American Builders Quarterly
fAst And green, P. 28 Costco’s in-house construction team explains its dually efficient process
the informAtion source for construction executives
A regionAl fit, P. 48 Brissette Architects gives a tour of its Shanholt Desert Mountain Home fixing the WorkPlAce, P. 132 Lend Lease’s Linda ChristensenSjogren on compliance training
Meditative Living Phil kean designs unveils a trio of luxury homes in Winter Park, fl, including the Zen-inspired miwa residence, p. 64
volume 6 no. 47
how Aquatic design & engineering jumped from orlando, fl, to Abu dhabi, uAe, p. 82
BP Wind energy discusses the fiscal nuances of wind-farm construction, p. 92
disney uses special models and software to construct cars land, p. 100
7/2/12 8:02 PM
Driving Construction Clark Construction and Disney Cross the Finish Line on DCA Cars Land
Clark Construction Group, LLC
Costa Mesa, CA • San Diego, CA • Oakland, CA • Chicago, IL • Tampa, FL • Bethesda, MD
From office parks to amusement parks, Clark Construction Group has delivered some of the most unique and complex projects in the country. We are proud to have led the construction of Disney California Adventure Parkâ€™s newest experience: Cars Land. We are honored to have teamed with Disney on this and other exciting projects at the Park. Congratulations to our Disney partners on the successful completion and grand opening of Cars Land. We are thrilled to have been along for the ride!
Costco Wholesale – Wilsonville, OR Project Completed 2003 Architect – MulvannyG2 Architecture (503) 645-8531 • www.robcon.com
Civil Engineer – Cardno WRG
Robinson Construction Co. is one of the top General Contractors in the state of Oregon. Today, Robinson Construction Co. brings over 58 years of problem-solving experience to all projects, providing leadership and teamwork to meet the challenges of this ever-changing market. The highly trained staff members are committed to the needs of owners and promise a facility of excellent value to clients.
B I G B O X | R E TA I L | M O V I E T H E AT E R S | W A R E H O U S E S
Costco Wholesale – Sparks, NV
Costco Wholesale – Frisco, TX
Project Completed 2006
Project Completed 2011
Architect – MulvannyG2 Architecture
Architect – MulvannyG2 Architecture
Civil Engineer – Kier & Wright
Civil Engineer – Civil & Environmental Consultants, Inc.
Making a splash Aquatic Design & Engineering has created a number of major water features, including the biggest fountain in Abu Dhabi, UAE
cash blowing in all directions The wind industry continues to expand because of government incentives, but BP Wind Energy says it could slow down without further action
The Science behind the spectacle Walt Disney Imagineering gives a behind-thescenes look at the various technologies and models it used to build Cars Land
From The Ground Up
Step by Step
HiFive Development Services
American Contracting and Environmental Services, Inc.
23 DMC Consultants, Inc.
Through the Years
G. J. Hopkins, Inc.
Sav Mor Mechanical
78 NHP Foundation 138
Chesapeake Redevelopment and Housing Authority
AEM Architects, Inc.
92 oct/nov/dec 2012
Costco Wholesale Corporation
Housing Authority of the City of San
CICAda architecture/Planning, Inc.
East Coast Structures
Bob Cook Homes, LLC
44 Carl Boyd Maxwell, AIA Architect, Inc.
Brissette Architects, Inc.
58 dbHMS 62 Hamilton Anderson Associates 64
phil Kean Designs, Inc.
70 DS Ewing Architects, Inc. 74
vulcan construction, Inc.
Gerry brown & Associates
Orion Real Estate Services, Inc.
Rockford Housing Authority
Dake Wells Architecture
129 Dawood Engineering, Inc. 132
Lend LEase Corporation
steve gray renovations, inc.
Chicago Construction Works
Disaster Kleenup International
dewing & Schmid architects
Ideal suburban homes
149 Champion Roofing Services, INc.
Eustis Engineering Services, Llc
184 Colgan Perry Lawler Aurell Architects
dove valley business park associates, Ltd.
cold craft, inc.
Community Housing Improvement Systems and Planning Association, Inc.
American Builders Quarterly
Let's have a round for niche markets.
he construction of your average modern home follows a fairly standard operating procedure. There’s foundation and structural work. There’s plumbing and wiring. There’s insulation and exterior siding. And then you apply the finishing touches. Voilá. However, the more unusual a project’s blueprints get, the more unusual its construction becomes—and the more extraordinary its designers, builders, and engineers must be. In this issue of American Builders Quarterly, we’re highlighting a number of firms working in (or offering work in) the building industry’s more rarified sectors. “The companies we are working with are companies that got started early in the renewable-energy construction industry and have established a strong track record to show for it,” BP Wind Energy vice president Kimberly Randolph says. She and president John Graham sat down for an in-depth conversation (p. 92) about the distinctive contracting opportunities and government incentives in Stateside wind-farm construction. Some companies do such specialized work that they need their own in-house team, and here we have two of the big ones: Costco and Disney. Turn to page 28 to understand how the big-box chain’s ultra-efficient construction process has helped the company put up stores across North America (and now Asia), and on page 100, you’ll find a behind-the-scenes look at how exactly Walt Disney Imagineering designed and tested much of Disney California Adventure Park's new Cars Land attraction on its own. Subcontractors—including Aquatic Design & Engineering (ADE), a maker of complex, choreographed fountains—have their own ways of earning work on these more-elaborate projects. Our third feature (p. 82) examines ADE’s business strategies and showcases one of the firm’s latest high-profile projects: the Welcome Pavilion Fountains at Ferrari World theme park in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Of course, this issue still profiles the usual rich list of builders, designers, and engineers—many of them doing beautiful work on houses and high-rises. Some of the more notable names include Brissette Architects (p. 48) and Dake Wells Architecture (p. 126). We hope these stories and others inspire your own work in the construction field, and we hope this issue’s focus on niche sectors and players gives you some ideas about new directions for your firm.
Photo: Samantha Simmons
Geoff George Features Editor
American Builders Quarterly
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from the ground up
Trojan Dining Hall Mixing classic and contemporary themes in one structure 1
With an undergraduate body numbering more
than 23,000, Troy University needed a new place for its students to eat. So, in 2010, the university hired Whaley Construction Company Inc. to work on what would become the 79,000-square-foot Trojan Dining Hall, named after the school mascot. Completed in 2011, the construction of the two-story hall cost $11 million and was the third campus project funded by a universityowned $62.7 million bond issue. The build required Whaley Construction to negotiate the universityâ€™s main data line connecting its IT network, and the firm also had to work with the architect to rethink the design when certain site elevations were more dramatic than originally calculated. The exterior was designed to match the campusâ€™s general structural aesthetic, so Whaley Construction incorporated familiar materials, including red brick and whitetrimmed windows with black shutters on the exterior. The firm also built a simple colonnade around the main entrance. The finished interior is more modern: three large skylights and two large industrial fans in the atrium provide natural light and smooth air circulation throughout the building. The lobby is lined with terrazzo and mother-of-pearl aggregate flooring, and the exclusive dining spaces are lined with African mahogany. The space also features brick, travertine, and glass tiling; plastic-laminate slope-ceiling panels; and brass hand rails running along circular staircases. Now, with a dining capacity of 1,000, four all-you-can-eat venues, two retail-dining venues, an exclusive restaurant, meeting rooms, and an exterior courtyard and community area, the new hall is fully equipped to host another class of Trojans. ABQ
American Builders Quarterly
Project Details Project Name Trojan Dining Hall Location Troy, AL Size 79,000 square feet Completed 2011 Cost $11 million Architect Seay Seay and Litchfield Builder Whaley Construction Company Inc.
contents american spaces
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art Bentonville, Arkansas, isn't normally on the roster of
American destination cities, but the new Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art has changed that. The 93,000-square-foot museum, designed by Moshe Safdie, consists of eight separate pavilions and two bridge-like galleries situated around and traversing a central pond, which feeds into a nearby lake. The architect planned the building as a combined experience of both nature and art, so outdoor landscapes and gardens are interspersed throughout the campus, which is situated at the center of a 120-acre forest lined with pathways. The museum’s curving, seashell-like structures take their cues from their natural Ozark environs and showcase Safdie’s signature geometric style. Inside, the architect incorporated timber ceilings made of Arkansas white pine, but he also included modernist elements such as skylights, large windows, and concrete walls banded with horizontal wood flourishes. The amply daylit facility will include paintings from Jackson Pollock, Jasper Johns, Norman Rockwell, Roy Lichtenstein, and many others, and the gallery spaces are designed to reflect the different periods of the curated pieces, which run from the 18th century to the present. The finished building itself might as well be considered a part of the museum’s permanent collection, too. ABQ
Project Details Location
An intricate flood system protects the museum's paintings from the threat of rising water. And, between the central pond and an exterior pond, there's a 12-foot drop that keeps the water flowing north.
Bentonville, AR Client
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art Architect
Safdie Architects Size
93,000 square feet
American Builders Quarterly
The concrete-column faĂ§ade actually ends up being one of the more subdued elements of the entire museum, but the modern semicircular array rising out of the trees surprises visitors nonetheless and gets their attention before they enter the structure proper.
On the other side of the museum's front drive, visitors encounter the first of the property's many impeccably landscaped plots. These natural areas are composed primarily of local vegetation.
A Sculpted landscape One of George Rickey's kinetic sculptures (above)â€”an elaborate piece that moves slowly and gracefully with the windâ€”stands in an open-air portion of the museum. The venue has a number of groomed landscape areas where additional modern sculptures sit on display, including Roxy Paine's stainless-steel tree sculpture, which stands guard at the front of the museum (left). Visitors are meant to experience a smooth flow between the structure's indoor and outdoor environments, and to that end several walking trails have been built to branch out from the museum into the rest of the property's 120 forested acres. On these paths, hikers can find still more sculptures, which maintain the sense that almost the entire area is composed of curated space.
The museum's copper roofing, which matches the region's fall foliage, will slowly develop an aged green patina, which will then fit the surrounding arboreal landscape in spring.
Wherever possible, architect Moshe Safdie sought to use local materials, including the Arkansas white pine in the museum's ceiling beams.
Slight Lighting Skylights (right) allow lines of daylighting to stream through the musuem's copper and wood roofwork. The complex system of illumination keeps the gallery areas well lit without admitting too much direct sunlight, which can damage paint and fade the coloring of the delicate works of art. At night, a small collection of ceiling lights takes over without overwhelming the space.
3 4 5
6 7 3
11 12 13
10 1 North Gallery Bridge 2 West Gallery 3 Piazza and Ampitheatre 4 East Gallery 5 Kitchen 6 Dining Bridge 7 Lobby 8 Entry Court 9 Museum Store 1 0 Temporary Exhibition Gallery 11 Administrative/Offices 1 2 Great Hall 1 3 South Entrance/Great Hall Lobby
American Builders Quarterly
Glass walls span the venue's two bridges and overlook the central pond. The windows also look directly at each other, connecting the interiors of the two spaces visually.
The bases of both bridge sections also act as dams, carefully controlling the flow of water from one end of the museum property to the other.
step by step
A model of the now-completed RHCC project shows exactly how HiFive CEO Mark Davis intended the structure to take advantage of a waterfront site.
American Builders Quarterly
step step step by by step
HiFive Development Services
American Contracting and Environmental Services, Inc. 20 DMC Consultants, Inc.. 23
A Lakeside Church with HiFive Development Services Headquartered in a northeastern suburb of Cincinnati, HiFive Development Services has become one of the fastest growing design-build firms in the Midwest by offering itself as a one-source solution for architecture, construction, master planning, development, and financial-assistance needs. The company’s success in the hotel and hospitality sector—president Brian Zilch has managed more than $500 million in construction—allows the faith-based firm to focus nonprofit efforts on its other specialty: church development. At River Hills Christian Church (RHCC), in Loveland, Ohio, inadequate space had capped growth, so HiFive built a $4.5 million, 33,000-square-foot facility on a 23-acre waterfront property. In the building’s first year, church membership doubled, and then it increased by another 30 percent in year two, growing from fewer than 400 members to more than 1,000—including HiFive CEO Mark Davis, who serves as a trustee and counts pastor Jeff Metzger as one of his closest friends. Here, Davis recounts the process that made the church possible. ÑAnnie Fischer
1. Think big HiFive’s introduction to the RHCC project came informally when a member of the congregation’s building team asked HiFive CEO Mark Davis to look over existing expansion designs on a five-acre property. Davis immediately noticed various site problems, including subsoil issues, but the greatest weakness was the scope of the project. “I’d met Jeff Metzger, the senior pastor, years before,” Davis says. “I thought, ‘This guy is just way too strong to be limited in this way.’” Davis slid the plans back across the table. Within weeks, he’d located a 23-acre, semirural piece of property for sale, and
HiFive’s involvement with the RHCC project officially began.
2. Create a site-specific architectural design The project team met Tuesday nights with RHCC’s planning team to brainstorm big-picture needs for the church. Davis and Metzger would then stay to discuss more specific design ideas. The church’s baptistry—a three-story rock waterfall, located in the lobby and inspired by a trip to Cabela’s— came out of those sessions. So did the Sunday school arrival process: children check in at a computer kiosk and arrive at classrooms via slide.
step by step
“The normal goal on projects like this is to break even, but at the end of the day, we were happy to have [absorbed extra expenses].” mark davis, ceo
HiFive negotiated with the county and state to redesign existing plans for a new road, which helped fill a 30-foot-deep ravine running through the property, and the crew dammed up the rest to create a 3.5-acre lake. Eventually, after considering 30 different design schemes, the firm went with a postmodern barn set into the hillside and overlooking the water. “It’s a spectacular place in every season,” Davis says.
3. Master-plan the facility HiFive often cleans up after architects who are less knowledgeable about church development and growth. Its typical strategy is to design an entire campus and then scale back to an appropriate phase 1. That phase of the RHCC is already complete, but the firm has plans in place for the future, too: phase 2 includes an auditorium expansion, and phase 3 will add a children’s wing in the forest.
4. Raise financial capital Because the RHCC had already spent $180,000 of a $400,000 reserve, HiFive, which raises capital and secures financing on its own for the majority of its projects, started from scratch. Steve Daniels, one of the church’s planningteam members and the former president of a local bank, was an instrumental help in the funding process. “I call Steve our financial guru,” Davis says. “And when Steve lost his job as a result of the economy, we immediately hired him to run our capital group.” Top and middle: HiFive’s crews built the RHCC in the winter of 2006. The project was $600,000 over budget, but the extra cost was absorbed by HiFive. Bottom: Located in the lobby, the baptistery at RHCC is a three-story waterfall executed by artisans who have also worked for Disney and the Cincinnati Zoo.
5. Adjust to unexpected construction costs HiFive designed the church with a firm contract price. When construction began, though, the price of materials
American Builders Quarterly
step by step
Photo: Mark Jones
The church is designed as a postmodern barn that fits naturally with its surroundings, and its exterior colors mimic the palette of fall foliage.
drastically increased, partly because of Hurricane Katrina. The project was finished on schedule, but the cost was $600,000 more than expected. Because HiFive understood the church’s financial situation, the firm absorbed the extra expense. “The normal goal on projects like this is to break even,” Davis says, “but at the end of the day, we were happy to have done it.”
6. Incorporate state-of-the-art electronics Many churches spend considerable funds on event programming, so HiFive installed a 36-foot movie screen on the RHCC’s stage to make the venue more flexible in its accommodation of various production-set designs. The screen is so large that the NFL threatened the RHCC with a lawsuit for trying to host a Super Bowl party. The church complied with the league’s sanction, but the situation received enough media attention that the NFL rescinded the rule the following year.
7. Continue support indefinitely “When people come to us for business advice,” Davis says, “we always tell them the same thing: you have to give without the expectation of receiving anything in return.” HiFive dedicates half of its annual net profits back to the community and continues to resource its church projects long after construction. Two years ago, the bank actually ordered the firm to stop giving so much away. HiFive continues its efforts anyway. “We’ve found it’s also just a great business plan,” Davis says. “We have about $30 million in backlog right now, and we’re about to sign the contracts on another $25 million in Washington, DC. Pretty good for a ragtag little company out in Mason, Ohio.” ABQ
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step by step
ACES crew members selectively demolish a pump and piping during the upgrade of the Dogue Creek Sewage Pumping Station. The pumps had to be replaced one at a time.
A Water-Treatment Facility with American Contracting and Environmental Services, Inc. As the country's infrastructure ages and water-safety regulations evolve, water-treatment facilities are continually in need of upgrades to ensure their pump systems and processing equipment operate at or above the national standard. Established in 2004, American Contracting & Environmental Services, Inc. (ACES), based in Laurel, Maryland, has been a key provider in this industry sector in the Chesapeake Bay area by performing upgrades and rehabilitation on some of the countryâ€™s largest plants. Here, ACES vice president Joe Godin walks through the process of efficiently and safely upgrading the Dogue Creek Sewage Pumping System, in Fairfax County, Virginia, just one of the many dated systems his firm has taken on over the years. Ă‘Annie Monjar
American Builders Quarterly
step by step
1. Make a bid Usually, local governments and municipalities request the bids for treatment-facility renovations, and around 5–10 contractors will normally compete for each project. All the competing firms have one month to make a bid, and most often the lowest-bidding company wins the contract. Godin says that ACES likes to focus on projects that deal with process equipment and piping because they “are more interesting and challenging.” The firm won the Dogue Creek Sewage Pumping Station Rehabilitation in late 2009, besting five competitors with a low bid of roughly $4.2 million. The facility was still operating with much of the same equipment it was built with in the 1970s.
2. Assemble the project team The first step in constructing the project is assembling a good team that can help avoid mistakes from the outset. “Our people are our greatest strength,” Godin says. The people most critical to the success of any project are the project manager and the superintendent, and at Dogue Creek, ACES assigned two of its senior-level people to these positions right away. From there, the firm simply staffed the project with the experienced field labor necessary to build the project.
“We really try and preplan every detail of the installation.” joe Godin, vice president
3. Look at the engineer's plan All projects, Godin says, are planned by a professional engineering firm (usually hired by the municipality that awards the project) that lays out the exact specifications a facility needs to meet when the project is complete. In the case of Dogue Creek, Fairfax County hired CH2M Hill to design the facility’s renovation, which called for, among many things, new pumps, rerouted piping, upgraded electrical infrastructure, a new surge-control tank, and new ventilation equipment.
4. Selectively demolish aging equipment Rehabilitation projects typically entail replacement of existing equipment with updated technology. At Dogue Creek, the entire pump-station dry well had to be gutted and refitted, and the four existing shaft-driven pumps had to be swapped out while keeping the pump station operational. This required a phased demolition process that involved demolishing each pump and its associated piping one at a time.
5. Place process equipment and piping ACES specializes in the installation of process equipment and piping, typically the central focus of wastewaterfacility projects. “We really try and preplan every detail of the installation in advance so [that] the actual work goes smoothly,” Godin says. ACES uses 3-D modeling to
identify any conflicts or problems early in the process and coordinate a solution.
6. Overcome the challenges As in any sector, each treatment-facility renovation has its own complications and quirks. “We just try to establish a good plan for the whole job and then execute that,” Godin says. “One of the things we emphasize is preplanning of specific work activities.” At Dogue Creek, the plant’s existing influent valve was inoperable, and there was no way to isolate the incoming flow to enable the required pipe demolition. To work around this, ACES identified a section of pipe where a line stop could be temporarily installed, and after that it carried out the demolition.
7. Finalize and test the system Once the equipment and piping are installed and powered up, each project goes through a demonstration phase where the contractor has to prove that the equipment and control systems function as intended. “The cool thing about the Dogue Creek project is there really is a stark contrast between the original pump station and the finished product,” Godin says. “The new design really eliminated a lot of unnecessary equipment and piping and should be a great facility for Fairfax County.” ABQ
Above: The installation of new submersible pipe at Dogue Creek had to be done while keeping the system operational.
Congratulations to Jim Voltz, Joe Godin, and the American Contracting & Environmental Services' team on your success and recognition in American Builders Quarterly. We value our partnership and look forward to many more years working together.
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step by step
DMC Consultingâ€™s selective demolition of the Detroit MGM Casino involved stripping the structure down to its essential elements.
A Selective Demolition with DMC Consultants, Inc. Rather than flattening structures in one fell swoop, selective demolition maximizes efficiency by reducing waste, repurposing reusable materials, and lessening environmental impact. Michiganâ€™s DMC Consultants, Inc. has been in the total- and selective-demolition business since 2005, and it has earned enough prominence to win (and complete, in March of this year) a two-year, $1.3 million contract with the city of Detroit to aid the municipality in the demolition of more than 3,000 abandoned structures. The firm also recently received a safety award from the Construction Association of Michigan. American Builders Quarterly sat with Doug Snover, vice president of construction, to break down how his firm performs a selective demolition. Ă‘Benjamin van Loon
step by step
1. Survey your project
5. Establish an egress
A selective demolition can be done on everything from small residential units to large-scale commercial buildings. Although the demands and fine-tuning of each demolition process are contingent on the structure itself, Snover says, “the same steps for selective demolition apply to projects large and small.” The process always begins with a survey identifying hazardous materials and quantifying recyclable materials. “Once the numbers have been assessed,” Snover says, “you establish your clearances and start on your project.”
Because selective demolition is meant to offset demolition costs and repurpose structural materials, an egress strategy is necessary for maximizing the collection of salable recyclable goods. Occasionally, selective demolitions will be implemented in occupied buildings, in which case, Snover says, “You will need to seal off areas or construct a trash chute on the outside of a building, which empties into a dumpster for sorting and recycling.”
2. Choose your team Demolition takes more than a crane and a lead ball. Especially in this age of sustainability, the best demolition is a “clean” demolition—one which repurposes all recyclable materials while having the least environmental impact possible during and after the process. “When it comes to larger projects,” Snover says, “the process usually begins by consulting with an architect to help plan out the demolition.” DMC Consultants’ recent selective demolition of the 433,000-square-foot Detroit MGM Casino began this way; Snover says special preparatory attention was required for a project of that scale.
3. Cut and cap “Once you’ve determined your plan of attack,” Snover says, “that’s when it’s time to send in the mechanics, electricians, and plumbers.” In most cases, a building slotted for selective demolition is still a ‘live’ building, which means that the main operative functions of the structure need to be “cut and capped” to ensure a safe demolition process and to prep materials for removal and recycling, if possible. The electrician will limit or cut off power to the area chosen for demolition, the mechanic will shut down the HVAC systems, and the plumbers will cap open piping. “If the project is large enough,” Snover says, “you may also need to shut down utilities entirely.”
6. Pick and pack “Once you have established the preliminaries,” Snover says, “the next step is to send in the labor contractors.” Because DMC Consultants prioritizes green demolition practices, it selects labor contractors who, during the demolition process, will presort demolished materials for recycling and scrap valuation. “For green projects, you generally quantify these sorted materials by poundage,” Snover says, “which allows you to properly assess the effectiveness of this method.” Metal wiring, piping, and concrete can all be recycled to offset demolition costs.
4. Install temporary lighting “Depending on the window and natural-lighting situation, you generally need to install a temporary lighting system, at least in the middle sections of the structure, in order to provide visibility for the demolition team,” Snover says. Though this is a minor step, it is essential in facilitating the fluidity of the demolition process, and it also lays practical ground for the transition to step 5.
American Builders Quarterly
step by step
“The same steps for selective demolition apply to projects large and small.” doug snover, vice president of construction
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7. Strip to the shell “The labor force is going to dismantle the architectural, mechanical, and electrical elements of the target structure, which leaves you with the shell of the building,” Snover says. If the selective demolition calls for an additional structural demolition, he adds, “We will meet with and hire a team of carpenters and steel workers who are knowledgeable enough to identify and remove all superfluous structural elements.”
8. Shore up the structure Once a structure has been stripped down to its rudimentary supports (as seen below), the selective demolition team will ‘shore up’ the structure, bolstering the shell. Key elements are sold, recycled, or repurposed, and all nonrecyclable materials are diverted to the landfill. “At this point,” Snover says, “the selective demolition is complete, and the structure is ready for remodeling.” ABQ
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step by step the years through
G. J. Hopkins, Inc. 1958 Garland J. Hopkins founds the firm “The story goes,” Caldwell says, “that after the birth of his first child, Hopkins came to the hospital and told his wife, who was still recovering, that he’d just quit his job with a local engineering firm because he wanted to provide a better future for his family.” So, then and there, G. J. Hopkins, a mechanical-contracting firm, begins.
The story of G. J. Hopkins, Inc., the Roanoke, Virginia-based mechanical and electrical contractor, is one of presidents who prefer initials to full names and of a company adapting successfully to market forces. Over the years, G. J. Hopkins has added electrical and mechanical services and an in-house design-build team to tackle construction issues without outside help. With new president Ernie Caldwell at the helm, who took over from E. Clifton in 2011, G. J. Hopkins is now also fully active in building information modeling (BIM) and prefabrication. G. J. Hopkins averages annual sales of $30 million, and it employs 190 personnel at its office and facilities, both in Roanoke. The company is currently licensed to operate in Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee, and it’s working to expand further, which is amazing considering its beginnings at the side of a hospital bed. —Chris Allsop
1984 The Branch Group acquisition G. J. Hopkins is acquired by the Branch Group—a parent company overseeing five subsidiaries—and is merged with Branch Mechanical, an established mechanical bid-spec contracting firm. Hopkins leaves the company, and Jerry Mormon transfers from Branch Mechanical to become the new president. Mormon’s tenure leads to a change in philosophy for the company, pushing it away from negotiation and toward a bid-spec approach. During this period, the service department grows from a warranty department into a true profit center, performing preventive-maintenance contracts, installations, and service calls. G. J. Hopkins also becomes a 100 percent employeeowned company with an employee stock-ownership plan.
1963 Expansion into electrical contracting Hopkins adds electrical installation to the company’s service suite, bringing in personnel with the necessary experience and technical expertise. This addition allows the firm to offer both major disciplines and become a full-service mechanical and electrical contractor. 1977 A sheet-metal shop is added The company constructs its own sheet-metal shop (below) and begins fabrication of the material right away, allowing G. J. Hopkins better quality and cost control over a vital aspect of its mechanical projects.
1998 The era of E. Clifton Upon retirement, Mormon is replaced by E. Clifton, who moves from the electrical department to become the new president. “Clifton brought in a healthy balance of bid-spec and negotiated work,” Caldwell says. Clifton also adds an in-house design-build department to the company’s suite of services.
2000s growth from medical work The company’s healthy growth to $10–15 million in sales per year is fueled by successful partnerships that bring G. J. Hopkins a number of addition, renovation, and new-build projects at hospitals. Most of these are negotiated design-build projects, and two or three are contracts in the $20–30 million realm. “We had an edge against the competition, as these larger projects were complicated and fast-tracked,” Caldwell says. “We were the only local contractor with the team capable of getting the project completed on schedule.” All of the medical projects are completed on time and within budget.
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step by step
“The story goes that after the birth of his first child, Garland Hopkins came to the hospital and told his wife, who was still recovering, that he’d just quit his job with a local engineering firm because he wanted to provide a better future for his family.” Ernie Caldwell, President
2008 Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital Carilion Health Systems (now Carilion Clinic) partners with Virginia Tech University for the development of a medical school and research institute, the Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital (above, right). G. J. Hopkins is once again a part of the construction team. Ground is broken on the facility in September 2008, and classes begin on schedule in August 2010. 2011 Ernie Caldwell takes the reins After 25 years of service, E. Clifton retires. With 19 years of mechanical engineering and construction experience under his belt, Ernie Caldwell is promoted to take his place. Shortly after Caldwell took the reins, the sheet-metal shop is moved into a larger, updated facility with new equipment. In this new facility, G. J. Hopkins begins prefabrication of mechanical, plumbing, and electrical systems, thus reducing the firm’s reliance on field labor. Additionally, the engineering department adds staff who have BIM expertise. This allows G. J. Hopkins to construct a three-dimensional computer model of its mechanical and electrical systems for coordination purposes prior to installation.
2012 looking ahead In response to the economy and a drop-off in the construction of new medical facilities, G. J. Hopkins’s focus shifts to higher education, but the firm still maintains a balanced load of other design-build work. And, with the addition of BIM and prefabrication capabilities, the firm hopes to broaden its geographical reach. ABQ
“The biggest costs in running our warehouses are in utilities and maintenance. That’s why we started using an energy-management system for cost control 20 years ago.” Ali Moayeri, Senior Vice President of Construction
Costco’s huge warehouse stores hardly take any time to build. The company manufactures many of its large building components off-site, so just two crews of six can complete most of the construction in about two and a half weeks.
American Builders Quarterly
industry insights industry insights
Costco Wholesale Corporation
Housing Authority of the City of San Buenaventura 33
CICADA Architecture/Planning, Inc. 35
East Coast Structures 39 Bob Cook Homes, LLC 41 Carl Boyd Maxwell, AIA Architect, Inc. 44
Big Buildings, Small Footprints Costco reduces waste and increases profits with hyperefficient construction and operating practices by Russ Klettke
There are a lot of ways Costco Wholesale Corpora-
tion distinguishes itself from its competition, and yet the average consumer would probably never know it. For example, consider its advertising. Can’t remember a recent Costco commercial? That’s because it doesn’t have any, yet somehow it became the second largest retailer in the United States and the seventh largest in the world. Quickly and cheaply, word about Costco just gets around. According to Ali Moayeri, the company’s senior vice president of construction, those differences are just the tip of the iceberg. How Costco designs, builds, maintains, and staffs its almost-identical warehouses (not “stores”) is distinctive, too, and it has a lot to do with the firm’s relatively rapid success. “The biggest costs in running our warehouses are in utilities and maintenance,” Moayeri says. “That’s why we started using an energy-management system for cost control 20 years ago.”
At a Glance Location Issaquah, WA Founded 1983 Employees 147,000 Specialty Efficient construction of retail warehouses Annual Sales $88.9 billion
Above: To soak up rainwater, Costco parking lots have numerous gardens planted with trees and other indigenous flora.
That system, routinely referred to as the EMS, is multifaceted and begins with how Costco’s buildings are designed and what materials are used. For example, the company did away with cinderblock walls, which are used extensively for retail outlets; instead, it uses off-site-manufactured sandwich walls made of heavy-gauge steel on the exterior, lighter-gauge steel on the interior, and polyurethane foam in between. “Cinderblock needs resealing every five years, adding to maintenance costs, and it provides little room for insulation,” Moayeri says. “This wall system holds up well to seismic disturbances and works in all climates.” In-warehouse EMS measures include wrap-around air curtains on coolers and freezers and nighttime curtains for meat and deli cases, which are major energy users. Additionally, skylights that cover about six percent of rooftop space are accompanied by light-sensitive, controlled electric-lighting that can vary its energy output in accordance with the amount of sunshine filtering in. “About two-thirds of the 500–550 light fixtures in each location shut off entirely on sunny days,” Moayari says. In recent years, Costco has also been able to scale back use of 400-watt high-intensity discharge lamps in existing warehouses to 350- and 210-watt bulbs. The EMS ensures efficiency once a warehouse is completed, but Costco also works to make the construction process itself faster and cost- and eco-friendly. “Because the [sandwich-wall] components are manufactured off-site, we can erect the walls of a 148,000-squarefoot warehouse with two six-person crews in 2.5 weeks,”
Moayari says. “Compare that to using 30- to 40-person crews over a month to six weeks. Plus, there’s no weather impact on the construction schedule.” The method also reduces overall costs by $500,000. The company saves by building nearly identical buildings across its worldwide system, which currently comprises 600 units (see the sidebar on the righthand page). Additionally, only 16 general contractors, including Robinson Construction of Portland, Oregon, are familiar with the building plan and the construction process, and they work on all warehouses in the US, Mexico, and Canada. Each new location is open to competitive bids from subcontractors (who negotiate with the general contractor), and Costco insists that the general contractor pay its employees and its subcontractors the prevailing local wage. This same approach to fair wages is why the company has one of the lowest turnover rates in retail, which in turn leads to more efficient operations. The warehouse concept requires ceiling heights of 22–30 feet, which limits the company’s ability to renovate existing structures. Instead, Costco demolishes old buildings or builds on greenfields. But green practices take no backseat when a demolition is required: concrete, wood, and metal are separated; metal is sent to recyclers; and old asphalt and concrete are pulverized for reuse in the building pad and for parking areas. New warehouses open for business 110 days after the building pad is ready, which is remarkably fast for the industry, and then the recycling mentality carries into day-to-day operations. Instead of plastic bags, store
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customers use shipping boxes located near cashiers to lug home their purchased items, an initiative that also prevents excessive disposal of cardboard bales. And, grease generated by in-warehouse cooking—chicken, pizza, and hot dogs are sold ready-to-eat on-site—is made purchasable for biofuel recyclers, thus reducing use of fossil fuels down the line. Also, about 60 Costco warehouses in California, Hawaii, and New Jersey collect solar energy on their massive roofs, including the company’s 1.6 million-square-foot distribution center in California. Moayari says only those states make photovoltaic arrays affordable through the tax structure. Smart construction, maintenance, and utility-management practices might break the retail paradigm in significant ways, but really, because Costco is a for-profit entity, they are all driven by cost-consciousness. It’s a fair lesson to all that sustainability has a lot to do with smart money, and more businesses would do well to follow the retail giant’s example. ABQ
A Message from Span Construction Span Construction and Costco enjoy a partnership covering many years and many projects—a relationship built on service, teamwork, and mutual respect. Costco demands the best quality, the best schedule, and the best pricing. This has resulted in our business becoming more efficient and has allowed us to grow and become a leader in our industry. We foster the same relationship with commercial, industrial, agricultural, and recreational clients around the world providing the best value.
one footprint, all countries The funny thing about the no-frills, great-deals, bag-it-yourself nature of Costco shopping is that it doesn’t feel cheap. Is it the branding, with clean graphics and wide, clutter-free aisles? Or does it start in the parking lots, where rain gardens catch runoff and provide a habitat for trees, indigenous plants, and pollinator species? The fact is that Costco building practices create a high-quality consistency from country to country. In Canada—where the company has existed for 25 years and where 82 warehouses are spread throughout almost every province—contractors, subcontractors, and building materials can be sourced from across the border in the United States to keep projects in the same hands. The company’s pre-engineered wall systems and American general contractors were also used to build nearly three dozen locations in Mexico, in both urban and suburban locations—including concentrations in tourist areas such as Acapulco, Puerto Vallarta, and Cancun as well as along the US-Mexico border in Tijuana, Mexicali, and Juarez. The company’s Asian warehouse stores—13 in Japan, seven in South Korea, and eight in Taiwan, with at least eight more being added this year—initially had to adapt to tight space and multilevel units. But newer suburban locations are more in the American style, occupying 16–18 acres of land. None of these countries currently use solar panels to generate their power. However, because electricity costs in Taiwan might rise by 30 percent in the near future, rooftop photovoltaic arrays are looking more attractive there. And in the meantime, because the sun shines everywhere anyway, energy-saving skylights will continue to provide bright daylighting at all Costco warehouses in the world.
Efficient in every respect. Butler buildings save time, money, and energy. ®
For an efficient building solution, call Butler Manufacturing™ at 800-250-5596 or visit butlermfg.com/energy.
©2012 BlueScope Buildings North America, Inc. All rights reserved. Butler Manufacturing™ is a division of BlueScope Buildings North America, Inc.
2012WT.pdf 1 4/30/2012 8:32:08 AM
1841 Howard Rd. Madera, CA 93637 p: (559) 661-1111 | f: (559) 233-1818 Lic #: 395853 Whiting-Turner is an equal opportunity employer
The basic mission of any housing authority is simple:
Beyond the Prime Housing Directive The Housing Authority of the City of San Buenaventura seeks out creative ways to offer its residents opportunities for self-improvement by Julie Edwards
to provide decent, safe, affordable housing for lowincome residents. Such a mission fails to fully consider the residents themselves, though, for without creating opportunities for individual betterment, the provision of shelter is merely a stopgap against homelessness. The Housing Authority of the City of San Buenaventura (HACSB) understands this, so despite dwindling funding and aging properties, it’s constantly reassessing its approach and implementing creative strategies to further its tenants’ potential. “We look at how [our organization] improves the quality of life for our residents,” CEO Denise Wise says. “We are not just investing in bricks and mortar, but people.” The HACSB’s resident-driven initiatives begin at the management level. Currently the nonprofit administers 1,349 Section 8 vouchers and oversees 718 units in its housing stock, forgoing the use of third-party property managers for both practical and social reasons. “From the fiscal perspective, [it] does save us some money,” Wise says. “However, the more important benefit is that we keep a connection with our residents.” Capitalizing on this connection, the HACSB offers an array of services to support its tenants further, from GED testing and ESL classes to more niche-focused programs such as community gardening groups and a community youth council to help combat gangs. The organization has even put together an open-air market in
At a Glance Location Ventura, CA Founded 1949 Employees 47 Specialties Construction and management of affordable housing
Above: The HACSB’s Soho Apartments, now completed, include community spaces and other nontraditional amenities that help remove the stigma surrounding public housing.
order to encourage tenants toward microenterprise, and it has formed “green teams”: small construction crews made up of residents who perform routine property maintenance under the guidance of skilled craftspeople who know the sustainable construction trade. Wise adds that the HACSB also considers how new projects and programs will benefit the community as a whole. “Our goal is fostering responsible development practices,” she says. “We want to be a positive influence in our work and good neighbors in our community.” For example, the HACSB was recently awarded an $80,000 planning grant to research adding a health clinic to one of its properties—a clinic that would serve not only the residents but the entire neighborhood. “We surveyed tenants and area residents and found significant gaps in care, especially dental, vision, and behavioral healthcare,” Wise says. “Hopefully, the planning grant will develop into an implementation grant so that we can fill these gaps.” Next on the agenda for the Housing Authority is leasing its newest development, Encanto Del Mar, comprising 38 units located in the downtown district on a piece of property that was under foreclosure. The development will have exterior stonework and other
property features not typical to housing-authority developments. Another recently constructed 12-unit development, the Soho Apartments, also has nontraditional amenities, including a public courtyard featuring a mural painted by a local artist. “There is a stigma involving public housing, but it doesn’t have to be that way,” Wise says. “We want to break those stigmas by introducing property features such as dog parks, libraries, and community spaces to our developments.” Wise says many of these new ideas come from tenants, whom the HACSB actively engages with when developing or rehabilitating its properties. She admits, however, that funding continues to be a challenge. “As funding continues to shrink, we have to look at ways to be more creative, more entrepreneurial,” Wise says. Leveraging resources and working directly with residents and community groups are the initial steps in that reinvention process, but Wise has also considered shifting the HACSB to a public-private partnership model. However it continues to fund itself, her organization will keep working to put its residents first. “We continuously strive to create a stable funding base,” Wise says. “But our challenges shouldn’t stop us from always trying to improve opportunities.” ABQ
Housing Authority City of San Buenaventura
The mission of the Housing Authority of the City of San Buenaventura is to provide and develop quality aﬀordable housing for eligible low-income residents of Ventura County and to establish strong partnerships necessary for HACSB customers to achieve personal goals related to: literacy and education; health and wellness; and job training and employment leading to personal growth and economic self-suﬃciency.
• FAIR HOUSING • PUBLIC HOUSING • SECTION 8/VOUCHER PROGRAM • AFFORDABLE HOUSING • HOUSING PRESERVATION • RESIDENT SERVICES 995 Riverside Street | Ventura, California 93001 | (805) 648-5008
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CICADA Architecture was able to salvage Old Tarble, the remaining portion of Swarthmore College’s original library (destroyed by a fire in 1981), and connect it to one of the school’s art buildings. The firm has done many projects on the campus.
Construction in Context
Philadelphia’s CICADA Architecture works collaboratively, blending the past with the present to bring buildings into the future by Benjamin van Loon
Photo: Joseph M. Kitchen
Philadelphia is the largest city in Pennsylvania, and
its rich legacy as one of the oldest cities in the United States and as a former national capital has led to significant historical-preservation efforts across entire municipal districts. The complex, landmarkheavy landscape has proven to be both an inspiration and a challenge for architects, and some have embraced it better than others. Mary Holland and Kurt Raymond, principals of Philadelphia’s CICADA Architecture/Planning, Inc., are constantly brainstorming new ways to execute projects while respecting the city’s past, and they’ve determined that community involvement is integral. “We’re very strong contextualists without being slavish,” Holland says. “We take cues from the built
environment and insert modern architecture that is informed by those cues.” CICADA often works and consults with private colleges, private developers, community groups, and nonprofit organizations, and they consider it a priority to stay informed—and keep others informed—about how to operate within Pennsylvania’s rich historical context. As part of these efforts, CICADA invests a lot of time in the communities it works with. “One of our goals when founding the firm was supporting sustainable communities,” Raymond says. “Collaboration plays a major role in our methodology, so we often work with communities in the design process.” The firm accomplishes this community collaboration in part via charette: a design process involving a
At a Glance Location Philadelphia Founded 1996 Employees 7 Specialties Conscious community development and collaborative design work Annual Sales $500,000
industry insights The Pennypack Environmental Center in Philadelphiaâ€™s Fairmount Park was the pilot project for a series of environmental centers in the park. CICADAâ€™s design included sustainable elements such as rainwater-capture and -irrigation systems and natural ventilation.
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“We’re very strong contextualists without being slavish. We take cues from the environment and insert modern architecture that is informed by those cues.” Mary Holland, AIA, Principal
Above: CICADA worked with Metropolitan Acoustics on the renovation of this public high school auditorium, correcting the sound of the space and providing all new finishes, seating, lighting, and mechanical systems. The firm’s collaborative approach allows it to finish projects such as this quickly and considerately.
dialogue in which all participants are given an equal voice. “This process allows stakeholders to develop ownership and provide input on the end result of a given project,” Raymond says. CICADA’s recent work with nearby Swarthmore College serves as a good example of the firm’s ability to implement this collaborative and contextually sensitive approach. Established in 1864, Swarthmore is proactive in managing its buildings, and CICADA has worked with the school for more than a decade. “Our work at Swarthmore began as an attempt to increase campus building accessibility,” Holland says, “though success with this has also led us to more visible projects on campus, [including the Old Tarble addition].” CICADA is now working with Mechanicsville, Pennsylvania–based CTC Construction to renovate the school’s Worth Student Health Center, originally designed by Vincent Kling. “Because Swarthmore and our other private university clients have strong historical contexts,” Raymond says, “one of our challenges is working with the community to respect this context while also producing something effectively contemporary.” For CICADA, contemporaneity also requires the firm to pay acute attention to sustainability in all its projects. “Creating air-tight systems with a strong thermal envelope and efficient systems has become a default for housing—especially in our community-development scattered-site housing,” Raymond says. “The Energy Star standards add some expenses to the projects, but our clients are completely on board with them.” “We were committed to sustainability from the outset,” Holland adds. “We always welcome the challenges of creating sustainable buildings.” CICADA also emphasizes the importance of sustainable standards to community-development-corporation clientele, and “the growth of LEED and Energy Star has been integral in facilitating these conversations,” Holland says. The collective response to sustainability has proven to be one of CICADA’s most valuable aids in encouraging green building practices. And by promoting sustainability while maintaining a willingness to work within certain contexts—past, present, and future—Holland says, “We’re finding that it’s becoming much easier—and much more expected—that our projects correspond to sustainable standards.” ABQ
PH Architects LLC, was founded in 2009 by architect Philip H. Hubbard III and Peter Paulos Jr. Our designs all share the time honored elements of architectural qualities of proportion, scale, light, texture and color. We are committed to creating beautiful buildings rooted in historical references and built responsibly with modern construction practices.
38 TAUNTON HILL ROAD NEWTOWN, CT
Our firm is committed to providing personal service and direct principal attention to each project.
When the development company that had employed
Tactics for a Tight Economy Year-old homebuilder East Coast Structures has found work by focusing on high-end improvements and establishing relationships by Erin Brereton
John Sullivan for 15 years closed its doors in 2011, Sullivan figured he had two choices: look for a new job or create one for himself. In an admirable roll of the dice, he went with the latter option, founding his own residentialconstruction business, East Coast Structures, one year ago despite the still-struggling economy. The company has since flourished, handling four home-addition jobs of $500,000 or more in the summer of 2011 alone, and much of its business has come from partnering with other companies while paying attention to market demands. Sullivan attributes his firm’s success as a new player to its persistent focus on getting business. “Any project that comes across the table, we take a look at right now,” he says. And, because East Coast Structures’ overhead is so low—the entire staff comprises just two project managers and an office manager—it can keep project fees low, too, making it even more attractive to potential clients. As in many regions, home construction in Sullivan’s area—home to a number of finance and investment professionals who commute to New York City—isn’t as robust as it was several years ago. However, he has found that many homeowners are still investing in renovations that add to their home’s value. “A lot of people here still have money but don’t have a lot of confidence in the
At a Glance Location Fairfield County, CT Founded 2011 Employees 3 Specialties New construction, historical preservation, and raising and moving homes Annual Sales More than $3 million
Above: East Coast Structures completed this Darien, CT, home alongside PH Architects. Although it does some new construction, the young contracting firm stays busy in the tough economy by seeking out renovations.
“People [in Connecticut] still have money but don’t have a lot of confidence in the market. ... Instead of buying a new house, they’re staying put and putting money into their homes.” John Sullivan, Founder
market,” Sullivan says. “So instead of buying a new house, they’re staying put and putting money into their homes.” And the few who are building brand new homes are also cutting back—but may still splurge on extras. “Six or seven years ago, everyone wanted to move farther away from town and have a big house,” Sullivan says. “More and more, people want to be closer to town, with less square footage—but more bells and whistles.” Because of this, East Coast Structures has spent a lot of time tricking homes out with elaborate TV sound systems, vanishing-edge pools, and other amenities. And this has put Sullivan in contact with a new group of architects specializing in contemporary design, including BassamFellows Inc., Daniel Conlon Architects, and PH Architects LLC, a Newtown, Connecticut-based firm that East Coast Structures recently collaborated with on a Darien, Conncticut, home. PH Architects incorporated a number of unique extras into the 5,000-square-foot new-construction project—including an outdoor fireplace and an ecofriendly (and cost-friendly) hybrid heating system that warms rooms with a heat pump (instead of oil) if the temperature is above 28 degrees. “The drawings are very detailed,” Sullivan says. “The company has been very easy to work with.” Establishing a relationship with local architects has become a solid source of business for Sullivan. “When we get the opportunity to work with a new one, we try to shine the best we can,” he says. And when working on detailed projects such as the Darien home, Sullivan has found that bringing potential clients to the job site can also be a strong selling point, particularly if the client expresses any reservations about East Coast Structures’ only having been in business for a year. “They see the quality of our work and think, ‘This guy knows what he’s doing—these people trusted him to do this; we can, too,’” Sullivan says. “It’s helped us stay busy.” As East Coast Structures enters its second year, Sullivan’s central goal is to keep growing his business, but his motives aren’t directly tied to profits. “For us, it’s not really about the money,” he says. “It’s about building a reputation—and [having] the staying power to compete with the big boys.” ABQ
American Builders Quarterly
To many contractors, the laying of foundation is a
Well Grounded The leader of Bob Cook Homes fuses his passion for contracting with his background in concrete to ensure his custom homes start with strong foundations by Lisa Ryan
basic step, one to finish quickly to get to a structure’s more engaging design elements, but Bob Cook knows better. The custom-home builder got his start at 14, in the concrete-foundation business, and then he opened a concrete-contracting firm of his own almost as soon as he turned 18. Professionally, he practically lived in basements. His talents in this field helped him rise to the top of the Wichita, Kansas, market, and soon after he developed a yearning to try something new. “Five years after I started my concrete business, I built my first home for sale, and in the mid-’90s my homebuilding business accelerated,” he says. The contractor now owns and operates Wichita-based Bob Cook Homes, LLC, a company renowned for its personal customer service and fine craftsmanship. With his son Ben as his partner, Cook works on residences in developments across the city, creating homes with predictably strong foundations for empty nesters and new families alike. One of the firm’s current projects is in the Woods in Auburn Hills, a West Wichita development. “The area is unique,” Cook says. “Its lots back up to trees and water, so residents have their privacy as well as lots of space.
At a Glance Location Wichita, KS Founded 1977 Employees 10 Specialties Custom-home building and concrete work
Above: Although Bob Cook now does custom homes, he started out in the concrete industry, and to this day he relies on the expertise he gleaned there.
“If you don’t have a good foundation, you don’t have a good home.” Bob Cook, OWNER
Cook still operates his concrete business, too, but his role has become more supervisory as he's aged. The experience of working with other contractors has taught him how to be a better homebuilder.
This is my fourth model home in the area.” The model home is a 2,100-square-foot, two-bedroom ranch home featuring beautiful masonry and landscaping work and stamp concrete floors in the basement. Cook started working on the model home in January 2012 and completed it just four months later, and it was then shown in the development’s Parade of Homes. “I built this home for the empty-nester family: the couple that wants to have room for their children to come home and visit, but their lifestyle just suits the two of them,” Cook says. “They have a lot of room and luxury features to enjoy.” Although he has found success as a homebuilder, Cook still operates his concrete business, too, but he now mostly works behind the scenes. “The concrete business is really something for a young man,” he says. “It’s very hard physical work, and while I have never been afraid of work, I knew that as I got older, I was going to have to make a living doing something other than concrete.” Cook credits his education in the concrete field with his success in general construction. “When I was just doing concrete, all the jobs I worked on were for other contractors,” he says. “I paid attention to detail and learned how they were doing things. I took in what I did and didn’t like about the homes they were building. When I set out to do my own general-contracting business, I already had an idea of what subcontractors and suppliers I wanted to use; I knew where the best results were coming from.” This on-site training helped Cook learn how to build entire homes, but in the end it’s still his concrete expertise that he uses first and foremost to ensure each of his homes can withstand the test of time. “As far as I’m concerned, you need to start with a good structure, and the most important thing about your home is the foundation,” he says. “If you don’t have a good foundation, you don’t have a good home. ABQ
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CAS Structural Engineering, Inc. PO Box 469 Alum Creek, WV 25003-0469 T :: (304) 756-2564 F :: (304) 756-2565 www.casstruceng.com
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arl Boyd Maxwell, AIA Architect, Inc. RESIDENTIAL • COMMERCIAL
Over 40 years of experience has established Bob Cook Homes as one of the most respected custom home builders, remodelers, and concrete and masonry experts in the Wichita area. With our energy efficient building process and quality material selection, you’ll notice low utilities, quiet interiors, and minimal upkeep - saving you time and money to thoroughly enjoy your new home. Add an enviable record for superior customer service, and it becomes clear why choosing Bob Cook Homes is the top choice for creating, choosing, or transforming your home.
121 S. Water Derby, KS 67037 P: 316.789.9932 www.bobcookhomes.com
CHARLESTON, WEST VIRGINIA
1-304-342-2040 • 1-866-988-7526 WWW.CARLMAXWELL.COM
A Single Designer, A Singular Focus Carl Boyd Maxwell, AIA Architect, Inc. is an architecture firm of one, which gives Maxwell himself the freedom to serve clients attentively and concentrate more on each of his projects
Location Charleston, WV Founded 2005 Employees 1 Specialty Meeting the design needs of clients through constant communication
"I think of architecture as the dissection of a
building,” says Carl Boyd Maxwell, the founder of his own firm, Carl Boyd Maxwell, AIA Architect, Inc. “I enjoy looking at things in regards to their component parts, whether it be an object, a building, or even a work of art.” It’s easy to apply this kind of analysis to Maxwell’s firm, for he himself is the primary component as the business’s sole employee. The firm’s size comes with challenges, but it also gives Maxwell the latitude to take time on the design process and work closely with clients—whether they are residential homeowners or federal agencies. Maxwell’s desire to become an architect began when he was young. He was fascinated by the plans of buildings,
and when he attended Virginia Polytechnic Institute to study architecture, his curiosities were further fueled by a program and faculty that challenged him to think differently and focus on how the parts of a building compose the whole. Before starting his own firm, Carl worked for other architecture and engineering companies, including most recently the Chapman Technical Group, a multidiscipline engineering and interior design firm located in St. Albans, West Virginia. Each employer lent him new and different perspectives that continually shaped his own, and from this he learned the nuances of taking a multifaceted approach to the design process. “I want to let my clients
American Builders Quarterly
Photo: Tracy A. Toler
At a Glance
Rendering: Miomir Terzic
by Ashley T. Kjos
“The combination of science and art interested me, and I feel architecture melds those two together.” Carl Boyd Maxwell, Owner
Opposite page: This rendering shows a patio space that Carl Boyd Maxwell integrated with an existing house. This page: Maxwell figured out a design plan for three hard-to-place HVAC units at this General Services Administration building.
know that I’m not simply supplying the plan; I’m offering a larger service,” Maxwell says. “I want to incorporate the flavor and feel of what they want.” Being a design firm of one has advantages and disadvantages. One of the largest difficulties is time management and ensuring everything gets done properly. To this end, Carl relies on a strong network of consultants who help him with engineering and design displays such as animations and renderings. The firm’s workload fluctuates, but 2012 started out as a busy year, with five projects already in the works by the month of April. It’s the busiest that Maxwell has been since 2007, and such a number of projects naturally magnifies the challenges of working alone. However, the architect has also acquired a greater degree of flexibility by flying solo. “The only person I have to answer to is the client or homeowner,” Maxwell says. “That amount of flexibility and attention leads to better personal service.” Recently, Maxwell worked with CAS Structural Engineering, Inc. on a 5,000-square-foot light-commercial structure for the General Services Administration. It was a project that required a significant level of critical thinking because the building’s gabled roof hindered placement of three required HVAC units. So, Maxwell devised a plan to add a mechanical deck for two of the units and a mechanical room for the remaining unit near the front of the structure. Working on the problem by himself enabled Maxwell to find a solution more quickly,
but he modestly waves off praise. “It’s something nobody sees, but it solved the problem,” he says. Another recent project Maxwell worked on was a residence in Sissonville, West Virginia. The homeowners were interested in a renovation of the family room and the kitchen, and they wanted to add an outdoor area. With such projects Maxwell is always careful to work within the design aesthetic of the existing house. “The clients had a specific roof line, and the challenge was to harmonize the addition with the existing structure,” he says. And, by working alone and thus having the chance to meet with the homeowners often, Maxwell was able to efficiently conceive a design that both they and he were satisfied with. In the future, Maxwell would like to find a workload consistent enough and sufficient enough to enable him to expand his firm to a two- or three-person operation. And if things keep up as they have been, Maxwell feels such an opportunity could be on the horizon. “I’ve been busy; if the work continues, I feel it could be practical to add someone,” he says, adding, “I’m getting close.” ABQ
A Message from CAS Structural Engineer, Inc. Carl B. Maxwell is a very creative architect. Having worked with Carl over a 15-year span, I have personally witnessed Carl's creative talent developing projects. His attention to detail in the preparation of construction documents leads to a successful, cost-effective, constructible project.
through the years
Sav Mor Mechanical Nick Schiavone didn't have visions of grandeur when he founded Sav Mor Mechanical in 1975, but when his sons took over a few years later, they immediately wanted to open things up—and today, a third generation of Schiavones is involved in the company, and the Long-Island-based firm does $30 million of business annually as a commercial HVAC contractor. Sav Mor Mechanical was responsible for the first LEED Platinum building on Long Island, and it now has three New York City high-rises on its books as well, but through it all it has maintained the same business model. “We dedicated ourselves from day one to quality work, around-the-clock service, energy efficiency, and customer service, and we’ve stayed the course,” Nick’s grandson, Craig, says. “We’re just doing it on a larger scale.” A larger scale indeed, for when the firm began, it’s customer base was far more mom-and-pop.
1975 company is founded Nick and his sons, Gandolfo and Frank, open for business in Long Island by doing service jobs for small businesses, including pizza shops and Chinese restaurants. Occasionally, they change out a mechanical unit.
1980 Nick Schiavone retires The founder leaves the company in the hands of Gandolfo and Frank, who decide they want to go bigger and do more intricate jobs. To do so, they network with other tradespeople. “They figured they had to start getting involved with professionals on big projects to get brought into big projects like that,” Craig says. 1985 the business expands After a few years of networking, the brothers’ efforts pay off, and they’re able to start bidding on jobs rather than going door-to-door. “We started to expand our employee base, hiring more guys and getting more vehicles,” Craig says.
1986 the Crossroads Executive Center The building, located at 1393 Veterans Memorial Highway in Islandia, New York, is Sav Mor Mechanical’s first design-build project. It is a 165,000-square-foot office complex. “We did everything ourselves,” Craig says. “We gave them a price, designed the whole engineering scheme, replaced all the units, and gave them a control sequence. And they’re still a customer today.” 1995 The business strategy changes Sav Mor Mechanical begins to be recognized as a company that can take on the responsibility of larger jobs. “From that point forward, the company continued to grow,” Craig says. “Between estimation, installation, and service, we were up to 50 or 60 employees and were able to pursue commercial projects that were in the $1 million range.”
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2000 LEED expands the business’s focus After the USGBC’s introduction of the LEED program in 1998, Sav Mor Mechanical realizes that energy efficiency will be the future of its business, so it begins to learn the ropes. “We wanted to be ahead of the curve in regard to energy efficiency,” Craig says. “You have to stay with the times.”
2006 Tackling a SUNY Laboratory The State University of New York (SUNY) Stony Brook Advanced Energy Research Technology Center (opposite page top, above)—a two-story, 47,000-square-foot laboratory building—requires complicated mechanical work, including ice storage and precise temperature controls. Sav Mor Mechanical runs the project, supervising all contractors and handling fire suppression, ductwork, heating and cooling, piping, sprinklers, and plumbing. The $16 million project is also the first LEED Platinum project in Long Island.
2009 The William Floyd High School expansion When a Long Island high school needs a new classroom wing covering 150,000 square feet, Sav Mor Mechanical steps in to fit the structure with piping, ductwork, and mechanics (opposite page bottom). The project costs $6 million.
2001 Third-Generation Schiavones In 2001, Ryan, Gandolfo’s eldest son, joins the family business. His younger brother, Craig, follows his lead in 2005. "As long as I can remember, I always wanted to join my father in this company,” Craig says. “I wanted to be a part of something and construct buildings"
“We wanted to be ahead of the curve in regard to energy efficiency. You have to stay with the times.” Craig Schiavone, Engineer
2012 the emergence of sustainability Gandolfo, Ryan, and Craig commit to staying the course, but they acknowledge that the struggling Long Island economy necessitates a change, so they begin pursing more work in Manhattan. “We’re working on three or four high-rise buildings in the city, 40–50 stories,” Craig says. “It’s the first generation of that work we’ve done.” ABQ
project showcase project showcase
Brissette Architects, Inc.
Hamilton Anderson Associates
Phil Kean Designs, Inc.
DS Ewing Architects, Inc.
Vulcan Construction, Inc. 74
Brissette Architects, Inc.
Photos: Mark Spomer
By Tina Vasquez
There are many ways in which Scottsdale, Arizona’s Brissette Architects, Inc. seeks to distinguish itself from its competition: the firm’s designers apply the principles of organic architecture advanced by Frank Lloyd Wright, and its beautiful projects seamlessly integrate the surrounding desert landscape, incorporating the unusual vegetation and seemingly eternal sunsets in full. What’s most refreshing, however, is that the men behind the firm, president Ron Brissette and vice president Jeff Kamtz, are as unpretentious as they come—or, as Brissette puts it, “We’re not prima donnas.” This was especially important during the lead-up to a recent project involving a number of parties, each with particular needs of their own.
1 The Shanholt Desert Mountain Home Scottsdale, AZ Started 2009 Completed 2010 Size 5,500 square feet Building Type Residence
When John Shanholt and his wife, Gail Kern, were looking to build the home of their dreams in the Sunset Canyon village of the Desert Mountain gated community in Scottsdale, the couple didn’t reveal that they were talking to five different architecture firms. Technically, it’s not an unusual practice, but it’s one that many firms don’t like
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“Desert Mountain is a recognized community, and we understand that they want to maintain a level of quality,” Kamtz says. “For some architects, dealing with the HOA can feel very constricting—and in many ways, it is. But we’ve done enough projects in the area to know how this works.” Above all else, Shanholt stressed one thing: simplicity. “Keep it simple” became the project mantra, and Brissette and Kamtz relied on it to design an elegant, sprawling home that is rich and contemporary in feel and infused with natural light. The idea behind the design was to use simple forms—rectangles and circles—to build hallways
and open spaces around a switchback staircase. Kamtz and Brissette wanted to create a more intimate relationship between the home’s interior and the desert landscape outside, so they incorporated large windows and sliding glass doors that, when opened, make it difficult to tell where the interior of the home stops and the backyard begins. Brissette and Kamtz graduated from the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, and although they’re quick to point out that their projects are not Wright replicas, the designers do still adhere to some of the architect’s famous principles, including his belief in
Photos: Mark Spomer
partaking in. After essentially auditioning for the job for a year, though, Brissette Architects won the bid, and once the excitement subsided, Brissette and Kamtz got started on fitting their vision to that of the clients—and to the site itself. According to the pair, any successful project responds to the clients’ needs while also growing out of the sights and culture of the surrounding area. In this case, not only did Shanholt have a strong opinion about how the house should look and feel; there were also strict rules and regulations to contend with from the gated neighborhood’s Home Owners Association (HOA).
Photos: Mark Spomer
the honest expression of materials. Because of this, the Shanholt home is simply and strictly composed of just four main substances: stone, stucco, steel, and glass. Native Arizona flagstone flooring was laid in random patterns throughout the house, and Shanholt himself chose walnut doors and cabinets for the kitchen, which lend a great deal of warmth to a space usually filled with cold steel appliances and marble countertops. For the Shanholt home, Brissette architectects also adhered to the Wright principle regarding simple, honest expression of the structure. This meant Brissette and Kamtz didn’t hide columns and beams but instead fit them to the aesthetic of the structure itself. And, a final Wright-ism the team applied to the Shanholt
residence was making sure the home was of the site instead of on the site. There’s no denying that the home is gorgeous, both warm and elegant, but Brissette makes an astute distinction about its function: the Shanholt residence is not a “look at me” house but rather a “look how I live” house. “Sometimes it’s a really delicate balance,” Brissette says. “You have to give the client what they want while also satisfying the HOA requirements and delivering a project you can be proud of. Does this house have a simple design? Yes, but it’s also rich and crisp and full of life and light. This house says something about its surroundings by incorporating them everywhere you look. It’s very representative of our region, and it encompasses everything the clients wanted.” ABQ
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Sunlit Architecture By Lindsey Howald Patton
1. Crested Butte Residence Reserve 2. Skyland Residence
When looking from an airplane window over the mountainous American West, it doesn't seem as if man has bullied nature into submission; rather, the opposite seems true. Homeowners are clustered in communities, such as Colorado’s Crested Butte, that nestle comfortably into mountainsides. Residential lots can be in difficult or precarious places, creating challenging work for a firm such as Sunlit Architecture. Crested Butte, which sits south of Aspen along a string of well-known resort towns, has a permanent population of roughly 1,500, but that number
swells during ski season. Many of Sunlit Architecture’s clients are individuals looking to build a second home with easy access to the slopes. Jennifer and Gary Hartman, the husband-and-wife principals of the four-employee firm, have therefore adapted to long-distance relationships, providing virtual site walkthroughs and holding Web-based meetings with clients who live elsewhere. Sunlit completed two such second-home projects recently, and both faithfully represent the rustic architecture of the West while delivering high-end elegance.
1 Crested Butte Residence Reserve Crested Butte, CO Started 2006 Completed 2008 Size 8,439 square feet Building Type Private residence
The timber is the most unique and stunning feature in this home commissioned by a Texas family. The white pine and oak in the floors, cabinetry, trim, trusses, siding, doors, and ceilings—as well as the iron washers and turnbuckles—all came from a defunct grain elevator north of Green Bay, Wisconsin. The resulting residence has a dramatic, time-worn feel. “Some of the timbers … were weathered by the corn rushing down the sides,
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so you have these beautiful, worn-away, eroded areas,” Jennifer says. The bracketed trusses along the home’s 40-foot lower-level hallway were modeled from the elevator’s train tunnel. Outside, the large home had to contend with snow. Crested Butte might get as much as 350 inches in the winter, all of which has to go somewhere when spring temperatures melt it, and the Residence Reserve stands in the way. The home thus has five specialized drains to divert water rushing down from the mountains. “We stepped back the hill with boulder retaining walls, and behind each of those four walls is an intercept drain,” Jennifer says, adding that there is also a foundation drain. The intercept drains pull water to each side of the house and then along to a natural drainage system; old water rights in Colorado require that any natural rainfall or snowmelt must be allowed to run its course to Los Angeles or the Gulf of Mexico (depending on which side of the Continental Divide the house sits on). Now, the home’s owners enjoy their view of the landscape without having to worry that they’ve overly disrupted it.
2 Skyland Residence Crested Butte, CO Started 2009 Completed 2011 Size 6,222 square feet Building Type Private residence
The use of iron throughout the interiors of the Skyland Residence is a nod to Green & Green, a California architectural firm from the early 20th century that did really great Craftsman-style houses, Gary says. The large iron straps binding the walls’ narrow oak slats in the circular entryway make guests feel as though they are “walking through a whiskey barrel,” he says. And, the straps also foreshadow the great room’s grand fireplace, which includes a strong, heavy iron mantelpiece and doors done in a delicate framework made from the same metal. Though the home comprises one of the smaller building envelopes Sunlit has ever worked with, the Hartmans still wanted to capture the horizontality that has classified Colorado architecture for ages; the region’s valley buildings historically crouch nearer to the ground to avoid the harsh westerly winds. So, the architects put stone wing walls on either side of the residence to soften its boxy angles and draw one’s eye more gradually up from the landscape and then back down again. The Skyland Residence’s landscaping, like that of other Sunlit designs, has little formality, instead slipping back to the wilderness—sage brush, buffalo grass, wildflowers—as soon as possible. Managing a grassy yard requires too much water in Colorado’s arid climate, and the architects don’t want to detract from the ambience of the natural outdoors. “We try to be as light on the landscape as possible,” Gary says. ABQ
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dbHMS By Lynn Russo Whylly
1. Joliet Junior College Greenhouse 2. The Poetry Foundation Headquarters
Founded in 2002, dbHMS is an engineering firm with a knack for finding creative solutions to architects’ HVAC, electrical, plumbing, lighting, and monitoring-system problems. It’s a knack that has led to work with such prominent firms as Studio Gang Architects, Lucien LaGrange Architects, and Gensler, and it has also given dbHMS the boost it needs to expand its reach and its reputation further. Now known for its expertise in project management and sustainable design, the engineering firm is a minority-business enterprise with 50
employees and three locations: Illinois, Michigan, and India. And, Sachin Anand, co-owner and principal along with Victor Avila, was named one of the Chicago area’s top 20 under age 40 by McGraw Hill’s ENR Midwest publication. Originally from Delhi, India, Anand—also an adjunct professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology’s College of Architecture—manages dbHMS’s work on commercial, residential, healthcare, institutional, and sustainable projects, and in the past few years he and his team have encountered a pair of projects with highly specific requirements.
1 Joliet Junior College Greenhouse Joliet, IL Started 2008 Completed 2009 Size 12,000 square feet Cost $3 million Building Type Institutional greenhouse Architect Legat Architects
Completed in December 2009, the Joliet Junior College greenhouse facilities are the first structures in the school’s new master plan to be built. They include a headhouse with a multipurpose classroom and three greenhouses totaling nearly 12,000 square feet. As the mechanical engineer of record, dbHMS designed the project’s HVAC, plumbing, fire protection, and electrical
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Photos: James Steinkamp
systems. It was also responsible for certain energy-efficiency and sustainability measures. The key feature of the firm’s efforts is the rainwater-harvesting system, which also uses melting snow. It includes four cisterns totaling 1,700 gallons, and the water collected in these helps irrigate the greenhouse plants with support from two additional sources: a well that already existed on the property and city water. A water-budgeting program helps match up how much H20 the faculty and staff can collect against how much they need, and overall the rainwater-harvesting system reduces the greenhouses’ use of the other two water sources by roughly 22,000 gallons per year. The project also includes a passive-ventilation system and an energy-reflective roof surface that helps to reduce cooling loads. Additionally, “plants are extremely volatile and require an even core temperature,” Anand says. “An electric shading system, which is tied in to the monitoring system, keeps the greenhouses moderate while a water-heating system maintains a steady 80 degrees.” With such even temperatures and such a consistent, sustainable water supply, the greenhouse facilities became some of the first of their kind in the nation to achieve LEED certification.
2 The Poetry Foundation Headquarters Chicago Started 2010 Completed 2011 Size 26,000 square feet Cost $10.2 million Building Type Publishing office Architect John Ronan Architects
The Poetry Foundation is the publisher of Poetry magazine, and its structure is both a library and a gathering space for events. The project included a building and a garden that needed to fit together as one, so the staff of dbHMS was challenged with making the Foundation’s HVAC, plumbing, electrical, and fire-protection systems invisible to the eye to keep them from interfering with the architectural aesthetics. “We had to hide everything behind walls and in ceilings,” Anand says. “It can be challenging when a building is so finely detailed architecturally. It has some very high-end finishes. Also, the north façade is solid floor-to-ceiling glass. That posed some additional challenges with heating and cooling the space.” The engineering firm designed a radiant-heating system and worked with the architect to eliminate the risk of condensation. Air flows over the glass wall on the inside so that it never fogs up, and “the radiant-heating floor extends out into the garden and melts the snow so that the walkway is always usable,” Anand says. Also, the air flow and lighting systems are connected to precision controls so that
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<RXU&RPPXQLW\ 2XU3DVVLRQ &LYLO (QJLQHHULQJ energy isn’t wasted when the building isn’t occupied. With reading rooms that hold 120 people, the Poetry Foundation building also presented acoustical challenges. For instance, “the reading room has a fabric ceiling, and we had to determine how to get air flow through it,” Anand says. And, he adds, “Our heating and cooling systems had to be designed so [that] they didn’t add noise to the space, and we oversized some of our ductwork to reduce the velocity of the air flow and make it quieter.” The end result is a building that functions and flows as nicely as the poetry read within its walls. ABQ
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Hamilton Anderson Associates By Benjamin van Loon
More than any other American city, Detroit symbolizes a radical shift in the American urban landscape. Rich with an industrial history that eventually wrought civic havoc, the dwindling metropolis now faces its biggest challenge: leveraging its pragmatic past to foster a more ebullient future. Stepping in to assist is Hamilton Anderson Associates (HAA), a national multidisciplinary design firm founded in 1994 that specializes in architecture, landscape architecture, master planning, and urban design. Its 65-person staff champions the idea of landscape urbanism, which suggests that landscap-
ing, not architecture, is the essential planning tool for creating a practical, functional city environment. In 2004, HAA was commissioned to revitalize the Gateway property of the cooperatively owned and operated Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge (DRIWR), a wilderness area central to the landscaping—and ongoing rejuvenation—of the Detroit metropolitan area. “This project has been a unique challenge—and an important opportunity,” says HAA president Kent Anderson, who remembers all too well when the project site was just another industrial scar along the city’s shoreline.
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1 Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge Gateway Detroit Started 2004 Completed Ongoing Size 43 acres Cost More than $20 million Project Type Urban wildlife refuge
Jointly managed by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the Canadian Wildlife Service, the DRIWR’s scattered 7.88 square miles of wetland line the shores and islands of the hyperurbanized Detroit River tributary, which empties into Lake Erie. ”This refuge is one of the most urban wildlife refuges in the country and the only international refuge in Michigan,” Anderson says. Anderson, who has been working on Detroit’s old industrial lands since 1983, had also been involved with the revitalization of the lower eight miles of the Rouge River, a polluted, factory-scorched stretch of property just a few miles away from the DRIWR Gateway. “We started work on the Rouge in 1997, and that work led to our involvement at the refuge,” Anderson says. “When we started on the refuge in 2004, it really became a centerpiece of the natural landscape and restoring ecological systems of the Detroit River.” “Part of what makes this site unique is its adjacency to the Humbug Marsh, a Ramsar-designated site [in 2010] and the last undeveloped shoreline on the Detroit side of the river,” HAA landscape architect Burke Jenkins adds. Wayne County Parks, the owner of the DRIWR Gateway property, had acquired the site from Chrysler in 2002 and had plans to turn it into wetlands. So, HAA began consulting with Wayne County and the
USFWS to conceptualize a landscape that would accommodate a constructed wetland and that would buffer views and interaction with the river and adjacent natural marsh. The firm also planned for the eventual construction of a visitors center. “The first phase of the master plan also had to account for the 36-inch storm drain that was running through the site and into the river,” Jenkins says. “As part of the project, we removed a few hundred feet of pipe and created a settling basin and wetland to filter the water before it empties into the river.” Once home to an automotive plant producing brakes and paint, the site had become flattened by industrial development, so HAA began to incorporate intricate earthwork in the second phase of its master plan. “We wanted to recreate some of the ecological tiers—uplands, lowlands, and wetlands—that once existed in the area.” Anderson says. “Detroit and the region is changing, and this is a key part of that transformation.” The second phase also included shoreline restoration, which involved the excavation and relocation of an existing landfill to other locations in the refuge, widening the river and breaking up the otherwise blighted shore. During the renewal work, HAA happened upon old building foundations. “We had to mobilize
quickly to revise the plans to accommodate and design around these,” Anderson says. “One of the challenges working in a brownfield site is managing unexpected obstacles like this. It’s important to have a team willing to deal with the unforeseen.” As part of the refuge’s restoration, the USFWS hosted the Wyandot of Anderdon— Native Americans whose homeland includes the Detroit region—at the site and had them perform a blessing ceremony. “This ceremony was a formal recognition of the transition of the land back to the way it was before settlement,” Anderson says. “One of our primary focus areas is community and urban design,” he adds. “This project is part of our larger relationship with the city of Detroit—and [part of ] its rightsizing plan for redesigning urban systems in an area continuing to undergo major transformation.” ABQ
A Message from Fleis & VandenBrink Fleis & VandenBrink enjoys partnering with Hamilton Anderson Associates. Its team collaborates with client communities to bring creativity and innovation to community-enhancement projects. The combination of the firm's vision, creative architecture, and well-thought-out engineering results in dynamic, healthy, and aesthetically pleasing community spaces.
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Phil Kean Designs, Inc. By Benjamin van Loon
1. Via Bella 2. Miwa 3. New American Home
If there were collectable trading cards for architects, the professional and personal stats of Phil Kean’s would read like those of an all-star. He has two masters degrees (an MArch and an MBA), three licensures, and eight industry-organization memberships, and he has run marathons in 29 different states. As an architect and principal of Phil Kean Designs, Inc. (PKD)—and the leader of its 14-member team—he offers three major services (construction, architecture, and interior work), a three-phase design
approach, and a four-phase building approach. He also has hundreds of projects to his name. In 2011, PKD completed 14 homes, most of which are LEED-certified and all of which incorporate Kean’s signature design philosophy: synthesizing smart architectural configurations with natural surrounding environments to create seamless transitions between indoor and outdoor spaces. Here’s a look at three of the residences Kean built in one of the nation’s premier resort communities.
1 Via Bella Winter Park, FL Started 2009 Completed 2011 Size 5,394 square feet Cost $4.3 million Building Type Private residence
Photos: Harvey Smith Photography
Via Bella is a five-bedroom, five-bathroom home in the prestigious Winter Park subdivision of Orange County, Florida. It’s built on a pie-shaped lot with the narrowest end fronting Lake Osceola. “Once we overcame some of the site issues—with the muck and the center-running easement—we were able to use the lake and the angle of the property as part of our design,” Kean says. The home was planned to provide multiple views of the lake without sacrificing interior square footage. “Because my partner is in real estate, we were able to find the property for the client and worked with them on everything from the design to the pillows they put on their
Photos: Harvey Smith Photography
couches,” Kean adds. The homeowners initially approached Kean with an inspiration board, which he used to inform his plans from start to finish. “It’s a house designed to match the client’s lifestyle,” Kean says. “It’s an indoor-outdoor house.” The home, built on pilings, with an interior done largely in white, now admits a wealth of daylighting. And, it was spectacular enough to earn Best of Show at the 2011 American Residential Design Awards and Home of the Year honors from the 2011 Best in American Living Awards program.
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2 Miwa Winter Park, FL Started 2009 Completed 2011 Size 4,728 square feet Cost $3 million Building Type Private residence
Miwa is a transliteration of a Japanese word—often written with kanji characters—meaning harmony, beauty, and togetherness. This residence is made up of spaces that embody these traits. “The clients are a hard-working couple who wanted their home to be like a quiet retreat,” Kean says. “The idea behind the design was to create a Zen-like experience.” Kean incorporated a variety
of Zen symbolism into the architecture itself, including a gentle water feature that visitors must step over as a symbolic act of cleansing in order to enter the home. And the stepping-stones leading into the home, Kean says, work to smooth the flow from the front exterior to the interior. Miwa is built around courtyard topography. “As you enter the main house, you will turn to face the side garden, which opens out to the main house and adjacent guest house,” Kean says. “The outside living space is dramatically expanded.” Another signature room, the kitchen, provides space for two cooks to work simultaneously, and one of its walls is opened up with a view to the lanai and interior courtyard, making it seem even bigger. The room earned recognition at the Golden Aurora Awards in 2011, and the home as a whole won Best in Show.
3 New American Home Winter Park, FL Started 2011 Completed 2012 Size 4,183 square feet Cost $2.5 million Building Type Demonstration home
This LEED Platinum infill project was cosponsored by the NAHB and Builder magazine. Although the home was built on a difficult lot, Kean says, “it gave us a valuable opportunity to explore different green possibilities within the home.” This is a bit of an understatement, for the residence in fact seems to be equipped with all things sustainable, including LED lighting, foam insulation, insulated concrete forms, rooftop solar panels, low-flow toilets, sustainably sourced cabinetry, lumber made from recycled wood products, Energy Star appliances, on-demand solar-water heaters, and various other technologies integrated into the overall design, which mimics 1960s-style White Box architecture. The home’s modern accents include stoneveneer walls, a suspended staircase, limestone plank flooring, and expansive windows with screens that come down to divert direct sunlight. Kean’s signature blending of indoor and outdoor spaces isn’t missing either. “Because the side of the lot borders an alley, we implemented a C-shaped floor-plan scheme, which allowed us to center the home around this private, outdoor courtyard space,” he says. Since its completion, the home has received eight certifications, including the National Green Building Standard’s Emerald certification, a US DOE Energy Star certification, a Platinum certification from the Florida Green Building Coalition, and many others. There’s not a stone that was left unturned. ABQ
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DS Ewing Architects, Inc. By Jennifer Nunez
1. Glen Oaks Residence 2. Sleeping Indian Ranch
In his senior year of high school, Douglas Ewing landed a job as an office boy at Smith and Williams Architects, a nationally recognized design firm. "That was my school,” Ewing says, and he performed so well that the firm asked him to stay on the day he was supposed to leave for college. The staff pointed out that he could get an hour’s worth of architectural experience in class each week, or, if he stayed, he could get 40 hours’ worth of experience each week and get paid for it. It was hardly a decision at all. Now, Douglas S. Ewing, FAIA,
NCARB leads DS Ewing Architects, Inc., a firm he has since created on his own through sheer talent and dedication—despite lacking a formal design education. The Pasadena, California-based business has had experience with building types as diverse as city halls, marinas, and golf clubs, and because of this, it can now take on almost any project, big or small. In the past decade or so, Ewing and his team have had a steady run of rustic projects, including a post-andbeam home and an extensive ranch in Colorado, both with challenging sites.
1 Glen Oaks Residence Pasadena, CA Started 2005 Completed 2007 Size 3,000 square feet Cost $2.1 million Building Type Single-family home
Ewing designed this two-story post-and-beam home in a hillside district for one of his sons. Originally a one-story Buff & Hensman design from 1956, the home had been falling apart over the years on its 45-degree slope, so Ewing developed a plan to revitalize and expand it. Adhering to modern building ordinances for projects on severely angled sites, Ewing crafted a home that now features three bedrooms, a gym and art-studio space, a fishing room, and a glass and stainlesssteel wine cellar that is buried
into the hillside but looks out toward a view stretching all the way to Palm Springs on a clear afternoon. The new home is also more environmentally conscious and includes bamboo flooring, shelving, and bookcases as well as a glass-bead reflective-light paint made to reflect 92 percent of the heat off the roof. Ewing has been testing
a prototype of this paint for three years and says it cools the home by seven degrees Fahrenheit. As a final protective touch, Zypex waterproof concrete was used for all retaining walls, so if a crack develops and water gets inside the crack, the concrete crystallizes and plugs the leak. Because of extreme fire codes
in the area, the decks were designed with steel-aluminum grading, but even this turned out to be a turn in the new home’s favor. “It worked out great,” Ewing says, “because you can see through the decks to the landscaping and hillside below.” Ewing’s son now feels that much closer to the outdoors no matter where he is in the home.
American Builders Quarterly
Photos: Mangus Stark Photography
2 Sleeping Indian Ranch Ridgeway, CO Started 1996 Completed 2001 Size 68,000 square feet Cost More than $50 million Building Type Residence and event space
On a 30,000-acre compound west of the Southern Rockies lies 68,000 square feet of structures that Ewing Architects worked on diligently for five years. The rustic entertain-
ment lodge and residence are distinctive in that their logs came from trees killed during the Yellowstone Fire. “We were the first people in the country to harvest those logs,” Ewing says. Ewing traveled around the country, looking at other log buildings on the East Coast, in Canada, and in Alaska before eventually realizing that they were not authentic post-and-beam log structures— that they actually had hidden steel structural systems. “What I wanted to do was create a real structurally sound post-and-beam log building without steel, and that is what we did,” Ewing says. “We created an engineering process for the building that didn’t exist at the time.” The great room is designed with log columns that cantilever from the lower
level to scissor trusses. “If you can envision a tree with roots in the ground, that’s what holds the tree up laterally, so we created that effect by projecting the logs down through the first floor into the basement areas, eliminating shear panels and allowing glass infill walls,” Ewing explains. In addition to the Yellowstone logs, the Sleeping Indian Ranch incorporates used timbers from old barn structures and cabins for siding, and this extensive employment of reused material helps the ranch’s structures blend with the terrain. “I like to design buildings that fit right into the natural contours of the site,” Ewing says. “We dug the footings and left the natural landscape as is. The lodge emerges very naturally from the meadow.” ABQ
American Builders Quarterly
Vulcan Construction, Inc. By Benjamin van Loon
Often depicted with a hammer, Vulcan, the Roman god of fire, exemplifies control over Earth’s most diffuse elements. Founded in 2007, Californiabased Vulcan Construction, Inc. brings this legacy to the construction business. The company will often conduct ground-up construction work, but it’s also regularly involved with research and development projects, class A office buildings, and tenant improvements. “We don’t like to pigeonhole ourselves into a single kind of work,” CEO Joel Graham says. “Our favorite kind of
project is doing whatever our clients ask us to do.” This philosophy helped put 165 projects on Vulcan Construction’s schedule in 2011, earning the firm $12 million in total revenue. And, with a $6 million backlog already in 2012, Graham and CFO Travis Fisher are predicting as much as 60 percent growth for this fiscal year. The firm recently got the opportunity to work on the 17,000-square-foot JAMS Offices in San Jose, California, and the project happens to typify Vulcan Construction’s diversified capabilities.
American Builders Quarterly
Photos: Jeff Peters
1 JAMS Offices San Jose, CA Started 2011 Completed 2012 Size 17,000 square feet Cost $1.5 million Building Type Commercial office space
Founded in 1979, JAMS is an international, nonprofit alternative dispute resolution firm specializing in high-end arbitration and conflict resolution. When it opened the bidding on the construction of its new penthouse offices in a high-rise in downtown San Jose, Graham says Vulcan Construction used its expertise with and knowledge of the building to win the contract. Vulcan Construction then promised—and delivered—on a 12-week turn-around, all while honoring the inherent intricacies of its client’s work environment. Due to the sensitive work performed by JAMS, the San Jose offices needed to function both practically and aesthetically as secure and calming spaces. “JAMS needed a lot of conference rooms, break-
out rooms, client meeting areas, and they also placed a major emphasis on their lobby,” Graham says. Vulcan Construction used a wide range of custom materials to give the new offices a sleek, professional, and natural aesthetic, including custom anigre wood millwork, custom lighting, and terrazo flooring. “I’m really happy with the millwork for the project,” Graham says. “You get a lot of pride from working with these craftsmen who are able to put everything together in this unique way. I think that everyone did an exceptional job on these offices.” As a design-build firm, Vulcan Construction was able to oversee the completion of the project’s finest details. “There were even custom tables built for the offices,” Graham
The clients also wanted the offices to have an efficient HVAC system. “Because of the caliber of clientele that are using these offices, climate control was a priority,” Graham says. The offices now have a system that effectively provides climate control without interfering with other practical office features. Because Vulcan Construction only had 12 weeks to complete the project, the primary challenge for the JAMS offices was to complete the work prior to the scheduled move-in date. “We can’t do any construction after the tenant moves in,” Graham says. “Our goal like this is to always complete the punch list prior to the date the tenant moves in.”
Vulcan Construction did finish on time, though, and the work on the San Jose offices was so good that the design-build firm became JAMS’s official national contractor. Vulcan Construction has since completed new JAMS offices in Las Vegas, and it has also begun work in Miami and New York. The San Jose offices, Graham says, reflect Vulcan Construction’s ability to draw diverse resources into a cohesive, functional whole. “Everyone put their best foot forward for this project,” he says. “We strive to have a zero-item punch list, and we were really able to accomplish that with this project.” ABQ
Photo: Jeff Peters
says. “JAMS uses these as a focal point for their rooms.” Custom water features and other white-noise systems are interspersed throughout the offices because “‘confidentiality’ is a key word for the JAMS offices,” Graham says. “For this project, it was essential that everything fit together while also serving to control sound levels and transfer.” The incorporation of such features not only works to soothe often-tense arbitration sessions; it also aids in controlling sound levels and mitigating sound transfer between rooms. The conference rooms are gated with custom doors for the same reason.
American Builders Quarterly
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NHP Foundation Here's an accusation that's fresh on the collective American mind: The killer was the banker. Using the sub prime loan. In the housing bubble. But it’s important to note that the United States’ housing blight is too complex to reduce to a simple Clue-style mash-up. That’s because the story has roots far beyond banking—all the way back to the presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson. During a period of social unrest in 1968, Johnson signed the Fair Housing Act, which included provisions to establish equitable housing practices in the United States. Then, in the 1980s, a change in the tax code threw a wrench into the model. Though it created upheaval, it also allowed concerned nonprofits to spring up and tackle the housing conundrum. One such group was the NHP Foundation (NHPF), which provides affordable housing for low-income families in the form of rental properties. Richard Burns and Thom Vaccaro, the organization’s CEO and vice president, respectively, trace how a jumble of ingredients formed the bitter pill that is the current American housing crisis—and they explain what, exactly, they’re doing about it. —Seth Putnam
1989 A new foundation In response to the change in the housing market, The NHPF is created as a completely separate entity from the National Housing Partnership. (Their only link is that the CEO of the former organization sits on the board of the new one.) The goal of the foundation is not only to provide affordable housing but also to help its residents break out of the cycle of poverty through education and healthcare. “At the end of the cycle of homelessness, a person who’s going to succeed is someone who has been prepared with financial literacy and what I call alarm-clock skills: showing up and doing the work,” Vaccaro says. 1994–2001 a multistate Organization After spending its first few years going over the logistics of how to provide wide-scale affordable housing, the NHPF purchases its first property, in Texas. From there it moves into other states, and by building up properties across the country, the foundation sets in motion an alarm clock for the 10-year tax credit established in 1986, ensuring that its first property will become eligible in 2004.
1968 The Fair Housing Act During a period of intense social unrest, President Johnson labors with Congress to put together the Fair Housing Act, a law aimed at curbing a system of tenant discrimination that encompasses race, gender, marital status, and disability. To develop affordable-housing options for Americans, the law also creates two organizations—the National Corporation for Housing Partnerships and the National Housing Partnership—that are financed by more than 260 institutional investors. 1986 Disastrous reform The tables turn in the form of a change in the US tax code, which, in certain ways, promotes homeownership and cancels out a number of investment incentives in the rental market. “The death knell of the National Housing Partnership was the Tax Reform Act of 1986,” Burns explains, adding, however, that “it also provided tax credits for affordable housing, and that’s how the industry has grown from that point.”
“There’s a shortage of five million units of affordable housing. ... A quarter of all renters [pay] over half their income for rent, so you have a very unbalanced situation.” Richard Burns, CEO
American Builders Quarterly
2004–2005 A short-lived victory The NHPF becomes eligible to begin its use of tax-credit programs after completing the 10-year waiting period. “But just as we were getting ready to move into something new, disaster struck,” Vaccaro says. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina rips through the Gulf Coast, devastating many of the NHPF’s holdings. “We lost 1,000 units,” Vaccaro says. “We’d been in Louisiana since 1996, so not only were we victims of the storm; we were also trying to be part of the solution. We made as many of our Texas units as we could available for evacuees.”
2006–2007 Rebuilding New Orleans The NHPF receives its first allocation of tax credit. “All of our focus had been on Louisiana because of the disaster,” Vaccaro says. “But this paved the way for our low-income housing tax-credit transaction in 2007.” The NHPF uses its tax credit in Louisiana to build the Forest Park apartments and, shortly afterward, the Walnut Square apartments. “It had been completely destroyed, but it’s now considered one of the jewels of New Orleans,” Vaccaro says.
2008 The Great Recession Strikes The housing market crashes dramatically. “It completely devastated our industry,” Vaccaro says. “The other piece of this that is so important is that one of the things that led us to the bubble bursting was this push to end homelessness. And of course you can’t end it. The push for ownership inflates the bubble.” And when it popped, the lack of jobs in the poor resultant economy expanded the population in need of low-income housing.
2009–2010 St. Luke’s Plaza and Foxwood Manor The NHPF rehabilitates a block of historic buildings in St. Louis. “It involved both regular tax credits and historic tax credits on the federal and state levels,” Burns says. “It was a very complicated deal to put together, but it really turned out to be a winner.” Dubbed St. Luke’s Plaza (right, below), the $24 million project provides 216 units and revitalizes a derelict area. Also, in Levittown, Pennsylvania, the NHPF completes Foxwood Manor (above).
2011–2012 The housing shortage continues The NHPF continues to expand, moving into the Washington, DC, market with the Alabama Senior Living Community, a $16 million, 91-unit property. The organization sees the road ahead as long but not impassable. “There’s a shortage of five million units of affordable housing,” Burns says. “About a quarter of all renters are paying over half their income for rent, so you have a very unbalanced situation.” With the choppy economic waters ahead, Burns admits things might be tough for awhile, but the dedicated staff of the NHPF will continue working to make up the ground. ABQ
A Message from Latter & Blum Property Management Latter & Blum Property Management is pleased to support the NHPF in its efforts to preserve and create affordable housing for families and seniors. Through our management of four NHPF properties in Louisiana, we have seen first-hand the positive impact that the NHPF has had in our community.
YOUR EXCLUSIVE GUIDE TO THE AMERICAN CONSTRUCTION LANDSCAPE
THE WARMTH OF WOOD, P. 99 Dewson Construction’s finish carpenters craft the Bethany Beach Residence
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A BEVERLY HILLS HOME, P. 121 High-end homebuilder Richard Manion unveils Villa Fatio JULY/AUG/SEPT 2012
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THE UTILITY PLAYER, P. 144 Giambrone’s many divisions helped the firm earn sports-facility bids
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SUPERSIZED SPORTS VENUES A look at several expansions and new builds of US stadiums, racetracks, and training facilities, including:
UNT’s Apogee Stadium, p. 10 The TIMEX Performance Center, p. 42 Watkins Glen International, p. 117 The Kentucky Speedway, p. 138 MetLife Stadium and the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, p. 153 The Phoenix International Raceway, p. 230 VOLUME 6 NO. 46 ABQ46_Cover.indd 1
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Aquatic Design & Engineering /// BP Wind Energy /// Disney /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Aquatic Design & Engineering planned and built the water features at the Peabody Hotel Orlando, and now itâ€™s working on a major fountain project in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
The Peabody Hotel Orlando is just one of many resorts that ADE has done pool work for in the Walt Disney World area.
American Builders Quarterly
Splash By Lindsey Howald Patton
Father-son firm Aquatic Design & Engineering cut its teeth on Walt Disney World and Orlando-area pools before going on to create some of the most elaborate aquatic features around the globe, including Ferrari World’s Welcome Pavilion Fountains
Making a Splash
key to selling a niche product or service is gaining access to the market’s biggest fish. In its early days, Rolls-Royce found an entire second source of revenue building engines for major airplane manufacturers. Chapman J. Root made millions for his own business by selling the design for a curvy glass bottle to Coca-Cola. And, Florida-based Aquatic Design & Engineering, Inc. (ADE) earned its industry renown doing work for Walt Disney World, which owns more pools in the Sunshine State than anyone else. From that collaboration, ADE has broadened its geographic reach, and its skill set has grown from pools to massive aquatic projects. The firm has learned the business strategies necessary to earn work such as the impressive Welcome Pavilion Fountains fronting Ferrari World theme park in Abu Dhabi, UAE, but it has also learned the challenges of expansion and of achieving its standard of quality construction outside the United States.
From Pools to Pageantry CEO Ken Martin founded ADE in 1987, but his experience in large-pool construction actually spans 40 years. Today he oversees operations alongside his son Josh, a 28-year-old entrepreneur and the firm’s COO, who will transition into his father’s role in three years so that Ken can concentrate on what has always been his industry forte: engineering groundwork. The pair of them put in thousands of miles flying to aquatic features and commercial pool projects abroad, in other states, and at home in Orlando. Disney World noticed Ken’s firm in the 1990s. “Back when Disney was really developing their theme parks and all the hotels on site and various pool complexes that supported each hotel, they needed good talent,” he says. ADE not only had some of the best aquatic design engineers in the world; it’s headquarters happened to be just a 20-minute drive from Disney property. Partly
because of this advantage, ADE won bids and designed 100 pools for the popular vacation destination. And when the area’s high-end hotels began to notice this work, the firm ended up writing design standards for the aquatic facilities of many national hospitality chains as well. It was at this point that Ken started to look beyond the swimming pool toward a more rarified sector. His firm jumped into work on large-scale aquatic features, a term often referring to fountains—and not just any fountains but the kind that feature lights, colors, and choreographed movement set to music—and today ADE is highly regarded for creating complex water displays. More than plotting the curve of a pool’s edge or the arrangement of a fountain’s nozzles, ADE has to conjure designs that delight and enthrall. “We have to create something that’s going to be just doggone entertaining,” Ken says, citing smart phones and other portable distractions as competitors for spectators’ attentions.
American Builders Quarterly
This page: ADE earned early recognition designing for Disney World, but quickly its vision grew more complex, and now flashy, distinctive water features dominate many of its completed projects.
Making a Splash
“We have to create something that’s going to be just doggone entertaining.” Ken Martin, CEO
American Builders Quarterly
The strategy ADE employs to win such high-profile national and international projects essentially boils down to meeting and impressing the people who are already at the party. By targeting world-class architectural or landscape architectural firms already working in specific areas and obtaining their recommendation to be brought onto projects, ADE sidesteps the almost-impossible task of sitting down personally with a client—who could be anyone, including the head of a multibillion-dollar company or the leader of a country. And ADE only garners recommendations from a job well done, of course: “We believe that if we can work with any firm one time,” Josh says, “they will absolutely want to come back and work with us again.” This is how the firm has earned continuing work in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Bringing Water to the Desert
The Welcome Pavilion Fountains at Ferrari World on Abu Dhabi, UAE's Yaz Island is one of ADE's most ambitious projects to date. The firm won the work by earning recommendations from other top architects.
ADE used to have an office in Dubai, UAE, the wealthy, oil-producing Middle Eastern emirate known for its rocket-speed growth and wild, fantastic building designs. Case in point: Dubai is or will soon be home to a gigantic Egyptian-style pyramid hotel, a giant sphere aptly named the Death Star, and a module skyscraper with each of its 80 stories in constant rotating motion. Today, however, ADE’s UAE office is located in nearby Abu Dhabi. This emirate has also worked aggressively to bring in designers for buildings no less shocking to the senses—including a nearly 400-foot circular skyscraper and the proposed translucent bird’s wing that will be the new performing arts center—but there was a steadier long-term focus in Abu Dhabi that appealed to ADE. Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island lies just east of the emirate’s peninsular center. The small island is home to an IKEA, a flashy marina, and a golf course, but when flying overhead, all these structures are small and quaint compared to the massive, claw-footed bright red structure bearing Ferrari’s trademark cavallino rampante logo. Ferrari World, an indoor theme park boasting the largest roof in the world (2,152,782 square feet), is also home to one of ADE’s latest projects: the Welcome Pavilion Fountains. Jets of water—there are more than 750 nozzles— leap neatly from eight-stepped ponds, chasing one another in a swirl-patterned game of tag. At night the jets stand out in brilliant color projected from LED lights while backlit water cascades down the weir edges to form crisp waterfalls. There are five unique vantage points from which to watch the show, including a hidden underground VIP dining terrace with an exclusive view of a 20-foot waterwall that crashes down around the space.
Making a Splash
The entire aquatic feature, which is in fact two separate features straddling Ferrari World’s translucent, turtle shell-like Welcome Pavilion, occupies 90,000 square feet. It is the largest fountain in Abu Dhabi to date (ADE is currently working on an even larger one in the emirate, to be completed in three years). International projects, which made up 70 percent of ADE’s workload last year, have their own unique set of challenges. Twenty years ago, Ken took a flight down to Puerto Rico to meet a client and watch workers break ground on a massive aquatic feature he had designed. “They were supposed to be placing concrete that day,” he says, “and I saw a pickup truck pull up … to the job site. And a couple of people were on it, and they had bags of cement and shovels full of sand, and they started mixing the cement themselves.” He learned right then that you can’t count on the standards or available technology in Puerto Rico, the Caribbean, or China to match what contractors are
accustomed to in the United States. There are also local customs that change how the work is completed, a whole separate set of building codes, a metric system that complicates the feet-and-inches mind-set of an American company, and workers who have never even seen a fountain before. “Our drawing package is almost an assembly package,” Josh says. And, his father adds, “Our drawings literally have to reflect exactly what a completed feature will look like.” The Martins employ the words “blessed” and “fortunate” more times than one can count, but they never say, not once, “lucky” to describe how ADE has risen to the top two or three aquatic-design firms in the world. By surpassing spectators’ imaginations with projects from Disney World to Macau, China, delivering data its clients don’t even know they need, and getting “the right people in the right seat on the bus” (to quote Josh, paraphrasing the entrepreneur Jim Collins), ADE has made its own luck. ABQ
Top left: Water falls from the top fountain to the bottom fountain, creating a 15-foot waterwall that runs all day and helps prevent excessive evaporation in the desert climate. Bottom left: The fountains are outfitted with 750 nozzles that spray water in an elaborately choreographed pattern.
American Builders Quarterly
Above: Combined, the two fountains occupy approximately 90,000 square feet, making the whole water feature the largest one currently in Abu Dhabi. However, ADE is already at work on a bigger one that's slated to be completed in three years.
By the Numbers The Welcome Pavilion Fountains
the amount of water in gallons that moves through the Welcome Pavilion Fountains’ nozzles at any one time
the number of nozzles pumping water through the fountains
the length, in minutes, of the fountains’ light-infused evening shows and splashy, nozzle-driven daylight sequences, controlled by the fountains’ active-mode programming
the elevation change, in feet, from the top fountain to the bottom fountain, including eight stepped weirs of roughly three feet each and a final 15-foot, cascading waterwall
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American Builders Quarterly
Abu Dhabi's year-round high temperature in degrees Fahrenheit; in addition to providing entertainment, having water cascade down the aquatic feature’s weirs during daytime sequences helps prevent the water from evaporating off of the pools’ surfaces on hot days
the combined square footage of the two fountains, making the water feature the biggest one in the city of Abu Dhabi
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Cash blowing in all directions BP Wind Energy has watched its industry grow in the United States by about 35% annually since the mid-1990s, but the firm says the gale of construction funding and jobs could come to a standstill without renewed government action By R足uss Klettke
Photo: Marc Morrison
American Builders Quarterly
bp wind energy
ow much money is in wind energy? As much as anyone with a green soul might wish that renewable energy be solely about environmental sustainability, the true determinant of wind’s success is its economics, and right now there’s a tornado of money whirling through the industry. It is an inexhaustible energy source for utility companies and their customers, and it provides income to landowners; turbineparts manufacturers; the construction companies and workers who build the 80-meter-tall, modern-day windmills; and the operational-support teams that remain on-site. According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), more than 75,000 wind-industry employees currently generate power equivalent to the amount used in 10 million average homes. The fact that established fossil-fuel companies such as BP are developing wind farms is further evidence of the energy source’s long-term economic potential. To learn more about where the money from wind goes, American Builders Quarterly was able to speak with key players at BP Wind Energy: John Graham, president and CEO, oversees the $5 billion business, and Kimberly Randolph, vice president of projects and development engineering, has overseen construction of several of the company’s 15 wind farms. They say the money is there and that with it come jobs—but they’re also quick to note that the uncertain nature of government policy spells an unclear future for the industry unless voters and lobbyists act fast.
bp wind energy
Wind has become more cost-competitive. What are the factors that led to that?
John Graham: The growing scale of the industry is bringing down the costs of components. Also, investment in R&D by the turbine manufacturers has created technological efficiencies. The Production Tax Credit was put into place as part of the Energy Policy Act of 1992 to incentivize all forms of renewable energy, and wind has been the biggest winner, which has created a resurgence in US manufacturing jobs in wind energy.
and to operate on. What’s the trade-off in this deal for them?
But there must be some disruption during construction.
KR: The majority of our land leases are for a 40-year term, and in exchange landowners receive a regular income. Farmers and ranchers keep most of their land in productive use around the turbines; each turbine only requires about a 40-foot-diameter space, enough to turn a truck around after construction.
KR: We work closely with the landowners to minimize the impact on the landowner during construction. The build process is quite fast; it takes about eight months to a year to complete. We hire a crop adjuster, a consultant who carries out an independent verification of the economic impact during the construction period, by which we determine how much to compensate that landowner for any impact to their crops.
JG: Many wind farms are located in the central farming belt of the US. Agriculture is a cyclical business, so by harvesting the ever-blowing wind, landowners can offset the economic cycles of agriculture. Wind farms provide them with a new income source from the land.
How do you determine the precise siting of the turbines?
KR: A thorough analysis is done to determine the turbulence and wake profile of a site.
So most of the manufacturing for American wind farms is also done in the US?
JG: Since 2002, the growth in US wind manufacturing has increased local content in wind turbines to more than 65 percent. The cost of … transporting components to wind-farm sites is falling, and we are developing more sophisticated ways to measure the available wind energy, allowing us to site turbines in the best places. Added together, these improvements are bringing down the cost of wind energy [and putting it] closer in line with natural gas and coal.
Sherbino 2 Wind Farm in Pecos County, TX, is the fourth BP Wind Energy installation in the state. With 60 turbines, Sherbino 2 generates about 150 megawatts of electricity.
Let’s talk about the impact on local economies. Kimberly Randolph, what is your role in the development of individual wind farms?
Kimberly Randolph: I am responsible for the engineering and construction of the wind farms, which [happens after] a two- to three-year development project to gather the necessary approvals and permits that are required at each site. All BP wind farms in America are on land, not water. What is the reason for this?
KR: The US is blessed with significant amounts of wind energy on land, the support of public policy, and landowners who can benefit from harvesting the wind. Our US strategy is focused onshore. So a landowner, who is typically a farmer or rancher, will give up a portion of property for the wind turbines to be built
American Builders Quarterly
bp wind energy
And how do you explain your approach to the local community? There can be public concern, and sometimes opposition, to the establishment of a wind farm, right?
KR: From the start of a project, we reach out to landowners, community groups, and regulatory agencies and regularly hold public meetings. During construction we strive to behave in a neighborly fashion because we are neighbors now and will be part of the local community for many years. Can you give us a sense of the jobs impact on local communities where you develop wind farms?
JG: We are building two farms this year. We will employ some 250 people building the Mehoopany, Pennsylvania, site, which has 88 turbines. At Flat Ridge 2 [in Kansas], we are employing 500 construction workers to build 294 turbines. When the farms are in operation at the end of the year, we will employ about 20–30 people who will work full-time in operations and maintenance jobs. These are people with technical skills in engineering and electrical maintenance. We are working with local technical colleges to develop training courses for technicians. KR: Turbine manufacturers carry out most of the maintenance. The wind-farm manager and deputy wind-farm manager are BP staff and usually people we find locally.
“The US is blessed with significant amounts of wind energy on land, the support of public policy, and landowners who can benefit from harvesting the wind.”
Photo: Robert Sandling
Every site is unique, and all the landscape factors are taken into account in siting the turbines to catch the wind in the best way.
“[We] are developing more sophisticated ways to measure the available wind energy, allowing us to site turbines in the best places.” John Graham
Do you work with the same construction firms for all the work?
KR: For each wind-farm project, we go through a competitive bidding process, where we look for construction companies with good experience in renewable-energy construction, particularly wind, and [determine whether] they have relevant, local site experience. We also consider carefully their safety performance—including OSHA and non-OSHA recordable accidents—and their plans for how they would build the wind farm safely. Our three most recent general contractors are Blattner Energy, out of
Avon, Minnesota, which is building Flat Ridge 2 in Kansas; RES Americas, based in Broomfield, Colorado, and responsible for the Mehoopany site in Pennsylvania; and Mortenson Construction, out of Minneapolis, Minnesota, which built Sherbino 2 in Texas. One might expect that the larger, multinational construction companies would do this work.
KR: The companies we are working with are companies that got started early in the
renewable-energy construction industry and have established a strong track record to show for it. All have excellent capabilities in building wind-energy farms. What about subcontractors? Who gets hired and why?
KR: Some of the sites are very remote, so the answer depends somewhat on where the wind farm is located. Local subcontractors can be very helpful when we can capitalize on their area knowledge and experience. We often hire them to build
bp wind energy
Mehoopany Wind Farm Wyoming County, Pennsylvania
Construction of 88 turbines that will provide 141 mW of energy began in early 2012 on a 9,000-acre site 20 miles northwest of Scranton. It will supply electricity to the Old Dominion Electric Cooperative and the Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative Inc., generating sufficient power to more than 40,000 homes when it becomes operational at the end of 2012.
the roads and for tree clearing when building on a wooded site. We hear so much about the grid, the electrical delivery system thatâ€™s aging in America. Because it is out of date and geographically oriented to other energy sources, it impairs alternative development. Is BP involved in that?
JG: The American grid is 100 years old and very regional in nature. As a wind-farm developer, we can be proactive in constructing short transmission lines to connect with the local grid. At the Cedar Creek 1 wind
farm [in Weld County, Colorado], we built 76 miles of transmission lines to make that connection. You have wind farms in places that are historically associated with fossil fuels, including four in Texas. What kind of reaction do you get to an alternative-energy installation there?
JG: When Texans consider their history, they are mindful of change. We are developing the future with them, adding renewable wind energy to the mix of other energy resources they have in the state. This interest in the future is present in every state we work in.
Is there an educational function to a wind farm, something that helps the public envision this future?
KR: Indeed. We reach out to local schools, providing speakers to school classes on renewable energy. We can also host field trips. Our Silver Star I facility [about 80 miles southwest of Dallasâ€“Fort Worth] hosts around 80 university students every year. BP clearly is invested in wind but recently closed its solar program. Is wind where you see the long-term future?
JG: The US has a huge amount of wind, and we have the ability to capture and grow this resource significantly. Wind energy will
American Builders Quarterly
bp wind energy
Pecos County, Texas Complementing the 150 mW Sherbino 1 wind farm that has been in operation since October 2008, Sherbino 2 is another 150 mW installation that began generating electricity at the end of 2011. The combined facilities supply power equivalent to the amount used by 90,000 average homes, and they’re connected to the grid by way of a transmission system managed by the Electricity Reliability Council of Texas. Sherbino 2 is made up of 60 turbines located on 20,000 acres in west Texas, about 40 miles east of Fort Stockton.
Photo: Marc Morrison
bp wind energy
Flat Ridge 2
Barber, Harper, Kingman, and Sumner counties, Kansas BP Wind Energy began construction on this $800 million, 294-turbine wind farm in November 2011, and it will become fully operational in the fourth quarter of 2012. The 470 mW installation supplies enough electricity to power more than 140,000 homes and complements a 50 mW facility that BP built nearby in 2009. This new wind farm spans some 66,000 acres about 40 miles southwest of Wichita, and it will be the largest such facility in the state, eventually adding more than $1 million every year to the local economy.
Editorâ€™s note: The alternative energy sector,
including the AWEA, is actively lobbying for continued tax incentives that currently support utility-scale wind-power generation through the Production Tax Credit (PTC). They argue the consistency and market certainty from a multiyear extension of the PTC attracts lenders and prevents boom-bust cycles and higher overall costs that otherwise result from short-term planning. Under the
current program, the wind industry has been growing at a rate of about 35 percent annually. Currently, more than 52,000 mW of wind energy is produced in the United States. To learn more, visit awea.org.
A Message from Blattner Energy As a leading EPC contractor in the renewable-energy industry, Blattner Energy has built some of the largest and most complex energy projects in the country with more than 15,000 megawatts of installed capacity. We're proud of our leading position in the renewable-energy marketplace. However, we could not have reached this milestone without building strong relationships with developers such as BP, who share our commitment to safety, integrity, and excellence.
American Builders Quarterly
Photo: Rocky Kneten
likely constitute up to 20 percent of the energy mix in the next 20â€“30 years. In the US, we can build large wind farms on land whereas in Europe most of the wind is being built offshore. Weâ€™ve developed good capabilities for constructing and managing wind energy. Over the long-term, however, I think future generations around the world will figure out how to harness more energy from the sun. Wind will be a source as well, but both have challenges and opportunities being intermittent sources of energy. But a lot of it comes down to government policy. The Production Tax Credit will expire at the end of 2012 unless Congress renews it. We need to continue
nurturing the renewable-energy technologies to continue building up the economies of scale to compete with traditional sources of hydrocarbon energy. We are very close to being able to compete consistently with natural gas, but in the short term it will only work if the tax credit is extended. ABQ
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Blattner Energy is a leading electrical generation contractor in North America with more than 15,000 megawatts of renewable energy installations. From wind to solar, gas plants to transmission lines, Blattner provides a single source for expertise in all project activities. That’s the Power of Blattner. To learn more, visit www.BlattnerEnergy.com.
2/29/2012 8:48:17 AM
A variety of imaging software helped Disney work more closely and collaboratively with its outside contractors to finish the Cars Land attraction efficiently.
American Builders Quarterly
Science Behind the Spectacle by Chris Allsop
State-of-the-art computer-imaging software, old-school scale models, and tons of field testing went into the precision planning and construction of Cars Land, the subtly intricate new addition to the Disney California Adventure Park
n the fall of 2007, Disneyland announced a five-year plan to transform large portions of its Disney California Adventure Park to deliver a more immersive experience for guests. The culmination of that process is the creation of the 12-acre Cars Land, which brings to life the world of Radiator Springs, made famous in the two Disney Pixar Cars movies. While visitors will be dazzled by the site’s 280,000 square feet of rockwork towering over three new attractions—Radiator Springs Racers, Luigi’s Flying Tires, and Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree—equally awesome is the construction process and technology Disney used to make the ambitious design a reality. Cars Land represents a departure from the company’s traditional project approach of “design, bid, build”; its team instead combined traditional planning methods with new digital tools to tackle the project collaboratively with contractors and subcontractors. It’s a switch that served all parties well during the complex construction process, and the end product is so intricately composed that park visitors might not stop to think about how it was put together. 102
American Builders Quarterly
• Computer Planning In Cars Land, the big draw (or e-ticket attraction, in Disney-speak) is Radiator Springs Racers. Guests board six passenger vehicles and enjoy a slow road trip through the foothills of Ornament Valley (inspired by Monument Valley in Utah) and through the immense show building— where they go into town and meet all their favorite characters from Cars—and then they join a race against another car. “It’s going to be one of those classic attractions in the history of our parks that we’ve done really, really well,” Cars Land project manager Jim Kearns says. Helping Kearns deliver on the attraction’s thrills was the use of virtual design, which allowed Disney to model the track precisely and coordinate its construction with care. “When our design subcontractors where brought on board by our general contractors, they modeled all of their systems in our BIM [building information modeling] tool,” Kearns says. “This helped us to avoid the
classic problems—such as where you have a piece of duct going through a steel beam.” Disney’s project partners also used the BIM tool for a lot of prefabrication and preassembly of the parts that make up the ride, including the thousands of linear feet of track. “With an eighth of an inch to spare, the last pieces dropped in, and it was done,” Kearns says. “It’s a big challenge to go all the way around and to find out that it fits in as it’s supposed to.” Other computer-visualization software was a huge help in constructing Cars Land’s surrounding Ornament Valley rockwork. Through the use of modeling programs such as Navisworks and Autodesk, Disney created a digital replica of the stone formation, and a steel contractor then relied on the model when fabricating the terrain’s steel substructure. “Basically, everything from the concrete up was all modeled virtually,” Kearns says. “If you look at the scale of what we were trying to do, there was no other way to build that in the timeline that we had to do that work.”
Opposite page: Disney California Adventure Park's new Cars Land, seen here in a rendering, recreates the landscape of Radiator Springs, the fictional town at the center of the films Cars and Cars 2. This page: Cars Land will feature three attractions, including Luigi's Flying Tires (top) and Mater's Junkyard Jamboree (above).
The Walt Disney Imagineering Creative Technology Group builds full-size mock-ups of new attractions and ensures they function properly before building them in full.
American Builders Quarterly
THE Science Behind the SPECTACLE
All the modeling programs especially came in handy when Disney mapped out Cars Land’s subsurface systems, all of which had to be designed with future inspections and upkeep in mind. This was the case with Luigi’s Flying Tires, where visitors are seated in a tire vehicle that hovers, kept afloat by large fans built underground. Disney media relations representative Frank Reifsnyder describes it as “being on a giant air hockey table.” Thanks to the modeling programs—and 3-D visualization software created by the Walt Disney Imagineering Creative Technology Group—Disney was able to optimize the layout of this and other attractions in dozens of subtle ways without sacrificing access to maintenance areas.
• Physical Models Cars Land’s massive Ornament Valley backdrop is, according to Kearns, “not only a feature; it sets the tone for the creative content of the land.” A huge undertaking, the rock wall began as a small concept model. From there, over the course of nine months, it was redone as a half-inch-scale foam model that was then articulated, painted, and made up to represent the final product. “The scale was pretty significant in our model bays, on an area of 20–30 feet inside a model space,” Kearns says. While faux-rockwork is nothing new to Disney parks, Kearns says that the company has always tried to evolve its methods. In the old days it would use measured pieces of aluminium foil to estimate surface sizes, but the digital tools that the company used for Ornament Valley—including a white-light scanner that mapped the surface for Disney’s computers—are far more precise. Finally, the surface of the full-size backdrop was put together by plaster artisans, and then painters, led by an art director, got up close to the face of the feature and added detailing and coloring. “As much as we love the tech, you can’t detach yourself from the artistic component,” Kearns says.
• Working Mock-ups According to Kearns, Disney does test mock-ups before building its attractions in full. “We don’t want to bank all of our money into something we hope will work,” he says. For Luigi’s Flying Tires, for example, Disney and its partners built a full-scale mock-up of one of the platefloor modules. Kearns says that this was done to answer a number of questions: Were the calculations correct on the fan sizes? Would the vehicle perform? Would it be
THE Science Behind the SPECTACLE
"There isn't an attraction where we don't learn something during[the testing process and make some slight alterations. It needs to be reliable." ” Jim Kearns, Project Manager 106
American Builders Quarterly
fun? “We wanted there to be no surprises when we went into the field,” he says. For Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree, where a trailer is whipped through a series of circles and figure eights by a baby tractor, a mock-up was pulled through its paces in one of the Disney parking lots. Also, a portion of the ride floor was eventually created at the advice of Disney’s ride vendor partner. “Some of the technology that was going to be used was not the same as on previous rides,” Kearns says. “We invested, learned a lot, and that was translated into the final product.”
• Safety Testing For Disney, a principal goal with all its attractions is that they have to be safe. Kearns says there’s a significant acceptance test and adjust protocol that all rides have to go through, and elaborate instrumentation helps validate that each design has been installed and is operating in the intended way. In the case of Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree, Disney completed exhaustive cycling of the attraction by having its ride vendor partner take an assembled piece and run it for a very extended period to watch for behavioral characteristics. “There isn’t an attraction where we don’t learn something during that process and make some slight alterations,” Kearns says. “It needs to be reliable. All of these attractions receive a huge layer of cycling of components—and a look from an industrial-engineering perspective—so, at the end of the day, we have a long lifecycle with the stuff that we build.” Such care in the planning of the attractions, including the cycling experiments, the test models, the scale models, and the original computer imaging, is part of why patrons return again and again to Disney in the first place. The park and its creators know how to enchant, and it involves creating an experience so seamless that visitors remain blissfully unaware of the site’s technical realities, however marvelous they might also be. ABQ
A Message from SASCO
SASCO is proud to have been a partner with the WDI team for the Cars Land project. Cars Land was the first major project at WDI to be performed under an Integrated Project Delivery format. Although it was a learning process for all, the ultimate result was convincingly positive. New levels of communication and coordination were reached between WDI, its internal stakeholders, and its partners. SASCO’s expertise in design/assist, CAD/BIM, detailing, procurement, prefab, and packaging—coupled with its talented field staff—enabled us to make a significant contribution to the overall success of the project. Congratulations again to the entire Disney organization on a well-performed project.
Top: The 280,000 square feet of rockwork built for Ornament Valley at Cars Land is modeled after Monument Valley in Utah. The rockwalls were designed using digital modeling software, and then a steel contractor used the models to fabricate the substructures. Above: An early concept sketch for the Radiator Springs Racers ride evidences the fact that Walt Disney Imagineering’s ambitious design goals were there from the start. Opposite: Mater's Junkyard Jamboree went through exhaustive cycle testing, which helped Disney catch and fix any glitches before letting the ride go live.
SASCO CONGRATULATES DISNEY on the completion of CARS LAND!
Disney Concert Hall
Since 1967 we have specialized in: Design/Build/Assist • 3D Modeling/BIM • Pre-Construction • Low Voltage • Quality Assurance• Quality Control • Safety Administration • Constructability Review • Data Infrastructure Cabling • Construction Management •
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Movers in Chicago You Can Trust Pickens-Kane is Chicagoland's leader in office, hospitality, and healthcare moving and storage services. Pickens-Kane is proud to collaborate with Gerry Brown and Associates on its furniture, fixtures and equipment (FF&E) consolidation projects by providing expert handling and delivery, online bar-coded inventory reporting, warehousing solutions and installation coordination. Pickens-Kane offers over a million square feet of state-of-the-art warehouse storage, expert staff, and the highest-rated service for FF&E consolidation for the hospitality, healthcare and commercial industries. Contact Pickens-Kane for all your relocation and specialized moving needs.
Pickens-Kane 410 N. Milwaukee Avenue Chicago, IL 60610 Phone: (312) 942-0330 Pickens-Kane 303 Munroe Drive Bloomingdale, IL 60108 Phone: (888) 871-9998
847-942-0330 | 888-871-9998 | www.pickenskane.com oct/nov/dec 2012
A purchasing company launches in 1984, in Canada, with just $30,000, and today it’s a US firm supplying the likes of Hyatt and London Hotels.
At a Glance Location Chicago Founded 1984 Employees 11 Specialty FF&E purchasing for the hospitality industry Projects per year 25
Gerry Brown has no problem getting out of his comfort zone. When the owner of Gerry Brown & Associates (GBA) moved his Toronto-based business to Chicago in 1992, the FF&E company already had six years of experience supplying the hospitality industry. Once Brown hit the ground stateside, though, his firm was forced to adapt to a new market and a different set of financial rules and regulations. However, by building the company’s industry network and ensuring a quality, no-surprises client experience, GBA has become a powerhouse that now does $100 million in purchasing per year for four- and five-star hotels. Here, Brown talks with American Builders Quarterly about the move, his top US projects, and the market differences he’s noticed on this side of the 49th parallel.
Photo: Samantha Simmons
Interview by Annie Monjar
American Builders Quarterly
Gerry Brown & Associates
Orion Real Estate Services, Inc.
Rockford Housing Authority
Dake Wells Architecture
Dawood Engineering, Inc. 129 Lend Lease Corporation
“When it comes to dealing with manufacturers, it’s a lot easier in the US because there are so many more manufacturers.” Gerry Brown, Owner
Above: This Montage ski resort in Deer Valley, UT, is one of dozens of projects that Gerry Brown’s FF&E firm has worked on in the States since moving from Canada in the early 1990s.
Tell us a bit about your main clients and services.
Gerry Brown: We focus on four- and five-star properties. That’s definitely our niche. Three years ago, we did approximately 50 La Quinta hotels around the US. We’ll sometimes do three-star hotels, but typically in large volumes. Basically, we can supply everything other than food and beverage. We focus on what they call FF&E: furniture, fixtures, and equipment. That includes decorative light fixtures, carpet, furniture, and fabrics.
What was important when it came to increasing your presence in the American market?
GB: It was really just trying to get in contact with some of the individuals that I knew down here, mainly interior designers. I sent letters to about 50 interior designers and some other clients and just tried to make contact. I did a big road trip in ’92 to talk to some designers I’d known from previous projects. The majority of our business comes from references from interior designers, so that was my emphasis.
What prompted your decision to move GBA across the boarder?
When did the big break come?
GB: First, my wife got a transfer to the US. Also, I had started to do some business here, and the US was obviously a bigger market than in Canada. It was easier to operate here. We moved to Chicago in 1992 from Toronto, and I became a US citizen eight years ago.
GB: Believe it or not, it was the Hyatt Regency in Cancun, Mexico. That was my first big one. An interior designer, Wilson Associates of Dallas, got me involved with the owner. When I moved here in ’92, it wasn’t a great time in the industry. It wasn’t a depression, but business was
American Builders Quarterly
A division of RJF International
hard to come by, and getting that property, being a Hyatt-recognized brand, helped a lot. We moved into a lot of other projects from there. What do you consider some of your most important American projects?
GB: There’s a couple I’m quite proud of: the London Hotel in New York and the London Hotel in Hollywood, California. They were both conversions. Blackstone Group owns them. They were both particularly hard jobs, and they turned out to be really successful. We also did the Hyatt Regency in New Orleans, which is a 1,200-room hotel that was hit by Hurricane Katrina. We just finished that last fall. It was a long job. It had been operating, and Katrina blew out all the windows; they showed a lot of pictures of it in the news. They had to gut the building because of water, and new ownership took over. We were fortunate enough to be awarded that project. It took four years to complete. It was labor intensive, and funding was difficult to obtain. I am also proud of two Montage Resorts, which were new construction hotels in Laguna Beach, California, and Deer Valley, Utah. How have you found that you've had to strategize differently in the United States?
GB: The US and Canada operate quite differently from the point of view of banking. The banks in Canada are more government-controlled and didn’t have the financial issues that the States have just gone through. However, when it comes to dealing with manufacturers, it’s a lot easier in the US because there are so many more manufacturers. With the Canadian dollar being on par with the US dollar, Canadian manufacturers are hurting; when it was 10 percent less, they could come to the States and sell their wares and services. In spite of those differences, what has remained your goal when supplying a client?
GB: The important thing from our perspective is to provide the owner and the rest of the team with no surprises—to make sure that they are getting what they thought they were getting. There are so many pieces to this process, and a lot of people don’t realize how it all comes together. It’s a team that does it—from the ownership to project management to interior design to installation to us, doing the purchasing and coordinating of all facets of the various items required to furnish a complete hotel. We want to make sure that when the doors open, [the clients] see what they expected and what the ultimate customer—and the hotel guest—appreciates. ABQ A Message from Koroseal As a long term wall-covering supplier to Gerry Brown & Associates, Koroseal congratulates Gerry and his staff on their recognition in American Builders Quarterly.
Wall Solutions for Every Idea We are North America’s leading manufacturer & distributor of commercial wallcoverings. Whatever your vision or creative inspiration, Koroseal can satisfy the most demanding product requirements for your project. Our collections are unparalleled in design and colour! And if you can't find anything in our standard products, our custom design department will work with you to create a solution for your needs.
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BRING IDEAS TO LIFE ON-TIME & IN-BUDGET Managing interior procurement ventures of all sizes with some that exceed $20 million, the long established GBA team understands that ﬁnding timely, creative and budget savvy solutions to design challenges is essential to their clients’ project success.
70 E. Lake St. Suite 1300 Chicago, IL 60601 email@example.com T (312) 606-0777 | F (312) 606-0779
www.gbahospitality.com oct/nov/dec 2012
You don’t find many women running engineering and construction companies, especially without an engineering or constructionmanagement degree. Interview by Frederick Jerant
In her field, McMillen, LLC president Mara McMillen is a rarity; most engineering-construction firms are run by men. Her position could be considered an accomplishment in and of itself, but what’s truly remarkable is that Mara’s background is in marketing, a disparate field she has still managed to find a solid place for in her work. Her strategic efforts and promotional savvy have
helped her firm—a women-owned 8(a) small business concentrating on water-based projects—win clients such as the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), and here she chats with American Builders Quarterly about the business’s beginnings, its latest initiatives, and it’s recognition as one of the best places to work in Idaho.
You've accomplished quite a bit in a male-dominated field, and you've done it without the typical background. So tell us, please, what's the story?
Mara McMillen: My partner and I were raised in a rural environment, so we learned early on to have an incredibly hard work ethic. We’ve been fortunate to hire extremely smart, ethical, and kind people that share that same attribute. What prompted you and your husband, Mort, to go out on your own?
MM: We wanted to have an engineering division work hand-in-hand with a construction division to get the best ideas on the table early. While others are successful with a different model, philosophically we believe our design-build approach provides clients with the value. We studied various business models but were really impressed with the entrepre-
neurial spirit and model of Morrison-Knudsen. The founders took a strong work ethic and plenty of integrity and built an amazing company. Were you integrated at the start?
MM: We actually built a client base first by performing well on engineering jobs. Later, because we had a track record, we were extremely grateful that some of those same clients—i.e., USFWS and USACE—gave us a shot at their construction projects. Obviously, its worked out well for you two.
MM: Yes, it has. Mort is an “engineer’s engineer” who loves digging into project details. I focus on the marketing and operational aspects. We both solve problems but with different approaches. It’s a nice balance, and I think it’s helped the firm grow.
American Builders Quarterly
At a Glance Locations Boise, ID; Portland, OR; Seattle; Bellingham, WA; and Kelowna, BC Founded 2004 Employees 110 Specialties Design and construction of hydropower facilities, fisheries, and other water-based projects
McMillen's niche is water-related projects. Why did you choose that field?
MM: We have a passion for the highly technical, interesting projects that are associated with water— particularly fisheries, hydropower, and dams. We still concentrate on those types of projects, but we’ll also take on other projects, depending on the needs of our key clients. We are definitely client-focused first, followed by project second. Let's hear an example.
MM: USFWS has believed in us since we were five people, and we have shown them over time that our guys will work hard and put [the client’s] interest first. Therefore, if they have a refuge that needs a building repair, concrete sidewalk, etc., we are excited that they would call us, and hopefully [they] know that we would jump on it immediately.
MM: No, there have been many successful women that have paved the way for the opportunity for me to be doing what we’re doing. If integrity is put first, your gender always comes second.
Above: McMillen works on a USACE water-treatment facility, one of many projects the firm has earned because of its good record.
McMillen was named one of the best places to work in Idaho a couple of years ago. How did that come about?
MM: Idaho Business Review has an annual competition, and one of our employees nominated us. IBR checked us out, and we won. I have a lot of respect for our staff, and I show it. For example, one of our male staffers had child-care concerns. We adjusted his schedule to accommodate them. Another time, I closed the office and took everyone to the movies. We all need a little break from time to time, don’t you agree? Expenses like that come out of the bottom line, sure, but it’s not always about money. We’re as successful as we are because of our employees. ABQ
Do you work with any preferred vendors or subcontractors?
MM: Yes. One is Northwest Underwater Construction; they share our concern for getting the job done. For instance, in order to meet a tight deadline, Northwest has brought in backup workers and paid their overtime wages itself. That shows we can trust [the company] to do whatever’s required to make a job successful. You're a woman who's in a leadership position in a male-dominated industry. Have you run into any obstacles because of it?
A Message from Northwest Underwater Construction Northwest Underwater Construction is a premier underwater service provider committed to providing unparalleled service with a dedication to an efficient and safe workplace. We take pride in supporting North America’s leading contractors with the most modern equipment and technologies. Services include marine construction, commercial diving, and remote operated vehicles (ROVs). www.nwuwconst.com
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Northwestern University can now add a new distinction to its list: the EPA has ranked the school in the top 10 for the purchase of renewable energy. Interview by Russ Klettke
When you’re managing 11 million square feet of space in 200 buildings, energy efficiency and sustainability aren’t exactly concerns you can just hand off to an assistant. This is why Northwestern University recently hired a director of sustainability, Robert W. Whittier, who’s there to establish an entire office that will coordinate the considerable work being done by both the academic and facilities-management sectors of the two-campus institution in Chicago. The office will help to collectively improve campus walkability, reduce surface parking lots, retrofit all buildings for energy efficiency, and build several LEED-certified structures. Central to all this transformative work is Ron Nayler (pictured), the associate vice president of facilities management, who detailed for American Builders Quarterly the university’s latest efforts and the tremendous support it has received from its student population.
With such a large campus, spread between your suburban Evanston and downtown Chicago locations, you have a lot of ground to cover to achieve your green goals. Where do you start?
Ron Nayler: We’ve been practicing sustainability for at least 15 years at Northwestern. It’s really consistent with our lifecycle costing of buildings, where we anticipate structures will last 100 years and be renovated at least three times. When we invest in something like an energy-efficient mechanical system, we expect a simple payback on that in about seven years. Right now we’re embarking on $30 million of upgrades to lighting, heating and cooling, and water-use reduction efforts within existing buildings. You are also building several new structures, all of which will qualify for LEED Silver.
RN: We have already been certified for LEED Gold and Silver on several projects, with several more underway.
Those that achieved Gold are the [renovated] Wieboldt School of Continuing Studies, the [new] Richard and Barbara Silverman Hall for Molecular Therapeutics & Diagnostics, [the renovated] Searle Hall, and [the renovated] Harris Hall. Silver certifications have gone to the [new] Ford Motor Company Engineering Design Center and [the renovated] Rogers House while applications are in development for the [new] Bienen School of Music and the [new] Visitors Center. So essentially, you are shooting for a LEED certification on every project, whether it's new construction or a renovation.
At a Glance Location Evanston, IL Founded 1851 Students 16,475 Specialty Management and renovation of educational structures
RN: Yes. We shoot for Gold on all projects—while Evanston has very recently amended their building code to require new construction of municipal, large commercial, and educational buildings to achieve the equivalent of LEED Silver at the minimum. The city and the university want to reduce our carbon footprint because it is the right thing to
The Bienen School of Music is slated to be completed in the winter of 2014, and it’s expected to reach LEED Gold certification because of Northwestern University’s new green initiatives.
Next to its new Visitors Center, Northwestern is installing an efficient geothermal system.
do and it is good management of our own resources. But universities should be progressive. We’re trying to stretch the minds of our students in architecture and engineering in all kinds of ways by being exemplary. With so many people in so many buildings, energy sourcing has to be a big issue. How do you light, heat, and cool your buildings?
RN: We get 30 percent of our electricity from wind energy. As a Midwest-based school, we made the decision to source from wind. Since the 1980s, we have drawn water from Lake Michigan as a cooling source for our chilled-water condenser units, which becomes, more or less, a free source of air-conditioning in the winter, early spring, and late fall. Our new 20,000-square-foot Visitors Center will be at the periphery of the Evanston campus, so a cost-effective geothermal system is being installed there. Other buildings draw off a centralized system, which we will evaluate and improve upon as time goes on.
American Builders Quarterly
“Right now we’re embarking on $30 million of upgrades to lighting, heating and cooling, and water-use reduction efforts within existing buildings.” Ron Nayler, Associate Vice President of Facilities Management How do students get involved in facilities management?
RN: Formally, there is the Institute for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern, ISEN, which was established in 2008 as an umbrella organization focused on sustainability and energy-use reduction through science, technology, education, and policy.
faculty, and administrators who look at sustainability from all angles: recycling, improving engineering efficiencies, developing related course offerings, monitoring of energy usage in residence halls—in general, [these actions] change the culture, particularly among the approximately 4,000 students who live in university housing. ABQ
What about informally?
RN: They engage in all aspects of sustainability in formal and informal ways. For example, a large number of students petitioned that the Ford building, built in 2005, get solar collectors on the roof. We said if they could find the money, we would install it. They did a phenomenal job of securing gifts and grants, and the 16.8-kilowatt array was installed in 2011. That was a student idea from the start. There is also a working group of students,
A Message from Elara Engineering Elara Engineering has collaborated with Northwestern University to transform several existing vintage buildings to upgraded energy-efficient facilities while improving occupant comfort and replacing obsolete equipment. Recent Elara projects at Northwestern have included the Norris Center energy retrofit, the Rogers House renovation (LEED Silver), the Allison Hall renovation, the Centennial solar-panel system, and the CD Searle energy retrofit.
Above: Northwestern’s Technology Institute infill project was completed in mid-August 2012. The building’s new addition is approximately 50,000 square feet, and it has three floors of Earth and Planetary Science Department offices and three floors of teaching space.
Most property managers just hope to break even in today’s economy, but Orion Real Estate Services has added 10,000 units in the past seven years. Interview by Julie Edwards
Looking at Orion Real Estate Services, Inc., one could get the wrong impression about the severity of the nation’s housing slump. With a growing portfolio of more than 26,000 apartment homes under its management and more than half a dozen properties in development, the firm is having a “good day” in the field of property management, vice president Pam McGlashen says. The Houston-based company is a leading property manager of multifamily residential communities across seven states, and here McGlashen shares her insights on how she and the rest of the firm's team have managed to negotiate the recession so well. What's a typical day like in your offices? At a Glance Location Houston Founded 1985 Employees More than 700 Specialties Developing and managing multifamily residential communities
Opposite page: Orion's 2125 Yale project in Houston is built on the former site of Kaplan Ben-Hur, once the oldest department store in Houston.
Pam McGlashen: I know it’s a cliché, but there is no typical day. At Orion, our work focuses on third-party property management, and we work with properties from class A to affordable housing, so today I could be assisting a client with a reconstruction due to fire damage, and tomorrow I could be working with my regional vice presidents on marketing a new property. Orion’s breadth of knowledge about the multifamily market gives us the ability to assist our clients with everything from selling and purchasing to renovations and due diligence. We even offer construction services through our sister company, Allied Construction, if needed.
aspects, so we quickly saw our business skyrocket as the real estate market skyrocketed. But what happened when the real estate market stopped skyrocketing?
PM: Actually, we’ve added 10,000 units to our business in the past seven years. But while Texas did not have the huge collapse in all areas of the economy that other areas of the country did, I will say that the past three years have been the most challenging of my 30-year career. Although our business didn’t suffer, we did have to rethink the way we did business. How so?
Why the multifamily market?
PM: When Orion was founded 25 years ago, the partners saw a need to serve owners and developers trying to build quality housing in Texas. Most builders want to build, and they want someone else to handle the day-to-day
PM: There are so many levels involved now; in today’s market, every asset is being watched by multiple sets of eyes to ensure it doesn’t fall into a challenging financial situation. As a result, we had to streamline our accounting processes, ensure our reporting to owners was
American Builders Quarterly
Photo: Mark Hiebert
appropriately detailed, and be diligent in our monthly financial reviews. We also had to think about new ways to collect, to market, and, in general, to do business while keeping our same culture in place.
How important is the culture at Orion to your success?
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PM: I believe 100 percent it has been the key to our success. All our executives came from the ranks; they’ve worked on-site at properties, so they’ve learned from the ground up. Everyone has the ability to succeed here. Everyone at Orion also knows success is about rolling up your sleeves and doing the work. We’re not always going to be perfect, but we will always make it right. Tell us a little about Orion's 2125 Yale development.
PM: Located in a historic area of Houston called the Heights, 2125 Yale is a mid-rise development that features 192 class A apartment homes. The property is built on the former site of Kaplan Ben-Hur—the oldest independent department store in Houston before it closed—and has helped revitalize the surrounding neighborhood. When developing the property, we incorporated the site’s history into the design, hanging historic photos of the store in the common areas and using 100-year-old wood flooring—uncovered during the demolition—in the lobby and premier corner units. As the vice president of property management, what's your secret to success in this field?
PM: I’ve learned that being a good leader isn’t about working with people who are the most like you, but being able to work with people who are the least like you. It’s easy to hire people just like you, but it’s best to surround yourself with people who possess the skills and strengths you don’t possess. You have to be humble. I am a leader, but I am not always right. The best leaders have the ability to realize other people are smarter than them at certain tasks and may have ideas that add value to the work at hand.
We Do Multifamily. Period. Always have and always will. We know what is important to you. We know how to help you find what you need because we’re a specialist. Most importantly, we know how to get it to you quickly and efficiently. Our bulk buying and supply chain expertise, combined with years of single-minded focus on multifamily businesses, means you’re going to save money, time, resources and headaches. To learn more, call 1-800-345-3000.
How has the field changed during your professional tenure?
PM: Everyone today has a need for instantaneous information. Technology has added challenges for all industries as we work to make technology work for us, not against us. For me, the downside to technology is that people don’t talk to each other anymore; many people prefer to text or e-mail, and, personally, it’s a trend I would like to see reversed. It’s hard to provide good customer service without personal contact. ABQ
Multifamily. It’s all we do.
Your Business Is Our Only Business! 122
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American Builders Quarterly
Gardens, green technology, and modern architecture— in affordable housing? Rockford Housing Authority is reconceptualizing and expanding its mission. Interview by Julie Edwards
Sometimes it's best to go after everything at once. From developing green thumbs to emulating historical designs, Rockford Housing Authority (RHA) has crafted an outside-the-box strategy that not only tackles the renovation of its units but also incorporates community-wide development. RHA deputy executive director Ron Clewer explains how the organization is improving its properties, the lives of its residents, and the community as a whole—and how, as a result, the organization is becoming a catalyst for greater change. First, talk about how RHA has evolved.
Ron Clewer: RHA began as a traditional public-housing organization focused on providing safe, decent, affordable housing and resident services to promote self-sufficiency. But, recently, we’ve realized we need to alter our approach to make sure our properties are an asset to the community. From there, we’ve refocused our mission on fundamentally redefining affordable housing. At a Glance Location Rockford, IL Founded 1951 Employees 75 Specialties Construction and management of affordable housing
Can you give an example of this new focus?
RC: Our newest project, Jane’s Nobel Village, exemplifies our new direction. Built on a former public-housing site that was demolished, the $9 million development will feature 38 one- and two- bedroom units for the disabled. Construction began in winter 2011, and the master plan includes a central building with 16 apartments, surrounded by 22 units—which look like single-family
homes—that replicate the historic architecture of the area. The units will feature efficient HVAC and water delivery among other green amenities such as transit-oriented design and a community vegetable garden. A community garden?
RC: We view gardens as a type of support asset; they engage the residents in contributing to their community, bind neighbors together, and help them make quality food choices. Excess food will be sold at the local farmers markets, with proceeds benefiting our youth programs. The end result, we hope, will be healthier, more self-sufficient residents. How do tenants with green thumbs contribute to your new mission?
RC: We want our existing and new communities to be true assets to the [larger] commu-
nity. Elevating a development and its residents, rather than warehousing people in commercial-style housing, elevates the community as a whole. Adding amenities such as gardens and green improvements costs very little, but the return is immeasurable; the tenants are more invested, and the cost to operate is much lower. What other initiatives are part of your strategic plan?
RC: The first two years of our current five-year plan were focused on streamlining our day-to-day operations, which generated an additional $600,000 annually to support our programs. Many of these programs are focused on helping residents break the cycle of poverty and dependency on public housing. Now, in our third year, we are looking at disposing of our more troubled housing assets, acquiring new assets, dedensifying developments, and renovating or rebuilding where necessary. Top: The first floor of this 16-unit building—part of Jane's Nobel Village, designed by the RHA—is a common space meant to look like retail property. The building will thus fit more harmoniously with future retailers in the area, a strategy in keeping with RHA's efforts to be communityconscious. Above: Likewise, RHA designed this four-family unit in Jane's Nobel Village to look like a single-family house in order to fit it into the neighborhood better.
Can you talk more about your resident programs?
RC: Many of our residents lack jobs or are in a low-wage job. When they enter RHA housing, we work with them to assess their skills and then work over a period of time to help them develop those skills and become self-sufficient. Part of the process includes allowing them to save money, which can be used to build assets: i.e. purchase a
American Builders Quarterly
“Elevating a development and its residents, rather than warehousing people in commercialstyle housing, elevates the community as a whole.” Ron Clewer, Deputy Executive Director
home of their own. In spring 2012, we also launched ReBuild, a homegrown program that addresses more fundamental resident needs such as improving literacy and acquiring a GED. Tell us about your Choice Neighborhood grant.
RC: We recently were awarded a grant from HUD, which will allow us to redesign and redevelop a neighborhood in need. We’ve chosen the Ellis Heights area, a very aged, functionally obsolete, densely populated area that is a sea of concrete and a haven for crime. For 18 months, we will brainstorm with public and private stakeholders about how we want the community to look, from education to housing to healthcare. We will then have six months to present a report to HUD about our vision. Then, we will seek grants and funds to implement the project. Is funding a challenge for you?
RC: For all public-housing authorities, budgets continue to be a challenge as funding is reduced, so you have to be creative with ways to address costs. One thing we’ve done is contract out some of our day-to-day maintenance. For example, CCM & Associates, a local company, is a vendor we use for snow removal. You can save money outsourcing because you don’t have to purchase and maintain equipment. This example is just one way we’ve become more flexible and responsible. We’ve taken a different approach to our challenges, and it’s encouraging to look ahead and see how everything will come together, gain momentum, and lead us into a brighter future. ABQ
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Andrew Wells has been challenged twice by down economies, and both times he has managed to navigate his way through the storm. Interview by Jennifer Nunez
Launching just four years prior in 2004, Dake Wells Architecture was still a young firm when the recession hit hard in 2008. Its team had approximately 12 active projects at that point, some of which were the biggest commissions the company had landed, and nine were vaporized with phone calls within 40–60 days. It was a devastating blow for Dake Wells, and partner Andrew Wells watched as the company held on to its employees as long as possible before ultimately being forced to let a couple of them go. The firm won back its workload by spring of 2009, though, and here Wells reflects on his and the business’s pre- and postrecession endeavors.
At a Glance Location Springfield, MO Founded 2004 Employees 13 Specialty Construction of educational buildings
When did you realize that you wanted to become an architect?
Andrew Wells: My dad was a small-business owner and owned a shoe store. When I was five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10 years old, big shipments of shoes would come in. I would cut up the boxes and make things; I had old pricing sheets that I would draw on. I got a little more serious about design when the movie Star Wars came out in 1977. I began to read about how George Lucas made the movie and learned that all the special effects in the movie were done by a group of industrial design students that he had hand-picked. I thought I wanted
to be an industrial designer because I thought that that’s what they did; they made cool movies. But as I got older, I began to learn that most industrial designers don’t do that. What jobs did you find after graduating from Drury College in 1991?
AW: We were in a bit of a recession then; there were few firms that were hiring. I felt pretty fortunate that I had a job offer from a firm in Little Rock, Arkansas, and another from here in Springfield [in Missouri, extended by] one of my professors at a firm called Butler,
American Builders Quarterly
Photo: Krik Dillon
Above: The conference room in the offices of Dake Wells is open and includes walls that can be drawn on. Left: Dake Wells designed this gym, cafeteria, and performing arts space on a tight budget for the Exeter School District in Missouri.
Rosenbury and Partners. I went to work there and ended up staying for 13 years. I wanted to leave a few times to go on to bigger cities, but he always ended up convincing me to stay.
“Our firm has grown to 13 people; we had another guy start just last week.” Andrew Wells, Partner
And then, when you finally did leave, there was another recession.
AW: We struggled just like everybody struggled then. We ended up having to let a couple of really great people go that we didn’t want to. It was really tough, but at the same time we focused on trying to land work. By the spring of ’09, we had built our workload back up to where we began to hire people again. We’ve been scrambling, it seems like, to get all our work done since then. Our firm has grown to 13 people; we had another guy start just last week. You do a great deal of work in the educational sector at Dake Wells. Is this intentional?
AW: I would say it’s intentional in that my partner and I both are interested in education in general. We believe in the lifelong learning philosophy, and at the same time we have found that our design values seem to connect with people in education. It’s about educating people and learning more than it is about making money. The buildings take on a different kind of spirit; it comes up to a list of priorities rather than just the bottom line. One of your big projects right now, though, is a residence. Can you talk about that?
AW: We have a 3,600-square-foot lake house at the tip of a peninsula, which is narrow and flanked on either side by a couple of older lake houses. Our approach was pretty simple; we have two parallel bars that extend out toward the view of the lake, and we worked to frame views of the lake while blocking views of the adjacent neighbors. In between the two gabled roof forms, we have what we call the Mohawk; it’s a skylight that lets daylight into a central staircase that takes you to the lower level, where there is a walkout basement accessing the shoreline. The skylight and the roof have some complex geometries that have pushed us on the design side, but the end result is going to be wonderful. What are your future goals for the firm?
The central staircase of this Dake Wells-designed lake house lies below the home’s “Mohawk,” a skylight that admits ample daylighting.
AW: My partner and I are beginning to talk about that. Some of our short-term goals are that we would like to work our way into some larger commissions. A lot of our work has been interiors projects and smaller-scale work, but we both have experience with larger projects. We want to build that reputation. Further down the line, I don’t know if we have a concrete understanding where all of this is going to take us, but we are enjoying the ride. The work is what really motivates us. ABQ
American Builders Quarterly
Community engagement is good business. Dawood Engineering sometimes works for the public—but it always does public work. Interview by Benjamin van Loon
Now in its 20th year, Pennsylvania’s Dawood Engineering, Inc. has been involved with the planning, creation, and completion of thousands of private and public projects throughout the United States, and it shows no signs of reducing its workload. The firm is currently helping to build a new federal courthouse in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and it has begun to further its international reach and push its way into the Northeast’s shale-gas market, all while maintaining communication with locals wherever it works. President Bony Dawood sat down with American Builders Quarterly to talk about facilitation, consultation, and the way community involvement aids his firm’s work.
What types of projects do you like to see coming across your desk?
Bony Dawood: I look forward to international work. My father did a lot of work in this area, and, like him, I really enjoy being involved in it. We see opportunities on this level, and there is a lot of potential for Dawood Engineering to become involved in these markets over the next 10 or 20 years. We have already had introductions made for us through our contacts to the international market. We may also be able to partner with larger firms or possibly add new services to our own offerings. What would you consider one of the firm's more exemplary projects?
BD: We have some large-scale projects we’ve worked on in the private sector—and high-profile infrastructure projects we’ve worked in various parts of the state. One
that stands out was the Harrisburg National Airport expansion. We worked with a number of firms, and we were involved in various aspects of the expansion, including the runways, the new terminal, and a multimodal facility. We were part of a larger team, but it was a very exciting project. It’s nice to look back on that project because of all the people it affects on a daily basis. Can you talk about the work you've been doing on this courthouse project?
BD: We have been involved in this project for a number of years. They have been doing various site-selection processes, and over the last six months they have identified the location. For this project, we are part of a larger team based out of New York City that is handling the architectural design of the new courthouse in
At a Glance Location Enola, PA Founded 1992 Employees 120 Specialties Civil engineering, geotechnical engineering, land development, environmental services, and surveying services Annual Sales $12 million
“Being integral in the community helps us better understand the problems of each community, which allows us to utilize our services in an active way.” Bony Dawood, President
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Harrisburg. It is going to be a LEED-certified facility, which has been a huge part of the project. This is being handled by a team that brings a wide variety of expertise to the process. I understand a lot has been happening with shale gas in your sector, too?
BD: It has been a very strong market for us. It’s right at our front door. The areas around Pennsylvania and West Virginia have been getting a lot of national attention for shale gas and Marcellus gas. These developments are one of the reasons we opened an office in Canton, Ohio. We want to be part of something we feel is good for the future. It’s clean energy, it may reduce energy costs, it is promising for industrial growth, and there is a lot of landowner wealth being created in these areas. This area of energy is highly scrutinized, and we work closely with these companies to help them stay environmentally sound. You are a member of the local hospital board and have done other work for the community. How important is community involvement in the context of your work?
BD: Much of the work we do is site-civil and happens in a physical environment like roads, bridges, and traffic—and for this type of work, it is important to be involved in the local community. We strive to maintain communication with the municipalities that are in our region. Being integral in the community helps us better understand the problems of each community, which allows us to utilize our services in an active way. It is important for us to find local staff that knows these communities and the challenges these communities face. In this context, what are some ways you use your work to foster new client relationships?
BD: The relationships we maintain with our clients— and the quality of work we do for them—have been an integral part of our growth. We have some clients who have been with us for almost 20 years. After we get exposure or introduction to new clients, we have a very strong track record of obtaining market share. We have done this in various sectors—such as the energy sector. We started working with an energy client about a year and a half ago, and since that time, they have extended our reach into three different states, and now they’re one of our largest clients. This is in a very competitive market, too. Ultimately, it’s a matter of developing relationships, building trust, becoming a go-to firm, and really listening to your client. ABQ
American Builders Quarterly
“When we do a job, we’re going to make sure we do it the right way—not only to the letter of the law but in the spirit of the law.” Linda Christensen-Sjogren, Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer
American Builders Quarterly
As work sites get safer, the construction industry is concentrating more on legal and ethical compliance. Linda Christensen-Sjogren is helping Lend Lease keep up with the trend. Interview by Julie Schaeffer
When Linda Christensen-Sjogren joined the legal industry in 1978, few women worked in the construction sector. A positive attitude, however, helped this former “white-shoe attorney with a three-piece suit and a bow tie” excel, and recently she transferred from her general counsel position to chief ethics and compliance officer for the Americas division of Lend Lease Corporation, one of the world’s largest fully integrated propertysolution providers. Throughout the Americas, Lend Lease’s 19 offices provide an array of services, including development, construction, and property management, and Christensen-Sjogren was happy to talk about how she got into these industries—and how they’re changing. So, what led you into the legal side of the construction industry?
Linda Christensen-Sjogren: I started out as an attorney working on Wall Street, then went to InterContinental Hotels, ending up as senior corporate counsel. When the company relocated to London, I didn’t want to move my family, so I took a job as general counsel at Tishman Hotels Corporation, which at the time owned four hotels. Since InterContinental was managing 104 hotels at the time, I quickly got bored [at Tishman] and went to the president of the affiliated construction firm and asked who did the construction arm’s legal work. He said, “We generally do it ourselves.” He just agreed to let you do it?
LCS: Well, he laughed and told me to go down to one of the high-rise projects—which the company was renovating—and come back and tell him how I liked it. I was really nervous about going on the hoist, being a whiteshoe attorney with a three-piece suit and a bow tie at the time. But I didn’t let on that I was scared. I came back and said, “Yeah, no problem.” Why did you leave Tishman for Lend Lease?
LCS: I was at Tishman for almost 20 years and loved it. But everything was running so smoothly that I got bored. Lend Lease presented a challenge, as they were looking for someone to redo the legal function.
You were recently promoted from general counsel to chief ethics and compliance officer. What's the difference?
LCS: As general counsel of Lend Lease [US] Construction, I oversaw the attorneys who were negotiating contracts. When a problem arose, I’d talk with Tom Tether, general counsel of Lend Lease Americas, or the CEO. But, in that role, I couldn’t really create change. In compliance, on the other hand, which is a relatively new field in the construction arena, I’m at the forefront of creating programs and making sure the guys in the field, boots on the ground, buy into them. What are some of the programs you're working on?
LCS: We’re doing training for the entire United States and Latin America, some just for management, some for everyone working on a particular project, to show what they’re supposed to do to comply with their contract and with the relevant laws and how they’re supposed to report. Our people want to do the right thing, but we need to make sure they understand what they need to do. That’s particularly important in connection with the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the UK Bribery Act, which are fairly new to our region. We’re also training around the Davis Bacon Act, which relates to government contracting. We’re extremely interested in having everyone in the organization understand how to work successfully with minority- and women-owned enterprises and urban-zone enterprises.
At a Glance Locations Sydney, Australia; London; New York City; and Singapore Founded 1958 Employees 17,000 Specialties Integrated property development and management Assets Managed $10.9 billion Projects Completed 10,000
Is that all up to you?
You seem passionate about the job.
LCS: We have online testing for ethics, but my associate counsel [for] compliance, Emme Thompson, and I go from project to project and provide in-person training all over the country. We’re hiring someone to manage the utilization of minority-business enterprises throughout the United States. In every major office, we’ve hired or are hiring someone to assist with supplier diversity programs. With regard to the utilization of minority-business enterprises, people in the construction industry often get themselves in trouble when they try to be helpful and don’t allow the minority entity to learn how to do the work themselves. The purpose of supplier diversity is just that—to teach the minority businesses to do the work themselves. As the old saying goes, “Give someone food, and they eat today; teach someone how to farm, and he or she eats forever.” Our goal is to train farmers.
LCS: I think compliance is the wave of the future. In the past, construction companies, including Lend Lease, made a commitment to safety. Now we’ve made a similar commitment to compliance. When we do a job, we’re going to make sure we do it the right way—not only to the letter of the law but in the spirit of the law. You also have outside counsel to assist you, correct?
LCS: Oh, yes. We’re very much helped by McKenna Long [& Aldridge LLP]; Weil, Gotshal & Manges; Peckar & Abramson; and Watt, Tieder, Hoffar & Fitzgerald, LLP. We also work a lot with Artie Semetis, who has his own firm, who’s always there when we need him. All add more than value; they add value plus. Peckar & Abramson and Watt, Tieder have even come forward and loaned us attorneys when we’ve been shorthanded. Do you feel that reaching your current post was challenging because of your gender?
Linda Christensen-Sjogren Career Timeline 1970: Graduates from high school after three years to save money
subsidiary) in New York
1974: Graduates from Vassar, which she attended on a full scholarship
1981�1988: Takes time off to have children, with brief interludes working as an associate at Pitney Hardin Kipp & Szuch and Beattie Padovano, both in New Jersey
1975: Completes a one-year Maguire Fellowship for graduate study abroad (in Old English and paleography at the University College London)
1989�1990: Leaves private practice to join InterContinental Hotels as senior corporate counsel until the company’s move to London
1978: Graduates from law school at Fordham University, the only one to which she applied— because the application fee was only $10
1990�2010: Works as senior vice president and general counsel at Tishman Construction Corporation and Tishman Hotel Corporation
1978�1980: Works as an associate at Mudge, Rose, Guthrie and Alexander, a Wall Street law firm 1980�1981: Works as inside counsel for Pan American World Airways and InterContinental Hotels (Pan Am’s wholly-owned
2010: Moves to Lend Lease as general counsel of Lend Lease (US) Construction Holdings 2012: Becomes senior vice president and chief ethics and compliance officer for Lend Lease Americas
LCS: I graduated from law school in 1978, and I was, as far as I know, the first woman construction general counsel in the New York area. It was a very different world for women in construction. I remember giving sexualharassment training early on, and I was naïve enough to believe it when one of the employees told me that the guys were shy and would prefer a question box. When I saw the nature of the first three questions—inappropriate to say the least—I laughed but said, “Guys, this is what this seminar is all about. You just can’t do things like this.” It’s different now, though. People from the top down are dedicated to giving everyone—not just women but also minorities—a fair chance. I’m delighted by it. What advice would you give to others seeking to follow in your footsteps?
LCS: Don’t go in with a chip on your shoulder. Assume everyone will treat you fairly. I think, generally speaking, they do. But if they don’t, take them aside and tell them what you perceived. Only then do you go above them. But personally, I’ve never had to do that. People want to do the correct thing, and sometimes they just don’t know what that is. For example, one of the oddest compliments I ever had was from a client from the Middle East who initially had been reluctant to deal with a woman attorney. At the end of our negotiations, he told me, “You’re like a man in a woman’s suit.” His heart was in the right place, but he clearly didn’t have a compliance person to train him how to express that. ABQ
A Message from Peckar & Abramson Peckar & Abramson has been serving the construction industry for nearly 35 years. With offices around the country and affiliations throughout the world, P & A has been widely recognized for its leading representation of the construction industry, both domestically and internationally. A Message from WTHF Lend Lease has been a global leader in the construction industry for many decades. The expert legal guidance, knowledge, and proven successes of Linda Christensen-Sjogren are a perfect complement to this great company. WTHF is proud to be a part of their team and wishes them every future success. A Message from Goetz Fitzpatrick Since the founding of Goetz Fitzpatrick in 1967, the firm has earned a reputation as a powerhouse in the fields of construction litigation and construction contracts and transactions. We maintain our leadership in construction through our representation of owners, developers, general contractors, sureties, subcontractors, suppliers, manufacturers, and design professionals. Complementing our construction practice, Goetz Fitzpatrick also focuses on real estate, business, trusts and estates, intellectual property and technology law, and bankruptcy and reorganization. Chambers USA said of our construction practice, "This group of talented attorneys provides expertise in all areas of construction law, advising on contract preparation and negotiation, regulatory matters, litigation, and administrative proceedings.” A Message from Kauff, McGuire & Margolis My firm represents CAGNY, an association of high-rise contractors, of which Lend Lease is a member. I interact with Lend Lease’s field personnel, project executives, and Linda Christensen-Sjogren. The most cogent comment I can make about Linda and the New York law department is that it is a gathering of competent lawyers, whom she manages with a light hand. Linda lets her lawyers do the field work, manage outside counsel, settle or litigate cases, and negotiate everything from settlements to legal fees. Linda gets involved at the level of policy, where her maturity, experience, and knowledge of the construction community in New York City can be most effective. In my interactions with Linda, she has displayed support, courtesy, and confidence that we are working carefully in her company’s interests. When we need a decision made at the highest levels, she is available for that discussion, and her contributions are always seasoned and circumspect.
American Builders Quarterly
Linda Christensen-Sjogren and Lend Lease on their recognition from American Builders Quarterly
CAGNY 950 Third Avenue, 25th Floor New York, NY 10022 Tel: 212.838.9025 Fax: 212.230.4980 www.cagnyonline.com
KM&M 950 Third Avenue New York, New York 10022 212.644.1010
1901 Avenue of the Stars Los Angeles, California 90067 310.277.7550
Arthur J. Semetis, P.C.
We are proud to have served as counsel to Lend Lease for more than 20 years. We look forward to working with Lynda Christensen-Sjogren and her team for many more years to come. Specialists in Construction and Commercial Litigation 2 8 6 M A D I S O N AV E N U E
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Since our founding in 1997, Carroll McNulty & Kull has worked to build a law firm that remains true to our guiding principles—elevate our clients above all other considerations through a diligent, effective and personal pursuit of their best interests. Governed by this singular purpose, we have created a law firm unlike any other, one whose clients are the first priority and whose partnership is built on friendship, trust and a common philosophy and work ethic.
• Insurance Coverage Disputes • Environmental Insurance Disputes • Toxic Tort • Asbestos • Construction • Advertising Liability • Products • Property • Automobile • Employment Issues • Reinsurance Disputes A law firm unlike any other
Christopher R. Carroll, Esq. Gary S. Kull, Esq. Joseph McNulty, Esq.
NEW JERSEY 120 Mountain View Blvd Post Office Box 650 Basking Ridge, NJ 07920 Phone: 908.848.6300 Fax: 908.848.6310 NEW YORK 570 Lexington Avenue 8th Floor New York, NY 10022 Phone: 646-625-4000 Fax: 646-625-4044
WE PROTECT The Environment Your Investment r e s u l t s
f i r s t
Peckar & Abramson Congratulates
On Her Recognition By American Builders Quarterly
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3 rD Party verification EarThCraFT VIrgInIa haS bEEn In buSInESS SInCE 2006 We provide 3rd party verification for the EarthCraft House family of programs for single family and multi family both new construction and renovation. Other services include Energy Star, LEED for Homes, Indoor Air Plus and Watersense certifications. A RESNET training provider with continuing education trainings available.
Watt, Tieder, Hoffar & Fitzgerald, L.L.P.
through the years
Chesapeake Redevelopment and Housing Authority Although Chesapeake, Virginia, was Originally settled in the late 1600s, the area of South Norfolk, Virginia, didn't officially become Chesapeake until major local governmental changes in 1963. The Chesapeake Redevelopment and Housing Authority (CRHA) was established that same year to help provide housing and ease the redistricting process. The Chesapeake population has grown steadily in the decades since, with a substantial boom in the 1980s and 1990s. “The city almost doubled in size during that time,” says Brenda Willis, who started working at the CRHA in 1994 and became the executive director in 1997. Now, the CRHA—rated a “High Performer” by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)—currently employs 65 people and manages 467 public-housing units, 228 affordable-housing units, and 597 private units. And despite difficult economic circumstances, the nonprofit continues to use its longstanding influence in the community to facilitate housing opportunities for those struggling the most—something it has done under one name or another for the past 62 years.
1950 South Norfolk’s housing authority Before becoming its own city, Chesapeake is called South Norfolk, and the South Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority (SNRHA) manages the community’s development of public residential space. The SNRHA comprises a five-member board that works to accommodate postwar growth in the area.
—Benjamin van Loon
1959 A New Building’s New Approach The 170-unit Broadlawn Park development (right top, right middle) is built in South Norfolk to respond to housing needs created by an urban-renewal project that involved the demolition and reconstruction of 838 residential and commercial buildings. “[It] was the first housing development in the South that was built as duplex structures,” Willis says. It marked a change for the practical and strategic future of public housing. 1963–1972 Changing names As a result of Norfolk’s new district acquisition, the SNRHA is renamed the South Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority of Chesapeake. Then, by act of the organization’s general assembly in 1972, it expands to a seven-member board and arrives at its present name: the Chesapeake Redevelopment and Housing Authority.
2004 1976 First Section 8 units The award of an annual contributions contract from HUD helps the CRHA afford new Section 8 housing, totaling 75 units, from a budget of $157,848. “As a result of this contract, we were able to substantially increase affordable-housing opportunities,” Willis says. The CRHA continues to pursue Section 8 opportunities and by 2011 maintains authority over 1,619 vouchers with a total budget of $11 million. 1987–1994 More public and affordable housing Adding to the Broadlawn Park and 152-unit MacDonald Manor developments it already manages, the CRHA acquires the Schooner Cove, Owens Village, and Peaceful Village communities, which provide an additional 145 public-housing units. During this time, the CRHA also creates the Narrow Street, Meadow Landing North, and Twin Creeks affordable-housing developments to pad its holdings with another 68 units.
American Builders Quarterly
2001 Stretching a dollar “We were awarded a $5.8 million up-front grant in 1997,” Willis says. “It was to be used for renovating and repositioning properties and offering supportive services for low- to moderate-income residents.” So, when HUD forecloses on the 152-unit, cooperatively owned Geneva Square condominiums (above), CRHA acquires the property for $1 and uses the grant to revamp the entire subdivision.
2004 A community on the upswing The CRHA concludes phase 1 construction of Campostella Square (opposite page bottom), providing rental units and private homes ranging from $78,000 to $158,000. The development was once the site of the World War II-era Foundation Park subdivision, which contained 850 working-class homes that had fallen into disrepair. CRHA secured a Section 108 loan in the early 1990s and partnered with the City of Chesapeake, Habitat for Humanity, and the Tidewater Builders Association to level and rebuild the blighted community.
2009 2009 A massive funding spike The CRHA receives a $3.3 million competitive grant thanks to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. “We were really fortunate to receive this grant from HUD,” Willis says. “It enabled us to develop 24 EarthCraft-certified, green public-housing units in Schooner Cove.” The CRHA provides Section 8 relocation vouchers to 24 residents of the neighborhood and begins the sustainable rehabilitation of the units (right). Schooner Cove is scheduled to reopen in summer 2012. 2011–Present Empowering residents Recession-related budget cuts affect the CRHA and other major American housing authorities, but Willis remains optimistic. By pouring additional energy into creative residential services such as the annual CRHA Empowerment Conference, the authority continues working to equip its tenants with the tools and skills needed to move beyond public housing. “We certainly understand the need for bricks and sticks,” Willis says, “but our real passion is empowering our residents to succeed and be free of public assistance.” ABQ
A Message from EarthCraft Virginia Since 2006, EarthCraft Virginia has worked to provide training, building-science-consultation, and green-building-certification services for builders, developers, and designers. Developed by the Southface Energy Institute—specifically to meet the challenges of building in the humid southeast—the EarthCraft family of programs includes certification paths for single-family homes, multifamily developments (new and renovated), communities, and light commercial projects. These programs provide a blueprint for healthy, comfortable homes that reduce utility bills and protect the environment. Each EarthCraft project is assigned a technical advisor (a RESNET-approved Home Energy Rater) who provides boots-on-the-ground training, third-party verification, and diagnostic testing. Through the hard work of our building-industry partners, we have certified more than 7,500 apartments and 1,600 single-family homes in Virginia with an average energy savings of 40 percent in renovation projects and 30 percent in new construction projects.
McNolty Mechanical has developed pendulum lifting arms to ensure the effective, efficient movement of piping from one phase of the fabrication process to the next.
American Builders Quarterly
the specialists the specialists
Disaster Kleenup International
Champion Roofing Services, Inc.
Eustis Engineering Services, LLC
Dove Valley Business Park Associates, Ltd.
Cold Craft, Inc.
The International Pipe Installers
Through employee education and reputation-based partnerships, McNolty Mechanical has grown into a global pipe-assembly powerhouse
Photo: Juliet Greene
As a rookie for the Ottawa fire department, Landon
McNolty began using his pressure-vessel and powerpiping trade knowledge to supplement his income, and pretty quickly he could see that this side gig was where his real talents lied as his reputation began to precede him. “When you put a high quality product on the table and you service your clients thoroughly,” he says, “you’ve laid the foundation for a success.” In 2010, after six years juggling both responsibilities, McNolty resigned from the fire service and dedicated himself full-time to his own business, McNolty Mechanical, where a three-pronged focus on quality, employee communication, and employee education has led to significant returns. The company’s core competencies are still pressure vessels and power piping, but now it often tackles more technical, specialized projects, working in test facilities and power plants for the federal government and for companies such as Siemens Controls. “It’s quite a niche,”
McNolty says. “Ultimately we end up swimming in a pond without a lot of fish in it.” McNolty Mechanical is based in Canada, but it partners with many other Canadian companies that do business in the United States and overseas. “We are affiliated with companies that go into places like India, China, Russia, and France,” McNolty says. “We fabricate and build the parts and pieces that are then [quality assured and quality controlled] here in our facility and packaged up to be sent overseas for those facilities.” The aerospace industry is one of the prime markets that gives the firm a global reach. McNolty suggests his business’s growth is relationship-based. His employees adhere to a business plan and set objectives every year, but he says they try to stage themselves with the quality that precedes them and that clients have come to know. “Our quality, with the work we do—and our efficiency—tends to make us leaders in
At a Glance Location Wendover, ON Founded 2004 Employees 22 Specialties Pressure-vessel and power- and process-piping assembly and installation
Photos: Juliet Greene
McNolty Mechanical works on a fair amount of specialized equipment, including this high-temperature, 1,800-degree Fahrenheit BLEED AIR piping system for MDS Aero Support Corporation.
American Builders Quarterly
our region,” he says. “Often, bigger firms from out of town will also call and want to partner with us.” Although rapid expansion is tempting because of his company’s popularity, McNolty is committed to controlled growth. “You can grow yourself right out of business,” he says. “For me, I felt it was critical to surround myself with real professional advice from legal, financial, and project managers as well as abide by our business model and business plan, making sure it fits within our capabilities range and our current setup and system.” McNolty Mechanical’s primary business strategies revolve around planning, execution, and communication. During planning, the company lays out objectives and an approach that are simple and obtainable. During execution, its staff tracks measurable factors such as cost and time. And communication is always done both vertically and horizontally because sharing knowledge with the team ensures everyone is onboard. “From a conceptual perspective, everyone here, down to our apprentices, understands our common goals; they understand our objectives, philosophy, what we are trying to achieve, and how we are going to achieve it,” McNolty says. “Most importantly, they understand how they fit into this big wheel that seems to be constantly turning.” In short, a vested interest in the overall success of the company exists in all employees because they understand their contributions are contingent on McNolty Mechanical’s success. McNolty grew the business from grass roots, beginning with his own trade experience and an understanding of the nuts and bolts of business management. This has been a huge advantage in the company’s achievements to date, and it plays an important role as McNolty Mechanical looks toward the future. “I know the struggles and challenges of my staff,” McNolty says. “I’m able to talk their language and work through issues and keep a finger on the pulse of what’s going on. As far as what’s next, I think there is huge potential ahead, and we will continue with controlled growth in specific markets that make sense financially.” —Jennifer Hogeland
“I know the struggles and challenges of my staff. I’m able to talk their language and work through issues and keep a finger on the pulse of what’s going on.” Landon McNolty, Founder
McNolty Mechanical uses plasma cutting equipment with automated rotation. It improves the accuracy and efficiency of the firm’s fabrication abilities in a competitive market.
This page: DKIâ€™s member companies specialize in disaster repair. Each one keeps its individual identity while enjoying organizational perks that help improve business.
American Builders Quarterly
The Disaster Heroes
DKI contractors rebuild homes and offices while enjoying benefits from their parent organization Calamitous events such as tornadoes, fires, and
tidal waves come swiftly and unexpectedly. Often, there’s no way to prepare; there are only ways to recover, to rebuild. In such times, the distressed and displaced call on Disaster Kleenup International (DKI), a collaborative business founded by a small group of insurance-restoration contractors looking for a way to network in their field. The organization now has more than 400 locations nationwide, and it’s finding new ways to care for customers while continuing to care for its own. Ten years ago, DKI was at $360 million in system-wide revenue, and today it is over the $1 billion mark. This is partly because the disaster-restoration business has seen explosive growth in recent years, but it’s also thanks to the organization’s expanding membership, which itself is a result of the advantages DKI provides. Not just anyone can become part of the group: prospective contractors must have already achieved a level of success within the marketplace, and competition is fierce because, unlike McDonalds and Starbucks, DKI doesn’t want to have contractors on every corner. Contractors who are admitted, though, pay a membership fee and then a monthly fee, and in return DKI helps them with networking and marketing. “DKI offers independent contractors the ability to leverage all of the benefits associated with being part of a large national organization while maintaining their own identity,” CEO and president Dan Cassara says. Tony Esla, owner of DKI Restotech, is one of the organization’s many success stories. His firm became part of DKI 11 years ago, and it grew from a $1.2 million to a $6 million company. “We were a small company and wanted to grow,” Esla says. “Through DKI, we’ve learned from other larger contractors how to organize our company and to get better. Being able to go into $20 to $30 million com-
panies and see how they operate is tremendous. It gives you something to work toward.” “Success like that is common for DKI companies,” Cassara adds. “They have access to the tools and are able to leverage the brand, allowing them to hit the market in a way they couldn’t previously.” For example, with its significant purchasing power, DKI provides cooperative purchasing opportunities for more than 300 contractors in North America. And, the organization established the DKI Procurement program to expose its contractors to high-quality products and services through procurement vendors such as Surface Shields.
At a Glance Location Wood Dale, IL Founded 1974 Employees 50 corporate employees Specialty Disaster restoration Annual Sales $1 billion
In 2011, DKI purchased a disaster-planning company to help homeowners prepare for calamities such as floods before they strike.
Top 5 Differences Between DKI Contractors and General Contractors 1 DKI contractors do hundreds—sometimes thousands— of jobs each year, taking calls at all times of day and night. 2 There are no blueprints for fixing disasters. Quick decisions are required, even when contractors don’t have complete information. 3 Insurance companies typically pay the contractor’s cost of repair. 4 DKI contractors are heroes. There is an emotional factor when working with personal belongings. 5 The industry is relatively recession-resistant. Accidents and weather-related disasters will happen despite a tough economy.
DKI also implements programs to win clients before disaster strikes. Three years ago, the organization bought a disaster-planning company called Circumspex, designed to teach clients about proper preparedness. “We wanted to touch the customer prior to a loss or calamity by helping in the planning process,” Cassara says. “We can ensure when the unexpected happens [that] we are not only the company that helps them through it but [that] we were the company that helped them prepare.” Additionally, DKI is currently the only national organization in the industry putting all its members through the Green Risk Professional certification program. And in the last two years, DKI member companies have participated in 44 builds around the country, including in tornado-ravaged Joplin, Missouri, for ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. “DKI restores much more than just the property,” Cassara says. “DKI restores hope for people who have been extremely affected by a disaster. From repairing a treasured heirloom to restoring precious documents, we are a company that people can count on to take care of them and their property.” —Jennifer Hogeland A Message from Surface Shields Surface Shields provides DKI Restotech with the essential dust-containment and temporarysurface-protection products needed to ensure that the remodeling phase is quick. These products provide a faster cleanup time and prevent job-site damage that can delay the restoration process.
SUPPLIER OF CHOICE SINCE 1973
We Design And Manufacture Electrical Heating Equipment, Modulating Controls And Steam Humidifiers.
American Builders Quarterly
The Inventive Air Movers
Titus, a manufacturer of air-distribution products, is helping reduce HVAC bills by double-digit amounts The primary function of HVAC systems has always
been to maximize occupant comfort, which seems at first like an easy enough task. Units keep spaces warm in winter and cool in the summer, and as long as the air pumping in is fresh, theoretically, there should be nothing to complain about. However, leading air-distribution firm Titus humbly suggests there’s more to consider. “We’ve always been proponents of comfort, working to achieve an appropriate air-distribution performance index [ADPI]” director of marketing Rob Copeland says. “But with creatively designed buildings, often with many more windows that make good use of natural lighting, we have to move air around in different ways.” He also says every room in every building is different, and when you factor in seasonal temperatures and the extremes found at different latitudes—plus the fact that warm air naturally rises—HVAC design becomes downright complicated. But it’s also exciting. Working from a 20,000-squarefoot R & D facility, Titus engineers are using newer
technologies to revolutionize the ways that indoor air is distributed. And, among the tools they have developed are adjustable air-pattern controllers that direct cold and warm drafts in different directions. Titus’ modern, sophisticated displacement ventilation systems are able to spread cool air across a floor in a such a way that the air’s natural buoyancy builds a stratification of minor temperature differences up to the ceiling. Compared with traditional ceiling-level systems that blow cool air directly over or across major lighting fixtures, warming it before it ever reaches the people sitting or standing in the room, Tyson’s designs achieve comfort more efficiently, and this results in significant energy savings. “We work with a couple of major hotel chains,” vice president of sales and marketing Keith Glasch says. “One company wants to reduce energy use by 30 percent by the year 2020. In buildings where we have installed smart-control valves and energy-efficient motors, we have already achieved a 40 percent
At a Glance Location Plano, TX Founded 1946 Employees 1,250 Specialty Manufacturing air-distribution products Annual Sales $130 million
Above: The Titus Training Center, located at Titus’s Plano, TX, headquarters, offers training classes where builders can learn more about air distribution.
energy-efficiency improvement.” These smart controls—products Titus often incorporates into its systems—respond to guest arrivals and departures in each room, maintaining different temperatures for occupancy and nonoccupancy. And some smart controls can even recognize the difference between paying guests and hotel employees, based on the type of door key used to enter the room. Titus’s air distribution diffusers are built with responsive, movable parts that require a power source, but the company hasn’t let this hinder its energy-efficiency goals either. Rather than connecting them to the electrical system—and adding to construction and energy costs—the company powers its systems by ambient light energy, both solar and artificial. Because of such innovation, architects and engineers eager to learn about new air-distribution
“With creatively designed buildings, often with many more windows that make good use of natural lighting, we have to move air around in different ways.” Rob Copeland, Director of Marketing
approaches often do so through Titus University’s online webinars and multiday workshops, held at the company’s Plano, Texas, headquarters. And Titus continues to be a leader in product development, as evidenced by its continuing series of YouTube clips, in which the efficiency of its latest technologies is made visual through the use of theatrical smoke. “Our goal is the net-zero-energy building,” Glasch says. “We can do this by extending the application of energy harvesting and wireless technology.” Titus researchers are now studying ways to capture the energy of human body heat, a capability that would allow the company to effectively draw power from the very people it serves through smarter air distribution. If the company succeeds, it will close the energy loop in a beautifully simple way. —Russ Klettke
The Solar Plexicon
Top 4 Air-Distribution Innovations from Titus 1 The EOS perimeter slot diffuser eliminates wasteful, ineffectual horizontal or vertical air discharge by switching between heating and cooling modes. 2 Various architectural finishes—about 47 different wood-grain and stone veneers—can be applied to vents, offering broader interior design options. 3 The Solar Plexicon is a displacement ventilation system that heats and cools without a secondary heating system, using wireless solar energy as its power source. 4 The Alpha Controller is preconfigured at the factory to save time and money, and it can be commissioned through a thermostat, eliminating the need for software at the job site.
American Builders Quarterly
The Overnight Contractors
Champion Roofing diversified to seize growth opportunities following a dramatic storm season in Tornado Alley
In April 2011, more than 750 tornadoes reached
down from the clouds to cut paths through the landscape between Texas and New York; they caused billions of dollars in damage to homes, offices, and other structures. Luckily for many, Chris Wiedenhoeft, owner of Champion Roofing Services, Inc., who had moved to Knoxville, Tennessee, in 2003, was there and ready to handle repairs. His company already had decades of experience in Florida, but he jumped on tornado damage throughout the Volunteer State almost as soon as he moved, and he has since recently expanded Champion’s reach, diversifying services to include gutter, window, and siding trades. Now, in the year and a half since the tornado outbreak, Champion has earned more revenue than it did in the previous six years combined—including the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season, one of the most active in recorded history. And, the company’s additional work and services have become so integral to profits that it’s
reincorporating as Champion Construction. “If I see an opportunity, I move full-speed ahead,” Wiedenhoeft says. “We became general contractors overnight.” Wiedenhoeft is a GAF Master Elite roofing contractor, a distinction reserved for the top three percent of qualified professionals, but it is additionally his and Champion’s knowledge base and expertise in navigating insurance claims that has led to the company’s recent explosion in growth. For a recent high-end project—a storm-damaged waterfront home on the Tennessee River worth more than $5 million—insurance adjusters recommended $180,000 in repairs. Champion examined the house and determined that fixing the slate roof, copper gutters, gas lanterns, and other substantial damage would cost 10 times that. Relying on a dispute-resolution clause in the homeowner’s policy, Champion expects to succeed in obtaining the additional repair funds.
At a Glance Locations Jacksonville, FL, and Knoxville, TN Founded 1959 Employees 25 Specialties Commercial and residential reroofing, insurance work, and general contracting
Above: Champion Roofing did cost-effective repairs for the 101- and 75-year-old owners of this home in Knoxville, TN.
Though Champion Roofing still makes significant revenue through its namesake trade, the firm has also expanded into general contracting, which has increased its profit exponentially.
“Storm chasers don’t care about workmanship; they get out of town as soon as the work slows down. But we act like local contractors with ties to the community, wherever we go.” Chris Wiedenhoeft, Owner
“Most contractors would not be in a position to handle restoration work of this magnitude,” Wiedenhoeft says. “Working with the insurance company to come to an agreement like this—it’s a very lengthy process. We’re the only general contractor in the area with that kind of expertise on staff.” Champion pays the same attention to detail on less profitable projects. Following an insurance assessment of $4,000 of damage to a modest house in Knoxville, Champion visited the site and identified repairs totalling $51,000. The home’s 75-year-old owner, whose parents built the house when she was a child, lives there with her 101-year-old mother—a woman whose late husband had covered the original wood siding with vinyl nearly 15 years before, after which she refused to speak to him for a week. With the additional insurance money, though, Champion was able to restore the home’s original wood exterior. “Our customers appreciate those efforts,” Wiedenhoeft says. “We often find what the insurance companies have overlooked.” Wiedenhoeft will maintain the company’s Jacksonville and Knoxville operations and open new offices elsewhere in the immediate future, and he is confident but cautious about sustaining company
Top 3 Products that Champion Roofing Uses 1 GAF roofing materials, such as Lifetime Designer Shingles, are both stylish and durable. 2 At Your Disposal's roll-off Dumpster services are tailored to roofing and building contractors in Jacksonville, FL. 3 Residential garage doors from Overhead Door are manufactured from aluminum, wood, steel, fiberglass, and vinyl.
growth. The biggest challenge, he says, is in hiring additional employees with the same level of loyalty, integrity, and dedication as the project managers currently on staff. “Storm chasers don’t care about workmanship; they get out of town as soon as the work slows down,” says Wiedenhoeft, whose company donates $100 per customer to charities such as Habitat for Humanity, the Wounded Warrior Project, and the Knox Area Rescue Ministries. “We act like local contractors with ties to the community, wherever we go.” —Annie Fischer
American Builders Quarterly
Storm Restoration Residential
from the precious...
... to the priceless!
championconstructionservices.com JACKSONVILLE • KNOXVILLE • CHARLESTON
The Dogged Dirt Analysts
Soil-mechanics contractor Eustis Engineering has expanded its reach to help protect the Gulf Coast from storms Water saturation, load-bearing strength, the
At a Glance Locations New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and Lafayette, LA; Gulfport, MS Founded 1946 Employees 100 Specialty Soil mechanics
likelihood of erosion—dirt might seem simple, but there’s actually a lot to consider in the geotechnical-engineering field of soil mechanics. Eustis Engineering Services, LLC, has been an expert in the science since the firm was founded by J. Bres Eustis in Vicksburg, Mississippi, in 1946, and the business has only expanded since—opening offices in other states and adding new capabilities. This has helped keep Eustis competitive wherever construction funding moves along the Misssippi River and the Gulf Coast, including post-Katrina New Orleans. “We were founded on geotechnical engineering, which is a specialty of civil engineering and deals with soil mechanics and designs of shallow and deep foundations— all the things necessary for infrastructure,” says Jim Hance, PE, vice president of Eustis. The company has a diverse client base bridging the public and private sectors, and it involves itself with projects ranging from less than $10 million to greater than $1 billion. It has worked with
developers, architects, civil engineering firms, multidiscipline engineering firms, structural engineers, and contractors, and it also has industrial clients in the petrochemical, oil, and gas industries. Since 1985, the company has expanded to provide construction-phase services such as construction-materials testing (CMT) and engineering services during construction. Historically, this design work was fed by Eustis’s exploration services. “We would go out and drill soil borings and perform laboratory testing on soil samples, then we would evaluate that data to provide our engineering recommendations,” Hance says. “That was our bread-and-butter work, and we have since launched into other services.” For example, Eustis now installs and monitors geotechnical instrumentation, which enables clients to use remote-sensing technology to evaluate the performance of their structures to see how subsurface soils are responding to heavy loads.
American Builders Quarterly
“We were founded on geotechnical engineering, which is a specialty of civil engineering and deals with soil mechanics and designs of shallow and deep foundations—all the things necessary for infrastructure.” Jim Hance, PE, Vice President
Opposite page: Eustis’s work in post-Katrina New Orleans included this sector gate and pump station. This facility and others like it connect with concrete floodwalls and earthen levees to form a line of the HSDRRS system.
The biggest changes in Eustis’s evolution have occurred since Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005. Before then, the company was predominately one office, one laboratory, but water damage after the storm forced Hance and the rest of the team to relocate to Lafayette, Louisiana. Eustis has since maintained that office, moved back into its headquarters in Metairie (a New Orleans suburb), and branched out to Gulfport, Mississippi, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In addition to pushing the company to expand, Hurricane Katrina presented Eustis with new business opportunities. Since the unanticipated flooding of the city, the company has been involved in major projects connected to Greater New Orleans’s Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System (HSDRRS), including concrete flood walls, earthen levees, gated structures that span across navigation channels, and a surge-barrier wall. “We’ve really done the full gamut of structures that [compose] the
Top 4 Products Eustis Engineering Uses
1 The CME 850X track rig is an important piece of equipment for geotechnical exploration. 2 The Direct Simple Shear Device, by GeoTAC, is a high-end laboratory tool for shear testing. 3 The CR 1000 Datalogger, by Campbell Scientific, Inc., enables Eustis to use remote-sensing technology for its geotechnical-instrumentation projects. 4 Vibrating Wire Piezometers, by Durham Geo Slope Indicator, are geotechnical instruments that can measure water pressure.
HSDRRS system,” Hance says. “We’ve provided field exploration with our soil borings and cone-penetrometer testing, we’ve used our laboratories to evaluate the engineering characteristics of the soils, and then we’ve performed geotechnical designs to develop the plans and specifications for building these structures. Some of our engineers also performed dynamic pile testing. Our CMT group was also kept busy doing vibration monitoring, logging the installation of pile foundations, and testing concrete.” As if that weren’t enough, Eustis has done additional work on the project with the US Army Corps of Engineers, helping to review contractor submittals, to perform site visits to ensure plans and specifications are being followed, and, in some cases, to install and monitor instrumentation to evaluate the performance of the subsurface near where flood walls were or are to be constructed. All of the hurricane protection projects are coming to a close this summer. “It’s been quite a ride, but it certainly has been rewarding to be involved as an engineer and a resident of New Orleans,” Hance says. And thanks to its ever-expanding engineering expertise, Eustis looks forward to its next major project, wherever and whatever that might be. —Jennifer Nunez
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The Land Purveyors
Dove Valley Business Park Associates is making its southeastern Denver property attractive to developers The southeast corner of Denver started to develop
and grow back in the 1960s and 1970s, but it always took a quiet backseat to the downtown area. Recently, however, this unassuming quadrant has become, for good reason, an important alternative as the central business district has matured: it’s close to Centennial Airport, the third-busiest general-aviation airport in the United States, and its traversed by Interstate 25, E-470, and other main arteries that run through and around the city. It is also home to 23 business parks, and as a result, more and more prominent businesses—including Lockheed Martin; Oppenheimer Funds; several oil, gas, and mining companies; and even the Denver Broncos—are calling the area home. One of the parks is Dove Valley Business Park, owned by general partner Angelo Mariani and several limited partners, who together compose Dove Valley Business Park Associates, Ltd. Assembled in the early 1980s by developer Bill Walters, the property is a mixed-use office and warehousing subset of 2,300 acres
in the Dove Valley Metropolitan District, which is managed by Special District Management Services. Nearly four years after the financial crash of 2008, selling the real estate here is still challenging, but the owners’ hard work and preplanning have helped them sweeten the deal for prospective buyers already eyeing the site’s prime location and amenities. In addition to I-25 and the Centennial Airport, there’s also Arapahoe County Community Park and a bedroom community just a short drive away, where top executives can make their homes, according to Jerry Kempf, sales and leasing representative for Unique Properties, LLC, Dove Valley’s listing agency. “[The property is] also adjacent to Lincoln Avenue, which is another artery,” he says. These draws and others are what lead the Broncos to establish their administrative headquarters and practice facilities there. Over the past three decades, about 650 of Dove Valley’s 1,000 acres have been sold off, dedicated for right-of-way, or improved. That leaves 350 acres left for
At a Glance Location Denver Founded 1984 Employees 2 Specialty Land ownership and sales Salable Acres Available Approx. 400 Commercial Realtor Unique Properties, LLC
Above: The Denver Broncos are among the many clients who already call the Dove Valley Business Park home.
sale, with some tracts as large as 100–150 acres, and after two relatively inactive years because of the recession, the owners and property managers are not only excited to see an uptick happening in the market; they are fully prepared for new buyers thanks to several initiatives they have undertaken to make the property development-ready. “The most valuable feature is that Dove Valley has an approved master development plan [MDP],” says Glenn Sandler, project manager for the land-ownership firm. “With the MDP in place, development plans are now done administratively, so it’s a more expedient process, streamlining approvals by at least two to four months. With vested zoning rights or uses by right, if a prospective buyer submits a plan for an approved use, provided their design meets the development guidelines of the MDP, they will not be denied. It becomes an objective analysis for the county rather than a subjective one. That’s an attractive selling point.” Another benefit to Dove Valley is that much of its infrastructure is already in place. “We have utilities running underneath or adjacent to the roadways as well as monument signage and traffic signals already installed,” Sandler says. “And Broncos Parkway—a four-lane arterial—runs east-west through the park. Every parcel has frontage and access to a built-out or planned right-of-way, and many of those right-of-ways have utilities under them or nearby. Regional detention and water-quality ponds have also been completely built and are ready to service the area.” In this way, Dove Valley’s efforts not only make the property itself more attractive; they also keep it build-ready, making it easier for developers and end users to lower their initial costs to qualify for loans. And in this difficult market, there is no doubt potential buyers will appreciate that. Clearly, those remaining 350 acres won’t be available for long. —Lynn Russo Whylly
A Message from SDMS Founded in 1987 by president Deborah D. McCoy, Special District Management Services, Inc. (SDMS) is among Colorado’s most respected special-district-management firms. Our clients range from fully developed and operational water and sewer districts to multipurpose metropolitan districts in various stages of development. Prompt, personal attention to detail is the hallmark of the SDMS goal to provide the highest-quality services at the most cost-effective price.
“[Dove Valley Business Park] is one mile from I-25, which runs right by downtown Denver, and adjacent to the Centennial Airport, which makes it attractive to local business executives who use private jets for easy access to their businesses.” Jerry Kempf, Sales and Leasing Representative, Unique Properties, LLC
Top 5 Site Amenities of Dove Valley Business Park 1 The owners already have a Master Development Plan, which facilitates faster zoning approvals and construction. 2 Location, location, location. Dove Valley is right off I-25 and next to Centennial Airport, making it a good site for local and national businesses. 3 The park is build-ready. Water-detention ponds and water-quality systems are already in place in much of the park. 4 Area infrastructure already exists, including streets, traffic signals, and directional signage. 5 Large assemblages of land—as much as 100 acres or more—are available.
American Builders Quarterly
The HVACR Tailors
Companies with exacting temperature requirements come to Cold Craft, Inc. In the California Heat, cooling HVAC systems of At a Glance Location Campbell, CA Founded 1991 Employees 12 Specialties Heating, air-conditioning, refrigeration Annual Sales $2.4 million
Above: Cold Craft frequently uses loop field geothermal systems because of their high energy efficiency.
an advanced caliber are a necessary design element, especially in temperature-sensitive structures such as wine cellars and mortuaries. Enter Cold Craft, Inc., an HVACR contractor specializing in projects that have no playbook to work from. The firm has made a name for itself designing and installing precisely what the customer needs, whether it’s a custom-made system or a standard, efficient HVAC unit for a commercial structure, and it’s this kind of versatility that has led to the company's success. Cold Craft is headquartered close to the premier grape-growing region of Napa Valley. “There are a lot of folks around here that have a keen interest in wine— making it and of course drinking it,” president and founder Kent Penning says. In addition to boasting an abundance of wineries, the area also has many affluent local collectors maintaining impressive cellars in their own homes, and Cold Craft has won bids for HVAC
systems in both kinds of spaces. Such projects cannot simply keep the wine cold, however—they must actually maintain a temperature between 55 and 60 degrees to allow the wine to age at the proper pace. Penning and his team therefore have had to craft systems that offer greater cooling power than standard air conditioners but not as much cooling power as actual refrigeration units. Down at the local morgue, the temperatures get even more precise. The deceased are “normally kept in a walk-in cooler at 38 degrees” to prevent aggressive decay without allowing the body to freeze, Penning says. And, when a body needs to be stored for transport, it’s moved to a different area with an even lower temperature—to prepare it for exposure to warm, humid exterior air. Wine-making and mortuary work might be world’s apart in other ways, but their exacting HVAC needs are similar, and the Cold Craft team has perfected its designs for both.
American Builders Quarterly
However, Penning’s team doesn’t just do cold. When Google wanted a better way to heat the water used on its campus, Cold Craft took an altogether different approach. “Google is very proactive about doing green things,” Penning says, explaining that his firm thus considered the options and suggested something efficient and sustainable. “We installed an EarthLinked geothermal system at their site to preheat the water they use for cooking and washing dishes.” Aside from this portfolio of niche clients, Cold Craft also handles dozens of more conventional projects. When Santa Clara County decided to renovate the East Valley Mental Health Center, the government entity recognized the need for an HVAC specialist to replace the facility’s aging rooftop equipment. Penning says the county did their homework and knew the existing HVAC unit would need to be replaced; he added that the multizone unit was an “energy pig” that was making both hot and cold air all the time. “The key is that we knew the equipment the building had, so we know what the solution was,” Cold Craft vice president Susan Nichol says. The firm replaced the outdated equipment with a Trane-packaged unit, which improved energy efficiency without subtracting comfort inside the building. Nichol says it was the right solution for the project because it fit the building and it fit its energy requirements. From tiny craft wineries to large commercial projects, Cold Craft has the knowledge and flexibility to find the right solution to any HVACR problem. “Our specialty is versatility and adaptability,” Nichol says. “The nice thing about Cold Craft is that we’re the right size to be nimble.” —Julie Knudson
COMMERCIAL HVACR SERVICES EXPERTS • Repair, replacement, retrofit, TI work, remodel, & design builds • Scheduled service and maintenance • Install, repair, and/or replace commercial HVAC equipment. • Experts on forced air systems, water source heat pumps, geothermal heat pumps and chillers • VAV and multi-zone systems • In house fabrication of custom sheet metal work • Earthlinked, Mitsubishi, Trane, Lennox, Carrier, Bryant, products available • Air filtration systems • Grocer refrigeration
Serving the San Francisco Bay Area’s HVACR Needs Since 1991
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Top 5 Favorite Products of Cold Craft 1 Bitzer compressors are so smooth and quiet that they can go anywhere and not be disruptive. They work particularly well in grocery stores and for processed cooling or special needs. 2 HY-SAVE liquid refrigerant pumps reduce energy usage from refrigeration and air-conditioning and increase capacity. 3 The Trane TCD360 rooftop-package unit is specially modified by Trane Creative Solutions to be a cooling-heating multizone replacement unit with integrated controls. 4 Zero Zone's Crystal refrigerated merchandisers offer a true transformation for retail grocery stores and a clear alternative to open, multideck cases—up to 84% less energy, 35% more facings, 25% more capacity, and reduced product shrink. 5 The EarthLinked geothermal system is highly efficient and requires significantly less drilling than competing systems.
through the years
AEM Architects, Inc. AlThough AEM Architects, Inc. was formed in 1974, its legacy began decades earlier in different corners of Pennsylvania’s expansive Berks County. In the 1930s, architecture firms Elmer H. Adams & Associates and Carl A. Eisenhower had both made a substantial impact on the region’s architectural landscape, implementing keen, midcentury design in both the public and private sectors. Along with architect Marlan Meckley—who had worked with Eisenhower since 1958—they formed Adams, Eisenhower & Meckley, Inc. in 1974. The company has since shortened its name to AEM Architects, and it has taken on all new capabilities, including CAD drafting and building-envelope analysis. And, now, a new generation of principals is leading the firm from its storied past into a prosperous future through further diversification.
1932–1934 two firms founded Within a two-year window, architects Elmer Adams and Carl Eisenhower both found separate firms and begin designing schools, churches, and public and private buildings throughout southeast Pennsylvania. Adams’s first public school, the Strausstown Elementary School for the Upper Tulpehocken/Strausstown Joint School Authority (now the Hamburg Area School District), is erected in 1932.
—Benjamin Van Loon
1974–1983 Adams and Eisenhower merge Marlan Meckley becomes a principal working with Eisenhower. Both Eisenhower and Adams are entering into their late career phases and seeking to preserve the architectural reputation they have established over the past four decades, so Adams, Eisenhower & Meckley, Inc. is formed. “They were able to create a more substantial company by pulling their resources together,” current AEM principal Philip Leinbach says. The new company quickly makes a name for itself in the education sector, forming a relationship with the Schuylkill Haven Area School District in 1974, the Fleetwood Area School District in 1975, the Berks County Intermediate Unit in 1979, and the Tulpehocken Area School District in 1983. 2008 1984 A CAD Drafting Station “We were one of the first architectural firms in our area to use CAD drafting,” says Peter Meckley, Marlan’s son and a current AEM principal. At $200,000 for the first two stations and a platter, CAD is a substantial investment, but it allows the firm to streamline the drafting process and increase production over the rest of the decade and into the computer age. “This system really enabled us to handle larger projects with fewer staff members,” Peter says. 1985–1993 More Education Work AEM begins working with a number of new school districts, including those in Antietam, Cocalico, Oley Valley, and the Hamburg area. “A lot of schools were in need of construction around this time, so our investment in the CAD units—and computer-based CAD software—really started to pay off because it allowed us to handle the large volume of work coming into our office,” Leinbach says.
American Builders Quarterly
2000 A new set of principals Marlan, who has managed the firm since 1974, initiates an ownership transition to sell his shares to Thomas Kase—who began at AEM in 1986—and Philip Leinbach and Peter—who both started in 1991. “Marlan was entrusting us with more responsibility, and we were growing in our knowledge and ability to oversee large projects,” Leinbach says. “By early 2000, we were almost running the company independently. The transition just made sense.”
2005 Working with Wilkinson & Associates AEM designs and creates a new elementary school for the Hamburg Area School District; it’s one of the first K–12 buildings in Pennsylvania constructed with high-performance exterior wall panels. “It was an important project for us because it was the first time we were working with Wilkinson & Associates, and it was a big departure from our past conventional construction projects,” Leinbach says. “It has proven to be very effective, functionally and economically.”
2006 A name change, An Athletic Facility The firm completes work on the track and field for the Schuylkill Haven Area School District (above), and Kase, Leinbach, and Peter complete their buyout of company shares. They assume complete ownership and make sure to declare the name AEM Architects for the sake of preserving AEM’s legacy. “We made the name AEM Architects official because, though the firm was still [legally named] Adams, Eisenhower & Meckley, everyone in the community knew us as AEM, so that’s what stayed,” Peter says.
“Our investment in the CAD units—and computer-based CAD software—really started to pay off because it allowed us to handle the large volume of work coming into our office.” Philip Leinbach, Principal
2008–Present New Work Through Diversification AEM continues to work with local schools, including taking on the construction of a new football stadium and fieldhouse for the Tulpehocken Area School District (opposite page top) and the building of the Tilden Elementary Center (opposite page bottom). However, Leinbach says, “We also recognize the difficulties the economy has placed on the entire architectural community, so we are also working on seeking diversified opportunities within the field.” AEM continues to expand, offering expert-witness services, building-envelope analyses by use of infrared thermography, and other efficiency-improving programs. “Our goal for the future,” Peter says, “is to take our expertise and find new clients who will benefit from the value received in a competitively bid construction project.” ABQ
A Life-Size Display Case Then: The New York State College of Ceramics lacked an acceptable student exhibition venue.
American Builders Quarterly
The faĂ§ade of the McGee Art Pavilion, designed by ikon.5 architects at the New York State College of Ceramics, is lined with terra cotta tubes that reflect the art medium studied in the building.
Remick Associates 166 Steve Gray Renovations, Inc. 168 Chicago Construction Works 172 Dewing & Schmid Architects
Ideal Suburban Homes 179
Campo Architects 181
Colgan Perry Lawler Aurell Architects Systems and Planning Association, Inc.
Photo: Brad Feinknopf
Community Housing Improvement 186
Now: The team at ikon.5 architects has completed a pavilion meant to both inspire and show off the budding artistsâ€™ work.
The design repertoire of New Jersey-based ikon.5 architects includes several buildings at Cornell, one at Princeton, and one at Southern Methodist University, so clearly, the firm knows its way around a college campus. The firm was recently chosen to design the McGee Art Pavilion at the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University in Alfred, New York, a project largely made from the artistic medium in the school’s name. Principal Joseph Tattoni highlights the key elements of the multifunctional, 19,000-square-foot exhibition and studio space. as told to annie fischer We wanted to create a piece of ceramic art. The primary objective of the McGee
The pavilion's faade is made of terra cotta tubes. The tubes are a taupe, okra
Art Pavilion addition was to provide students with a gallery space for their work so [that] they could learn how to curate and hang work, how to use lighting, etc. Conceptually and programmatically, the addition also needed to express the mission of the school: to advance the art and science of ceramics. With our choice of materials, we offered a fairly literal interpretation of that mission. But the pavilion’s location, too, on Academic Alley, a pedestrian thoroughfare that links the campus, allows people to engage with students’ work, both finished and in-process. It’s an educational tool on its own.
color, similar to the color of limestone, and I suggested we leave them unglazed to mimic the look of students’ unfinished ceramic projects. The tubes are also expensive, and we had a restricted budget. To mitigate cost, we bought standard shapes and staggered them in a way that looks custom-designed. The façade functions as a solar and rain screen. Its pattern echoes the racks of artwork in the studios. Only one American manufacturer produces the tubes. As it turned out, the company,
Boston Valley Terra Cotta, was located in Rochester [in New York], and when we
contacted them for technical information, we discovered the owners were alumni of the school. Their expertise became a way for them to give back. Notably, western New York has been a cradle for ceramic and glass technology since the 19th century, and the pavilion expresses that history and lineage. Peter Blake designed the original academic building in the early 1970s in a fairly brutalist
style, mindful of “the artist in seclusion.” What the students are doing is so exciting, but you’d never know unless you walked in. To provide visual access to their artwork, we created a sort of glass storefront on the third-floor entry level of the addition. Some technical issues resulted from that natural light—for students working in video installation or mixed media, for example—so we also devised an immersive gallery and a system of folding walls within the larger exhibition space. Matching the pavilion's floors with those in the existing building presented an
unexpected challenge. The two lower levels of the addition are made up of traditional studios, new-media studios, and digital-editing suites. Ideally, those spaces [needed to] have greater floor-to-floor heights than the ones to which we were aligning them. In the end, we decided the elevated ceilings were more important than matching the floors exactly. We designed the addition to achieve LEED Silver status. Though the client ultimately
decided not to pursue USGBC certification, we employed controlled daylighting in the galleries, TPO roofing, low-consumption water fixtures, and high-efficiency HVAC systems, including radiant heating in the exposed concrete floors of the studios and exhibition space.
The ikon.5 architects team made the McGee Art Pavilion an enormous showroom so that passersby could see completed and in-progress works of art.
different in appearance from the other buildings, which are primarily composed of red brick. Like those buildings, though, the pavilion is a masonry construction, and the unglazed color of the tubes is similar to the brick structures’ mortar, so it relates to the context of its surroundings. That juxtaposition is only one of the ways this project allowed us to explore the intersection between architecture and sculpture. We don’t always get to do that. ABQ
American Builders Quarterly
Photo: Brad Feinknopf
The pavilion fits in and stands out from the campus simultaneously. It’s strikingly
“What the students are doing is so exciting, but you’d never know unless you walked in. To provide visual access to their artwork, we created a sort of glass storefront on the third-floor entry level of the addition.” Joseph Tattoni, Principal
R I N G
is proud to have participated in the success of
ikon.5 architects Best wishes for your continued success!
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A Message from LORING Joseph R. Loring & Associates, Inc. (LORING) is proud of its association with ikon.5 architects and its work with the design firm on the expansion of the School of Arts & Design at Alfred University. ikon.5’s attention to detail and its focus on collaboration with numerous subconsultants were major factors in the successful completion of this complex project. Since 1956, LORING has been committed to providing mechanical- and electrical-engineering consulting services to clients ranging from public institutions and municipalities to developers and private corporations. Our firm, with a staff of nearly 100 employees—and offices in New York City; Washington, DC; and Princeton, New Jersey—provides technical expertise in HVAC, electrical, plumbing, fire protection, telecommunications, energy and commissioning services, instrumentation and control systems, security, critical power, and fire alarm and detection systems. A Message from Boston Valley Terra Cotta Boston Valley Terra Cotta was pleased to have had the opportunity to work with ikon.5 architects on the McGee Pavilion at Alfred University. The design firm's innovation in the use of our TerraClad™ baguettes and louvers resulted in a truly unique building for the campus and community. Boston Valley is always looking for ways to push the envelope and use its ceramic products in new and exciting ways. With partners such as ikon.5 architects creating such inspired building designs, terra cotta has been brought into the modern age of architecture.
Site Preparation Under a Microscope Then: A contested home plot sat undeveloped as neighbors lobbied for construction restrictions.
Remick Associates encountered a number of environmental restrictions on this residential project located next to a state park. Also, the previous owner of the property had planted a number of redwood trees, and Remick had to work around them to complete the foundation excavation.
Now: Remick Associatesâ€™ considerate alterations to the landscape have satisfied area residents and the home's owners. 166
American Builders Quarterly
Remick Associates is a high-end design-build firm whose carefully crafted homes dot the rolling hills of San Francisco. Recently, the firm was brought in to redesign and construct a 20,000-square-foot home on acreage adjacent to one of California’s state parks; it was a project that involved careful alterations to the natural surroundings because of concerns from neighbors. Alex Soroker, project manager at Remick, sat with American Builders Quarterly to describe how the home’s site in the East Bay area was prepared. as told to julie knudson It all started with a phone call. Most of Remick Associates’ business over the years has been word-of-mouth referrals or repeat customers. A guest, attending a party at a house completed by Remick Associates several years ago, approached the owners with inquiries about their builder. The guest had a project in the redesign stage. The project was a scaled-down version of a much-debated design that invited intense opposition [because of ] its scale and location. Remick Associates principals Nic Ehr, Fred Biknell, and John Kosich were asked to review the available design documents. The move-in date quickly emerged as the major driving factor. The neighborhood’s
residents, apprehensive of the deal they struck during the project-design review with the county, insisted that “conditions of approval” be adopted as an integral part of the construction permit. We were required to have a county compliance monitor on-site at all times. Parking on-site was limited, but the pace of work dictated large numbers of people and material traveling through an old, established subdivision. We negotiated an empty-lot lease from the local high school, then improved the lot for winter parking and shuttled all subcontractors and site workers in and out. Unresolved design issues, resulting from the neighbors’ opposition, kept the design team busy and the construction team agile, scheduling for maximum concurrent production of work. The site was to be substantially regraded and worked in almost all available areas.
After demolition, we were given the go-ahead to prepare and install the geothermal field. Mass grading followed, and excess spoils were placed on top of the geothermal field on an eastern hillside. We came face to face with the changing environmental-protection measures, requirements, and procedures. Protection of dying non-native Redwood trees that were planted by the previous homeowner dictated grading around the trees to allow us to prepare for foundation excavation and the meeting of our first construction-schedule milestone. Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plans (SWPPPs) and best practices became our second nature. Installation of sewer lines, utilities, water
lines, and drain lines was a constant challenge. Sewer lines—and some drain lines—were 27 feet deep in a strata of bedrock and ran hundreds of feet long. We utilized a directional-drilling subcontractor as often as possible to maintain minimal obstruction in accessing the main structure. Due to the scope of the program and the location of the property, we had numerous water systems to
install, including the water well and 20,000-gallon water tank for site landscape irrigation; the water well and 50,000-gallon storage tank for fire suppression used by neighboring properties; municipal watersupply lines and a water tank for domestic consumption and vegetable irrigation; and drain lines for rainwater recovery, underground storage, and pumping lines to the irrigation tank. We built the main house in stages. As one part of the foundation was completed, it was made available to the structural-steel and framing teams. Acting as the design-builder, we were able to shrink the response-turnaround time to complicated field RFIs to a minimum and maintain the speed of production. This project was a confluence of enormous scope, an extremely detailed owner, exceptionally sensitive neighbors, challenging logistics, and a very short time frame—three years—from start to finish, [including] 29 months of construction. The end result was a structure well-scaled and contextually detailed for its site. ABQ
“The site was to be substantially regraded and worked in almost all available areas.” Alex Soroker, Project Manager oct/nov/dec 2012
From a Standard Patio Then: A nice but simple backyard sundeck sat underused and unappreciated in suburban Indiana.
Top: In the preexisting patio space, a brick wall enclosed a concrete slab and blocked off the lawn. Above: The new deck has stonework that flows from the house out into the landscaping, and its cascading levels add character to its overall look. Opposite page: Steve Gray Renovations took precision measurements of the Bermuda shutters above the Jacuzzi to ensure occupants wouldnâ€™t bump into them.
To a Multilevel Social Space Now: Steve Gray Renovationsâ€™ elaborate expansion has made the backyard sitting area a prime location for gatherings and relaxation.
American Builders Quarterly
Passion and enthusiasm don’t always equal success in the world of contracting, a profession most often associated with sweat and toil, but Steve Gray’s excitement works because it’s just plain infectious. As CEO and president of Steve Gray Renovations, Inc., the contractor dreams big and obsesses over every detail, which is how he’s able to turn around challenging projects time and again. A recent project entailed the expansion of a plain stone back patio in Carmel, Indiana, into a full entertainment space with a Jacuzzi and a fire pit. Here, Gray discusses what it took to boost the patio space in order to christen it the Outdoor Oasis. as told to tina vasquez
The project was challenging for a few reasons. First of all, we’ve never done
anything like it, so while it was a learning experience, there was no room for mistakes. The way the outdoor area attached to the house was challenging because there were different elevations we had to factor into our plans; we had the grill area at one level and an existing patio at the other end along with some new steps. Our clients wanted shutters that could be pushed up and out, which isn’t very common. Not only did they require special hardware, but the shutters had to be custom-made and shipped out from a company in North Carolina. The shutters gave our conceptual designer, Gary Nance, some difficulty. We
had to learn how to operate them and to make sure that, when the winds kicked up, they were sturdy and easy to close. We also had to make sure the shutters were at the
This page: Steve Gray's one-of-a-kind Outdoor Oasis also includes an interior grilling area above the main sundeck. The space’s Bermuda shutters had to be custom-made in North Carolina.
right elevation because they were located above the Jacuzzi, and if it wasn’t right, people in the Jacuzzi would get their heads banged every time they got in our out of the tub or every time someone opened the shutters. The clients had an engineering background and were very specific about what
they wanted, but much of the design came back to us. We wanted the design to not just fit their lifestyle but complement their lifestyle and their home. Because the house was white brick, we wanted to complement the exterior colors. For the floors, we used authentic Pennsylvania bluestone that came directly from the mines. The top of the fire pit and the seating walls behind it are two-inch-thick Pennsylvania bluestone with a detailed edge. The stone walls around the grill area, Jacuzzi, and fire pit are tumbled Indiana limestone. [Matching] the existing structure was also a concern. Too often in this business
you can tell when there’s been an addition; something looks sparkling and new, and the rest of the house looks old and tired. Obviously, we were trying to avoid that.
American Builders Quarterly
“We bring our great attention to detail to every project. ” steve gray, ceo and president
We bring our great attention to detail to every project. The family behind the
Outdoor Oasis had this exact Jacuzzi they wanted; they’d made their decision, we’d done the pricing, and it felt set in stone. We noticed, however, that every family member was over six feet tall. We took them to a showroom and had the family climb into the Jacuzzi they wanted, and as we suspected, it was way too small. We had to order a much larger model, but that’s characteristic to the sort of attention to detail we provide. It doesn’t matter if you’re spending $5,000 with our handyman division or $500,000 for a major renovation; we make sure you know what you’re getting before you get it.
Bringing Your Dreams to Life! Your home is your biggest investment. At Steve Gray Renovations, we want you to enjoy it each and every day you live there. If you see home updates in your future (maybe kitchen, bathroom, basement, master bedroom), think about a relationship with us. The goal of our home remodeling service is to take remodeling ideas for your home (your dreams) and turn them into reality.
317.596.0928 firstname.lastname@example.org • www.stevegrayrenovations.com
We're very specific in our processes, and
we make them known to the client from the start. If it seems like they don’t understand how we work or operate, then they’re not a good fit for us, and it won’t be a project that we pursue. We don’t get excited about the dollar value of a project; we get excited about building long-lasting relationships with our clients. For us, no project is ever a one-time deal. We’re really proud of the Outdoor Oasis, and the best part is that our client is so excited about it. They recently told us that in the past year they’ve spent more time in their backyard than they [had] in the 11 [previous] years they [had] lived in that house. That’s success. ABQ
From Unfinished Floor Plans Then: In a multiuse building in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood, the second-story residential units sat empty and incomplete.
Top: This gut renovation in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood replaced nearly everything but the building’s brick exterior. Above: The three-level structure’s two new condos have 1,000-square-foot floor plans with two bedrooms and two bathrooms each.
To Salable Spaces Now: After a complete overhaul by Chicago Construction Works, the two condominiums are occupied and thoroughly insulated.
American Builders Quarterly
2005 was the year Kevin Bachman became an entrepreneur. He knew the construction industry well after working for other homebuilders for a few years, so he founded his own company, Chicago Construction Works (CCW), and from the start it grew steadily. It did so well that in 2011 Bachman was able to expand, launching a repair-and-replacement division, FixItCCW.com, that handles smaller projects at an hourly rate. The site now facilitates cash flow while CCW tackles larger-scale projects, including a recent gut renovation in Lincoln Park, which Bachman describes here as one that tested nearly all his expertise. as told to cristina adams We are a residential remodeling firm
specializing in all aspects of home remodeling and new home construction. Our clients are mainly local to Chicago, but I won’t turn down the right type of project in the neighboring metropolitan area. While we do some commercial work, we mainly focus on the residential-remodeling and new-homeconstruction markets. Typically, most of our projects are smaller in scale. For example, repairs and replacement work has consumed most of my time going back to the middle of 2011 and starting into 2012. That said, I have recently seen an uptick in the size of projects that clients want to discuss—more kitchen remodels, second-story additions, and master bathroom remodels. Depending on the size and the level of detail involved, we have as many as six projects progressing at the same time.
One of the things that made this project particularly challenging was that each
new electrical and plumbing system had to be brought up from the basement, through the veterinary hospital, without causing any downtime for the business. We also reinforced the existing second-floor joists directly above the hospital—[which] included framing out old stair openings— while it remained open for business Each new condo unit has a 1,000-squarefoot floor plan, but James Kapche of
Absolute Architecture PC came up with a brilliant floor plan for a two-bedroom, two-bathroom unit with reasonably sized bedrooms, each adjacent to a bathroom. You could almost label the floor plan as “dueling master suites,” which is a new design trend
for residences with extended families living under the same roof. I encourage homeowners to incorporate sustainable elements into their projects,
especially spray-foam insulation. We sprayed the walls, the roof-truss underside, and the floor sills with a closed-cell spray foam during the winter of 2011, when Chicago experienced a blizzard that rivaled some of the worst the region has seen. Even so, I didn’t have to run temporary heating for either of the units during the construction process because the insulation retained the heat generated from the clinic below. Both units never dropped below 50 degrees; it was absolutely unbelievable. This project was completed in July 2011.
The building owner’s daughter moved into the top floor, and the second-floor unit rented out within a month of being available. The feedback from the owner has been exceptional. We also brought the budget in within one percent of the original construction agreement. My business model differs from larger remodeling firms with teams of sales reps,
designers, and project managers; I personally meet every prospective client, regardless of how big or small the project may be. Moving forward, I will make a conscious decision on how CCW grows with that in mind—because I will always want to have that one-point-of-contact business model for all my clients. ABQ
This project was a complete gut, down to
only the exterior brick shell. The building in Lincoln Park is mixed-use, with an operating veterinary hospital on the ground floor and two residential units above. The veterinary hospital is a thriving business six days a week, and the residences above were unoccupied at the time and partially demolished. It was a complete overhaul. All systems were removed and replaced with new ones, including mechanical, electrical, and plumbing. We also brought in new structural elements, including new floor trusses, a new roof, and a new common stairwell.
“I didn’t have to run temporary heating for either of the units during the construction process because the insulation retained the heat generated from the clinic below.” Kevin Bachman, Owner oct/nov/dec 2012
An Aging Farm Renewed Then: On a remote, historical farmscape, the Edgewood Retirement Community was looking to expand.
Now: Dewing & Schmid Architects has conceived a Shaker village-inspired master plan that fits the antiquated setting. 174
American Builders Quarterly
North Andover, Massachusetts, was first populated more than 100 years before America gained independence, so Dewing & Schmid Architects’ (DSA) historical renovation expertise proved beneficial when it sought to design a retirement village on a farm in the storied area. “We serve a rich architectural community, and our ability to provide a fresh look for an old property struck a chord with the client,” says Jeff Dearing, a principal at DSA along with Mark Schmid, Allen Dewing, and Tim Hess. The four sat down to discuss the property’s transformation. as told to julie schaeffer We began with farmland. The client, Edgewood Retirement Community, owned 80 of the 300 acres that had once been [a] farm; the rest was undevelopable conservation land. On a small portion of its 80 acres, Edgewood had built a continuing-care retirement community that was [composed] primarily of apartments and community facilities. It was looking to enter the growing independent-living market. Our first task was formulating how we'd tackle the design. As a firm, we take
a lot of our cues from the context: respecting the history and local vernacular, choosing appropriate materials, and designing to a scale that fits the place in which we’re working. Edgewood contained original barns, and it occurred to us that the barns were like the buildings you’d find in an old town center, such as churches or meeting halls. We were inspired by and decided to focus on the concept of the Shaker village. Above: Dewing & Schmid Architects restored one barn and replaced another on the campus of the Edgewood Retirement Community, but the firm maintained the structures’ original historical aesthetic.
The design challenge was determining the layout. Determining how we’d place the
24 residences in relationship to the barns we could salvage was an exercise. Looking at old
farmsteads for guidance, we noticed an orthogonal relationship of the structures. That was the genesis of our idea for the layout of the cottages—an orthogonal grid that related to the barns at the center. We brought a watercolor of a New England village to our interview. It had modest residences scattered around a few larger village buildings. We suggested that Edgewood could evolve into this. We had a tight budget. We focused on providing quality construction, good interior floor plans, and circulation. Aesthetically, we sought understatement. Looking again to the Shaker village, we settled on a historic color scheme, with white barns and dark cottages. That fell into place nicely because white tends to project and darker colors tend to recede. We had to consider design elements specific to an aged population. For
example, the interior doors are all 36 inches wide, fitted with lever hardware. The entry to the house is accomplished via a paved walk that is flush with the bluestone-covered entry porch, which is set flush with the floor of the cottage to facilitate wheelchair access without the use of ramps. The master
“As a firm, we take a lot of our cues from the context: respecting the history and local vernacular, choosing appropriate materials, and designing to a scale that fits the place in which we’re working.” Mark Schmid, Principal
shower is curbless, and additional space is provided adjacent to the water closet, again to provide barrierfree access. Building on the site was challenging. Even though we had 80 acres to work with—minus what was cut into by the original campus—it was surrounded by wetlands, which have required buffers. Edgewood had also agreed to a 100-foot setback instead of a traditional 40-foot setback from the property lines. Restoring two of the barns was difficult. The old milk barn couldn’t be saved, so we rebuilt it, replicating the original detailing, and it now houses two of the cottages. To save the old horse barn, holes had to be cut into the sidewalls and steel beams threaded through to the other side supported on wooden cribbing. The steel beams were then bolted to the existing columns, and the barn was then jacked up so that the entire basement and first-floor structure could be reconstructed. The barn was then dropped back down on the new structure. The cottages went on the market at a difficult economic time. We give a lot of credit to the board of
directors, which stayed the course with us. The board realized it had a development that would resonate with the community and didn’t cut back. Seventy percent of the community had to be presold in the summer and fall of 2008, and the board achieved that. Edgewood was completed in 2011 and is totally sold. ABQ
Dewing & Schmid layed out and designed the independent-living residences of Edgewood to resemble a traditional Shaker village.
American Builders Quarterly
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A Blighted Area Made Brand-New Then: Renaissance Pointe was ripe for redevelopment, but a lack of interested buyers left it stagnant.
Thanks in part to tax-credit financing, Ideal Suburban Homes has found a way to build and rent out 66 new homes in Fort Wayne, INâ€™s Renaissance Pointe neighborhood.
Now: Ideal Suburban Homes has stepped in and provided affordable options for potential homeowners through tax-credit funding.
Located on prime real estate just southeast of historic downtown Fort Wayne, Indiana, the Renaissance Pointe neighborhood had been on the city’s redevelopment radar for more than a decade. Nothing happened, though, until Kevan Biggs, president of Ideal Suburban Homes, and his trio of development, construction, and management companies brought forward a plan to build homes and promote ownership. Here, Biggs explains how Renaissance Pointe earned its namesake. as told to jeff hampton
Renaissance Pointe had significant blight
and was identified as a Neighborhood Strategy Revitalization Area. In 2005, the city acquired a large number of rental homes and tore them down. In 2006, they invited three builders, including our Ideal Suburban Homes company, to build new homes. Six model homes—two by each builder—were constructed in 2007. As we know, the rug got pulled out from under the homebuilding industry in 2007. The credit crisis followed a year later. A few homes got sold, but it was clear that traditional home development was not the right strategy in that economy. In 2010 we offered a new plan based on the
tax-credit expertise of our Biggs TC Development business. Using Section 42 tax-credit funding that allows lease-purchase development, we proposed building 66 single-family homes that would be available for purchase after 15 years. That would help rebuild the neighborhood, promote homeownership, and provide work for Ideal Suburban Homes. The city and neighborhood approved our plan, and we applied for 2011 tax credits. After
receiving the tax credits from the state, we quickly found an equity partner to buy those credits, and we broke ground in September 2011. By the first quarter of 2012, we had
foundations built for all 66 homes, with 13 homes completed and occupied. We’ll deliver eight homes per month to our Biggs Property Management company to rent until they are all full, roughly a year from the start date. Home construction has followed the city's pattern book for the neighborhood.
New homes must be architecturally compliant with existing homes scattered among the vacant lots. That includes raised foundations with crawl spaces, trim around the doors, windows with contrasting color, and siding that is compliant with surrounding homes. Every home must have a front porch, and, in fact, the tagline for Renaissance Pointe is “A Front Porch Community.” We're building three models in sizes
ranging from 1,280 to 1,650 square feet: a ranch model called the Brentwood, a true two-story called the Roosevelt, and a bungalow called the Claymore. Each model has two different elevations, and 10 percent will be fully ADA compliant. Rents range from $274 to $674 per month, depending on income level and home size. Renters sign a one-year lease like they would for a conventional single-family apartment, but at the end of year 15, whoever is occupying the home has the option to buy it at a significantly reduced price.
We have some additional requirements that aren't typical for rental leases.
Tenants are required to attend homeownership training classes as well as classes on financial literacy, including credit building and credit repair. They also must perform community service. We’re doing this to help make them better residents and better citizens in the community. And financial literacy is important when they get to the end of the compliance period and want to qualify for a conventional mortgage. Another strategy will give them a head start on ownership. For every year they
are compliant as a tenant, we’ll set aside $500 into an account that accrues up to $2,500. That can be applied to the purchase price of the home, or it can be used to buy a new home from our homebuilding company on another vacant lot that the city owns—or anywhere else that we would build a home. We would like to do this again in Fort Wayne, or in other communities. We’ve
begun conversations with the city of Muncie [in Indiana] on a similar project. It’s not only a good project for our company; it’s a timely project in this economy. A lot of people who were homeowners no longer are, and this is a good way for them to get back into homeownership. ABQ
American Builders Quarterly
Save a Hotel, Save a City Then: The historic Hotel Pere Marquette, which once hosted presidents and celebrities, was no longer measuring up to its past opulence.
Campo Architects will connect the renovated Hotel Pere Marquette to a Courtyard by Marriott hotel and a new parking deck. Both structures will link, via a pedestrian skywalk, with a civic convention center.
Now: Campo Architects is turning it into a full-service Marriott to kick-start the revitalization of Peoria, IL.
On Campo Architects’ website, the firm displays a partial list of its hospitality projects: a two-column string of resort names written out in minute lettering. The message is clear: the award-winning architecture firm, founded in 1985 and active in 26 states, knows its way around hotels. The firm has worked on at least 120 of them so far, in addition to healthcare facilities and commercial offices, and here principal John Campo Jr. discusses Campo’s renovation of the Pere Marquette Hotel—a project in which the firm applied a particular expertise that has helped it navigate the recession. as told to chris allsop We run a business inside a business, where we navigate a client and its project through the intricate approval process—at the local, state, and federal level—for historic tax credits. Once that approval process is finished, we negotiate on behalf of our clients with investors who will purchase those tax credits, and the result is free equity. The owner can then use this without having to dilute any ownership. We competed with 40 architecture firms on the Pere Marquette Hotel project, and
the reason we were chosen is because we’re good at this kind of work—and due to our understanding of the tax credit. The Pere Marquette Hotel is in Peoria, Illinois, and was built in 1926. It’s going to
be a full-service Marriott Hotel, and there’s an alley in the back where we are constructing an elevated and conditioned pedestrian bridge that connects at the front to a 10-story Courtyard [by Marriott hotel] that is also being built. That pedestrian skywalk will then connect to the existing convention center. There’s also a 400-car parking garage being built with 15,000 feet of prime retail space; it’s a $100 million project. The garage and Pere Marquette historic portion are scheduled to be finished in April 2013 while the Courtyard project will be a year later .
Photo: Timothy Dunford
The hotel itself requires global renovation; we’re restoring the historic
fabric of the building. The most historically significant parts are the four ballrooms, the lobby space, and at the top of the building, there are some historic suites with interior wood cladding. Most notable is the
American Builders Quarterly
presidential suite, which has a plaque at its entrance recording the VIPs who’ve stayed there—such as Dwight D. Eisenhower and Bob Hope. The greenest projects that we work on are historic buildings. The Department of the Interior has strict
standards for rehabilitation. For example, masonry walls that have been painted—you can’t strip the paint off as it might deface the brick. Our own sustainable practices tend to fall in line with the guidelines, such as the use of low-VOC paints and similar products. These are historic structures that are contemporary [because of ] the building products that we’re using to restore them. We like to take historical artifacts—elements of the old structure—clean them up, and put them in prominent places around a restored building. A lot of it ends up in the Dumpster, but it’s like found art, and it’s part of the character of these buildings—they all have a story to tell. The Pere Marquette project will act as an impetus for urban revitalization in the city of Peoria. The
downtown area has a wealth of these historic buildings, but like many cities, it needs something to jump-start the process of revitalization. It’s similar to the overhaul of the Warehouse District that happened in New Orleans. The convention center has been underserved in terms of rooms, and when the Pere Marquette project is completed, it’s going to create a lot of energy and jobs. Once a project of critical mass happens, you start to see the value of the real estate surrounding it appreciate, and—just connect the rest of those dots. ABQ
La Salle Hotel, New Orleans. Architect: Campo & Associates
We are proud to be on Campo & Associates design team to bring the historic La Salle Hotel in New Orleans back to life. Halcrow Yolles is providing Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing & Fire Protection; and Structural Engineering for the adaptive reuse of the former hotel.
Valued for our engineering ingenuity, superior customer service and ability to combine local knowledge with international best practice, Halcrow Yolles provides innovative and functional design solutions worldwide.
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A Message from Halcrow Yolles The structural and building-services design for the renovated 1113 Canal Street project is being executed by Halcrow Yolles, a CH2M Hill company that is recognized as a global leader in engineering design. With an emphasis on the creation of refined solutions for complex problems, Halcrow Yolles’ extensive international experience and its pursuit of quality, innovation, cost efficiency, high performance, and service in all building types have successfully added real value on behalf of its clients and users.
Opposite: The first-floor elevator lobby is one of the first spaces that residents and visitors experience in the historic Pere Marquette Hotel. Campo Architects worked with special consultants to ensure that its restoration of the room’s decorative elements was minimally invasive.
17 River Street, Suite 11 Warwick, New York 10990 ph 845.986.8274 • fx 845.986.8858 email@example.com oct/nov/dec 2012
An Arts Space Doubled Then: The Green Meadow Waldorf Schoolâ€™s performing arts building was inadequate for its expanding student body.
Above: CPLA added a full 11,800 square feet of new space to the Green Meadow Waldorf Schoolâ€™s arts building, including a 300-seat auditorium.
Now: Thanks to Colgan Perry Lawler Aurell Architects, the building is twice its original size and features many new facilities.
American Builders Quarterly
Music and the arts play a critical role in the Waldorf curriculum, so it’s no surprise the K–12 Green Meadow Waldorf School, in Chestnut Ridge, New York, made a priority of renovating its performing arts building to accommodate more students when class sizes began to grow. The project started small, but Colgan Perry Lawler Aurell Architects (CPLA) eventually ended up doubling the amount of existing space and adding a 300-seat theater, practice rooms, offices, and classrooms. CPLA partner Walter Aurell shared with American Builders Quarterly how the simple renovation turned into a $4 million project. as told to jennifer nunez
Founded in 1950, Green Meadow is one of America's oldest and largest Waldorf schools
and has an extensive music program. All Green Meadow students take up the recorder in the first grade, begin stringed-instrument lessons in the third grade—with an option to switch to wind or percussion in the fifth grade—and develop their musical training through instruction in theory, chorus, orchestra, and band.
“Neither Green Meadow nor the firm realized we would be doing such a large intervention.” Walter Aurell, partner
[After] about four decades, the school population had grown and the space was
inadequate in size. The school needed performance space for music, theater, spoken word, lectures, and classes. It had one music room, which was retained in the new configuration. The existing building was about 8,000 square feet, and after [CPLA] finished, it grew to 19,000 square feet.
nicely scaled campus without overwhelming the existing buildings and the bucolic nature of the campus. The planning process began in 2008, but the approval process was quite lengthy, and ground did not break until 2009.
Neither Green Meadow nor the firm realized
Due to the specific uses of the building,
we would be doing such a large intervention. At first we were discussing just slightly expanding the existing space and a little renovation here and a little renovation there. As we got into a more serious discussion, it seemed that their needs really would be better served by having an additional large performance space. It was something that evolved over time.
some specific technical requirements needed to be addressed. It had to function acoustically and had to function [for different purposes]. We had to create a hybrid space that would work in all those modes. Experience garnered on similar past projects, including auditoriums at Wilton High School [in Connecticut], Brown University, and other institutions, informed our design process for Green Meadow.
The existing buildings are distinctive in appearance and beloved by the school
community. The primary challenge was to insert a large addition onto this intimate and
Largely built in the early 1970s, the campus buildings are predominately wood
and stucco. CPLA used a similar palette of materials and tried to interpret the architectural style found in Waldorf Schools worldwide. This expressionist architectural style derives from the work of the Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner, active in Europe [in the early 1900s]. [CPLA] has been in practice since 1894,
when Marshall L. Emery established an office on Cooper Square in New York City. The firm has extensive experience with churches, libraries, and educational facilities, making it a logical choice to participate in the renovations of Green Meadow Waldorf School. In the past, CPLA has partnered with the school to complete small-scale renovations, but the extensive work done on the arts building is the largest project to date. ABQ
From an Empty Lot Then: A bare patch on East Market Street in Salinas, CA, was a magnet for crime.
Top: The La Gloria's site used to be an abandoned lot for squatters and drug dealers. Above, opposite page: The senior-housing complexâ€™s communal design and popular amenities, conceived by CHISPA, have revitalized the area by bringing residents back.
To a Market Street Landmark Now: The La Gloria senior-housing project fills the gap and keeps the neighborhood clean.
American Builders Quarterly
According to the broken windows theory, urban degradation starts small. If vandalism is left uncorrected, it suggests that such activity is permissible, and eventually the ruined area attracts worse crime. The “broken windows” surrounding the empty lot at 539 East Market Street in Salinas, California, made the thoroughfare a tough place to live until Community Housing Improvement Systems and Planning Association, Inc. (CHISPA) saw a strategic opportunity there. Dana Cleary, director of real estate development for CHISPA, talks about how the organization’s 17,317-square-foot, 23-unit La Gloria senior-housing complex led to area uplift. as told to benjamin van loon
The property was vacant for years. An empty building was there, attracting crime and gang activity. There was even a murder there at one point. After the building was demolished, the parcel still attracted trouble. When CHISPA started construction, we first had to pick up needles, other waste. People had been squatting there, selling and doing drugs. It wasn’t a pleasant spot. A few years prior, CHISPA had built a senior development across the street. We
knew there was this empty, half-acre eyesore across from our building. When you have an untended, vacant lot in a busy neighborhood, it draws the worst. We didn’t want the worst happening across the street from our senior tenants. A local church owned the vacant parcel and wasn’t maintaining it, so we purchased the land from them in 2009 and started developing La Gloria—a senior development for people over 62 years old.
“The crime has dissipated [near La Gloria]. Our residents are part of the community, and that’s what matters most.” Dana Cleary, Director of Real Estate Development
We worked with all of our neighbors. Around the
time we purchased the property, the city of Salinas launched its East Market Street Beautification Plan. The city was repaving the street and adding new crosswalks and lighting to the area, so we worked closely with the Public Works Department. As members of the area’s local business association and neighborhood clean-up board, we already were part of the community, but the timing of this new development allowed us to take a more visible role. While we were under construction, our site superintendent observed a lot of drug dealing in the three-unit
property next door. Fortuitously for us, that neighboring property went into foreclosure. We bought and renovated that building, which allowed us to protect our flank and make the neighborhood safer. We also built a single-family home down the street to lease to young adults aging out of foster care; it’s very important for CHISPA to stay involved in the community. La Gloria is a landmark on the block. Most buildings
- Salinas, CA -
on the street don’t have more than two stories. Because this building is taller, it’s important that it be as attractive as possible. Our ironworker ran plumbing up the building’s façade to allow CHISPA to water balcony window boxes. In the back, we constructed a private, protected courtyard with a fountain, landscaping, and raised [soil] beds for resident gardening. The services inside the building reflect what we do outside. CHISPA has two staff people who establish
partnerships with community-service providers to provide education and health programs to tenants in all of our properties around the county. La Gloria has a community room and computer lab that are used regularly. Tenants get a free hot lunch on weekdays. We teach our residents to recycle and compost their kitchen scraps. This helps the city accomplish its trash diversion goals. La Gloria is equipped with energy-saving features like a high-efficiency central boiler and Energy Star appliances. The building sets a standard for future construction in the area. The neighborhood is a lot brighter now. Over 131
286 ELDORADO STREET MONTEREY, CA 93940 TEL: 831.373.2784 | FAX: 831.373.7459 www.pauldavispartnership.com
local workers had jobs during construction, and the property injected more than $3 million back into the city. People are sitting on their balconies, spending more time outside. The crime has dissipated. Our residents are part of the community, and that’s what matters most. ABQ
American Builders Quarterly
Architect Jeff Sherman bought this row house, once an illegal dog-breeding kennel, and spent a decade polishing it into a warm, open living space.
A Row House Revitalized
transformed Homes american
Project Details Name Prospect Heights Row House Location Brooklyn, NY Completed 2011 Size 1,890 square feet
Windows on row houses are typically only on the fronts and backs of the buildings, but Jeff Sherman put a skylight at the top of his row house to fill the deeper interior spaces with light.
eff Sherman has had his share of gut-check moments. Three years out of college, he discovered and went into architecture while working as a features associate at Vogue magazine. And, after wrapping up architecture school, he took a chance and cofounded the successful New York City-based firm Delson or Sherman Architects in 1997. In 2000, he took on his most ambitious project yet: the restoration of a row house in Brooklyn’s Prospect Heights neighborhood. Originally built in 1910 and once the site of an illegal breeding kennel, it was a property likely to scare off even the bravest of home renovators, but Sherman bought it and spent the next 10 years of his life turning it into his gorgeous, light-filled home. Here, the architect details the aspects of the demanding project.
ABQ: How did you come to settle on the Prospect Heights
Row House? What about it appealed to you? Jeff Sherman: I had only two criteria in my Brooklyn property search: it had to be mutable, and it had to be undervalued. Mutable because this might be my only chance to be my own client, so I wanted as much design freedom as possible. Undervalued because I had a small budget and I’m no fool. The minute I saw this house, I knew it was undervalued. It was in a bad neighborhood—underdeveloped with lots of vacant lots and auto body shops—surrounded by good neighborhoods. The law of averages was on my side. ABQ: Talk about what the Prospect Heights Row House
looked like before the renovation. JS: The house was configured as three flats, but the previous owner had let it fall into floor-caving ruin. By the time I saw it, he was using it as a cage-free kennel, breeding giant attack dogs. Every horizontal surface was covered in dog poop. I put a shoveling clause in the contract. ABQ: Is the process different when you’re designing your
own home? Is it easier or more difficult? JS: The main difference in designing for myself is that I could focus more on the architecture and less on programmatic requirements and resale value. I don’t have many needs, and I have no interest in luxury. What I care about is spatial excitement. My favorite works of architecture are all like that—spatially exciting—where you want to run from one spot to the next because each looks like more fun to inhabit than the last. ABQ: Talk about the renovation itself. What did you want
the final product to be like? JS: Row houses have some inherent liabilities. People talk about vertical living, but experientially row houses are actually spatially flat—one floor slapped on the next like a short stack of pancakes. And they’re dark in the middle
American Builders Quarterly
because the only windows are on the short walls in the front and back. The conventional strategy with row houses is to push the living spaces to the windows and fill the middle with storage and bathrooms. But I had an idea that I could kill two birds by hollowing out the dark middle of the house and filling it with light from above. And that, as they say in architecture, was the parti. The house is organized around a two-story void lit by a long cut in the roof—a monitor designed to flood the void with winter daylight but filter [the] summer sun. On the parlor floor, the double-height space defines the dining room, which is otherwise open to the single-height kitchen and living room. On the top floor, the void separates front and rear bedrooms and is traversed by a catwalk. ABQ: What do you love most about the house? JS: I love my guest bathroom. Isn’t that funny? It’s the
last thing I completed but the first with a budget decent enough to hire a terrific contractor. The inspiration came from an outdoor shower, the one luxury I really covet but not the most realistic fantasy for a Brooklyn backyard. Still, I thought it might be possible to recreate the experience indoors. To do so, I used an outdoor material for the floor, brick, not only for its looks but for the powerful sense memory it conveys through your bare feet. The ceiling-mounted showerhead is pushed close to the etched glass window but completely unenclosed within the room. No glass enclosure, no curtain, because the frisson of exposure is part of the outdoor-shower vibe. And the floor drain is slotted into the wall, leaving the floor unsullied while reinforcing that sense memory. —Tina Vasquez
Top Left: A wall of open shelves lines a side of one of the home’s sunlit bedrooms. Above: The outdoor shower is not a common design element in Brooklyn, but Sherman recreated an indoor version of one in his guest bathroom. Left: The verdant backyard includes brick pathways and a small, protective trellis.
Cardboard Cardboard has a history as the storage and moving-day material of choice, but innovators are finding new ways to use it amid the industry-wide push for green-building solutions. Its manipulability means it can easily be engineered to suit structural specificities, and because it's biodegradable, it’s automatically a sustainable alternative. Take a look at these products to see just a few ways engineers and designers are taking corrugated casing from the loading docks into the home.
Beute Lamp / Herrwolke / herrwolke.com / Designer Michael Konstantin Wolke repurposes and reconstitutes discarded corrugated cardboard to create light fixtures that have a slimmed-down, European aesthetic. The use of found material means no two lamps are alike.
GrandPa Clock / Sanserif Creatius / sanserif.es /
Valley Shelf / Leo Kempf Design / leokempf.com /
“Sans serif” means streamlined, simple, without flourishes, and this piece is just that. Made by layering sheets of cut cardboard, it reimagines the antiquated grandfather clock for the 21st century.
This wall unit gets its name from its shape, which allows for the shelving of books in playful ways. Nontoxic glue binds the piece’s corrugated layers, and the front is covered with textured hardboard.
Bookcase 800gr / Dany Gilles / danygilles.com /
It’s a college student’s dream. This collapsible, reusable shelving unit, conceived by Dany Gilles, is composed of 22 separate parts, and units can be stacked, staggered, interlocked, and separated.
RAISING EQUITY + SUPPORTING AFFORDABLE HOUSING = CREATING JOBS NATIONAL EQUITY FUND, INC. 120 South Riverside Plaza, 15Th Fl. Chicago, Illinois 60606-3908 P 312.360.0400
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