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American Builders Quarterly

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MFA Boston A city in microcosm by Lord Norman Foster, p. 82

swiss army style, p. 127 Reader & Swartz Architects shares its inspiration behind its Das Swartzenreader Haus

Luxury Living, p. 43 Multifaceted Winges ArchitectsÕ collaborative approach yields high-end, stunning results


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Feature

feature

82 MFA Boston

One of Boston's most presitigious cultural institutions gets a new addition and renovation via the design expertise of Foster + Partners. American Builders Quarterly sits down with Lord Norman Foster himself to learn how he crafted "a city in microcosm."

Photo: Nigel Young.

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Contents Briefs

Departments

6

Editor's note

Through the Years

8

american spaces

14

From The Ground Up

18

T.J. Cachey Builders, INC. II

16

abq building excellence awards

60

wilmington housing authority

issue announcement

124

holly & smith architects

127

american homes

130

materiality

20 Industry Insights 20

arbor south architecture

24

tim o'brien homes, inc.

26 briteline extrusions, inc.

112

29

spector group

31

thomas & denzinger architects

34

adams county housing authority

36

coastal point construction

41

wisznia architecture + development

43

winges architects

46

resource conservation group

47

rfw construction group

49

idc inc.

52 oculus inc.

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studio27 architecture

58

schlomer construction inc.

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62 Project Showcase

108 In Profile

62

dewhurst macfarlane and partners

108

Jupiter realty company LLC

66

josh wynne construction

112

sun dancer creations, LLC

69

t.h. marsh construction co.

114

bridgeport Housing Authority

73

hartman-cox architects

117

architecture for charity of texas, inc.

76

aline architecture

119

lassel architecture P.A.

121

madrid engineering group, Inc.

92 The Specialists 92

rocky mountain fabrication

95

grunau company, inc.

97 best bath systems 100

top master, inc.

103

revival homes, LLC

105

carolina crawlspace solutions

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editorÕs note

The revitalized MFA Boston. Photo: Nigel Young.

T

his issue of American Builders Quarterly is unlike any we have published before. We represent the best of the building industry in ways that are more informative, exciting, and interactive for the reader. We explore companies through their extensive histories, mapping major milestones from the firm’s founding to standout projects to major awards. We get industry insights direct from the leaders of the building industry, and we highlight the most unique niche specialists in an attempt to bring the most qualified resources to you, our readers. The combination of traditional building aesthetics and modern design elements is a theme that is explored throughout this issue. Take, for example, the new Art of the Americas wing at the MFA Boston (p. 82). Lord Norman Foster, principal of Foster + Partners, discusses how the museum now acts as a community center within its surrounding landscape. “The design reflects the broader role the modern museum plays in the life of the city,” he says. “This has changed since the turn of the century. The major public museum is no longer a collection of galleries—it has become an important civic centre, with places to eat, shop, meet, space for events, education programs, and much more. By engaging with these activities and with the spirit of the existing structure, our contemporary interventions can enhance the old and breathe new life into one of the world’s finest cultural institutions.” This combination of traditional and modern design styles can also be seen in the home of husband-and-wife architectural team Elizabeth Reader and Charles Swartz in our American Homes series (p. 127). Their home, Das Swartzenreader Haus, was first built in the late 1960s on a small, hilly lot. The unimaginative and stereotypical floor plan failed to capture the area’s stunning mountain views, so Reader and Swartz gutted the original structure and flipped the plan to place an open loft-like atmosphere on the second story. The couple reimagined what a home could look like by combining a contemporary approach with the old-style elements typical of their region. As you explore the newest issue of ABQ, we urge you to continue to think about your own contributions to the American building landscape. ABQ has always featured firms that embody excellence in their fields, and as we get even closer to our Building Excellence Awards issue, we continue that tradition proudly. As always, we hope the articles in this issue motivate, inform, and inspire your work. Enjoy.

Introducing the all-new

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Molly Soat Features Editor

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American Builders Quarterly


American Builders Quarterly

®

Editorial

Research

editor-in-chief

director of strategic partnerships

Christopher Howe

features editor Molly Soat molly@guerrerohowe.com

copy editor Geoff George geoff@guerrerohowe.com

correspondents Cristina Adams Zach Baliva Chris Cussat Sally Deering Joyce Finn Annie Fischer Karen Gentry Sandra Guy David Hudnall Frederick Jerant Russ Klettke Kelli Lawrence Kelly O’Brien Anita R. Paul Laura Williams-Tracy Brigitte Yuille

Ar t

creative director

George Bozonelos george@guerrerohowe.com

Publishing

guerrero howe Pedro Guerrero, President Christopher Howe, CEO & Publisher

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contents american spaces

The Terry Thomas

The Terry Thomas utilizes an array of materials high in recycled content, including steel, glass, particleboard, and Homasote panels, among others. The building’s exterior showcases locally manufactured windows and metal cladding, while the interior’s exposed-structure design helps to minimize the use of finish materials. Weber Thompson also integrated the use of castellated beams into the design, to help cut down on steel use and help encourage air movement.

Located in SeattleÕs up-and-coming South Lake

Union neighborhood, The Terry Thomas is a mixed-use building that includes commercial, retail, and office spaces. Architecture firm Weber Thompson designed the creative, modern space that provides a healthful work environment and displays the numerous benefits of sustainable design. Showcasing such green features as FSC-certified interior wood doors, low-VOC paints and sealants, fresh-air ventilation, and plentiful amounts of natural daylighting, among others, The Terry Thomas serves as an exemplary model for truly eco-conscious design and was recently awarded LEED Gold certification. The impressive project itself features four floors of office space atop a ground level retail/restaurant space, as well as a courtyard that serves as a public gathering space. Located adjacent to downtown Seattle, The Terry Thomas resides in a prime setting. The building is surrounded by an assortment of community-focused developments, including parks, multifamily residences, offices, and light-industrial buildings, and is close to public transportation, further enhancing the community in which it inhabits. ABQ

Project Details Location: Seattle, WA Completed: 2008 Client: Thomas & Terry LLC Architect: Weber Thompson Photography: Lara Swimmer; Gabe Hanson

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The building’s location, within walking distance to numerous restaurants, shops, and grocery stores, has access to various public-transportation options, such as the new South Lake Union Streetcar line. The facility also has a common area equipped with showers, to encourage commuters to ride their bicycles to work.

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Function & Flow With airflow as a major component of the building’s design, one of the most notable features of The Terry Thomas is its incorporation of an expansive central courtyard (opposite page). In addition to serving as a public meeting area for tenants and pedestrians alike, the courtyard’s centralized location helps facilitate air movement throughout the building’s structure. Meanwhile, the building’s unique façade features a variety of fully functional, operable windows that can help occupants control the temperature of their spaces within the structure (above). These are just some of the features Weber Thompson had in mind when integrating passive cooling strategy into the design (below) and creating a stunning project that is both functional and aesthetically stunning.

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Sustainable Schematics 1 Glass Sunshades 2 SLU Streetcar Access 3 Hydronic Perimeter Heating 4 Daylight Distribution 5 Ergonomic Workstations 6 Cross Ventilation 7 Castellated Beam Structure 8 Green Screen Stair

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Operable Blinds Stack Effect Alternative Vehicle Parking Fully Automated Lighting Operable Windows High Albedo Roof Designated Green Roof july/august 2011

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american spaces

A Greener Workplace The indoor environment of The Terry Thomas was one of the most important factors in Weber Thompson’s design. The space incorporates various design elements of thermal comfort, fresh airflow, and daylighting. Workstations have a maximum height of 42 inches, allowing all employees to have direct views to the outside, while high ceilings allow natural light to penetrate the building’s interior. Additionally, the reception area showcases a work of art that creatively uses salvaged-wood flooring from the existing demolished building.

The Plans

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South Lake Union Streetcar Workstations Meeting Space Conference Rooms Green Screen Stair Support Reception Elevator/Stair Lobby Storage Supplies/Print Room Restrooms Adjacent Warehouse

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contents american spaces

Another main focus of the highly efficient project was controlling temperature within the workspace. The building’s exterior façade was designed to respond to wind direction and solar angles. The east and west elevations showcase reduced glazing with windows protected by fixed glass-and-steel sunshades to help reduce solar heat gain. In addition, exterior sensor-controlled Venetian blinds measure the light level and sun angle in order to open and close as necessary, helping to reduce glare within the interior.

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american spaces

Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation The new Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation

(JRC) synagogue, designed by Chicago-based Ross Barney Architects, replaces its original building, improving upon numerous design elements. Because it’s located in Evanston, Illinois, the JRC had to abide by a particular zoning ordinance that limited height and lot coverage. The building program of 42,000 square feet of dedicated space was compressed into 32,000 square feet of convertible space, resulting in a more open and flexible site. The space-efficient structure now offers a number of educational and worship spaces stacked around communal spaces that reflect the congregation's character. JRC features offices, early-childhood programs, and a chapel on the first floor; religious school and library on the second; and a sanctuary, social hall, and kitchen on the third. Furthermore, thanks to a number of sustainable materials used—such as fly-ash concrete, wood, and glass—as well as strategies in light harvesting and water conservation, the impressive building will be designated LEED Platinum. ABQ

Project Details Location: Evanston, IL Completed: 2008 Client: Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation Architect: Ross Barney Architects Photography: Steve Hall, Hedrich Blessing

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The north-facing monitors and solar tubes of the sawtooth-shaped pre-kindergarten building deliver 100% of the light required by the classrooms beneath.

JRC’s sanctuary features a bimah at the front that was constructed with more than 1,000 square feet of reclaimed black walnut from local park-district forests. The synagogue also features many renewable materials, including The school’s principal bio-retention millwork made with Dakota Burl area also serves as an outdoor and carpet made with bio-based classroom and performance stage. polymer fibers. In addition, waste line up on the benches brick and limestone were usedStudents to while waiting for parents to pick fill the gabion site walls. them up. The stepped terraces visually register the relative scale of storm events as the water rises. Intentionally carved out at a campus low point, the outdoor classroom and adjacent bio-filtration area can accommodate a major storm-water event before slowly releasing the excess water downstream.

Energy Efficiency In addition to an abundance of recyclable building materials, JRC also features energy-efficient design elements to further its sustainable practices. For instance, the building is heated with a 94 percent ultra-highefficiency gas-fired condensing boiler. Also, the building is cooled with a high-efficiency air-cooled modular chiller, which allows for reducing the structure’s energy consumption and extending its life-cycle cost. Other green features include natural lighting and ventilation, which help cut down on energy costs. Such features are present in spaces like the JRC’s social hall (right), which features operable windows for airflow. july/august 2011

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contentsthe ground up from

Eagle Veterinary Hospital

Designing Green for Man’s Best Friends At a Glance Project Name: Eagle Veterinary Hospital Location: San Antonio, TX Size: 10,500 square feet Employees: 75­Ð100 Contractor: Middleman Construction Company Architect: Mdn Architects

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When Mdn Architects designed the Eagle Veterinary Hospital, the firm had to get into the heads of the animals themselves. Mdn took extensive measures to consider and implement a design reflecting the social hierarchy and treatment needs of the animals. By designing holistically, the firm was able to implement materials that were durable, antimicrobial, and were apt at controlling noise levels. The entire facility was designed to maximize the efficiency of the staff and doctors. The structure is framed in 80 percent post-consumer recycled steel in a centralized pod layout that serves as the apex for all other functions. Mdn harnessed sustainable materials both inside and outside the hospital, including low-VOC paints and sealants, Green Label Plus carpet, and GreenGuard casework. Energy conservation was a core tenet of the project, and can be seen in the implementation of efficient lighting, higher R-value insulation, and tankless water heaters. ABQ

American Builders Quarterly


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Eagle Veterinary Hospital saves more than 47 percent on energy costs over a standard commercial building. The project is oriented to maximize the use of natural light, with skylights positioned to help enhance the natrual daylighting in most of the facility's occupied areas.

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THE

ISSUE

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2011 Honoring development, innovation, and a commitment to excellence American Builders Quarterly速 is celebrating the best in American building and design with the 2011 Building Excellence Awards


RECOGNITION: The first annual ABQ Building Excellence Awards have been launched to recognize achievements in architecture, design, and community planning. Winning projects will receive featured coverage in the November/ December 2011 issue of ABQ. CATEGORIES: One residential and one commercial project will be designated as the Project of the Year, and awards

and honorable mentions will be given in over 15 categories across all residential and commercial building sectors. APPLY TODAY FOR THE 2012 AWARDS PROGRAM: Registration is now open for all categories in the second annual ABQ Building Excellence Awards. For more information on registration deadlines, a complete list of categories, and downloadable entry forms, visit americanbuildersquarterly.com/awards.


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the years

T.J. Cachey Builders, Inc. II Joseph Cachey, founder of T.J. Cachey Builders in Orland Park, Illinois, was trained as a stone mason before opening his own firm to build homes in and around the Chicago area 84 years ago. Many years later, his son, Ted, joined him and helped expand into commercial, industrial, and other markets. Now, Ted’s son, Tom Cachey, is president of the company started by his grandfather, a firm that now has a real-estate division and develops full communities. At any given time, T.J. Cachey Builders has between 5 and 10 commercial projects and 5 and 10 residential projects, but the residential projects can often encompass hundreds of units. Although many things have changed since Joseph started the business many years ago, his legacy of quality craftsmanship remains unbroken. Here is a look at the firm through the years. —Zach Baliva

1970s Steady growth Both sides of Cachey BuildersÑresidential and commercialÑ grow throughout the decade. Although the firm builds two Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants and the first condo office building in Illinois, residential construction still accounts for 80 percent of the work. In 1974, Cachey Builders completes a 110,000-square-foot, two-story office project in Oak Lawn, Illinois. The professional building houses dentists, doctors, and law offices. Simultaneously, the Cacheys become involved in a 10-year project: Orland Golfview. "We developed hundreds of lots with commercial property in Orland Park," Tom says. The company continues to build houses while handling occasional warehouse, office, and other commercial jobs. At Golfview, building is completed in large sections with Cachey Builders handling everything from entitlements, to approvals, to construction, to sales.

1990 Real-estate division opens Tom joins the family business in 1985 after working for two title companies. "The markets really started picking up, and I knew there was an opportunity for us to seek bigger residential projects," he says. As a licensed broker, he opens Cachey Real Estate in 1990. "We had more than six decades of experience, and I knew we had the expertise to resolve and maintain any real estate need," Tom says. The move brings several new opportunities. The firm, for example, starts working with banks to finish improvements to defaulting borrowers' delinquent assets. "We complete work on these half-finished projects and then market and sell the property through our company," he says.

1927 Cachey Builders, Inc. is born Joseph Cachey immigrates to America from Italy when he is just 13 years old. The young Italian becomes a mason contractor and has frequent workÑbut he is not getting paid. ÒPeople that owed him money started giving him land instead,Ó Tom says. ÒSo he started building houses.Ó

1954 Residential to commercial For the next 30 years, Cachey Builders continues buying, selling, and developing real estate. Ted joins the firm to work hand-in-hand with his father after graduating from the University of Michigan. He obtains a law degree and hones the expertise necessary to take Cachey Builders from simple residential projects to complex commercial land development.

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2011 Full-steam ahead Although the economy has slowed, T.J. Cachey Builders has not. The company is completing a significant commercial projectÑa large bank renovation in Oak Forest, Illinois. Marquette Bank (left) covers 16,000 square feet of space, and it was gutted down to the studs and rebuilt without affecting daily business operations. While the Cacheys are operating more firmly in the commercial world, they have not abandoned their roots as residential builders and developers. In fact, the company is closing out a condo project in Palos Heights, a set of 122 townhome units in Orland Park, and single-family developments in New Lennox and Manhattan, Illinois.

We had more than six decades of experience, and I knew we had the expertise to resolve and maintain any real-estate need. Tom Cachey, President

2009 The change is complete When the economy turns south in 2007, Cachey starts selling large investments in residential land holdings. "It's not the same engine it once was, but we were set up to really move on the commercial side," he says. The company that once spent 80 percent of its time on residential projects is finally doing 60 percent of its work in the commercial realm.

1995-2005 A shifting focus The late 1990s bring a change in strategy that happens slowly over a long period of time. "We started doing more industrial warehouse projects and spec building," Tom says. The company divides and sells or rents large properties that generate good build-to-suit projects. In 1998, the company completes a 45,000-square-foot professional medical building (below) in New Lennox, Illinois, that serves as a distribution center and corporate headquarters for a medical supply company. "Previous buildings were typical small offices, a bathroom, and a warehouse," he says,"but this project featured 12,000 square feet of offices with full IT and audiovisual components." With it and similar projects, Cachey Builders proves its ability to learn, adapt, and grow with the industry.

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industry insights

At a Glance Location: Eugene, OR Founded: 1983 Employees: 10 Specialty: Sustainable designbuild for residential, commercial, and institutional projects

Right: Osteria Sfizio, an Italian restaurant in Eugene, OR, features such conscious elements as a bar with a reclaimed walnut top and a locally produced concrete-block base. Photos: Mike Dean Photography.

Dan Hill and William Randall founded Eugene,

Sunny Days Ahead Solar design pioneers Arbor South Architecture eye and eco-friendly future by David Hudnall

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Oregon-based Arbor South Architecture amid the recession of the early 1980s, but innovation helped them nurture it. “We started out on the premise that we’d be designing small, sustainable, solar housing,” Hill says. “It was a boom time for companies who could help people save energy and money, and it catapulted our workload pretty quickly.” The firm initially emerged as an expert in the area of sustainable design, taking home a number of industry design awards. But as the economy strengthened in the 1990s and early 2000s—and as homeowners’ appetites for larger homes grew—Arbor South Architecture diversified, incorporating a construction company under its umbrella and directing its efforts toward more design-build work. Once primarily a residentially focused company, the firm transitioned to doing half residential and half commercial and institutional projects—medical office buildings, restaurants, private schools, and some churches. The firm also grew to around 10 employees. “Today, we’re essentially a boutique design-build firm,” Hill says.

American Builders Quarterly


industry insights industry insights

Arbor South Architecture Tim O’Brien Homes, Inc. Briteline Extrusions, Inc. Spector Group Thomas & Denzinger Architects Adams County Housing Authority Coastal Point Construction Wisznia Architecture + Development Winges Architects Resource Conservation Group RFW Construction Group IDC Inc. Oculus Inc. Studio27 Architecture Schlomer Construction Inc.

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Above: A refinished concrete floor and recycled-steel and reclaimed-wood booths help maintain the sustainable edge of the Osteria Sfizio Italian Restaurant. Left: An exterior view of theSAGE house, which at the time of writing is the highest LEED-rated home west of the Rocky Mountains.

A boutique firm, yes, but also a highly progressive one: Arbor South Architecture currently boasts the highest LEED-rated home west of the Rocky Mountains in its portfolio. Known as theSAGE, it was the first LEED-certified home Arbor South Architecture had ever been involved with, and the goal from the outset was for it to be a demonstration home, one that would show what a home could look like when reaching for the highest level of sustainability in terms of construction, resistance to heat loss and gain, material selection, and mechanical systems. A solar photovoltaic system was mounted on the roof, and inside an electric heat pump, a heat-recovery ventilator, and a natural cooling system are combined with a super-insulated envelope, resulting in a very energy-efficient home. “We wanted to see what LEED

American Builders Quarterly

level we could achieve, of course, but also at what cost,” Hill says. “Every decision on the house had an element of sustainability to it; we didn’t necessarily get everything we wanted, but we were consistently asking ourselves how sustainable or good for the environment each thing we did was.” At 1,447 square feet (with two bedrooms and two bathrooms), theSAGE is a modest-looking Eugene residence, but it is indicative of the philosophy of its region. The home sits on a small lot (5,000 square feet) that previously was part of a larger property containing an old barn. “We really value the land out here in the Pacific Northwest, so the drive to reclaim infill land in urban areas is a high priority,” Hill says, noting that the home, which doubles as a sales office for the firm, has

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industry insights

“We really value the land out here in the Pacific Northwest, so the drive to reclaim infill land in urban areas is a high priority.” Dan Hill, coFounder

Above: A variety of unique systems are in play at theSAGE, including a rainwater-collection system, a pond, and a courtyard area, making the most of the limited space available.

been viewed by 8,000 students and tourists in the past year. “It was a unique challenge—and surprisingly easier to do than we initially thought.” The firm is now earning between $2 and $5 million in projects a year and is looking to expand beyond high-end residential projects such as theSAGE into more commercial work such as its Sfizio restaurant project, completed in 2010. The company has avoided public work throughout its existence, which Hill acknowledges is currently a bit of a detriment, given that the private sector has quieted in recent years and public money is still flowing. Ultimately, though, the firm is confident in its vision of sustainability moving forward. As Hill sees it, “We think our integrated design process, combined with working with local and reclaimed materials and energy-efficient products, is the path to longevity in this industry.” ABQ 

Sales22Information Contact Eclectic Products Customer Service 800-349-4667 JULY/AUGUST 2011

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industry insights

At a Glance Location: Waukesha, WI Founded: 2007 Employees: 12 Specialty: Single-family homes and first- and second-time moveup-buyer homes

Right: One of Tim O'Brien Homes' parade homes. This project won the People's Choice Award for overall design.

The mission for Tim O'Brien Homes is to provide each

The Affordable Durable Home Tim O’Brien Homes, Inc. leads the way in making “green” a baseline specification by Brigitte Yuille

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client with a high-performance, affordable home with durable products, making sure the products, structure, and individual components flow as a single functional system. The company customizes its abilities and expertise to its clients’ wants and needs and maintains a competitive edge with two key principles that help it expand. “We’re not the low-dollar-per-square-foot builder,” firm founder and president Tim O’Brien says. “We are a value-based builder.” The company’s focus on value includes not only the initial cost of the home but also future costs for operation and maintenance. For instance, since the company’s first day, each home built has had a green-building certification and has been Energy Star-certified. In addition, the company is driven to be the leader in affordable green building and energy-efficient homes. This, O’Brien believes, should be a baseline specification offered not just to those in the “upper echelon of home buying” but also to those buying homes for the first time. One of its durable products is the Milgard vinyl window, which has a lifetime warranty. “There’s no other manufacturer out there that has that kind of warranty,” O’Brien says. The company follows “building science principles” as part of its best practices, adapted from entities such as the Building Science Corporation and DuPont. “We’re committed to the science-based approach of building a home and looking at the home as a system and not a function of pieces and parts,” O’Brien says. He compares the experience to going to an automobile dealership and purchasing a brand-new car. “They don’t give you a high-performance engine that is able to

American Builders Quarterly


go up to 120 mph and then give you small wheels on the car that only go up to 60 mph,” he says. “They understand the importance of the car operating as a system. So, my analogy for home building is similar, [where it is] like putting a high-energy-efficient furnace in a house and not sealing up all the seams and tiny holes that are part of the building’s envelope. Homes need to perform as a system”

We focus on looking at the entire operation of the home as one complete system. Tim O’Brien, President & Founder Five characteristics are key to the distinctiveness of a Tim O’Brien home: the designs have ample room for gathering and entertaining; they provide flexible spaces to grow as a family’s needs change; they still include areas to relax and de-stress, such as sitting rooms or luxury spa and bathing areas; they have enough storage space, including a walk-in pantry; and, finally, they include design elements to help a homeowner stay organized “One area of organization is what we call rear foyers; that’s the entrance area of the home coming off the garage,” O’Brien says. “Most people call it a mud room, or it’s their laundry room. We call it a rear foyer because that’s where 90 percent or more of the time you and the family are actually in the home. We incorporate a drop-zone cabinet layout for their wireless phone and laptops, as well as a charging station for this equipment. Lockers are also designed in for [storing] school bags or a briefcase.” The firm’s goal for this year is to close 74 sustainably certified homes, and within the next five years it plans to expand into other regional markets. The company has been able to maintain its industry presence by buying a large number of finished lots and creating a value proposition in the marketplace at an affordable price. O’Brien can already see his firm edging out competitors. “We’ve been able to provide green building certifications and Energy Star certifications at an affordable price,” he says, “when a number of our competition [only] offer it as an option—or don’t offer it at all.” ABQ

A Message from Milgard Milgard services all your warranty work, which not only saves you timeÑit saves you money. Milgard has a full lifetime warranty that covers parts and labor. If your customers ever have a warranty claim, we take care of it. A specially trained crew will go to the site and make things right. With our warranty, you're covered. No hassles. No gimmicks. It's as simple as that. For complete warranty details, visit milgard.com or call 1.800.MILGARD.

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© 2011 Milgard Manufacturing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

industry insights

It’s true. Challenges can bring out

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industry insights

At a Glance Location: Summerville, SC Founded: 1953 Employees: 75 Specialty: Small aluminum extruded shapes, high-quality finishes, anodizing, powder coating, and fabrication

Right: A testament to the fortitude of Briteline, the company's extrusion plant in Summerville, SC, houses the company's new facilities, as the previous headquarters was lost to a fire in 1993.

On Jan 16, 1993, the headquarters of Briteline

Rising from the Ashes Family-run aluminum business Briteline Extrusions, Inc. rebuilds and rebounds by Sally Deering

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Extrusions of Summerville, South Carolina, burned to the ground, melting the steel building and wiping out everything in the plant. Not even a scrap of paper was left behind to print an invoice. The next morning Britline president Ken Kabine, his son Edward, who serves as vice president of manufacturing, and their loyal employees put up tents and got generators going. They also met with friends in the business who extruded aluminum for them so they could fill orders. Finally, with grit, determination, and the help of employees, Ken and his family built a new building, and three months later had one extrusion press running again. This sort of determination has been the company’s guiding light. “Nobody ever thought about giving up,” Edward says. “It was a miracle really. You didn’t have time to look up. You kept your nose to the grindstone and went for it. I think we got computers and set up a system and had 10 people in there with desks all crammed together in a small garage. That was our administration department, and everyone else that worked in the plant, we just started cleaning up and adding on. By the end of 1993, we

American Builders Quarterly


industry insights

People come to us for quality extrusions, and we have an excellent reputation in the industry for high-quality finishes. Diane Bagwell, Vice President of Sales & Administration

had two presses, an anodizing line, and a buffing machine working. It was a pretty intense fire.” Briteline Extrusions is a full-service aluminumextrusion company specializing in small aluminumextruded shapes and high-quality finishes. Its primary business includes the shower-door industry; retail displays; pivot rods for the vertical-blind industry; and aluminum trim and molding for floor tiles, carpeting, walls, and doors. Briteline designs and manufactures products for Kohler, Yale Security, Matki, Hunter Douglas, Majestic, and Bath Fitter, and exports throughout Canada, Central America, and Europe. Ken bought into the business in 1965 when he ran into a friend at an aluminum-association meeting. “His company had the reputation for drilling the best holes in aluminum,” Ken says. After five years of sharing ideas, they joined forces. “I had some equipment that could help his business, and I had anodizing experience and knowledge of how to polish the metals, and that’s how we got a partnership,” Ken says. “We built the automatic buffers and small anodizing line, and as we grew we got a larger press in ’85,

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built a new building for it, and installed a powder coat line. My partner wanted to retire, and I ended up buying the business. “To grow the business the way I wanted to, I knew we needed help in sales,” he adds. “I turned to my daughter Diane [Bagwell], who had over 20 years of marketing experience in broadcasting. She came in 1997 and laid the groundwork for growth with new industry software, a computer network, and our first website. Later that year, we hired Ed’s son Chris for manufacturing and Diane’s son Bo for IT/Sales to solidify the third generation of Briteline leadership.” When Ken began hiring staff, he offered his employees 49 percent of the company with ESOP, allowing every staff member to own stock. He bought new equipment, saved money, and paid off debt quickly, which added to the company’s success. In 1995, Briteline added two larger presses and went from a 750-ton to a 1,450-ton press, which can push more pounds per hour. A full-service company, Briteline is now a one-stop shop. Customers can place one purchase order for the extrusion and have it fabricated, finished, and properly packaged all for one price. “That’s our added value,” Bagwell says. “People come to us for quality extrusions, and we have an excellent reputation in the industry for high-quality finishes. We never say we can do something until we know we can repeat it time after time.” “Another value-added process we offer is powder coating,” Edward says. “We just invested in new, high-tech powder-coat guns on the powder-coat line to produce a more consistent coating on the extrusions. You can get any color in the world, and it’s a very decorative, durable finish. There are epoxies for strength, urethanes for smoothness. We’re trying to stay on top of it all. That’s how we keep our lights on.” When Briteline started in 1953, it was considered a trim and molding company, and through the years the company has evolved and reinvented itself to stay in tune with the times. “In 2010, we added an acid-etch process to our anodizing line,” Edward says. “It’s a pretty matte finish on aluminum extrusions, and it is environmentally friendly. It’s only been around for a few years. People are still installing their systems right now, and we jumped on the bandwagon. Even with everything it is doing just to stay up-to-date, the firm still does all it can to get ahead of the curve, too. “Right now, we are investing in the future by breaking ground for a new 20-foot anodizing line,” Ken says. “We think the time is right to expand our anodizing services because many lines closed down during the recession.” And with three generations of leadership focused on moving forwards, Briteline Extrusions is deeply positioned to succeed. ABQ 

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We are pleased to have successfully worked with Spector Group on this high profile Mercedes-Benz Manhattan Showroom.

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At a Glance Headquarters: New York, NY Founded: 1965 Employees: 68 Specialty: Architecture, interior design, master planning, and project management Annual Sales: $19 million

Right: Opening in 2011, Mercedes-Benz Manhattan is the only Mercedes-owned dealership in the country. Spector Group designed the facility to LEED Gold standards.

Spector Group's attitude of "service, service,

Grade A designers, A+ businessmen Spector Group’s knowledge of current trends in architecture allows the firm to work on diverse projects without compromising its sustainable mentality by Brigitte Yuille

American Builders Quarterly

service” and heavy principal involvement are the key characteristics that have differentiated the firm from others in its industry, says principal Scott Spector. The team of architects includes a healthy mix of mentored fresh talent and experienced staff who have been with the company for at least 20 years. It is the combination of talent and enthusiasm that has helped the firm succeed for more than four decades. “We’re good designers but better businessmen,” Spector says. “We understand the business of architecture versus just the pure artists.” Spector Group considers itself a general firm that is not locked into a single building style. It does corporate, institutional, and residential work, as well as interior, core, and shell work on new buildings. The firm focuses on creating timeless spaces while using sustainable practices and affiliating itself with LEED-approved consultants and professionals throughout the nation. Spector Group competes with the nation’s top companies, but its employees do not see themselves as prima donna signature architects. “I think our unique-

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industry insights

ness spawns from really listening to our clientele and designing for them versus designing with an ego,” Spector says. “We have our hand on the pulse of developers, real-estate brokers, project managers, and owner’s reps. There is not a building I can tell you in the New York metro area that we’re not aware of.” While keeping up with building trends, the firm also stays on the cutting edge of technology, incorporating innovations such as AutoCAD and Internet Transfer Protocol systems, the latter of which enables engineers, builders, contractors, and owners to view all of the firm’s drawings online. Over the past 40 years, the company has built many new buildings and interiors, but it recently started to design car dealerships, such as the 330,000-square-foot corporate store for Mercedes-Benz on the west side of Manhattan. “It’s an incredible facility, three stories underground, two stories above,” Spector says. “It’s interesting. The glass façade has probably the clearest glass known to mankind today and that’s very important for the selling of cars, but, at the same time, it’s going to be a LEED Gold certification for the entire showroom. The firm is also redoing the executive architecture for Volkswagen and Audi’s flagship dealership in

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Manhattan on the 11th Avenue corridor. “That’s taking an existing building and basically stripping it down to its foundation and structure and blending both the VW and Audi brand into one structure with the appearance of two buildings tied together,” Spector says, “And, it fits together beautifully.” Besides the car dealerships, the firm’s other projects include hedge-fund-intuitive design work in and around Manhattan and the New York metropolitan area at companies such as Apax Partners, a privateequity firm. It is also designing a “C” project for Time Warner cable in the city and continuing work with its ongoing client, NASDAQ. The firm is completing projects with stock-exchange organizations in San Francisco, New York, and Maryland. Finally, it has been doing a lot of work with private schools, such as the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan. Currently, since business has picked up, the firm is in planning mode. It is strategizing for the future by maintaining its market variety, avoiding real-estate development and splintering, and focusing on smart growth rather than unchecked growth. “We’re hiring not only based on project needs,” Spector says, “but also relationships.” ABQ

Above: Spector Group designs a variety of projects for a diverse range of companies around New York City, including this space for Apax Partners. Photo: Colin McRae.

American Builders Quarterly


industry insights

Divide and Conquer The founding partners of Thomas & Denzinger Architects tackle separate markets with coexisting design studios and strategies by Zach Baliva

Deviating effectively from a traditional

Top: The roundabout entry at St. John's High School surrounds protected, ancient oak trees. Special care was given to design the site with the trees in mind. Above: The faade of St. John's High School was designed to maximize daylighting in the school's interior.

American Builders Quarterly

design-management framework, South Carolina firm Thomas & Denzinger Architects (TDA), founded in 1973, is divided into two studios. The Jim Thomas Studio handles community and residential buildings for the private sector while the Hermann Denzinger Studio operates in the public realm. The strategy allows each of the company’s 10 registered architects and six support staff members to work on projects best suited to their talents. Both Thomas and Denzinger remain the firm’s design principals and have been involved in almost every TDA project since the company’s early days. As head of the public office, Denzinger concentrates on schools and civic structures. TDA was named firm of the year by the AIA’s South Carolina chapter (AIA SC) in 2008, and part of that recognition can be traced to Denzinger’s completed school designs, which have all—including three structures in the last decade—received AIA SC awards. Awardwinning schools are rare because the budgets are often low, but TDA’s overarching strategy helps its architects find success. Although each project carries its own set of requirements, TDA’s designs in both studios always start with the site. Denzinger’s St. John’s High School, completed for the Charleston County School District, is a prime example. A site peppered with

At a Glance Headquarters: Charleston, SC Founded: 1973 Employees: 16 Specialty: Private homes, community and recreational facilities, public buildings, schools, and civic structures

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industry insights Right: A view of the entry at Daniel Island Municipal Building on Daniel Island, SC, showcases TDA's desire to optimize design to facilitate ease of use both inside and out.

protected grand oak trees was transformed unobtrusively into an inspirational learning environment. “We try to create good spaces for children and teachers to interact,” Denzinger says. “That’s the most important thing.” Not only does the layout incorporate the site’s trees—the building becomes a background to the majestic oaks. Paulette Myers, one of Denzinger’s partners, says, “Good design is available and possible, no matter what the budget is.” In schools, daylighting is an especially important factor so students can have efficient and well-lit classrooms. Recently, Denzinger’s team completed its largest school to date. North Charleston’s Center of Arts and Academics combines two magnet schools on an impressive 320,000-square-foot campus, which was finished in multiple phases in 2010. The complex master plan includes several academic buildings, a theater, outdoor seating, and facilities for the music, visual-arts, dance, and drama departments. Denzinger knows a school can be exciting. “An architect must be selective and prioritize when it comes to spending money,” he says. “Some spaces and features are more important than others. The [600-seat] theater was important because it becomes the public face of the school when they host events. The district wanted a professional

Good design is available and possible, no matter what the budget is. Paulette Myers, Partner space for their students to learn drama properly.” The campus is laid out with a main pedestrian walkway, a spine or stoa that ties each building together. Elaborate exterior spaces and seating areas give students ample opportunities to study, play music, exercise, and perform, and art studios and a cafeteria open onto the quad to further enhance social interaction. Thomas takes a similar approach to his residential projects. As with the company’s public buildings, a sensitive response to the land is key when creating homes. Thomas creates custom houses as well as community and recreational structures. “All of the houses have amazing settings that respond to their place and their culture,” Myers says. Sited mostly along the low country of Charleston and Beaufort, South Carolina, many Thomas homes feature coastal views.

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His design for the De Sole Residence on Hilton Head Island won the local AIA’s 2008 Honor Award, and like all TDA projects, it is anchored by a connection to the natural landscape. Garden paths guide visitors from the beach to the house and connect water features, galleries, and an entry court. A rhythmic series of indoor and outdoor spaces connect the house and the land. This connection is further enhanced through the use of oyster-shell masonry and wooden lattice that reflects the surrounding forest. Cantilevered roofs tower over floor-to-ceiling windows to create an inviting sanctuary at ground level where guests can lounge beside an L-shaped pool. Today, the firm continues to serve both private and public clients out of its three offices. Although each studio within the company is optimized for a specific task, site orientation, design excellence, and elegant details give each job a distinctive TDA signature. ABQ

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At a Glance Location: Commerce City, CO Founded: 1974 Employees: 74 Specialty: Low-income publichousing development and management Annual Funding: $25 million

When it was founded by a government charter in 1974,

Strength in Diversity Not your average public-housing agency, Adams County Housing Authority offers a vast array of affordable-housing programs by Kelly O'Brien

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the Adams County Housing Authority (ACHA) was a lot like any other public-housing office; its primary responsibility was to administer a much-needed Section 8 program for the county. But it didn't take the ACHA long to start branching out. In 1978, they were also approved as a Housing Counseling Agency by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. Although the agency's programs were still limited to Section 8 and counseling for many years thereafter, the instinct to diversify remained and has since become the key to its success. Donald May, ACHA's executive director, says that the agency operated on a fairly small scale for around 15 years, pulling in $3 million in annual funding at its peak. But then they reevaluated.“In the early ’90s, we started looking at developing units in the community and really expanding some of our services and pulling for more funding,” May says. In the 18 years that May has served as executive director, he has seen those efforts pay off.

American Builders Quarterly


industry insights

We really look to see what other support services we can offer that complement our housing units. Donald May, Executive Director

Left: This home has been completely renovated and was sold to a responsible buyer through the Adams County Neighborhood Stabilization Program. Above: After going through foreclosure, this home was severely blighted. It's the type of property that ACHA strives to turn around.

In addition to its Section 8, counseling, and subsidized-housing programs, the agency develops and renovates single-family homes and apartment buildings for low- and moderate-income tenants. It offers a huge array of housing- and finance-related outreach programs. On its own, the agency owns and manages more than 1,300 housing units, and through public and private partnerships it provides another 1,200 units on top of that. A far cry from 20 years ago, the ACHA currently pulls in $25 million of funding annually. May credits a lot of the agency's success to the diversity of services it is able to offer in communities throughout the 1,183-square-mile county. “We really look to see what other support services we can offer, that complement our housing units,” he says. Supporting such a diversity of programs has also required the ACHA to diversify its funding. “I'm very fortunate because I have very creative staff,” May says. “We're always looking at new opportunities.” Many of these financing opportunities are available because of the ACHA's unique business structure. In addition to its public arm, the agency also operates under several private LLCs and nonprofit entities, which allows them more flexibility in terms of the funding opportunities they can pursue. And, as May points out, ACHA’s funding really “runs the gamut,” including mortgage revenue bonds, tax-credit programs, community-development block grants, HOME grants, foundation awards, and public-private partnerships. Of its many different funding avenues, May says the agency's partnerships, in particular, have been a real

American Builders Quarterly

asset. “We've seen that we can accomplish a lot more through partnerships,” he says. For example, the ACHA recently partnered with Habitat for Humanity on the development of several duplexes. ACHA’s single-family homes are usually only available to buyers whose income is at or below 50 percent of the community's Area Median Income (AMI). Through its partnership with Habitat, the agency was able to contribute to a project that offered homeownership options for families whose income was as low as 30 percent of the AMI. Although the ACHA's secret to success has certainly been diversity—both in its funding and its programs—its purpose remains quite singular: to ensure that the citizens of Adams County continue to have access to high-quality affordable housing. ABQ

A Message from CP&M CP&M is a full-service company specializing in providing solutions from Òthe Blacktop to the Roof TopsÓ for commercial property managers, HOA managed multifamily and single-family communities, REO rehabilitation, apartment industries, and government housing entities. CP&M and its related entities have been building and renovating multifamily, single-family, and light commercial properties in the Denver metro area for over a decade. CP&M fills a void in the expansive needs of common interest communities, ranging from new development with construction defect issues to mature properties requiring drainage modifications and individual properties requiring a limited common element rehabilitation.

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American Builders Quarterly


industry insights

At a Glance Location: Cos Cob, CT Founded: 2005 Employees: 6 Specialty: General contracting and construction management

Class is in Session Coastal Point Construction, based in Connecticut, teaches architects about building science by Joyce Finn

At a Glance Location: Cos Cob, CT Founded: 2005 Employees: 6 Specialty: General contracting and construction management

Left: An average Coastal Point Home costs $5 million. Photos: Copyright Olson Photographic 2009.

American Builders Quarterly

Foster Lyons, founder and co-owner of Coastal

Point Construction, is keenly aware of how the rapid growth of the green movement has changed the residential construction industry. “There are so many new products on the market and so few, if any, home engineers,” he says. “We’re now building houses with such different materials and in such different ways than what we did 50–60 years ago that the industry hasn’t kept up with all the new technologies. For example, people are now having trouble with mold and indoor-air quality, which they never had decades ago.” Accordingly, the general construction-management firm has long taken advantage of the industry’s attempts to play catch-up, and Lyons and his team now build sustainable, high-end residences with an average cost of $5 million. With a graduate degree in chemical engineering, Lyons is acutely aware of the building science in play during construction. He was one of the first certified green professionals in Cos Cob, Connecticut, the firm’s home base, and its surrounding counties. “Chemical engineers study the transfer of heat, mass, and momentum; although I studied to develop industrial processes,

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industry insights

Top: The rich, ornate hues in this kitchen are common in the work of Coastal Point Construction. Above: Coastal Point Construction establishes refinement through simplicity as indicated by this bathroom's grounded dツ残or. Left: The design of this gazebo helps accentuate the lot as it brings a modern taste to bear on the classic waterfront of Long Island Sound, CT. Opposite page: Extensive use of windows helps facilitate daylighting while also providing expansive views of the water.

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American Builders Quarterly


industry insights

The green movement is requiring a greater understanding of the physics and the mechanism of energy, air, and moisture flow through a structure. Foster Lyons, Founder & Co-owner two of these are important to builders,” Lyons says. “How air moves around inside a house and through the walls is important. With the increased use of air-conditioning and tighter building envelopes, moisture issues have become far more complicated. There are so many new technologies and products, and there are so few, if any, home engineers. It’s all about the second law of thermodynamics. The green movement is requiring a greater understanding of the physics and the mechanism

American Builders Quarterly

of energy, air, and moisture flow through a structure.” Lyons and his partner, Jim Higgins, believe that architects need to lead the parade toward more awareness of building science, so Lyons has registered the company as an AIA continuing-education provider. Recent seminars for AIA continuing education credits included “Thermal Insulation Choices and Selection for Residential Architecture,” “Lead and the New EPA Lead Paint Rules,” and “Suburban Home Energy Use and Conservation in the Northeastern United States.” “I spend considerable time talking to building science experts to make sure I’m up to date with new information,” Lyons says. “I’m also member of the local USGBC council and on the LEED for Homes subcommittee. Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as a home engineer— no intermediary party who pulls all the design professionals together to coordinate existing technologies with aesthetic design.” Coastal Point Construction recently completed a 10,000-square-foot residential property in Greenwich, Connecticut, sited on the waterfront overlooking Long Island Sound. The stone for the exterior façade of this newly constructed shingled Dutch colonial was quarried from boulders on the property to give the appearance of age. According to Lyons, every piece within the structure

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industry insights

Left: Wood grains run continuously from the porch into the house, creating an almost seamless experience as one enters the dwelling. Above: Coastal Point Construction's detailed millwork echoes throughout the lobby of this home, providing a refined yet crafted finish to the elegant space.

was custom designed. “We sampled 20 stone-and-mortar combinations for the exterior wall and hand-selected each individual board of the oak floor. I spent a lot of time in a very cold warehouse in Massachusetts to check each piece.” Coastal Point Construction, with a staff of six, works on new construction for about 60 percent of its projects, but its also has a flourishing business in renovations. In the past few years, Lyons has seen a trend among his clients for more interior millwork, bookcases, paneling, libraries, and naturally finished kitchens. He expects to see this trend continue as the market recovers from the economic downturn that started in 2008, and he even seems to be looking forward to it. “We’ll do any type of renovation—from putting in a generator or sump pump to installing new windows,” Lyons says. “Every job is a marketing opportunity.” ABQ

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914-934-5151 www.traynerandcompany.com American Builders Quarterly


industry insights

At a Glance Location: New Orleans, LA Founded: 1947 Specialty: Architecture and real estate

Right: The Garage will be the newest addition to New Orleans' Warehouse-Arts District, featuring 65 residential units and a ground-floor retail space.

Marcel Wisznia felt that he just did not have the

Best of Both Worlds Wisznia Architecture + Development’s diverse expertise means seeing a project from all angles by Brigitte Yuille

American Builders Quarterly

patience or discipline to be an employee when he graduated from the Tulane School of Architecture, in Louisiana, in 1973. He also had no interest in heading back home to Corpus Christi, Texas, to work for his father, Walter Wisznia, a prominent architect. Instead, he did chose a third path: he opened his own practice in New Orleans right out of college. Then, in the early 1980s, he and his father ended up merging their practices as two profit centers of the same company, and today that company is known as Wisznia Architecture + Development. “[The firm] is quite unique in the fact that we clearly wear two hats, and those two hats give us a level of decision-making that almost no other architects have,” Marcel says. Poor decisions by inexperienced and unknowing development clients can reflect on the architectural firm. “In the profession of architecture, you’re only as good as your clients are.” he explains. “[Architects] have to increase the experience level of their clients so they have the tools to make those right decisions,” Marcel says, but because of his company’s two branches, there is no need to train the client. “Our [devel-

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industry insights

Above: While the historic elements of this space are completely restored on the exterior of the building, Wisznia Architecture + Development takes a modernist approach to creating unique interior architecture. Photo: Bethanie Dardant.

opment] client—ourselves—is already trained. This allows us to really refocus on design because we don’t have to take the time to educate our client.” Ultimately, the combined design and business sides create better solutions. When Marcel first started, he focused exclusively on residential architecture, working on the renovation of older historic homes. He slowly transitioned to commercial work, and by the early 1980s he began working on retail stores. “This really changed the public’s perception of our practice,” he says. “Our workload changed to

In the profession of architecture, you’re only as good as your clients are. Marcel Wisznia, President primarily retail and then office interiors, and our residential design opportunities diminished.” Despite the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the current recession, the company has been busier than ever. It is currently working on three projects in downtown New Orleans—two under construction and the other in development—with total costs topping $120 million. One of the projects under construction is the conversion of the 11-story, 130,000-square-foot Maritime office building, originally built in 1893, into a mixed-use project. The ground floor is commercial space, the second floor will have offices, and 105 market rate apartments will occupy the 3rd through 11th floors. The

urban dwelling units will have unique sliding wall systems to separate the bedrooms from the living rooms. The second project under construction is the Saratoga. The 155,000-square-foot, 15-story office building, developed in 1956, is adjacent to Tulane University's medical school, and it is being converted into 155 market-rate apartments. The Saratoga will also have a flexible wall system and 8,500 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor. The Garage is another project under development. It was originally built in 1951 as a Buick car dealership and four-story parking garage. A fifth floor will be added to the building, and the renovated ground floor will encompass 15,000 square feet of commercial space, as well as 30 covered parking spaces. “We are demolishing the existing interior ramps in the garage, and we’re adding two car elevators,” Wisznia says. “So, if you live there and you come home by car, you drive your car into an elevator, it takes you up to the floor you live on, the other door opens, and you drive out and park in front of your apartment.” Marcel doesn’t like labels and only describes himself as a generalist. He credits the success of his career and the business to his father. While working with him, Marcel learned not just to compete for projects but to create them. “It was really that mentoring by my father that has been the difference,” he says, “and it has really created the firm that we are today.” ABQ

WE ARE ARCHITECTS WE ARE DEVELOPERS For over two generations, Wisznia has paired an expertise in award-winning architecture with a finesse for real-estate finance. The result: Design-Driven Development

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www.wisznia.com

American Builders Quarterly


industry insights

At a Glance Location: Burlingame, CA Founded: 1991 Employees: 2 Specialty: Recreational and club architecture; commercial, retail, office, and custom residential design Annual Sales: $500,000Ñ750,000

As a California native and former Peace Corps

Alliance Building Winges Architects teams up with a landscape architect to give clients the best treatment, inside and out by Laura Williams-Tracy

Above: Marin Country Club received a major overhaul from Winges Architects, which included this terrace overlooking the golf course.

American Builders Quarterly

volunteer who has traveled to 41 countries, Jerry Winges understands what it takes to live the good life. The founding principal of Winges Architects has spent the past two decades designing swim complexes, tennis centers, gymnasiums, assembly rooms, and all of the assorted locker rooms and fine-dining restaurants that make country-club living so desirable. “The country-club market has been great. We do a lot of golf clubs and swim and tennis centers,” Winges says. “Right now we’re redoing a project that we completed 10 years ago because the club has outgrown it.” Winges says recreational work has been such a success for him because of a unique partnership with a landscape architect. Since 1995, Winges Architects has teamed up with landscape architects Bradanini & Associates Inc. to form a joint-venture firm. Together, Bradanini and Winges have served many golf swim and tennis clubs, as well as residential estates to provide

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industry insights

Above: The landscape and architectural expertise that Winges Architects and Bradanini & Associates Inc. bring to their work can be seen in this private residence's entry walk in San Mateo, CA. Top left: The recreation pool for the Tiburon Peninsula Club in Tiburon, CA, displays Winges Architects country-club expertise. Left: For a private residence in Pescadero, CA, Winges Architects designed an indoor atrium spa with a swim hole accessing a lap pool outside.

comprehensive design services for all buildings and all site areas of a project. “I don’t know of any other architectural group in this area where the landscape architect and architect are equal partners in the development of the scheme,” Winges says. “Usually the landscape architect is a hired consultant that is subordinate to the architect. But together, we can offer equal attention to the inside and the outside.” Winges Architects’ projects include work on the world famous and historic Pasatiempo Golf Club near Santa Cruz. The firm combined two restaurants with two separate kitchens and relocated the first tee back to its historic location. At Marin Country Club in Novato, California, Bradanini and Winges completed a four-pool recreation complex. The finished product included a two-level pool building with a fitness center, a 35,000-square-foot clubhouse, practice ranges, and tennis courts. Winges Architects’ recreational portfolio isn’t limited to high-end country clubs, though. The Burlingame, California-based company has taken on several projects in its hometown, including the construction of a sports center and other recreational sites in a former industrial district. The renovations for Sky High Sports, a 30,000-square-foot trampoline center, the basketball courts for Burlingame Sports Center, and a nearby ballroom dance center will help vitalize the neighborhood. Following the trend of revitalized growth plans for many country clubs after a lull in the recession, Winges Architects is finding increasing demand for residential

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American Builders Quarterly


industry insights

These quick conceptual studies are a great way for us to get to know each other. Most often they will hire me to carry the plan forward. It’s the most fun thing I do.

WE KNOW HOW TO

RETROFITA STRUCTURE WITHOUT

RECYCLING EXCUSES.

Jerry Winges, Founding Principal

design services. Many homeowners are looking at major additions or making plans to tear down a home and rebuild. The upswing is more than a financial blessing for Winges. “I’ve always enjoyed residential architecture because it’s where you can really get creative,” he says. “In our area, there are lots of design review boards and an extensive public process for approval. Maybe it comes from working with boards at the different clubs, but I understand how to get through the process, present orally and visually with drawing and sketches. We’ve been very successful with the approval process.” Beyond this, the firm provides design counseling, which is essentially an architectural house call. Before a client has committed to the residential remodel or selected an architect, Winges will spend time at the home talking to the homeowners about their needs. After sketching freehand floor plans, site plans, and elevation options, Winges completes a zoning analysis and provides an estimate on the potential cost of construction and the approval process. The design counseling is billed at an hourly rate and doesn’t force the clients into anything. “I leave them at the end of day with a conceptual study, enough for them to make a decision to go one direction or another,” Winges says. “These quick conceptual studies are a great way for us to get to know each other. Most often they will hire me to carry the plan forward.” The strategy is paying off, as Winges Architects is securing more and more residential projects. However, for Winges, the counseling is about more than the balance sheet. “It’s the most fun thing I do,” he says. ABQ

Today, businesses need to squeeze more out of every dollar—and every square foot. We can help. For more than 30 years, South Bay Construction has worked with developers to revitalize spaces and reinvigorate companies. We keep to schedules and keep the surprises to a minimum. Learn more at www.sbci.com or give us a call 408-379-5500.

A E & C enjoyed working with the Weitz Company and the National Park Service

• Security and Fire Alarm Systems Wireless and Hardwire • Residential and Commercial Installations • Annual Inspections for Alarm & Suppression Systems • Central Vacuum Systems • Telephone and Data Cabling – ( Structured Cabling ) • UL Listed Central Station Monitoring Local Central Station • Intercom Systems – Homes Business and Schools • Nurse Call Systems – Doctors Call Systems

A Message from South Bay Construction South Bay Construction was founded in 1978, and has been steadily building a reputation for honesty, integrity, and excellence ever since. As a proven leader in Northern California commercial construction, we provide a complete range of comprehensive general contracting services, including new shell buildings, steel-frame structures, tenant improvements, state-of-the-art renovations, historical renovations, and rehabilitation projects. For more information, visit us at sbci.com or give us a call at 408.379.5500.

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• Home Theatre, Surround Sound, and Stereo Systems • Access Control Systems • Closed Circuit Television –CCTV • Satellite Television and Satellite Music Installation • Environmental Alarm Systems – Water / Gas / Temperature

Phone: (928) 308-1896 Fax: (928) 778-3257 Email: AEC@Commspeed.net

Complete Low Voltage Systems Integration july/august 2011

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industry insights

(Re)Building an Industry Opportunities for energy efficiency prompts a partnership between the Flagstaff, Arizona-based Resource Conservation Group and energy experts by Laura Williams-Tracy

At a Glance Location: Flagstaff, AZ Founded: 2008 Employees: 12 Specialty: Energy audits, weatherization, and energy-efficient home construction Annual Sales: $500,000

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Flagstaff, Arizona-based Resource Conservation

Group (ReGroup), an energy-consulting and -contracting business, was founded on the belief that resource conservation and education are part of a larger sustainable future. Co-owners Chris Watson and Craig Bird created the firm in 2008 to fill a void for homeowners who needed technical guidance on how to reduce energy waste and increase efficiency. “We looked around and saw that no one was serving existing homeowners looking to make their homes more energy-efficient,” Watson says. “Here in Arizona, we have a robust renewable-energy market, but there really wasn’t anyone who would go in and help homeowners be cost effective and comfortable.” Instead of just charging $40,000 to install a solar heating system, Watson says his company shows homeowners how to spend far less while still enjoying the benefits of energy efficiency and feeling comfortable in their dwellings. Clients routinely seek ReGroup’s guidance to build according to Energy Star ratings or achieve LEED certification from the USGBC. “We are hired by the contracting firm and get involved early in the process to create an energy model and help homeowners make decisions,” Watson says. ReGroup consultants show homeowners projections of energy gains versus overall cost so the clients can make decisions about systems. In addition, they offer advice on windows and their placement, as well as different types of heating systems, such as solar-hotwater or high-efficiency furnaces. “Consumers are so overwhelmed by new technology and materials coming out that they really need someone who can show them the numbers and how these technologies will affect the long-term performance of their house,” Watson says. The business has flourished, but ReGroup has found it can serve its customers even better by offering the construction services required when homeowners chose

to move ahead with the energy-efficiency initiatives highlighted in the firm’s energy audit. In the summer of 2010, ReGroup added partner Vance Peterson, a general contractor, allowing the firm to offer full-service construction to homeowners. “Now we can do more than consulting work,” Watson says. “People can call on us when they need this repair or they want to replace their windows.” And, he says, clients want services that are not necessarily energy-related, such as kitchen remodeling, and ReGroup is eager to take on such projects. “We want to be your contractor and your handyman,” he says. A rapidly growing portion of ReGroup’s business has come from its service as an independent contractor to Arizona’s public utilities, which have active programs that provide rebates to homeowners who make their homes more energy efficient. For $99, homeowners can get an energy audit of their home and determine what steps would reduce their energy consumption and energy bills. “Those steps have exploded the energy-efficiency market in Arizona, and it’s now a huge part of our business,” Watson says. “There’s a different mindset here than a lot of places. People want to limit greenhouse gases and protect our natural beauty. They do it because it’s the right thing, not just to save money.” Flagstaff residents, in particular, have a keen interest in energy. Unlike their neighbors who enjoy warmth and sun, the northern city’s citizens often contend with bitter cold temperatures due to their 7,000-foot elevation. ReGroup is currently working on two LEED-certified homes—one striving for Gold certification and the other working toward Platinum—using alternative materials such as highly durable insulated concrete. The firm is also consulting on a 64-unit employee housing project at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon for the National Park Service. The project will be LEED Platinum-certified and will provide efficient housing to employees at the park. To give back to the community, ReGroup volunteers with Habitat for Humanity and an organization called Both Hands, which works with troubled youth to give them job skills in the construction industry. Watson says in Arizona low-income families can spend as much as 50 percent of their income on utility bills. ReGroup therefore works to help create affordable housing that is also affordable to operate. In its charity work, as with every project the company undertakes, the firm’s philosophy toward energy efficiency stays the same. “When you build an affordable house, it must have a simple system and not require a lot of maintenance,” Watson says. “It must be tight and highly insulated with efficient heating mechanisms. You don’t just need cheap house; you need an efficient house.” ABQ

American Builders Quarterly


industry insights

A typical food-processing facility construction

Keeping it Clean RFW Construction Group shines in the niche market of sanitary foodprocessing facilities by Karen Gentry

American Builders Quarterly

project is much more complex than other manufacturing or distribution project because of the attention to detail required to ensure a safe, sanitary processing environment. Such facilities are designed and constructed to manage the control of listeria bacteria in the processing environment, and they must therefore include controlled employee-traffic patterns; dry, uncracked, and cleanable floors; effective good manufacturing practices; effective sanitation procedures; and sanitary design and construction of the entire facility and its processing equipment. RFW Construction Group, a design-build company headquartered in Tennessee and licensed in 39 states, specializes in the planning and construction of foodrelated processing facilities. “Our company has the specialized knowledge, expertise, the keen attention to detail, and most importantly the experience required to effectively design and construct these facilities,” says vice president York Walker. The entire environment within the exposed food areas of a processing facility has to be controlled to

At a Glance Location: Dyersburg, TN Founded: 2003 Employees: 65­Ð100 Specialty: Design-build work on food-processing, cold-storage, manufacturing, and distribution facilities

Above: Food-processing facilities, like this bacon plant, have to be designed to rigorous standards to prevent the outbreak of listeria and other diseases.

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industry insights

Safety is always the ‘priority one’ and first topic of every meeting. We’ve had zero losttime accidents in over seven years. York Walker, Vice President minimize microbial growth. According to the American Meat Institute, “dryer is better” when controlling the growth of listeria. Moisture on overhead structures will create a contamination risk for exposed product and food-contact surfaces such as processing equipment, and that means eliminating all horizontal surfaces that might trap water. It also means implementing proper air-pressure and airflow procedures and selecting the proper materials for construction. It is critical for RFW Construction to be able to meet USDA, FDA, and Food Safety & Inspection Services regulations. Walker says all employees and subcontractors who will work on a food processing jobsite take part in Day 1 Training. “Safety is always the ‘priority one’ and first topic of every meeting,” Walker says. “We’ve had zero lost-time accidents in over seven years. We train [employees and contractors] on food-safety ideas and hygiene areas. We never let a person take a break inside a food-processing building.” Examples of food-processing facilities completed by RFW Construction include a dairy plant for Dean Foods, a 25,000-square-foot bakery facility in Mississippi, and the new Mars Petcare dog-food plant in Fort Smith, Arkansas, the state’s first sustainable manufacturing facility. Walker says the 305,000-square-foot plan received LEED Gold certification, and many LEED points were garnered for the detention pond that includes a filter for the fire protection Like many of RFW Construction’s projects, the Mars Petcare facility was fast-tracked and completed in 10 months. With engineers and architects on staff, many of the company’s projects are completed in a short amount of time, and a huge amount of coordination is necessary to keep projects under budget while avoiding surprises for clients. “We offer design and construction,

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not just construction alone,” Walker says. “That’s why we can do things so fast. We can start construction with 30 percent design.” RFW Construction completes about 30 major projects per year—75 percent of them in food processing and the rest in manufacturing and distribution. Walker says the firm prides itself on paying attention to customers’ needs and has been rewarded with a lot of repeat business that has sustained the company during the economic downturn. RFW Construction guarantees its fast-track construction, and in late 2010 it completed a 75,000-square-foot rubber-compound mixing operation for Cooper Tire in Tupelo, Mississippi. Always looking to add further insurance, RFW Construction Group also has been using Building Information Modeling (BIM) exclusively for more than a year. With the 3-D drawings and overlays, mistakes—including any interferences with mechanical, electrical, refrigeration, walls, doors, etc.—are caught early, leaving completed projects more streamlined than ever. “BIM allows our engineers to work on more projects,” Walker says. “During the design process, it relieves pressure on engineering by increasing productivity. It gives our clients more detailed focus on the building, too. Clients know exactly what their building is going to look like, and naturally they’re more engaged.” In terms of size, the firm grew 25 percent a year in its first few years but it has leveled off to about 10 percent annual growth. RFW Construction Group is comfortable with these numbers, though, because it aims for controlled expansion in a niche market where the pace is already fast. “We want to grow, but we want to have sustained growth,” Walker says. “We don’t want to lose that client focus, and we will not sacrifice client relationships for revenue.” ABQ

Above: RFW Construction Group's extensive experience allows it to start construction before the design is complete without threatening mandatory control systems.

American Builders Quarterly


industry insights

At a Glance Location: Houston and San Antonio, TX Founded: 2003 Employees: 25 Specialty: Civil engineering for transportation and public-works sectors Annual Revenue: $4 million+

Right: A $120 million project for the Texas DOT's US-290 Interchange at IH-10 and IH-610 in Houston will help reduce congestion on one of the nation's most heavily trafficked roadways.

Jim Gonzales is always moving himself and his

Highway to Success IDC Inc. specializes in road and railway work in the heart of Texas by Christopher Cussat

American Builders Quarterly

company, IDC, forward. Whether growing his firm’s clientele base, expanding its geographic reach, or diversifying its offerings, the president and CEO has become a master of leadership, work creation, and successful innovation. After working in the fields of civil engineering and project management for more than 24 years, Gonzales and Larry Janak founded IDC as a professional services consulting firm that specializes in civil engineering and project management. Today, IDC provides services within three main industry arenas: transportation, public works, and program management. “We are dedicated to serving both private and public entities including cities, counties, transit authorities, education entities, and more,” Gonzales says. More than 16 percent of IDC’s work is in the field of civil engineering for transportation and public-works projects. This type of work involves the design of state highways, toll roads, and transit facilities as well as city and county public works and infrastructure projects. One of the company’s recent projects with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is the US-290

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industry insights

It is our goal to build relationships, forge strategic alliances, and commit the best resources to be able to compete and grow our business from a position of strength. Jim Gonzales, President & CEO interchange at IH-10 and IH-610. This estimated $120 million project will help reduce traffic congestion and accidents on one of the most heavily traveled highways in the state of Texas. Another IDC roadway project includes improvements to SH-36 at FM-1495 and SH-35. “This $50 million-plus added-capacity project will improve mobility, increase public safety, and reduce traffic congestion,” Gonzales says. For the project, IDC developed plans to widen roadway facilities and implement two elevated overpasses to help move traffic through hurricane prone areas of the Texas Gulf Coast. The roadway improvements included a future elevated intersection over railroad tracks and two other state highways in Brazoria County. “This was done to create a quiet zone for nearby residents, improve the flow of trade and freight through Port Freeport, enhance hurricane evacuation, and increase mobility for the traveling public,” Gonzales says. In addition to a myriad of roadways, sidewalks, drainage, and water facilities throughout Texas, IDC has been involved with the planning, engineering, and program management of several guided rapid-transit corridors (valued at nearly $2 billion), where commuter rail and transit systems are being developed. The remaining 35–40 percent of IDC’s work is comprised of planning and program management services. In fact, IDC has been involved with the handling of more than $700 million for building facilities in the education, public, commercial, industrial, and municipal sectors. IDC has been involved in managing the design and construction of a $100 million major industrial plant, six new and renovation projects at Brazosport College, and other large Capital Improvement Programs valued at over $1 billion. Among these is the $280 million Lamar Consolidated Independent School District (LCISD) building program, which includes new facilities, additions, and renovations for more than 30 of the district’s K–12 campuses. The firm currently maintains offices in San Antonio and Houston, and IDC’s goal for the future is to continue

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growing its operations in San Antonio, Houston, and throughout the state of Texas. “It is our goal to be recognized as a leading civil-engineering and projectmanagement firm in Texas and the United States,” Gonzales says. According to Gonzales, the company’s success directly correlates to having talented personnel and consistently performing excellent work. “Performing high-quality work is key—and the hardworking and dedicated professionals at IDC have made our success a reality,” he says. He went further to attribute much of IDC’s success to his co-owner, Janak. The firm was named by Hispanic Business as one of the “100 Fastest Growing Companies in the United States” in 2008—and, in 2010, IDC was recognized as being among the “500 Largest Companies in the United States” by the same magazine. Gonzales assures that IDC will continue to improve upon the practices and services that have helped the company attain such accolades and reach its current status. IDC was also recently ranked the 21st-fastest-growing Hispanic-owned company in the country, with an impressive 258 percent growth rate in the last five years. “It is not our goal to be all things engineering to everybody,” Gonzales says, “Rather, it is our goal to build relationships, forge strategic alliances, and commit the best resources to be able to compete and grow our business from a position of strength.” ABQ

Below: LCISD Reading Junior High School in Sugar Land, TX, is one of several projects for the district's building program, valued at $280 million in total.

American Builders Quarterly


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industry insights

At a Glance Location: St. Louis, MO Dallas, TX Founded: 1994 Employees: 19 Specialty: Architecture, planning, interiors, move management Annual Sales: $3.75 million

Right: The Washington University Diabetes Center, at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, was designed to both provide the best care for patients and to remain flexible for the evolving industry of healthcare.

There are two daunting challenges when it comes to

Healthcare Helpers Oculus Inc. understands the hightech, high-touch imperatives of patient facilities by Russ Klettke

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designing healthcare facilities and hospitals in particular. One is that the very technical environment needs to also be comforting to people in physical and emotional distress. The second is that the physical environment needs to be adaptable to a business that is in extreme flux. The architects at St. Louis-based Oculus Inc.—led by Lisa Bell-Reim, president, and Ron Reim, executive vice president—have made overcoming such challenges a predominant specialty within their commercial architecture firm. “We follow what healthcare is supposed to do, and that is to enable the best care possible for patients,” Reim says. “That begins with ‘do no harm.’ But it also means syncing two constituencies. For patients, that’s achieving maximum healthcare, comfort, and peace of mind. For staff and other providers, it means architecture that achieves efficiency and productivity while making it possible for them to do the right thing for patients.” Reim cites several ways in which his designs do this. In patient rooms, for example, the firm positions the sinks in such a way that doctors can face patients while

American Builders Quarterly


industry insights

Hospitals are highly regulated by codes, and there are evolving approaches to disease, which can also create a change in the way that the money flows. There is no way to disconnect these things from design. Ron Reim, Executive Vice President

washing their hands. Eye-to-eye contact brings better doctor-patient communication, a keystone to the relationship. Other general practices Oculus follows include positioning bathrooms away from windows to better control their air temperatures while maintaining a premium on daylighting in the rest of the room. (“absolutely preferred,” Reim says, explaining that the healthy effects of sunlight are well established). Also, while space and hallway widths matter, the overall spread of a facility should not be so great as to make patients, visitors, and staff walk great distances. Federal privacy requirements make up a base set of needs and restrictions for healthcare facilities, but the rapid economic changes in the industry—driven by government policy as much as by technological innovation and disease trends—create a separate challenging dimension for the architects. “We have to pay attention to the clients’ financial models,” Reim says. “Hospitals are highly regulated by codes, and there are evolving approaches to disease, which can also create a change in the way that the money flows. There is no way to disconnect these things from design.” Oculus’ work with Mendota Community Hospital in Illinois illustrates how the firm approaches projects holistically. The 107,000-square-foot facility includes a large new hospital and adjoining medical office building. “This is the crown jewel of its community,” Reim says, detailing how the $25 million construction costs were found by their analysis to be only slightly more expensive than the renovation of an existing 1950s building would have been. “Based on the limitations of the existing building structure and site and projected Medicare cost reimbursement reporting, a new building made much more sense.” Oculus has also worked on several structures over the past dozen years for BJC HealthCare, a major

American Builders Quarterly

provider in the St. Louis market. In 2006, the firm worked on the 6,800-square-foot BJC Diabetes Center, which was constructed for about $500,000 to serve the growing demand for diabetes treatment and education. Oculus also renovated a 103,000-square-foot warehouse to create administrative offices, a video-production facility, and a gym for the organization’s employees. “We always think in terms of data sets,” Reim says, noting they have been using Building Information Modeling (BIM) software for a decade, including on this project. Oculus holds an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract with the Veterans Administration, qualifying the firm to work on multiple projects in Illinois, Kansas, and Missouri. Reim speaks about the “not glamorous” work for the “truly noble endeavor of veterans’ healthcare,” particularly in light of the burgeoning population of injured war veterans. The firm’s work responsibilities range from project analysis to full designs, energy audits, lead removal, interior layouts and furnishings, construction administration, and more. For one particular set of projects—at the Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital—Oculus was tasked with renovating the exhaust fans to accommodate present and future needs. This job was complicated by the fact that several other contractors were working on multiple projects that also impacted the exhaust system, so Oculus voluntarily convened the other parties to coordinate their efforts for greater efficiency. As more federal healthcare reforms phase in and a growing population ages, the intricate web of healthcare receivers and providers—patients, doctors, nurses, surgeons, pharmacists, pharmaceutical reps, boards of directors, and others—will depend evermore on facilities with highly refined and flexible architecture. Firms like Oculus are ready for the challenge. ABQ

july/august 2011

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HOPPMANN AUDIO VISUAL industry insights

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American Builders Quarterly


industry insights

At a Glance Location: Washington, DC Founded: 1999 Employees: 14 Specialty: KÐ12 schools and municipal, institutional, cultural, and residential facilities

Right: Studio27 often brings its expertise to the field of education, as it did for Kipp DC: Aim Academy, shown here. Photo: Judy Davis.

Studio27 Architecture, located in downtown

Designing Through Dialogue Studio27 Architecture plans various buildings focusing on collaboration and teamwork by Brigitte Yuille

American Builders Quarterly

Washington, DC, transgresses the boundaries of the typical architecture firm through its unique business model and design methodology. Instead of using a traditional hierarchical structure, the firm encourages a collaborative office atmosphere in which each team member is an equal and integral contributor to the design process. Principal Todd Ray says that he and John Burke, the firm’s other principal, “started the studio more like a design collective, where everyone has the opportunity to have input, and their input is valuable.” Ray attributes the company’s success, even through the tough economic climate, to these amenable employees. “Our staff is amazingly talented and very efficient,” he says. “There’s not a lot of wasted time.” Ray and Burke both believe this democratic business model not only creates a rich environment for the employees through opportunity and empowerment but also begins to translate into, and positively affect, the design process. The architectural framework of the firm’s office reaffirms its social business agenda: the space is entirely open, and everyone works within the same defined desk

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industry insights

Above: Studio27 brings multiple voices to the design process, a collaborative work environment generating innovative renderings.

area, with multiple locations for collaboration along its edges. The firm also embeds theoretical research and exploration into its creative framework, actively promoting an inspiring academic atmosphere while simultaneously maintaining a rigorous and precise technical methodology. This allows Studio27 to explore with its designs even as it achieves its primary goal of creating projects for its clients that practically respond to their program, schedule, and budgetary needs. While Studio27 currently has 14 collaborators, the company actually started as a small side job for Burke

Our value is in our ideas. Todd Ray, Principal and Ray. As they began to both receive a more diverse set of projects and win awards for their work, they decided to formally launch the full-service architecture firm. Over time, they began taking on additional employees as they entered and maintained a presence in a variety of markets. As of 2010, Studio27 specializes in a wide range of project types, including K–12 schools, as well as municipal, institutional, cultural, and residential facilities, and it has designed structures in New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Georgia, Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, DC. The company intends to continue solidifying its presence with existing clientele, but it also hopes to further its geographical diversity while expanding into the college and university market.

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The firm has been presented with multiple local and state design awards, including three dozen design excellence awards from local and regional chapters of the American Institute of Architects, and its projects have been published both nationally and internationally. A couple of the more recently completed projects include the Artisphere—a newly renovated multidisciplinary Arlington Cultural Center, described as one of the first models for arts centers of the 21st century—and a 140,000-square-foot, LEED-certified revitalization of a 1950s-era municipal school into a new pre-K through 12th-grade charter school. In addition to these more client-based projects, Studio27 is currently teaming with a high-performance mechanical engineering firm to explore a range of decarbonization strategies for cities. By developing parametric models on an urban scale, the team seeks to understand how buildings could perform at a level far more efficient than the existing LEED Platinum level. Finally, Studio27 is also on the verge of releasing both its first book on master planning—a compilation of historical and current architectural speculations for southwest DC—as well as a series of architectural pamphlets entitled, “Fragment,” each of which expounds on a singular idea within architecture. Studio27 is one of the rare architecture firms able to negotiate between the collaborative and individual processes—and between the practical and theoretical realms. While its work remains grounded in the needs and desires of its clients, the firm is also able to explore new ways of thinking through their research. As Ray ultimately says, “Our value is in our ideas.” ABQ

American Builders Quarterly


industry insights

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Ask for assistance and our experienced sales staff will be there to help. Ask for material planning and we’ll manage your job site deliveries according to your schedule. Ask for millwork and we’ll have the right window, door or interior trim solution. Ask for roofing and we’ll provide the materials and applicable underlayment your project requires. BUILDING MATERIALS 1513 39TH AVE SE MANDAN, ND 701-663-9861

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industry insights

At a Glance Location: Mandan, ND Founded: 1984 Employees: 2 Specialty: Custom-home building

Right: Schlomer Construction provides a variety of building options for all of its custom homes.

After 20 years as a home builder, North Dakota

Taking the Lead The community-based work ethic of home builder Schlomer Construction Inc. extends from subcontractors to professional groups by Annie Fischer

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general contractor Dana Schlomer has successfully shown how reputation and community involvement can effectively grow a small business in the construction industry. His work with several different area organizations has led to new and repeat clients, and his firm, Schlomer Construction, is now a widely established local brand. Schlomer counts nearly 95 percent of his projects as presold custom construction. For the most part, his clients are word-of-mouth referrals, and his participation in the building community is strong. In 2008, the Bismarck/ Mandan Home Builders Association (HBA) recognized Schlomer as Builder of the Year, and until January of this year he served as the organization’s president. Schlomer now remains on the HBA’s board of directors, and he champions the organization’s efforts to fight for the best interests of the industry. Plus, the networking aspect of the HBA stimulates the growth of new ideas, and keeps industry workers updated regarding code changes and energy advancements. As Schlomer says, “The association does a lot that we can’t do alone.” Last year, for example, the International Residential Code (IRC) introduced its fire-sprinkler requirement, which made sprinkler systems mandatory in new-home construction. On the grounds that the additional expense

American Builders Quarterly


industry insights

The Home Builders Association does a lot that we can’t do alone. Dana Schlomer, Owner could reach upwards of $70,000, effectively preventing new construction in some cases, the Bismarck-Mandan HBA lobbied against the IRC and won. This networking concept reaches into his personal business strategy, as well. Traditionally, Schlomer completed the majority of projects on his own—he got his start in carpentry when he was just 18 years old, cultivating business contacts from that moment forward. Following hip and shoulder surgeries a couple years back, though, Schlomer began using those contacts and relying on a core group of subcontractors as his go-to team. That change has not resulted in any difference in price, according to Schlomer, and he still takes care of the trim and finishing on his own. The six to eight houses he completes annually cost between $200,000 and $380,000, on average.

American Builders Quarterly

Schlomer's clients are fairly conservative in their choices. While a large river home Schlomer recently built does feature cherry-wood interiors, customers will typically prioritize space and electronics over high-end aesthetic details, meaning more high-definition wiring and less granite and custom cabinetry. “Big garages are popular right now, though—the man-cave thing,” Schlomer jokes. One investment Schlomer steadfastly encourages is energy-efficiency measures such as geothermal heating and cooling systems. Although the cost of installing one of the ground-source heat pumps can deter clients, there are state and federal tax credits that make it more feasible, and Schlomer argues that the systems make particularly good sense in rural areas. He went the geothermal route when building his own home a few years ago—perhaps the best endorsement a home builder can make. While the system cost nearly twice as much to purchase and install as a high-efficiency furnace at the time, Schlomer estimates that the difference was paid off in less than three years; most earn their payback between three and five, he says. Most important, though, is that the savings are now phenomenal. “We pay between maybe $300 and $400 a year on energy bills,” he says. “There are people here who pay that much in a month.” Beyond energy systems, the North Dakota climate is an important consideration in construction materials as well, and Schlomer is diligent when it comes to quality insulation and tight caulking. But the weather can also affect building strategies. In 2009, for example, a brutal, record-breaking winter slowed progress on residential construction for builders across the board; at the end of March 2010, permits for single-family detached homes in Bismarck were 82 percent lower than the year before, according to the Bismarck Tribune. For the most part, though, Schlomer does not slow down in the colder seasons, partly thanks to the networking he has done in a community he knows well. “As long as the basement is poured before the ground freezes, we’re fine,” Schlomer says. “In fact, this is the busiest winter we’ve had in a long time.” ABQ

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industry insights through the years

Wilmington Housing Authority 1938 Public housing comes to Wilmington

change is nothing new for North Carolina's Wilmington Housing Authority (WHA). The organization became the state’s first housing authority as the 1930s ended. Such a storied history creates inherent struggles. Today, many of WHA’s buildings are more than 50 years old. As strategies and protocols for public housing evolve from coast to coast, the WHA is investing $30 million in renovations and new construction. CEO Mike Krause arrived on the scene in 2008 to find wait-lists that were topping 7,000 families and were closed to new applicants. Since then, he and his team have worked to find new and innovative ways to meet the changing needs in the Wilmington and New Hanover County communities. “There is tremendous need here,” he says. “The cost of living has become so high that city workers can’t always afford to live in their city. We have to do and are doing a better job of meeting local needs.” While wait-lists are still closed, the WHA is making fast strides and developing important strategies to increase capacity. —Zach Baliva

The Wilmington Housing Authority is created with the passage of the Housing Authority Law. The first of North Carolina's many public developments are quickly built in 1939 and 1941. Hillcrest, built in 1941, is still operational today, and features 256 units in 91 townhouse buildings.

1972 Creekwood South The Wilmington Housing Authority opens Creekwood South near the airport on the city's northwest side. Although most of the 198 units have since been neglected, that is about to change. The WHA is in the middle of a $2.3 million upgrade funded by the ARRA. "It's essentially a gut rehab that will change and improve the whole community," Krause says. "People are rallying around our efforts to transform this area and the residents are excited about what's going on." The total project cost for the renovation of Creekwood South tops $15 million. While the ARRA funding was used to renovate 60 units, funding to renovate the remainder of the units was made possible through a $13 million tax-credit award through the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency. The improvements will hopefully help reduce crime in an often-avoided part of town, and signal a new path for the housing authority.

1978 Section 8 For almost 40 years, the WHA expanded its portfolio of new developments, seeking to provide relief and assistance to low-income families who could not find affordable housing. The face of public housing nationwide changes in 1974 when the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development creates the Housing Choice Voucher Program, known as Section 8. The subsidy program in Wilmington provides more than 1,800 vouchers that go to landlords of low-income properties. The program spurs considerable growth at WHA. Today, the organization requires a staff of 13 and operates with a $10.7 million budget.

1990 Interstate 40 brings growth While it might seem insignificant to the casual observer, the completion of Interstate 40 dramatically changes the face of Wilmington. Suddenly, the city finds itself connected to the rest of the state and starts to experience one of America's most rapid population increases. The WHA is forced to absorb the needs of the new community. "We went from being isolated to being a destination, but very little was done to enhance the quality or quantity of public housing in town," Krause says. The housing authority begins selling and demolishing holdings with no replacement plan. The aftereffects are still being dealt with today.

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American Builders Quarterly


industry insights

1996 Integrated communities While modern housing authorities seek to deconcentrate affordable housing and create whole mixed neighborhoods, that wasn't always the case. "Stacked high-rises are notorious for breeding criminal activity, and the 1990s saw a shift at HUD and the local level to create less dense mixedincome communities," Krause says. Founded in 1996 and completed in 2010, the Robert S. Jervay Place communities combine for-sale homes and public-housing units. WHA offers unique services designed to help low-income families become homeowners through down-payment assistance and education workshops. By replacing isolated and stacked eyesores with new communities, Krause hopes to limit problems associated with stereotypical and outdated public-housing units. "As we develop new communities, we do that with these principles in mind," he says, adding that new developments will consist of 50 units on small plots instead of 300 units on several acres.

People are rallying around our efforts to transform this area and the residents are excited about what’s going on. Mike Krause, CEO

2008 UNCW partnership A unique learning environment is established when the WHA and the University of North CarolinaÐWilmington sign a memorandum of understanding. The group pledges unity to meet community needs and implements several programs designed to educate residents and "promote self-sufficiency." The alliance buys a community campus at Hillcrest, where residents can enroll in computer and reading classes. Recent groups helped 14 adults and 14 students acquire important skills, while an after-school reading program educates 34 children. Volunteers in Hillcrest's senior program offer art, ceramics, and other classes catered to senior citizens. Additionally, WHA offers childcare and employment assistance, along with a newly refunded Youth Build program through which 28 kids develop skills while building an affordable home through Habitat for Humanity.

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2011 Going green When Krause arrived in 2008, he reevaluated his group's mission and targets smart and consistent growth. Part of that mandate includes adopting green, efficient, and sustainable procedures. A current development, the New Brooklyn Homes at Robert R. Taylor Estates (left), features 48 public-housing townhomes constructed with green technologies and environment-friendly designs. The homes are seeking the USGBC's prestigious LEED Platinum certification, and will become the first public-housing tax-credit-equity-funded project to do so. With New Brooklyn, Krause is proving that the Wilmington Housing Authority is truly on a new path.

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WINCHESTER PLACE 4309 EMPEROR BOULEVARD SUITE 225 DURHAM, NC 27703 TELEPHONE: (919) 474-9137 FACSIMILE: (919) 474-9537

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project showcase

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project showcase Dewhurst Macfarlane and Partners Josh Wynne Construction T.H. Marsh Construction Co. Hartman-Cox Architects Aline Architecture

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Dewhurst Macfarlane and Partners By Joyce Finn

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DeAcero Headquarters TKTS Booth Grand Rapids Art Museum Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts

Dewhurst Macfarlane and Partners is one of the few structural-engineering firms in the world specializing in the niche market of glass construction. With offices in London, New York, and Trinidad, the firm's expertise also includes building and façade engineering. Founded in London in 1985 by Laurence Dewhurst and Tim Macfarlane (often considered the grandfather of glass design), the award-winning company has developed a global reach and reputation. Dewhurst Macfarlane thrives on challenges presented to the

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1 DeAcero Headquarters Monterrey, Mexico Started: Preconstruction Size: 115,000 square feet Building Type: Commercial

The DeAcero Corporation is the largest steel-wire manufacturer in Mexico, and its headquarters will be more than 85 percent glass when completed. “We work in a collaborative way with architects and offer them optioneering to create something greater than what they originally had envisioned,” Broderick says, “We often coach them in what is possible when working with glass.” Energy efficiency is a

American Builders Quarterly

firm by innovative architects who are interested in pushing the limits of design, and the company continues to work with new technologies and materials in order to find technical solutions that work both structurally and artistically. In the New York City office, work is headed up by a diverse team of experts whose work, featured here, represents Dewhurst Macfarlane throughout North America. At the office's head is a talented leadership team, including Tom Broderick, vice president and principal.

challenge, especially in the intense Mexican heat, but Dewhurst Macfarlane works extensively with high-performance glass. “Often it's the use of shading and shadowing along with layers and building systems that provide the comfort level that is expected in a given environment,” Broderick says. Also, the roof and façade will have a brise-soleil system to mitigate the sun's intensity further. The building will employ a Vierendeel frame-bracing system that will eliminate the need for interior columns, and the corporate offices will be on the perimeter gallery overlooking the open foyer. When completed to specifications, the DeAcero Headquarters will be applying for a LEED Gold rating.

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Photo: Perkins Eastman.

2 TKTS Booth New York, NY Started: 2006 Completed: 2008 Size: 2,200 square feet Building Type: Commercial

When the TKTS Ticket Booth in Times Square needed renovations, the architects at Perkins Eastman Architects envisioned a flame-red flying carpet for the booth’s roof. The 27 stairs rise to a height of 16 feet and cover the ticket sales office and the geothermal heating/cooling

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system. Lit from beneath by advanced LED lighting technology, the stairs offer seating for more than 500 residents and tourists. “The TKTS Booth is the largest self-supporting all-laminated glass trafficable structure in the world,” Broderick says. “It’s a tribute to glass engineering. It’s become a restful haven and photo opportunity for tourists.” Because of the structure’s immense popularity, the laminated, slip-resistant glass stair treads have already started to show wear along the handrails sooner than Dewhurst Macfarlane and Partners expected, and the treads are replaced as needed. This unique all-glass design has won many notable architectural awards and gleaned attention in such media outlets as Popular Mechanics. 

3 Grand Rapids Art Museum Grand Rapids, MI Started: 2005 Completed: 2008 Size: 125,000 square feet Building Type: Cultural institution

The first standout feature visitors see at the newly built Grand Rapids Art Museum is the 30-foot cantilevered canopy over the entrance. “This canopy on the exposed concrete building became our biggest challenge,” Broderick says.

The canopy measures 68’ x 148’ with one section spanning 46 feet between support columns. The exposed underside is a six-inch, cast-in-place concrete slab hung from the bottom beams. “Because of the use of [the] concrete cantilevered length, the column spacing became significant enough to offer an open and airy feeling to the main entry,” Broderick says. The building consists of two primary concrete systems. Along with other innovations, the 177 separate architectural concrete pours led to a one-of-a-kind forming system. In 2008, the museum won the Concrete Producers 2008 GreenSite Institutional award. “The Grand Rapids Art Museum was the first museum complex in the US to get a LEED Gold rating,” Broderick says.

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Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts Philadelphia, PA Started: 1998 Completed: 2001 Size: 90,000 square feet Building Type: Cultural Institution

The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, sited on half a city block, has two performance centers within an open-vault arch system. According to Broderick, “Glass is a material that hasn’t been overused yet, and there are still unlimited options and opportunities to use it in many different ways. It’s a structural as well as an architectural element.” Although the Kimmel Center has a lot of glass, Dewhurst Macfarlane was called in to provide full structural and façade engineering services, including the construction of the foundation, the building structure, and the glass and cable walls.” The firm used 1.2 x 1.5 meter laminated low-iron glass to give the façade a more crystalline look and maximum transparency. Until this project, the concept of steel arches, with glass bracing the steel, had not previously been used in the United States. Cables hang from the arch and cast-iron weights act as counterweights so there is a constant compression in the arch. Dewhurst Macfarlane’s innovation was to keep the arch constantly under compression to keep its original geometry while using minimal structure. Because of the flexibility of the cables, at each segment along the length of the arch, the glass theoretically can move three feet relative to the main structure.

American Builders Quarterly

Photo: Steve Hall, Hedrich Blessing.

The end walls presented the world’s the first use of a parallel cable wall—another Dewhurst Macfarlane and Partners innovation. The cable-wall structure works like a big diaphragm.

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project showcase

Josh Wynne Construction By Anita R. Paul

For a company whose CEO does not necessarily prefer the terminology “green building,” Josh Wynne Construction has certainly made its mark in Sarasota, Florida. “I’m more interested in the basics—creating a healthy house, a responsible footprint, using local materials, and creating a house with a large degree of self reliance,” says Wynne, who started his company in 1998 after only

1. Codding Cottage 2. Mission Valley Estates 3. The Power Haus

nine months working as a carpenter. With a Class A contractor’s license and some roofing and remodeling experience under his belt, Wynne quickly attracted the attention of a client interested in building a green home. Since that first project, Josh Wynne Construction has established itself with a reputation for high-quality, sustainable residential construction projects in and around Sarasota.

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1 Codding Cottage Sarasota, FL Started: 2008 Completed 2008 Size: 5,000 square feet Building Type: Residential

At the time Codding Cottage was built, it was the highest-scoring LEED Platinum home in the country. Today, it remains the highest-scoring LEED Platinum home in Florida. The residence is built on a small urban-infill site recognized nationally as a historic neighborhood. “The idea was to use the Florida vernacular to our advantage and build a green home,” Wynne says. Some of the home’s sustainable features include doors and cabinets made of local wood, countertops of 100-percent-recycled local zinc alloy

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metal or concrete, a vanity base made of salvaged materials from the jobsite, tile products made of recycled materials, spray-foam insulation, locally mined shell aggregate or reclaimed Chicago bricks on walkways and drives, Energy Star-certified windows and metal roofing, and a native landscape designed to both host and feed native species of birds and butterflies. The home has won eight Aurora Awards, including Best Energy Efficient Home and Best Green Home, and is certified under Energy Star and the Florida Green Building Coalition.

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2 Mission Valley Estates Sarasota, FL Started: 2009 Completed: 2009 Size: 1,917 square feet Building Type: Residential

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After Wynne completed Codding Cottage, naysayers suggested that a home with an equal focus on sustainability could not be built for the “average” homeowner. Wynne answered his critics with Mission Valley Estates. Earning the fifth-highest score in the state from the Florida Green Building Coalition, this multigenerational home was built airtight. Wynne and his team sealed the duct system at installation, and they built the roof with a secondary moisture barrier and solid soffit designs to control the effects of high winds and rain prevalent in Florida. Additionally, a MERV 10 filter cleans the air as the HVAC system runs. The design also incorporates high-quality windows and durable polished floors to help regulate indoor temperatures. Through smart materials management, 75 percent of waste was diverted from the landfill for recycling. “My approach is a bit more grassroots than most,” Wynne says. “I don’t want to fight nature.” A combination of good design, good conservation, and good implementation earned this project a HERS index of 52 and a Grand Aurora Award for Best Energy Efficient House. The home was completed for $100 per square foot, including the caged pool.

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3 The Power Haus Sarasota, FL Started: 2010 Completed: 2011 Size: 3,000 square feet Building Type: Residential

With several award-winning designs under his belt, Wynne has come to the conclusion that an undervalued concept of sustainable construction is beauty. “No one tears down beautiful buildings,” he says. Thus, one of his newest homes under construction is The Power Haus, inspired by the designs of German architect Walter Gropius. With clean lines and modern architecture, the home was designed with the idea of

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passive ventilation so that air can flow easily throughout the long, narrow structure. “I don’t design the house around the A/C system,” Wynne states. “I design the house around no A/C system.” The Power Haus includes a 6,000-gallon rainwater cistern, mechanically operated awnings, reclaimed cypress, exposed beams and ductwork, and concrete countertops and cabinets made from trash from the mill. Most unique to the home, however, is its automation systems. The client can operate the home’s interior lighting, hot tub, security gates, landscape lighting, television, music system, and other electronics from an iPad or iPhone. Wynne anticipates that this home will be the highest scoring LEED Platinum home in the United States and that it will win several awards for its home-automation system and its energy efficiency.

American Builders Quarterly


project showcase

T.H. Marsh Construction Co. By Sandra Guy

1. Beaumont Hospitals Health and Wellness Center 2. The Courtyards

T.H. Marsh Construction Co. has enjoyed steady growth and employment throughout the recession by leveraging its reputation for excellent customer service and the market’s strong demand for healthcare facilities. The Royal Oak, Michigan-based company, founded in 1954 by Ted H. Marsh, has evolved from its roots as a service-station builder into a healthcare, commercial, and institutional construction firm with 40 employees. The company today generates 60 percent of its $50 million in yearly revenues from healthcare projects, and it

is now run by chairman Barry Marsh, the founder’s son. President Ryan Marsh, Barry’s son, continues to pursue new markets and has recently built a 900-unit student-housing complex at the University of Michigan–Ann Arbor. The company is also increasingly using energy-efficient processes during construction and pursuing LEED status for projects when warranted. “We are a relationship business with a history of repeat clients,” Ryan Marsh says. “It’s all a matter of the high level of customer service and project-management attention we provide.”

1 Beaumont Hospitals Health and Wellness Center Rochester Hills, MI Started: 2010 Completed 2011 Size: 5,000 square feet Building Type: Commercial

The three-story Beaumont Hospitals Health and Wellness Center represents the healthcare industry’s move toward a continuum of care, in which a single hospital offers services ranging from surgery to in-patient care to rehabilitation. T.H. Marsh Construction

American Builders Quarterly

helmed the facility’s completion. The company had extensive experience with healthcare projects, having already completed several prior projects for both Landmark Healthcare and for Beaumont Hospitals. The center, located on a seven-acre site, also represents the trend of doctors both practicing in the main hospital and acting as investors and owners of specialized centers in which they provide out-patient care. In this case, two orthopedic surgeons, Richard Easton, MD, and Bradley Ahlgren, MD, are partners in the wellness center. Easton notes the center’s role as a single access point to diagnose and treat people with back and neck pain. The center houses doctors’ offices with exam rooms and office space. It also includes a

therapy center, a juice bar, and a 40,000-square-foot fitness center with five-star amenities such as cardio equipment, free weights, a full-court gym, a lap pool, a warm-water therapy pool, child care, a demonstration kitchen, and fitness classes. The health and wellness center provides several additional services, including MRIs, integrative medicine, occupation and physical therapy, and a center for pain medicine. “The hospital is creating a continuum of care that allows the patient an opportunity to stay within the Beaumont Hospital system,” says president Ryan Marsh. Hospitals are turning to wellness centers for a variety of reasons, experts say, including the increased use of sophisti-

cated diagnostic and treatment technologies, the idea that preventative care is just as important as palliative care, the inclusion of family members in the patient’s care and daily routines, and the ability to stay connected to the main hospital through mobile and computerized patient records. Such demands require that the centers are designed to treat a patient’s social, psychological, physical, and behavioral needs. Yet these new and holistic centers must also meet the same strict building codes and requirements of any other healthcare facility. The Beaumont project represents T.H. Marsh's ability to work long-term with clients and reinforces the firm's reputation for attention to detail and customer service.

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Photos: Laszlo Regos.

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2 Increased enrollment and huge demand for new off-campus student housing combined to create a market for this type of project.

The Courtyards Ann Arbor, MI Started: 2007 Completed: 2009 Size: 360,000 square feet Building Type: Student housing

Ryan Marsh, President These days, university students increasingly demand their own apartments off-campus, complete with the amenities they have grown up with: high-speed Internet access, eco-friendly materials, and plenty of space for social gatherings. That’s the market that T.H. Marsh is meeting with its 900-unit, high-end studenthousing complex, The Court-

American Builders Quarterly

yards, at the University of Michigan–Ann Arbor. “Increased enrollment and huge demand for new off-campus student housing combined to create a market for this type of project,” Ryan says. The project consists of three four-story buildings on a six-acre site, and the complex’s rooms house one, two, three, or four students. Unlike spartan, dorm-like spaces of the past, these student apartments feature private bathrooms, a washer and dryer in each unit, round-the-clock maintenance, a parking garage, free HDTV and Wi-Fi computer access, granite countertops, and other high-end finishes inside the units. Outside the apartments are courtyards with bike racks, outdoor fireplaces, and picnic areas with barbecue grills. A

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Capital Flooring Inc. 2

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Photo courtesy of

Laszlo Regos Photography

communal gathering center features study rooms, a workout center, a movie theater, and a game room. The Los Angeles Times has dubbed the trend the “four-star dorm,” crediting the demand to students who have grown up with their own bedrooms and bathrooms, parents who don’t mind paying more money for nicer accommodations for their children, and universities competing for students by marketing dorm conveniences. The need for technologically up-to-date student housing stems from the echo-boomer children of the baby-boomer generation who are flooding into higher education, says Arthur Margon, partner at Rosen Consulting Group, a New

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York-based real-estate consulting firm. All in all, expectations of housing is great among students, as well as their parents, who are paying $20,000 and more each year for tuition and other expenses, Margon says. Facilities like The Courtyard meet that demand. The complex was constructed with students’ environmental consciousness in mind, and building debris was recycled and sustainable materials were used whenever possible. Also, the inside materials are durable to account for the wear and tear of students moving in and out and living in a communal atmosphere. So, even though the kids come and go, T.H. Marsh’s housing facility is built to last.

Project: Rochester Hills Health and Wellness Center, Rochester, Michigan Capital Flooring, Inc. was proud to work with TH Marsh Construction on this project, which is featured in this issue of American Builders Quarterly. • Commercial Flooring experts for more than 40 years. • Certified journeyman installers specializing in high end materials and intricate patterns in any flooring • Specialize in Health Care and Government facilities • Has completed several projects out of state

p: 248.912.0074 f: 248.912.0685

Capital Flooring, Inc. 47904 Anna Court Suite A Wixom, MI 48393 American Builders Quarterly


project showcase

Hartman-Cox Architects By Brigitte Yuille

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The Van Cise-Simonet Detention Center American Pharmacists Association Headquarters

The award-winning firm Hartman-Cox Architects, based in Washington, DC, was established in 1965. The firm specializes in commercial, institutional, and historical preservation work, including churches, libraries, and schools of higher education. Partners Lee Becker, Graham Davidson, and Mary Kay Lanzillotta—all FAIAs—have assembled a team of architects well suited for large-scale projects, and the longstanding firm has committed itself to

more modern goals, such as finding sustainable solutions even in its most ambitious projects. Hartman-Cox has worked on nationally renowned structures, including the Smithsonian Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery, as well as the structure housing the National Archives and Records Administration. Moving forward, the firm intends to continue helming such prominent projects while keeping up with trends.

1 The Van Cise-Simonet Detention Center Denver, CO Started: 2002 Completed 2010 Size: 438,411 square feet Building Type: Multiuse detention facility

The Van Cise-Simonet Detention Center was initially planned for the suburbs, but the citizens of the city and county of Denver, Colorado, voted overwhelmingly against the idea, supporting instead its development as a major element of Denver’s Civic Center neighborhood. Today, the recently erected pretrial, presentence detention center finds its home between two other municipal structures, the Denver Mint and the new Denver Courthouse. The half-million-squarefoot building houses 1,500 beds, a medical floor, arraignment and prehearing courtrooms, and the Denver sheriff and city attorney’s offices. The facility also provides a variety of detention-housing types: open and group dormitories, double-bunk cells, and

American Builders Quarterly

special higher-security housing units, all of which have been designed as humane environments for detainees. The architects maximized the privacy of the detainees and the security of the citizens. “We organized the building so that the housing units formed a series of internal courts,” he says. “We also wanted to make sure that the sunlight fell on the floors of the day rooms at some point every day.” The form and character of

the building needed to be modern while still fitting with the classical style of the Civic Center’s existing buildings, so the architects used a combination of rustic buff and variegated Indiana limestone. “They are not only magnificent materials; they are also more plentiful and less expensive to fabricate than many other stones,” Becker says of the stone. The largest practical stone sizes were used to reduce setting costs, and the color of the

shot-sawn Indiana limestone relates well to the adjacent Civic Center buildings and the Salem Gray limestone on the nearby Denver Library. A marriage of form and function, the Van Cise-Simonet Detention Center fits the Civic Center perfectly. “I think the detention center does a lot for the city,” Becker says, “and for those who find themselves in the correctional system for any period of time, no matter how short it is.”

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We ended up building a headquarters building for the American Pharmacists Association that is 20 times the size of the original historical structure. Graham Davidson, Partner

2 American Pharmacists Association Headquarters Washington, DC Started: 2003 Completed: 2009 Size: 350,000 square feet Building Type: Office building

Graham Davidson and his team of architects were faced with a challenge. They had to build a large addition to the American Pharmacists Association building, a historic structure situated directly opposite the Lincoln Memorial. The original building, a ceremonial space with only a couple rooms, has been located at the corner of 23rd

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and Constitution Avenue since the early 1930s, and the addition needed to enhance but not overshadow it while still serving as a good backdrop for the National Mall. Working in the area requires approval from several reviewing agencies. “We were forced into what is known as a section 106 process,” Davidson says. Hartman-Cox attended years of consultations with the National Capital Planning Commission, the Commission of Fine Arts, the Historic Preservation Review Board, and the National Park Service. Davidson and his team decided to maximize the building’s size so that no one would have to get approval again for a very long time. “We therefore ended up building a headquarters building for the American Pharmacists Association that is 20 times the size of the original historical structure,” he says.

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project showcase

The addition’s size forced the architects to divide the mass into a series of pieces to make it appear smaller. “Against or immediately behind the original historic building, we did not break up the face of that at all,” Davidson says. “In fact, we made it a fairly large façade, which is very regular, almost as if it were a giant screen behind the original building so that the historic structure actually pops forward.” Currently, the structure is just a massive office building. The federal government is leasing a portion of the building, Davidson says, but over time the American Pharmacists Association will enjoy the additional space.

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A Message from OZ Architecture OZ Architecture is committed to excellence in design. We have worked with the City and County of Denver for several decades. This excellence and commitment to our community is no better evidenced than by the Van Cise-Simonet Detention Center. Our heartfelt thanks goes to Hartman-Cox Architects for collaborating on such an amazing project!

VA N CI S E - S I MONET DETENTION CENTER Denver, Colorado

O Z AR CHI TE CTU R E |

American Builders Quarterly

ARCHITECTURE . URBAN DESIGN . INTERIOR DESIGN | OZARCH.COM

ELA IN E KAN E LOS Principal & Director of Marketing ekanelos@ozarch.com | 303.861.5704

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Aline Architecture By Joyce Finn

When founder and owner Joy Cuming renamed her company Aline Architecture in 2007, she named it after the architectural premise that everything starts with a simple line. The sustainable design-build firm specializes in landscape, interior, and urban design, and its four employees typically complete about 25 projects per year. "Our focus has always been toward passive solar and reorienting buildings to respond with the site's environment," Cuming says. Cuming has a National Council of Architectural Registration Board

1. The Round House 2. The Turtle Hill House

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Certificate to work anywhere in the United States and in Australia, where she lived for many years. But most of her custom-built homes are on Cape Cod, Massachussets, and building there has its own unique issues. "Because of its exposure to the ocean, the coastline is fragile,” Cuming says. “It's a moving landform. Recently there was a house, not one of our projects, which slid down the bank. When we design and build in this area, there are sensitive ways to encourage dune grasses to grow, which allow for a certain amount of flow. It's amazing to see dunes become rebuilt."

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The Round House Wellfleet, MA Started: 2007 Completed 2009 Size: 2,500 square feet Building Type: Residential

In 2009, Aline Architecture completed renovations to a small, round house on the dunes of Cape Cod. The original modern-style house, designed and built in 1975 by Charles Zehnder for a young couple, had no windows—only a pair of sliding doors set deep in the house’s façade. The firm kept the original circular motif but opened up the home’s southern exposure to take advantage of passive-solar heat and lighting, as well as offshore breezes. “The house is not traditional in form, and it floats over the landscape,” Cuming explains. “We were very responsive to orientation. It's on a series of big concrete piers, so it touches down very lightly so that

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all the native grasses and flora can grow under and around it. Even the sand is allowed to move freely underneath it.” Aline Architecture reused whatever it could from the original structure, including many of the original fir beams. The firm also installed a high-efficiency furnace and insulated the structure with

open-cell spray-foam insulation. To seal the roof deck flooring, the firm used Line-X, the material used for pickup-truck liners. Not only did this product cut down on the use of wood, but it created a nonskid-membrane roof impervious to moisture. And, the home is now specially protected from the harsh wind and rain of Cape Cod.

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2 The Turtle Hill House Wellfleet, MA Started: 2005 Completed: 2007 Size: 2,800 square feet Building Type: Residential

Aline Architecture faced an unusual design problem when renovating this experimental geometric home built in the 1960s by the New York-based architect Giovanni Pasanella. Issues arose around the house’s complicated geometry, as well as its sensitive dune site. The original structure comprised two small cubes that were rotated 45 degrees from each other. “The client originally just wanted a garage with a master bedroom

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over the garage, but it was a tricky geometry to add onto,” Cuming says. “I first modeled it in cardboard to see how I was going to respond to it. In the end, their functional request turned into a piece of sculpture." To deal with the geometric issues of the structure, Aline Architecture used a series of squares and circles that were extended out along different axis. The firm also added a roof deck to take advantage of the spectacular ocean views, and Cuming experimented with a Dex-o-Tex, an epoxy-based decking material (also used on The Round House) that makes an impregnable nonskid membrane. The home is festooned with a number of unique products, including an outdoor shower that folds up when not in use. Meanwhile, the home’s stair tower, a passive-solar chimney, is made of a double-layer plexiglass material called Duo-gard, and cork floors, in intersecting geometric forms, make an interesting interior space.

American Builders Quarterly


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Our focus has always been toward passive solar and reorienting buildings to respond with the site's environment.

Carson Construction takes every opportunity to work with the home owner and architect to develop a project with reasonable expectations including green initiatives as well as state of the art HVAC systems to enhance every home that we work on. We try to match costs with reality to meet the goals and expectations of a fine project.

Joy Cuming, Founder & owner

In response to the dune environment, the firm’s environmental consultant, Safe Harbor, of Wellfleet, Massachusetts, carefully installed jute netting with ground staples over indigenous seeding to stabilize the dune-like hill. This canceled the need for retaining walls, and ensured a stable location for the home for years to come.

American Builders Quarterly

P.O. Box 1750 Wellfleet MA, 02667 Phone #: 508-237-4110 www.CarsonConstructionSite.com info@CarsonConstructionSite.com july/august 2011

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Green Building & Design

gb&d

A comprehensive look at the buildings and designs of tomorrow, and the masterminds behind them For your FREE subscription visit gbdmagazine.com


Feature/

05.06 2011

Foster + Partners /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

Photo: Nigel Young.

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mfa boston

MFA Boston lord fosterテ不 city in microcosm by annie fischer

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mfa boston

When Foster + Partners pays a visit to one of the world's finest art museums, it can only mean big plans are afoot. For MFA Boston, it came in the form of the stunning Art of the Americas wing. Photo: Chuck Choi. American Builders Quarterly

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mfa boston

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ord Norman Foster's name speaks volumes. As much a man as an icon, the founder and chairman of Londonbased Foster + Partners still lends his influence and know-how to the firm's projects. Such was the case for the newly redeveloped Boston's Museum of Fine Arts (MFA), a $345 million expansion and renovation unveiled to the public in November 2010. The project required the design teamÑmade up of Foster; Spencer de Grey, senior partner and head of design; and Michael Jones, partner­­Ñto tackle technical and social dimensions in tandem. It was a balancing act: in one hand, the consideration of how to make the experience enjoyable and uplifting; in the other, how to engage with the site's urban context. Drawing on its celebrated history in historic building interventionsÑincluding the Reichstag in Berlin, the British Museum in London, and New York City's Hearst TowerÑFoster + Partners reinstated the MFA into Boston's historical core by reestablishing the neoclassical symmetry of Guy Lowell's original Beaux-Arts plan, devised in 1907. American Builders Quarterly catches up with Lord Foster to discuss Lowell's legacy, his firm's innovative design, and the challenges encountered when reworking the MFA Boston.

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mfa boston

The new Art of the Americas wing is housed in a freestanding "crystal spine" structure, bridging the gap between the museum's two main volumes. Photo: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Opposite page: Lord Norman Foster. Photo: Yukio Futagawa.

“our contemporary interventions can enhance the old and breathe new life into one of the world’s finest cultural institutions.Ó American Builders Quarterly

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mfa boston

Òa major public building

ABQ: How does the design, which restores Guy Lowell’s original 1907 master plan, also reflect modern sensibilities? Lord Norman Foster: The design reflects the broader role the modern museum plays in the life of the city. This has changed since the turn of the century. The major public museum is no longer a collection of galleries; it has become an important civic center, with places to eat, shop, meet, space for events, education programs, and much more. By engaging with these activities and with the spirit of the existing structure, our contemporary interventions can enhance the old and breathe new life into one of the world’s finest cultural institutions. ABQ: In what ways does the museum’s physical reorientation change the way visitors experience the space? NF: Our approach has been to reassert Lowell’s original plan, restoring its sense of clarity, rather than fundamentally changing the composition. A major public building like the MFA can be thought of as a city in microcosm. The essence of a great gallery, like a great city, is when you feel at ease and have that great sense of orientation— when you have a clear route or boulevard, and understand where the heart of the building is. Visitors can move from the equivalent of the great square—the reinterpreted courtyard—into a wing of Asian, ancient, American, European, or contemporary art. This movement gives a richness and variety to the experience but all the while maintains this clear sense of always knowing where you are.

MFA can be thought of as a city in microcosmÓ like the

ABQ: What are some of the most notable design elements? In what ways does the building reflect Foster + Partners’ design philosophy? NF: The most significant addition is the new Art of the Americas wing, which contains 53 new galleries over four floors. The wing houses one of the world’s premier assemblages of American art. We designed the gallery spaces to allow the art to be displayed with a more obvious sense of clarity, context, and light. We have also opened the building up to its surroundings. It is more accessible from the city and the park, as new landscaping strengthens its links with the Back Bay Fens. ABQ: In what ways does the design reflect the museum’s Boston location? NF: Over time, the museum had lost its connection to the Back Bay Fens and the beautiful landscape of Frederick

Left: Sustainability was a key design component in the revamping of MFA Boston. A glass faade provides a near-seamless experience for visitors, as well as optimum daylighting throughout the interior. Photo: Nigel Young.

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American Builders Quarterly


mfa boston

Top: By making the building more open and new while retaining the historic elements of the museum, Foster + Partners strengthened MFA Boston's link to the community. Photo: Chuck Choi. Left: More than one million people visit MFA Boston annually, putting a strain on the facility itself. The renovation restored the museum while also facilitating this volume of traffic into the future with a more spacious design.

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mfa boston

Above: Foster + Partners' reimagination of MFA Boston returns the museum to its historical legacy as part of Boston's Emerald Necklace. Left: The glass façade brings abundant daylight into the museum's interior and reinforces the open concept of the museum's new addition. Photos: Nigel Young.

Law Olmsted’s Emerald Necklace. In restoring Lowell’s original plan and in opening up and reasserting the grand Fenway entrance, we have rediscovered this link. At the same time, we have drawn the landscape deep into the heart of the building and along Huntington Avenue. The result is a more legible museum that will create new connections between the park, the museum, and the local community. ABQ: How was the decision made to enclose the courtyard in a freestanding building? NF: The decision to insert a freestanding building—a glass “jewel box”—rather than enclose the courtyard, was influenced by a number of factors. This approach meant that we could draw the landscape of the Fens deeper into the plan, pulling strands of greenery between the glass walls of the new building and the existing structure to encapsulate the heart of the museum. There were also structural considerations, in particular the seismic conditions and possibility of movement between adjoining new and old structures. ABQ: How would you describe the process of collaboration with the museum’s curators and conservators? NF: We worked very closely with the museum’s curators and conservators. The project was a rare opportunity to engage with the world’s foremost collection of American art. Both the collection and this dialogue guided the

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1. The Art of the Americas wing: As the most significant addition to the museum, this wing contains 53 galleries on four floors, and houses more than 5,000 works of American artÑmore than double the number of objects previously displayed.

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3. Ruth and Carl J. Shapiro Family Courtyard: This 63-foot-tall, glass-walled interior courtyard offers a naturally lit cafŽ and meeting groundÑand one terrific party space.

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2. Fenway entrance: Foster + Partners reopened the museum to its surroundings, making it more accessible to the city, and new landscaping strengthens the MFA's links with the Back Bay Fens parkland.

4. Ann and Graham Gund Gallery: To be used for major special exhibitions, this flexible gallery is located beneath the Shapiro Family Courtyard, and yet it is still 16 feet tall. 5. Education Center: Studio and seminar classrooms accompany a 150-seat, multipurpose auditorium for film, speech, and music. july/august 2011

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sequence of spaces within the master plan, as well as the detail of the individual galleries within the Art of the Americas wing. ABQ: What sustainable features did Foster + Partners introduce in the museum expansion? NF: The courtyard is naturally lit, and the galleries have state-of-the-art climate control. By zoning the different areas within the museum, mechanical means are only employed where they are required by the works of art. These measures are combined with efficient environmental systems and a centralized plant facility that helps to reduce waste. ABQ: What were some of the greatest challenges encountered in the design process? NF: A project such as the MFA is interesting because it engages us in so many ways. There is the technical dimension: how you enable people to view these amazing pieces in the best possible conditions, and how you control the lightâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;natural and artificial. That goes hand-in-hand with the social dimension: How do you make the experience of going to the museum or art gallery enjoyable and uplifting? How do you add magic? Finally, thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the urban dimension: How do you engage with the city, the street, the Back Bay Fens? How do you draw people in? How do you make the building inviting? The challenge is multifaceted. Perhaps the most significant part of this challenge was achieving a balance between deferring to the historic fabric of the museum, opening up new vistas to parts of it which had hitherto been blocked, while establishing a new building with integrity. At the same time, it was important that the spaces defer to the paintings and sculptures they display. These are the true protagonists. ABQ

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Above: The new addition allows the display of more than 5,000 additional works. They can be found in expansive galleries or hidden at the end of quiet corridors. Below: New meets old as the new addition abuts against the classical architecture of the museum's other wings. Opposite page: Museum by day, gala hall at night, the tones of the new addition can be completely reworked for special events in the evening. Photos: Nigel Young.

American Builders Quarterly


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We have some tools that other competitors donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have, but weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve always strived to use the latest technology in our design programs, as well as our shop and field, fabrication, and erect equipment. Chad Johnson, Director of Business Development

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the specialists the specialists

Rocky Mountain Fabrication Grunau Company, Inc. Best Bath Systems Top Master, Inc. Revival Homes, LLC Carolina Crawlspace Solutions

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The Specialists

The Plate-Steel Champions

Rocky Mountain Fabrication incorporates the latest technology for quality metalwork Rocky Mountain Fabrication (RMF) is a full-service At a Glance Location: Salt Lake City, UT Founded: 1978 Employees: 75­Ð100 Specialty: Plate steel structures Annual Sales: $45 million

construction company that does design, engineering, fabrication, and installation work all under one roof. It specializes in plate-steel structures, and according to its company executives, it has erected thousands of these structures throughout the company’s 30-year history. “We make plate-steel structures—doesn’t really matter what it is or where it is, if it is a storage tank or a silo, stack work, or ductwork,” says Chad Johnson, director of business development. The full-service company subcontracts out aspects of the work that it does not do, such as painting or

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foundation work, but most issues can be handled on-site by its talented pool of workers. RMF employees are trained and educated, and the firm has new equipment and direction procedures. Such investments help the company keep its competitive edge, but it still operates under the belief that its employees themselves are its best tools. “If they don’t have all the knowledge that they can possess, then we are doing them a disservice as well as ourselves,” Johnson says. In addition to plate-steel structures, mathematics is among the firm’s specialities. “Back in the 1980s, our math pioneered the installation procedures for the

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the specialists

Previous spread: As seen by this 44Õ x 100Õ lime storage silo in Fulton, AR, Rocky Mountain Fabrication's well-equipped workers can adapt their skill sets and steel expertise to any number of projects.

At Jordan River Galvanizing, we pride ourselves in excellent quality, quick material turn around, great customer service and competitive prices. JRG offers the latest in galvanizing technology accompanied by a staff of professionals with in excess of 70 years hot-dip galvanizing

high-nickel-alloy lining in power plants in their ductwork,” Johnson says. “After they boil off all their coal to make steam, they’ve got to discharge all that heat and air somewhere. That can be corrosive in their ducts. We came up with the procedures to install a thin level of very high-nickel steam of alloy inside these ducts.” The company has weathered the difficulties of the recent economy and was able compete against its competitors by immersing itself in various markets such as petroleum and refining, power, mining, water, wastewater treatment, renewable energy, open paper, and agricultural cement. Its projects expand beyond the United States, from the north slope of Alaska all the way down to Antarctica. “There are no special tips or secrets that we have,” Johnson says. “We have some tools that other competitors don’t have, but we’ve always strived to use the latest technology in our design programs, as well as our shop and field, fabrication, and erect equipment.” Rocky Mountain Fabrication’s Top These principles were Building Materials applied to a two-year project that involved a large asphalt 1 Mild carbon steel storage facility with 21 tanks 2 Stainless materials and 600,000 barrels of storage 3 Clad materials capacity in Twilla, Utah. 4 High-nickel alloy Johnson calls the project 5 High-strength carbon steel experimental because the company used its automatic welding project and came up with new quick-set erection scaffolding. The scaffolding provides more security and peace of mind for the customer because it enables the tanks to be erected in high wind zones. The company has also completed a single-structure, stainless-steel acid converter at a mining site in Safford, Arizona. As the company looks toward the future, its focus is on sales volume, placing satellite offices in areas where it does a lot of work, and larger projects. “We’re talking to customers we’ve never dealt with before; we are trying to build relationships all over the United States and abroad,” Johnson says. Establishing a global clientele is also important to the company, and Johnson believes getting higher quality, multimillion-dollar projects means going where those projects exist. “To us, becoming the best source, I guess, is our main goal,” he says. “We want to be ‘the company’ that people look to when they think they want to build a tank or they want to build a silo automatically.” —Brigitte Yuille

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expertise. In our 11th year of operation in Utah we have etched our name in the minds of many companies in the Western United States for our services. With a galvanizing kettle of 5’ wide by 7’ deep and 30’ long we are capable of processing the smallest of bolts and up to 55’ structural sections weighing in excess of 18,000 lbs. Our expert staff is here to answer any galvanizing questions and to service your corrosion protection needs. We are members of multiple Steel Fabricators Associations in the Rocky Mountains and also with the American Galvanizing Association.

Please see our website for photos and more info at www.jrgalv.com. Jordan River Galvanizing 5447 West 9580 South West Jordan, Utah 84081 P 801-282-9375 | F 801-282-9378

Industry Leader Customer Focused Built on Values Dedicated to all your Fire Protection needs for over

2010 Winners of the ABC Excellence in Construction Eagle Award for

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and

The Contemporary Suites at Bay Lake Tower Phone: (407) 857-1800 / Fax (407) 855-9064

www.grunau.com www.apigroupinc.com American Builders Quarterly


the specialists

The Fire-Protection Experts

Grunau Company, Inc. implements cutting-edge technology and enhanced efficiency to dominate its industry The Grunau Company's specialization in fire protecAt a Glance

Headquarters: Milwaukee, WI Founded: 1920 Employees: 430 Specialty: Fire protection, mechanical systems, plumbing, and mixed metals Annual Sales: $100 million

tion grew out of the firm’s plumbing services in the 1920s. “The effectiveness of fire-sprinkler systems in the preservation of life and property was viewed as a worthwhile enterprise for a company looking to serve the public needs,” vice president Mark Peters says. “We strive to be the company by which our competition measures itself.” After a little more than 90 years in business, the company seems to have met this goal and now stands as an industry leader. Peters says fire protection today has become a highly regulated industry with national codes. States license contractors based upon knowledge and experience. The company’s service technicians are dispatched to a customer’s location upon receiving a work order from their PDA, which also identifies the required materials. These orders may involve, for example, tests and repairs for local government offices to review. The technicians then send the completed order electronically back to the offices. The firm’s design group is constantly engaged in Building Information Modeling, “a 3-D CAD drawing for the building structure, architectural walls and ceilings, mechanical pipe, plumbing, ductwork and sprinkler pipe, electrical conduit and lighting, and all fixtures,” Peters says. Ninety-five percent of the contract construction

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work is drafted and designed in 3-D CAD, he adds, and this is done to avoid coordination conflicts with building elements and other trade work. The firm’s IT team keeps the company on top of trends by continuously looking at and evaluating technical tools that could lower costs and create more efficient work. As the company grew, so did its variety in clientele. The base currently includes owners of theme parks such as Walt Disney World, small businesses and hotels, as well as property managers, developers, architects, and engineers. Peters, who initially worked as a designer for the company in Pittsburgh—working on power plants, high-rise office buildings and hospitals—was transferred to Orlando to participate in the opening of a fire-protection office there, and among its first projects was the Kingdom of Morocco section of Disney’s Epcot Center World Showcase. Another project was The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios’ Islands of Adventure, where the schedule to meet the park’s grand opening was intense. “Our work began with a shell building installation, which is a basic coverage system, and leaving a pipe outlet for the future build-out,” Peters says. “The scene sets were in design and continuous change during the build-out, which required the Grunau design team and

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the specialists Previous page: Above: Grunau Company helped work on The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort. Left: The entire setup of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, from the entrance to Hogsmeade to the Hogwarts Express billowing steam and whistling its arrival to each shop and attraction, is as technically demanding as it is fantastic. Photos: © 2010 Universal Orlando Resort. All rights reserved. HARRY POTTER, characters, names and related indicia are trademarks of and © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Harry Potter Publishing Rights © JKR. (s10).

installation technicians’ collaboration with the architectural interior set designer to determine the placement of sprinkler heads and pipe routing so that it would not detract from the individual sets’ ambiance—while [still]

We strive to be the company by which our competition measures itself

[up] to put them in accessible areas to minimize movements and extra steps to complete the task, then we sweep the area to keep it clean and return tools and materials to designated areas for continued productivity and less variations.” This philosophy has kept Grunau Company firmly in the game. “We have maintained our share of the market in spite of the slowdown,” Peters says. Future plans for the company include continuing to evaluate its process for improvement in all areas by adjusting to the “new normal” in construction, which is smaller projects with owners. This idea of keeping up-to-date is part of a larger philosophy Peters has learned and continues to offer to others: “Treat each interaction as though your reputation depends on it.” —Brigitte Yuille

Mark Peters, Vice President Technology that Works providing the necessary coverage for protection.” Most recently, the firm worked on the Nemours Hospital, the Peabody Hotel, and continued work at the three large theme parks in Orlando. The company has faced its share of challenges, particularly over the past two years. While in the past Grunau Company has mainly competed with larger firms such as East Coast Fire Protection and Wiginton Fire Systems, recent competition on bids has expanded to many smaller, one-man operations. The company responded by shuffling its labor mix. It teamed the most experienced personnel with trainees, paid closer attention to purchasing and material handling, and ensured its service and repair departments continued to provide rapid response and expert advice to its clients. The company has also been on Lean Construction Journey for the past four years. “The premise is that in all areas of business we sort through materials or tools that are used often,” Peters says. “The next step is to straighten

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1 Sprinkler Flex Heads: The manipulable sprinkler provides the company with the ability to hit a specific location on a 3-D plane and allows for sprinkler relocating during a remodel without taking the system offline.

scheduled work and emergency calls, allows the technician to input quantities of materials for pricing purposes, and is equipped with digital cameras to send pictures to purchasing agents for the accurate orders of replacement parts.

2 Building Information Modeling: 3-D modeling helps Grunau Company's network of architects, engineers, and contractors to identify conflicts prior to any construction.

4 FTP Sites: Grunau Company keeps important records on FTP sites for its clients to easily access.

3 PDA Devices by Service Technicians: For Peters and his team, the PDA works to streamline the process. It sends information instantly to and from the office dispatcher for

5 Fire Sprinkler Inspector Certification: Certification is key, as more states are passing laws that fire-sprinkler inspectors must get certified through the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies.

American Builders Quarterly


the specialists

The Better Bath Builders

Best Bath Systems provides custom solutions for accessibility challenges ArchimedesÕ ÒEureka!Ó moment occurred when he At a Glance Location: Boise, ID Founded: 1969 Employees: 100 Specialty: Customized safebathing solutions for residential and commercial applications 2010 Sales: $18 million

stepped into his bathtub and suddenly found the solution to a nagging measurement problem. Gary Multanen’s moment also involved a bathtub, and it led to his company’s emergence as a national leader in safe-bathing systems. Multanen joined Best Bath Systems about 40 years ago just for a summer job, says Jeff Mooney, the firm’s executive vice president of sales and marketing. Today, he owns the Boise, Idaho-based company. When Multanen took over in the 1980s, Best Bath supplied composite bathing products for manufactured housing in the Boise area. But he wanted the company to become more specialized, so it branched into additional markets, including fish feeders for aquaculture, horse-trailer rooftops, water-collection tanks for the United States Geological Survey, and missile carriers for military use.

American Builders Quarterly

But the turning point came in 1996, when Multanen learned that his elderly mother could not use her bathtub safely. After researching alternatives, he found nothing suitable, so he decided to solve the problem himself. Based on Multanen’s input, engineering manager Peter van Ravenhorst sketched out the means to produce a multipiece, safely accessible shower unit: no high steps, no doors, no barriers. When the concept worked for his mother, Multanen reasoned that other people might benefit from the new product. And at about the same time, the Americans with Disabilities Act became law. The ADA’s accessibility requirements for commercial construction presented enormous opportunities, and Multanen realized that he’d found his specialized marketplace. Today, the company supplies accessible and safe bathing solutions for people of all ages and ability levels.

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the specialists Previous page: Best Bath's UniFloor is another innovative solution for universal bathing systems. Left: Best Bath's Waterstopper innovation provided architects and project directors the solution to address water retention issues.

Many universities have a philosophy of erecting buildings with 100-year life spans, and our 30year warranty parallels that. Jeff Mooney, Executive Vice President of sales & marketing The firm’s products include individual low-threshold showers, walk-in bathtubs, and safety accessories, all in a range of finishes and colors. The company also offers prefabricated fiberglass walk-in shower surrounds. These units include preinstalled grab bars, shower chairs, curtain rods/brackets, shower curtains, and the company’s proprietary WaterStopper water dam. Similar Best Bath products are used in senior-living and healthcare facilities, university residence halls, and other commercial projects. “Many universities have a philosophy of erecting buildings with 100-year life spans, and our 30-year warranty parallels that,” he says. Best Bath designs, manufactures, and distributes its products at its Boise headquarters and maintains a network of more than 125 dealers throughout the United States and Canada. That network includes home

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remodelers and kitchen/bath installers as well as more atypical outlets. “Some durable-medical-equipment suppliers handle our residential products,” Mooney says. “They’re already offering lifts, ramps, hospital beds, and other products for people with severe disabilities, so it’s a good fit for us.” Best Bath prides itself on finding innovative solutions to difficult challenges, and a recently completed project in Asbury Park, New Jersey, exemplifies this ability. “Asbestos was discovered during the renovation of Asbury Tower, a 26-story senior-living high-rise,” Mooney says. “Typical abatement methods would have added about $3 million in costs and caused an extended work

Top Trends in the Accessible Bathroom Industry: 1 More Options From Manufacturers: A wide variety of sinks, linen cabinets, and toilets are now available to accommodate varying abilities. 2 Sturdier Supports and Anchors: As Americans grow older and heavier, there is a need for strong grab bars and other assisting devices. 3 Better Design Aesthetics: Building materials now include exotic stone, tiles, wallpapering, and the like.

"People are becoming more interested in upscale looks," Mooney says. 4 Improved Safety in Wet Areas: Water-temperature controls, colored grab bars, and directed lighting are just a few examples of added safety measures. 5 European-Style Showers: The open design comes from overseas and helps to eliminate many common accessibility issues.

American Builders Quarterly


the specialists

stoppage during the demo and removal processes.” When Best Bath was called in, its engineering team welcomed the challenge. “We found we could isolate the asbestos by encapsulating the walls,” Mooney says, “so other remodeling work could continue while our systems were installed.” This sounds simple enough. “We completed the research, development, engineering, and prototype construction in about seven weeks,” Mooney says. “That’s an unbelievably quick turnaround time in this business.” Overall, Best Bath supplied more than 7,000 separate pieces (floors, shower pans, wainscot, and showers) for 350 bathrooms in the high-rise. The company also accommodated eight different design layouts, each with different dimensions. “Fortunately, we have a lot of experience in custom manufacturing,” Mooney says, “so we were prepared for a project like this one. We were able to give everything a nice, fresh look, provide the accessibility features the architect wanted, and solve the asbestos problem all at once. “It was a huge success,” he continues. “The contractor, architect, and developer-owner were all very happy with the outcome. We welcome challenges such as this where we get to prove our ability to innovate and solve problems others cannot.” —Frederick Jerant

SEACHROME ™ From idea...to design...to tooling...to production, Seachrome does it all.

Knowledgable technical support Excellent on-time delivery Unmatched customer service Over 50 years of experience 344 West 157th Street, Gardena, CA 90248 USA 800-955-2476 (USA\Canada) ~ 310-354-1220 ~ Fax 800-444-3380

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the specialists

The Countertop Gurus

Top Master, Inc. dominates the regional market in custom countertop and surface fabrication Every industry has unsung heroesÑcompanies or At a Glance Location: Kansas City and Wichita, KS Founded: 1984 Employees: 160 Specialty: Custom countertop design, fabrication, and installation Annual Sales: $20 million

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individuals who labor behind the scenes so others can get all the glory. In the Kansas City area, Top Master is one such company. Founded in 1984, the firm is the city’s oldest and largest high-end custom countertop and surface fabricator, specializing in granite, solidsurface materials, quartz, and exotic woods. The wholesale company operates two facilities in Kansas City and one in Wichita, Kansas, with a total of more than 100,000 square feet of fabrication space. One division concentrates on commercial projects—such as schools and hospitals—while another handles residential work, relying on information provided by in-store salespeople, designers, or other professionals. “We move our products through national and regional

big-box stores, kitchen and bath shops, remodelers, designers, architects, and builders,” says Michael Kaufmann, president. The process typically begins with homeowners seeing an in-store display of countertops and discussing their needs with a salesperson. The retail outlet then sends the specs to Top Master for a price quote. When the deal is closed, Top Master fabricates and installs the countertops. “Homeowners may think everything comes from the retailer, but we’re the ones doing the work,” Kaufmann says. The emergence of those stores was a game-changer for the industry and for Top Master. “The company was founded to supply new-home builders,” says Dan Richardson, CEO and CFO. “But over the last few years,

American Builders Quarterly


Opposite page: Rendering of the interior of the TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha. The project required Top Master to provide more than 3,000 square feet of DuPont Zodiaq quartz countertops and more than 2,800 square feet of DuPont Corian solid-surface counters. Top Master also provided all the windowsills in the stadium. Photo courtesy of HDR Architecture, Inc.; © 2010.

Left: By marketing its expertise directly, Top Masters was able to secure a countertop contract for the TD Ameritrade Park Omaha. The park features seating for 24,000 fans, including 26 luxury suites and 1,000 club seats, and is host to the College World Series. Photo: Populous.

Below: Every quartz and corian countertop at the TD Ameritrade Park Omaha serves as a testament to the craftsmanship of Top Master. Photo courtesy of HDR Architecture, Inc.; © 2010.

Homeowners may think everything comes from the retailer, but we’re the ones doing the work. Michael Kaufmann, President

American Builders Quarterly

new construction plummeted, and our business has turned toward remodeling work. At the same time, the big-box stores got involved and provided consumers with an easy solution for new countertops. No need for shopping around—just walk in and get the price.” The evolution really changed the industry, and retail prices came way down, causing problems for companies like Top Master. “Fabricators ended up getting squeezed the hardest—which is unfortunate because they’re the ones doing most of the work and adding most of the value,” Richardson says. Top Master has responded to this challenge by investing in new automated fabrication equipment for its stone divi-

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Top Countertop Materials in the Industry: 1 Granite: The stone has great natural beauty with attractive veining and color variations.

sion—the major portion of its residential market. The company is also a member of The Artisan Group, 2 Quartz Surfaces: Quartz has the an independent organization of advantage of being extremely durable. the country’s leading custom When made into a surface, it has consistent color and needs no stone fabricators. “The group has sealants. more than 30 members nationally, and one of the main 3 Solid-Surface, 100% Acrylic benefits to us is the group’s Sheets: Good for commercial-grade buying power,” Kaufmann says. projects, solid-surface sheets are The affiliation allows Top Master nonporous, antibacterial, stain to offer branded and warranted resistant, and available in hundreds of colors. Artisan Collection granite products. “People consider the 4 Wood: Best suited to situations branded products to be of higher where aesthetics trumps all other quality,” Kaufmann adds. qualities, wood gives a rich texture to One requirement for a project. Mahogany, black walnut, membership is accreditation by cherry, and other wood countertops are practically pieces of art. the Marble Institute of America, a national professional organiza5 Laminates: At a fraction of the tion. Top Master has been price of other materials, laminates are certified since 2009 and was the a deal for budget-conscious clients. first fabrication shop in Kansas to do so. “MIA accreditation makes us stand out from everybody else,” Kaufmann says. “It shows that we run a qualified professional business because of the standards we must follow.” Top Master already enjoys a commanding share of the Kansas City market, and hopes to expand into other regions. “Over the next few years, we’d like to get into Omaha, Nebraska, St. Louis, and maybe even Oklahoma,” Richardson says. Part of that plan is already in progress: Top Master recently supplied all the quartz and corian countertop surfaces to the new TD Ameritrade Park Omaha, the new home of the College World Series. Altogether, the project required more than 3,000 square feet of DuPont Zodiaq quartz countertops and more than 2,800 square feet of DuPont Corian solid-surface counters. In addition, Top Master provided all the windowsills in the 24,000-seat stadium. Top Master got the job in an unusual way. “We had hoped to partner with a commercial mill-working business in Iowa,” says Mike Varone, commercial- and residential-sales manager. “They lost the bid to Designer Woods in Omaha, so I called on that company myself, hoping to get some future business. They liked what we had to offer, and Top Master got the contract for the stadium countertops.” Which means that sometimes even the unsung heroes get a little recognition.  —Frederick Jerant

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Cosentino's

business

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the entire process of producing natural stone products from quarrying and extracting the stone to fabricating and installing flat surfaces, such as kitchen and

bathroom

countertops,

wall cladding, flooring and other manufactured products.

www.cosentinonorthamerica.com

Know Hellenbrand Glass. Know More.

You know our name.

But our name doesn’t say it all.

Hellenbrand Glass is a contractor and architect’s best resource to serve their clients better. Knowing us is going to make your life a whole lot easier... and profitable!

211 Moravian Valley Road Waunakee, WI | (608) 849-8675 | hellenbrandglass.com American Builders Quarterly


the specialists

The Smart Niche Builders

By sizing down its homes, Revival Homes, LLC provides fully finished projects without breaking the budget When Chris Cook switched from a focus on landscapAt a Glance Location: Madison, WI Founded: 2004 Employees: 2 Specialty: Custom and residential construction

Above: Revival Homes' most popular home design is the Northwest Craftsman, like the one seen here in Madison, WI.

ing to one of home building in 2004, he noticed a disturbing trend in his hometown of Madison, Wisconsin. Clients were building enormous—and expensive—houses, and outfitting them with low- to midlevel finishes. In terms of appraisal and real-estate value, they were shooting themselves in the foot. Cook began looking for an answer. Under the moniker Revival Homes, Cook researched state-of-theart building methods, quality resources, and how to construct high-end homes in the least amount of time and for a reasonable cost. The most logical solution, in the end, was to turn that first trend on its head: to build beautifully appointed houses at half the square footage. “If you have to sacrifice an expense,” he says, “sacrifice size, not quality.” In 2008, Cook finished his first 1,700-square-foot Craftsman, and business exploded from there. He built another five in the following year, and in 2010 it increased

American Builders Quarterly

to 13. By the first week of February this year, Cook had contracts for seven more. The Craftsman style is one of the more popular styles offered by Revival Homes, but the firm also offers Prairie or lodge styles, as well as more modern or traditional designs. Whether it’s a primary residence or vacation home, all of Revival Home’s projects maintain a consistent level of finish. The firm’s clients don’t want formal living and dining rooms or soaking tubs. Instead, they prefer granite countertops, stainless-steel appliances, full windowsills, and wood siding. They’re drawn to stone exteriors, front porches, and unique doors and trim. “I read this in a magazine: ‘These clients don’t want their parents’ houses,’” Cook shares. “I couldn’t agree more.” The typical cost of a Revival Home house—excluding the price of the lot—runs between $210,000 and $270,000, and Cook has gone as low as $85 per square foot. On the other end of the spectrum, he is currently pricing a

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Above: Revival Homes is finding a niche market in building midsized houses with high-end finishes. The homes, like the one shown here, are able to incorporate solid craftsmanship both inside and out, without sacrificing quality for space.

Words only go so far. You can’t replace the experience of touch and feel. Chris Cook, Owner

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1,180-square-foot Tudor with cement siding and a gourmet kitchen that will cost $300 per square foot. From start to finish, the homes are usually built in three to three and a half months. In style and size, Cook compares the firm’s homes to the affluent houses from the 1940s and 1950s. Revival Homes’ clientele are often young, and half of the homes the company built in 2010 were for single women. “I’m not trying to be stereotypical here,” says Cook, describing the trends of his female clients, “but when a woman calls her own shots—when she makes decisions without consulting anyone else—the houses usually end up appraising higher.” Clients can use their own floor plans or choose one of Revival Homes’ designs. About 100 choices are loaded into the home-design software the company uses, and three different architects are regularly consulted for specialty options. The software’s 3-D renderings make it possible to see interior floor plans during the design phase via a perspective called the “doll’s house” view, which helps in the aesthetic selection process. For flooring, cabinets, and Top 5 Design Elements countertops, Cook takes his clients to Nonn’s Design 1 The Golden Rectangle: This Showplace, where they’ll celebrated ratio is always used for select millwork, for example, door and window proportions. from pictures of previous 2 International Reproductions: projects or historical photos. Revival Homes replicates homes from Revival Homes also mainaround the world, including one tains excellent relationships inspired by a Norwegian fishing village with former clients, who house and another by a National frequently allow their houses Parks Lodge. to be shown to those in the design process. “Words only 3 Nostalgia: A 1940s or 1950s feel is common style in Revival Homes' go so far,” Cook says. “You portfolio. These homes are accented can’t replace the experience with classic Kitchen Aid and Electrolux of touch and feel.” appliances. Sustainability is another important focus both for 4 Quality: Revival Homes strives to Revival Homes and its young, use architecturally accurate details upwardly mobile clients. and full windowsills. In fact, every house Cook 5 Energy Efficiency: Each of the built in 2010 was Energy company's homes are Energy Star Star certified. Like other certified and Green Verified. components in Cook’s houses—air-to-air heat exchangers, 15-year dry-basement guarantees—the energy-efficient options may cost more up front, but often prove their worth in the long run. “Bottom line is, if you’re looking for the cheapest house, you’re going to find it,” Cook says. He offers another way of looking at it, too. “I’m staring at a parking lot right now,” he says, “There are two cars parked right next to each other. They’re both fourdoor GM sedans, and they’ll both get you around. But one’s a Cadillac…” It goes without saying: the other one is not. ­—Annie Fischer

American Builders Quarterly


the specialists

The Space Makers

Homeowners can now breathe easier thanks to Carolina Crawlspace Solutions Leonard Farrugia, owner of Carolina Crawlspace At a Glance Location: Newport, NC Founded: 2008 Employees: 4 Specialty: Crawlspace encapsulation

Above: A before-and-after look at a crawlspace that Carolina Crawlspace Solutions fixed.

Solutions, is changing how homeowners in North Carolina view crawlspaces—one house at a time. In 2008, Farrugia switched from building residential properties to encapsulating and properly sealing crawlspaces, which is imperative because air and particulates continually rise in a stack effect from the lowest level up through a house to exit out the roof. I just never thought the idea of building a house and allowing hot, humid air under it was a very good building practice,” Farrugia says. “There are just too many scenarios that can go wrong if the crawlspace isn’t sealed properly—mold, mildew, wood rot, moisture, radon, termites, and pests.” As a general contractor, Farrugia had been installing sealed crawlspaces in new custom-built and renovated homes for more than 20 years, so it was a natural fit for him to go into the niche market as a new business venture, and he is passionate about the importance of what he does. “Fifty percent of the air you breathe inside of a home comes out of the crawlspace,” he says. “Whatever is growing down there, you’re breathing in the house. Mold spores and unhealthy gases cause allergies and illnesses.”

American Builders Quarterly

The EPA states that radon is the number-one cause of lung cancer among nonsmokers, and is responsible for an estimated 21,000 lung-cancer deaths annually—and a poorly sealed crawlspace raises the risk of exposure. Encapsulating the crawlspace also improves a home’s insulation and lowers energy costs. “The biggest thing is to educate people because no one ever thinks of their crawlspace,” Farrugia says. “It’s always the last thing on their list but should be the first one.” Carolina Crawlspace Solutions has four employees covering the tristate area of North Carolina, Virginia, and South Carolina. The firm has even gained enough ground to apply as a government contractor for work on nearby military bases. “If they’re not completely rebuilding their base homes,” Farrugia says, “then they need to remodel from the floor system up, like they’re doing in Fort Bragg [in North Carolina].” Currently 90 percent of the firm’s business is in the residential sector, while 10 percent is in small commercial construction. As with most new companies, advertising is an important part of the business. Farrugia advertises in the local newspaper, with local realty boards and building

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the specialists Right: Mold and bugs, like dust mites, from crawlspaces can filter into the air moving through a house, causing allergens and other health risks for residents. Carolina Crawlspace Solutions specializes in decreasing these risk factors.

supply houses, and three times a year mans a booth at home shows in the region. The company also donates its labor to Habitat for Humanity projects in the area and has worked on the Head Start building in Newport, North Carolina. When doing remediation work to remove growth on wooden floor joists, Carolina Crawlspace Solutions uses ecologically friendly products. The company uses as its main product 60-millimeter vapor barrier pro-liner from

Fifty percent of the air you breathe inside of a home comes out of the crawlspace. Whatever is growing down there, you're breathing in the house. Mold spores and unhealthy gases cause allergies and illnesses. Leonard Farrugia, Owner Emecole to seal and control the climate under homes. This pro-liner has an Energy Star rating and is a fire retardant, and it is a great improvement over the EPDM rubber the firm previously used. The firm installs, on each project, a French drain, a sump pump, and vent covers on the outside of the foundation vents. Farrugia says he knows of no other dealer in the area that routinely does this. Sealing the crawlspace adds not only to the life of the home but also to any HVAC or heat pump units installed under the home. By eliminating moisture and sweating, the units don’t rust out. And along with installation, Carolina Crawlspace Solutions offers clients a maintenance program. “We go out twice a year, usually spring and late summer, which is the peak for mold growth,” Farrugia says. “It’s a regular maintenance program, and we do a complete inspection. We inspect plumbing lines, ductwork, and electrical lines down there so they’re

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getting a full inspection for not having to ever crawl under the house.” In 2010, Carolina Crawlspace Solutions encapsulated 30 residential crawlspaces, and Farrugia expects to double that workload in 2011. “In this economy, it would be a huge blessing,” he says. “I would love to put people back to work. I know these are small steps, and it doesn't sound like much, but to start a business in this economy and have it survive its first two years is a pretty good sign. It sounds crazy, but I really enjoy doing this.” He also points out that this keeps him and his employees in good shape. The only hassle Farrugia has dealt with is educating new clients and marketing the business. “When building homes, clients came to me,” he says. “But now that I’ve switched businesses, I need to advertise—but the word is spreading.” ­— Joyce Finn

A Message from Emecole, Inc. Emecole, Inc. manufactures and supplies basement and crawlspace repair products to concrete repair contractors throughout the United States and Canada. The contractors who we supply undergo a rigid certification process to qualify to use the products we supply. Carolina Crawlspace Solutions personnel, under the leadership of Leonard Farrugia, have passed our certification programs, including crawlspace seating. We are very proud to be a preferred supplier of this fine company.

American Builders Quarterly


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In Profile

There is a time for buying, a time for selling, a time for renovating, and a time for building. But how do we know which markets are ripe at the right time?

At a Glance Location: Chicago, IL Employees: 7 core employees; 3 principals at headquarters; hundreds in field locations Specialty: Acquisition, development, repositioning, renovation, and management and financing of commercial real estate and rental apartments Annual Revenue: $10 million

As told to Sandra Guy

Throughout the housing meltdown, Jupiter Realty Company LLC has succeeded where so many real-estate developers have failed by staying true to a conservative investment philosophy developed over the past 25 years. The firm has steadfastly adhered to an opportunistic approach by investing primarily in markets and property types that are in strong demand. The Chicago-based company isn’t afraid to change its focus as markets shift, having started in 1985 as a developer of large retailer “power” centers nationwide before exiting that market in favor of pursuing residential projects and a smattering of office and commercial projects. American Builders Quarterly interviews the principals Don Smith and Michael Pompizzi to discover the strategies behind the company’s success.

Don Smith and Michael Pompizzi of Jupiter Realty Company in the lobby of 215 West, the Chicago Loop's first green apartment high-rise.


in profile

Jupiter Realty Company LLC Sun Dancer Creations, LLC Bridgeport Housing Authority Architecture for Charity of Texas, Inc. Lassel Architecture P.A. Madrid Engineering Group, Inc.

American Builders Quarterly

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for-rent real estate is, day in and day out, one of the safest product types to invest in. People need a place to live every day, regardless of the economy. How do you know which markets are ripe at the right time?

Above: A nighttime view of 215 West, located in the heart of the Chicago Loop. The project is the first new residential building in the Loop in 15 years. Top Right: The luxury condo-quality finishes in the apartments at 215 West include granite countertops and stainless-steel Frigidaire Energy Star appliances. Photos: Vadim Gurevich of FotoSphere Photography.

What has allowed Jupiter Realty Company to succeed in a tough real-estate market?

Don Smith: Over the years, the company and its principals have continued to operate— whether investing in hotels, office, retail, industrial, or residential projects—opportunistically. Part of the opportunistic philosophy is that for each type of commercial property, there is a time to buy, a time to sell, a time to renovate, and a time to build. Jupiter has moved in and out of property types and markets as economic conditions and demands shift. Michael Pompizzi: We have been very fortunate over our history to invest in the strongest markets—to be in the right market with the right product at the right time. Our focus for the last 10 years has primarily been on rental apartments in the Midwest and Sun Belt regions of the country. Residential

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MP: It’s an art, not a science. We do use analytical tools to look at supply and demand factors, population and job growth, etc., to help decide whether it is a good time to buy or build. One underlying theme over the years is that we typically only build when we believe there is a strong need and when existing product is selling at or above replacement value. Tenants typically want to be in the newest, fanciest, best-located product. When we decided to build our latest project, 215 West, the first new residential building in Chicago’s Loop in 15 years, we saw a terrific opportunity to build in an urban area where there was a substantial amount of office space and ready access to public transportation. We knew people had become more conscious of environmental factors. Public transportation was looking better and smarter. We decided to build a cutting-edge luxury apartment high-rise that would address contemporary demands. Although LEED-certified buildings are two percent to three percent more expensive to construct, they are cheaper to operate for both the owner and tenant and better for the environment. We care about the environment, and we believe that our tenants care. DS: The 389 units at 251 West range from 525-square-foot studios to 3-bedroom, 2.5-bath, 1,800-square-foot penthouses. 215 West also contains convertibles, one-bedroom, one-bedroom-and-den, and two-bedroom units. Rents range from $1,500 a month for a studio to nearly $5,000 for a three-bedroom penthouse unit.

American Builders Quarterly


in profile

Left: 215 West's green roof terrace is a true urban oasis, complete with a pool, sundeck, grills, and seating areas.

We have great experience and track records, and stomachs and noses for the business—one of the benefits of doing something for a long time. Don Smith, Principal

The property’s residents have complimentary access to an extensive amenity floor containing a theater, business center and library, a resident lounge with Wi-Fi, steam and massage therapy rooms, fitness club with individual TVs and weight-training equipment, club room with billiards, multipurpose room with kitchen, and a landscaped green-roof terrace with swimming pool, grills, and seating areas. All units feature floor-to-ceiling windows, individual climate control, washer and dryer, stainless-steel appliances, granite countertops, cherry cabinets, wood-style flooring in the kitchen and entry foyer, and ceramic tile floors and cultured marble countertops in the bathrooms. As we developed 215 West, we made the decision early on to modify the plans and specs so that we could be LEED certified. We were convinced that this would appeal to the types of residents drawn to a chic

American Builders Quarterly

urban property. We also decided to be a smoke-free community to be consistent with a healthy green lifestyle. The building, at the southwest corner of Washington and Wells streets, was completed in June 2010. Its ground floor will house several hip restaurants. A 12-story enclosed parking garage with Zipcar access elevates the residential levels above the normal din associated with an urban location.

What's next?

MP: The fact that we are focusing primarily on residential development is not a condemnation of other property types. Years ago, we came to the realization that we cannot be everything to everyone. We have great experience and track records, and stomachs and noses for the business—one of the benefits of doing something for a long time. For now, we favor the residential segment. Does that mean we won’t do office or industrial? Not at all. We currently own a West Loop site on which we are considering constructing a 300,000-square-foot office building—if we are able to secure a major tenant, as we are not speculative builders. DS: Most large commercial property development will be LEED certified in the future and probably oriented near core public transportation. That is our focus. ABQ

A Message from STANTON Interior Concepts STANTON Interior Concepts is a nationally recognized, LEED accredited, multidisciplinary interior-design and merchandising firm. STANTON has become known as a trend-setting force in the field of interior design, branding, decorating services, and merchandising concepts. As experts in residential developments, model merchandising, commercial and hospitality design, clients can expect spaces that satisfy the most discriminating tastes. Quality, comfort, and elegance appear to blend effortlessly through our attention to detail in all aspects of the design process. Creatively developing themed environments by eliciting our clients' desires and functional needs, we expect to inspire space and clients alike, project by project. For more info on this Chicago-based firm, please visit www.stantonic.com, or contact Loren Stanton at info@ stantonic.com or 312.243.1117.

july/august 2011

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in profile

A heated debate wages in the sustainability community with regard to large, high-end custom homes. Can larger dwellings such as a 4,150-square-foot custom-built home qualify as green? As told to Russ Klettke

At a Glance Location: Santa Fe, NM Employees: 3Ð8 Specialty: Custom-home building Annual Sales: $2Ð3 million

Faren Dancer, founder and president of Sun Dancer Creations, LLC, proved it is possible by building The Emerald Home, a luxurious residence that was green to construct and is now even greener to maintain. The $2.5 million house has amenities on par with many that exist throughout the region, yet achieves something that those and smaller homes fail to do: less-than-net-zero energy use, minimal water use, resource efficiency, and an extremely healthy indoor environment. He shares with American Builders Quarterly how he did it.

Why did you decide to build such a large home as an example of green housing?

Faren Dancer: A lot of people move to this region to build or buy high-end homes. Typically, these are sprawling energy consumers with large, ongoing carbon footprints. I wanted to create a model for high-end custom homes with all the

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amenities and square footage but with a low impact on the environment. I think there’s a segment in this market that wants this. What are the green features?

FD: The home has photovoltaic solar cells that collect electricity—a 9.2 kilowatt system—with excess energy sold to the utility

American Builders Quarterly


in profile

We live in a bottom-line culture. No matter how idealistic we want to be about green building, the biggest impact comes when you hit people favorably in the wallet.

FD: The thousands of visitors include builders, architects, students from local high schools and the community college, educators from across the country, and people from nonprofit and environmental organizations. US Senator Jeff Bingaman, who chairs the Senate’s Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, has toured the home. It also serves as a training platform for city-state inspectors and plan reviewers.

Faren Dancer, Founder & President

company. We also used a solar-thermal domestic hot-water system, concrete slab floors, and interior compressed-earth-block (CEB) walls that hold the day’s warmth into the night and [store] cool, nighttime temperatures in the summer. South-facing clerestory windows provide solar gain during the region’s five-month winter. Also six 200-feet-deep geothermal wells that feed a radiant floor-heating system, plus a very tight building envelope due to double-framed exterior walls with blown-in cellulose insulation [at an R-42 insulating value], triple-pane krypton gas windows [at R-7], and Kalwall + Nanogel translucent skylights [at R-20]. We built largely with recycled and reclaimed materials, including no large trees.

You don't only work at the upper end of the market?

You're active in the green-building community and in lobbying. What's tough about it?

FD: We’re currently developing projects in the $400,000 to $600,000 range, succeeding in all six categories of green building. One is an off-grid demonstration project that will produce its own energy along with 100 percent roof-water catchment with no well.

FD: Financing and appraisals are based on comparables, with no current metrics for valuing energy efficiency and other green building features. So, “valuing green” will encourage more people to go this direction. Greener and more energy-efficient codes could eventually raise green building from the voluntary 5–10 percent participation rate to 100 percent. A ­ BQ

Given that the home is a teaching tool, who are the students?

How are CEBs made, and can it be done anywhere?

FD: The 4,000 compressed earth blocks are from on-site soil mixed with six percent Portland cement and water and clay-rich soil that was brought in. Soil composition varies greatly in different locations, so sustainable use of CEBs can certainly vary. Earth blocks offer structural strength of 700 PSI, far exceeding New Mexico’s minimum requirement of 300 PSI. You haven't put it on the market yet. Do you think it will sell?

FD: We live in a bottom-line culture. No matter how idealistic we want to be about green building, the biggest impact comes when you hit people favorably in the wallet. When a buyer sees that there will be no utility bill—couple that with the fact it hugely reduces their carbon footprint—it will appeal to a lot of people. We are raising funding through our public benefit nonprofit, Unicopia, Inc., to maintain the Emerald Home as an ongoing educational model and center for sustainability. This will encourage sustainable building practices in all ranges of residential construction.

American Builders Quarterly

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in profile

In one of the wealthiest counties in the country, one organization provides affordable housing to people who perform important, if not well-paying, jobs in the community. As told to Laura Williams-Tracy

That organization is the Bridgeport Housing Authority, in Bridgeport, Connecticut, which continues to work on numerous large-scale developments and renovations to keep pace with an expanding community. Executive director Nick Calace says constructing new public-housing units and converting old buildings is a complex undertaking that requires creative financing and efficient design and construction. To learn more about it, American Builders Quarterly spoke with Calace about his organization’s recent projects and its mission to support the local economy by providing housing options for people at the lowest income levels. Tell me about Bridgeport and the function your organization serves there.

At a Glance Location: Bridgeport, CT Employees: 160 Specialty: Development, ownership, and operation of a Section 8 housing program

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Nick Calace: Bridgeport is still part of the greater New York City economic engine, but it’s a Rust Belt city and a former manufacturing environment. There are 3,200 housing authorities in the country, and we rank 67th in size. Bridgeport has 150,000 residents, and we have 13,000 people—or about 8 percent of the population—living in our 2,600 public housing units. We also manage 2,700 Section 8 vouchers for private landlords. Housing authorities are state public service corporations that are located in a city and are federally funded. We act like a not-for-profit and establish a budget that goes to HUD for approval and is subject to Congressional approval. Our tenants pay 30 percent of their income in rent, and the rest is subsidized. Seventy-five percent of our tenants are below 30 percent of the area’s median income. Public housing serves a purpose because its tenants would have no alternative place to go. You can get rid of public housing, but you may have to step over the homeless every

time you walk out your door. This isn’t luxury housing. Of our 2,600 units, 700 are for the elderly and disabled. What are the recent funding trends for your organization?

NC: Public housing is a complex undertaking in any economy. There is limited funding from the feds. Funding is a combination of specialty programs from the state and federal government, which is leveraged against the other private funding and financing. It’s a patch quilt of funding. In this economy, it’s worse because there’s very little money available. On a positive note, bids from contractors are more competitive. The Bridgeport Housing Authority recently completed a $33 million redevelopment of an old hospital, which now offers 110 units for senior citizens and disabled residents. Tell me about this signature project.

NC: [The two buildings are] called the Eleanor and the Franklin, named for Eleanor Roosevelt, who was an early champion of

American Builders Quarterly


in profile

You can get rid of public housing, but you may have to step over the homeless every time you walk out your door. Nick Calace, Executive Director

public-housing authorities, and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The project is one building that’s bifurcated. The high-rise is for the elderly, and the low-rise side is for the disabled, and the ground floor is services for both. The housing authority purchased the building in 2000. We partnered with the Woman’s Institute of Housing and Economic Development and, all told, there were 13 different funding sources. The project’s construction started in 2009 and was completed in 2010. Tell me about the community health center the housing authority is currently building. NC: The community health center had been operating in an old Catholic grammar school that was out of ADA compliance. It would have cost us $800,000 to bring it into compliance, but the building was only worth about $300,000. Federal stimulus money given to a local provider, Southwest Community Health, provided seed money, and we married it with federal development money to put 325 new two-bedroom apartments on the top four floors and a 20,000-square-foot dental clinic below and a medical center adjacent. It’s a $15 million project.

we’re trying to annex some adjoining properties. The new project will include up to 1,200 units. We have begun the predevelopment process with HUD to secure the money. We’re hopeful to complete this endeavor in five years.  ABQ

Above: The Bridgeport Housing Authority continues its tradition of providing housing for the underprivileged with new, forward-thinking developments.

300 York Street New Haven, CT 06511 T: 203.772.1990 newmanarchitects.com info@newmanarchitects.com

What projects are upcoming?

NC: We are pursuing the acquisition of an old convent that we will convert into six units for victims of domestic violence and their families—with security to keep predators out and services so [the victims] can soon be sustainable on their own. That project is about a year and a half away. We have a 400-unit, 70-year-old complex of 36 buildings that we are looking for federal money to rip down in order to rebuild the whole community. That will be a mixed-use, mixed-income development, and currently

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in profile

Affordable housing is needed everywhere. But Architecture for Charity of Texas, Inc. has taken on the unique challenge of providing homes for more than 140,000 on Texas’s US-Mexican border. As told to Anita R. Paul

Facing one of the highest poverty rates in the United States, Architecture for Charity of Texas, a registered nonprofit corporation— in partnership with the City of Brownsville, Texas—has begun a unique program to help low-income families realize the dream of homeownership and to help ensure they can afford to remain in the homes for the long term. The organization’s founder, president, and CEO, Mario Morales, says that the project is not a handout but an opportunity for hardworking families and for the City. American Builders Quarterly got the chance to sit down with Morales, who discussed his partnership with the Brownsville, his promotion of energy-efficient building strategies, and his firm’s plans for the future. How did you get started in the building industry, and how did the company get started?

At a Glance Location: Brownsville, TX Founded: 2008 Specialty: Low-income, energyefficient residential housing

American Builders Quarterly

Mario Morales: I studied architecture at the University of Florida and later practiced in Miami. I worked on high-end homes doing remodels and new construction. I’ve also done design work in the Bahamas and in Curacao. During my career, I traveled to Brownsville and noticed a population of people living in substandard conditions. Because of that, I looked to establish something that would help low-income families find better housing. In 2008, I founded Architecture for Charity and proposed a project to the City of Brownsville to build highly energy-efficient, affordable homes for qualified low-income families. With the help of the City, the project became a reality in 2009.

How does your program work?

MM: To date, we’ve built five homes for low-income families through funding from the City. The homes were built on Cityowned land. To qualify, potential homeowners must prove that they earn between 50 percent and 80 percent of the area median income. There is no Beacon score check. Instead, we check debt-to-income ratio and payment history. Families can take a fixed, zero-percent interest on the mortgage with no money down. One of most interesting aspects of this program is that families have to commit 300 hours of sweat equity into the construction of the house. In addition, they must learn about the energy-efficient aspects of the home, attend a credit-counseling course, and receive a certificate of completion before the

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in profile

Above: Architecture for Charity offers new, energy-efficient design models at the new St. Tropez Subdivision in Brownsville, TX.

One of my goals is to design and build homes that are very energy efficient and to help families afford the home in the long term. Mario Morales, Founder, President & CEO

closing of their new home. My goal is to design and build homes that are energy efficient and affordable in the long term. Are there plans to expand the project and build on a larger scale?

MM: Architecture for Charity has recently announced the development of a new 25-home subdivision called St. Tropez. This project is also in collaboration with the City of Brownsville. Most of the lots will cater to families earning under 60 percent of the median income for the area. The program will offer up to $45,000 of the mortgage loan to be financed at a zero-percent interest rate for 30 years through the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs and the

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Bootstrap Program. The other portion will be offered at a low, fixed rate for 30 years. The prices of a three-bedroom, two-bath, one-car-garage home will range between $76,000 and $89,000, including the lot. This program will also require sweat-equity investment from each family. What are some of the energy-efficient features of these homes?

MM: We use K-tect, a prefab, structural wall-paneling system made of steel framing with built-in insulation that provides between 24 and 26 R-Value. The panels manufactured as per our design and specs are delivered to the site and installed on tracks. Using steel as opposed to wood limits

the amount of trees used in the construction of the home and also allows the home to stand up better in hurricanes. We also use spray-foam insulation of 32 R-Value to condition the attic space. We seal the home airtight so there is no leakage but with adequate ventilation throughout. We also use Energy Star appliances and provide CFL bulbs. Each home is Energy Star-certified with a HERS Rating of 61. Our goal is to take each home to the high 40s to low 50s. What motivated you to build homes for the less fortunate?

MM: Brownsville has one of the highest rates of poverty in the nation. I knew that there was government funding to help the low-income sector. If nonprofit entities such as ours do not exist and make good use of the funds allocated for this cause, the money could be returned to the federal government. Families are proud to own a house that they’ve built with their own hands. That attaches them not only physically but emotionally to the home. It’s priceless. What do you like most about what you do?

MM: It is very rewarding to see families move into their dream home. We are making a dream come true for these families, the dream of home ownership. To have the power of helping them is priceless—it makes us feel good. ABQ

American Builders Quarterly


Mike Lassel had always been interested in the landscapes, cityscapes, and public spaces around him. But it was during a family trip to Europe in junior high that his interest in design took a dramatic leap forward. As told to Cristina Adams

At a young age, Mike Lassel, principal of Lassel Architecture P.A., was able to see the cozy, efficient homes, cobblestone streets, and wellmanicured landscapes of the Old World. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The much older cities and buildings offered me a new way of seeing how public and private spaces had evolved over the centuries,â&#x20AC;? he recalls. After obtaining a masterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s degree in architecture and design from Ohio State University, Lassel moved to Munich, Germany, in 1979. He practiced there for six years before returning to the United States, gaining experience in the ways of European style. In 1989, Lassel opened his own practice, which now boasts five employees and completes projects in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and southern Maine. Lassel spoke with American Builders Quarterly about his early interest in eco-friendly design and what his firm does to ensure minimal environmental impact with its own designs.

What is special about the services Lassel Architects offers?

At a Glance Location: South Berwick, ME Founded: 1989 Employees: 5 Specialty: Architecture, urban design, and planning

Mike Lassel: Our focus has always been to integrate the building and site. Many of our projects use tools learned over many years working with planners, landscape architects, and clients. Some key design elements include fitting [a home] into the built environment and creating a pedestrianfriendly experience. For the past 20 years, our goal has been to create energy-efficient, well-built places. To that end, our entire design team is LEED accredited, and, as of last year, we also offer energy audits to our clients. What types and sizes of projects do you take on?

ML: Each project is unique. The work is often urban infill or on difficult sites, and the building types range from medical offices and long-term care facilities to mixed-use

American Builders Quarterly

housing, specialty retail, residential, and renovations. We like challenging projects, usually up to $15 million, that require collaboration with clients and communities. You have been working in the sustainable design space for more than 20 years. How did that interest develop, and how much of a priority is it for the firm?

ML: When I was an undergraduate, there was a coal-fire heating plant not far from campus that spewed out black smoke every day. On the very first Earth Day, I got a sign and marched in front of the plant. This new awareness led me into architecture and urban planning, which expanded into site design as a planning tool and a process to integrate building and site. Environmental design is part of every project we do. Our design work uses many of the LEED design guidelines as a starting

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in profile

Left: For a lakehouse at Great East Lake, NH, Lassel Architecture designed a layout that afforded maximum views of the lake from any room. Built for a family of five, the client also desired a space large enough to accommodate a significant amount of extended family. Photo: Sandy Agrafiotis.

What are some of the tools you use to integrate a building into an environment?

ML: The key to limiting site impacts is to study the soils, topography, and access. In combination with programming and solar orientation, it provides the basis for a balanced approach to design. The process involves developing a site analysis in which all the contributing components are layered. From that process evolves a series of questions and answers that are both verbal and visual. The final component then focuses

point. Our specialization is in being good architects and planners, which means we create healthy, energy-efficient places. Tell me about your cost-versus-benefit optimization process. What is it and what insights does it provide into a structure's energy consumption?

ML: An energy audit evaluates a buildingâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s performance from the point of view of energy usage and also points out where consumption is higher than normal. We plug energy usage and data from the building into a spreadsheet. We have been working on this for a while to help us determine the cost of the work. Careful evaluation of that data can help us and the client make decisions on short- and long-term savings. What role does building-envelope design play in your work?

ML: Once we have a concept design and feel we have addressed the major visual and programmatic issues on a project, we focus on the shell design and the building science to control air, water, and thermal conductivity. We spend a lot of time detailing to eliminate infiltration, thermal breaks, and stack effect in walls and moisture issues. This information is critical in developing mechanical systems that are right sized for the building. Through careful planning and design, we are able to decrease the size of mechanical systems, thereby cutting construction and operational costs.

on landscape and pedestrian movement from off-site into the building. What are your creative goals for the company over the next five to 10 years?

ML: We have been watching the reemergence of small- and midsize towns as places to grow businesses and to create higher-density housing. This new urbanism, in combination with smart, well-designed high-performance buildings, will be connected with historical development patterns using modern forms and methods. This is a logical growth that the profession is going through. We need to get back to our roots as master builders and planners. Our role is to integrate the other professions and trades as construction, building codes, and approval processes become more complex. ABQ

A Message from Allied Engineering Allied Engineering has been in business since 1958, providing clients with cost-effective, energy-efficient, and sustainable building engineering system designs. Our experience lies in our knowledge and understanding of structural, mechanical, electrical, and technology systems for new buildings and renovation design projects. Our expertise is demonstrated in our attention to detail, integrated designs, and our excellent reputation. Over the years, we've forged relationships with a long list of repeat clients. We enjoy our current working relationship with Lassel Architects and look forward to our continued success as a team.

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AEI has the advantage of having most 160 disciplines under one roof. We are a team Veranda St., Portland, ME 04103 | T 207.221.2260 Visit us online at www.allied-eng.com architects as well as leading full-service teams as a prime consultant. We flourish methods, including traditional design-bid-build, design-build, and construction ma

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American Builders Quarterly


in profile

Larry Madrid didn’t set out to become a sinkhole expert when he launched Madrid Engineering Group, Inc. in the early 1990s— it was simply a consulting firm with an emphasis on all things geotechnical. As told to Kelli Lawrence

At a Glance Location: Bartow, FL Founded: 1992 Employees: 40 Specialty: Geotechnical engineering and sinkhole evaluation

American Builders Quarterly

Regardless of Larry Madrid’s original intentions, Madrid Engineering Group ended up completing thousands of sinkhole investigations throughout Florida over the course of the past decade, which led the Tampa Bay Business Journal to recognize the firm as the 31st fastest-growing company in the Tampa area. In addition, Florida Trend magazine recently named Madrid Engineering one of top small businesses to work for. And although the firm has little to do with Madrid’s passion for green building, it has nonetheless helped him launch two new ventures in that direction. Madrid talked to American Builders Quarterly about his original business and how he was able to create new niches for himself out of it. Can you first talk a little about your professional background, and how Madrid Engineering got started?

You've developed a niche over time as sinkhole experts, particularly in Florida. How did this come to be?

Larry Madrid: I graduated from Colorado State University in 1984 with an MS degree in civil engineering and moved to Florida. After working for another company—initially as a staff engineer and working my way up to Geotechnical Engineering Department head—I started Madrid Engineering Group, Inc. in 1992.

LM: Sinkholes are voids and cavities in the limestone that create a depression or collapse features at the ground surface, causing minimal to severe damage to houses and other structures. I completed a few sinkhole investigations with my previous company, and about 10 years ago we started doing them at Madrid Engineering. We have

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Above: Sinkholes are a continual threat in Florida, and have opened up quite a niche for Madrid Engineering Group's comprehensive services throughout the area.

done over 2,500 sinkhole investigations now, mostly for insurance companies that are required by law in Florida to cover sinkhole losses for residential and commercial properties. It’s hard to believe that we’ve done that many, but it gives us a tremendous amount of experience and understanding of what’s going on below the ground and how it affects housing and construction.

out of it. So I’ve actually started two new businesses: Greenovative Homes, LLC and Greenovative Design & Engineering, LLC. Through those, we believe we can help a lot of people reduce their energy consumption and help make things more affordable, which is a key thing in our economy these days.

Why did you install a 25-kilowatt solar roof for your own office in Bartow, Florida?

LM: For Greenovative Homes, we’ve learned that federal subsidies in New Orleans are such that almost every new home built will be a green home. So technologies such as geothermal air-conditioning and solar paneling can be at least partially paid for through government grants, allowing normal people to afford extraordinarily energy-efficient buildings. We hope to have a contract to build homes in New Orleans very soon. For Greenovative Design & Engineering, we have a proposal to our local municipality to design, build, and operate a two-megawatt solar farm, which will be enough electricity to power over 200 homes. We’re still negotiating, but we feel confident that we’ll be able to move forward with that soon as well.

LM: We were seeking LEED certification for the building I was designing, and the final touch was to add solar panels to it, which we did last year just before the state of Florida sunset on the solar grant that they had for renewable energy. That was kind of a gamble on our part. But I felt it was important enough that I went ahead and bought and paid for it. We actually have a 26-kilowatt system that provides more electricity than we use in my minioffice, which is 4,500 square feet. That makes that building a net-zero-energy building. How does the solar roof benefit your clients?

We’ve learned how to build and design green buildings, and we feel that this is the future. Even though it has nothing to do with sinkhole evaluation or geotechnical engineering, we wanted to create a business

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What can you share about current projects for these new companies?

What else lies ahead for your businesses?

LM: Madrid Engineering continues to grow. We feel that its growth is really subject to the

We’ve learned how to build and design green buildings, and we feel that this is the future. Larry Madrid, Principal

regulations regarding sinkholes and sinkhole insurance in Florida. Changes in the insurance requirements can start or stop that entire business. We feel like we do have a long-term opportunity there, but we are a little wary of the limitations that regulations and laws could have on that business. Greenovative Homes and Greenovative Design and Engineering were both created primarily to create jobs and help people live sustainably and to sort of disrupt normal construction methods to include renewableenergy and super-efficient homes. We think the sky’s the limit on that. That’s the wave of the future. ABQ

American Builders Quarterly


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in profile through the years

Holly & Smith Architects When architect Michael Holly started his firm 30 years ago, he worked alone on small renovations and residences. Passion and dedication fueled his work and attracted the attention of potential colleagues and clients alike. Soon, Holly had collected repeat clients and hired eight employees. In 1986, the upstart architect helped launch the Downtown Development District for Hammond, Louisiana. Today, Holly and business partner Jeffrey Smith remain dedicated to revitalizing Hammond and nearby New Orleans, where they opened a second location in 2010. Although much has changed in the past three decades, larger themes have stayed the same. “We started in and continue to serve the education field,” Holly says. His firm, now known as Holly & Smith Architects, completes some of the most respected secondary-education projects in Louisiana. Other work includes religious structures, elderly housing, multi- and single-family residences, and master planning. —Zach Baliva

1980 Early Growth In the firm's first five years, Michael Holly looks to form strong relationships and stay flexible while building a brand and reputation. "I started with the idea that you do your work from beginning to end," he says. Holly and his colleagues remain proactive through the entire construction phase and foster good relationships and good communication with all key players. During those five years, Holly anchors his business on small renovations, medium-sized schools, and light residential work. Later, he partners with Jeffrey Smith, a talented designer who complements Holly's business and technical skills.

1991 Internal meeting sets tone Holly, Smith, and the rest of the team gather for a single afternoon meeting that none could anticipate the impact of, but it ends up changing the trajectory of their growing company. "We decided to really define where we were going and got very aggressive about soliciting work and attracting good talent," Holly says. "Talent doesn't show up at your front door. You have to find it." The two principals form a strategic plan that thenceforth is reviewed quarterly and revamped annually. This leads later to the creation of major three-day business meetings each year where financial and creative expectations are discussed.

1986 The Downtown Development District In the early 1980s, Hammond becomes the third Nationally Registered Historic District in the state; five years later, HollyÑwho lives three blocks from downtown Hammond and enjoys his 90-second commuteÑand others form the Downtown Development District. Between 1986 and the present, Holly & Smith goes on to complete 41 projects in the area, including the renovation of the 920-seat Columbia Theater (left), which was built circa 1928.

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American Builders Quarterly


in profile

Talent doesn’t show up at your front door. You have to find it. Michael Holly, Principal

2005 Hurricane Katrina 2011 Village De Jardin Holly & Smith continues work on a New Orleans senior-housing community for the Louisiana Housing Finance Authority. The development spans more than 11 acres with over 224 living unitsÑ150 of which rise in twin five-story units next to single-family homes. Multiple building types provide diversity and allow residents (all over age 55) numerous options within a single community. Other highlights include vast public spaces and gardens as well as personalized parking spaces. "We really wanted tenants to have ownership of their outdoor areas," Holly says. Village De Jardin responds to the New Orleans culture of outdoor living with private balconies, courtyards, and screened-in porches. The communityÑlike New OrleansÑis social. A village center, a community center, and commercial tenants on the first floor help make the large complex feel more like home.

Few, if any businesses, are left unaffected by Hurricane Katrina, which ravages much of Holly & Smith's operating region. The firm's reputation allows it to aid in many renovations and new projects called for after the disaster. Five years later, Holly & Smith acquires a small New Orleans firm and establishes a presence in The Big Easy, where recovery work, education projects, and renovations are ongoing.

1993 The Russell B. Long Federal Building and Courthouse Two years after refocusing its efforts, the company embarks on a noteworthy addition to Baton Rouge's historic downtown. Holly & Smith works with other firms to merge modern federal facilities with a 1930s courthouse. Matching details and materials allows the architects to preserve the original building's charm. The project wins several awards, including ones from AIA Louisiana and AIA New Orleans.

2001 W.C.C. Claiborne Building Another project in Baton Rouge, the Claiborne Building (above), helps Holly & Smith show its diversity. The firm designs the Art Deco building, which houses administrative offices for the adjacent Capitol building, in an office block of nearly 500,000 square feet. Holly & Smith maximizes the use of natural light to increase occupant comfort while reducing energy consumption. A large green promenade enhances walkability and connects the Claiborne to the Capitol itself. The Iberville State Office Building (completed by Holly & Smith in the same complex) wins a 2008 AIA Baton Rouge Rose Award. The 270,000-square-foot structure of precast concrete, glass, and aluminum features a rooftop terrace.

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in profile american homes

+Swiss

Army style

The interior walls in the existing house were gutted. The living spaces and bedroom spaces were flipped. The bedrooms now have the eight-foot ceilings, allowing the upper loft level to have the soaring, high ceilings and the best views. Photos: Anice Hoachlander. American Builders Quarterly

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in profile american homes

Left: In this renovation and addition project, located on a steeply pitched lot, the shell of the existing house was retained. A steeper pitched gable roof replaced the lower pitched roof, and translucent glass reflects the difference in the two. An inverted shed roof defines the addition. Bottom: The walls of the loft space form a library. In the dining/kitchen area, an alternating tread stair climbs up to the top of the refrigerator and the books. Called the "Swiss Army Staircase," it's both a sculpture and a shelving system for display.

Project Details Project: Das Swartzenreader Haus Location: Winchester, VA Completed: 2004 Size: 2,500 square feet Details: Renovation and redesign

T

he husband-and-wife team of Elizabeth Reader and Charles Swartz form Reader & Swartz Architects, P.C., which operates in Swartz’s hometown of Winchester in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. Although the pair operates in a town of just 26,000 residents, they create endlessly interesting, entertaining, and effective structures. Even the name of their own home, Das Swartzenreader Haus, is an inside joke of sorts, as the firm is named Reader & Swartz, instead of Swartz & Reader, to avoid “sounding like a big German guy.” The jovial duo took time to speak with American Builders Quarterly about residential and commercial design in a more rural area. ABQ: When was your own house, Das Swartzenreader

Haus, originally built? Why did you want to make it your own home? Elizabeth Reader: It was a nondescript house built in 1968, with no architectural character whatsoever. It was on a great site but had tiny windows that failed to take advantage of the view. It was in a great neighborhood, and we knew we could really modify it. Charles Swartz: We flipped the plan, so the bedrooms are now on the first floor, with the main living space on the second. That allows us to give the main living space these amazing views with the biggest amount of glass and high ceilings.

ABQ: What were the major discussions during the design

phase? What did you want to accomplish? ER: The site was challenging in that it was small and steep, with a 30-foot drop in grade, but it gave us great views of the mountains. It’s hard to get those views in town, but we did. CS: Yeah, our stove is over our front door on the second story, but it’s only seven feet above the sidewalk. You can cook and look out to see people running or walking dogs and then turn to see the mountains and airplanes heading towards Dulles. There are lots of bookshelves

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American Builders Quarterly


in profile american homes

Left: The living space is furnished with leather and cloth couches by Montis, a steel and translucent glass table, and a shag rug made of leather scraps. Bottom left: The structural steel frame of the addition is expressed on both the inside and outside of the addition. Naturally finished wood walls add warmth to the interior. Bottom right: The living room addition is composed of a steel frame, glass, and cedar, and has an inverted shed roof. The addition is oriented towards the view of the downtown below and the Blue Ridge Mountains beyond.

upstairs so that the house could be modern without being minimalist. ABQ: What is the “Swiss Army Staircase”? CS: We cook a lot, so we have a huge fridge. We encased it

in red-stained plywood and made that alternating tread staircase so you can climb up and reach books we keep up there. The treads extend to act as display shelves. So it’s part shelf, part sculpture, and part staircase. We call it Swiss Army because it does a lot of stuff.

ABQ: What’s best about having one large space upstairs? ER: It’s just a half bath and a big, open loft space. The

kitchen isn’t a kitchen within a room but a space where the cabinets are arranged in the corner, with windows above. The whole house is the average American size of 2,500 square feet, but we’ve had 60 people upstairs for a party with no problem.

ABQ: How does the home reflect the company as a

whole? CS: It goes back to that philosophy of taking whatever you have and trying to do it all the way. If you have tomatoes and pasta and garlic, you can still make something really great even with the limited ingredients.  —Zach Baliva

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in profile Materiality

Fancy Faucets The advantage of having a well-manufactured and stylish faucet is a subtle one. Whether the goal is to have the faucet disappear or become a core design element in a kitchen or bathroom, it has to be functional. The faucets and accoutrements showcased below are that and more. They represent the bold face of “faucetry” coming out of the industrial design world today, and represent the tier of faucet required in high-end building and design. 1 2

1. Graphite Finish / California Faucets / calfaucets. com / Gunmetal tones have become one of the industrial

market’s chic colors of choice. Graphite, California Faucet’s newest finish, comes with a lifetime warranty against tarnishing and is a welcome addition to both modern and traditional aesthetics.

2. Parq Kitchen Faucets / Kohler / kohler.com / The Parq faucet is a modern take on the classic configuration of bridge faucets. Several finishes and installations options are available to meet the needs of any space.

3. Karbon Kitchen Faucets / Kohler / kohler.com / Three joints characterize the unique Karbon faucets. The joints allow the faucet to be positioned for any need and even allow for compact, out-of-the-way storage.

4. 90 Degrees / Moen / moen.com / Moen’s 90 Degrees

faucet is a perfect fit for a clean, minimal aesthetic. Available in chrome or a classic steel finish.

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4 American Builders Quarterly


Let us change the way you think about building. A Lifetime of Energy Savings K-tect Sustainable Building Systems give owners the ultimate in thermal efficiency through the extraordinary insulating capacity of EPS and our proprietary design which completely eliminates thermal bridging—a claim that only we can make. Unlimited Design Possibilities K-tect Sustainable Building Systems can be used to construct exterior and interior walls, roofs and floors for structures of any size or shape—even curved walls. They are equally suitable for new structures and retrofits.

World’s first moveable floating “green” structure.

Lower Construction Costs K-tect Sustainable Building Systems require no specialized labor to install and generate minimal construction waste. Unlike SIPs, our systems are lightweight, yet strong, providing faster results at a lower cost.

Retro-Wrap for Existing Structures • No need to de-construct (Install over existing finish) • No need to disturb occupants • Accepts Any Exterior Finish (Stucco, Siding, Masonry) • Accepts Any Roofing Material (Composite, Tile, Flat Roof) • Meets or exceeds all green building standards • Affordable

• Increase Insulation Values • Reduce Noise Pollution • Reduce Utility Bills • Fast and East to Install • Architectual Design Options • Interior/Exterior Walls • Roof • New Exterior Finish • Tax Credits

• Resistant to: Mold, Mildew, & Moisture • Resistant to: Fire • Insect Proof 100 % Recyclable Cradle to Cradle Assessed as a Technical Nutrient

Only 2 steps to the ultimate in energy and sound efficiency for existing structures!! Roof Retro-Wrap is also available.

Step 1. Position panel on existing structure.

Step 2.

(702) 451-7155 (office) info@k-tect.com

Commerical - Residential - Institutional

www.k-tect.com

N

M

BUIL DING

UNC IL CO

6012 Topaz Street, Suite #6, Las Vegas, NV 89120

U.S. GREE

Attach panel to existing structure..

E M B ER


Fast Track Design-Build Food Processing Facilities Dairy & Beverage Facilities Cold Storage and Refrigerated Facilities Industrial and Manufacturing Facilities Distribution Centers

1801 Highway 51 Bypass N Dyersburg, TN. 38024 Phone: 731.286.5661 Fax: 731.286.4564

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