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GREEN BUILDING & design march 2011

talking trash

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Green Building & Design The essential guide for sustainable projects and ideas


A dialogue on the future of the reclaimed Design revolution, p. 50

march 2011



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12. Built around you




verbatim 21/

Kermit Baker The AIA’s chief economist on current home-design trends


john buchholz The architect on growing up, making mistakes, and the growth of green design

discussion board 24/

A time of daring


launch pad

green-colored glasses, p. 62

The most basic element

push design With a very personal stake in success, a new company pioneers ultra-healthy materials

taking shape 31/

brooklyn bridge park After 10 years of planning, Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates’ design is coming to life


inner workings center for culinary excellence Tsoi/Kobus & Associates remakes the kitchen and the classroom with a new, nature-laden design

community 39/

A third way Moule & Polyzoides, Architects and Urbanists fuses new and old to remake SoCal


lost & found, p. 50

Cox/Durango advocates for rammed-earth design—is it truly cost effective?

potential energy John Maddocks explains the NWEAC—is it the new way to engage on energy policy?


hidden genius, p. 46

Though Loisos + Ubbelohde works from the shadows, its thermal and light modeling is transforming the way the world understands the sun.

Landfill as furniture. Found objects as art. Trash as fashion. Reclaimed materials are used for everything from buildings to benches; it’s become a style all its own. Seven experts share their conversion experiences.

Albert Frey’s legacy is one of fruitful experimentation—how can we learn from it?



Portland, OR, is inarguably the epicenter of green building in America. gb&d takes a tour of the city and explores how it came to view its future through such a sustainable lens.


8/ editor’s note 11/ commodities 14/ agenda/bookshelf 15/ memo 17/ defined design Meet Dutch “garbage architects” Denis Oudendijk and Jan Korbes, of Refunc fame. Check out other creative minds that derive inspiration from waste, p. 50.

Around the bend Kil Architecture/Planning looks to the community to complete a local school project


ASK and you shall receive ASK Studio’s architecture engages with public transit and troubled youth

MARCH 2011



spaces 74/

live/ lizard rock designs palter/donzelli design associates III theodore k guy associates irwin Partners architects green mountain construction


work/ gast architects leach Mounce architects wakefield beasley & associates heller & metzger toolbox


play/ lam mcgowan THE NINES HOTEL tasstrup theater


heal/ ahadams&company


learn/ hawtin jorgensen architects id studios engan associates holzman moss bottino Architecture bubble at Hirshhorn museum

Brooklyn-based artist Aurora Robson is known for her striking sculptures crafted from recycled materials. Want to see more? p. 50.

material world 124/

corrugated concepts Cardboard’s ubiquity makes it useful, but why else is it so popular?

solutions 117/

Soil performance

architect to watch 127/

Stabilizer Solutions is perfect for plazas, rooftops, and stadiums


as a responsbility—and they deliver with finesse


last look

In Washington, DC, Calvert-Jones Company tackles energy hogs


mechanical design Resource Engineering Group addresses energy challenges


MARCH 2011

mojra hauenstein The architect and her husband, Mark, see energy-efficient design


in memorium Jonathan Gales’ ambitiously dark proposal for a subterranean mausoleum for London’s skyscrapers

index of people & companies


Gilmore, Chris, 124

Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates,

Tsoi/Kobus & Associates, 35, 36, 37,

A+Z Designers, 13

Glumac, 65, 69, 71

31, 32, 33, 34


Alter, Lloyd, 53, 55, 56, 57, 58, 60, 61

Goldsworthy, Andy, 55

Miller Hull, 55

Ubbelohde, Susan, 46

Anatsui, El, 55

Green Building Services, 67, 69

Morahan, Santiago, 52, 53, 55, 56, 61

Ubico Studio, 52, 56

Ant Farm, 55

Grieve, Mark, 15

Mosrie, David, 29, 30

Urban Farmer, 71

Moule & Polyzoides, Architects and

Urbanski, Matthew, 31, 32, 33

Archigram, 55 Arka Blue, 127, 129


Urbanists, 39, 40, 41

ASK Studio, 44

Hacker, Thomas, 66

Moule, Elizabeth, 39, 40, 41

Atencio, Virginia, 55

Hadid, Zaha, 17

Murcutt, Glenn, 55

Hasson Company, 68

W–Z Wal-Mart, 124 Wark, David, 64


Hasz, August, 122, 123


Baker, Kermit, 21

Hauenstein, Mark, 127, 129

Neburka, Bill, 68

Ban, Shigeru, 55

Hauenstein, Mojra, 127, 129

Newkirk, Lindsey, 59

Williams & Dame Development, 66

Ben-Zvi, Ori, 52, 55, 57

Heineken, 124

Nike, 124

Witzenburg, Brittin, 70

Boykoff, Petra, 52, 54, 56, 60, 61

Hennebery Eddy Architects, 62, 64

Nissan, 15

Works Partnership Architecture, 68

Brenner, Anthony, 29, 30

HOK, 49

Noble Rot, 71

ZGF Architects, 63, 64, 65

BrightWorks, 67

Houghton, Dave, 122, 123

Nothing, 124

Buchholz Architecture Group, 22

Hubbs, Clay, 117, 119


Buchholz, John, 22, 23

Hubbs, Jon, 117, 119

Oringel, Herb, 26

Busby Perkins + Will, 66

Humble, Robert, 52, 53, 54, 55, 57

Oudendijk, Denis, 52

AHAdams&Company, 104

HyBrid Assembly, 53


ASK Studio, 43

cityLAB-UCLA, 16


Polyzoides, Stefanos, 40, 41

Clinton, Bill, 123

Jackson, Blake, 36, 37, 38

Push Design, 29, 30

Coalson, Jay, 71

Jansen, Theo, 55

Refunc, 52, 54, 60

Cottrell & Vermuelen Architecture, 124

JDS Architects, 18

Resource Engineering Group, 122, 123

Courtyard by Marriott, 71

Jencks, Charles, 55

Robson, Aurora, 52, 54, 55, 56, 57,

Cox, Raymond, 27, 28

Johnson, Kiel, 124

60, 61

Cox/Durango, 27, 28

Junk to Funk, 58, 59

Rodino, Gerry, 120, 121

Kamecke, Theo, 12

Rosa, Joseph, 25

Keltner, David, 69

Ruengsorn, Diane, 52, 53, 54, 56, 57,

d’Unienville & Associates Architects, 19

Kil Architecture/Planning, 42


Heller & Metzger, PC, 97

Dalai Lama, The, 123

Kil, Greg, 42

Denes, Agnes, 55

Knudsen, Steffee, 66, 67, 71


Herman Miller, 109

Disch, Rolf, 16

Korbes, Jan, 52

Sawkille Co., 12

Diseño Cartonero, 53, 54, 57, 61

Koudenburg, Alrik, 124

Schipper, Brent, 44

Domestic Aesthetic, 53, 54, 57

Kovács, Attila F., 13

SERA Architects, 64 Shiner International, Inc., 124

Kelco Landscaping and Construction,


Smithson, Robert, 55


Eddy, Timothy, 64

Lake|Flato Architects, 55

Solano, Laura, 31, 33, 34

Environment, 13

Le Corbusier, 25

Spector, Ilana, 15

Eshleman, Linda, 121

Leach, Howard, 93

Sprint, 16

Leach Mounce Architects, 93

Stabilizer Solutions, 117, 118, 119


Levi’s, 124

Straus, Steve, 65, 71

Fisk, Pliny, 27, 28

Loisos + Ubbelohde, 46, 47, 48, 49

Studiomama, 12

Fontoura Alzaga, Carolina, 11

Loisos, George, 46, 47, 48, 49

Stueve, Michael, 14

Optimal Engineering, 100

Foster + Partners, 19

Lovins, Amory, 123

Frey, Albert, 24, 25

Lucas, Patrick Lee, 25


Pacific Waterfeatures, Inc., 92

HyBrid Architecture, 53, 55

C Calvert-Jones Company, Inc. 120


Dougherty, Patrick, 14 Droog, 55

Fuller, Buckminster, 53, 55



Phase Design, 13

Technical Designs, 127, 129 Ted Jacobs Engineering, 47

Maddocks, John, 26

Ten Eyck Landscape Architects, 119

Gales, Jonathan, 130

Manus, Joe, 124

Ten Eyck, Christy, 119

GBD Architects, 63, 66, 71

Marrs, Lance, 68

THA Architecture, 66, 69

Gehry, Frank, 55

McDonough, William, 55

The Nines, 71, 101

Gensler, 16

Megyesi, Zsuzsa, 13

Thompson, Robert, 62, 66

Gerding Edlen, 63, 65, 66, 67, 71

Michael Maltzan Architecture, 16

Tolstrup, Nina, 12

Wilde, Dennis, 65, 67, 71 William McDonough + Partners, 48

Advertisers A.F. Johnson Millwork Company, 43 AKTA LTD., 91 Boles Construction, 79 Bottenfield, 82 BR+A, 38 Calvert-Jones Co. Inc., 120 Columbia Precast, LLC, 95 Cox/Durango Architects PLLC, 28 Engan Associates, 109 Faithful+Gould, 93 FiberTite, 38 Green Mountain Construction, LLC, 88 Henry Company, 6, 97 Horizon General Contractors, Inc., 41 Kafka Granite, LLC, 116 KEA Engineers, 23

Kohler Ronan, LLC, 114 Martin Brothers Construction, 42, 43 Marvin Windows and Doors, 2 MechoShade Systems, 49 Mission Landscape Companies, 10, 86 New York Quarries, Inc., 9, 34 Pacific Sheet Metal, 82 Promontory Group Inc., 76 RM Builders, 78 Rudd Construction, 123 Schüco, 79 Stabilizer Solutions, 120 Steller Construction Inc., ­­132 The Gallegos Corporation, 79 Theodore K Guy Associates PC, 84

MARCH 2011




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MARCH 2011

gb&d editorial


editor-in-chief Christopher Howe

director of editorial research

managing editor

George Bozonelos

Amie Kesler


ASSOCIATE editor Timothy Schuler

correspondents Matt Alderton Thalia A-M Bruehl Tricia Despres Shawn Drury Anne Dullaghan Scott Heskes Jenniger Hogeland David Hudnall Russ Klettke Jon Langston Keith Loria Sarah Lozanova Kelly Matlock Lauren McKay Sheryl Nance-Nash Alan Oakes Matt Petrusek Zipporah Porton Suchi Rudra Julie Schaeffer

art CREATIVE DIRECTOR Karin Bolliger

senior designer Bill Werch

photo editor Samantha Hunter

editorial research managers Dawn Collins Anthony D’Amico Gerald Mathews Carolyn Marx

editorial researchers Holly Begle Emily Bowman Amy Gaydo Shelley Hickey Elizabeth Kim Will Megson Matt O’Conner Jeff Powell Issa Rizkallah Natalie Taylor Katie Yost

editorial research assistant Adam Castillo

Introducing the all-new • View the latest issue of Green Building & Design in a full-sized readable format • Get inspired by featured projects, builders, architects, and designers • Discover what’s in store for upcoming issues, and how your company can get involved • Find out what events the Green Building & Design staff will be attending and more!

MARCH 2011


editor’s note

fashioning our future


hether it is a unique take on engineering, a reclaimed view of design, or a citywide effort to build a better future, this issue of gb&d is jam-packed with new life being brought into old ideas.

“As oil becomes more expensive and transporting goods around the world becomes more expensive, combined with better information that can put people in touch with vendors like Etsy and others, recycled and reclaimed design will further take off,” says Lloyd Alter of Since our founding, we at gb&d have always been intrigued by the extraordinary creations made using recycled or reclaimed materials. Whether it be a house, a chair, or a couture garment, the trend of reclaimed-material design is a unique niche being capitalized by an immense number of artists and architects alike. With this in mind, we decided to explore this popular trend with a roundtable discussion that included a collective of seven experts immersed in this type of design on a day-to-day basis. In “Lost & Found” (p. 50), we delve into what is propelling this trend forward, what inspires these designers to create their eco-friendly creations, and how you can get involved. Portland, Oregon, is quite frequently dubbed as one of the most forward-thinking cities in the United States when it comes to sustainability. In “Green-colored Glasses” (p. 62), gb&d shares our experience after touring this epicenter of sustainability. We explored some of the most sustainable buildings in the city, and even the United States, and talked to the leaders of this movement. After our visit, it is clear that Portland is pushing the limits of sustainable design in more ways than one, and it is also clear that this movement is driven by its residents’ passion for a healthy lifestyle. As put by Dennis Wilde, principal of Gerding Edlen, “People move here because they are looking for a particular lifestyle. And because of that, there’s a conscious desire to keep the city as environmentally healthy as possible—and that makes it easier to engage people with sustainable design.” Just like the artists in “Lost & Found” and the architects in Portland, the principals of Loisos + Ubbelohde Associates (p. 46) are bringing new vitality into the profession of engineering by adding an architect’s perspective into the mix. I hope you enjoy the creativity and well-researched designs found in this issue of gb&d. As technology continues to improve and move forward, it is the architects and designers that are fashioning our future for the better. Enjoy,

Amie Kesler Managing Editor


MARCH 2011



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subscriptions + reprints Printed in South Korea. Reprinting of articles is prohibited without permission of BG+H, LLC. To order reprints, call Karen Tate at 312.450.2129. For a free subscription, please visit

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Integrating time-proven building standards with today’s engineering techniques, turning design concepts into stone realities.

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GBD March 11 Michael Van Valkenburgh Architects - New York Quarries 1/2.indd 1

8/2/10 9:36 PM






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The use of reclaimed materials has eclipsed popular design styles of the past—it is a lifestyle for some, a mission statement for others. We discuss the staying power of this heightened trend in our roundtable on p. 50, but until then, browse a collection of this spring’s coolest reclamations in furniture and product design. Fifty years ago, no one could’ve guessed that old bicycle chains would become a symbol of luxury.

< Connect Perhaps one of the most surprising reclaimed-design ideas of this decade: bike-chain chandeliers. Yet it embodies the movement perfectly—Mexican-Brazilian designer Carolina Fontoura Alzaga’s Connect series, which includes standing lamps and mounted sconces, meshes the historically bourgeois Victorian chandelier with contemporary DIY bike culture and creates, as a result, something at once Bohemian, Babylonian, and absolutely beautiful.

MARCH 2011


up front/commodities

Harlequin ^ Made from vintage circuit boards circa 1970, Theo Kamecke’s furniture, chests, and wall hangings are the result of meticulous design. Kamecke has turned clean but obsolete circuitry into functional design pieces like the above Harlequin, that, rather than feel technological, evoke a sense of ancient history. The ornate detail shows the almost topographical flow of the circuit pathways, which meld into something entirely different when seen at a distance.

1x1 Lamp

Birch Bark Veneer Armoire ^ Sawkille Co., a group of artisans from the Catskill Mountains, is aware of the freedom in simplicity and the luxury of a rustic aesthetic. The company’s Birch Bark Veneer Armoire is best of all those worlds. Eccentric with its birch-bark skin, which is vacuumsealed onto the poplar frame and stripped from fallen birches, the piece is expertly crafted, hand-painted, and functional—inside is a shoe rack, hat rack, hanging rod, full-length mirror, and a false bottom. It is a piece with character, clothed in a material just waiting to be harvested.


MARCH 2011

Simplicity incarnate is a lamp made from 1-inch-by-1-inch pieces of wood. That this new range from Studiomama’s Nina Tolstrup is made from reclaimed wood from unused pallets is unsurprising in a way—its unadorned elegance implies humble beginnings even as it fits within the most luxuriously contemporary space. Raw and playful, the 1x1 lamp is perfect for adding functional charm.

up front/commodities

Marison Table

Life After Corkage Ottoman

Making use of Brazil’s outdated structures, Los Angeles-based furniture-company Environment reclaims the distinctive peroba wood from homes, barns, and factories that are dilapidated or scheduled for demolition to craft this elegant dining table and other pieces in its collection. The wood is harder than oak and takes on an almost petrified look as it ages. Because each board is unique in grain and texture, each table is likewise unique in its warmth and character.

Numerous afterlives have been invented for wine- and champagne-bottle corks (and the bottles themselves), but the reincarnation they experience in Phase Design’s Life After Corkage Ottoman is unique—they are simply the stuff you sit on. An inventive repurposing, the corks are more than stuffing; inside the mesh container, the 2,500 corks serve as an attractive visual element to the piece.

Puli Chair > Hungarian designers Attila F. Kovács and Zsuzsa Megyesi (known as A+Z Designers) draw inspiration from Eastern Europe’s gypsy culture for their new line of furniture, including this chair, which gets its dark shag from its namesake, the Puli. The lack of definition in the shape mimics the wildness of the Hungarian breed of dog, though the furniture uses recycled fabric for its upholstered “fur.” The entire Gipsy Collection (spelling purposeful) is meant to shed light on the disappearing traditions of the gypsy culture and its traditions and craftsmanship.

MARCH 2011


up front/agenda/bookshelf

MARCH 2011 3.1–3.2


Green California Summit & Exposition

BuildingsNY/ GreenBuildingsNY

Sacramento Convention Center, Sacramento, CA

Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, New York City

An annual event that works to assist the California government, and those who provide products and services to government, to navigate emerging environmental programs and policies and to bring the best green technologies to the service of policy.

The largest building event in the region also boasts an extensive green focus with the latest technologies, LEED friendly options, and sustainable products to help your building become more resource efficient, meet new environmental requirements, and attract new tenants.



Renewable Energy World Conference & Expo– North America

Sustainable Environmental Technologies Conference & Expo

Tampa Convention Center, Tampa, FL

Los Angeles Convention Center, Los Angeles

As renewable energy enjoys increasing popularity, this event features insightful discussions and presentations related to technology, markets, business strategies and policy covering the wind, solar, biomass, hydro, geothermal, ocean/tidal/wave, biopower, biofuels, and hydrogen energy sectors.

Billed as a meeting ground for the world of environment and technology, SET2011 is the optimal event to obtain information on cutting-edge sustainable technology and new developments.

3.14–3.16 Cleantech Forum 2011 Hyatt Regency San Francisco, San Francisco The annual flagship West Coast Cleantech Forum returns to San Francisco once again as the region’s most important cleantech event of the year. These worldwide forums bring together investors, enterprises, entrepreneurs, academics, corporate professionals, and policy makers to discuss the latest thoughtleadership on clean technology.


new read

MARCH 2011



Living Future 2011

Sheraton Wall Centre, Vancouver, BC With the provocative tag line of the “UnConference for Deep Green Professionals,” this year’s event will have an equally intriguing theme: “Our Children’s Cities: Visualizing a Restorative Civilization,” and is sure to be a breeding ground for innovative ideas surrounding sustainability.

For anyone who works with physical materials to create a tangible object—whether a building or sculpture or terrace—Patrick Dougherty’s mesmerizing collection should inform and inspire. Stickwork contains more than 200 pages of Dougherty’s sculptures as well as sketches and writings that chronicle some of his 200 installations throughout the world over the past 25 years. As a form of primitive architecture, Dougherty’s use of sapling branches to weave together forms that evoke castles, nests, and even human faces explores ways to blend our ideas of the natural and built environments.

Published November 2010 Princeton Architectural Press $34.95

recommended reading Michael Stueve, NCARB, AIA is cofounder and managing partner of SRM Architecture and Marketing in Portland, Oregon. His multidisciplinary experience spans projects from architecture and interior design to corporate branding and web development. He specializes in weaving a consistent message across an entire project, whether it is hi-tech office interiors, resort housing, large-scale signage installations or online presence. He is also the current chair of the advisory council for the College of Art and Architecture at the University of Idaho.

books Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things by William McDonough & Michael Braungart Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution by Paul Hawken Sustainable Architecture White Papers by various authors


up front/memo

‘Cyclisk’ Project an Ode to Bike Culture A towering obelisk made entirely out of bikes graces the Santa Rosa Avenue and South A Street corridor in Santa Rosa, California as a larger-than-life symbol of the city’s celebration and promotion of bike culture. California artists Mark Grieve and Ilana Spector were commissioned to create the $37,000 public art project, with the support of Nissan of Santa Rosa, which opened a new auto dealership near the project’s site. The 60-foot high, Egyptian-style obelisk, nicknamed Cyclisk, is made from recycled bicycle parts—including gears, rims, frames, and hoops—collected from local, nonprofit, community bike programs. Weighing a hefty 10,000 pounds, it boasts a substantial presence at the popular intersection. “Collecting unusable parts from the debris piles of nonprofit community bike projects has proven to be a win-win; community bike DIY places are thrilled unusable parts are not becoming land fill and the city is psyched the sculpture will solidify Santa Rosa as bike-friendly,” says Spector in a City of Santa Rosa statement. The site selection was also critical to the project’s success, which held an official dedication event in October 2010. “When we looked at the spot, it seemed like something tall was needed on this odd little shape of land in Santa Rosa,” Grieve adds. “At the end of Santa Rosa Avenue, it felt like a visual turning point on the road. We want to add to Santa Rosa a visual landmark that would have enough presence to compete visually with the surrounding environment.” Nissan funded the public art project as part of its “1% for Art” law, which requires major construction projects to donate money to public art projects.

The 10,000-pound, 60-foot tall Cyclisk is a testament to Santa Rosa’s embrace of the bike movement, echoed throughout California. Photos: (right) Jason Baldwin, (left) llana Spector.

MARCH 2011


up front/memo

AIA Home Design Trends Survey Results

POPULAR HOME SYSTEMS FOCUS ON ENERGY MANAGEMENT AND GENERATION % reporting popularity of system “increasing” minus reporting “decreasing”


2010 60 50

Despite significant scaling back by households due to the current housing market, many homeowners are still willing to invest in home features, systems, and products that promote greater energy efficiency and accessibility, according to the latest AIA Home Design Trends Survey, for the second quarter of 2010.

30 20 10







energy management

Almost 300 residential architects, covering all facets of the residential design profession, were surveyed on emerging design preferences of households. Turn to p. 21 for a discussion of what the survey results could mean for your business. Chart Source: AIA.


Energy positive Solar Home ignites Design World Named after heliotropic plants, whose leaves turn themselves with the rotation of the sun, architect Rolf Disch’s rotating solar home in Freiburg, Germany, is one of the world’s first zeroenergy modern homes. In fact, by taking full advantage of the sun’s power by rotating along with it, it actually ends up generating five times the energy it consumes. Daylight seeps in through the Heliotrope’s triple-pane windows while the large solar array and solar-thermal pipes mounted on the roof derive energy with every strategic shift. Mounted on a pole, the home is timed to rotate 180 degrees through the day, following the sun’s track. Other sustainable characteristics include a unique hand railing system on the roof that doubles as solar-thermal tubing, heating the home’s water and radiators. The home also recycles rainwater and greywater and features a composting toilet system. Interestingly enough, architect Rolf Disch actually lives in this home (the Freiburg Heliotrope version, shown above), but other models exist: The Offenburg Heliotrope, built for the company Hansgrohe, and Bavaria Heliotrope which houses a dental laboratory. As of press time, the firm is in negotiation to build a Heliotrope hotel in the Black Forest near Freiburg. Photo: Rolf Disch SolarArchitecture.


MARCH 2011

L.A. 2.0 Three Los Angeles-based architectural powerhouses, Michael Maltzan Architecture, Gensler, and cityLAB-UCLA, were recently tapped to provide their visions of the future of Los Angeles as part of a design challenge by Newsweek and Sprint, similar to proposals for a re-imagined New York City presented last year. The three firms’ renderings of a futuristic LA included the addition of more green spaces and enhanced interconnectivity throughout the sprawling West Coast metropolis. Denser residential areas and flexible commuting routes were also common threads throughout the proposals. Some of the most exciting suggestions include: Maltzan’s proposal of building a new street level on top of existing buildings; Gensler’s idea of a GPS-enhanced mobility center that incorporates all modes of transportation and is accessible via SmartPhone; and cityLAB-UCLA’s suggestion that over time, single-family tract homes begin building “backyard homes” (see above) on their extra land to maximize space and provide additional income. Rendering: Daly Genik Architects and cityLAB-UCLA.

up front/defined design


The exoticism of living off the grid, outside the norm, or away from routine architecture, is a universal fantasy. Yet for a select few, this fantasy becomes reality—and though we may not reside there, the designs of such stunning, eclectic, and truly captivating residences inspire architects and builders throughout the world. These dynamic projects in utterly exotic locations don’t waste time hinting at sustainability, and neither do they merely attempt luxury: from a towering city within a city to private resort residences on an island nation, these designs foster our deepest fantasies—even while bringing them into reality.

Nassim Villas Singapore Surrounded by a small forest of local hardwood trees, the design of two new villas offers a new breathtaking addition to an already spectacular setting. Diagonally adjacent to the Singapore Botanical Gardens, the mirrored villas exhibit Zaha Hadid’s well-known style— fluid curves interconnecting multiple tiered spaces. Most dynamic, long cantilevers of the structure’s main materials—aluminum and fiber-reinforced concrete—provide shade below and a rooftop terrace above, seemingly bringing the site’s twisting topography into the sky and providing unobstructed views of the nearby gardens. A parking garage below level is connected via the meandering paths, which also skirt the pools and then draw residents and guests upward into the villas. The interior is as curvaceous as the exterior, with spaces connected via rounded, polished entryways. Materials for the project, which has begun construction, are being selected for their environmental sensitivity.

design Zaha Hadid, Patrik Schumacher project team Ting Ting Zhang, William Tan, Torsten Bröeder client Satinder Garcha photos, renderings Zaha Hadid Architects

MARCH 2011


up front/defined design

Logistic City Shenzhen, China A new city is sprouting up in the middle of Shenzhen, China. A new forest as well. The two are one and the same. Logistic City, conceptualized by Brussels’ JDS Architects, is both skyscraper and monument to a new way of living. Meant to open up the design of traditional towers, Logistic City’s 3,600-foot-high circular tower is indented with planted openings, letting wind and sunlight into the massive self-contained city. That is the vision: residences abutting retail and other commercial space; plant life filling the public spaces, which undulate up and down the tower, serving as a viable solution to the reforestation of a major metropolitan hub; and wind turbines filling the perforations, generating clean power for the city, while rainwater-capture systems irrigate the interior forests. Architecturally, the design evokes a forest through its broken top that resembles a tree snapped off in a storm. The plan is ambitious in scale, scope, and sustainability; if it comes to fruition, the world’s fourth-busiest port will have a city within a city—and a model for a self-sustaining forest in the clouds. architect JDS Architects renderings JDS Architects


MARCH 2011

up front/defined design

Banyan Tree Corniche Bay La Gaulette, Mauritius The concept of discretion is at once evoked and done away with by this master plan for a residential development on the island nation of Mauritius, nearly 600 miles east of Madagascar. Though Foster + Partners (who partnered with d’Unienville & Associates Architects for the project) describe their design as “discreet and environmentally intelligent architecture that blends harmoniously with the lush and extensive landscape,” one might quibble with how “discreet” the design is. The residences, surely. But the breathtaking undulation of the timber-shingle roofs, the spacious wooden decks, the dynamic fusion of green technology with a luxurious island aesthetic, and the deference to the surrounding landscape, which extend in “fingers” down toward the sea, is stunning and subtle in context, but not in the world of residential design. Using mostly indigenous materials, the home will also feature an open design that allows for cross ventilation, water collectors, and solar panels. Volcanic rock from the site solidifies its connection to its surroundings, as if further proof was needed.

architects Foster + Partners, d’Unienville & Associates, Architects Ltd client Tatorio Holdings Ltd renderings Foster + Partners

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Green Building & Design


A comprehensive look at the structures and concepts of tomorrow, and the masterminds behind them


MARCH 2011

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After a decade of ramping up, people are going back to how housing decisions were made 3040 years ago Kermit Baker on whether today’s trends toward smaller, less luxurious homes have staying power

Kermit Baker is the chief economist for the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and a researcher for Harvard University. Baker translates the findings from the AIA’s 2010 Home Design Trends Survey and shares his thoughts on the key housing trends, from room dimensions to sustainability. Baker received a master’s degree in urban planning from Harvard and holds a PhD from MIT in the same field.

verbatim because the separate rooms no longer exist. Computer workspaces in the kitchen are an alternative to home offices; gadget-recharging stations are being incorporated into designs. Continuing on the affordability home trend, there is a growing interest on incorporating sustainable features. Energy efficiency is a motivator. In our most recent survey, we presented residential architects with a long list of possible energyefficient features. The one that showed up the highest in terms of perceived interest was alternative insulation. When asked about systems and technology in the home, energy efficiency and energy-related systems consistently top the list. Energymanagement systems were number one, followed by solar panels. Water reclamation and power generation appeared further down. The future of sustainability and energy efficiency in home design remains to be seen. People are talking about new technologies, which is a positive sign. The hope is that as the features become proven, people will become more comfortable with them, and as manufacturers are able to make them more efficiently, the costs will go down. Upcoming home-energy costs is a big question mark. A lot of it is predicated on what households have seen in terms of recent householdenergy costs and what their perceptions are. If the average household remembers how high the costs were before the recession, I suspect when the economy recovers we are going to see prices pop back up again. As long as that is the mindset, people are going to make an investment in energy efficiency. The one question we have is how long these trends will be with us—is it a recessionary effect, or is it a permanent change? This movement seems different. Downsizing began before the recession hit and appears to be staying with us, and increasing in momentum, when other areas are leveling off. After a decade of ramping up, people are going back to how housing decisions were made 30–40 years ago. —as told to Jennifer Hogeland

The economy has certainly had a hand in influencing home design. Homes are getting smaller and there is a trend toward less luxury in homes. An emphasis is being made on affordability as the movement in home design becomes focused on functionality. In our quarterly survey we used to ask residential architects a lot of questions about special-function rooms and how these extra spaces were being used in homes. When respondents revealed homes were getting smaller, we started looking at what rooms were getting smaller at the slowest pace—what rooms were disappearing and what special-function rooms continue to be popular. Virtually all extra rooms are on the decline, but the two that have held up are home offices and outdoor living rooms. I think home offices are a reflection on what is going on economically. While telecommuting has been going on for a while, the recession has also inspired some to try part-time consulting work, making a home office useful. Kitchens and baths haven’t suffered too significantly. They aren’t getting bigger, but they also haven’t been downsized. Part of that, specifically in the kitchen, is people are adding other functions to the space

Up Close & Personal What was your first job? A summer while in college I surveyed migrant workers throughout New York state. Do you have a hidden talent? I’m a budding brewmaster. What type of books do you enjoy reading? Books on applied economics. My favorite titles include Freakonomics, by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner, and Blink and The Tipping Point, by Malcolm Gladwell. Were you named after anyone? My parents liked the name Kermit and admired Teddy Roosevelt, who happened to have a son with that name.

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I learned great design basics but not the necessary business basics—I have since tried to maintain a ‘teaching firm.’ John Buchholz on working construction as a teen, learning from his mistakes, and creating a team of self-sufficient, future business leaders

John Buchholz began his Montclair, New Jersey-based firm in 1986. With both construction experience and a degree in architecture, he is able to view projects in a holistic sense. The Buchholz Architecture Group takes on all types of projects—commercial, institutional, residential, new builds, and renovations. Recently, it completed a LEED Silver project for PNC Bank in Glen Ridge, New Jersey. Buchholz has also partnered in the construction of a green restaurant in a historic New Jersey railroad station. As a teenager, I helped my father build additions on the weekends. This gave me a great deal of respect for the home construction profession as well as hands-on experience. During college, a friend’s father owned a construction and development company in Newark, New Jersey, and he gave me the opportunity to work for him during my summer and winter breaks. I worked as an electrician’s helper, then a plumber’s helper, and a carpenter’s apprentice. Upon graduating from college, I spent the next few years designing thousands of multifamily housing units. I was asked by the owner of the company to help run the construction company with his son. I had the unique opportunity to be a construction supervisor with a 100-person construction company for eight years, which gave me a great basis to begin my architecture firm. Armed with a clear understanding of construction estimating, phasing, and operations has allowed me to provide clear and concise detailed construction documents. As a young architect you learn by making mistakes. I taught myself how to run an architecture business. Having graduated with a bachelor’s degree in architecture from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, I learned great design basics but not the necessary business basics— creating contracts, working accounting programs, and handling difficult clients. The Buchholz Architectural Group was started when the economy was in a downward turn. I have since tried to maintain a “teaching firm.” When I mark up drawings with our CAD operators, we discuss how a project is put together and why, how the project can save money with the details we create. We talk about the economic factors, the number of hours to complete each job, and how to use green techniques. I want everyone in the office to be self-sufficient so that one day they can run their own businesses. Twenty years ago, no one called it “green building.” On a project that involved the renovation of several historic buildings that had goodquality, solid, core panel doors and uniquely detailed windows, rather than throwing out these elements, we would strip them, repair them, and retool the locks and hinges. In those days, throwing out the old and putting in new versions was viewed as cheaper and faster, but I always had an affinity for salvaging and saving historic components. In many of our designs, we expose elements of the structure in the building. Over the past two decades, I have exposed steel columns as an accent piece and often times in lobbies, I would leave the decks exposed, and in conference rooms I will expose roof trusses. We ventured to some of the concepts early on, and, when green building became mainstream, we adopted it quickly.


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John Buchholz


Financial institutions...have had larger budgets to work with and are more open to green-building techniques. About 15 years ago, we started designing shopping centers, which led to work in “big-box” retail and large restaurants. This work encouraged the open ceiling designs, and the restaurants allowed us to use existing doors as tables, stain existing concrete floors, and reclaimed lumber for ceilings and walls. I have been utilizing green concepts for years now.

Up Close & Personal What was your first job? Working as a carpenter for my father as a teenager building house additions. If you weren’t an architect, what would be your alternate career? My dream career would be a design-build contractor. I enjoy creating on paper, but I also would love to again build what I design.

PNC Bank in Glen Ridge will be our first official LEED project. For the energy portion, we worked with an engineer to ensure...greater energy efficiency, usage of occupancy sensors, and walls with greater insulation values. We worked closely with the construction company to be sure we obtained the necessary back-up for the earned credits. We designed the building to include larger windows to provide daylighting credits. As in previous PNC Bank renovation projects, we have used recycled-content products, low-VOC materials, controllability of systems, and optimized energy performance. We do find at times, unless it’s a corporate goal, green projects are not always met with enthusiasm. But it’s only a matter of time. I truly believe that when we get past this hard economy, I will have better success in turning more clients to the green side. —as told to Lauren McKay

What is your hidden talent? People. ... When you’re dealing with million-dollar building projects, you’re bound to get into sticky situations. Even in difficult work environments, I have been able to get us to the other side and 99 percent of the time, become friends with the contractor and client. Describe yourself in three words. Workaholic, organized, caring. What inspires you? New materials and technologies. I’m inspired by the next product that will give me a unique way to create a distinct detail or highlight a building element, or finding something new that will change the way people experience our architecture. It’s what we place in the room or on the building that makes people appreciate the enduring architecture—I’m always looking to push the creative envelope.

It is our goal to provide a design that meets the needs of the client in terms of cost, schedule, flexibility and energy efficiency.


MARCH 2011


discussion board Nicknamed the “Zipper House” due to its portability and ability to be set up or dismantled quickly, Albert Frey and Lawrence Kocher’s Aluminaire House is made completely from recyclable, rigidized aluminum and steel. Photo: Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

A Time of Daring Albert Frey’s legacy—including a standardized farmhouse design during the Great Depression—was informed by experimentation that led to practical functionality


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Albert Frey

Today’s green architects and builders are on a constant quest to create new design solutions that incorporate the latest efficiencies and technologies for sustainable living. In order to find new innovations, a great deal of experimentation is necessary. Imagination and creativity are the engines that propel the green design movement. However, applying the lessons learned in a practical way is challenging. It is refreshing to look back on past generations of architects to see how they addressed the needs of their day. If anything, looking back helps us realize the universality of the challenge of sustainable design. One of the architects from the 20th century who embraced the quest for greater efficiency in practical applications was Albert Frey (1903-1998). Born in Switzerland, Frey worked with legendary modernist architect Le Corbusier in the late 1920s. He moved to the United States shortly thereafter and in 1931 burst onto the American architectural scene with his radical exhibition house, The Aluminaire House.

Experts Weigh In On Albert Frey’s legacy “One of the earliest examples of minimalist design, the puzzle-like Aluminaire House provided a protoype for low-cost housing and served as a translation of Corbusier’s tenets of modernism for the United States. The sleek image of the structure, mediated through its initial installation and, significantly, through Architectural Record in photographs, as well as its eventual reconstruction shows us the resiliency of salient architectural solutions well beyond their intended original purpose. From these various images and re-imaginings, Aluminaire House makes concrete the International style on American soil, suggesting a design model for many generations.” —Patrick Lee Lucas, Associate Professor, Department of Interior Architecture, University of North Carolina at Greensboro

The three-story, cube-shaped home was the showpiece of the Applied Arts and Building Products Exhibition of that year. It was made completely out of recyclable, rigidized aluminum and steel. The Aluminaire’s 3-inch-thick walls were claimed to have the insulation value of 13-inch masonry walls. Inside, Frey’s custom-designed furnishings were just as radical, including rubber chaise lounge chairs that could be inflated or deflated as the homeowner needed. Frey’s Aluminaire was portable too. It could be set up or dismantled in 10 days, earning it the nickname, “The Zipper House.” (The house is now on permanent display at the campus of New York’s Institute of Technology.) Frey’s talents were used by the Department of Agriculture during the Great Depression. He designed a standardized farmhouse, and farmers could order the plans for free. Frey’s scheme allowed for simple construction using materials that were locally available—either wood, aluminum, or precast concrete block. Frey also proposed neighborhoods of standardized homes whose rooms were premade in a factory and assembled on site. As a family’s space needs changed, they could simply order new rooms and attach them onto the existing structure. He advocated subsistence farmsteads where the owner could grow his or her own food. Frey historian Joseph Rosa says, “The farmstead housing Frey designed was to be built on minimally sized lots and was neither intended to compete with commercial farms nor to provide total substance.” It could provide basics for the family as well as enough left over produce to sell or trade. In the early 1940s, Frey moved to the California desert town of Palm Springs. Frey was captivated by the dramatic locale. Palm Springs was a vacation enclave of the wealthy and avant-garde, who more readily accepted the radical approaches of the modernist architects who settled there, and Frey used his own personal residences to push the envelope of design experimentation. He was stimulated by the nearby aircraft-manufacturing factories, incorporating their

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“I think you should get more results for the least amount of effort, like the principle of the egg.” —Albert Frey

industrial aviation materials for domestic use. His 1948 remodel of his home, which the press dubbed the “Flash Gordon House,” was sheathed in corrugated aluminum and opaque fiberglass panels. The master bedroom was a second-floor circular turret with windows that looked like aircraft air-intake nozzles. Even the dining-room table was like none before it—hovering over the floor suspended from the ceiling on 1 ⁄4-inch aluminum cables. This is not to say that Frey’s work was so eccentric that it was impractical. “Function, you know, is not only for looks,” Frey once said. “I think you should get more results for the least amount of effort, like the principle of the egg.” Frey was well liked by many a design committee. One contemporary architect quipped that Frey so dominated post-war civic construction that half the buildings in Palm Springs were by his hand. Indeed, drive around Palm Springs today and one can see schools, fire stations, libraries, and a stillspectacular city hall—all the creations of Frey. Albert Frey’s genius was his ability to apply what he learned from his experimentation and create designs that were efficient and practical and yet equally exciting. As the green movement continues to grow, creativity and experimentation will be the drivers of innovation. Frey shows us that it is okay for an architect to dream and propose new ways of attaining greater efficiency and sustainability. Tempered with an eye toward practicality, these ideas will lead us back to the future. —by Alan Oakes

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Potential Energy Architect John Maddocks represents his community in a consortium that has become a model for collective engagement in “sound energy policy”

As principal of his own eponymous firm, John Maddocks has long seen architecture as more than creating functional and attractive buildings. No matter what the project, he believes a deep respect for both environmental integrity and the well-being of the individuals should always lie at the heart of the designer’s craft. “Most architects would acknowledge that the way we’re trained is to be respectful of the environment and the occupants of our buildings,” he says. “If we’re doing our practice correctly, we take orientation, solar-heat gain, and the natural environment into account.” A turning point in Maddocks’s own green evolution came when he decided to become LEED accredited in 2007. The accreditation process enabled him to give more precision and objectivity to the sustainability-minded principles he’d already been employing informally for decades. “[Becoming accredited] gave me much more focus and a basis for quantifying how green a building is,” he says. “The materials, conferences, and information produced by the green industry gave me what I needed to bring my work to a whole new level of practice.” It’s thus no surprise that Maddocks’s knowledge of LEED principles—deep and detailed enough to qualify him to teach a LEED accreditation course at The Cooper Union in New York City—strongly influence his current projects. Much of his workload, for example, is residential adaptive reuse, which, by its nature, saves resources and minimizes pollution when compared to new construction. “We transform existing spaces in order to avoid using the materials needed for building a new space,” he says.


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Indeed, Maddocks always takes care to focus on what he calls the “broader picture,” and it is here that he locates another foundational aspect of his firm’s work: community service. “I think because of their knowledge of green design principles, architects are in a unique position to promote green practice in their communities and to educate residents how they can be involved,” he notes. Maddocks’s own service along these lines includes serving as the chairman of his community’s sustainability taskforce, volunteering as a LEED AP consultant, and acting as his town’s representative on the recently formed Northern Westchester Energy Action Consortium (NWEAC). It is part of this latter group—the NWEAC— where Maddocks is most sanguine about making significant and lasting progress towards a more sustainable future for his own community and far beyond. As Herb Oringel, chair of the NWEAC and chairman for the town of Somers, New York, explains, NWEAC encompasses 13 towns in Westchester County and is dedicated to collaborating on energy conservation issues, the use of renewable energy, and the development of a smart grid, which would allow the towns to sell excess power to the relevant utilities. The idea for such a group emerged in the wake of the 2009 Economic Stimulus Act. As part of a team of concerned citizens, Oringel inquired of the federal government to see if their communities could receive Stimulus funds to improve residential energy efficiency but was initially told that there was a 35,000-person population threshold in order to submit a standard application. None of the towns could meet that criterion on their own; but together, as a consortium of 13 communities, they represented more then a quarter million individuals in more than 50,000 homes. With the federal and state governments’ encouragement, NWEAC was thus formed, and has since become a model for both cooperation and effectiveness in advancing sound energy policy. “At this level of magnitude, we get much more attention from funding agencies, and our model is being lauded in the press as something to follow throughout the country,”

“At this level of magnitude, we get much more attention from funding agencies, and our model is being lauded in the press as something to follow throughout the country.” —John Maddocks, Architect

Maddocks says. Adds Oringel, “The proof in the pudding is that we have now received $3.5 million in grants for our projects.” These funds have already made a strong impact, especially on the energy-conservation front: the bulk of the money has gone to help the consortium’s residents make energy-efficiency upgrades in their homes. But, Oringel stresses, that’s just the beginning; though it would like to keep the group relatively small by design, NWEAC has plans to make its communities as energy independent as possible in the long term—and to teach others how do to it in their own towns. “When you take our communities in total and pull our resources together, there is a lot of shared cost and shared knowledge, which is really the essence of what this consortium is,” Oringel says. Maddocks’s own work for NWEAC ultimately forms only a part of his efforts to promote sustainability. But, in many ways, it also symbolizes his overall approach to thinking and acting green. “There’s a lot more that could be done,” he says. “We just have to push the envelope.” —by Matt Petrusek

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The Most Basic Element Cox/Durango’s Raymond Cox discusses the role of personal histories and the benefits of rammed-earth design

If a person’s work can be influenced by his travels, then Raymond Cox, principal of Cox/ Durango Architects in Sedona, Arizona, will never lack for inspiration. Born the son of a chemical engineer and a journalist in Corpus Christi, Texas, Cox’s family frequently ventured from South Texas into Mexico and around the Southwest United States. “As a boy I spoke fluent Spanish,” Cox says. In addition to learning a language, Cox also took note of his surroundings while visiting Mexico, particularly the numerous historical sites and the Mayan and Aztec pyramids. A visit to a coffee plantation and a brief period of study in high school in Europe were trips of lasting impressions. Of course, when you know you want to be an architect, you tend to pay closer attention to buildings than most everyone else. While attending the University of Texas at Austin in the 1970s, Cox’s burgeoning career got a boost by the good fortune of being taught by Pliny Fisk, a pioneer in the field of green design and planning. Many years after being his student, Cox fortuitously ran into his old professor at a USGBC Green Build convention. The next day, the mentor and protégé shared a lunch, catching up and reminiscing. Both men remarked at how far the concept of green design had come since Fisk first presented it to Cox and his fellow students some 30 years earlier. Both men have a special affinity for rammed-earth construction in particular, a technique Cox incorporates as much as possible with his current clientele. Rammed earth is a thermal-wall design style that uses the ground native to a site as part of the building materials and foundation. Optimally, the native soil is blended with

ABOVE: A rendering of One Energy Square, a 34-story office tower with a six-story parking garage in New Orleans. RIGHT: The Herald Square Building, in Washington, DC. It features granite and glass units installed in a curtain wall system, stainless steel pediment lights at the 10th and 11th floor levels, and stainless steel wall sconces at street level.

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“We are able to recapture the inherent investment dollars of the steel structures and add in the cost of energy-efficient, green practices. We want to be here a long time; we have to make it sustainable.” —Raymond Cox, Principal


him to travel the globe. Among Cox’s stops were Saudi Arabia, where he worked on a large mixed-use project, and Mexico City, which marked a return to a place he had grown fond of as a child and an opportunity to work on a massive, 1 million-square-foot office complex. Cox has been in practice for himself since 1990, and he relocated to Sedona in 2003. Since arriving in the Southwest, one signature project has been the renovation of pair of buildings in Clarkdale’s downtown, one built in 1914, the other three years later. Cox views the venture as more than just another job; it is the type of work whose benefits extend well beyond the aesthetic.

When completed, the renovation will not only yield a new performance and movie theater with much-needed commercial rental space, but also create up to 100 new jobs. “By repurposing these older buildings, we bring this downtown back to life,” he says. “We are able to recapture the inherent investment dollars of the steel structures and add in the cost of energy-efficient, green practices to rehabilitate the buildings. We want to be here a long time; we have to make it sustainable.” Such an attitude would make Fisk proud; Raymond Cox is man who puts his professional values into functional spaces. —by Shawn Drury

water and concrete, then compressed into forms, creating a thermal-wall mass, which then serves as a natural heat-containment system. Rammed-earth walls naturally store heat from the sun and/or interior space while keeping interior temperatures cooler. If Fisk is rammed-earth’s Einstein, then Cox is one of its biggest spokesmen. The style’s selling points are many—lower heating and cooling costs at a time when energy costs are soaring is only the most obvious. The strike against rammed-earth, however, is that its up-front costs are substantially higher than that of a traditional stud-frame design. Cox addresses this: “A lot of builders today want to build as cheaply as possible, but that only measures the short term. In the long run, rammed-earth saves homeowners money. I ask clients what would they rather do with their money—pay the utility company or put it into their home?” Despite the current obstacles, Cox is confident rammed-earth will find a bigger audience. “It is an idea whose time has arrived”, he says. In the time between when time Cox graduated from The University of Texas and re-met Fisk, he had worked for some of the larger architecture firms in the United States. Working for them allowed


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Sustainable Architecture + Design Raymond Cox AIA 2370 W. Highway 89A Suite 11, LB 480 Sedona, AZ 86336-5349 Phone 928.649.6009 Fax 928.649.1207

2370 W. Highway 89A | Suite 11, PMB 480 Sedona, Arizona 86336-5349 P: (928) 649-6009 | F: (928) 649-1207

launch pad

Trial & Error The force behind the nation’s first Hemp House, Push Design pioneers a new era of sustainability—one new material at a time launched 2008 location Asheville, NC distinction Responding to Founder Anthony Brenner’s daughter’s extreme chemical sensitivity, the firm is pioneering ultrahealthy homes like the Push House, which is made from hemp website

Who: Business partners Anthony Brenner and David Mosrie founded Push Design with the goal to revolutionize the building industry. “Everyone deserves to live in a home that resonates with health and harmony,” Mosrie notes. “We understand that different environments, budgets, and individual tastes require unique and appropriate design solutions.” What: Push Design’s revolutionary building philosophy proposes that the current industry standard of ultra-tight, chemical and petroleum-based building strategies is, by nature, inherently flawed. “High thermal mass, breathable, and naturally based building systems cannot only achieve the same or better energy efficiency, but also eliminate any indoor air quality concerns and are truly sustainable,” Mosrie says. When: The design firm was founded in 2008. Where: Asheville, North Carolina. Why: The catalyst for the creation of the design firm was Brenner’s now 9-year-old daughter, Bailey, who was born with an extremely rare genetic mutation. “She is one of 75 kids in the world who have this mutation,” he explains. “One of the attributes of the mutation is an extreme sensitivity to chemicals and certain environmental toxins. I founded Push Design because I needed to identify, create, and find solutions—from the foundation all the way to the furniture and fabrics—that I can use in a house that Bailey can live in. If it meets her high standards of sensitivity, then it’s probably good enough for any client that I would work with.” How: The team gained recognition for developing Push House in Asheville, North Carolina—North America’s first home made of Hempcrete based on industrial hemp and Purepanel. The 2.25-inch thick Purepanel material is comprised of 100 percent postconsumer recycled paper, looks like cardboard, and has a crush strength of 20,000 pounds per square foot.

While the hemp construction certainly helped gain attention to the home, nicknamed the Hemp House, and its non-toxic benefits, Mosrie notes that there are significant challenges in bringing hemp-based construction to the typical American homeowner. “Due to legislative hurdles, we don’t manufacture the hemp material in this country; as a result, we have to import the materials and it is very expensive—about $30 a square foot. It’s currently out of reach for many people’s budgets.” However, the real story behind Push House, Mosrie believes, is in the team’s innovative use of the Purepanel. “Two unskilled guys can put up six panels in an hour,” he notes. “The speed of installation makes up for some of the cost premium of the material. It was the major source of support for the entire Push House structure.” Additionally, they used Purepanel for all of the interior structural and non-structural walls and skinned with MgO; it was also used for all the doors, case goods, and cabinetry. “It’s an incredibly flexible design component that allows us to remove things such as MDFs and solid or hollow-core doors, as well as a lot of wood from the house,” he says. “Working on the house, the most exciting advance was to be able to realize how many design issues we could creatively resolve with just Purepanel.” As Push Design does with all its clients, Brenner and Mosrie searched the globe for construction materials that met their strict health and quality standards, as well as offered the design, builder, and homeowner a broad palate of tools that could be used to build non-toxic, energy efficient, and beautiful projects. Rather than conducting expensive lab tests and using other methods to gauge chemical sensitivity, the Push Design principals have found a very simple, reliable way to see if clients have a reaction. “We ask the clients to take samples home with them, put them under their pillows, and carry them around

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launch pad

Push Design

“[My daughter] is one of 75 kids in the world who have this mutation. One of the an extreme sensitivity to chemicals and certain environmental toxins. I founded Push Design because I needed to identify, create, and find solutions.” —Anthony Brenner, Cofounder

in their cars for a couple of days. It’s only through trial and error that we can be sure about sensitivity, as well as be able to raise the clients’ comfort levels about using certain materials.” For the new Asheville home, Push is using magnesium oxide board for the exterior sheeting and interior dry wall replacement. Additionally, it is using Purepanel for the interior walls, doors, and cabinets. The 2.25-inch-thick material is composed of 100-percent post-consumer recycled paper, looks like cardboard, and has a crush strength of 20,000 pounds per square foot. “We can achieve the same energy efficiency performance and style—as well as being cost competitive—using natural, chemical-free materials. We’re not introducing any toxins into the system,” Brenner says. “We create houses that are breathable and can even create carbon negative houses.” In addition to the Push House, the firm has completed its second non-toxic home in West Asheville for a woman with multiple chemical sensitivities, as well as is currently working on two smaller micro-developments that incorporate the same natural design strategies. “It’s the responsible thing to do,” says Mosrie. “LEED standards are so overcommitted to energy efficiency that they have overlooked the health and well being of a building’s residents. We think that making the shift using natural-based materials that offer similar or the same efficiency levels as LEED is where green building is going.” —by Anne Dullaghan


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PREVIOUS PAGE: Lead designer and cofounder Anthony Brenner poses in the kitchen of the buzzgarnering Hemp House. TOP: Reclaimed steel was used to cantilever the eastern deck of the Push House, nicknamed the Hemp House. CENTER: The strength of the Purepanel interior wall system, employed for the Hemp House, allows for an open floor plan. RIGHT: Natural stone and clean lines reflect the Asian influence in the home’s master bath.

taking shape

Brooklyn Bridge Park Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates takes the long view as it restores New York’s urban landscape landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates location Brooklyn, NY schedule Approximately two-thirds of the project will be completed by 2013 website

“Taking on tough projects has become our signature, and we can’t risk not being on top of new technologies, especially in green design.” This quote from Laura Solano, principal at Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates (MVVA), is bold. As is her estimate that around 90 percent of the landscape-architecture projects her firm designs eventually get built—a remarkably high percentage. But it isn’t hubris; the principal backs up her claim with the exact expertise that continues to win her firm high-profile job after highprofile job. “Design and technology go hand in hand in the office— both are iterative processes that require constant reassessment before projects are ready for prime time,” Solano says. “The site itself, as well as its soils, plants, hydrology, climate, wildlife, and history provide clues that both form questions and present answers.” Solano has been with MVVA for nearly 20 years (it has existed since 1982), which is a year less than fellow principal Matthew Urbanski. While Solano is based out of the firm’s Cambridge, Massachusetts, office, Urbanski and founder Michael Van Valkenburgh work from an office in Brooklyn, New York, where inarguably the firm’s most ambitious project is taking shape: Brooklyn Bridge Park, a 1.3-mile park stretching from the Manhattan Bridge to Atlantic Avenue.


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taking shape plan/ “It’s something we’ve been working on since the late 1990s, and we’ll be working on it for years to come,” Urbanski says. “We started as consultants on the original plan and are now the lead planner and designer for the park. It’s a major civic undertaking and an incredible investment of public funds, so we’re taking it very seriously.”


Brooklyn Bridge Park site/ MVVA has continually searched for ways to salvage, recycle, and incorporate aspects of the existing site into the design of the new park throughout the process. “It’s essentially a freight terminal being converted into a park, and so we’ve looked at it from the perspective of how best to use the resources of an urban waterfront site for this new purpose but also get rid of the things in poor shape that would need repair down the line,” Urbanski explains.

1/ (previous page) MVVA’s design of the Brooklyn Bridge Park illustrates the creative use of a space that was once a freight terminal. 2/ In a process that will partially reverse the effects of the industrialization of the river’s edge, the design has reintroduced ecological systems on the site and reconnected the river to the city. Photo: Alex MacLean. 3/ Its topography and plantings are coordinated with solar orientation, wind protection, and noise reduction to maximize human comfort while introducing a level of variety and choice for users. Photo: Elizabeth Felicella. 4/ A rendering of the site’s unique sound dams, which provide shelter for park visitors. Rendering: Brooklyn Bridge Park. 5/ Some piers will feature areas for sports and other athletic events. Rendering: Brooklyn Bridge Park. 6/ Strategically placed boulders create tidal influx zones, allowing park users to easily access the water’s edge. Photo: Elizabeth Felicella. 7/ MVVA planned a diverse array of active spaces and strategic programming, clustering sites for daily users near the entrances and placing larger spaces for regional users on the 5-acre piered platforms at the center of the park. Photo: Alex MacLean.



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taking shape design/ MVVA’s research showed that the upland areas, for example, are well suited for deeper soil, so it will feature extensive tree cover. The piers, which have less structural capacity, will have lighter weight plantings and uses. Boat ramps, gravel beaches, and soccer fields will add variety to the length of the park.

inspiration/ Solano and Urbanski both cite deep commitments to green ideals as informative of their approach, whether for institutional, public, or private work. “I grew up in the suburbs and the country, and I had a vegetable farm as a kid for seven or eight years,” Urbanski says. “So I have kind of an early-farming idea about resourcefulness, of farmers making the most of what they had, and I try to translate that to what we do here.” Solano is on the soil subcommittee for the Sustainable Sites Initiative, which is a LEED equivalent for landscapes that’s been in the making for over six years. (It’s currently in a pilot phase; proposals have been collected, and kinks are being worked out for a public launch in 2012.)

philosophy/ “Natural systems are endlessly fascinating; just when we think we’ve got something figured out, we discover more layers to the onion,” Solano says. “It’s impossible to delve into, say, soils without understanding how its biology will affect plant health, how strong roots stabilize slopes, and how a soil’s infiltration rate influences storm-water flow. One begets the other. If you ignore that, you’ll never figure out how to fit the puzzle pieces to make the vigorous and memorable landscapes that connect and nourish generations.”





MARCH 2011


taking shape

Brooklyn Bridge Park

other work/ Teardrop Park, also in New York City, in the Battery Park City neighborhood in Lower Manhattan, provides another glimpse into MVVA’s landscape-design process. The 1.8acre project won an American Society of Landscape Architects honor award in 2008 and has been widely recognized for its voluntary sustainable components. Manufactured soils maximize growing conditions, allowing a rare organic maintenance regime for public parks—no pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers. Storm-water runoff is captured in underground storage pipes, and recycled greywater from the adjacent Solaire Building, which has been certified LEED Platinum, supplies all irrigation needs. “We embraced our client’s green guidelines, which at the time were newly minted,” Solano says. “We led and partnered with talented engineers, horticulturists, soil scientists, solar consultants, and a wind laboratory to make sure every decision served the park’s environmentally and socially sustainable life.” It could be said that the firm has the same goal for New York City as a whole. —by David Hudnall

A MESSAGE FROM KELCO LANDSCAPING AND CONSTRUCTION Kelco is the most comprehensive landscape installation and construction company in New York. At Brooklyn Bridge Park, we worked closely with Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates to create a functioning and sustainable landscape. In addition to the installation of designed soils and diverse planting, we refurbished and installed the wood decking and timber seating (from reclaimed timber from the demolished building on site). Kelco also installed the mechanical and plumbing systems for the water play equipment. All systems recycle and treat water through a sand/UV filtration system. We also installed the irrigation system, which uses captured storm water to irrigate the park.

A MESSAGE FROM NEW YORK QUARRIES New York Quarries is a family owned, stone-working company for three generations offering a wide array of expertise including quarrying, fabrication, installation, design, technical services, and consulting. With close attention to detail, we take projects from the beginning stages to completion; whether it is a building or landscape application; commercial or residential; interior or exterior. We quarry two types of stone, Alcove Bluestone and Onondaga Limestone, both from sources located in upstate New York and used as building stone for hundreds of years. Using time tested materials and traditional building methods the O’Brien family welcomes the challenge of producing unusual applications for practical purposes; keeping in line with environmental considerations.

Making Brooklyn Bridge Park green kelco + Michael Van ValkenBurgh associates

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inner workings


center for culinary excellence The providential success of Tsoi/Kobus & Associates’ new project for Johnson & Wales University redeems land long neglected


architect Tsoi/Kobus & Associates general contractor Agostini/Bacon Construction Co., Inc. location Providence, RI completion Spring 2010

For more than 100 years, the land under Johnson & Wales University’s new Center for Culinary Excellence in Providence, Rhode Island, endured a torturous history of industrial toll and neglect. Thanks to Tsoi/Kobus & Associates, the site’s new plan holds sustainability as its primary focus.

MARCH 2011 35

inner workings site/ Remediation of the site—providing open spaces and promoting pedestrianism—was a prime concern for the Cambridge, Massachusetts, firm. “This site has, for over 100 years, suffered from many industrial uses. It’s on [Narragansett] Bay and when we got a hold of it, it was simply a parking lot. They had this idea that they wanted to remediate the site, open up space, and create views to the Bay,” says Blake Jackson, the company’s sustainable practice leader. The design and construction teams worked closely in collaboration with the university to map out a pathway toward sustainable compliance, measurable through LEED and ultimately earning a Gold certification.

Center for Culinary Excellence facility/ The result was an 82,000-squarefoot, state-of-the-art facility, boasting support from the USGBC, which applauds the university’s socially responsible and sustainable food practices and mission. In addition to the learning space, the $38 million facility also contains nine hot kitchens, a new mixology lab, two bakeshops, seven pastry and chocolate labs, two meat-cutting and fabrication labs, three dining rooms, an oenology lab, and a microbrewery. From the beginning, the Tsoi/Kobus team concentrated its efforts on creating perhaps the most environmentally friendly kitchen in existence. Water and energy were focused on from a standpoint of conservation mixed with intelligent technology.


landscape/ The team also ensured that the surrounding area was being put to good use. “We restored over 50 percent of the site with native vegetation,” Jackson says. “Fifty trees were added, and we eliminated storm-water runoff into the Bay.” By removing a previously paved parking area, more than half the site was restored with open green space containing drought tolerant, native vegetation. This, coupled with secure bicycle storage, promotes pedestrianism, lessening the impact of automobile use.

1/ (previous page) The center’s plinth is made from asphalt rubble reclaimed from the site. 2/ Kitchen spaces feature daylighting to enhance the human experience. 3/ The landscape plan called for 50 trees to be planted. 4/ Spaces are organized around centralized services. 5/ Elevation drawings demonstrate the design’s commitment to transparency: glazed, public corridors filter light into the educational spaces, which hover over a rejuvenated landscape. 6/ Throughout the project, display areas open up creative spaces to natural light and create public galleries. Light-colored materials help reflect light and add illumination. 7/ A focus on connectivity with the outdoors promotes a lively, collaborative atmosphere for students. 8/ The lobby opens up to light and views out into nature, imitating an outdoor room.




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inner workings energy/ Since the students have access to the building all the time, the design team focused its efforts on making it as adaptable as possible. The future chefs reduce their impact through integrated systems, which monitor their energy use, and through sensors and controls, which allow them to comfortably adapt their spaces. It was also designed in a way as to encourage the future installation of climate-appropriate, renewable-energy options. “Energyefficient windows, kitchen equipment, lighting, and kitchen exhaust hood controls yield more than 21-percent energy savings compared to an average culinary building,” Jackson says. “Electricity is purchased through wind offsetting, promoting green industries and continuing the forwardlooking vision of the campus.” Other technologies include highefficiency gas boilers, lighting controls, hood exhausts and associated make-up air with variable airflow based on cooking activity, and the use of heat recovery from refrigeration units to preheat domestic water.

water/ When it was time for water solutions, the company put in place plans for potable water to be saved through use of low-flow fixtures, efficient irrigation of native landscaping, and innovative wastewater technologies. “There are low-flow fixtures and stormwater reuse that reduce water usage by 82 percent, a savings of over 350,000 gallons annually,” Jackson notes. “The rainwater collected from the roof is reused in the building for the flushing of toilets and site irrigation.” There is also a storm-water-management plan that reduces runoff to Narragansett Bay.

materials/ When it came to what would be used in building the project, Jackson explains that the architects took into consideration every aspect of a material—from extraction and manufacturing to the ways in which they would be implemented. “Materials were chosen for their performance, beauty, durability, regional availability, and recycled content,” Jackson says. “More than 20 percent of the materials were regionally sourced and of high recycled-content. Ninety-two percent of our construction waste was recycled. In addition, the existing asphalt was ground up and reused onsite to create a plinth, which elevates the center above the flood plain.” Looking to the future, a wastemanagement plan will ensure the ability of the occupants to recycle much of the waste they generate.

experience/ The human experience inside this building comes through an interaction with the outdoors through light, views, materials, and ventilation. “It’s not your typical space for a kitchen,” Jackson says as an example. “It’s not humid or dark and is open to light, and it’s all about education and display.” Increased ventilation dissipates monitored carbon dioxide levels, creating a space for better concentration, while lighting and thermal comfort are user-controlled.




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inner workings future/ The Johnson & Wales project is just one of Tsoi/Kobus & Associates’ many green projects. Others of note include Duke University’s Cancer Center and Boston College’s Stokes Hall. The company is also part of a pilot program in Boston called the “Challenge for Sustainability,” which recognizes business who commit to meeting certain sustainable standards and practices to reduce their overall carbon footprint. “One thing we have been working on with our Core Value Group, is that we are trying to implement office-wide policies in every project,” Jackson says. “Everyone claims they are green, but we work hard to differentiate ourselves. We have approached our clients early on in implementing LEED and green initiatives, and slowly but surely, many are adding them on.”

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A Third Way


Through its sustainable philosophies, Moule & Polyzoides, Architects and Urbanists is bridging the gap between modernity and historical traditions community Pasadena, CA population 143,667 note The city has instituted a policy and plan to utilize renewable energy sources for 10% of its electric load by 2012 news Design Guidelines for Neighborhood Commercial & Multi-Family Districts, a comprehensive design document for Pasadena that was, unsurprisingly, created by Moule & Polyzoides, was approved by the city in 2010 needs Despite growing awareness of the value of dense, walkable communities, Los Angeles County, which includes Pasadena, has a population density of 2,400 per square mile, compared to Manhattan’s, which is 70,900 per square mile

“Since the 1970s, architectural culture has become increasingly divided between two factions,” says Elizabeth Moule, president of Moule & Polyzoides, Architects and Urbanists. “At one end, proponents who embrace the modernist legacy claim that the architect’s role is to invent ever-new and monumental forms. At the other, proponents of historical continuity assert that the cultural rifts of this century can be mended only by replicating traditional architectural forms.” Moule’s Pasadena, California-based firm, convinced that the chaos of modern cities and suburbs can only be rectified by balancing modernity with historical continuity, believes in a third way. It’s why her team, along with other like-minded architects, founded the Congress for New Urbanism, a national

TOP: The Robert Redford Building, a LEED Platinum adaptive reuse for the NRDC. BOTTOM: The Santa Monica Farmer’s Market in front of the building, which serves as the organization’s Southern California offices. Photos: © Tim Street-Porter.

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Moule & Polyzoides, Architects and Urbanists NRDC’s Robert Redford Building site / Public transportation proximity / Rooftop garden / Energy Star-rated reflective roof / Permeable paving material / Xeriscaping Water Efficiency / Greywater system / Waterless urinals Energy & Atmosphere / Solar hot water / Displacement and natural ventilation / High-efficiency T-5 and T-8 fluorescent lighting / Occupancy and daylight sensors / Renewable-energy certificates Materials & Resources / 98 percent of construction waste reused/recycled / Salvaged, rapidly renewable, recycled materials / FSC-certified wood / Locally manufactured materials

ABOVE: The Robert Redford Building features a light well above the reception lobby.

Convinced that the chaos of modern cities and suburbs can only be rectified by balancing modernity with historical continuity, Moule & Polyzoides believes in a third way.

organization promoting the links between community and sustainability in the architecture and planning of American towns and cities. The work Moule and her partner, Stefanos Polyzoides, take on reflects the philosophy of that organization. In business now for 25 years, Moule & Polyzoides boasts 24 employees, and though it’s been involved in a number of international projects, it operates primarily on the West Coast.


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Indoor Environment Quality / Clerestory windows/skylights / Atrium operable windows / Low- or no-VOC materials and finishes / Carbon-dioxide monitors

The firm caught the eye of the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC)—one of the largest environmental-advocacy groups in the United States—who hired Moule & Polyzoides to design its Southern California office, known as the Robert Redford Building. It’s a 15,000-square-foot, LEED Platinum structure that includes offices, meeting rooms, exhibits, and educational facilities. The project was an adaptive reuse of a 1920s building that was heavily remodeled in the 1970s, and by preserving and renewing it, Moule & Polyzoides was also able to contribute to the cultural continuity of its Santa Monica neighborhood.

knowledge and tradition that have allowed us to live in harmony with the environment and without present-day levels of excessive air conditioning and heating. We decided to let the building’s occupants open their windows to catch a cooling breeze rather than seal them up and force them to rely upon air conditioning.” Moule & Polyzoides also has applied its expertise to transportation projects, planning the rail station in downtown Fresno and developing a mixed-use, transit-oriented project at the Los Angeles County Metro Rail System’s Del Mar Station in Pasadena. For the latter, the firm entered a design competition with 10 other firms, won, and then teamed with the City of Pasadena, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Agency, and real-estate developers on the project.

When constructed in 2003, the Robert Redford Building was the greenest building in the entire country, and it still ranks among the greenest. “The design goal was to create an outstanding place in which to work while setting an extraordinarily high stan“For 20 years, we’d been thinking about isdard for sustainability,” Moule says, noting sues of sustainability in terms of reducthat new technology was incorporated, but passive sustainable strategies were also heav- ing sprawl, increasing walkability, and, in turn, increasing density,” Moule says. “The ily emphasized. “Oftentimes designers forDel Mar Station brings all of that together.” get to draw upon the thousands of years of

community The building is on the former site of a Santa Fe railroad station and actually surrounds the Del Mar Station—the rail line bisects the property. To increase density, Moule & Polyzoides developed a program of four separate buildings interconnected by a network of public plazas, paseos, and private courtyards—as opposed to one giant block. This way, the structures fit with the height and mass of the neighborhood, as well as the traffic-handling capacity of the surrounding streets. “It looks as if it were made by many hands at different points in time,” Moule explains. Rail and transit project like Del Mar are an area of emphasis moving forward, Moule says. She and Polyzoides, who frequently speak at conferences, seminars, and lectures, will also continue teaching and publishing on the topics of urbanism and architecture. “Our aesthetic root is always the exploration of design in the context of cultural traditions and natural landscapes,” Moule says. “Each new project will continue to be developed as part of a larger order.” —by David Hudnall

ABOVE: Public courtyards at Del Mar Station offer relaxation areas for residents and visitors, and tenants can take advantage of the park along Raymond Street. Photo: © Tom Bonner Photography.

MARCH 2011



Around the Bend Kil Architecture/Planning enhances a South Bend Montessori school with the help of volunteers and local vendors community South Bend, IN metro area population 316,663 note Apple Inc. was a part of an electronicsrecycling fest held in South Bend in 2010 news The American League of Bicyclists named the South Bend a Bike Friendly Community in fall 2010; the city has 52 miles of bike routes throughout the city needs The Good Shepherd Montessori School is one alternative for K–12 students in South Bend, but others are needed as education funding is cut and old models are proving ineffective

In 2008, Kil Architecture/Planning went to work designing a home for a pair of empty nesters who wanted to bring the south of France to Goshen, Indiana. Its approach was to develop a home with an architectural style based on a French country house with sustainable features integrated into the overall design. The 3,600-square-foot Goshen house includes a living room, dining room, library, and master bedroom oriented along the east-west axis to afford passive solar exposure, as well as overhangs designed to shade the sun during the heat-filled summer months yet allow warmth in during the cooler, winter months. “The impetus of material selection was materials that are durable and sustainable,” explains Greg Kil, NCARB, AIA, principal and founder of the firm, specifically speaking of the exterior’s stone, which was quarried in Wisconsin. “While there is no material that is truly ‘maintenance free,’ exterior stone masonry provides the most effective low-maintenance material available for our clients.” The home’s geothermal system also utilizes a horizontal, closed-loop, trenched system, and the ductwork is zoned to control and modulate areas that are not in use. Projects like the Goshen home are the driving passion of Kil Architecture/Planning. The firm currently employs two LEED APs and does a substantial amount of sustainable design as part of the core scope of its work. This includes urban infill, neighborhood residential infill, and historic rehabilitation. “We feel that infill projects, additions, and rehabilitation by their very nature are sustainable projects,” Kil says. The firm also urges its clients to consider eco-friendly alternatives and asks that design consultants look at sustainable options as well. Greg Kil formed Kil Architecture/Planning in 1991 as a general-practice architecture and planning firm. Since the firm’s inception, it’s grown to an eight-person staff and handles a wide variety of work.

ABOVE: Exterior view of the Good Shepherd Montessori School, an important community project.


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The people at Kil Architecture/Planning hope to continue their high level of commitment to their client base and simultaneously expand that base while maintaining the high level of design integrity they are known for. Though Greg Kil and the rest of his Indiana team hope

to be doing more work in Michigan in the next handful of years, for now they’re focusing on their community of South Bend, Indiana, starting with the Good Shepherd Montessori School. Good Shepherd, Kil Architecture/Planning’s first LEED-registered project, is in its first phase. “Phase one entails the replacement of abated asbestos-plaster ceilings with new, suspended, acoustical-tile ceilings and new USG Radar ClimaPlus High NRC acoustical ceiling tiles, which contain 58 percent recycled content,” Kil explains. Phase one also includes replacing the majority of the lighting in classrooms, corridors, offices, and other support spaces with new energy-efficient lighting. The classroom lighting will feature adjustable light levels, to allow for different lighting needs throughout the day, and occupancy sensors (to come in a later phase). Kil Architecture/Planning wanted to get the neighborhood and families involved, knowing that a dedicated group working together can accomplish more. “In rooms that have been abated, parent volunteers will be painting the existing walls and door and window frames using Sherwin Williams ProGreen low-VOC paint, a GreenGuard-certified product,” Kil mentions. “Local vendors have partnered with the school to provide materials and services at reduced costs, to help the project move forward in a timely manner.” Other plans for future phases include envelope improvements such as window and door upgrades, insulation improvements, restroom renovations, upgrades to the existing HVAC system, and bicycle racks. With the aid of the school’s flower and vegetable gardens, and on- and off-site composting, Good Shepherd Montessori School and Kil Architecture/Planning may truly be able to achieve the environmentally conscious facility they strive for. —by Thalia A-M Bruehl A MESSAGE FROM MARTIN BROTHERS CONTRACTING INC. Since 1965, Martin Brothers has been meeting the needs of some of Northern Indiana’s and Southwest Lower Michigan’s most discriminating clients. We approach each project from small ranch to large estate with the same level of care and effort. We look to build relationships with our clients that last long after a project is complete. We invite you to come and see for yourself why we feel Martin Brothers builds “The Finest Homes Anywhere.”

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ASK and You Shall Receive The people of ASK Studio donate time and resources to help children with special needs and victims of domestic violence

community Des Moines, IA metro area population 562,906 note Forbes ranked Des Moines as the No. 1 Best Place for Business and Careers news The city’s public transit system, DART, will be including GPS on its buses to allow for accurate arrival time and launching a planning study to take a fresh look at Des Moines transit needs needs The people of ASK Studio note that there are only three LEED-certified buildings in the city and have committed themselves to bettering Des Moines’ built environment

“Our actions as architects help to set new standards and parameters for the built environment around us,” says Brent Schipper, AIA, LEED AP, and cofounding principal at ASK Studio. “Our actions impact projects beyond those that we are working on and impact the pace by which the building industry becomes sustainable.” Green building has been a focus for ASK Studio (the ASK stands for Architects Schipper Kastner) since its inception a little more than five years ago, in addition to its focus on community. Based in Des Moines, Iowa, the studio currently has 10 employees, three of whom are registered architects, and believes client loyalty is the basis of its success. “We believe our clients see and appreciate the efforts that we put into design—special efforts regarding efficiency, sustainability, and beauty,” Schipper adds.


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LEFT, RIGHT: The ASK Studio-designed CyRide offices in Ames, Iowa, the first muncipal building in Iowa to recieve LEED Gold certification. In addition to award-winning projects like CyRide, ASK Studio looks for projects that are community oriented.

Schipper launched his career in sustainable architecture with his design for the first publicly owned Energy Star building in the state, a building that would go on to be the first recipient of an award given by the governor for sustainability. Of the 15-30 projects ASK Studio works on per year, the majority are community driven and all are derived from solutions based on economy and ecology. Working on such projects fits the firm’s core beliefs and has been a great way for it to showcase its team’s abilities. “The studio looks to participate in many community projects, either as a whole or through our individuals,” Schipper says. Recently, ASK Studio finished a project for the City of Ames Transit Authority. The CyRide Office in Ames, Iowa, is a 10,000square-foot addition, the latest in a series of additions to the Ames Transit Agency facility. “The building utilizes many design strategies and innovative technologies to reduce water and energy use and create a high-quality work environment,” explains Schipper, who also notes that the building is oriented to provide high-quality daylighting to the offices and minimize undesirable east

and west exposures. The project received LEED Gold certification, making it the first municipal building in Iowa to do so. It also received an AIA Iowa Sustainability Award. Other recent projects with economically and ecologically efficient intentions include the AirCare hangar for the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics and a showroom facility for Iowa Prison Industries. ASK Studio is also currently at work on a community-corrections housing project. The 18,500-square-foot building is targeting LEED Gold and has a projected cost of $4.2 million. It will feature a geothermal heatpump system, automatic interior blinds, exterior sun control, daylighting systems and controls, as well as a highly insulated envelope. ASK Studio has numerous affordablehousing projects, all of which hold energy conservation as a key component. Most recently, the studio is excited about its work on the Homes of Oakridge Teen Center, slated to be the architects’ first LEED Platinum building. —by Thalia A-M Bruehl

features 46/ hidden GENIUS 50/ LOST & FOUND 62/ GREEN-COLORED GLASSES

HEALTHY LIVING. One of Oregon’s greenest feats, the Oregon Health & Sciences University Center for Health & Healing, designed by GBD Architects, outperforms the progressive state’s energy code. Its green roof, shown here, is just one of its many eco-conscious elements.Turn to p. 62 to explore Portland’s most groundbreaking projects. Photo: Jamie Forsythe.

MARCH 2011 45


lthough Loisos + Ubbelohde Associates has worked on dozens of renowned buildings—from the newest Apple stores to the Goldman Sachs headquarters—the firm isn’t a household name even among those familiar with leading architects. This is because the bulk of its work isn’t architectural design, per se, but rather in helping architects and others solve unique problems, often (but not exclusively) in the areas of energy and light efficiency.

The firm, founded in 1985 by architect George Loisos and university professor Susan Ubbelohde, was based on a simple but unique vision: apply research to architecture. “The firm arose from a desire to take advances we were seeing only in research and apply them in practice,” Loisos says. “We wanted to obtain a deeper understanding of a project’s impact on its immediate and less immediate environment by modeling rather than by simply finding ways energy and light can be used to assist a project from a business perspective.” As an example, Loisos points to energy. “If your building uses energy in a flatter way—that is, if you don’t have peaks and valleys of energy usage—you’re in a sense making your neighborhood a better place,” he explains. “So we’ll ask, is there any way to quantify that? Is there any way to make it available to others as well?” It’s a novel approach, says Loisos, because buildings affect the environment in many ways that aren’t recognized in current architectural practice—which is why Loisos + Ubbelohde Associates’ consulting services are in such high demand.

Hidden Genius Loisos + Ubbelohde Associates is the smartest design firm you’ve never heard of. Its views on energy and light efficiency are illuminating the way forward for some of the architectural world’s biggest names. story Julie Schaeffer


MARCH 2011

LEFT: Principal George Loisos (top) and Professor Susan Ubbelohde (bottom) are the brainpower behind Loisos + Ubbelohde Associates, a consulting firm specializing in energy, light, and thermal modeling.

The business took off around 2000, about the time that sustainability entered the mainstream architectural vernacular, and since then, it’s flourished through word of mouth. “We’re not quite sure how we get work—usually the phone just rings,” Loisos says. “I think what happens is that someone is trying to figure out how to solve a problem, asks around, and eventually finds us.” It helps that Loisos + Ubbelohde rarely has to say no. “We get phone calls from people asking, ‘Can you do this?’ And our answer usually is yes,” Loisos says. “Anything that has to do with energy and light and thermal modeling, we can tackle.”

hidden genius

A GLASS BUILDING IN THE DESERT The Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi (CCAD) is a 2 millionsquare-foot hospital in the United Arab Emirates’ capital city. The hospital, which is scheduled for completion in 2012, was designed by San Francisco’s HDR and won a 2010 Best Hospital Design Award from Hospital Build Middle East. “The design team at HDR wanted a glass building in the desert, but that’s obviously illogical, so it hired us to provide skin, energy, and daylight analysis,” says Loisos, explaining his firm’s role—a typical one for an atypical structure. Loisos + Ubbelohde’s solution, working in conjunction with Ted Jacobs Engineering, was to create a double-layer glass skin and use the space in between the layers to extract the last bit of cool air from the building’s exhaust. The firm also used multiple layers of glass to filter out just about everything other than the visible spectrum of the sun’s radiation. “By finding a way to make a glass skin an asset, the building went from one that was consuming the same amount of cooling as San Francisco’s entire financial district to one that was consuming 40 percent less than ASHRAE 90.1,” Loisos says.

TOP: The clinic features a high-performance, double-skin facade system to deliver low energy costs and high occupant comfort in a demanding climate. CENTER: Detail section through Cleveland Clinic double-skin showing glazing assembly and thermal performance. BOTTOM: A diagram of daylight levels at the Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi.

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hidden genius A SUSTAINABILITY BASE ON EARTH Another project, under construction at press time, is the NASA Sustainability Base, on which renowned architectural firm William McDonough + Partners hired Loisos + Ubbelohde to consult in 2009.

provide a real-time image of the sun, shooting light to underground laboratories and providing columnated light for experiments,” says Loisos of the project, which won an AIA East Bay Unbuilt Merit Design Award in 2009. “In doing so, we took a long-forgotten historic artifact and made it an active part of an everyday experience.”

The project is a 50,000-square-foot, steel-frame office building contracted by NASA Ames Research Center at Moffet Federal Airfield in Mountain View, California. The structure is designed to consume no more energy than it generates and use 90 percent less water than standard buildings. But the building’s real draw may be its brains: the building is designed to be intuitive, anticipating and adjusting to changes in environmental elements, such as sunlight, temperature, and wind in real time—in essence, learning over time how to maximize its own systems. In doing so, the structure will provide NASA with data on how remote structures can best minimize resource consumption—which is useful information for an agency whose “remote structures” could be on the moon or Mars, hundreds of thousands of miles away from assistance. “We worked with the design team at the pre-conceptual stage to establish what the building would do and how it would work, then carried our ideas through the project with energy modeling, daylighting, and electric light design to make all the pieces fit together,” Loisos explains. A SOLAR TELESCOPE TURNED UPSIDE DOWN Many of Loisos + Ubbelohde’s projects involve light on both a functional and aesthetic level. Currently under construction is a unique project at the Linde + Robinson Lab for Environmental Science at the California Institute of Technology: the renovation of a solar telescope that was built in 1934. “We turned the telescope, which had been idle for a number of years, into a device that would


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Because Loisos + Ubbelohde understands light and can model it well, clients have started asking the firm to take on lighting projects that are purely aesthetic. One example is a light cannon—a shaft of light that shoots 80 feet down a staircase inside a building three times a day—that the firm designed for architecture practice SmithGroup. “Our solution was an acrylic and polycarbonate device suspended inside the staircawse,” Loisos says of the eclectic addition to the building.

RIGHT: The project’s exploded axon shows structure, shading, space planning, daylighting, ventilation, and solar-collection systems. BOTTOM LEFT: The NASA Sustainability Base, designed by William McDonough + Partners and AECOM, uses advanced systems to adapt automatically to its environs. BOTTOM RIGHT: A shading study for the west conference room at the Sustainability Base.

hidden genius

The benefit of Loisos + Ubbelohde’s approach is that it allows the firm to ask and answer questions that seem hard to define. “If you ask a normal energy modeler about a building you haven’t even designed yet, he’ll say, ‘Draw me something and I’ll tell you how it works,’” Loisos says. “Our approach is to ask how many potential ways are there to have that building on the site.” As an example, Loisos points to a 300,000-square-foot laboratory, for which HOK hired the firm. “There were three or four different ways you could put the building together, and five or six ways you could situate it on the site, and a number of other ways to configure other aspects of the building,” Loisos says. “When we put all the pieces together, we ended up with around 600 different permutations. We modeled all of them.” The result was that the firm was able to fully understand the forces on the building site that affected energy performance and occupant comfort. “Our approach allows us to give the designer a starting point: for example, the building should face in this direction, or this configuration will work better than the others,” he says. Because of the firm’s conceptual approach, all of its 14 employees are architects—albeit architects with an interest in science and how things work. “We have people who can write software, people who can build planes,” Loisos says. “We can solve the challenges we solve because we spend the time and resources to get really deep into a subject.” gb&d

ABOVE, RIGHT: Loisos + Ubbelohde is renovating a once-idle solar telescope, originally built in 1934, and turning it into a device capable of providing a real-time image of the sun. The telescope is currently housed at the California Institute of Technology.

Design with light.™ The New York Times Building, New York City © 2010 MechoShade Systems, Inc.

A MODEL FOR 600 DIFFERENT ENERGY SCENARIOS It may sound like what Loisos + Ubbelohde does is more engineering than architecture, but Loisos says it’s drastically different on a conceptual level. “An engineering approach is analytic; you take a problem, divide it into its component parts, and solve it that way,” he explains. “Our approach is more synthetic; we essentially make a proposition and test it.”

For over a decade, we have had a successful relationship with George Loisos–a licensed architect, LEED® Accredited Professional, and daylighting consultant.

Thank you George, for helping us to incorporate natural daylight into the design of today’s and tomorrow’s buildings.

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found An eclectic round table of individuals inside the exploding reclaimed/recycled design revolution explore the social and artistic phenomenon that is literally reshaping our world. From emerging trends to longevity potential to whether thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a real market for designs fashioned out of discarded materials, our panel of architects, artists, designers, and writers share their insider perspectives and stand behind one prediction: the future of design is nothing newâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;in fact, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most likely used. story Thalia A-M Bruehl scanography Samantha Hunter

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Brooklyn-based artist Aurora Robson is known for her recycled installation sculptures, junk-mail collages, and other striking pieces. She works in multiple mediums and has been recognized with such honors as the Arthur Levine Foundation Grant and The Pollock Krasner Foundation Grant, and a Fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts.


e drive Priuses, carry our own reusable shopping bags, and do our best to remember to turn off the water when we brush our teeth. We’ve started installing solar panels, investing in living walls, and choosing bamboo over pine for our flooring. So why shouldn’t we make changes elsewhere as well? If our homes and cars are green, why shouldn’t our art, furniture, or even our salt and pepper shakers be too?   Green design has clearly taken off in the past decade, and with programs like the industry-leading LEED, it’s more appealing than ever before. Of course, the true way to go green isn’t to build new but to rework what one already has; this is the simple, yet vital, concept behind reclaimed/recycled design. Certain artists, architects, designers, and other unconventional thinkers are transforming the old and discarded into the new and edgy, turning trash into high-design—creating art while simultaneously interrupting the excessive waste stream. Recycled design and reclaimed design are actually two different processes, though they are most often categorized as one. Reclaimed design is classified as a product that has been made from a material that has already served its purpose, such as turning an old door into


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Ori Ben-Zvi is a Tel Aviv-based industrial designer. He is also a professor at the Holon Technology Institute and has practiced sustainable design for more than 10 years. He is the founder of Ubico Studio, a sustainable design studio and small production unit in Israel.

Petra Boykoff is a certified interior designer with a background in high-end residential and hotel design. She writes the well-followed blog, Pretty Little Green Things.

a bench or using antique railroad ties to make a table. Recycled work is any product that is made out of a material that has to be reprocessed to be useful again. An example would include turning plastic bottles into decking or melting metal scraps into another form. The procedure is much more in-depth, as one must take the material, such as metal or plastic, and completely change its original form in order to rework it into something else. Reclaimed/recycled design can be anything from high-end products to innovative design-rich junk—literally. Companies like Refunc, which creates art, functional objects, and architecture from waste, have helped to change the public’s perspective on garbage and its post-use functions. Dutch “garbage architect” Denis Oudendijk, who started Refunc with partner Jan Korbes, has been known to talk to objects, imploring, “What would you like to become?” Refunc’s recent projects include looking for neglected objects to turn into wind turbine blades and building children’s toys from local—Roman, in this case—pre-loved goods. Some will argue that there is nothing new about the reclaimed/ recycled design movement, that people have been reusing materials for centuries. Others feel the excitement over repurposing products is just gaining momentum, that the market for these pieces is only now taking off. You can look at famed American engineer, inventor and

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Spanish for “Rubbish Collector Design,” Diseño Cartonero is the brainchild of sustainable designer Santiago Morahan. Morahan creates his corrugated-cardboard designs from his native Argentina.

Architect Robert Humble cofounded HyBrid Architecture in 2003. He recently created HyBrid Assembly, a construction entity focused on the assembly of prefabricated building elements.

designer Buckminster Fuller, to whom much credit is due, and see eyes first opening toward a greener future. It is still his work from the 1940s that inspires many of today’s leading eco-friendly designers. Or you can look back only 50 years and see the hippies striving toward a more profound relationship with the land in the ‘60s and ‘70s, and recognize the steps made in the direction of reclaimed/recycled design as they tried to get off the cash economy and construct products out of found materials. But no matter when it started, all seem to agree that the design style is here to stay. With large cost savings for manufacturing recycled products and a built-in marketing angle, eco-friendly design models have become real business. “As oil becomes more expensive and transporting goods around the world becomes more expensive, combined with better information that can put people in touch with vendors like Etsy and others, recycled and reclaimed design will further take off,” says Lloyd Alter of And for the makers of these creations, there is also a strong connection to the product. They are taught to question the materials they use, the lifecycle of the product, how much energy is consumed during

Through her work as both a writer and designer, Diane Ruengsorn created Domestic Aesthetic, a socially and environmentally responsible home furnishings company. The company has been featured in such publications as New York Magazine, Interior Design, and The New York Times.

Lloyd Alter is a writer and design editor for the popular TreeHugger blog. He is a trained and licensed architect as well as the president of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario, and is an adjunct professor teaching sustainable design at Ryerson University School of Interior Design.

manufacturing—these basic queries bond the designers with their creations. It is said that one doesn’t truly value reclaimed materials and what makes them so extraordinary unless they understand where they came from. The story becomes a critical part of the design. These stories bring the products to life for both the designer and the consumer; it joins them. Could there be a better marketing angle than that? As long as people want to feel a real relationship to their home, to the pieces they choose to surround themselves with, to the decisions they make to live a more sustainable life, reclaimed/recycled design will thrive. gb&d recently gathered a diverse group of industry insiders— including architects, designers, sustainability bloggers, and an artist—to explore the appeal and promise of reclaimed/recycled design with the people that know it best. Between them, their work has won a Pollock Krasner Foundation Grant, been published in The New York Times, and been rated by Time magazine as one of top 25 blogs of 2009. They work with cardboard, wood, junk mail, and wool felt. And all of them, whether they’re building modular homes or writing about a reused chess set, share common goals: to make accessible, truly eco-friendly pieces, educate along the way, and all the while work to eliminate waste.

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What drew you to green design initially?

AR/ I didn’t think of it as green design, but my work in college involved interrupting the waste stream, so I guess you could trace it back to the 1990s when I first started working with junk mail. For me, it was a case of irritation creating mutation. Junk mail irritated me, so I mutated into a green artist, but even as a small child I would dig my mother’s magazines out of the trash and make art out of them.

DR/ I became interested in green design when I first became a designer. I had a very unconventional design education and learned directly in a factory environment. As I was apprenticing, I saw how much waste was created from the design and production process. So much leftover material would get thrown into dumpsters, and all of that was going directly into a landfill.


RH/ I enjoy the art and science of green design and feel I really got interested in it after I became a licensed architect in 1999. I have also always been interested in urban planning and feel that how we develop our cities can have an enormous influence on the environment.

PB/ I can’t really say there was a pivotal moment when I became interested in green design. The philosophy of living smaller and buying vintage products was instilled in me from a young age. However, there was a moment in my last job at an architectural firm when I started thinking about the impact of what we were building. There was no emphasis on finding out where products were coming from or the overall impact of using them. And there definitely wasn’t a holistic cradleto-cradle approach for the entire project. It was then that I decided I either needed to change my firm or add my voice to the movement.


1/ Refunc’s Recropolis light installation with IBC water tanks for the Lowlands music festival in the Netherlands. 2/ The Rosebud felt bowl from Domestic Aesthetic is made from industrial waste fabric. Photo: Josh Wand. 3/ Old fire extinguishers find new life. From Refunc. 4/ Diseño Cartonero’s cardboard desk lamps are both fashionable and functional. 3


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HyBrid Architecture has coined the term “cargotecture” to describe any building system built entirely or partially from ISO shipping containers, as shown here.

RH/ I have always appreciated the work of Glenn Murcutt in Australia, Lake|Flato in Texas, and Miller Hull here in the Northwest. I feel each of these individual firms encourage an appropriate design response to each of their climates. I also appreciate that they typically respond with a passive environmental response as opposed to an active response.

SM/ When I saw Frank Gehry’s Easy Edges [furniture pieces], I loved them and the idea of making cardboard furniture, but I didn’t have the resources to do that so I created a technique of my own. When it comes to the local talent in Argentina, I’ve plenty of inspirations. A friend of mine called Virginia Atencio makes really cool looking and very strong purses and bags out of paper and radiographs. I love what she does because she’s so passionate about it and that’s what makes it something inspirational.

Who are some of your greatest muses and sources of inspiration?

OB-Z/ As a young designer who studied in the ‘90s, Droog was a large influence, but I think my biggest influences came from travels conducted in developing countries, watching local craftsman fix broken plastic buckets or work with materials [such] as bamboo and maximizing the use of the material had a great impact on me.

AR/ I don’t follow design as much as I wish I had time to, but lately Shigeru Ban has inspired me. I really admire William McDonough. There are also a lot of green artists and designers on the ProjectVortex website []that I find inspirational.

LA/ The English designers Archigram and the American group Ant Farm, who looked at design with humor and experimented with mobile, flexible, smaller interventions, both served as inspirations for my work. Charles Jencks and his book Adhocism, as well. And of course, Bucky Fuller. I have always loved Fuller’s work, drawings, ideas, and writings. Theo Jansen, Andy Goldsworthy, Robert Smithson, Agnes Denes, and El Anatsui are also hugely inspirational to me as sculptors and artists.

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SM/ There is a business angle indeed, but I don’t think it’s fully developed yet. It’s a small market and reclaimed/recycled design products are more expensive than the conventional ones because the latter rarely include the environmental price of disposal. We need a cultural change based on responsible consumption and production.

LA/ The cost of our current ways of doing business are getting higher, and the demand for producer responsibility is increasing, where companies are going to be obligated to take things back instead of sticking the consumer and the government with the problem. Computer companies are doing that now, and are getting smarter at how they build things, designing for disassembly. Soon they will start designing for repurposing.

Ubico Studio’s Stump stools and side tables are made of scrap wood assembled at a rehabilitation center for the impaired.

What is the business/ marketing angle behind this niche?


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PB/ A smart businessperson will take a product that no one else wants and turn it into something that everyone wants, like soda bottles into fabric. The savings on gathering the raw material is huge. Manufacturers don’t have to extract new raw materials and they’re using what no one else wants. The second part of the business angle is definitely marketing. Being able to put a “recycled” or “green” label on a product carries more weight. It’s been shown that most consumers won’t pay more for an eco-friendly product. However, if they’re deciding between two similar items, they’ll usually pick the one that’s green.

DR/ There is definitely a marketing angle to reclaimed/ recycled work, and it treads a fine line between being environmentally conscious and greenwashing. I don’t think most consumers are savvy enough yet to understand green concepts or what makes a product truly green. However, because the term is so nebulous I feel even industry insiders can’t agree on a proper definition. So you currently have products on the market that are using a lot of the terminology but might not be made in the most sustainable way.

AR/ There is a lot of economic potential in working with reclaimed materials—it just takes a bit more ingenuity and flexibility though. The potential for new, rewarding jobs around the planet is enormous. There is so much work to be done to clean up the messes we’ve made. When people focus their attention and energy in previously unexplored territories, they can do brilliant things, and when people do amazing things, there is money to be made. On a smaller scale, for me personally, the cost of basic materials to produce a sculpture are inconsequential. I get plastic bottles out of the recycling bin for free. People are willing to pay for my work because of the labor, love, and vision that goes into it, not the material.

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Describe some key trends emerging in reclaimed and recycled design.

DR/ I think the definition of green design is evolving as people are becoming increasingly educated. This is exciting for me as people move away from older notions of green design—things being made out of hemp or looking like a brown paper bag—to more sophisticated concepts. People’s expectations are starting to change and it’s starting to become more lifestyle oriented. You already have eco-fashion happening so it’s trickling into more areas. For example, our first line was eco-friendly tableware, and I don’t think that’s an area many people expect to see green design. I think reclaimed/recycled design going in a lot of different directions actually, but overall I think it’s moving away from crafty and handmade. There will always be a market for that and many of our upcoming pieces will still be unique and handmade. In terms of broader market trends I’d actually like to see it go into an area like consumer electronics. When I think about that fact that everyone has a cell phone, iPod, etc., it would be nice to see these items at the very least integrating recycled plastics and less energy intensive products. But that’s more of a wish than what I think will happen.

Aurora Robson’s Lift sculpture, made mostly from reclaimed PET bottles, solar powered LEDs, and motors.

Domestic Aesthetic’s Piazza dinner plate is made from sugar-cane fiber. Photo: Josh Wand.

LA/ The growth of interest in Mid-Century Modern styles shows the way. People are more interested in buying older stuff that is made well and designed with flair; new stuff has been commoditized by IKEA. There’s an interest in health and indoor air quality that will drive people away from new stuff made with formaldehyde back to older things. People will run from particleboard, vinyl, and glue to reclaimed and recycled things made from wood and metal. A return to craft. Just like with local food, one wants to look your farmer in the eye; the next big trend will be local design, where you look your craftsperson in the eye.

A TV box becomes an armchair. Designed by Diseño Cartonero.

OB-Z/ It seems that the next trends would relate to the integration of new technologies on reclaimed materials as this area is only starting to evolve and the visual freedom it offers could transcend the current reused visual.

RH/ Hopefully we will see further interest in the evolution of building envelopes and proper site orientation as well as passive techniques for heating and cooling. Passive House design is a great example of this trend. I also see the emergence of more and more buildings that are being designed for future disassembly.

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TRASHY COUTURE. Models strut the catwalk at Junk to Funkâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 2009 fashion show. 58

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from junk to funk “Junk to Funk is a collective of artists, designers and innovators using ‘trashion’ as a means to inspire people to think differently about waste, recycling, and consumption,” explains Lindsey Newkirk, creator and director of the Portland, Oregon-based fashion show. “These one-of-akind pieces of couture fashion created out of trash provide a unique approach in experiencing a provocative message.”

Photos: JOS photographers,

Junk to Funk began as a recycled fashion show contest in 2006 out of Newkirk’s passion for all things sustainable. The designers have a wide range of backgrounds and professions—from artists to costume designers— and all share the desire to explore recycling creatively. This year, Junk to Funk started Youth Trashion Art and Edutainment (spelling purposeful) programs, which include summer camp, after-school programs, and in-school, artistin-resident programs. “We felt that there was enormous potential to bring this creative and sustainability-based experience to kids,” Newkirk says. “The best place to create fundamental cultural change and responsible consumerism is in the attitudes and behaviors of our youth. What better way to promote this at an early age than by actually letting kids create as they become aware of the enormous potential for creative reuse through hands-on interaction?” Newkirk has also created a program for businesses, Trashion for Business, as well as established Trashion Event Entertainment, smaller versions of the recycled fashion show held at local events. Junk to Funk is growing rapidly, and if Newkirk has her way, it’ll soon be coming to a city near you.

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Is eco-friendly design a passing fad or is there lasting appeal?

PB/ I certainly hope that recycled/reclaimed design sticks around as a style. As a practical reality, reuse is necessary. If we keep going the way we’re going now, we’re going to fill up our landfills fast. We as Americans have an insatiable appetite for consuming stuff. The problem is that we don’t keep most of this stuff for very long. So it ends up in our landfills, sitting there for thousands of years. If we don’t continue to recycle and actually do more of it, the problem is going to get much much worse. I also think that many manufacturers have gotten more savvy and realized that there are cost savings and marketing benefits to using recycled materials. This will help recycled/reclaimed products stick around as well.

A playful project for Refunc: children enjoy a makeshift swing from used tires and gum tree poles in Mafikeng, South Africa.

AR/ I think people are getting better at problem solving in environmentally conscious ways. It is actually a fun challenge once you make it part of your operating system. Since we humans typically use such a small portion of our brains, adding a sense of environmental consciousness, I think, is becoming addictive to many people. It is like waking up, which is a gift we have every day. Once you wake up and get excited about all the new possibilities that you encounter in your new state of mind, going back to sleep becomes less seductive.

DR/ I really do think there’s longevity for eco-friendly design. I’m not interested in creating “cool” stuff; I’m interested in creating heirloom products. Much of why I think reclaimed/recycled design is successful or has longevity is because of the story behind each item. When the product exists in a larger context, it has meaning, and I believe people want to feel connected to things.

LA/ Disposable and cheap objects are made of cheap materials. Designers working in reclaimed and recycled materials are generally picking the best stuff and putting it together well, with less plastic and particleboard.

Measuring 40x40x16 feet, Aurora Robson’s “The Great Outdoors” is a larger-than-life ode to reclaimed design.


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How can gb&d readers begin to get involved with this movement?

PB: I’ve always said that the best way to start living a greener life is to start at home. It’s where you spend most of your time and where your loved ones are, which is great motivation. Start small so you don’t get overwhelmed. Every little bit helps. If you don’t currently recycle, start there. Take shorter showers. Buy products with less packaging. Bring bags to the grocery store. Two things that I think have a huge impact on the environment are to buy locally produced products (food or goods) and shop for vintage first. If everyone did this, the world would be a much greener place.

This cardboard pencil case (above) and magazine rack (below, right) from Diseño Cartonero evoke the charm of simplicity.

SM/ The 3R’s are always useful. Reduce what you use. Reconsider your needs: Do you really need a mobile phone? If so, do you need to change it every year or every six months? What about a hightech laptop or posh clothes? Reuse. Take creativity as a means to improve your quality of life.

AR/ Get a reusable water bottle and reuse it. Bring your own metal eating utensil with you when you go to work so that you don’t use any more plastic utensils. Use your purchasing power and brain together. Research things before you buy them so that you can determine if they are well made and if they will last, or if they will break and you will need to replace them. Environmentally and economically, it is better to buy something once and take care of it, honor it, make it last. Respect all the fossil fuel energy that went into producing your belongings and care for these things you surround yourself with, and subsequently, care for yourself, your family, and future generations. Purchase items at grocery stores and elsewhere that aren’t charging you more for excess packaging. Think about what you really need, what you really value, and how you want to be remembered. gb&d

LA/ We have to live in walkable and cyclable cities and towns and fix what we have instead of buying new. We have to move toward a zero-waste society where everything can be reused. We have to reuse, refill, repurpose, repair, restore, return, and refuse to buy things that that can only be landfilled or downcycled.

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Green-colored Glasses Oregon’s City of Roses has traded its rose-tinted lenses in favor of a cooperative, unified green front—the secret behind Portland’s sustainable success story story Julie Schaeffer contributions Amie Kesler

Shots of Glory. Clockwise: Portland’s skyline is punctuated with some of the country’s greenest icons, including the Central District’s The John Ross; a neglected brewery site turned vibrant neighborhood; the Trimet South Terminus; and Twelve West, the first building in the US to earn double LEED Platinum status.


nown for its DIY attitude, its collection of independently owned shops, and its bike culture, Portland, Oregon, is also recognized for its sustainability efforts, and more specifically, its sustainable buildings. Ranked by a string of popular publications as one of the greenest cities in the world, Portland has received national and international accolades for its forward-thinking culture and proactive approach to eco-friendly living and building.

In June 2010, gb&d took a trip to Portland to see for ourselves what the hype is all about and to explore this epicenter of sustainability. As we began our adventure, we asked ourselves, “What does living and building sustainably truly mean?” What does it look like? And how is this city setting an example for others across the globe? For three days, gb&d toured the City of Portland, from the Pearl District to the Southside Waterfront, speaking to more than a dozen renowned architects, engineers, consultants, and urban planners about how they view—and practice— sustainable design, and sought the answers to our questions. Ω

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Natural Born Leader On Southwest Market Street, between Southwest Fourth and Fifth Avenues on one of Portland’s most transited blocks, sits a longneglected, vacant brownfield. By 2015, the site will be home to the Oregon Sustainability Center, a 200,000-square-foot mixed-use high-rise that will generate its own energy, collect its own water, and produce no waste. It seems natural that such a building, part of the Living Building Challenge, would rise in Portland, a city of 600,000 that has recently come to be considered a leader in green design. The Living Building Challenge, operated by the International Living Building Institute, is moving beyond LEED and strives to push the envelope on sustainable design as we know it. Architects are challenged to create net-zero energy and net-zero water structures under its code—a rigorous standard that makes LEED Platinum look easy to achieve. Leading this movement is Portland’s own Cascadia Region Green Building Council. Founded in 2009 as a collaborative effort between

the USGBC and the CaGBC—and covering Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, and Alaska—it is one of the largest chapter branches in the United States. Many of the city’s architecture firms are known for their commitment to sustainability. Some, like SERA Architects, have in-house sustainability groups composed of employees with specific areas of expertise, such as mechanical engineers, daylighting experts, and skin specialists. And some, such as Zimmer Gunsul Frasca (ZGF) Architects, are collecting awards for their sustainable projects—in this case, praise for the country’s first double LEED Platinum building, Twelve West. What gb&d found during our tour of Portland is that its citizens and employees are not just “talking the talk,” but indeed “walking the walk.” And it might be added that this “walk” is a few steps ahead of the rest. Since its founding in 1845, Portland seems to have been tailor-made to be a leader in sustainability for the region. With accessibility to

TriMet South Terminus TriMet, which provides public transportation throughout the Portland Metropolitan Area, initially hired Hennebery Eddy Architects to find a unique way to place two utility buildings on the site that would serve as a link between Portland’s Union Station and Portland State University (PSU). The project was to include a substation and a communications building.

The new TriMet South Terminus may look like a giant panel of steel mesh draped over a concrete wall, but the 40-foot-tall structure is actually a federally funded, renewable-energy experiment that could dramatically influence urban transportation.

“We asked, ‘what would happen if we got prefabricated buildings and wrapped them in something unique?’” explains David Wark, principal at Hennebery Eddy Architects. From there the firm began looking at sustainable features. “We realized a photovoltaic panel needed to be a certain size to fit the urban landscape, so our thought was that the panel could form a screen that could hide the utility buildings and serve the building’s sustainability needs as well,” says Timothy Eddy, another principal. The result is a large, sculptural, steel-framework clad with coil drapery. The substation building is expected to produce most if not all of the power needed to operate the site, with a meter in the public plaza displaying energy generation and usage data. “The overall energy needs of the site are around 80 to 100 kilowatts,” Eddy says. “The facts and figures tend to shift, but the last calculations done on the array showed it produced 78 kilowatts without the vertical access turbines. We’re a beta site for the turbines, so we’re not sure where they’ll end up, but we think we’ll be net zero with both of them.” If current accolades are any indication, the building will get there. It’s already received an unbuilt merit award from the local AIA chapter.


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Federal Funding/ $1.2 million Location/ SW Jackson Street, between 5th and 6th avenues Size/ 27,000 square feet Owner/ Trimet ( Design/ Hennebery Eddy Architects ( Landscape/ Lango Hansen Landscape Architects (

Wind Turbines/ Oregon Wind (oregonwind. com) Steel Curtain/ Cascade Coil Drapery ( Metal Framework/ Liberty Steel Erectors Construction Manager/ Stacy and Witbeck ( General Contractor/ Kiewit Pacific (


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Twelve West Its rooftop turbines may be the obvious focal point of Twelve West (a mixed-use high-rise designed by ZGF Architects), but according to Dennis Wilde of Gerding Edlen Development, they’re just the frosting on the cake.

The building features a transparent, carefully articulated curtain wall that gives the building a thin and planar structural aesthetic.

Steve Strauss, president of Glumac, the engineering firm that worked on Twelve West, says it’s the only building in the country to be double LEED Platinum certified, for both LEED for New Construction and LEED for Commercial Interiors. That achievement landed it a place on the AIA Committee on the Environment’s (COTE’s) Top 10 Green Projects list—a first for a Portland firm or building. Besides the building-integrated wind turbines and strategic use of solar panels for maximum energy efficiency, much of the building’s concrete structure is exposed on the interior, providing thermal mass and minimizing the use of finish materials. Other green aspects of the project include the generous and thoughtful use of low-impact materials, such as wood that is salvaged or certified by the FSC, which abounds throughout the arresting structure, and a rainwater-collection system that provides for a significant portion of the building’s toilet-flushing needs.

price tag/ $137 million

Green Certification/ Double LEED Platinum

Size/ 552,000 square feet

Architect/ ZGF Architects (

Location/ SW Washington Street, between 13th and 12th avenues

Developer/ Gerding Edlen Development (

Completion Date/ July 2009

The building was created using a Scandinavian technology that controls the temperature through chilled beams.

Engineer/ Glumac (

A rainwater collection system irrigates the lush 6,000-squarefoot rooftop garden, which includes the Indigo rooftop seating area.

Wind Turbines Supplier/ Southwest Windpower (


These dramatic rooftop wind turbines— currently the only high-rise mounted turbines in the city—were a labor of love for ZFG Architects, but they actually only provide 9,000 kilowatt hours of energy yearly, roughly 1 percent of the building’s energy needs. Solar panels produce 15 times as much energy, plus about 24 percent of the building’s domestic hot water needs.

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green-colored glasses the Pacific Ocean and adjacent mountainous regions, Portland is surrounded by various transportation options: interstates that run in all four directions, an international airport, large marine shipping facilities, and an intercontinental railroad. Its inner-city transportation is also an extensive collection of buses (Trimet), a light rail (the MAX), streetcars, and bike routes. An estimated 8 percent of commuters bike to work. Legislation has played a role in the preservation of Portland’s surrounding greenery. In 1973, Oregon passed the Urban Growth Boundary, which is a law created to limit the boundaries of largescale growth in the state while also promoting the well being of both the urban and ex-urban areas. In addition to the Urban Growth Boundary, in 2005 more than 8,100 acres of ecologically valuable natural areas were purchased and permanently protected from development. Though protecting the surrounding natural land is valuable to Portland locals, preserving and improving the city’s buildings is just as much a concern. As of February 2010, the city was number two in the nation for its number of LEED buildings, with a total of 73, coming in just behind Chicago, which had 88.

Why Portland? If any building is “alive,” it is the Oregon Sustainability Center—not just for its sustainable features, but for the cooperation among developers, architects, and builders required to bring it to life. So what, we asked, made such an accomplishment possible in Oregon and not, say, Chicago, another leader in green building? The city wasn’t always as widely recognized as an innovator when it comes to sustainability, says Steffee Knudsen, project manager with THA Architecture, who also serves on the AIA Portland Committee on the Environment. “In the 1970s, there were people on the fringe who wanted to build straw-bale houses, but they were considered ‘quacky,’” she says. The LEED rating system, she continues, gave the industry a quantitative way to look at the energy efficiency, resource usage, and healthfulness of a building—and with each successive iteration of LEED, the USGBC has raised the bar. Today, “if you can’t get to LEED certified at absolutely no premium in your sleep, you’re not really trying,” Knudsen says. “Silver is considered a minimum; and it only takes a little effort to get to Gold.” So

South Waterfront Development, Phase 1: Central District As one of five pilot projects put in place by the Portland Sustainability Initiative (PoSI), the South Waterfront Development is part of a broader commitment to accelerate neighborhood sustainability. The $2.2 billion development—a partnership between the city of Portland, the Portland Development Commission, and a number of private businesses—converts an abandoned 38-acre industrial brownfield into mixed-use development including commercial and retail space, housing, and parks. The Central District is the first phase of the development, which upon completion will span approximately 140 acres. As of 2006, the project was the nation’s largest urban infill project. The Central District features a neighborhood garden, a river greenway integrating habitat for local wildlife, an urban tram, a central park, the first medical facility in the world to be built to LEED Platinum standards and the largest redevelopment in Portland’s history, mixed-use retail, and streetcar transportation to downtown Portland. Gerding Edlen Development and Williams & Dame Development co-developed the project, which also includes housing for approximately 5,000 residents in five buildings. Eventually, 20 high-rise buildings will be built on the entire waterfront site. Each block of the residential sector of the Central District (known as the River Blocks) was designed by a different architect: Robert Thompson designed the John Ross, a 31-story LEED Gold condominium tower with 303 units; Thomas Hacker designed Atwater Place, a 23-story LEED Silver condominium tower with 212 units; and Busby Perkins + Will Architects (in partnership with GBD Architects) designed the Meriwether, a pair of 21- and 24-story LEED Gold towers with 245 units. Besides the stunning residential and entertainment offerings, another vibrant part of the River Blocks is the Oregon Health & Sciences University’s Center for Health & Healing (OHSU). The 16-story center (see right) houses outpatient facilities, educational offices and research facilities, as well as a conference center, cafe and retail space.


MARCH 2011

Featuring two residential towers, The Meriwether was the pioneering project in the Central District. The LEED Silvercertified project was completed in 2006 and features 246 residential units with 7,725 square feet of retail space.

Price Tag/ $2.2 billion Location/ Along Willamette River, south of downtown Portland Size/ 38 acres Retail Space/ 150,000+ square feet Greenway/ 4 acres Co-developers/ Gerding Edlen Development (, Williams & Dame Development ( Master Architect/ GBD Architects ( Additional Entities/ The Portland Development Commission, Portland Parks and Recreation, Oregon Health & Science University, Urban Works Real Estate, and Realty Trust City

green-colored glasses

As of February 2010, Portland was number two in the nation for its number of LEED buildings, with a total of 73.

what makes Portland such a driver of the green movement—taking sustainability a step further even with the Living Building Challenge—despite its difficulty? According to Dennis Wilde, principal of Gerding Edlen and a board member of the Cascadia Green Building Council, Portland has one advantage other cities don’t: it’s not driven by an economic engine. “People move here because they’re looking for a particular lifestyle,”

Wilde says. “And because of that, there’s a conscious desire to keep the city as environmentally healthy as possible—and that makes it easier to engage people with sustainable design.” The result of that common lifestyle goal shows itself through a unique collaborative spirit among the Portland architectural community. “Even though Portland’s firms are all competing for projects, we want everyone to get better at green building because of the bigger mission,” Knudsen says, noting that many Portland firms communicate in an attempt to promote green practices and share lessons learned. The Oregon Sustainability Center is one example; another, says Knudsen, is the partnership between sustainable consulting firms like BrightWorks and Green Building Services (GBS), competitors that have made much of their proprietary research about green design and building available online and via speaking engagements. “I think that spirit of collaboration is unique to Portland, and it manifests itself beyond green building,” Knudsen says. “Portland is one of the only places in the country where if one architecture firm is getting slow and knows another firm that needs temporary help, it will loan out its staff instead of laying them off.”

The $160 million OHSU center was designed and developed by Gerding Edlen and GBD Architects to outperform Oregon energy code by 60%— while reducing its capital costs by 25%.


The Portland Aerial Tram, which connects the South Waterfront District to the Oregon Health & Science University campus on Marquam Hill, is the nation’s first urban tram to be built in 50 years.

MARCH 2011


green-colored glasses

bSIDE6 Bill Neburka, principal at Works Partnership Architecture, and Lance Marrs, principal realtor with Hasson Company, describe bSIDE6 as a practical and sensible take on sustainable urban design. Since its opening at one of Portland’s busiest intersections in 2009, bSIDE6 has served as a modern gateway into the Central Eastside. Pushing the boundaries on how three-dimensional a building facade can be, bSIDE6 offers tenants a new view with its asymmetrical design that creates a “tetris-like” feel and, with the help of slab extends, hangs 8 feet over the sidewalk below and offers unobstructed views to the east and west of Burnside Street. As a rather small commercial building, its design on the inside is somewhat simple in concept with an exposed post-tension concrete frame, polished concrete floors, column-free views, and floorto-ceiling glass windows. As Works Partnership Architecture’s first ground-up project, bSIDE6 received a grant from Metro, the region’s governmental body, to get the project on its feet for being completed near the proposed line for the streetcar expansion.

Price Tag/ $5.5 million Location/ 24 E Burnside Street

Architect/ Works Partnership Architecture (

Size/ 7 stories

Real Estate Developers/ Hasson Company Realtors (

Total Floor Area/ 27,000 square feet

Photos/ Stephen A. Miller

Completed/ 2009

Works Partnership received the Honor Award from AIA Portland in 2009, recognizing this project as one of the best architectural designs of the year.


As a mixed-use building, bSIDE6 houses retail spaces on the first floor and work-studio spaces on the remaining six stories above. Works Partnership Architecture has worked with local artists to offer economically sustainable exhibition space on the bottom floor as well.

The Central Eastside of Portland is a neighborhood with a rich history, and as bSIDE6 and other new projects in the area are proving, it is quickly emerging as one of the most dynamic areas in the city.

The dramatic design of bSIDE6 not only makes a statement, but it also serves a practical purpose in sheltering pedestrians below.


MARCH 2011

green-colored glasses


THA Architecture walked a fine line in the $20 million renovation of the Mercy Corps headquarters, ultimately designing an 85,000-square-foot space that consists of a new, modern building seamlessly connected to the historic remnant.

Mercy Corps International When Mercy Corps International decided it needed a new world headquarters, the nonprofit had its work cut out for it: the project was half renovation of a historic building and half creation of a new one. “Mercy Corps as an organization has a ton of integrity in terms of connecting its work to how it works,” says David Keltner, principal of THA Architecture, which designed the building. “So it wanted to do a project that would benefit the city by revitalizing a dead part of it.”

The stairwells within the Mercy Corps headquarters help facilitate an interactive workspace. Long landings allow people to stop and have conversations, and each person has the opportunity to experience the natural light coming from the large windows present throughout the entire facility.

To that end, Keltner says Mercy Corps decided to rehab a piece of Portland’s historic fabric, the dilapidated, circa 1892 Skidmore Fountain Building (also known as the Packer-Scott Building) and bring its 200 employees to the location to revitalize the community. With assistance from sustainability consultants Green Building Services and engineering firm Glumac, THA Architecture also designed the building to LEED Platinum standards, with environmental features such as rooftop solar panels, 3,800 square feet of planted rooftop, resource-friendly landscaping, and natural ventilation. In addition to their environmental benefits, these features are expected to reduce the building’s energy supply by 35 percent, its water use for irrigation by 50 percent, and its water use for flush-and-flow fixtures by 75 percent.

Price Tag/ $37 million


Location/ 28 SW First Avenue, in Historic Old Town Chinatown

Completed/ Summer 2009

Size/ 40,000-square-foot expansion, 42,000-squarefoot renovation/restoration

owner/developer/ Mercy Corps International ( Architect/ THA Architecture (

A highly efficient mechanical system resulted in energy cost savings of 36 percent and energy savings of 52 percent. Daylight and occupancy sensors on light fixtures reduce consumption and additional air ventilation is provided to improve indoor air quality.

Engineering firms/ ABHT Structural Engineers (, David Evans and Associates (, Glumac ( General Contractor/ Walsh Construction Company (

MARCH 2011


green-colored glasses

Oregon Convention Center In September 2008, the Oregon Convention Center (OCC) became the country’s first convention center to receive re-certification at a higher LEED rating—proving that, like many Oregon institutions, it is committed to remaining on the cutting edge of sustainability. In 2004, upon completion of the OCC’s expansion, it was certified in the LEED for Existing Buildings category. Now, as a result of capital and operational improvements, it’s been rated Silver in the same category. According to Brittin Witzenburg, sustainability coordinator at the center, sustainability at center is not just about architecture—it’s about use. The OCC encourages all of its partners, from suppliers to customers, to adopt sustainable practices. For example, the center has an extensive waste-recycling program, and its operations department continually works to improve the efficiency of the program. As a result of its aggressive waste management and recycling efforts, the center diverted 266 tons of material from landfills in fiscal year 2007–2008, an overall diversion rate of 43.6 percent, up by approximately 12 percent over the previous fiscal year—and it hopes to achieve an overall diversion rate of more than 50 percent in the 2008–2009 fiscal year.

With its twin green, glass-and-steel towers gracing the skyline, the expanded center is a larger-than-life symbol of the city’s commitment to green building.

The OCC is situated on the banks of the Willamette River and spans 18 city blocks.

Expansion (south side)

Original Building (north side)

price tag/ $118 million

price tag/ $90 million

Size/ 470,000 square feet

Size/ 500,000 square feet

Completion Date/ April 1, 2003

Completion Date/ September 21, 1990

Green Certification/ LEED-EB Silver, making it the first US convention center to receive this rating for an existing building

Designer/ ZGF Architects (

Engineering Firm/ McKinstry ( KPFF ( Designer/ ZGF Architects (

Construction Manager/ Turner Construction (, Metro ( General Contractor/ Hoffman/Marmalejo Joint Partners

Landscape Architect/ Mayer-Reed ( Construction Manager/ Karl Schultz General Contractor/ Hoffman Construction (



MARCH 2011

green-colored glasses

Gaining Momentum Even a dearth of opportunities due to a housing market slowdown and credit crunch have not limited the city’s commitment to staying on the cutting edge of sustainability. “We’ve been pushing the envelope since we became interested in sustainable design and will continue to do so,” Wilde states assertively. “We believe you can never rest on your laurels; every project is an opportunity to do more.” One timely example is addressing financing challenges. According to Jay Coalson, president and CEO of the aforementioned GBD, there just aren’t many new construction projects available, meaning today many of the city’s green efforts focus on renovation. In response to a focus on the improvement of existing buildings, Gerding Edlen has launched an investment fund, Green Cities, with the goal of buying old buildings, making them green, and either holding or selling them. In December 2009, the firm registered the fund with the US Securities and Exchange Commission to raise $500 million. As of July 2010, five investors have joined the fund, which requires a minimum investment of $5 million, and the fund has total assets upwards of $45 million. So what is the next step for sustainability in Portland? According to many of our sources—legislation. “One of the things that disappoints me about the green-building industry is that a lot of what we hear about these ‘great, green buildings’ is just hype,” laments Steve Straus, president of Glumac, an international engineering company developed around the basis of ecological engineering. “You actually don’t see what the numbers are, and sometimes the actual energy efficiency is not nearly what we originally thought it would be. The Eugene, Oregon, Federal Courthouse, for example, operates at 44 percent below ASHRAE’s recommendations for energy consumption and 25 percent lower than we modeled it.” Coalson, arguing that although LEED and incentive programs have been positive for green building, climate change is just happening at too dramatic a rate, says, “I’m not sure we can wait for people to learn to do the math well.” “There are always going to be the people who want to build it the cheapest and fastest,” Knudsen adds. “It’s only through legislation that [other builders and architects] will be forced to come around, and it’s only when that segment comes around that you can even the playing field enough.”

“If you can’t get to LEED certified at absolutely no premium in your sleep, you’re not really trying.” —Steffee Knudsen, Project Manager, THA Architecture

Proving that all of Portland’s green-minded design community is on the same page, Coalson again agrees. “Waiting for people to get on board may not generate the level of change we need to create, so I think we need to look hard at putting more rigor in our building code that forces people to catch up,” he adds. “After all, development—taking a public space and converting it into profit-bearing opportunity—is a privilege.”

Final Thoughts Portland offers a unique view of city living that most cities can only aspire to. Overall, the ones leading its building movement have a perspective that focuses on protecting both the city and its environment all in one,—unified vision that started there long before it did in other cities around the country, giving Portland the opportunity to gain a solid lead. The urban developers and architectural and design firms likewise pulling Portland forward are also unique in themselves. They are leading the research to push the healthy building envelope; they are using their own offices as experiments for this research; and most importantly they are sharing this knowledge with each other in a collaborative way that facilitates growth and innovation. Portland is an incubator for sustainability—one that seems unmatched. From institutions like the Cascadia Region Green Building Council to the ReBuilding Center, the largest nonprofit of its kind that offers a plethora of reused building materials for local artists and architects to buy, and even down to its restaurants (like Noble Rot and Urban Farmer) and hotels (like The Nines and Courtyard by Marriott at the Portland City Center), sustainability in Portland is not just a thought—it is an action. And it is ingrained into every aspect of living, building, and design found in this Pacific Northwest haven. All in all, it lives up to its hype. gb&d

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Opening Act. Talk about delivering drama: the newly renovated and expanded Taastrup Theater in Copenhagen, Denmark, connects the exterior and interior of the 1970s building for a unified voice. Turn to p. 102 for a closer look at COBEâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s design. Photo: Stamers Kontor. 72

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MARCH 2011


/live Casitas on broadway

the golden years With the support of a vibrant academic community, architect Thomas McQuillen of Lizard Rock Designs turns an abandoned car dealership into sustainable senior housing

by Matt Alderton

Although there’s a dearth of trees in the desert, architect Thomas McQuillen saw plenty of green when he moved to Arizona from New York in 1996. In fact, that’s what brought him there and what led to his current project, Casitas on Broadway, a complex of low-income, senior residences. In ’96, when his wife, a former professor at Columbia University, was hired to start an education program at Biosphere 2 in Oracle, Arizona, just north of Tucson, McQuillen followed her there, more than willing to trade Manhattan’s skyscrapers for Arizona’s mountaintops. A 3.15-acre, artificial, closed ecosystem—the largest ever built—Biosphere 2 debuted in 1991 and has since played host to dozens of experiments in everything from agriculture and nutrition to biology and psychology. Now managed by the University of Arizona, it serves as a laboratory for global climate change and is therefore an ideal backdrop for the Southwest’s burgeoning green-building movement. OPPOSITE PAGE: Inside Casitas on Broadway: (TOP LEFT) A peek inside the living room featuring windows made of recycled materials; (TOP RIGHT) courtyards were added to the building plan in an effort to let light into the buildings; (CENTER) a panaromic shot of the front of the building, which managed to meet both LEED and HUD requirements; (BOTTOM) fiftyseven units comprise the 42,000-square-foot development in the historic Sam Hughes neighborhood of Tucson, Arizona.


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“I actually got my initial introduction to green design at my previous firm, which did a master plan for a new campus at the Biosphere,” McQuillen says. “Because it was promoting ecological stewardship and educational goals that had to do with preserving the environment, they wanted to make the campus as green as possible with a minimal amount of intrusion into the environment. So, we held a series of workshops with the academic staff to identify characteristics of the site that were important to preserve—we talked about everything from wildlife corridors to waste-water treatment—and that was my first real immersion in green issues.” It was his first, but not his last. In 2001, McQuillen left the architectural firm he worked for to become a solo practitioner. A year later he founded Lizard Rock Designs, a multidisciplinary firm that specializes in senior living, health care, public works and—more and more—green design. “When I worked on the Biosphere, I got a strong

taste for green design, but I didn’t really get the opportunity to incorporate it into my projects until recently,” says McQuillen, whose company now has 12 employees and more than $2 million in annual sales, driven by projects ranging in size from $100,000 to more than $20 million. “In the last three to five years we’ve had a number of clients come to us with an interest in doing projects that have a green component.” McQuillen’s most recent green project is Casitas on Broadway, a 1.6-acre apartment complex that’s as much about people as it is the planet. The $5.5 million project commenced in 2005 and concluded in fall 2010, when the lowincome residents moved into the 57 units that comprise the 42,000-square-foot development in Tucson’s historic Sam Hughes neighborhood. The project didn’t start out green. Instead, it started out black—the color of the charred remains that were left behind on the site of an abandoned car dealership. When the car dealership moved across town, the city purchased the land so it could later widen the street that runs alongside it. McQuillen was hired to perform a feasibility study in collaboration with the local community, members of which wanted the site to be occupied by a senior-living facility. “What they didn’t want was something like an office or a mixed-use development that would be unoccupied after business hours,” says McQuillen, who worked on the project along with a nonprofit developer, Joy Taylor, and two community groups that specialize in urban housing: Tucson Housing Foundation and Catholic Community Services. Together, the team applied for and received a grant from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as part of its Section 202 “Supportive Housing for the Elderly” program. “At that point, there was still no discussion about it being a green project,” McQuillen says. “The neighborhood wanted to have input, however—I met with them probably 20 or 30 times over the course of the project—and they eventually brought up the fact that they’d like to make the project green and get it LEED certified. It’s a pretty progressive neighborhood, and they decided it was just the right thing to do.” It was not the easy thing to do, however, as HUD closely regulates the size, cost, and specifications of its buildings, and does not make concessions or provide extra funds for green construction. To reconcile HUD’s requirements with the neighborhood’s requests, McQuillen therefore had to approach Casitas—now the first LEED-certified Section 202 project—carefully and creatively. “We identified everything we could do that would both improve the building and get us LEED points, and do it at minimal cost,” he says. “One of our community partners called it ‘LEED on a budget.’”


Photos: Cooperthwaite Photography.

Lizard Rock Designs

space Casitas on Broadway type Low-income senior housing location Tucson, AZ square footage 42,000 completion Fall 2010 green certification LEED Gold unique fact The projectâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s green strategies were skillfully added despite inherent tension between LEED requirements and HUD guidelines

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Lizard Rock Designs

“We identified everything we could do that would both improve the building and get us LEED points. One of our community partners called it ‘LEED on a budget.’” —Thomas McQuillen, Principal

Designed to reach basic LEED certification, the final project was certified Gold thanks to low- and no-cost features such as its density, location, use of an existing infill site, high-efficiency mechanical systems, low-water usage, and native-plant landscaping. Of course, not all LEED points are as easy to earn as “location” and “density.” While Casitas features energy-efficient spray-foam insulation, as well as windows made with recycled materials, both items had to be specially approved by a HUD reviewer because they run counter to standard HUD specifications. And then there’s the issue of natural light, which is prized in LEED design but scarce in the typical HUD 202. “HUD has ratios of how much common space you can provide in relation to the number of units you have,” McQuillen

says. “It’s actually very restrictive, and it makes it difficult to create a building where there’s a lot of natural light. The typical HUD 202 building is a double-loaded corridor; we opened that up by adding courtyards to let light into this long corridor that runs the length of both buildings. Also, there’s an area on the second floor where we needed to create egress out of the building, so we created a wider egress that became a roof deck with tremendous views of the mountains to the north and west. Because it’s egress, that’s not counted as common space.” For an architect like McQuillen, designing a building on a budget that pleases LEED as much as it pleases HUD is like a solving a puzzle. It’s challenging, but it’s also rewarding—especially when the resulting structure is a healthy home for folks who truly need one. “I’ve been doing senior-living work for 10 to 15 years, and I’ve seen some things that are just appalling,” McQuillen says. “That’s one of the reasons I’m interested in this type of work. It seems to me that this is one of those areas where green design can have a really positive impact, since older people have so many health and respiratory issues. Because they spend so much time there, the residents in a facility like this are really impacted by LEED and green design—hopefully in a really positive way.” gb&d

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MARCH 2011

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accessible alternatives At Palter/Donzelli Design, homeowners have more than one path to sustainability, and a San Francisco residence provides a trail map for Build It Green’s new rating

by Jon Langston

Nick Palter of Palter/Donzelli Design understands the maze-like method to the madness of green design. Sustainability is a goal with numerous paths, an end with a number of means. As owner of a residential-design firm and architect behind a stunningly green remodel in San Francisco’s Marina District, Palter encourages all his clients to use renewable materials, natural lighting, recycled water and energy, and so on. “I prefer working with the residential clients because I feel like I’m having an impact on people’s lives,” he says from his office in San Francisco’s Mission-Castro District. “And I always push my clients to incorporate green features.”

Top: In contrast to its exterior, the interior remodeling of this 1936 Tudor Revival home reflects a modernindustrialist aesthetic. Below: Boasting a 32% improvement over California’s tough 2008 Title 24 energy requirements, the project sets the bar high for green residential remodels.

But Palter also knows that achieving LEED for Homes certification—that is, applying predominantly commercial standards to residential construction—is an imperfect, and expensive process. “LEED was originally conceived to address the inherently more complicated and sophisticated nature of commercial construction,” he says. “In my mind, LEED for Homes kind of eliminates the common homeowner.” He’s not alone in his thinking. Palter is a member of Build It Green, a membership-supported, Bay Area nonprofit established in 2003. By providing services like professional training, consumer education, collaboration forums, and green-product marketing to designers, builders, and homeowners, Build It Green’s mission is to promote energy- and resource-efficient homes throughout California. To that end, Build it Green established GreenPoint Rated, a point-based program specifically tailored to residential construction that provides objective, third-party accreditation to homes that helps consumers recognize green features and understand green benefits. Trained and certified raters, of which Palter is one, evaluate new and existing homes (different standards apply) to determine if they meet standards in four environmental categories: energy efficiency, indoor air quality, resource conservation, and water conservation.

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Palter/Donzelli Design

“A lot of what you hear about in green building is hype.” —Nick Palter, Owner

“Both ratings systems are addressing the same things,” Palter says. “The main difference with LEED for Homes is that the cost of application/certification is far higher than GPR. LEED-certified residential buildings represent the top 5 or 10 percent of residential construction in terms of cost; in the Bay Area, you’re talking about multimillion-dollar homes. The GPR program is far more attainable to the common homeowner with a much lower entry threshold.”

ABOVE: The entry and hallyway of the Marina District home, a project whose scope was continually expanded by the owner. The modern interior stands in tension with the historic exterior.

Palter believes his latest project, the remodel and seismic upgrade of the Marina District home, will achieve one of the highest GreenPoint Rated scores ever. Palter and his team took the interior of the 1936 Tudor Revival home “down to the studs,” reconditioning it to an exacting set of specifications. “The owner, an environmental film producer, kept expanding the scope of the project,” he explains. “Because the house is identified as historically significant, the city wouldn’t let us mess with the exterior. But the modern-industrialist approach to the interior is quite unique.”

Contact: Jose Rodriguez (415) 726-1800 Victor Rodriguez (415) 999-0325

Green features include FSC-certified lumber, a solar-thermal collector coupled to a Phoenix natural-gas water heater, a 2.5 kilowatt photovoltaic system, and natural-gas, high-efficiency, forced-air heating, among other green elements. The result is a 32.4-percent improvement over California’s tough 2008 Title 24 energy requirements. But a complete gut-job isn’t always necessary. “A lot of what you hear about in green building is hype,” Palter admits. “For example, bamboo flooring is all the rage these days, because it’s a fast-growing material, so it’s easily renewable. But what people forget is that 99 percent of bamboo has to be shipped here from China. “California builders have used western red oak for flooring for years,” he continues, “because it’s durable, inexpensive, and looks great. So bamboo might be green in the sense that it’s renewable, but think about it: much of western red oak is grown, processed, bought, and sold right here in California.” Palter does have his limits, however. “It’s a matter of educating your clients, and trying to keep them away from things that are really bad, like sheet-vinyl flooring,” he laughs. “Environmentally or aesthetically, there are no redeeming qualities to sheet vinyl.” gb&d


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MARCH 2011

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selective mentality Denver-based Associates III puts quality of work over quantity, and its focus on smaller, healthier homes has earned it a loyal, global clientele

by Zipporah Porton

Having recently celebrated the firm’s 40th anniversary, Kari Foster, the owner of Associates III, believes that longevity has occurred due to the fact that her team is made up of overachievers who love what they do. Associates III opened its doors for business in 1971, and less than a week later, Foster, who also serves as a principal designer, joined the team. “Associates III has always held a team mentality, which the name supports by encompassing more than just a single designer’s name on the door,” Foster says. With just four employees in the first year, the number of workers at Associates III has fluctuated, never reaching higher than 18. With 11 current members, Foster prefers to keep the team small. “Many years ago we made a conscious decision to remain a small, heartfelt company,” Foster says. “We felt compelled to focus on quality of work and life without the pressures of having to accept work in order to feed the machine.” While the number of employees might not be increasing, Foster describes the firm as always growing, with a design library that is constantly expanding, in addition to the firm’s increasing knowledge of new technology and the latest sustainability guidelines from LEED. OPPOSITE PAGE: TOP LEFT: Integral plaster walls; farmed teak with natural finishes; and all-natural silk, cotton, and chenille fabrics distinguish this guest bedroom. TOP RIGHT: This comfortable reading nook features concrete floors covered by a Fair Trade area rug. BOTTOM RIGHT: The vibrant area rugs set the tone for the rich and interesting combinations of color, pattern, and texture of the furnishings for a hotel renovation.


MARCH 2011

From the start, Associates III had “green leanings” and was aware of the solar movement and alternative design. Additionally, Foster reports that the firm’s design selections were always made with durability and longevity in mind. However, it wasn’t until the late 1990s that the company unanimously decided to focus on sustainable design. “It didn’t happen overnight,” says Foster of the firm’s green focus. “We came together as a team and created several task forces focused on greening the different areas of our business—from our office to our specifications to working with our manufacturers.” When Associates III decided to explore its green options, there was some resistance to the notion. “We really had to sell the architects, clients, subcontractors, and especially builders on the value of this direction,” Foster says.

“The best part is that some of the initial skeptics are now the biggest supporters of the green building movement. We’re thrilled that our gamble paid off, too—now people are coming to us because of our focus on sustainability.” Now that everyone is on board, the firm incorporates sustainable features in every project it takes on. “We don’t see sustainability as separate from our projects, as it’s become thoroughly assimilated with who we are and what we do,” Foster says. She sees environmental responsibility as the core of the company; it informs the firm’s actions both professionally and personally. In the office there are eco-friendly and recycled finish materials, green cleaning products under the sink, and the greenest office supplies available in the Denver area. For projects, Associates III selects finishes and furnishings with a host of criteria in mind that ultimately contribute to healthy and sustainable designs. Foster pinpoints the firm’s sustainable turning point to a home that was designed 11 years ago for a client who had a daughter with severe allergies. Associates III had the responsibility to select interior finishes and furnishings for the home that would not cause the girl to react negatively but instead create pristine indoor air quality. The job site needed to be immaculate and heightened awareness was required from everyone involved. “This particular project was a learning experience focused on health issues and education,” Foster explains. “Beyond this project, we find that each project has different goals and something to teach us.” In the pipeline, the designers at Associates III are excited to be working on a number of smaller homes with the same quality finishes and furnishings compared to larger homes that have been designed in the past. Currently, the firm is working on a tiny, multiuse project that has a greenhouse component and a commercial kitchen, enabling the clients to share the fruits of their permaculture garden. Foster’s ultimate goal and the key to the firm’s success can be found in its mission: providing interior designs that are beautiful, healthy, and nurturing. This, in conjunction with a hardworking team dedicated to producing quality design, has enabled Associates III to attract a world-class caliber of clientele from all over the world. gb&d

A MESSAGE FROM GALLEGOS From all of us at Gallegos, we congratulate Kari Foster and the team at Associates III for 40 years of creating amazing interior spaces, and leading the industry in green design. We are pleased to be involved with the designers who have skill, talent, passion and understand customers’ changing aesthetics. We look forward to many more years working alongside Associates III.

Associates III


“We felt compelled to focus on quality of work and life without the pressures of having to accept work in order to feed the machine.” —Kari Foster, Owner & Principal Designer

MARCH 2011



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214 W. Cooper

engineering a presence Theodore K Guy Associates exhibits the benefits of merging architecture and engineering in the conversion of a 1970s duplex

keeps the efficiency of systems in mind from the beginning. “Just having an engineering culture/presence with the office space requires our staff and design team to think through the structure of our designs as they are being conceived,” Bucchin says. “Since structural design is integrated from the start, it allows us to work through the structural design and systems before we get too committed to a particular architectural direction, thus preventing us from wasting our fees or our client’s construction dollars on an inefficient or costly system.”

An adaptive reuse project that benefited from this expertise and foresight is 214 W. Cooper, in Aspen, Colorado. The project involved converting a 30-year-old vertical duWhile many architecture firms hire engineers to provide plex into a single-family residence. “This project had siginput on structural design and systems for their design nificant land-use limitations, and tearing down the buildprojects, Colorado-based Theodore K Guy Associates PC ing completely would have meant the loss of a signifi(TKGA) has the upper hand as it provides clients integratcant amount of floor area, since the zoning for the lot had ed architecture and structural engineering services in adchanged since it was originally constructed,” Bucchin says. dition to the most current sustainable technologies. “Having structural engineering in-house has several advantages “Since this was a 1970s duplex, there was not much apprewhen compared to a traditional architecture-only practice,” ciation for some of the modern amenities that our Aspen says Mike Bucchin, a partner at the firm, which specializes clientele expect…like high ceilings.” in residential developments and single-family homes for Since the firm was unable to make the house taller and almountain towns. lowed a limited amount of structural changes to the exterior, it decided to underpin the entire house with a new lowTo begin, whereas some architects may draft design plans er-foundation wall. The team removed all interior floor and begin execution only to discover it won’t work strucsystems to make each story approximately 18 inches taller turally, TKGA considers the structural design first and by Kelly Matlock

ABOVE: Income restricted housing in Carbondale, CO, with solar-thermal collectors under construction.

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Theodore K Guy Associates

“Since structural design is integrated from the start, it allows us to work through the structural design and systems before we get too committed to a particular architectural direction.”

Guy mentions that the firm has used its integrated structural capacity to facilitate other adaptive-reuse projects in the historic core of Aspen as well: the Cantina Building received a new basement, the Brand Building achieved ADA compliance for ground-floor retail and a new basement, and an old grocery store turned nightclub was gutted and became a high-end retail outlet for Prada.

—Mike Bucchin, Partner

The firm also designed Bucchin’s own residence in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, which features green elements like SIPs, reclaimed materials, solar orientation, solarthermal panels, and a radiant hydronic heating system that runs on electricity. Moving forward, the firm wants to continue integrating its engineering and design services to provide clients with more efficient designs, both structurally and aesthetically, and incorporate new sustainable technologies into adaptive-reuse work to salvage old buildings and, in turn, save resources and energy. “We feel that the industry will be moving toward smaller homes, more efficient homes with multifunctional spaces and places, and more thoughtful and intentional designs,” Guy explains. “There will also be much more adaptive reuse as a result of the current economy and the increased awareness of the need for better stewardship of this increasingly crowded planet.” gb&d

and converted a partially flat, trussed roof structure into a vaulted stick-framed roof—without ever removing the existing roof. “These modifications significantly increased the value of the property,” Bucchin notes, “and maintained the existing floor area without making the building any larger or taller.” Though the firm’s adaptive-reuse projects are inherently green for recycling existing buildings that would otherwise be destroyed, the firm also has designed and engineered several types of environmentally friendly projects for repeat clients like Aspen Skiing Company. Holiday House is the first multifamily LEED Platinum-certified building in Colorado; the affordable-housing project includes 30 modular, single-family residences and eight low-income apartments, which feature solar-thermal collectors to reduce monthly utility costs. An additional perk of offering combined architectural and structural-engineering expertise is the ability to brainstorm and think through a variety of design options without needing to wait for consultation from outside engineers on whether a design plan will work structurally. “It creates an opportunity for us to be more creative in solving complex buildings, remodels, or details,” Ted Guy, president, explains. “Since we are working side by side, we can very quickly think outside the box and study several potential solutions in very little time. This allows us more time to work through the aesthetic side of the problem, since solving the structural side is addressed first.” Because the firm doesn’t need to revolve its schedule around consultants, it also reduces the time it takes to complete projects. “Often, in a traditional architectureonly practice, your deadline to complete a set of drawings is influenced by your consultants’ availability and schedule,” Bucchin says. “By reducing the consultants needed on a project by one, you can produce your drawing packages more quickly for your clients.” An additional benefit of integration is the ability to find potential solutions for older buildings.






MARCH 2011

spaces/live Judson park + La paloma

age-old practices Even after 25 years, Irwin Partners Architects retains its commitment to functional senior housing, proving that, like its clients, the firm is only getting better with age

by Thalia A-M Bruehl

Every day 8,000 more members of the US population reach the age of 60. Irwin Partners Architects is primed to meet the challenge. Originally established in 1966 by Carl Irwin, the firm—originally called Irwin Architectural Group—provides an array of architectural services to a variety of sectors. By 1985, the firm’s focus had shifted exclusively to improving the design of senior care environments, and today it is just as dedicated to the senior bracket as it was 25 years ago. “Over the firm’s rich, 40-year history, we have built a record of experience in senior housing unmatched in California,” says Brian Dawson, AIA, LEED AP, and partner at Irwin Partners Architects. “A long list of national awards speaks to the innovation that we can bring to each new project. Our satisfied long-term clients have helped create a steady workload that averages 50–75 projects a year.” Many of the practice’s recent projects have been Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs). CCRCs provide care and services for seniors as they age; at a minimum, they provide independent living, assisted living, and memory care, as well as nursing care. They can be owned and operated by for-profit or nonprofit groups and tend to be highly amenitized to provide complete dining services and numerous lifestyle options. “These projects are constructed on sites ranging from 5 to 10 acres and are in the range of 200,000 square feet,” Dawson says, noting that the cost per square foot varies by location and level of finish. Two illustrative projects are Judson Park, in Des Moines, Washington, and La Paloma, in Cathedral City, California. The former project features 64 apartment homes with amentities just off the Puget Sound, and the latter offers similar features but in a very different locale.

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Irwin Partners Architects

“Over the firm’s rich, 40-year history, we have built a record of experience in senior housing unmatched in California.” —Brian Dawson, Partner

PREVIOUS PAGE: Judson Park’s unique Vshaped design provides all residents in the new independent living addition with unobstructed views of the Puget Sound. ABOVE: La Paloma, a CCRC east of Los Angeles, will offer its 209 residents a desert contemporary architectural style featuring clean lines in natural Earth colors.


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In the years since its inception, Irwin Partners Architects found its way into senior housing organically. When the firm was first founded in the ’60s, its initial clients were churches. “Churches were among the first to begin providing service-enriched housing for people as they age. Today, the firm focuses exclusively on designs that enrich the aging process, be it an Active Adult community or an Alzheimer’s facility,” Dawson says. This natural progression led the firm to CCRCs like La Paloma or the new San Joaquin Gardens in Fresno, California, a state-of-the-art facility with 213 independent-living units, 24 memory-support units, and 56 assisted-living units. “I would like people to understand that programming a CCRC is very complex with many code and programmatic issues. We are called frequently to ‘fix’ a design that looks wonderful but does not function. As is turns out, the

architecture is the easy part; the hard part is making an efficient building,” explains Dawson, whose LEED experience has been an asset in convincing many centers to go green. Irwin Partners Architects is currently constructing its second LEED-eligible CCRC and has always applied as many sustainable techniques as possible. It also encourages all of its clients to continue working green initiatives into their buildings. As a member of the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging and the National Council on Senior Housing, among others, Irwin Partners Architects has continued its dedication to the senior community, which has won it multiple awards from the National Associations of Homebuilders, as well as the Project of the Year Sage Award and the Affordable Active Adult Condominiums Sage Project of the Year. gb&d A MESSAGE FROM MISSION LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE For the past ten years, Mission Landscape Architecture has been proudly growing its portfolio of services in the realm of Landscape Architecture. MLA’s talent for aligning projects with client vision, shines in their newest completed project; Valencia Terrace in Corona, CA. Collaborating with Kisco Senior Living and Irwin Pancake Dawson Architects, MLA incorporated the needs and functions of an Active Adult Living Community showcasing their ability to synthesize vision, design, and function in working through development of the project from its initial stages of site planning and concept design, preparing construction documents, and providing oversight throughout its implementation.

spaces/live Watson carriage house

close collaborators The founder of Green Mountain Construction builds relationships with likeminded clients and contractors to create green spaces of the highest quality

by Zipporah Porton

Green Mountain Construction was formed in 2008 initially as a construction firm to handle Owner Robert Johnson’s personal investments. Prior to opening his own business, Johnson started out on the ground floor of a high-end design firm as a carpenter. With continued effort and growth, Johnson helped the company become a top producer in the area. In 2009, Johnson left his job as the vice president of the design firm he had been with for 13 years in order to focus on his own construction business as demand for his residential work increased. In the beginning, Johnson performed all tasks for Green Mountain. He has since added one full-time employee who works in the field and two part-time employees who are stationed in the office. “We rely heavily on a close-knit group of subcontracted people,” says Johnson, who is a LEED AP. “I spent the last decade developing these relationships and have done enough business with most of them to produce a very consistent product without the overhead associated with carrying them as employees.” Though Johnson believes that each project has parts and pieces that, taken together, set the bar for the company, the Watson Carriage House is one that stands out from the rest. Located about 8 miles south of Charlottesville, Virginia, Johnson enjoyed working with the Watson Carriage House because it was different from a standard garage project. “We had a great architect involved with the carriage house, and an owner who was open to new ideas and a variety of products,” Johnson says. “We made many on-site design and materials decisions that really turned out nicely. The owner wanted quality products, and it is nice to work with someone excited about creating a quality green space.” The Watson Carriage House consists of a three-bay garage on the first level, with one bedroom, a loft, a bathroom, a kitchen, and great room above. The house comprises 1,000 square feet of finished space with a covered

two-story timber frame porch overlooking a private lake. Its green features include reclaimed oak flooring, reclaimed pine beams and a pine mantel, locally quarried gravel, low-VOC paints, a high-efficiency heat pump with an energy recovery unit, a tankless water heater, high-efficiency windows, and spray-foam insulation. Up next, Green Mountain is focusing on a large basement renovation of a 1930s city house in Charlottesville. The owners are interested in sustainable products, and the firm will be working with a new, subcontracted design firm.

ABOVE: Interior of the Watson Carriage House, showing reclaimed oak floors and the loft area with reclaimed heartpine beams. Photo: ©Jennifer Byrne.

Sustainable from the start, the company name stems from the firm’s efforts to be green and the fact that the Charlottesville office is surrounded by beautiful mountains. “The company has always followed sustainable practices, and we continue to implement new ideas as products develop and clients request them,” says Johnson. “The idea of building smaller, well-planned spaces with quality materials just made sense. Do it once and do it right.”

MARCH 2011



Green Mountain Construction

RIGHT: The carriage house’s east elevation shows the timberframed porch, which used ESP lumber, and large overhangs to protect the doors. Photo: Robert Johnson.

“The idea of building smaller, well-planned spaces with quality materials just made sense. Do it once and do it right.” —Robert Johnson, Owner

Some elements Green Mountain Construction incorporates on every project include promoting reclaimed products such as floors and architectural pieces; using paints, sealants, and adhesives with extremely low or no VOCs; advocating products that have high recycled content; using FSC lumber and other products; using local trades people and local materials whenever possible; focusing on air quality during and after construction; and recycling nearly all construction waste. Though Green Mountain Construction is a fairly new company, Johnson has been in the industry for decades and feels his firm is on “a steady growth curve both in volume of work produced as well as size of the company.” While Johnson attributes some of his company’s success to its sustainable focus, he also believes it is due to a few other simple factors. “We believe in what we do and promote, we do what we say we will do, and we do it when we say we will do it,” says Johnson. “Somehow this simple practice of treating people how you want to be treated has gotten lost in the world, and especially in our industry.” gb&d


MARCH 2011

Green Mountain Construction, LLC

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Gast Architects office

home brew On the top floor of a previously derelict industrial building, Gast Architects turns a former brewery into offices that spark creative imaginings at every turn by David Hudnall

“We spend a lot of time talking with clients up front, finding out who they are, what they desire, how the home they want us to design fits into their life,” says David Gast, principal of San Francisco’s Gast Architects, whose own offices offer a peek inside the firm’s brilliant portfolio. “Neighborhood patterns, climate, terrain, wind, views, solar exposure—all these are factors that provide context. A lot of energy is put into creating a timeless design that will last, that won’t soon be outdated, and that’s durable and low-maintenance. And that naturally leads into talking about other sustainability opportunities.” Gast’s firm has been around for 30 years now, specializing in high-end residential projects, mostly in the San Francisco Bay Area. It’s a fertile region for sustainable

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Gast Architects

space Gast Architects Offices location 355 11th Street, San Francisco completion 2008 green certification LEED-NC Gold unique features A planted roof surrounds a rooftop deck, which includes an edible garden of berries and vegetables and serves company gatherings and barbecues unique fact As a rowing enthusiast, David Gast chose to hang a handcrafted racing scull from the ceiling to fit in with the wood-filled, natural decor

design, and Gast Architects accordingly boasts five LEED APs, two of whom are also Build It Green-certified professionals. “But really, we’re not about the flashy green features,” says Dennis Budd, an architect and associate at the firm. “A well-insulated and ventilated building delivers greater overall benefit than solar PVs on the roof.” Gast continues, “Once we have an idea of context from a client, then it’s about basic sustainable ideas: how the building is sited, how does it relate to the sun, does the roof provide shading, is natural ventilation appropriate, is the home protected from winds and storms. From there, we get into indoor air quality; recycled, reusable or renewable, and locally sourced materials; and energy-efficient and water-conserving systems.” This philosophy is embodied in a space that is not residential: Gast Architects’ new office space, which is housed in a LEED Gold-certified historic warehouse, 355 11th Street, which was included as one of AIA/COTE Top Ten Green Projects in 2010. It was previously part of a brewery complex that shut down during the Prohibition era. The firm’s space in the building features a daylighting system that balances natural daylight and electrical illumination; bamboo floors; FSC-sourced and recycled lumber; a countertop made from recycled paper content; a 10-kilowatt photovoltaic system; and a hydronic heating system. “We really enjoy the aspect of working with an old building and strengthening its historic bones while inserting relatively contemporary elements,” Gast


MARCH 2011

PREVIOUS PAGE: The former historic brewery, re-envisioned as an open studio, features daylighting and natural ventilation from windows on four sides and operable skylights, which is supplemented by automated, highefficacy lighting. TOP: Original timbers and sheathing, charred by fire, were sandblasted to contribute warmth and character to the space. RIGHT: A view of the kitchen and staff lounge, which then opens out to a deck amidst a green roof.

says. “We have a planted roof around a roof deck with an edible garden as well. The office is a place we enjoy coming to and working in. It’s an inspiring environment that encourages creativity and interaction amongst the staff and helps illustrate to potential clients our values. That creativity has extended to recent projects. The Chalk Hill property in rural Sonoma County north of San Francisco is a large home, with a cottage for the owners’ parents, and a guest unit over the garage on a 17-acre parcel Gast Architects designed for a young family. Natural light and ventilation, shading of windows and doors, radiant heating, solar hot water and pool heating, and photovoltaic panels were all incorporated. A beachfront residence on the Kailua Coast of Oahu is tracking LEED Silver, which is especially difficult given the size of the home, which was planned as a gathering spot for a large, extended family. “It’s on the windward side of the island,


“A lot of energy is put into creating a timeless design that will last, that won’t soon be outdated.” —David Gast, Principal

and we wanted a layout that emphasized natural ventilation, sun control, and durability in a challenging environment,” Gast says. The home will feature deconstruction of the prior house for reuse and recycling of materials, i.e. concrete broken up for road aggregate; durable materials; a storm-water-retention system; a large photovoltaic array and solar hot-water collection; and regional landscaping with a high-efficiency irrigation system. Though it’s a design firm, much of the staff at Gast Architects has building experience, whether as contractors or just from having worked on their own projects. This has proven beneficial in communicating with general contractors. “We do full services, which includes the construction administration process,” Gast says. “And we typically put

aside about a quarter of a project’s budget for monitoring the construction process and making sure it’s in keeping with our clients’ and our quality standards.” A steady combination of renovations, new construction, historic adaptations, and rehabs has been the key to the firm’s growth from a small to a moderate-sized operation. (Gast estimates that the 9-person firm works on roughly 15–20 projects a year.) Most of its new construction projects are happening north of San Francisco, in Marin, Napa, and Sonoma counties, and south on the Peninsula. “We will also work outside of the Bay Area for clients who live here but have properties elsewhere,” Gast says. “Our clients tend to be loyal—we get a lot of repeats and referrals.” As for its sustainable approach, Budd says it’s getting easier to incorporate green ideas into designs. “Even if clients are not gung-ho about it from the beginning, there are a number of automatic, easy-to-execute ideas you can put down on paper that look great in terms of greendesign principles,” he says. “We are always learning—this is an exciting time to be practicing architecture with the building/construction marketplace full of technological innovations and new material offerings.” gb&d


45-1144 Kamehameha Highway, Suite 405 Kaneohe, Hawaii 96744 Phone: 808.236.1373 (extension 204) Facsimile: 808.234.6484

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MARCH 2011

spaces/work San mateo police facility

public portfolio A discussion of the stunning strategies possible in public-safety structures, via Leach Mounce Architects’ expertise in the sector by David Hudnall

“Public-safety buildings are heavy on integrating systems, communications, electrical systems,” says Howard Leach, president of Leach Mounce Architects. “They’re operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, so you get about 4.5 times the wear and tear you’d get on a typical public building.” These public-safety facilities—police stations, fire stations, 911 centers, and emergency operations centers—make up a niche for the Ventura, California-based architecture practice, which has become adept at meeting the needs of buildings that require an especially exacting eye, due to the advanced technology necessary for optimal functionality. Working on such projects, sustainability and energy efficiency become particularly key issues. Fortunately, that’s territory Leach Mounce has been comfortable in since the late 1970s. “Really, any building can have green design, but in those years, we were doing a lot of daylighting through skylighted atriums and light shelves,” Leach says. “And solar water heating—all of this was well before the concept of ‘green.’” That approach continued in the decades to follow; at the Fremont Police Facility, in Fremont, California, a project completed in 1995, Leach Mounce Architects introduced the concept of off-peak billing via an ice-storage system. More recently, in San Mateo, California, the firm—which boasts one LEED AP and three in the process of being accredited—turned the city’s police facility into a LEED Silver project (and was one point shy of LEED Gold.) For the $50 million project, Leach Mounce Architects completed construction administration for a 44,000-square-foot building and a 105-car, 45,000-square-foot subterranean parking garage. It involved a 10-year working relationship with the client due to the amount of site research necessary. The facility received many LEED points for its lighting, which is anchored by a central atrium (“There’s virtually no dark interior spaces,” Leach says) and featured a design plan that went above and beyond California’s Title 24 Energy Standards. Pacific Gas & Electric, one of the largest utilities in California, selected the project as an international case study for energy savings due to its tight use of water in relation to landscaping and the progressive nature and interplay between its indoor and outdoor spaces.

At a civic center in La Mesa, California, the firm took a slightly different approach, one that applied a forwardlooking mentality in terms of building use, in addition to energy-efficient standards. The project includes three structures—a police facility, a post office, and a library. The police facility is tracking LEED Silver, and a pedestrian promenade connects the three buildings. Photocell light switches are used throughout, and an interior atrium provides skylighting and daylighting. But most progressive is the library, which was designed to convert to other city uses if, or when, the city acquires the necessary funding to construct a larger library down the road. “We always try to design for flexibility and life-cycle economy in a way that takes into account future trends and events that will affect building uses,” Leach says. “Some people call that green design, but it’s just the way we’ve always approached things.” gb&d

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MARCH 2011 93

spaces/work Johns creek medical office building

the big leagues Wakefield Beasley & Associates’ work mimics its own massive size and brute strength—a new office projects drip with accolades for its energy efficiency and green design

by Sheryl Nance-Nash

John Beasley, Jr. and Richard Lamar Wakefield once believed they could make a difference in the world of architectural design. The mission was simple: “Listen to and exceed clients’ expectations,” Wakefield says. Though they began their journey more than 30 years ago, the pair hasn’t lost faith in its vision. Beasley and Wakefield had worked together at another firm but decided to strike out on their own, and in 1980, they founded Wakefield Beasley & Associates (WBA). The privately owned company was recently recognized in the Almanac of Architecture & Design 2010 as one of America’s Leading Architecture & Design Firms and is currently ranked 19th among Atlanta’s top 25 architectural firms; it has a regional office in Jacksonville, Florida, and international branches in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and Panama City, Panama.

OPPOSITE PAGE: TOP LEFT: For the Johns Creek project, 38% of building materials were obtained from within a 500-mile radius. BOTTOM LEFT: The core-and-shell floor plan shows primary building elements. TOP RIGHT: Low-VOC paints, primers, and adhesives were used throughout the offices to improve indoor air quality.


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The team has executed the design of more than 3,000 architectural projects and 1,700 interior projects throughout the United States and in six foreign countries. Ranging in size—but climbing up to more than 3 million square feet—these projects include both new and renovated facilities. Specialties include master planning, architecture, interior design, program management, and construction management. Architectural services are offered by studios, separated into office/industrial, retail/ mixed-use, institutional, municipal, and design. In the early ’90s, long before being green was trendy, WBA was energy conscious, paying attention to details in roofing, insulation, and solar orientation. For more than 20 years, the firm has been involved with the Green Building Institute. “If you work here, you are required to be a LEED AP or working on it,” Wakefield notes. The firm has left its imprint all over the world, but local projects stand out among its portfolio: the Johns Creek Medical Office Building, the recently completed One Sugarloaf Centre, and the Fowler Family YMCA.

The first is a four-story, 107,600-square-foot, Class A medical office building in Johns Creek, Georgia. It is located on a 17-acre site adjacent to Emory Johns Creek Hospital. The site, which is certified LEED-CS Gold, features a parking deck with 90 covered parking spaces dedicated to the physicians. It is the fifth LEED-CS Gold project in Georgia and the first medical office building to achieve the distinction. By using a number of synergetic technologies and strategies, it has achieved energy-cost savings of more than 25 percent. The firm provided architectural- and interior-design services for One Sugarloaf Centre, a four-story, 114,000-square-foot, Class A office building in Duluth, Georgia. It is Gwinnett County’s first LEED-CS Gold-certified office building and has a floor plate of approximately 28,000 square feet. The composite-steel structural skeleton is clad with a precast and glass skin. Surface and deck parking consisting of 180 spaces is provided around the building. “The project set a precedent and showcases Gwinnett County as a leader in green building,” says Sasha Vinitsky, a principal at WBA. By using occupancy sensors, efficient lighting systems, high-efficiency HVAC systems, the building expects a 25-percent reduction in annual energy costs. Potable water use for landscaping was reduced by 54.5 percent by using a cistern to collect rainwater and HVAC condensate. The project used more than 35 percent recycled materials and 38 percent regional materials. More than 92 percent of construction waste was diverted from landfill. Another local point of pride is the Fowler Family YMCA in Norcross, Georgia. The 20,000-square-foot addition to the existing Robert D. Fowler Family YMCA facility earned LEED Silver certification for its energy-efficient design and environmental quality. The two-story addition and renovation adds to the existing 35,000 square feet originally designed by WBA more than 10 years ago. The facility includes a senior center, fitness center, aerobics studio, teen center, and expanded locker rooms, along with a two-story community space. Master planning for the facilities includes a future outdoor pool, a playground, and other expanded services. A greywater system reduces potable-water use by 50 percent, and the building is projected to experience more than 27 percent in energy cost savings. WBA has been at the forefront of environmental design, which hasn’t been easy. “The challenge is to convince clients that this is the right thing to do; it’s not about doing this to get a plaque to put on the wall,” Wakefield explains. “Clients need to be convinced that it is worth paying extra to do things the right way. In the end, the cost savings come back to them—it’s an investment.”


Wakefield Beasley & Associates

Change is afoot, however. Wakefield predicts that in the next five to 10 years, there will be new codes—for K-12 schools or city halls, for example—where some level of sustainability will be a requirement. But not only are there challenges in convincing clients to get on board with green philosophies, being environmentally conscious does pose some design challenges. “There are several ways to create something,” Wakefield says. “It’s important that in the early stages the design team and the owner of the building sit down to determine what is most suitable, how to get more points in air quality, using local materials, looking at roofing so as to minimize absorption of the sun, as well as issues such as highefficiency lights bulbs, indirect lighting, among others. We owe it to ourselves and the next generation to ask the right questions. The last few generations have messed up things pretty good. We want to do better.” Wakefield is anticipating future trends. Already there is interest in sustainable furniture, and the demand is unlikely to slow down. “Sustainable furniture is where everyone is going,” he notes. “It’s a pioneering effort that has a lot of legs.” As for what’s next for WBA, the firm will continue to look for ways to make a difference. He talks about one of them: “We want to work in Haiti over the next five to 10 years to help plan and establish codes for buildings, so that the rebuilding is done the right way. We want to help and train people there. We want to give back.” gb&d

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MARCH 2011


spaces/work The pentagon

classified information Heller & Metzger, one of few sustainability-focused architectural advisers, leverages its preeminent knowledge of the green-design world to earn The Pentagon LEED certification by Suchi Rudra

When it comes to the business and sustainable design, Heller & Metzger (H&M) brings together the best of both worlds. Founded in 1982, the Washington, DC-based firm acts as a consultant for architectural specification writing, LEED certification, and sustainable design. As principal Kathy Alberding describes it, H&M fulfills a role that often requires two separate firms or two separate individuals. More than 95 percent of the work that the firm sees requires the preparation of a project manual, mostly for projects seeking some level of LEED certification. On occasion, a project turns up that is not pursuing LEED, “but even those projects need to meet the local jurisdictions requirements, which often contain some sustainable-design practices,” Alberding explains. “While the need for LEED advising has increased quite a bit in the last five years,” Alberding continues, “so have the numbers of design professionals who are accredited to provide it. Quite frankly, what has been decreasing over the last 5–10 years are individuals who are willing and qualified to write specifications.” According to Alberding, there are only about 170 independent specifiers (individuals, not firms) in the United States who are members of Specification Consultants in Independent Practice, a professional association of independent specifiers. H&M employs five specification writers who are registered architects (and two of whom are LEED APs) and have previously practiced in architecture firms. In addition, H&M has a technical writer and a LEED AP project coordinator who acts as an administrator for LEED projects online.

ABOVE: The firm has assisted the Pentagon’s Renovation Team in achieving LEED certification on four out of five of the building’s “wedges.”


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“While we work independently on projects,” Alberding explains, “we collaborate with each other to keep our knowledge base current and frequently update our internal master specifications based upon our experiences. We sit down on a regular basis to discuss projects, schedules, and ways to meet the demands of our clients. We work out of a single office, not multiple remote locations.” Alberding says that the practice has been “fortunate to see little or no decrease in our workload from last year,” but she has definitely noticed a change in the size and types


Heller & Metzger

One of the firm’s stand-out projects has been assisting the Pentagon Renovation Team with the sustainable design...of the building’s “wedges.” Wedges 2 and 3 have received LEED-NC certification.

of projects, with mostly smaller-scale projects, as well as more federal work related to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the federal energy initiatives. A majority of H&M’s clients are located within the DC Metro Area, but the firm also provides services for many national firms, as well as several international ones. One of the firm’s stand-out projects has been assisting the Pentagon Renovation Team with the sustainable design and certification of four out of five of the building’s “wedges.” According to Alberding, Wedges 2 and 3 have received LEED-NC certification, with the remaining two wedges in progress. Wedge 1, which was damaged in the 9/11 terrorist attack, will not be submitted for certification. H&M has been working closely with the designbuild team, the owner, and the owner’s representatives since 2005 on the environmentally conscious aspects of the project to achieve the LEED certification. Sustainable design has been a requirement since the inception of the project in 2001 and will continue to be as the project nears completion in 2011. One of the most prevalent changes that Alberding has noticed during her career as an architect is that “sustainability permeates every discussion, whether it’s about a material choice or the execution of the work.” When Alberding first began practicing in the ’80s, during the Texas building boom, she recalls that the focus was on “design outdoing design...there were no limits, buildings had to be taller, grander, with more extravagant and sometimes exotic interiors. It was a completely different dynamic.” In the past five years, Alberding has worked on more than 30 buildings that have either had green-design requirements or pursued LEED certification. Alberding has been or is currently the LEED AP for seven of these projects, with two more projects to begin before the end of the year. Even so, Alberding believes that the best is yet to come. “There are so many projects, each with its own unique story, that selecting one or two [highlight projects] would be difficult,” she says. “I do believe that every project should be approached as the next best work. If it’s not, then it’s time to consider a new career.”

Alberding predicts that beyond the building aspect, sustainable-design practices will become part of a building’s life after the design and construction phases, with more owners becoming participants in operations-and-maintenance programs. “Architecture is a reflection of society, and the work we do today informs the future of our attitudes and intentions,” she says. “I would hope that the contributions we make are returning control of the built environment to future generations and setting examples of responsible and respectable design.” gb&d

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workaholic Flexible. Functional. Minimalist. Add to that list: groundbreaking. Toolbox, a professional incubator existing within an industrial building in the Italian city of Torino, is a response to the evolution of the urban workspace during a time of rapid change. The project consists of an open space with 44 individual workstations combined with other services and activities. The design goal was to mediate between the plurality of usersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; needs and the coherence of the design. The concept is essentially a functional box broken up lengthwise into a series of dynamic spaces within the overall building. A set of initially identical spaces are differentiated through the use of different materials, which also create a visually appealing differentiation within the space. A finite number of items are used in endless variations, resulting in an infinite range of possibilities. The concept of the project derives from the Adaptable Component model developed by Caterina Tiazzoldi within the context of the research Lab NSU at the Politecnico di Torino and Columbia University.


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Peekskill Holiday Inn Express

pulling double duty Lam McGowan skillfully navigates client budgets and expectations to perform energy-efficient interior renovations for the medical industry

by David Hudnall

Eric Lam’s interior-architecture firm, Lam McGowan, is based in midtown Manhattan and has provided designs for a number of Fortune 500 companies in New York City and Westchester. But Lam is also an instructor; he teaches a course about LEED and green design at the School of Visual Arts. “Having a practice is a great way to reconnect to teaching,” Lam says. “I can answer questions and present ideas about LEED by putting things in the context of the work I do at the firm. It helps it make more sense, gives a concreteness to it.” As the founding principal of a firm that is seeing significant increases in demand for LEED designs, Lam—a registered architect, interior designer, and LEED AP—is plenty

ABOVE: A rendering of a green-hotel concept, a submission for the USGBC. Lam McGowan is also targeting LEED Platinum for its Peekskill Holiday Inn Express.

qualified to provide such context. Founded in 2006 with fellow principal Deborah McGowan, Lam McGowan had from its outset roughly 30 years of commercial-interior experience. These days, interior work on hotel projects has emerged as something of a specialization. “We really enjoy hospitality, and specifically hotel jobs, because of the exposure you get,” Lam says. “It’s not like office or residential, where only certain people ever see it. We get to combine a lot of different elements and give a lot of exposure to a lot of different types of people.” A 70,000-square-foot, 74-room Holiday Inn Express in Peekskill, New York, will allow Lam McGowan to flex some of its greener muscles; the hotel is planned for LEED Platinum status. “We’re responsible for all interiors, so we’re shooting for LED as the main light source, local materials, insulated concrete wall with insulation on the outside, and geothermal heating and cooling,” Lam says. The developer recently came up short on funding for some of the LEED features, which has had the result of pushing Lam McGowan’s role a little beyond that of architect. “We’ve been going out and talking about the project to others who may be able to help out in terms of funding,” he says. “We’ve had to become more outward advocates of green building.” Lam became LEED accredited in 2003, and he’s found an approach with clients that works in terms of concerns they may have about the costs associated with LEED and green elements. “When I first speak with clients, I let them know that we’re primarily concerned about budget

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Lam McGowan

LEFT: Conceptual rendering of the Holiday Inn Express lobby, Peekskill, New York. As designer in charge of all interiors, Lam McGowan specified LED lighting and local materials. RIGHT: Rendering of the boardroom offered as part of the limitedservices hotel.

“We’re responsible for all interiors, so we’re shooting for LED as the main light source, local materials, insulated concrete wall with insulation on the outside, and geothermal heating and cooling.” —Eric Lam, Principal

and functionality issues,” he says. “Then when we start getting into the nuts and bolts, we’ll start talking about skylights to bring in more daylight, for example, and explain that it’s a way to save on energy costs. “Sometimes the client is very interested in that, and it can end up being an educational experience,” he continues. “We’ll explore more ways of making the project green, and see if they’re interested in putting more resources into that.” A mixed-use project (three rental units with a retail base) in the New York village of Croton-on-Hudson features elements of Lam McGowan’s growing green-design arsenal. In addition to using the existing building shell and working around the structural elements (“It creates a rustic feel,” Lam says), the firm installed a permeable parking-lot surface outside. The rental units will use radiant heating, and each unit will have a point-of-use heating system for hot water. Moving forward, Lam McGowan—which for now, at least, is a firm of two—will continue its interior-renovation work, with plans to expand the retail side of the business. As ever, efficient designs will be part of the framework. “We always include the types of things that don’t cost anything extra but that save energy,” Lam says. “Inherently, all our designs are green.” gb&d

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dressed to the nines The latest addition to the Luxury Collection of Starwood Hotels & Resorts—The Nines, in Portland, Oregon—is a testament to the affordability of sustainability. The hotel, so named because it occupies the top nine floors of the historic Meier & Frank Building, is the result of a $137 million renovation completed in October 2008. The brainchild of Portland-based Sera Architects, the renovation converted what was a solid box into a seven-story atrium, providing natural light to 331 guest rooms—a design so transformative that in 2009 Boutique Design gave the hotel its Best Hotel award and the National Trust for Historic Preservation gave it an Honor Award. The hotel, which is seeking LEED Silver certification, is in limited company: according to the USGBC, just 26 hotels were LEED certified in 2009, up from seven in 2008. The numbers suggest there’s no reason for this to be the case going forward. When Sera Architects completed a study analyzing hard and soft costs, they determined that the premium to pursue LEED Silver was just 1.2 percent—and after factoring in incentives, that number came down to 0.2 percent. Photos: The Nines, Sera Architects.

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encore COBE’s renovation and expansion of the Taastrup Theater in Copenhagen, Denmark, succeeds in connecting the vintage theater to its environment. Originally commissioned to improve the energy consumption of the 1970s local, community theater, which serves the neighborhood of Taastrup, the firm went substantially further by simultaneously enhancing the aesthetic and functional appeal of the space through the simple addition of a second exterior curtain. Draped around the rough concrete structure, the new translucent façade mimics a theater curtain about to open when the play starts. This new composition underlines the unity of the old building and its extension as a cohesive architectural story. The facade is conceived as a curtain of acrylic prisms elegantly embracing the existing building while creating a new foyer, arrival area, and café. A whole new spatial dimension is added to the building by connecting the formerly enclosed interior with the outside courtyard—resulting in a wholly enveloping experience for guests. Photos: Stamers Kontor.

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RIGHT: The floor plan of the Montgomery County Advanced Medical Imaging testing facility illustrates how AHAdams&Co. worked within the existing structure but still attained a soothing, spa-like ambiance.

Montgomery county advanced medical imaging

health and symbiosis AHAdams&Company, responsible for new additions to the medical industry, sees health care and green building as a potent prescription by Sarah Lozanova

The health-care sector has been a bright spot in an otherwise slow economy. At least that’s been the case for Pennsylvania-based architecture and interior design firm AHAdams&Co., which has been busy remodeling a groundbreaking green space: a positron emission tomography (PET)/computed tomography (CT) imaging suite outside the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in Willow Grove that is seeking LEED certification. The firm sees the health-care sector as a good match for green building. One symbiotic element of the medical and green-building industries, according to Elizabeth Emig, AHA&Co.’s LEED coordinator, is that both fields are used to emerging and state-of-the-art technologies. “I think [health-care facilities] are more eager to invest in new technology to green their buildings,” she says.

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—Arthur Adams, Principal

Although many in the sector are receptive to green design, there are innate challenges. “Hospital and healthcare facilities are enormous users of energy,” says Arthur Hall Adams, LEED AP and principal of AHA&Co. “These are also clinical environments, so you have to be cognizant of specific requirements to support this environment, yet [when applying green design principles] we are constrained by the amount of energy we can use.”

an example, he mentions that in Baltimore a white roof is preferable, whereas Boston is better suited for black roofs. As proven in Willow Grove, AHA&Co. is highly experienced in remodeling existing buildings. “In the eastern part of the United States—from Boston to Richmond, Virginia—it’s basically an urban area, and you’re dealing mainly with existing buildings,” Adams says. “As the land gets used up, we either have to modify existing buildings or tear them down. It requires a higher level of skill to manipulate all the elements to achieve the desired goal because you have to deal with existing issues, which clouds things.” As the green-building movement expands to increasingly incorporate existing buildings, such skills will be in great demand and are essential for creating a more sustainable society here in the United States. gb&d

The hope was to build a “rainforest with a medical machine in it,” a calming environment for patients undergoing cancer testing. To make this a reality, AHA&Co. had to work around the structural limitations of the 2,000-square-foot suite, while also determining the location of a PET/CT scanner. Because the machine emits higher energy radiation, walls and doors had to be lined with lead. The facility seeks LEED Silver certification for commercial interiors. “The finishes are particularly sustainable,” Emig says. “They have a high recycled content and are very appropriate for a health-care facility, based on the cleaning and wear and tear they will go through. The client was very adamant that the facility have a spa look, so the patients feel more at ease while going through the given procedure. We found sustainable spa-like finishes that are very appropriate.” Due to the climate, diligence must be used when selecting certain green-building features. “There’s more sensitivity in the northeastern part of the country to design selection and engineering criteria,” explains Rich Palmer, Senior Architect with AHA&Co. “We’re in the Northeast, which is unique due to the climate swings of the area.” As

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Though new construction projects offer the convenience of a blank canvas; remodeling existing buildings presents more challenges. As Montgomery County Advanced Medical Imaging recently set about remodeling a suite for its state-of-the-art imaging facility in Willow Grove, AHA&Co. worked to create the spa-like appearance that was desired.


      

“Health care is the number two energy user in the United States.”


Architecture I Interior Design I Planning I Management Consulting


/learn Jackson Campus

contemplative conversations Wyoming-based architecture firm Hawtin Jorgensen Architects uses questions to answer the environmental challenges that come from working in such sylvan settings by Tricia Despres

Arne Jorgensen grew up in Jackson, Wyoming, to him a wonderland with a great sense of community and a small-town feel. He spent his summers working alongside his father, a local civil engineer who focused his efforts on providing high-quality services in this small town they called home. And though it would have made sense for Jorgensen to follow in his father’s footsteps—and though working outside with the survey crew was a great summer job—the thought of working inside as an engineer was simply not in the cards for Jorgensen. Instead, he set his sights on architecture. “Architecture was interesting but not as I expected,” says Jorgensen, a partner at Hawtin Jorgensen Architects since 1998. “As I got into the architectural programs, they fit me well. I was an average student in high school. It didn’t really engage me that much, but the ideals behind the architecture courses at college did.”

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Hawtin Jorgensen Architects

space Jackson Campus client Teton Science Schools type Educational location Jackson, WY square footage 88,000 completed 2005 unique fact Built structures occupy only 2% (16.5 acres) of the 880-acre wilderness site

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“We are beginning to look our clients straight in the eye and ask them point blank: ‘do you really need all of the square footage?’” —Arne Jorgensen, Partner

“The school itself is 88,000 square feet, built for nearly 500 K-12 students,” Jorgensen explains of the Teton Science Schools project. “Working on a project like this that will provide kids so much for so many years to come is so rewarding. I specifically remember watching the Teton County School Board sit up straight in their chairs when we began talking about efficiencies and LEED certification.” Yet despite such noteworthy success in the educational sector, 70 percent of the firm’s current work is in residential architecture. Recent projects include the 3,600-squarefoot private residence of Bruce Hawtin, which will be the first custom-built, LEED-certified residence in the state of Wyoming. Getting the local construction industry tied into the process of LEED certification helped in this and many others of the firm’s projects.

OPENING PHOTO: The Teton Science Schools Jackson Campus project, shown here at dusk, was designed specifically to LEED standards. The pioneering project inspired other schools and buildings in Teton County and throughout Wyoming to go green. Photo: Eckert & Eckert Photography. PREVIOUS PAGE: Top Left: A birdseye view of the campus. Photo: Eckert & Eckert Photography. Top Right: The Jackson campus dining lodge corner detail. Photo: Eckert & Eckert Photography. BOTTOM: Students play in front of the Journeys building. In sum, school structures only make up 2% of the site; the rest is wilderness. Photo: Juan Hernandez.

Now, as partner of one of the oldest practicing architecture firms in the state of Wyoming, Jorgensen says he is most proud of the firm’s sustainability efforts. In fact, several of the firm’s projects have been collaborations with “We will always design and build in a way that is the most efficient,” Jorgensen says. “This could mean something as nationwide leaders within the sustainable building field. simple as using the least number of BTUs to heat a space. “We have always attempted to be five to 10 years ahead We often ask ourselves ‘what makes a project truly green?’ of the industry in terms of efficiency projects,” explains I mean, solar panels on a poorly insulated building makes Jorgensen, who works alongside partner Bruce Hawtin. no sense. The bottom line is a poorly designed building “In the ’70s, we were among the first to move toward that is not loved, not comfortable, and will therefore, nevthicker walls to add more insulation. In 1980, we installed er be sustainable.” one of the largest solar systems in a house in Wyoming. It’s been ingrained into this company for many years.” Striving to be the best listener and informer, Jorgensen says that this firm works hard to make sure its clients are Jorgensen admits that an aggressive efficiency approach thinking through every option when it comes to their arisn’t something he ever wants to force an unwilling clichitectural project. “Take, for example, square footage,” ent to accept; yet it is intuitively layered into every design Jorgensen says. “We are beginning to look our clients discussion. “The efficiency efforts are something that is straight in the eye and ask them point blank: ‘do you realbaked into all of our processes,” he notes. “We like to disly need all of the square footage?’ When they begin makcuss it up front, but we certainly won’t jam it down anying decisions by answering honest, probing questions, we one’s throat. Instead, I would say we have four-to five-layknow we are all then on the same base.” er discussions with our clients, where we look for catch words they use to describe their projects—whether that’s In recent months, the firm has begun to use the Energy ‘love’ or ‘maintenance’ or ‘cost’ or ‘desire.’” Star rating system, comparing building to building against an average and watching the progress it makes in terms Back in 2004, Hawtin Jorgensen Architects entered into of energy use. “Most of the news regarding this compathose discussion surrounding the Teton Science Schools ny comes via word of mouth,” Jorgensen says. “This is a Jackson Campus project, specifically designed to LEED small town. Staying successful is all about individual constandards. “There wasn’t really the awareness to support nections and creating a reputation with the local builders certification back then,” he mentions. “Today, it would be in Wyoming. We have been around since 1970, and a good pursuing certification…no question about it. It definitely taught our community about the values of certification.” majority of our staff has been with us for multiple years,” he adds. “As we look toward the changing marketplace Jorgensen says the project clearly had a “leapfrog” effect and employment realities, we are excited to be in a place in greening other schools and community buildings in where we are experiencing a transition in terms of how we Teton County and the state of Wyoming, including the arapproach projects. The best news is that, while the market chitects’ most recent project, the Davey Jackson Elemenhas slowed a bit, it’s getting back to steady. The future is tary School, which is the first LEED Gold-certified school looking up.” gb&d in Wyoming.

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spaces/learn Thomas jefferson school of law

historical precedent Found fossils make their way into ID Studios’ design of the Thomas Jefferson School of Law, which lets students walk on “500,000 years of history”

by Julie Schaeffer

ID Studios is the kind of place just about anyone would want to work. “We promote a holistic work-life balance,” says Deborah Elliott, president of the Solana Beach, California, interior-design firm. “All employees have flexible work options: they can work from home or from the office at different times during the week. And everyone’s office space has floor-to-ceiling windows looking out on the ocean.” The latter feature, Elliott says, ties in with the firm’s emphasis on being environmentally responsible. “California has long had a culture of environmental responsibility, in part because nature is such a big part of our daily existence,” she says. “As a result, Amy Morway and I had already done a substantial amount of sustainable design when we founded the firm in 2005. Taking environmental responsibility to another level came naturally to us, so we became LEED APs and helped our staff do the same.” One of the firm’s most notable green projects is the interior design of the Thomas Jefferson School of Law, a 178,000-square-foot, eight-story academic facility in San Diego’s East Village. The building, which is designed to LEED Gold standards, incorporates a number of green

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Top: The eightstory Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego is designed to LEED Gold standards. Above: The school’s interior incorporates a number of green interior-design features, such as flooring made from the sap of rubber trees and wood certified by the FSC. Below: A rendering of the school’s library circulation desk. Materials throughout the school were chosen carefully and include paints, adhesives, and carpets that meet Green Seal standards and fabrics that are GreenGuard certified.

“The site excavation uncovered a number of 200,000 to 500,000-year-old fossils, including a Columbian mammoth, and we incorporated some of the terrazzo.” —Deborah Elliott, President

interior-design features. Flooring in the student lounge, for example, is made from the sap of rubber trees. Wood is certified by the FSC; paints, adhesives, and carpets meet Green Seal standards; and fabrics are GreenGuard certified.

At Herman Miller, we are helping to design and build a better world around you. To learn more, visit

Most unique, however, is the terrazzo on the first floor of the building. “The site excavation uncovered a number of 200,000 to 500,000-year-old fossils, including a Columbian mammoth, and we incorporated some of them—scallop shells—in the terrazzo as part of our recycled content,” Elliott says. “Students can literally walk on 500,000 years of history.” Elliott says the biggest challenge of focusing on environmentally responsible design is the slight increase in cost it entails, and the commitment it requires from owners as well. “Many clients understand that healthy environments are important, and that makes the increased cost worthwhile, but they often aren’t willing to take it one step further and obtain LEED certification,” Elliott notes. That wasn’t an issue with the Thomas Jefferson School of Law, however—and neither was the troubled economy at the time the project began. “We started the project just before the world collapsed in 2008, but the vision of the law school got us through,” Elliott says. “Dean Rudy Hasl wanted this to be a unique social and academic learning experience, and in many ways, the troubled economy helped our project because the cost of materials fell, and we were able to complete the vision.” Elliott says the law school was “a uniquely inspirational and collaborative team effort” that will provide a model educational experience completely in sync with the environment—and will thus seek “just about every green design award there is,” she mentions. “We hope to win them all.” gb&d


shared vision. innovative design. Client-centered architectural services for Faith, Health, and Community since 1979.

Engan Associates Architects | Interior Designers 311 4th Street Southwest PO Box 956 Willmar, MN 56201 Phone: (320) 235-0860 Fax: (320) 235-0861 E-mail: Visit us online at

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prairie woods environmental LEARNING CENTER

the appeal of ‘home’ Engan Associates knows how to give institutions a home-like feel—for one environmental learning center, it’s literally creating living spaces

by Suchi Rudra

It can’t be denied that the people at Engan Associates have faith in their work. During the 30 years during which this Minnesota-based architectural- and interior-design firm has been providing pre-planning, project design, construction and post-occupancy services, the focus of its work has always been to “maintain faith, health, and a sense of community in the towns and small cities of greater Minnesota,” says Richard Engan, the firm’s founder and principal. This means that Engan Associates is often involved in building churches, health-care facilities, and local government buildings, yet a new project emerged on the firm’s horizon not too long ago: The Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center.

ALL PHOTOS: The Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center is set in a natural environment with prairie, woods, and water. Buildings seek to enforce the mission of environmental education for all ages.

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The learning center, located in Spicer, Minnesota, runs programs to provide opportunities for people to learn about and enjoy the natural environment. A portion of the project’s upcoming phase consists of unique, residential green-living units. “The objective of the living units is to facilitate late evening, night, and early morning excursions into the natural environment. It will allow students and teachers/chaperones to have dorm-type living spaces that are separate but are built back-to-back,” Engan explains. Sustainable features of the Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center include a biomass hot-water system supplemented by biomass stoves, a solar water heater, composting toilets, a green roof, a photovoltaic electric system, and wind-turbine electrical generation. As Engan believes that the quality of life in the communities he serves depends on their institutions “remaining strong and vital,” he takes a personal, hands-on approach to each project. “The quality and lasting value we’d like

our families to experience goes into each hospital, clinic, place of worship, or community building we help build,” he says. By the numbers, health care is the firm’s specialty, covering 65 percent of their projects. Out of 1,000 projects in the past 30 years, 500 have been for 50 clients, most of which are healthcare organizations. “We found dispersed rural medical facilities to be a unique area which large metropolitan firms were less able in serving,” Engan explains. The rest of the firm’s work includes 20 percent community and local government projects, 10 percent business and industrial, and 5 percent places of worship. But regardless of the project type—educational like the Prairie Woods project or health-related like its recovery center, Project Turnabout—the firm has continually emphasized sustainable materials, passive-solar energy, and natural landscaping. Water retention and filtration have become increasingly important to the region, and recent flooding has underlined the necessity to work with the natural water system. “We need to learn to live with nature rather than attempt to dominate it,” Engan points out. “Water-retention ponds need to be viewed as a visual and natural asset and not an engineering system that we need to put up with.” Engan succinctly describes the trend of business over the past few years: “In 2007, we noticed a decline in the start of new projects. In 2008, clients stopped planning the future. In 2009, people began to look to the future. 2010 has clients trying to start new projects.” As these clients with new projects are mostly all interested in green projects, Engan notes that the firm is positioning itself to provide as many green alternatives as possible. The challenge is to define the green initiatives that can be economically attractive, he says. Natural materials (particularly wood) and natural daylighting are stressed in the firm’s interior designs, but also of equal importance is flexibility. “Built-in flexibility means that a facility can adapt to changes in use saving future building costs and environmental impact,” Engan says, explaining that his clients are often surprised about how cost-effective wood detailing can be. The firm begins most projects with a LEED checklist, though most of its clients “do not value LEED certification.” A particular focus of the firm’s work is what Engan refers to as “making institutional facilities more people friendly...making human, home-like spaces out of institutional ones.” For instance, for a small-town nursing home the typical design with long hallways of small rooms is replaced with modules scaled for a small group

Engan Associates


“The objective of the living units is to facilitate late evening, night, and earlymorning excursions into the natural environment.” —Richard Engan, Founder & Principal

of residents and features residential detailing. The home will also include a unit for rehab patients recovering from injury or surgery, not only allowing the patients to stay close to home, but also shifting the image of the nursing home to that of a transitional place from which they will return home.

Photos: Barbara Marks, Engan Associates

Project Turnabout is a recovery center with interiors focusing on sustainable scale, natural light, and indoor air quality. The facility is located on a unique site in the Minnesota River Valley that had not been developed for years due to the expense of blasting the granite bedrock to install utilities and foundation. But Engan Associates’ design moves away from the need to blast through the rock and instead builds organically around it, allowing one of the best clusters of cactus (rare in Minnesota) to be salvaged. The native prairie was also restored, resulting in an environment that provides a “unique, memorable image for a recovery center,” Engan says. The firm’s prediction is that in the future, as clients request more and more green features, design professionals will be required to distinguish between fact and fiction. “Sustainability 30 years ago was spoken of largely in terms of energy,” Engan says. “Today, the needs of users are primary.” gb&d

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spaces/learn center for contemporary arts

enlightenment Holzman Moss Bottino Architecture designs strong, regionally suited academic architecture that brings disparate populations together

by Tricia Despres

BELOW, NEXT PAGE: The exterior of the Center for Contemporary Arts, at Shepherd University. The building features copper shingles and pre-cast concrete. Photos: Tom Kessler. Renderings: Holzman Moss Bottino Architecture.

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Combining the diversity of a community with the student body of a campus has been a longtime challenge for architects and builders. And when sustainability is a factor, the challenge can become that much more demanding. “It’s about rooting the community into the campus,” explains Douglas Moss, AIA, LEED AP, and partner and cofounder of New York-based Holzman Moss Bottino Architecture. “With the kind of projects we do on college campuses, we are finding that the sustainability fight is no longer an uphill battle. It seems like more people are enlightened with the same goal. It’s all about optimizing every detail, looking at things 100 times and then looking at them again.”

Holzman Moss Bottino Architecture has accepted this challenge over and over during the past six years. Specializing in the design of evocative cultural, civic, and academic buildings including libraries, facilities for student life, and performing- and visual-art centers that welcome public use, the firm currently has 35 employees and works on approximately 15 projects per year. “We have always maintained a focus on the performing arts,” says Moss, who received his bachelor’s degree in architecture at Texas Tech and came to New York in the late ’80s. “We are interested in buildings that will last for a very long time. We know these projects have a certain prominence and play an important part in the community, and we love being able to have the opportunity to make a big impact.” As a member of the USGBC and the New York chapter— along with its adoption of Architecture 2030—Holzman Moss Bottino Architecture places great importance on sustainability efforts, focusing much of its time on the reduction of energy and water consumption. It also places high value on sustaining cultures. For the Shepherd University Center for Contemporary Arts, a $65 million, ongoing project in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, the firm has created a space that will serve as a repository for art that specifically reflects the culture and character of the town—the oldest in the state.

Holzman Moss Bottino Architecture


“It’s all about optimizing every detail, looking at things 100 times, and then looking at them again.” —Douglas Moss, Partner & Cofounder

space Center for Contemporary Arts client Shepherd University type Multidisciplinary Arts location Shepherdstown, WV phases 2 expected completion 2012 unique feature The structure will house art that speaks to the culture and history of Shepherdstown, the oldest community in West Virginia

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Holzman Moss Bottino Architecture

With phase one completed, phase two in progress, and an estimated completion in 2012, the project is targeting LEED Silver and recently received an honorable mention as a 2010 Steel Joist Institute Unique Application. “Shepherdstown is the oldest community in West Virginia, and this will serve a prominent part in the community,” Moss says. “The campus is divided by a major highway, so this center will help bridge the old and new parts of the campus. The center will be filled with groundbreaking art that really reflects the community and its history.” Another recent project is the New Mexico State University Center for the Arts in Las Cruces, New Mexico. “We are basically creating a new front door to the community,” Moss says. “The university’s aspirations for this project are LEED Silver, and right now we are in the Gold range. It’s going to be a fantastic and prominent building and a very sustainable building. The project will also meet the governor’s energy-efficiency mandate to consume 50 percent less energy than a similar building type.” Work on the arts center will be separated into three to four different phases, with phase one set to be completed in 2012. The project will combine all of the different departments—theatre, dance, creative, media, and visual arts— and unite them. “We are particularly proud of this project

Museums Fine & Performing Arts Centers Higher & Private Education Institutions Libraries

because we purposely picked materials that ensured this would make for a 100-year building,” remarks principal Patricia Chen, AIA, LEED AP. “Most of the exterior materials come from New Mexico or Arizona—basically within 500 miles from the center. We used travertine from a local, family-owned quarry and red sandstone from Arizona.” Both architects say the key to the success of any of these projects is immersing oneself into the community and its specific needs. “We always ask people ‘what makes this community distinct?’ And how people answer that question is very telling,” Moss remarks. “Using and working off the info they offer is of vital importance to us.” gb&d

A MESSAGE FROM KOHLER RONAN, LLC Kohler Ronan, LLC is dedicated to providing exceptional mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection engineering design services. From offices in Danbury, CT, and New York, NY, we collaborate with prominent architectural firms, like Holzman Moss Bottino Architecture, on a wide array of regional and nationally recognized project assignments. Commissions include those for world-renowned museums, fine- and performing-arts centers, prestigious universities, state-of-the-art educational facilities, luxury residences, corporate offices and healthcare centers. Kohler Ronan brings creativity and innovation to the field of sustainable design and is a proud member of the US Green Building Council. Please visit www.kohlerronan. com to learn more.

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thought bubble The Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden has taken a whimsical approach to a planned expansion: a 145-foot-tall, translucent-fabric bubble that will serve as an inflatable event space. Designed by New York-based Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the preliminary proposal imagines the “bubble” swelling out of the top of the museum’s internal courtyard, giving the illusion that it is about to float away into the sky. A gigantic tube of water will encircle the interior structure, providing stability, while a series of large, steel cables— tethered to the inner tube and then the roof-level truss—provides structural support. Playful and airy, the design is also extremely flexible as it can be blown up in a short window of time, and the interior can be rapidly reconfigured as needed. The $5 million structure will only be erected twice a year—in May and October—to coincide with the museum’s courtyard programs, thus optimizing its footprint. The additional 14,000 square feet of sheltered space will accommodate audiences of up to 1,000 people for an array of public events, including lectures, debates, performing arts, and films. Renderings: Diller Scofidio + Renfro.

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The Groundwork for Greener Stadiums Since Stabilizer Solutions’ inception 30 years ago, the company has remained a family operation, and today Jon Hubbs and his son Clay have raised the bar since those early days when Lady Bird Johnson led efforts to beautify US highways. Expanding on the original “Stabilizer” product, the company now provides products not only for the US Department of Transportation but also professional sporting facilities and public parks. As LEED certification has gained momentum, Jon and Clay have found Stabilizer’s firm but porous surfaces to be a perfect fit to help gain LEED points, with water-harvesting systems that use local and pre-consumer recycled material.


About 340 billion gallons of water are used every day in the United States. Stabilizer Solutions’ products work in tandem with water-harvesting systems for maximum efficiency.

backgrounder/ “The product came looking for us,” Jon says of the company’s catalyst. “My brother Jim and I were providing seed to the Department of Transportation for the Lady Bird Johnson’s Highway Beautification Program. While walking through the Arizona desert, we realized nothing was more out of place than an asphalt pathway forcing its way through a valley of 100-year-old saguaros. We started experimenting with adding seed to crushed local granite and other materials to come up with a hard surface that fit the environment—and our Stabilizer product was born.” That product has been used on a number of high-profile LEED projects; most notable is the recently completed Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University, the first building of its type to achieve LEED Platinum status in Arizona. challenge/ Play a key role in the construction of TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska, a new $128 million downtown stadium, which will be completed in spring 2011, and will serve as home to the NCAA Men’s College World Series. The stadium, for which Stabilizer Solutions is creating the turf and infield surfaces, has the distinction of being one of the first sport facilities to achieve LEED certification in the country.   solution/ Stabilizer Solutions’ product, a natural soil binder blended with crushed stone or decomposed granite, provides the perfect solution for the project in more ways than one. “Stabilizer is used on more natural pathways worldwide than any other product,” Clay explains. “Stabilizer is also blended into infield mixes for baseball, sand horse tracks, and other sport facilities—anywhere better performance is demanded of the soil.” The younger Hubbs

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Stabilizer Solutions

solutions/soil performance

“Stabilizer is used on more natural pathways worldwide than any other product.”

is familiar with both sides of the job; he served as a groundskeeper for the Arizona Diamondbacks for six years before joining the family business.

—Clay Hubbs, Director of Operations

The company’s Polymer product is the next generation of the Stabilizer. “It’s also blended in with crushed stone and decomposed granite,” Clay says. “It provides the same type of binding ability but also makes it waterproof. It is more of a completely sealed surface.” Especially useful for arenas is the StaLok Fiber, a product used to stabilize the root zone for natural turf fields, allowing the turf to increase its load-bearing capacity and shear strength in high-traffic areas like football fields, soccer fields, and turf parking.”

TOP: New York’s Lincoln Center features a Stabilized Crushed Stone plaza. BOTTOM LEFT: Stabilized Decomposed Granite (DG) at work in the ASU Biodesign Institute’s water-harvesting basin. Photo: Bill Timmerman. CENTER RIGHT: The company’s StaLok Fiber Reinforced Turf is employed at Soccer City, site of 2010 World Cup. BOTTOM RIGHT: Dial-Henkel Headquarters’ green roof with Stabilized DG. Photo: Bill Timmerman.

on rainwater harvesting and employs Stabilizer StaLok, the company’s favorite projects are the sports facilities, because for the Hubbs family, its first love is still baseball. “We all played baseball and coached it,” says the senior Hubbs. “It’s our passion.” The family loves that it can offer its services and solutions to improve the sports opportunities of its community. “Kids would be out on the field, and the infield would have rock or broken glass or pieces of wood; the ball would take a bad hop, and a kid would get hit in the head. That’s it. They would go play video games instead,” Jon continues. “A lot of little leagues and schools can’t afford to make their fields over. So we redo the field as a donation.” The charity is often done in association with both the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Los Angeles Angels; the company donated a little-league field during this year’s All-Star game in Anaheim.

Before the Omaha stadium came the Biodesign Institute landscaping project, designed by Christy Ten Eyck, president of Ten Eyck Landscape Architects, and featuring an innovative use of water harvesting—gathering AC condensate and rainwater runoff from the building and Jon says the major sporting facilities don’t capturing it in a stabilized, decomposedpromote sustainable practices enough granite mix provided by the Hubbs and is encouraged by the efforts being team. “It’s a retention basin where they made for the TD Ameritrade Park in store water and reuse it to irrigate the Omaha, which is pursuing LEED certificalandscape,” Clay notes. “[Ten Eyck] did a tion. Among the company’s high-profile similar design for the University of Arizona projects is the recent World Cup in South College of Architecture and Landscape Africa. “We supplied four of the main design but…used a lot of the recycled stadiums, four of the practice venues, and concrete and rubble that was there and five of the base-camp fields,” Clay says. incorporated that back into the landscape. “We waited too long to find a hotel room She also created a pond as a safe water and didn’t go to the World Cup,” confides habitat for animal life. She has done some the younger Hubbs, but his father is more innovative things to manage water here in forthcoming: “To tell you the truth, althe Arizona desert with our products.” though they are a great customer, I am not that big of a fan for that kind of football.” Though the company is also working on But he does know how to build those the Santa Fe Railroad Park, which focuses kinds of stadiums. —by Scott Heskes

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Advancing the Evolution of Soil

The Evolution of Building Solutions 25 Years | Over 100,000 Projects | 36 Countries

• Landscapes & Paving • Sporting Events, Fields & Courses • Equestrian Tracks & Paths Stabilizer Solutions, Inc. | 33 South 28th St., Phoenix, AZ 85034 P: 602.225.5900 | F: 602.225.5902 | Toll-Free: 800.336.2468 Find out more at

As Calvert-Jones Company, Inc. expands, so does its opportunity to affect change in the way its systems function. The company’s Energy Services division is an emerging niche that is fully focused on improving the sustainability and energy efficiency of the projects Calvert-Jones undertakes. The division works with owners and managers to advance energy-development programs on energy production and carbonfootprint reduction. “An air handler or air chiller, for example, should have a life cycle of around 30 years,” says Gerry Rodino, director of sustainable solutions at Calvert-Jones. “With sustainable business operations and sustainable maintenance, we can help ensure that equipment meets and exceeds its intended life cycles.”


The ground-source heat pump (GSHP) is one of the most efficient residential heating and cooling systems available today, with heating efficiencies 50-70% higher than other heating systems and cooling efficiencies 20-40% percent higher than available air conditioners.

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Calvert-Jones Company, Inc.

backgrounder/ Calvert-Jones is a case study in commercial evolution. It was originally founded as an appliance company in 1947, but after observing an influx of new buildings and a shortage of mechanical contractors in the Washington, DC, area, the company turned to commercial mechanical contracting. Over time, Calvert-Jones became involved with mainframe computer systems work for the banking industry. (“We’ve built a great deal of computer rooms,” says Linda Eshleman, director of business development.) This led to work for the health-care and institutional industries, including a niche in working with embassies in the nation’s capital. “Today, our service division has over 650 commercial buildings on contract maintenance, with 80 people employed on the construction side of the business,” Eshleman says. challenge/ Retro-commission existing buildings throughout Washington, DC. Though Calvert-Jones frequently serves as a consultant to a number of firms and buildings—devising creative solutions for reducing dependence on utilities, improving air quality, and recommending energy-efficient products—this retro-commissioning has emerged as a challenging but key niche to the business.

solution/ “Retro-commissioning is about taking stock of what the existing situation is and making corrections,” Rodino says. “Most of the time, budget development is the most important issue we discuss. For example, ‘How many more years are you projected to use this chiller? Should you replace it

now?’ We help ensure that clients get the project they want and that makes the best economic sense for them. At the same time, we’re making sure they get maximum efficiency on all aspects of the project.” That Calvert-Jones has a number of LEED APs on staff increases its ability to succeed in this niche—particularly in Washington, DC. “Energy is an extremely hot issue in DC right now,” Eshleman says. “There are a number of new regulations in place here: all new construction must be LEED, and starting in a few years, all tenant renovations will have to conform to LEED-CI, so it’s becoming a bigger issue as time goes on.” Part of its solution is emerging technologies—developed by the company itself. The Calvert-Jones HEPA filter is favored in laboratory and health-care facilities because of its ability to catch small contaminants. The product holds 40 percent more contaminants and requires a third of the pressure drop necessary for an average HEPA filter. “If you can slow most machines down by 10 percent, you can save around 30 or even 40 percent on energy,” Rodino says. “Our HEPA is marketed toward existing buildings that are looking to conserve energy, maintain their systems and operate above original design capacity.”

The firm—which in 2010 won the National Safety Merit Award—has a loyal clientele in the DC-Maryland-Virginia corridor. “We’ve been in the business for a long time, so we have a number of people and companies that have been with us for years,” Eshleman notes. “They understand that we’re always looking for the most energy-efficient, cost-effective solutions. We’d rather retrofit and tweak a system to get it up and running as it was originally designed to rather than have to gut and replace it.” This logic made sense from a business standpoint for both company and client. “When we expanded into the sustainable solutions part of the company, it was a natural evolution,” Eshleman says. “We just saw it as the next wave, and of course we wanted to be involved.” —by David Hudnall

The company also designs and installs its own automated energy-management and HVAC systems. “A lot of people are putting green automated systems in, and we’ve become a dealer of those systems,” Rodino says. “It’s quickly becoming a large business component for us.”

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solutions/mechanical design

The Importance of End Use Neither of Resource Engineering Group’s (REG) leaders possess mechanical engineering backgrounds. Founder and President Dave Houghton has a civil engineering degree from University of California– Berkeley; Vice President and Principal August Hasz, who joined REG early on, has a degree in glass-science engineering. “I consider that a benefit,” Houghton says. “We never drank the Kool-Aid. From the start, we learned mechanical engineering from an alternative viewpoint—focused on keeping people comfortable, having a buildable system, and achieving excellent energy performance.” REG’s services include energy modeling for buildings; commissioning; and complete mechanical, with electrical and plumbing done in conjunction with a reliable colleague. “We work on a lot of buildings that are energy challenges, like commercial kitchens, recreation centers, and auditoriums,” Hasz says. “We like to focus on energy hogs, buildings where we can make a bigger difference.”

Fact 1/

A well-performed, full-coverage HVAC maintenance agreement can have up to a 500% return on investment over the lifecycle of the equipment.

Fact 2/

A typical HVAC system consumes 43% of the energy used in a building.

LEFT: The Powers Art & Learning Center in Carbondale, CO, incorporates a large concrete cantilever, the structural design of which was created by REG. The company’s in-house structural and mechanical solutions were employed for an Aspen conference center, which has hosted the likes of the Dalai Lama and President Bill Clinton. Photo: Greg Watts.

backgrounder/ Houghton’s career has been largely influenced by the work of environmentalist and energy-efficiency crusader Amory Lovins. “For me, everything changed back in the 1980s, when I first heard about Lovins’ way of looking at the world, which focuses on end-use efficiency,” Houghton says. “It was a big ‘aha’ moment for me.” Houghton eventually worked with Lovins (who was named by Time magazine as one of the most 100 influential people in the world in 2009), co-writing books on energy efficiency as it pertains to heating, cooling, lighting, appliances, and more. Over time, Houghton narrowed his focus to heating and cooling, which led him into mechanical engineering. In 1997, he founded his structural and mechanical engineering firm, REG, now based in Crested Butte, Colorado. challenge/ Lead the mechanical design for the DoerrHosier Conference Center at the Aspen Institute Campus in Aspen, Colorado: a 22,000-square-foot facility with multiple gallery spaces, 300-seat and 75-seat conference spaces, staff offices, and a large commercial kitchen.

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solution/ A ground-source heat pump system heats and cools the building by transferring heat to and from a nearby outdoor pond as needed. (On especially cold days, a backup boiler can supply additional heat.) Larger pipes and ducts, which decrease friction, also serve to reduce energy use. As a result of the team’s meticulous mechanical planning and execution, the building—completed in 2007—uses 40 percent less energy than required by the Aspen/Pitkin Code, which is itself one of the strictest energy codes in the United States. “It’s a place where great minds gather to meet about important issues, so the stakes were very high,” Hasz says. Houghton adds to his sentiment: “People like the Dalai Lama and Bill Clinton come to the center and hold forth on topics. We were very focused on making certain our systems were very efficient—and that they worked. Nobody wants to make Bill Clinton sweat.” REG utilized the same type of groundsource system for another Aspen Institute project—The Paepcke Center Auditorium.

solutions/mechanical design

Resource Engineering Group The company was involved in its complete renovation and was able to reduce energy use by 50 percent. Another project put a twist on conventional systems: at the Paint Store, in Carbondale, Colorado, REG installed conventional solar panels on the roof not to collect heat but to reject it. “We run a radiant heating system in reverse,” Houghton explains. “At night, we send water up to the rooftop panels to cool off. By the morning, we have a big tank of chilled water. Then during the day we run that water through the concrete floor to cool the building.” About 70 percent of REG’s work is in Colorado, but the firm is licensed in nine states and nationally registered. “We’re relatively small—seven engineers in a small ski town of about 1,200 people,”

Hasz says. “But we do work in places like Oregon, Nantucket—all across the country. And you don’t see a lot of engineering firms that do both structural and mechanical in-house.” Part of REG’s draw for clients—besides its focus on efficient systems that save money—is its communication skills. Houghton cut his teeth on the communications side of the business, writing reports, papers, and journal articles about what the leaders in mechanical engineering were practicing. “I spent a lot of time rooting out information about things like chilled-water storage and low-velocity dehumidification—complicated concepts that I then had to figure out how to report to laypeople and policymakers,” he says. “That prepared me well for the engineering

practice, where you need to be able to articulate to clients what we want to do and why.” That’s especially helpful when it comes to explaining the need for high-efficiency systems. “Alternative energy and renewable energy are definitely a big part of the solution to the energy issues we face, but being efficient on end-use is essential,” Houghton says. “Amory pointed out that people want cold beers and hot showers, and the more efficiently you can provide that, the less energy you need to put in on the upstream. We no longer have the unique advantage of being among the only people who understand this, but we’ve been doing it a long time. And it’s still our central principle.” —by David Hudnall

Rudd Construction is dedicated to partnering with Architects, Engineers and Owners who value quality construction practices as a major part of sustainable projects. Currently, we are proud to be constructing a local museum with Resource Engineering Group (featured in this issue of gb&d). This cutting edge facility features a 44kw photovoltaic roof top solar system and is heated and cooled entirely from a ground source radiant thermal system. Basalt, Colorado (970) 927-9119

Responsibly constructing in Colorado since 1979

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material world corrugated concepts Chairs. Lamps. Entire offices. Cardboard is no longer waste, but rather an eco-material with multiple lives and a growing following.

Cardboard has long been made from recycled paper and is itself recyclable. According to cardboard industry groups, 43 percent of corrugated boxes in the United States are from recycled fiber, and almost 81 percent of postuse corrugated cardboard is recycled again. What ends up in landfills is generally used in food packaging or has a wax coating. But cardboard isn’t just for shipping anymore. Invented in the early 19th century, cardboard is used worldwide. More than 90 percent of packages shipped in the United States are done so in cardboard packaging, in either the corrugated (wavy paper sandwiched between two sheets of paperboard) or flat (“chipboard”) forms. A growing number of artists, designers, and architects are using this humble material in increasingly innovative ways, proving that cardboard—a.k.a. paperboard—has value beyond its industrial utility and an aesthetic value worthy of fine interiors. Joe Manus, founder and owner of Shiner International, Inc. in Atlanta is one such visionary. His business model is to turn post-use industrial waste into design objects that can be produced on a large scale. “Cardboard went into one of my first products,” he says, detailing how he uses a computerized cutting machine to cut stacks of inch-wide, 3/16-inch deep corrugated cardboard to make circular, square, and cloverleaf-shaped lamp shades. Why lamps? “The corrugation allows the concurrent passage of direct and secondary, reflective light,” he says. “It has a beautiful metallic-like patina and tone.” Amsterdam-based Alrik Koudenburg, an independent designer with clients that run

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THIS PAGE: Dutch designer Alrik Koudenburg was tasked with designing a temporary, affordable, yet superbly funky office space for an ad agency named Nothing. His solution? An all-cardboard concept that boggles the mind. OPPOSITE PAGE: The Nothing office comes to life.

client Nothing concept/art-direction Alrik Koudenburg design/production Joost van Bleiswijk photography Joachim Baan

material world

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material world

ABOVE: The two-story loft space shuns nails or glue in favor of the practice of joinery. Recycled wood provides the understructure.

from Nike to Heineken to Levi’s Europe, used an all-cardboard concept in his design for a 100-square-meter (1,075-squarefoot) temporary office space for his client, an advertising agency named Nothing. His task was to build an office for marketing creatives. The catch was it only needed to last the duration of their two-year lease. The two-story loft space used neither nails nor glue, but instead the practice of joinery. Tabletops were lacquered with a waterbased varnish, and recycled wood provided the understructure. “Cardboard is mostly recycled paper,” Koudenburg explains. “It’s bigger than yourself, and it creates a very pleasant, warm atmosphere.” And at a cost of €3,000 (about $4,000), it was the perfect price for a temporary office build-out. Koudenburg’s unique and funky office concept took cardboard design to a new level, creating a coffee corner, boardroom, and brainstorming space all from the material. He says that Nothing—named to imply unrestricted creativity—generated a great deal of buzz in industry, design, and general media, receiving more than 100,000 website hits in the months after its opening.

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Southern California-based artist Kiel Johnson uses paperboard to build replicas of musical instruments and cameras. He is able to create minute buttons and valves and keyboards with the fibrous wood-based papers, a combination of found fiberboards that include the backs of sketchpads he collects from his students at the end of each semester (he teaches art at California State University–Long Beach). “From drawings to 3-D pieces, it translates better because it’s paper to paper,” he notes of the material. He cites Chris Gilmore as an inspiration artist, who builds full-size models of cars, bicycles, wheelchairs, and Vespa scooters to scale entirely with cardboard and glue. In 2001, the UK’s Cottrell & Vermuelen Architecture engaged in a project that stood the test and verifed cardboard’s use as a viable building material. The Westborough Primary School’s campus boasts the Cardboard Building, a permanent space constructed from cardboard that is estimated to stand 20 years. The panels are 90-percent cardboard yet safe from fire and water. The project won a number of awards and, more importantly, furthered the knowledge of the material’s potential.

Addressing the problem with un-recyclable (waxed and food-stained) cardboard, students at the College of Architecture, Design and Construction at Auburn University are experimenting with the material. Bales of flattened boxes were used for exterior walls and a foundation in a student housing project. These students are primarily focused on sustainability, but other artists using cardboard don’t claim to work strictly from a green ethos. In fact, all cite the ubiquity of the low-cost material as a main reason to use it in their work. Trends in industrial cardboard use lead toward less consumption overall, however. One sweeping example is Wal-Mart, which shifted in 2009 to a recyclable variety of cardboard—and reduced annual expenses by $100 million in its US operations. Unlike forests, cardboard isn’t in danger of disappearing in the near future, so those exploring the material today are building a body of work that will inform the future of design, especially as the popularity of the reclaimed and recycled design aesthetic—explored in this issue of gb&d—continues to grow. —by Russ Klettke

architect to watch Mojra Hauenstein The visionary architect behind Arka Blue teams up with her husband, Mark, to forever change the Southwest’s architectural style for the greener by David Hudnall

Mojra Hauenstein, President, Arka Blue. Photo: Digiman Studio.

A novel idea: integrate green-design features more seamlessly and artfully into architecture. If you don’t think that’s novel, look at the way monstrously mundane photovoltaic arrays can smother the subtle details of a building’s façade. Fortunately, one person has a better way. Her name is Mojra Hauenstein. “We don’t just plop solar panels on the roof,” says the principal and architect at Reno, Nevada’s, Arka Blue. “We integrate them into the architecture on degree angles required for the geographical location, to both maximize solar exposure and articulate the overall design. “We’re also increasingly seeing energy-efficient products,” she adds, “like hot-water solar panels, that are being designed in vacuum tubes that are more aesthetically pleasing. We see a trend not just toward green design because it is inherently a beneficial idea, but toward eco-capitalism, where green saves green dollars.”

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architect to watch

Mojra Hauenstein



128 MARCH 2011


architect to watch

“If new houses are going to be built out here, we want to be in a position where we can influence the design and engineering that goes into them.” —Mojra Hauenstein, Principal

Hauenstein’s firm, founded in 2006, is well positioned to adapt to and even pioneer such changes—she teams with her husband, Mark Hauenstein, who founded his own engineering firm, Technical Designs, in 1998. The two explain what makes Arka Blue tick: Mojra, on approach. “We can do the full package. I do the architecture, and Mark takes care of mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and energy.” The pair walks the green walk as well; they’ve lived in an off-the-grid home powered by solar photovoltaics, solar hot water, and wind in the Nevada desert since 2003, and they are currently working on establishing oil cogeneration and fuel-cell power.

Teamwork. 1/ The Arka Blue-designed Villa D’argento boasts 24 solar panels, 3 solar-hot-water panels for radiant floor), a 1-kW windmill, and 12-inch ICF walls—all without sacrificing aesthetics. 2/ The Academy of Arts Careers & Technology, in Reno, NV, features engineering solutions provided by Technical Designs. It features various mechanical systems installed as working samples to teach students about mechanical design. 3/ Arka Blue’s Singer Barn, in Reno, showcases the architect’s imaginative use of shape, pushing the boundaries of green design.

Mojra, on lifestyle. “We know what it means to live a lifestyle completely cut off from the energy grid, and we know all the kinks involved with it and can talk at length about it. Of course, not all of our clients want to go to that extreme. But living this way allows us to tell our clients that we have the capability to go as green as they want.” Mark, on clients. “We typically gravitate toward clients with a long-term construction development approach. So when we’re working with a school district, I’m always asking questions like, ‘When the population increases, what could this building be? What uses could it have in the future?’” The pair has long felt that there have been numerous missed opportunities in the building industry. Mark, on solutions. “With Technical Designs, I’m constantly looking at factors like LEED strategies, smart-grid offerings,

returns on investments, lighting, heating, cooling—and trying to find ways our clients can lower their utility bills and allow for a utility structure that can absorb more green energy.” In terms of green elements, the pair strongly advocates building-control devices that measure air quality, energy, and water use— solutions like smart sensors that respond to daylight levels and activate utilities accordingly—because of the value-added characteristic of helping building inhabitants see how much they’re using. Mojra, on data. “If we don’t measure our energy consumption, then we don’t have the data to make the building automation respond in a smart way and efficient way.” Simple orientation methods, like smaller windows on the south side and larger ones on the north, are also promoted. Mark notes that the earlier Arka Blue is involved the better, then the ideas can be implemented from the start. Looking ahead, the pair sees residential work as an emerging area, due to the affordable real estate currently available in the western United States. Mojra, on the future. “If new houses are going to be built out here, we want to be in a position where we can influence the design and engineering that goes into them, creating not only a symbiotic, responsive building, but also saving our clients money in the long term. We want to be able to communicate the importance of every choice our clients make with us on the design like high-efficiency wall, radiant heating, solar, wind, geothermal— every selection matters and vindicates the final outcome.” gb&d

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last look in memoriam In 2009, it was reported that London’s vacant office space had exceeded 10 million square feet—the equivalent of “10 large city towers.” So architecture student Jonathan Gales drew up a plan not to fix this problem but to dissect what led to it, to honor it, and to think beyond it. His plan, submitted as an entry for eVolo’s 2011 Skyscraper Competition, is to extract empty space from existing structures, like a surgeon would remove a tumor, and fill the gaping holes with green space, which will increase the “capacity of [London’s] urban lung,” he writes in his statement. The removed portions will not go to a landfill but will be buried—an underground memorial to another era. Gales, a graduate student at The Bartlett School of Architecture, Building, Environmental Design and Planning in London, is calling the project the Mausoleum to Late Capitalist Iconography, which repurposes the extricated office space into an organic, twisting, root-like tomb that will serve as a memorial, destination, and home for a think tank called Chrysalis. Within the buried halls, Chrysalis will offer “education and research into social, cultural, and economic design,” hosting design symposia and community events to further evolve the ideas that make up our views on urban design. gb&d

*in the next issue

gb&d travels the world looking for the most delectable fare in restaurant design. From demure to jaw-dropping, the menu is rife with delicious choices.

plus… Architects, artists, and builders are increasingly turning to eco-activism to tackle environmental issues and propose outside-the-box solutions. Several leaders of this emerging medium tell their stories.

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Descent. Gales’ black-and-white renderings show what he imagines the interior of his “mausoleum” to look like, all spiral staircases, twisted steel, and multiple tiers throughout the cavernous space. His project proposal brilliantly repurposes existing materials while also transforming the skyscraper’s clean, modern lines into an organic, subterranean system.

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gb&d Issue 8: March 2011  
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