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momentum VOLUME 2 Issue 1

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⇐ CONTEMPORARY ⇒ CONTINUING


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momentum

CLASSIC

⇐ CONTEMPORARY ⇒ CONTINUING

VOLUME 2 Issue 1

⇐ CONTEMPORARY ⇒

⇒ CONTINUING

CONTENTS

04. 12. 22.

CLASSIC Not Your Father’s Old Museum CONTEMPORARY Mission Possible CONTINUING Building For The Future


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The “Places of Invention” exhibit showcases locales that sparked eureka moments.


Visitors interact with objects from the museum’s teaching collections.


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W

ithin this vast trove everyday objects tell extraordinary stories — about innovation and emancipation, about marketing and convenience. To shine a spotlight on some of these more quotidian treasures —highly decorated frozen orange juice cans, electric toasters from the 1920s, and vintage bicycles— the museum recently unveiled the 45,000-square-foot Innovation Wing, a renovation of what had been office spaces, outdated exhibition galleries, and a small theater.

and use of bicycles, electric refrigeration, ready-to-wear clothing and household items transformed

Now, the Patrick F. Taylor Foundation Object Project focuses on “everyday things that changed everything” and encourages visitors of all ages to discover how the development

the lives of Americans in ways that shape people’s lives today. “Many familiar objects were innovations that changed everyday life in the past and helped shape American life

today,” said the museum’s MacMillan Associate Director for Education and Public Engagement, Judy Gradwohl.

“THERE’S NOTHING LIKE FEELING THE HEFT OF AN OLD IRON AND SEEING YOUR GRANDMOTHER BEING TRANSPORTED BACK IN TIME.” - Judy Gradwohl , MacMillan Associate Director for Education & Public Engagement

There’s nothing like feeling the heft of an old iron and seeing your grandmother being transported back in time,” she added about the docentled activities that allow visitors to

The “American Enterprise” exhibit focuses on the role of business and innovation.


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Shining a spotlight on innovations that changed everyday life.


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hold objects from the museum’s teaching collection. Another exhibit, Places of Invention, encourages visitors to delve deep into locales that have served as jumping off points for innovation in specific industries (think Silicon Valley and Hollywood). The popular Draper Spark!Lab offers a haven where the six to 12 crowd can try their hand at inventing. And the Coulter Performance

“THE MUSEUM WAS READY AND VERY WILLING TO RETHINK THE EXISTING SPACE, AND JUDY CHALLENGED US TO LOOK AT NEW MODELS FOR PUBLIC SPACES.” - Jeff Hirsch, Principal & Cultural Practice Leader, EwingCole

Plaza not only orients visitors, but it also serves as a site for live performances, cooking demonstrations and hands-on opportunities. Such changes in programming, exhibit design, and content were “precipitated by the need to upgrade the then 50-year-old building,” according to Gradwohl. “The renovation also offered the perfect opportunity to explore opening up the space to the outside.” Visitors now enjoy views of the Washington Monument and a monumental Alexander Calder sculpture through a new panoramic window.

Draper Spark!Lab offers a haven where the six to 12 crowd can try their hand at inventing.

“The museum was ready and very willing to rethink the existing space,” says Jeff Hirsch, principal and cultural practice leader at EwingCole, “and Judy challenged us to look at new models for public spaces.”


“Wheelwoman Louise” interacts with visitors to create a more active learning experience.

As the project got underway in 2010, Gradwohl was fresh off of a Noyce Foundation Leadership Fellow where she focused on understanding how a national museum could create more informed and involved citizens through actively promoting civic engagement. What she learned supported the museum’s belief that there was value in having less formalized content. “Our tradition had been the opposite and having something a bit more colloquial,

has changed considerably now that we can get whatever we want on our phones,” Gradwohl observes. “Museums used to be the places you could turn to for that, so they’ve had to reconsider their roles. The wave of the future is more active learning, allowing visitors to make discoveries on their own, and giving museumgoers the chance to interact more directly with objects and people. “The Object Project doesn’t have a narrative, linear path,” she continues.

up a character who literally and figuratively weaves many of the exhibit’s threads together. Riding in and out of the space on an 1898 Reliance Model D bicycle, “Wheelwoman Louise,” speaks with visitors about the freedom she feels since mastering this two-wheeled conveyance — the first “skirt-friendly” bike. She also touches upon the history of bicycling mechanics and manufacturing, and the rise of the suffragette movement. “Connecting the collection to new audiences was Judy’s priority,” says Hirsch.

“WE’RE TRYING TO REFLECT THE WAY IN WHICH PEOPLE LEARN ONLINE, HOW YOU CAN JUST FOLLOW ONE LINK AFTER ANOTHER AND FIND YOURSELF VERY FAR AWAY FROM WHERE YOU STARTED.” - Judy Gradwohl , MacMillan Associate Director for Education & Public Engagement

a bit more interactive was viewed as a departure,” she recalls. In part, such moves were a response to the changing expectations of today’s museumgoer.

“We’re trying to reflect the way in which people learn online, how you can just follow one link after another and find yourself very far away from where you started.”

“The whole ecosystem of how people acquire and disseminate information

For a different kind of wayfinding, Gradwohl and her team dreamed

In fact, Gradwohl, plans on similarly expanding programming, increasing human interaction, and digging into the archives at the San Diego Natural History Museum, where she is now president and CEO. A new exhibit that opens in the Fall, for example, will showcase the museum’s collections by assembling, say, just red objects, from coral to cardinals, in a vitrine, allowing people to draw unexpected connections. “I think we’re going to see a lot more museums opening up the back of the house, so to speak,” offers Gradwohl. “They’ll basically be turning themselves inside out so visitors can look at familiar objects differently.” 


⇐ CONTEMPORARY ⇒

At the United Therapeutics headquarters, the building's color-coded floors are organized by function.


“I

t’s not uncommon for me to get an email late on a Friday night or early on a Sunday morning from Martine and it will say something like, ‘we’re going to build a new facility and there are only two of them in the world but ours is going to resemble the Star of David and I’d like a rendering within the next month,” laughs Avi Halpert, vice president corporate real estate, for the Silver Spring, Maryland-based biotech and pharmaceuticals firm. Or, take a recent headquarters expansion that’s shaped like an ellipse and is intended to serve as an inspiration that all new Unither buildings adhere to Net Zero energy standards. The building’s shape, site, and high sustainability goals presented a complex set of design challenges but “it’s refreshing to be asked to achieve seemingly impossible tasks by a client that permits us to explore options,” says Jason Fierko, the EwingCole principal who served as lead engineer on the project. (Net Zero Energy buildings harness their energy from geothermal, wind, or sun in order to

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meet or exceed all of their energy demands, and often supply excess power back into the grid.) For another project, Jared Loos, chief executive officer at EwingCole, recalls Rothblatt asking him to join her in a visit to a Toronto facility. Once there, they watched a human lung continue

⇒ because Martine won’t hear of that,” continues Loos. “We have to consider the parameters— whether it’s air quality, or temperature, or humidity— and we have to consider whether there are regulations or certifications we need to meet. And then we have to make it happen.” In some cases, these projects and the effort to understand

“IT’S REFRESHING TO BE ASKED TO ACHIEVE SEEMINGLY IMPOSSIBLE TASKS BY A CLIENT THAT PERMITS US TO EXPLORE OPTIONS.” - Jason Fierko, EwingCole Principal, Lead Engineer on the Project

to breathe even though it was no longer inside a body. “Martine said to me, we’re going to do this in Silver Spring,’” he says. When he asked for a timeline, she responded: “six months.” “We have to be nimble and we certainly can’t say something won’t work

the requirements for something that has never been done before ends up shaping policy that results in new regulations. Since 2010, EwingCole has designed multiple facilities, in several locales, for United Therapeutics. Three more

Exterior design embraces the Unither brand by incorporating the logo and the DNA helix.


The lobby entrance is awash in natural elements.


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Innovative, first-of-its-kind research facility.

are currently under construction, each tasked with the sustainability mandate. If United Therapeutics is in the business of saving lives, believes Rothblatt, then it should also construct healthy buildings that give back to its occupants as well as mitigate their impact on the environment. A former lawyer turned inventor (of the satellite radio venture that would become Sirius XM), Rothblatt founded United Therapeutics in 1996 with one goal in mind: unlocking and

Fast forward to today, and the $5.84 billion company manufacturers several drugs to treat the disease. Never one to stand still, though, Rothblatt is busy guiding United Therapeutics along a different path as it morphs into a bioengineering firm. On its agenda is exploring futuristic healthcare solutions such as keeping donated human lungs breathing outside of the body and transplanting genetically altered pig organs into humans. Such efforts necessitate special facilities and for EwingCole this can demand a

“...A UNITED THERAPEUTICS BUILDING IS ALWAYS IDENTIFIABLE. IT’S A PLACE THAT CAPTURES YOUR EYE.” - Avi Halpert, Vice President Corporate Real Estate, United Therapeutics

marketing a cure for pulmonary arterial hypertension. At the time, her young daughter had recently been diagnosed with the disease and no approved treatments were available.

steep, but quick, learning curve. “We’re often looking at design specifications for projects that don’t have many (if any) existing models,” says Loos. “This is a client that is very, very forward thinking.”

Architecture, says Rothblatt, “helps United Therapeutics realize our goal of fostering a culture where people want to work. When we create spaces that are open and collaborative, we set the tone for a transparent and teamoriented company culture.” As part of that mission, for example, Rothblatt has chosen to locate both administrative and manufacturing functions in the same headquarters complex. Encouraging employees from all disciplines to encounter each other on a daily basis, she believes, ensures that they truly understand that United Therapeutics operates as one cohesive whole. But the emphasis on corporate culture and identity extends even to buildings that are located elsewhere such as Raleigh, North Carolina and Melbourne, Florida. Whether a complex adaptive reuse, a retrofit of a mid-century structure with province (such as one designed by Brutalist master Paul Rudolph), or a new-build, a United Therapeutics


building is always identifiable, according to Halpert. “It’s a place that captures your eye,” he says. “It’s not just a rectilinear structure that looks like every other building in a suburban office park. These are design-forward buildings and in the case of Silver

“WE WANTED VISITORS AND PASSERS-BY TO UNDERSTAND THAT THIS BUILDING WAS DIFFERENT.” - Jason Fierko, EwingCole Principal, Lead Engineer on the Project

Spring, they are located right in the middle of a walkable downtown and close to public transportation.” Plus, the emphasis on sustainability ensures that their appeal goes beyond their good looks. A recent study from Harvard University’s School of Public

Lung Restoration Center.

Health showed that workers in greencertified office buildings performed 26 percent better on cognitive-function assessments than those in noncertified buildings. Occupants also enjoyed a 25 percent increase in sleep quality as a result of the better lighting and thermal conditions they enjoyed during the workday. Those kinds of benefits present a ‘right thing’ kind of thinking, says Rothblatt, with the idea that the commitment to Net Zero energy buildings “continues to permeate into all other areas of our business.”

In the case of the initial net zero effort — the recent 121,000-square-foot headquarters expansion (identified as the ‘Unisphere’) — the key to a successful net zero design was to first reduce energy use to as minimum a level as possible while still supporting the building’s functions. “We started energy modeling in the pre-schematic phase to establish ‘energy budgets’ for each type of space within the building,” Fierko explains. “We then evaluated strategies for achieving these targets, which were 75% below the energy use in

The Unisphere - Unither’s first net-zero building.


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Facade-mounted solar panels double as external shading devices to reduce heat gain.


similar buildings in the area.” Ideas for reducing energy came from all members of the team working in close collaboration. Solutions included geo-exchange systems, active chilled beams, energy recovery, LED lighting, natural ventilation, a passive earth labyrinth, electrochromic glazing and regenerative drive elevators. Primary among the challenges was the site location since Silver Spring, Maryland experiences hot and

or remote properties. The urban environment also severely curtailed opportunities for large arrays on the site since adjacent high-rises cast shadows on parts of the building throughout the day. As the design progressed, all decisions — including the total building area, occupant count, equipment utilized, envelope characteristics, and HVAC system selection — were made within the context of the energy model and

“ARCHITECTURE HELPS UNITED THERAPEUTICS REALIZE OUR GOAL OF FOSTERING A CULTURE WHERE PEOPLE WANT TO WORK.” - Martine Rothblatt, Ph.D., J.D., Founder & CEO, United Therapeutics

humid summers and cold winters. Furthermore, the goal of the project was to have all of the renewables physically connected to the building and tied into the building’s electrical distribution system. This automatically eliminated the idea of using adjacent

the impact to the overall net zero energy goal. Even in the ongoing construction phase. The model is consistently updated to track progress with the design team working closely with contractors to ensure that the net zero vision is properly executed.

They’ve even constructed a full-sized mock-up of the office area including the exterior wall and assembled a full mock-up of the building automation system. When it’s completed, the Unisphere —and its public elements such as a plaza and parking garage — will bring sustainability front and center. “We wanted visitors and passers-by to understand that this building was different,” Fierko says, adding that besides the over 3,000 photovoltaic panels covering much of the facade, “visual cues throughout the building include color indicating LED lights and operable windows. And a comprehensive graphical feedback system uses real time energy use data to tell the building’s story in an interactive way.” That the mandate for all of this came from Martine “was ideal because accomplishing something like this not only takes a team of dedicated and creative individuals, but also requires a vision and commitment from leadership,” Fierko says. “It set the stage for creating a new type of project via a very different process.” 

Visual cues indicate state of HVAC use.

Operable windows permit natural ventilation.

Multiple levels of temperature control help minimize the energy footprint

Increased floor heights allow for greater day light to reach the core.


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A central thermal pool in the building’s atrium serves as a heat sink for the building’s energy streams while a waterfall feature provides highly efficient means for excess heat rejection.


⇒ CONTINUING

Robert McConnell, AIA President

Jared Loos, PE, AIA Chief Executive Officer

Keith Fallon, RA Executive Vice President


growth

culture

innovation

“THE NEW TEAM HAS IDENTIFIED THREE FORCES DRIVING THE FIRM’S FUTURE: GROWTH, CULTURE, AND INNOVATION.”

L

oos, along with Robert McConnell, AIA, and Keith Fallon, RA, is part of the new leadership team at the firm, which puts into effect a similar transition every six years. Typically, the current president becomes the CEO but in a departure from the norm, “there are three new leaders,” says McConnell, president. “It’s a reflection of a change that’s naturally coming about as the firm is growing and evolving.” “We’re creating a transition plan that we hope guides not only us, but future leadership teams for the next generation,” he concludes. The new team has identified three forces driving the firm’s future: growth, culture, and innovation. “Each issue is inter-related,” observes Fallon, executive vice president. “Culture, we’re talking about a variety of things, including mentorship, entrepreneurialism, company mission, values, and goals and as we pursue those threads, we will look at ways to be more innovative. This innovation will include being smart about how we work, how we connect our expertise across regions, and how we optimize their resources in ways that lead to growth. And as we grow, both of these issues will continue to come into play.” Each of the three have a long history with the firm and have assumed various leadership positions during those times. They’ve often found themselves working together, both in the practice and in a greater

organizational fashion, points out Loos. “In the past, we’ve expected the president to just about single-handedly pay attention to a full menu of strategic initiatives.”

“IF THESE CULTURAL IDEALS ARE LIVED BY ALL OF US, AND WE HOLD OURSELVES ACCOUNTABLE, WE ARE LIKELY TO ENSURE THE FIRM’S FURTHER SUCCESS.” - Robert McConnell, AIA, President, EwingCole

“This time, the change in leadership structure is more tangible,” he continues. “We have three individuals coming in, each with clear roles and responsibilities to cover this ground and yet bring it all together. And that’s because there’s more ground to cover, we’ve evolved.” In setting a course for the firm’s growth, Loos will be focusing on “making the leap from being a regional firm that

practices nationally to being truly a national firm that competes for large projects in areas where we don't have an office,” he says. “That’s something we’ve started to do in some of our practices but it takes a change in thinking.” Fallon expands on that idea. “We’ve made acquisitions and opened new offices,” he says by way of example. “Now, we have to proactively integrate those offices in such a way that they contribute to our overall growth.” Fallon’s specific role — design and innovation — “is tied to growth and culture in a kind of virtuous cycle,” he says. “We’re looking to capitalize on recent momentum, like winning prestigious awards and larger commissions.” As McConnell turns his spotlight onto company culture, he says his first commitment is “to create a culture of communication and engagement that comes from the top, at the corporate level and all levels of the firm’s leadership.” Culture is what you actually practice and tolerate but it’s also what you aspire to and where you want to be, McConnell points out. So his second commitment is to put an emphasis on fostering collaboration, cooperation, respect, and open dialogue. “These values provide common ground for everyone in the firm,” McConnell sums up. “If these cultural ideals are lived by all of us, and we hold ourselves accountable, we are likely to ensure the firm’s further success.” 

Momentum - Volume 2 Issue 1