collect and use data from these three can lead to radically different approaches to context | SU2013 | 18


Plants and Trees

Hot Water Sun Spaces

Earth / Wall / Floor

control systems. Our historical affinity for burning fuels has been paired with an affinity and strong awareness of temperature. We control building systems based on simple metrics of indoor air temperature, potentially using outdoor average air temperature as well. We know that burning something will warm the space, and we can measure and respond to that warmth using thermometer technologies. We also know that a thermometer will provide us information on when to cool a space back to a comfortable set point. As such our technologies for measuring energy are equated with measuring temperature. Think of how you “know” what 80°F versus 65°F means. Society is looking for new solutions to energy supplies and demand side management, but we keep returning to the same measurements, expecting a change in our systems by using the same data to generate new meaning to control the space. In effect, we are repeating the same experiment over and over, collecting the same data, and expecting different results. Instead, we might look to the sources of our energy portfolio and follow new lines of data, new sensory metrics that are accessible following the microelectronics revolution. In recent decades, we have learned to measure energy in terms of electric power over time, or kilowatt-hours (kWh). Yet we remain largely unaware or unable to use other measures of energy, particularly those from the largest source of energy incident upon Earth. Why not measure the irradiance/irradiation along with the temperature, and why not collect additional information about the influence of people as thermal generators in the space? What if we, as a design culture, were to learn what 1200 W/m2 meant versus 500 W/m2 for an average hourly irradiance upon an exposed surface (vertical wall or rooftop)? What if we had a sense for the scale of 40 kWh collected from a sunny February day’s PV production in Philadelphia? Could we incorporate our sense of irradiance into new ways to make use of that information in a responsive facade? How about the influ-

ence of landscape and reflective fields like rock gardens on modifying thermal conditions—very typical of Zen rock gardens from Japanese temples? What new façade materials or patterning can be designed to selectively absorb or reflect solar gains? How can we use this solar information beyond illuminance design? We can feed that new solar information into controls systems, we can explore visualization of the data to influence occupant behavior, even apply the data for gamification (playing games) by the occupants. Or we could think bigger, and share energy information in larger data clusters for entire neighborhoods, leading to potential energy sharing scenarios. As a culture, without comparative data, we tend to project the worst for the solar resource in our area. The truth is in the measures of irradiation, suggesting the new value of using radiometry in complement with temperature. But what is this value of irradiation? Solar energy can be separated into two big “groups” (called bands) of similar wavelengths. There is the shortwave band of light found between 250-2500 nm wavelengths of light. The other big group is the longwave band. This longwave light is low energy light that “glows” from our bodies, our buildings, from the gournd and sky, which we often call “thermal radiation” for historical reasons. Within the solar field, we focus our measures on shortwave light, in terms of irradiance, as W/m2 (Watts per square meter, a flow of light on a receiving surface). If we group irradiance over a block of time, say an hour, we call the measure irradiation, in units of Wh/m2 (Watt-hours per area, similar units to electrical energy measure). Traditional silicon photovoltaics (“PV”) will collect all light energy for electricity production from wavelengths of smaller than 1100 nm (not just the visible, another misconception). Also, almost all of our opaque surfaces in buildings tend to absorb strongly over the entire shortwave range (leading to increases in temperature!). And yet our wonderfully adaptive human eyes only capture the tiny visible band from 380-780 nanometers (or from blue to red, about 45 percnet of the shortwave irradiance). There is also a fascinating, complex feedback loop that we inherit from our irises, lenses, and eyelids working together. Our eyes impart visual comfort and great sensitivity to dynamic flows of information, but because they are highly sensitive and adaptive systems, our eyes cannot be used to reliably distinguish and evaluate the solar resource (your bare skin may actually be a better receptor for the shortwave band, so long as the day is not windy). From the building science perspective of lighting, when we measure light in buildings we use photometry (illuminance) but neglect radiometry (irradiance). In doing so, we effectively throw away just over 50% of the solar energy information. Particularly for the outside of a building, radiometry is of greater importance than photometry or thermometry. Until very recently even the meteorological community - the scientists who forecast our daily weather - have not used measures of the solar resource to communicate the intensity of a day’s energy provision. Instead, we have based our measure of solar energy potential upon the number of “cloudy days” or “clear days”, or cautionary indications of UV intensity, rather than actually measuring and reporting the solar resource directly. Now, the field of meteorology is changing, and our colleagues are become more and more cognizant of the

important of good, bankable solar data sets. The coupling of the locale to energy use necessitates awareness for the surroundings, the microclimatic factors influencing energy behavior in buildings. Seasonal changes within a locale deliver very different conditions of solar energy, and we are familiar with the seasonal variations of solar energy in terms of the requirements for thermal space conditioning. When we design with the awareness for solar energy, we are often looking for the context that will drive our decisions forward. Underpinning the language of solar energy conversion is the central goal of solar design (as an integrative team of architects, engineers, even financial experts and economists): one seeks to maximize the solar utility of the resource for a client or stakeholders in a given locale. Where do we access these new streams of information from the Sun? In the production of geofuels such as petroleum and natural gas, we rely on geoscientists to inform the engineers and economists for decision-making. Analogously, solar energy (and wind energy) de-

“We might look to the sources of our energy portfolio and follow new lines of data, new sensory metrics that are accessible following the microelectronics revolution.” signers will soon come to rely strongly on scientists from both meteorology and climatology to inform future developments of solarincorporated projects. Solar energy assessment has scales that are both local and short in time, appropriate to meteorology, and those that are multiregional and which space across seasons, years, and decades, appropriate to climatology. We should learn to develop new relationships among our peers in weather forecasting, and express our needs for irradiation measures for vertical surfaces, informing evolving approaches to façades on our buildings, as well as spatial organization, integration of mechanical and lighting systems, and new materials selection. We are becoming a new generation of energy explorers as well as participants in integrative building design and operation. In exploring this new space for solar energy, we find that there are no firm “rules” to solar engagement and entrepreneurship other than those specified by the coincident emergence of new policy and law. How can we incorporate the new functionality of solar awareness from new data streams into our design concepts to reveal exciting opportunities for future occupants? Imagine new patterns of incorporating solar energy conversion systems and sustainable design, beyond photovoltaics and solar hot water panels-—solar chimneys, greenhouses for power and food, solar gardens (shared solar arrays) for community power or district heating, solar water treatment, cooking with solar energy, even simple lighting design to improve indoor air quality and reduce electricity costs. There are amazing opportunities already in society and new patterns to explore for our future. I encourage you, the emerging generation of professionals incorporating renewable energy into the built environment, to explore the undiscovered potential of solar energy as a new stream of information and design in society. JEFFREY BROWNSON is associate professor of Energy & Mineral Engineering at Pennsylvania State University. context | SU2013 | 19

ABOVE: the Drexel Smart House - a 100-year-old Powelton Village Twin - is one of the university’s increasingly popular venues for interacting with the built environment.

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By Simon Tickell, AIA, and D.S. Nicholas, AIA There is broad consensus within the professions of design that analysis, and user-centered issues should play a larger role in the education of those that have influence on the built environment at all scales. The place of energy analysis in architecture and design education is evolving. At Drexel University it is currently served through a variety of interdisciplinary opportunities for students to engage with real world problem solving and thinking. The well-being and comfort of building users, urban dwellers, and many communities are at stake as we move into this new century of increasingly constrained

energy use, information, and evidence-based practices. In our teaching, we have begun to implement multiple ways for students to engage with meaningful research. Programs such as the Drexel Smart Initiatives and Drexel Smart House (DSH) are increasingly becoming popular with students looking to engage the challenging issues that confront the built environment. Various modes of engagement are open to students as ways of exploring issues that are inherently interdisciplinary. In

considering these problems, we felt that it would be interesting to trace the threads of these possibilities through our teaching and academic practices. In April, David Orr, the noted environmentalist and educator, visited our community and walked through the Drexel Smart House - a 100-year-old Powelton Village twin adjacent to campus representative of much of the housing stock of this post-industrial city - with students and faculty. Dr. Orr visited as part of his lecture later that same evening at The Academy of Natural Sciences. Speaking at length about his commitment to studies of energy, water, and materials, Dr. Orr covered the 1996 effort he organized to design the first substantially green building on a college campus (the Adam Joseph Lewis Center for Environmental Studies at Oberlin College). His vision is that universities should be centers for energy efficiency and sustainability. During his visit, Dr. Orr referred to the Keeling Curve that measures atmospheric carbon dioxide. The measurements show that our world will be undergoing tremendous changes that are going to significantly affect the way we use and design the built environment. With the awareness and skills needed to creatively and responsibly address these issues directly and effectively, students, and graduates will be armed with the knowledge necessary to respond to this challenge. In those terms there is definitely a call to action for the design students of today and they are listening. They are eager to acquire and implement an understanding of energy use and conservation. To what end will this information serve them? The balance between design and analysis is one that is currently shifting in practice. What does that shift look like in education and to educators? Dr. Orr has experienced this first hand and testified to the desire of students and faculty to engage with his vision of an integrated approach to energy, design and place making. Ajla Aksamija, the director of research from Perkins + Will, visited the Drexel Smart House group and other students in late April as well. Her talk centered on how the built

environment can respond to energy usage through intensive research and simulation. The climate and context based models that her research group produces drive the design of buildings at Perkins + Will. The integration of multi and trans-disciplinary practice in to the production of their work is part of a new model for action in design. How can these sophisticated tools be used to educate students, practitioners, and leaders? While both visitors touched on issues that are being approached in DSH research projects, students were able to interact with each and glean important inspiration from them. One ongoing project that is part of the Drexel Smart House is a lightweight green roof project by architectural engineering student Mike Magee and his team. This project is an effort to bring current thinking about the green roof into the forefront of solving the heat island problems faced in our urban environment. The goal of the project is to create a prototype green roof system that is scalable to the urban environment and the challenges there. This type of project will allow community access to a possible source of food, and ameliorate the damaging effects of the heat buildup in the city. Magee is currently installing prototypes in several locations to better study the way the roof operates in different conditions. He will be installing a small prototype area on the roof of the DSH in the near future. Other projects include a temporary agricultural structure to study urban rainwater collection, and greening along with prototyping the green roof at a smaller scale. Magee has traveled far and wide in both the university and Philadelphia with this idea. His approach to mounting the project at every opportunity has shown a tenacity that is part of what has created interest in the project and continued momentum as he heads into his senior year. The Drexel Smart House began as a laboratory for learning that addresses issues in the urban environment. Shivanthi Anandan, Dee Nicholas, and longtime advisor Joan Weiner have been working to move the Drexel Smart House into its next phase, through the intecontext | SU2013 | 21

gration of education and research programming. Several cohorts of Drexel students have explored ideas about environmental interventions in Drexel Smart House and received their first experience in the integration of research and new analytical methods to their studies. Previous DSH investigations have included an exploration of modular construction for a large classroom addition that received notice in the national architectural press. This new model of learning promotes leadership in interdisciplinary problem solving in the urban setting. In addition, the Drexel Smart House is the symbolic center of a new proposed set of programs, The Drexel Smart Initiatives Program (DSIP). The goals will be to encourage projects related to problem solving and research and to encourage students and faculty to create projects that are research driven and involve team-based solutions, taking advantage of university-wide resources. We hope to encourage more projects such as the lightweight green roof project mentioned above, projects that will tackle the problems of human use, the urban environment and energy use in inventive ways. The new learning structure will create undergraduate opportunities for multidisciplinary learning. The emphasis of DSIP is centered on solving technology and design problems through collaboration. While there is a great deal of excitement and potential in the kinds of tools designers use today, there is still much work to be done to produce a truly integrated design delivery system. The profession is on the cusp of a new era of design innovation with the introduction of environmental design software that holds great promise in the making of information based three dimensional computer models. The ways in which these tools change the design process will be partially determined by the ways students learn and grow into their roles as professionals. It is critical for students and professionals alike that these new tools and models are not ends in themselves but in the service of making a more humane, sustainable and equitable built environment. As educators, there is no doubt that we must understand the innovations and inter-workings of these new digital tools, however the ability to communicate directly, make informed decisions, understand and integrate different points of view, and to improvise in an imperfect world, are the hallmarks of a good, context | SU2013 | 22

responsible design citizen. In the past year, Simon Tickell led two classes of undergraduate students from different backgrounds on a new exploration that set the stage for an exploration of environmental software. In the fall/ winter quarter the class considered thermal performance, environmental comfort and the concept of developing an “energy budget� for the DSH. Lessons learned from this investigation could have real importance to the surrounding neighborhood. While previous explorations were focused primarily on theoretical constructs, the most recent student work dealt with the messy reality of a construction site, a budget and a schedule. As classes began, the university was in the

midst of an extended initial phase of restoration with the house which was focused on envelope stabilization including repairing water damage to the exterior masonry walls and replacing the slate roof along with installing new windows. Due to the cost of the extended repairs required, the finish of the interior of the house had to be postponed and was left as a bare shell, ready for the next phase of interior fit out work. This initial disappointment became an opportunity for the class to consider how to best optimize the completion of the enclosure as well as to strategize how to design the interior layout of the house to best support a reconfigurable, lab-like platform to test improvements relevant to old housing stock, something of real significance to the DSH committee members as well as the surrounding neighborhood. The class began with an overview of passive house principles and an introduction to the special challenges associated with the thermal up-

grade and renovation of a 100-yearold structure. The students read white papers from websites such as Building Science and Passive House Institute. They explored the work of local design practices including Onion Flats, KieranTimberlake, and CuetoKEARNEYdesign. The students divided themselves into teams to collaboratively research issues related to enclosure, building systems, interiors and the site. The enclosure team created a matrix of insulation and air/water barrier products and developed a series of preliminary wall section interventions to address the particular challenges of the existing exterior wall assemblies. The existing building has both brick exterior walls to the rear of the site as well as thick dressed stonewalls to the public street front, each of which had very different thermal characteristics that required different approaches to deal with the subtleties of dew points and ventilation requirements. The systems team developed an energy budget for the project based on recent energy costs for the house and near neighbors to set a target for a less energy intensive residence. The team also looked at high efficiency dynamic systems like boilers, water heaters, water closets and solar hot water panels. Additionally the team calculated the amount of storm water collected on site and developed a diagram for storm water retention and harvesting to ease storm water discharge from the site and utilize harvested storm water for gray water reuse and irrigation system for the garden. The interiors team looked at indoor air quality issues, space planning, and the strategic use of color and interior plantings. They also explored alternative floor layouts to accommodated experimental student furniture layouts including capsule sleeping pods and stackable furniture. These studies led to the concept of creating an open, lablike floor plate that could be easily upgraded and reconfigured. The site team explored alternatives to universal accessibility to the site and house, designed an outdoor “demonstration” deck that connected the main floor of the house to the back garden and provided a work platform for experimentation and fabrication. This team also explored the requirements for beekeeping and planting strategies for keeping a medicinal herb garden, as well as local varieties of flowers, fruits and greens to supplement an urban diet. Most of the students’ work was based on traditional practice-based research methods, assembling products, reading industry newsletters and learning how similar kinds of problems are addressed in other climatic regions of North America. What they learned was that there are no prescriptive solutions to the kinds of problems encountered in renovation of old buildings. To get a firmer grip on the issues at play a small group of students began to explore the world of environmental software. The problem at hand was to test the wall assemblies we were proposing. We decided to start with Ecotect, which has been touted as the place to do this kind of analysis. After a valiant but frustrating try, time ran out, but we resolved that this was an area we

“The class learned very quickly that “the state of the art” advertised by software developers is still very much an evolving art form.” needed to dedicate more time to understanding. A new opportunity to study environmental software came into play almost immediately. Swarthmore College had recently hired a Drexel adjunct faculty person, Tim Kearney of CuertoKEARNEYdesign, to design a prototype faculty house built to passive house standards based on the success of a recent renovation of a twin in Swarthmore. Seizing the opportunity to give students the chance to work with adjunct faculty on a real project, the architecture program assembled a small team of interested students and faculty to assist Kearney in the design process. Work began by building a BIM model of the completed twin renovation. The class learned very quickly that “the state of the art” advertised by software developers is still very much an evolving art form as issues of import and compatibility between platforms caused early frustration with the team. Students learned through blog readings many helpful tips and work arounds. While the current state of environmental software and design is emerging and our efforts to master the various platforms has been challenging, this process has been the source, as well, of watershed moments. As weekly progress and setbacks were discussed, the class began to realize the possibilities of this software and its integration into the design process. Rather than act as followers, our students began to see that they were very much at the forefront of the discovery process. Energy use, analysis, and evidence are a strong and vital component of the emerging model for a research driven undergraduate education at Drexel, and, to some extent, within design education in general. In support of this agenda, the faculty of the architecture and interiors department is working to create new curriculum and opportunities for well-informed undergraduate designers who are equipped with the necessary tools to address the critical challenges of the built environment as well as to contribute and lead with rational, well-informed reasoning and action. We are asked to stretch ourselves beyond our comfort zones by writing new curriculum, new academic programs or exploring emerging tools. Today’s interior designers and architects need to be able to understand the depth of what lies ahead, to contribute meaningfully and lead the way. While faculty moves this agenda forward through various initiatives, it has been the continuing interests and impetus of the students that has given the call to action a particular momentum. Simon Tickell, AIA, is the associate director of Drexel University’s evening program. D.S. Nicholas, AIA, is co-director of Drexel’s DSIP and sustainability in the built environment minor director. The authors would like to offer their special thanks to: Jan Biros, Jon Coddington, Paul Schultz, Deb Ruben, Frank DeSantis, Collin Cavote, Patrick Morgan, Joan Wiener, and Shivanthi Anandan. context | SU2013 | 23



OPPOSITE PAGE: artist collective Rabid Hands created the “Society of Pythagoras” in Powelton Village’s Hawthorne Hall. Exploring the history of the social halls that once called the site home, the collective drew from secret spiritual and fraternal customs. ABOVE: brothers Billy and Steven Dufala’s “Oil and Water” installation sought to “dehab” the architecture and machinery of Globe Dye Works.

Creative Energy Photographs by Dominic Mercier Every four years, the Hidden City Festival takes visitors inside some of Philadelphia’s most fascinating forgotten or little-known spaces. The festival celebrates the power of place through the imagination of contemporary artists, inspiring people to explore the city’s history and imagine new futures for our urban landscape. Artists of diverse disciplines and media create site-specific work that illuminates abandoned, obscure, or inaccessible sites throughout the city. Held in late May through June 2013, the festival featured nine sites of historical and community interest, including several buildings looking for new ideas to bring them back to life, from the vacant and beguiling Germantown Town Hall, to Shivtei Yeshuron, a 19th century row house synagogue in South Philadelphia, to the historic John Glass Wood Turning Company. CONTEXT visited a handful of the sites to give its readers who may have missed the festival a glimpse at the creative energy that the festival brings to the city.

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ABOVE: working as ADMK, textile designer Andrew Dahlgren asked visitors to South Philadelphia’s Shivtei Yeshuron-Ezras Israel - affectionately known as “the little shul” - to help him create knitted sweater to cover the entire facade of the 100year-old storefront synagogue. RIGHT: congregational memories from Shivtei Yeshuron, which began accommodating Philadelphia’s growing Jewish population in the early 1900s and is still active today. OPPOSITE PAGE: at Old City’s John Grass Wood Turning Company featured a popup mobile lathe operated by turners from the Center for Art in Wood. Artisan John McTeague also created a custom viewing area for visitors to peek into the workshop, which opened in 1863.

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Ambler Boiler House:

Heckendorn Shiles Architects

design profile


After decades of remaining vacant and derelict, Heckendorn Shiles Architects has reimagined the Ambler Boiler House as a 48,000-square-foot LEED Platinum-certified office building, fulfilling the joint goals of contributing to Ambler’s local creative economy and preserving the historical link to its past. The Keasbey & Mattison Company built the Ambler Boiler House in 1897 as a power-generating station for the production of asbestos products. After the Great Depression, the company dissolved and the building remained vacant for decades. In the 1980s, the EPA contained the site, protecting and addressing any asbestos materials.

Summit Realty Advisors, with John Zaharchuck at the helm, purchased the property in the early 2000s, when the town of Ambler was undergoing a revitalization and emerging as a hot spot. The purchase was in accordance with Ambler Main Street’s commitment to a better utilization of existing real estate. While the property was ripe for a commer-

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cial office transit-oriented development, with its close proximity to the SEPTA Regional Rail line, existing roadways, utility services, as well as downtown Ambler, the recession put the project on hold. Then, in 2011, Summit was granted a low-interest loan from EnergyWorks, and Montgomery County provided the project with a housing and urban development loan. The Boiler House project kicked off with the extensive removal of asbestos material with the help of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) as well as state grants and loans. During this remediation, Heckendorn Shiles Architects developed designs for the adaptive reuse of the building, proposing to restore the existing structure and preserve historic features. Three floors were created from the original two and existing wall openings were maintained and infilled with new storefront glazing. The iconic smokestack also remains and acts as a cell phone tower. On the interior, the historic steel structure and brick walls are exposed as a reference to the building’s industrial past. Another essential goal of the project has been to obtain LEED Platinum Certification.

To achieve this, Heckendorn Shiles has employed several sustainable strategies, such as brownfield redevelopment, a geothermal heat pump system, retention of existing structural systems, a recycled rainwater irrigation system and the use of recycled material content. Construction of the $16 million core and shell office building was completed in August 2012, with tenants moving in during the fall of the same year. The adaptable open floor plates have helped attract a variety of tenants, including DiD, a boutique healthcare marketing agency; Summit Realty Advisors, the real estate and investment management company that developed the building; Clutch, a mobile shopping application developer; and Core States Group. DiD recently moved into the second and third floors on the south side of the building, with an open-riser wood and steel communicating stair connecting their space. A reclaimed wood boardwalk leads into the collaborative work/play “village green” space on the second floor, and on the third floor, the open office area sits under the existing steel trusses and receives ample daylight from floor-to-ceiling windows and a Kalwall roof monitor.

LOCATION: Ambler, PA CLIENT: Summit Realty Advisors ARCHITECTURE: Heckendorn Shiles Architects MEPFP ENGINEER: PHY Engineers COMMISSIONING AGENT: Bala Consulting Engineers STRUCTURAL ENGINEER: Elton & Thompson CIVIL ENGINEER: Langan Engineering CONSTRUCTION MANAGER: Domus LEED CONSULTANT: Re:Vision ENVIRONMENTAL CONSULTANT: RT Environmental Services GEOTHERMAL CONSULTANT: Alderson Engineering MASONRY RESTORATION CONSULTANT: Joseph B. Callaghan SIGNAGE & GRAPHICS CONSULTANT: Steve Pinkston + Others PHOTOGRAPHY: Don Pearse Photographers

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design profile

Wainscott House:

Sandvold Blanda Architecture + Interiors

Wainscott House is a year-round vacation home for an extended family and overlooks the pond at the heart of this 1892 Long Island, NY, beachside community.

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The owners lived for a number of years in the 100-year-old residence on the property while contemplating improvements to the home. The structure was constructed for summer use only and was found to be supported on deteriorating wood pilings. A renovation in the 1970s had insulated some areas, but muddled the plan and compromised the home’s historic character. After structural reviews and a yearlong study of various preservation options, it was decided to begin anew. The property is located in the center of the community, at the narrowest point between a protected farm field on the west and

the pond on the east. The main road passes through the property on the pond side and continues along the south edge of the fouracre site. Wetlands, which feed the pond, adjoin the property on the north. The driveways, pool and pool house were required to be retained and along with the wetlands’ setback, shaped the crescent form of the plan. The home arcs in plan to shelter the west facing pool and to provide pond views from the east-facing porch. The locations of the original principal rooms and favorite porch views were acknowledged in the placement of the new spaces and are connected by a central hallway spine.

Proceeding from the south-side motorcourt entrance, the hallway links a room devoted to stowing sports equipment, past a study, a covered porch and one of the two stairwells that provide passive ventilation of the three floors of the home. The living room overlooks the pond, while the dining room is on the other side of the hall, facing the private yard and farm field. These rooms can be opened to each other to create a single 25 by 50-foot space and have twin fireplaces, sheathed in Kasota limestone. The hall continues past the second stair, the open kitchen and family dining area, a west-facing deck, then turns, passes the laundry and service entrance, and steps down to the double-height family room that adjoins the refurbished pool and pool-house. A third stair leads to bunk rooms over this end of the home, while the other stairs lead to five bedroom suites over the central section of the structure. Games, exercise rooms and service areas are located on the lower level. The pond-facing porch continues on the south side and creates a breezeway that links the garage and two additional bedroom suites. The custom, stained glass windows of the breezeway shield the yard from the prevailing ocean winds. While the cedar shingles and traditional exterior detailing adheres to the community

standards and reflects the character of the original home, the concealed steel framing allows for large spans. From the entrance to the end of the structure at the pool, the form of the house morphs from traditional residential to local agricultural references and from formal to more informal geometries. The geothermal systems are zoned to condition only those portions of the home occupied and the materials from the original home were diverted from the waste-stream. The original house was demolished the day after Labor Day 2009 and the new home completed for occupancy by July 4, 2010. LOCATION: Long Island, NY CLIENT: Private ARCHITECTURE: Sandvold Blanda Architecture + Interiors LLC CONTRACTOR: Ben Krupinski, Builder STRUCTURAL ENGINEER: SL Maresca Associates MECHANICAL ENGINEER: Kolb Mechanical Corp. SITE ENGINEERING: Saskas Surveying LANDSCAPE ENGINEER: Miranda Brooks Landscape Design PHOTOGRAPHY: Tom Crane

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design profile

Kahn Residence - Energy Reduction and Renovation:

John Hubert Architects

This Renovations and Additions Project to a 1960s-era residence paired high performance building design with sustainable construction practices in an attempt to meet Energy Star and/or LEED for Homes guidelines for residential renovation projects. By improving the thermal and moisture barriers of the structure, incorporating photovoltaic and geothermal systems, and designing the renovations around a passive-solar collector, this project was able to achieve energy neutrality and LEED Platinum Certification while greatly improving the livability of the interior and exterior spaces. The client purchased the property specifically because of its south facing orientation, the inherent thermal benefits of a partially submerged basement and garage, and its proximity to public transportation. The existing structure relied heavily on fossil fuels for heating, cooling, and cooking, used a tremendous amount of water, and had annual utility / fuel costs in excess of $4,000. As such, the initial objective was to overcome as many of these environmental deficiencies as possible using cost effective measures, which also supported the big picture vision of the renovation. To meet this requirement the exterior walls and roof were reinsulated to the greatest extent possible, most of the windows and exterior doors were replaced with Energy Star products, and attic and crawl spaces were properly ventilated. Exterior penetrations were also caulked and a polyethylene membrane was installed on the unfinished crawl space floor. A site-specific passive solar collector was designed to maximize the daylight harvesting potential during the least productive day of the year (winter solstice) while supporting the reorganization and consolidation of interior spaces and a centralized living space to circulate around and through. The unique ability of the collector to harvest daylight throughout the year while limiting the heat gain during the summer is achieved through the application of a nano-ceramic film apcontext | SU2013 | 34

plied to the interior surface of the glass. The addition of the film eliminates all ultra violet rays, reduces 40 percent of infrared heat gain, reduces sun glare, and reduces heat loss by an additional 40 percent, while simultaneously decreasing the energy load on the

photovoltaic and geothermal systems. The western (master bedroom) end of the residence was redesigned to further reduce heat gain and solar glare during the afternoon. Solar tubes and skylights were installed on the north side of the roof to bring natural

daylight into several otherwise dark spaces including two second floor sleeping areas, a master bedroom closet, the entry foyer and main stair, the dining room, and kitchen. The energy system includes a 7.92 kWh photovoltaic collection system and Sunny Portal Web (data collection system), two 225foot geothermal wells, a three-ton geothermal ground source heat pump, Intellizone four-zone interactive system controller and an energy recovery system to harvest latent heat and provide fresh air for the circulation system. In addition, Energy Star equipment and appliances, LED/CFL lamping, dual flush toilets, and ultra low flow showerheads and faucets are also used throughout. To meet LEED Platinum certification and further reduce the environmental impact on the site an existing pool and apron and approximately 10 percent of the existing impervious coverage were also removed. Ninetyfive percent of all grasses were removed and replaced with drought tolerant plants and ground cover and roof gutters, down spouts, and site drainage were redesigned to redistribute storm water more evenly throughout the property.

LOCATION: Wyncote, PA CLIENT: Dr. Sidney Kahn ARCHITECTURE: John Hubert Architects In combination, the passive solar collector, the photovoltaic and geothermal systems, the improved thermal envelope, and the incorporation of water conservation strategies produces a high performance structure which significantly decreases its reliability on non-renewable energy sources and wasteful water consumption while creating a more integrated relationship between the building and landscape. After 12 months of operation, the system is producing more electricity than required and the projected rate of return on the investment (including rebates, tax credits, and depreciation) is projected to exceed the client’s original target.

BUILDER: John Hubert Associates ENERGY CONSULTANT: Energy Reconsidered Inc. LEED FOR HOMES CONSULTANT: Energy Coordination Agency of Philadelphia STRUCTURAL ENGINEER: Tripi Engineering Services, LLC LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT: Michael Malofiy PHOTOGRAPHY: Joseph M Kitchen Photography, LLC context | SU2013 | 35


design profile

Net Zero House:


When Cathy D’Ignazio and Tom Mandell came to talk to CuetoKEARNEYdesign about selling their big house and moving to a twin on Swarthmore’s Dartmouth Avenue, the principals were concerned on a number of levels. After all, they were friends and the firm thought it was either a sign of the bad economy or that they were a little crazy. What evolved over the years was as much a statement about deeply held sustainability values as it was about creating a new home. The house on Dartmouth is a 1920s-era small Dutch colonial twin that backs onto a parking lot and a SEPTA Regional Rail line. It is a quick walk into Swarthmore and to the train station and the solar orientation isn’t bad. It is compact, which challenged the firm to make context | SU2013 | 36

the most out of every square inch. The firm knew that Cathy was passionate about many issues and were very pleased with her enthusiasm for applying new technology and sustainable design concepts to her house. The project was called Net Zero with the full understanding that the term refers to a goal that is difficult to attain, particularly on a renovation project. To approach the goal, the firm took the tack of reducing the energy use side of the equation by adhering to Passive House standards as much as possible. It assembled a team that included John and Chris Hanson of Hanson General Contracting, structural engineer Ann Rothmann and passive consultant Laura Blau of GreenSteps/BluPath. The team developed systems with a goal of reducing the energy demand by 80 percent. These systems included a super insulated envelope, airtight construction, elimination of thermal bridging, hightech, triple-pane windows and doors, passive solar heating and shading, and an energy recovery ventilation system. The contractors were

full partners in this, using advanced framing techniques to maximize insulation in walls, setting every plate on a continuous bead of foam and diverting 100 percent of the construction waste from landfills. The infrastructure for future PV panels was installed and data gathered through blower door tests. Students at Drexel University also chipped in with energy modeling and sun studies. The owners are still tweaking the systems, but initial savings appear to be in the 75-80 percent range. It was important to gather in the available light for solar gain and for delight. The central part of the house was lifted to create a flexible loft space and the windows at the top catch the light and bounce it off the sidewalls of both stairs to reach the party wall on the first floor. The same windows allow a view across the rooftops to the college up on the hill. When the windows are closed, the house is very quiet. The owners can see but not hear the passing train, something their daughter calls “entertrainment,” and the house is very snug. In nice weather, the house opens up with great cross ventilation and front and rear decks that expand the space into outdoor rooms. This project has resonated with the com-

munity in Swarthmore. We were originally concerned that the “modern” detailing of the project would not be well received in this relatively traditional town but the intense interest in the green aspects of it has overcome any such feelings. LOCATION: Swarthmore, PA CLIENT: Cathy D’Ignazio, Tom Mandell ARCHITECTURE: CuetoKEARNEYdesign; Tim Kearney, AIA, principal in charge; project team: Claudia Cueto, AIA, Heidi Sentivan, Monica Guara PASSIVE CONSULTANT: Green Steps/ Blu Path STRUCTURAL ENGINEER: Ann Rothmann Structural Engineering CONTRACTOR: Hanson General Contractors INTERIOR FIT OUT: The Markee Family CABINET MAKER: John Kennedy Woodwork STAIRS: Bill Curran Design PHOTOGRAPHY: Andy Shelter Photography

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CONTEXT - Tapping Into Energy  
CONTEXT - Tapping Into Energy  

CONTEXT is the journal of AIA Philadelphia, one of the oldest Chapters of the American Institute of Architects.