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Why we can’t ignore indoor air quality Enrique Norten means business at Rutgers Inside the Academy for Global Citizenship Student housing that breaks the mold G R E E N B U I L D I N G & D E S I G N J U LY+ A U G U S T 2 0 14

Guest Edited by Stacy Smedley


What Do Green Schools Actually Teach? PAGE 88

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In This Issue gb&d July+August 2014 Volume 5, Issue 28

96 88


What Are Green Schools Teaching Our Kids? An examination of four public schools suggests that the building is just the beginning when it comes to learning about food and energy



Progress Report In 2011, Lady Bird Johnson Middle School in Irving, Texas, became the first net-zero middle school in the country. Three years later, is it continuing to perform?




With indoor air quality suffering in recent decades, scientists, designers, and furniture makers are committing to cleaner solutions.

The Academy for Global Citizenship has plans to build a net-positive campus on Chicago’s South Side. In the meantime, it’s reinventing public education.

From a student-built residence hall to a towering vertical campus, today’s dorms just aren’t what they used to be.

This School May Be Hazardous to Your Health

Growing Global Citizens

Typology: Student Housing

july–august 2014



Table of Contents gb&d July+August 2014 Volume 5, Issue 28

Up Front



12 Guest Editor

38 Victor ‘Trey’ Trahan

54 Expo and Mosso Apartments

62 Northeast Cargo Center

Stacy Smedley

14 Editor’s Picks

Lifelong learning

16 Defined Design


18 Event Preview

World Green Building Week 2014

20 Notebook Rural Studio reflections 22 Reclaimed

TerraMai teak

An architect inspired by past, present, and future

Essex Property Trust


44 Onion Flats

55 Mission Hills Clinic

64 Moreland on Trapp

Randall Moreland Architecture + Design

Northern Virginia Community College

The Philadelphia builder bets on Passive House

50 Virge Temme

Smart design meets a locally inspired lifestyle

Facey Medical Group

56 Storrs Center

BL Companies

CR Forma

58 Place41

66 Arts & Sciences Building

60 First to the Future Home

68 Vehicle Maintenance Facility

Mike Rosen, BSB Design

Minnesota National Guard

69 SFP Program

International Facility Management Association

70 Doenges Toyota

Doenges Family of Autos

Inner Workings

74 Cebula Hall

Saint Martin’s University

79 Pelham Range Armed Forces Reserve Center

JMR+H Architects

85 6

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Chicago Department of Transportation

85 Inside a Living Wall

GSky Plant Systems


81 Cermak Road / Blue Island Avenue



114 More than Meets the Eye

Travis Price creates a deceptive façade

120 Beyond Curb Appeal

DDG’s latest is green inside and out

124 Sedum, Je T’aime

Making a massive vertical garden for Chicago

126 The Power of Positive Building

Marc Rutenburg goes for net zero in Florida

134 Open for Business

A literal gateway for Rutgers Business School

Tough Builds

Punch List

142 A Severe Climate

160 Chicago Powerhouse

180 Toolbox

A charter school adapts a power plant’s bones

166 Platinum Painted Ladies

Schools in South Texas get the green treatment

146 Greening a Giant

Inside Green Mountain Coffee’s newest facilities

150 Open Air Office

Making the roof work for Bay Area employees

154 Alfresco Design Canada completes its first

LEED Gold restaurant

157 Luxury Without Limits

Custom sustainability solutions for Las Vegas

Josh Mogal updates Bay Area Victorians

170 Porsche’s New Headquarters

The car-maker reclaims an Atlanta brownfield

174 A New Identity

Designing for density in San Francisco

177 Rising from the Ashes

A fire gives way to new, net-zero apartments

Back to school

182 Person of Interest Matt Slagle

185 Discussion Board

What childhood moment most impacts your work?

186 Material World

Consider the alternatives

188 On the Boards

Fordham University Law School and Residence Hall

191 Tweetable Reviews

Must-read books

193 On the Spot

Stacy Smedley

“We as humans want control, but the greatest architecture creates an opportunity to engage with unpredictable people and environments.” 38 gb&d

july–august 2014



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Editor’s Note Global Citizens


At a visioning meeting late last year, the question came up: What are kids actually learning in green schools? It’s great that we’re building healthier and more efficient learning environments, but when buildings are completed and occupied, is it back to the same old routine? Or are teachers encouraged and empowered to teach kids about sustainability? Everyday I read about another school that’s designed to be a “teaching tool” or a “living lab.” But those are just words. Are the buildings truly being used as they were intended? To answer that question, we enlisted the help of Stacy Smedley, designer of the world’s fourth Living Building, preconstruction manager at Skanska, and executive director of the SEED Collaborative, a nonprofit that has designed regionally sensitive, Living Building Challenge-ready modular classrooms. We also reconvened with Rachel Gutter, last year’s guest editor and executive director of the Center for Green Schools, as well as a number of other experts. Together, we found four schools—all public institutions—that truly integrate sustainability and everyday lesson plans and are educating and inspiring kids around energy, water, food, and design (p. 88). One school we visited, a K-6 public charter on the South Side of Chicago, is tackling

ON THE COVER By zooming out and showing two children interacting with last year’s LEGO structure, we hoped to visually communicate this issue’s key question: what are green schools actually teaching? The final photo by Caleb Fox helps pose that question and, in a way, answers it, celebrating the opportunities for learning that exist in any green building.


these topics and more. The Academy for Global Citizenship (p. 96) is such an inspiring place that more than 4,000 people visit the school each year. On one of the days I was there, a dump truck backed into the playground area and delivered a mountain of fresh soil about the size of the school’s chicken coop. The students went wild. They cheered and beat their plastic buckets with their plastic shovels. As if creating a supportive learning environment for these students—who face extraordinary challenges every day—was not enough, the Academy for Global Citizenship plans to build a net-positive, Living Building Challenge-certified campus in its current neighborhood. This will be a first for Chicago and the state of Illinois and raise the bar for public charter schools across the globe. The final piece of our 2014 Education Issue is a look at the issue of indoor air quality in today’s schools (p. 104). Research shows that toxic chemcials found in many building products have negative impacts on student health and academic performance. This realization has given rise to third-party certifications such as GREENGUARD and level, which ensure the healthfulness of our buildings, and design solutions such as Sprout Space, a modular classroom by Perkins+Will that is full of fresh air. A special thank you to everyone who helped us create this issue, especially our cover stars, Mia and Julian (and their mothers). The 2014 Education Issue owes its existence to countless individuals, those who designed, built, funded, operate, and teach out of the many schools included, as well as those who helped us find them. But it is dedicated to today’s students, those remarkable, global citizens who remind us to be curious and ask questions and imagine a world better than the one we inherit. With hope,

The cover of our 2013 Education Issue

Timothy A. Schuler, Managing Editor july–august 2014



Index People & Companies

# 9Wood, 22 A Academy for Global Citizenship, 98 Acton Ostry Architects, 154 ADD Inc., 25 Aeroterm, 62 Allen, Pennie, 91 American Hydrotech,180 Arntson, Dennis, 68 Arriola, Heriberto, 101 Attarian, Janet, 81 B Baez, Lynn, 69 Ballay, Dan, 85 Barcham, Daniel, 171 Berea College, 30 Beacon Capital Partners, 174 Biedermann, Steven, 101 Bionic, 152 BL Companies, 56 Black Bros. Builders, 177 Black, Brenan, 177 Boley, B.K., 25 Boyer, Jonathan, 161 Brereton Architects, 174 Brick LLP, 152 BrightBuilt Home, 177 Buckingham County Primary School, 91 BWBR Architects, 68 C Cactus Club Cafe at English Bay, 154 Cannon Design, 102 Castro, Michael J., 174 Center for Green Schools, 90 Charles H. Shaw Technology and Learning Center, 161 Cobb, Henry N., 188 Coldham, Bruce, 93 Corgan Associates, 132 Cosentino, 181 CR Forma, 58 D Davis, Steve, 91 DDG, 121 Decca Contract, 107 DeWeerd, Jason, 111 Doenges Family of Autos, 70 Doenges, Brad, 70 Donna Independent School District, 144 Dr Pepper Snapple Group, 69 Draper, Darren, 171 E Ebaugh, Dagmar, 108 Eco+historical, 166 Epsten Group, 171 ERO Architects, 142 Essex Property Trust, 54 Excel Dryer, 181 F Facey Medical Group, 55 Farr Associates, 161 Fischbach, John, 107


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Fleming, Derek, 154 Fordham University, 188 Fortenberry, Erica, 94 Fulton, JR, 28 Gemmell, Michael, 174 Gensler, 85 Grasso Holdings, 45 Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, 146 Greene, Joe, 146 Groesbeck, Christopher, 35 Gruver, Erin, 62 GSky Plant Systems, 85 Guthrie, Peter, 121 Gutter, Rachel, 90 Hastings+Chivetta, 30 Hathaway Dinwiddie Construction Company, 176 Henley, Jane, 16 High Springs Community Schools, 92 Hinojosa, Manuel, 142 HOK, 172 Horner, Dr. Elliott, 106 I Ichijo USA, 129 Image Engineering Group, 132 Inglemoor High School, 93 International Facility Management Association, 69 Ippel, Sarah Elizabeth, 98 J JMR+H Architecture, 79 Johnson, Rob, 66 Joseph Architects, 146 K Kahn-Jetter, Zella, 74 Kaplan Thompson Architects, 177 Kettelkamp & Kettelkamp, 124 King, Jason, 147 Kotalic, Debbie, 85 L Lady Bird Johnson Middle School, 132 Lambert, Jeff, 54 Las Vegas Sands Corp., 157 Leyland Alliance, 56 M Mace North America, 171 Madeen, Greg, 186 Mahlum Architects, 27 Marc Rutenberg Homes, 127 Martin Architectural Group, 60 Massachusetts College of Art and Design, 25 Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, 26 Matta, Peggy, 94 McDonald, John, 45 McDonald, Pat, 45 McDonald, Tim, 45 McLennan, Jason F., 13 McMillan, Joe, 121 Minkoff, Dan, 152

Minnesota National Guard, 68 Mogal, Josh,166 Mohawk, 180 Moreland Architecture + Sustainable Design, 64 Moreland, Randall, 64 Morgante-Wilson Architects, 124 Morgante, Elissa, 124 Muhlbauer, Rainer, 56 N Nabih Youssef & Associates, 174 Norten, Enrique, 135 Northern Virginia Community College, 66 O Ochoa, Eli, 142 Onion Flats, 45 Ostry, Mark, 154 P Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, 188 Penn, Don, 132 Perkins School, 13 Perkins+Will, 108 Phifer Incorporated, 110 Phipps Conservatory, 13 Porsche Cars North America, 171 Post, Allen, 108 Price, Travis, 116 R Rogers, Aaron, 58 Roosevelt University, 35 Rosen, Mike, 60 Rutenberg, Marc, 127 Rutgers University, 135 Rutland, Michael, 79 S Sabbatini, Robert, 28 Saint Martin’s University, 74 Sandy Grove Middle School, 94 Saylan, Charles, 90 Schopf, Anne, 27 SEED Collaborative, 20 Shorenstein Company, 174 Singleton, Derrick, 30 Slagle, Matt, 182 Smedley, Stacy, 13 Smith, Susan, 132 SmithGroupJJR, 22 Spirit of Place | Spirit of Design, 116 Splaingard, Daniel, 18 Steady, Scott, 107 Steinberg, Howard, 45 Strickland, Bill, 107 Szeto, Yvonne,188 T Takeyama, Tracy, 56 Temme, Virge, 50 TEN Arquitectos, 135 TerraMai, 22 Tesarova, Katarina, 157 Texas State Technical College, 142 Thorne, Hal, 85 TowerPinkster, 182

Trahan Architects, 38 Trahan, Victor F., 38 Tyler, Alan, 77 U UL Environment, 106 University of California-Berkeley, 22 University of Washington, 27 V Viessman, 181 Virge Temme Architecture, 50 VMDO Architects, 91 VOA Associates, 35 VS America, 111, 180 W Walker, Sue, 111 Wallace Roberts & Todd, 135 Weaver, Judith, 92 Weigert, Karen, 81 Wells, Dan, 66 Wentworth Institute of Technology, 26 Wierusz, Mike, 93 Wilson, Fred, 124 World Green Building Council, 16 Z Zirkle, Rob, 152


Up Front Typology Trendsetters Approach Inner Workings Features Spaces Tough Builds Punch List


12 Guest Editor

Stacy Smedley, SEED Collaborative

14 Editor’s Picks

You’re never too old to go to preschool

16 Defined Design

The SEEDclassroom is a true living lab

18 Event Preview

World Green Building Week 2014

20 Notebook

Reflecting on Auburn’s Rural Studio

22 Reclaimed

TerraMai teak at UC-Berkeley

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Smedley became a leader in the green building movement when she completed Seattle’s Bertschi School Science Classroom, one of just five Living Buildings in the world. She currently is a preconstruction manager at Skanska, where she focuses on sustainability.


Guest Editor Stacy Smedley

Few people would have taken the instruction so literally. When Jason McLennan told attendees of the 2009 Living Future conference that it was up to them to prove that it is possible to design buildings that have no more impact on their sites than a wildflower has on a field, Stacy Smedley took him seriously. She left the conference thinking, “I need to go do one of these. This has to happen.” Two years later, she made good on her promise, completing a classroom building that became only the fourth Living Building in the world. Seattle’s Bertschi School Science Classroom subsequently won a slew of awards, and Smedley decided to apply the same ideas to a modular classroom. The SEED Collaborative was born. A SEEDclassroom (p. 16) makes the average portable classroom look like a dungeon. It is brightly daylit, well ventilated, and has both a living wall and a usable swing inside. It is net-zero-energy and net-zero-water, and its exposed systems—with accompanying lesson plans—make it the ultimate teaching tool. The first SEED (an acronym for Sustainable Education Every Day) was installed this year at the Perkins School in Seattle, and another is being installed at the Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh. When we began planning our second annual Education Issue, Stacy’s name was at the top of the list. Much of this issue is a result of her passion and expertise, and we are thrilled to collaborate with such a bold and generous leader. I have little doubt that one day, a young person will walk out of the Living Future conference having heard Stacy speak, and his or her life will be changed forever. —Timothy A. Schuler, Managing Editor

IN CONVERSATION with Stacy Smedley

PART 1 “GUYS, WE’RE NOT MAKING NET ZERO” gb&d: The Bertschi School Science Classroom was the first building to be certified under version 2.0 of the Living Building Challenge and only the fourth certified at all. Three years later, there’s only one more that’s been fully certified. It’s such a rigorous and demanding thing—what was it like for you going in to it? Was it daunting at all, or was it just exciting? Stacy Smedley: For me, it was exciting because it was a challenge. If we succeeded, we were showing people that indeed this is possible, and we now have the knowledge of how it can be done and can apply it to more projects. It was definitely challenging, though. It’s called the Living Building Challenge for a reason. And we were doing it at a time when—well, we truly were the fourth. And we were small—it was only a thirteen-hundred-and-fifty-square-foot project, so calling up Dow Corning or Knauff Insulation or any those big companies and asking them, “What’s in your product?” was the hardest part. We were basically asking [them] to give us a no-holding-back list of what’s in their product. gb&d: Which is heavily guarded. Smedley: Yeah, especially for the big companies. So that definitely was the hardest part. But we knew it was going to be hard, and that it might take extra work, but that if we did it, then… wow, we’d done it. We could say that we’d done it and anyone else who wanted to do it might be more motivated knowing that it could be done.

Smedley’s experience with green schools informed our approach to this year’s Education Issue. She also shows off her SEEDclassroom (p. 16) and takes our questionnaire (p. 193).


CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT 1. What green schools teach us, p. 88 2. An education revolution, p. 96 3. How childhood affects us, p. 185 4. The net-zero zHome, p. 129 5. Healthier classrooms, p. 104

gb&d: A big part of the LBC is that you have to prove that [a project] is performing at the level it’s designed to perform at. Were you confident that it would hit all the targets it needed to, or was there relief when it became officially certified?

The conversation continues on p. 17

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Editor’s Picks Lifelong Learning Text by Stacy Smedley







This book was recommended to me by a male executive who was impacted by it. It came to me at the moment I was wondering how I could continue to balance family, work, and my sanity. A current perspective on a woman’s journey through the professional world did the trick.

This innovative solution to classroom lighting directs power to a hive that then connects to LED fixtures with Cat5 cables. It saves on energy and labor costs and, because there’s a chip built in, talks to wireless controls without an adapter at each fixture.

No place has affected me more than Notre Dame—it’s something about the history of how these great cathedrals were designed and built by master architects and skilled masons. Although I’m not religious, there was an inherent peace in sitting and listening to the echoes of a thousand footsteps—which I did every day for the nine months I lived in Paris.

Jason is a visionary, one of those people who starts talking in a crowded room and everyone turns to listen. He has the mind to create things like the Living Building Challenge and the passion to inspire others to pursue it. He inspired me to do what I do.

As adults, we forget what it’s like to have an idea, act, and then think about consequences. We are trained to ask why instead of why not, and we lose that innate creativity we possess as children. Spend an hour in a preschool class and you will learn something (and it won’t be from the teachers).

I’m not sure if my mom coined this phrase or if she got it from somewhere. She started telling me this when I was a toddler, and it has guided me through every hard decision and moment of impasse in my life. This idea, or thought, has carried me to today.

Clockwise from top left


july–august 2014

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Defined Design SEEDclassroom

The latest idea from Stacy Smedley (this issue’s guest editor) and the team behind Seattle’s Bertschi School Science Classroom is a self-sustaining solution for schools that outgrow their facilities—or for anyone interested in a flexible, living classroom made to last 100 years. The SEEDclassroom, from Smedley’s nonprofit the SEED Collaborative, made its debut in May at the Perkins School in Seattle. We chose three words that define its design.

Modular \ˈmä-jə-lər\ adj. Constructed with standardized units or dimensions for flexibility and variety in use. SEEDclassrooms are especially efficient usages of time, energy, and materials because of their modular specifications. They can be rescaled, custom fit to meet space requirements, and transported anywhere accessible by road.

Insulation \ˌin(t)-sə-ˈlā-shən\ noun A material or substance that is used to stop heat, electricity, or sound from going into or out of something. They may not look like the warmest rooms from the inside, but SEEDclassrooms are equipped with triple-paned windows, R-49 ceilings, and R-40 walls, ensuring beyond-sufficient insulation that is 30 percent above code.

By Steven Arroyo Smedley works with kids in a SEEDclassroom.

A SEEDclassroom comes with a living wall fed by greywater through a visibly exposed system that students can observe in action.


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IN CONVERSATION with Stacy Smedley Continued from p. 13

Smedley: There was some relief. It took almost two years for us to certify because when we got things up and going, kids would take weekly readings of the graphs and tell us how we were doing on our [goal of] net zero. There came a point when they said, “Guys, we’re not making net zero. Something’s wrong.”

“I wouldn’t have cared if it took four years, as long as we were all learning and the building was becoming better and eventually became net zero because we took the time to understand.”

Educate \ˈe-jə-ˌkāt\ verb To give (someone) information about something, or to train (someone) to do something. The SEEDclassroom isn’t just designated for teaching; it’s a teacher too. All of its systems, from the greywater-drinking living wall to the composting toilet, are exposed and labeled to educate students on exactly how they help the structure achieve net-zero energy and water—and what those things actually mean.

Structural and mechanical systems are exposed and accompanied by grade-level-appropriate suggestions for how teachers can integrate building features into their lesson plans.

We had to go back in, and we found out the composting toilets were using some energy we didn’t know they were going to for a heater, and we added more solar panels, and our date for turning in all the documentation of that year’s reporting got pushed out. Some members of the team were saying things like, “Oh my gosh, this is taking too long.” But I thought, “This is all part of a process, though, right?” I didn’t have this urgent need for it to happen quickly. I wouldn’t have cared if it took four years, as long as we were all learning and the building was becoming better and eventually became net zero because we took the time to understand. gb&d: From there, you launched the SEED Collaborative, taking what you learned on that project and applying it to a modular classroom that can be implemented anywhere. Where all can a person find a SEEDclassroom right now? Smedley: Right now, there’s one at the Perkins School in Seattle—it was the prototype we built. The Perkins School is a K-5 independent school, and they purchased the prototype to use as their science classroom. There’s the Phipps SEED—Phipps wants it there as soon as possible so it will be finished sometime this summer. Then there’d be one set on each coast. Then Simon Fraser [University] up in Burnaby [British Columbia] is looking at a feasibility study where they’re going to essentially use SEEDs as a modular building option for expansion in a school district. The list goes on and on. We seem to get calls all the time. The conversation continues on p. 18


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IN CONVERSATION with Stacy Smedley Continued from p. 17

PART 2 CLIMATE, CURRICULUM gb&d: How did you go about meeting Living Building Challenge requirements for a building where you won’t know the site ahead of time? Smedley: To make a SEED functional, it comes with the solar panels to cover the energy costs—and that can fluctuate depending on where it’s going, so we do energy modeling for every place it goes. You need an electrical hook-up, so you have to have a place to plug in to the grid so you can take energy and give back. It’s self-contained in terms of water, unless your jurisdiction—and this is still the case in a lot of places—requires you to have potable water for the sink. Phipps and Seattle both require the sink to have potable water so there’s a utility line, but if it was going to Africa or somewhere else where those crazy jurisdictional requirements don’t exist, there’s a water-treatment system that can treat the water you collect to potable standards. It’s meant to be off the water system completely. gb&d: What about more arid climates, like the desert southwest?

Event Preview 2014 World Green Building Week Cleaner environments for living, working, and learning are good for people and the planet, and World Green Building Week 2014 will promote such environments with a series of global events. “We recognize that by working together in the same week all over the world, our message is louder, demonstrates global diversity, and creates excitement as people feel part of our growing global community,” says Jane Henley, executive director of the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC), which will mobilize connected groups in dozens of DETAILS countries for the week. Who World Green Building Throughout the week of September Council 22–26, more than 100 Green Building

By Julie Schaeffer

What World Green Building Week, Green Apple Day of Service When Sept. 22–26, 2014 Where Around the world Web wgbweek/

Smedley: All you’re using the water for, really, is hand washing. We have a small living wall inside the classroom, but that could be full of plants that are drought-tolerant. In an arid place, we’d have to do what we do with larger projects and size the cisterns to be able to hold every drop of rain that you get and plan use and operations around that. gb&d: So small changes are made depending on the site. Smedley: We currently have a model where we have designs for regional climates and partners who help us build them. We were going to have Method Homes, who is based in Seattle and who built the prototype, build the Phipps SEED in Pittsburgh, but when we went to pricing and we started looking at local requirements, it became clear that what makes a lot more sense is finding a regional manufacturer. We found this great company called EcoCraft Homes in Pittsburgh and had a mechanical engineer create a mechanical design for the Pittsburgh climate. If we got one in the southwest, that would become the southwest regional design, and we’d find a manufacturer in the Southwest. The conversation continues on p. 21


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“By working together in the same week all over the world, our message is louder, demonstrates global diversity, and creates excitement.” Jane Henley, World Green Building Council

Councils, or GBCs, will hold hundreds of events educating their communities about greener environments—just as they did in 2013, when 34 countries held more than 220 events under the theme “Greener Buildings, Better Places, Healthier People.” In Long Beach, California, parents learned how to pack trash-free school lunches with reusable items. In Budapest, Hungary, individuals took part in guided walking tours of sustainable buildings. In Paris, kids visited a contemporary zoo that’s meeting environmental concerns while remaining a strong cultur-

al attraction. “It’s not just one event but hundreds, from site tours to workshops, conferences to competitions,” Henley says. The 2014 week will culminate on Saturday, September 27, with the Green Apple Day of Service, which gives communities the opportunity to transform schools into healthy, safe, and productive learning environments through local service projects. “We know that the classroom environment can affect a child’s academic progress, sometimes by as much as 25 percent,” Henley says. “Currently, millions of students attend schools in buildings that

are too cold in winter, too hot in summer, and badly lit and poorly ventilated. We believe every child deserves the opportunity to attend a school that is healthy and enhances learning. Our message is that where students learn is just as important as what they learn and who teaches them.” gb&d

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Notebook Rural Studio Reflections By Daniel Splaingard

My story starts with a Toro lawnmower. In Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, a Toro lawnmower could make an entrepreneurial young man into a businessman. My brother sold me his share of D+D Lawncare for $20. Fast-forward a few years, and as an undeclared freshman at the University of Missouri scanning the course catalogue, I stumbled onto Intro to Landscape Design and thought maybe I could break into new markets, expand the business. The course was really “Design 101,” and the teacher emphasized craftsmanship—a term I’d never heard. For my final project I made a hand-cut pantone reproduction of Chuck Close’s self-portrait, and the satisfaction I felt exceeded any previous accomplishment. Being in school was, for me, a default setting, and I decided to take some time off to explore a while. I dropped out, moved in with my brother in Oxford, Mississippi, and began looking for work. I didn’t find any at first, so I began volunteering with Habitat for Humanity. At Habitat, I met Macel, a woman of small stature but grand presence who generously introduced me to the world of construction. In the immortal words of M. Ward, “The hardest thing in the world to do is to find somebody who believes in you,” and Macel gave me a shot. I discovered the joy of building and decided to study architecture. Auburn University was the closest school to accept me, so I made the move to Alabama. After a sleepless summer of X-Acto blade scars, lettering exercises, and heavy overuse of the Rhino Loft Tool, I heard rumors of a program called the Rural Studio. There you got to build things and live in the country. I signed up.

Things started off on a good foot. No formal syllabus, no threats about attendance. Our “teacher,” Jay Sanders, talked about going on a journey together, learning how to think and draw and build a home for a guy named Music Man, whose trailer had burned down. The learning was immersive: lectures, dinners, costumes, strange visitors, and lots of hanging out around bonfires. It was part summer camp, part study abroad, and part Peace Corps. We all took the

After a sleepless summer of X-Acto blade scars, lettering exercises, and heavy overuse of the Rhino Loft Tool, I heard rumors of a program called the Rural Studio. There you got to build things and live in the country. 20

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same classes, though we hardly thought of them as classes—they were just parts of our day. There was a high value placed on sketchbooks, on drawing as a way to learn and communicate. For me, my sketchbook became a way of engaging with the world. We quickly realized that if 15 of us were going to build one house, it was going to take a lot of compromise. None of us knew what we were doing. Step by step, we learned what we needed to know. Pine versus cedar versus treated wood. Creosote, vapor barriers, pier foundations, sonotubes, bobcats, and backhoes. We pooled ideas and picked them apart. Often I’d stay late to sweep up and hang out with Music Man. He shared what little he had, and we’d jam out on the boom box. He still is one of the most fun and grateful people I’ve ever met. A few years ago, I visited him shortly after a tornado


OPPOSITEA hand-drawn map by the author shows the geographic reach of Auburn University’s Rural Studio program in Hale County, AL.

IN CONVERSATION with Stacy Smedley Continued from p. 18

gb&d: What’s the advantage of SEED being a nonprofit?


had passed directly over his new house. He said he’d lain praying in the doorway and came out unscathed. Einstein said, “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” Music Man was a miracle man. A few years later, after some time in Mexico, I was invited to return to the Rural Studio as a thesis student. While looking for housing, a local woman offered me a shotgun house next to hers in return for a small rent that supported her Safe House Black History Museum. My new address was 518 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. I realized I knew next to nothing about Dr. King. As she shared her stories of working for civil rights, I started to read about the movement, and then about Gandhi, about the synergies in nonviolent revolutions, and I started to see more acutely the lines that continue to divide our communities. And then, in a small way, we got to do something about it. The Lions Park project represented a real homegrown attempt to bridge a community. In a town of 2,000 that still bears distinct lines of who lives where, the 40-acre Lions Park was the people’s park, a mixing bowl. With a $100,000 grant from the Major League Baseball Players Fund and a loyal committee of leaders that brought longterm vision to our boatloads of ideas and energy, we leveraged every resource we could. We tested design ideas and hired local catfish-pond builders to grade the dense clay. We built sculptural backstops prototyped on the pipe-bender at the muf-

Rural Studio at Twenty: Designing and Building in Hale County, Alabama was released this year. Read our tweetlength review of it and six more new books on p. 191.


fler shop down the road. By the end, some called it beautiful while others opined that it “looked like it got hit by a tornado.” I learned you can’t please everyone. After Lions Park, I became part of the Rural Studio staff. I got to work with the next generation of students and also had more free time to experiment with songwriting, tanning leather, recycling my own aluminum, making shoes, running for public office, and baking bread. A fox got the hide and I lost the election by a wide margin, but the bread was delicious and I’m still singing. The work that began at Lions Park continues eight years later and includes a skate park, exercise trails, a concessions stand, and the wildest playground you’ve ever seen. The other day I was watching BBC Earth, and they were talking about places deep in the ocean where the water is just warm enough for plants to survive, and then the plankton can grow, and then fish, and in the middle of nowhere there is this incredible biodiversity. These places come and go, but they are incredibly rich communities. I believe that the Rural Studio is such a place. If you haven’t been there, I think you should go, and if you do, take your sketchbook because the world needs more of that kind of mojo. gb&d

Daniel Splaingard is currently an architect at Farr Associates in Chicago and recently completed a three-year Rose Fellowship at Bickerdike Redevelopment Corporation. This essay was adapted from a PechaKucha presentation given January 2014.

Smedley: There are modular-classroom manufacturers all over this country, and their sole purpose is to build them as cheaply as possible, as many as they can, and get them out as quickly as they can. We didn’t want to be in that same bubble. We don’t want to be a production business. We want to find ways to educate and inspire kids to see the importance of sustainability and the role buildings can play in our lives. SEED really isn’t about the classroom building per se, it’s about what the classroom is doing for the students and teachers.

“All the sustainable systems are exposed. A kid can go up to the cistern and watch the pipe go over to the hand pump and then to the living wall and then to the greywater tank.” gb&d: Does the SEEDclassroom come with curriculum? Obviously, the tools are built in; does it come with an educational component for the teachers to then know all the ways they can teach with the classroom? Smedley: Yes. Firstly, everything’s exposed. Conduits and junction boxes and all the data readers and pipes—there’s not a thing in the wall. We had a first or second grader walk into the prototype, and he went up to the outlet and followed the conduit up the wall and across the ceiling and to the electrical box and had this look of wonder on his face, like, “I never knew there was anything behind the wall…” You know, they just see the plug cover and assume that magically electricity is coming out of the plug. All the sustainable systems are exposed and integrated as well. A kid can go up to the cistern and watch the pipe go over to the hand pump, and then to the living wall, and then to the greywater tank. They can trace it with their finger if they want to. But the way to make that available as a lesson is in the operations and maintenance manual, a book you usually get with a building. We’ve turned it into an educational reference guide and have it organized by LBC petal, so underneath “Water” would be all The conversation continues on p. 181

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Reclaimed TerraMai Teak TerraMai teak can be left untreated for a rough, rustic look (left) or finished to look like new. In the ceiling of the Energy Biosciences Building, the gleam of the finished wood brightens the daylit lobby.


The Energy Biosciences Building at University of California–Berkeley is about to turn two. Unless you count the wood in its stairs and ceilings—then, it could be as old as 125. The building’s characteristic teak, a dense wood species that withstands moisture exceptionally well, was salvaged by TerraMai from Indonesian houses and factories built between 50 and 125 years ago. The Oregon-based wood retailer, whose past clients include Google, Starbucks, and the High Line, worked with specialists at 9Wood and architects at SmithGroupJJR on the building’s unique ceiling, which flows uninterrupted from the interior to the exterior. The final product is a testament to wood’s stunning beauty—even a century later. gb&d —Steven Arroyo

Because reclaimed wood is mostly dense-grain, old-growth material, it often is harder and more durable than new lumber. TerraMai’s wood comes from a variety of sources, including the off-cuts of large-scale furniture producers and non-bearing walnut trees.


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Up Front Typology Trendsetters Approach Inner Workings Features Spaces Tough Builds Punch List



24 Tree Housing

ADD Inc. is inspired by a tree house for MassArt’s new residence hall

27 Woodland Village

University of Washington’s West Campus is a pedestrian nirvana

30 Digging Deep

Berea College connects generations of students to its new Living Building

34 All Together Now

VOA Associates creates an iconic and connected vertical campus in Chicago

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With the new school year around the corner, we couldn’t think of a better time to revisit the question of which American colleges are doing more to shelter their students while maintaining progressive priorities towards the environment. Christopher James Palafox takes a look at four leading examples of today’s sustainable strategies being applied to new student housing.


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Tree Housing massachusetts college of art and design creates an artfully tree-inspired residence hall


ustav Klimt’s 1909 mural “The Tree of Life” depicts the oft-used, eponymous symbol of the network between heaven, earth, and the underworld with swirling branches and deep roots meant to evoke interconnectedness while symbolizing life’s perpetuity and complexity. At the Boston-area Massachusetts College of Art and Design, that painting serves as the inspiration for its new residence hall, affectionately referred to as “The Tree House.” “The Gustav Klimt painting helped us both from an aesthetic point of view and a remembrance to keep things simple,” says B.K. Boley, design principal and director of sustainable design for ADD Inc., the architecture firm in charge of the project. The 21-story, 260-foot tall building is made to look like a tree through the use of 5,500 colored panels, which alternate between various shades of brown and a vivid green. ➤

LEFT MassArt’s new student residence, a finalist for Best Tall Building of the Americas by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitats, houses 500 students on 21 floors.


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“[Students] didn’t want renewable doodads all over the building.” b.k. boley, add inc.

Before the building was designed, students participated in a series of charettes to discuss the functions of each space and the sustainable aspects of its design. “They wanted a building that had more of a simple, sustainable design gesture and not a high-tech [one],” Boley says. “They didn’t want renewable doodads all over the building.” Ideas like solar panels and wind turbines were bypassed in favor of a more organic feel. These ground-laying discussions would lead to the concept of a tree house, the structure’s passive-solar approach, and a heavy concentration on its health and durability. Among the simple solutions: a tightly insulated skin that

DETAILS SCHOOL Massachusetts College of Art and Design LocationBoston Completion2013 CertificationLEED Silver Type of structure 21-story high-rise Why it’s notable The award-winning, tree house-inspired dormitory mixes art with sustainability BELOW Plans of the tower’s ground, third, and fourth floors show communal areas interspersed throughout the building.

uses spray-foam insulation inside studs along with exterior rigid insulation. The building is actually shared by three institutions: MassArt, the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, and the Wentworth Institute of Technology. In order to make the project economically feasible and sustainable, these communities had to work together closely. “From the beginning, the project had this very simple vision that was built from consensus,” Boley says. Although the project’s origins stem from the fact that less than thirty percent of MassArt students were living on campus, the building ended up meeting a number of needs, including connecting the institution to the greater Boston academic community. Before its construction, MassArt had no strong representation on the Avenue of the Arts, which holds all of Boston’s major art institutions. “They were looking for a vision that not only identified MassArt as a major producer of arts,” Boley says, “but also as a symbol of growth and change—not only for MassArt, but also for the city’s architecture and design.” gb&d

FAR LEFT Common areas on the upper floors alternate between art studios and lounges, all with panoramic views of the city. The design supports active interaction between students, extending the learning environment to student housing.


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ABOVE The lobby features oversized, snaking, yellow sofas that echo the shapes of the landscaped plaza. The ceiling, constructed of lacquered western hemlock, reinforces the tree concept.





Woodland Village the university of washington turns to wood to create a walkable student neighborhood


ABOVE UW’s Elm Hall is notable for its extensive use of wood, which, unlike concrete or steel, sequesters carbon and therefore reduces the university’s overall carbon footprint.



century-old elm tree near the aptly named Elm Hall anchors University of Washington’s newly established West Campus, which combines three residence halls and a pair of apartment buildings collectively called the Cedar Apartments to create an environmentally friendly village. The 100-year-old elm is surrounded by a public park, gesturing towards the project’s pervasive use of wood, as well as its goal of connecting the campus and its students with the preexisting street grid and community. “The vision was to transform the neighborhood into a thriving, walkable, and livable community,” says Anne Schopf, partner and director of design for Mahlum Architects, the West Campus’s architect of record. Mahlum and UW sought to serve the neighborhood—not just the potentially insular campus community—by offering amenities that are also open to the public. july–august 2014



“The vision was to transform the neighborhood into a thriving, walkable, and livable community.” anne schopf, mahlum architects

possible uses. During the summer, when students are not occupying the space, rooms are rented out to those attending conferences at the university. Another major design and engineering strategy that reduced costs and increased the envelope’s efficiency was making the majority of the exterior walls non-load bearing. (The exterior walls’ vertical load is instead held by a frame of beams at floor level, intersecting with interior walls.) This saved money on materials and allowed for additional insulation, saving the institution more money over the long haul. “There’s no silver bullet with sustainability—only silver buckshot,” says JR Fulton, UW’s capital planning and sustainability manger, referring to the fact that the three halls ultimately received LEED Gold certification and the two apartment buildings LEED Silver. The larger and greener gesture was about creating a truly integrated urban neighborhood. That’s not to say the buildings are not efficient. By concentrating on the building’s envelopes, monitoring infiltration levels, and adding programmable thermostats, the project team ensured energy efficiency. And the success of the West Campus housing has led to UW embracing wood as a viable and valuable construction material; plans for future student housing incorporate the material in substantial ways. gb&d



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2 3


4 4




A Connected Neighborhood 1 Cedar Apartments  Cedar Apartments Elm Hall 2 Elm Hall Poplar Hall 3 Poplar Hall Alder Hall 4 Alder Hall


This meant weaning the area off of its reliance on vehicles, transforming the wide roadways and narrow sidewalks into a densely populated grid. Driving lanes were removed entirely, thereby expanding four-foot-wide walkways into 12-foot-wide ones and making alleyways walkable (yet still accessible for service vehicles). Mahlum worked together with Robert Sabbatini, UW’s urban planner and landscape architect, and the City of Seattle to reinstitute a zero-lot-line and cap the buildings at a mere 70 feet, keeping density on the ground level. To create a multimodal area, the team added public bus stops, bus shelters, bike lanes, and undercover bike parking to each building. Evolving the neighborhood also meant introducing elements such as a full-service grocery store, a conference center, and a sit-down restaurant that are open to the public. The building themselves, Elm Hall, Poplar Hall, Alder Hall, and Cedar Apartments, were all constructed using wood—not only because it is inexpensive, but also because of its ability to sequester carbon. Seattle is one of the few places that currently allows builders to construct five floors of wood-framed construction above two floors of concrete, despite the fact that wood is proven to be long lasting and cost effective. Wood was also chosen because of its flexibility during design and afterward. Many of UW’s buildings were mid-century legacy buildings built using concrete and are difficult to adapt for current space or technological needs. The idea behind the new housing was to create hotel-like rooms to increase their


Cedar Apartments (top) and Poplar Hall

SCHOOL University of Washington LocationSeattle, WA Completion 2  011 (Cedar Apartments, Poplar Hall), 2012 (Alder Hall, Elm Hall) CertificationsLEED Gold (residence halls), LEED Silver (apartment buildings) Type of structure Urban district with three residence halls and two apartment buildings Why it’s notable Using wood for carbon sequestration, the series of buildings creates a walkable village


Completed in 2012, UW’s $109 million, 668,800-square-foot housing project’s first phase added 1,700 beds to its West Campus. The master plan created a walkable district in which buildings are oriented toward pedestrian thoroughfares.


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Digging Deep berea college brings its history of social justice and sustainability to the student-built Deep Green Residence Hall


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DETAILS SCHOOL Berea College LocationBerea, KY Completion 2  013 Certifications L  iving Building Challenge (Petal certification), LEED Platinum Type of structure Three-story, 66-room residence hall Why it’s notableThis is the first residence hall to achieve Living Building Challenge Petal certification



he fact that Berea College’s new Deep Green Residence Hall will be recognized as one of the world’s greenest—achieving more LEED points than any other residence hall and on track for Living Building Challenge’s (LBC) Petal certification—should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the institution’s history. Founded in 1885, the liberal arts college is well known for being the first interracial, coeducational college in the South as well as for providing every student with a four-year tuition scholarship. The school’s commitment to sustainability is just as impressive. Berea houses a 50-apartment “Ecovillage,” a Sustainability and Environmental Studies demonstration house, and an aquaponics facility, allowing the community to function as a living laboratory while meeting housing needs for student families. The Deep Green project, which earned more LEED points than any other residence hall, was Berea’s first new residence hall in decades, and the administration and board of trustees saw an opportunity to live out its commitment to the environment and lead by example. “LEED Platinum was really just a milestone on the path toward the Living Building Challenge,” says Derrick Singleton, Berea’s vice president of operations and sustainability. To reach these lofty goals, Berea and architects at Hastings+Chivetta focused on creating an integrated design that truly used best practices. After scrutinizing every design detail, the team decided it would go for every petal but

THIS PAGE Much of the wood used in the Deep Green Residence Hall came from local trees logged by Berea students.


Berea students helped survey the project site before construction, agriculture students created plots for the hall’s edible gardens, and educational components were added to educate future students about its environmental mission.


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Whereas LEED required that 75% of recycleable waste be diverted from landfills, the Living Building Challenge required the team to divert all of it. “We’re not looking just for points,” says Richard Dodd, Berea’s capital projects manager. “We didn’t want to let the tail wag the dog.”

EXCLUSIVE EXTRAS Check out more photos of the spaces and systems inside the Deep Green Residence Hall in our iPad edition or at


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“LEED Platinum was really just a milestone toward the Living Building Challenge.” derrick singleton, berea college


Energy—the one category where constraints limited the institution’s chances for full certification. Berea students were involved at various levels of the project in order to provide learning opportunities about sustainable practices while helping establish the residence hall as a building for and by the students. They helped with harvesting wood from Berea College’s forest, built furniture, created artwork, and crafted the building’s iconic sundial, which is based on a quilt pattern popular in the region. When Berea compared its energy and water models to what it was actually achieving during the first eight months of occupancy, the school found it was outperforming its already-aggressive design. And Berea’s campus sustainability coordinators continue to work with students living in Deep Green to measure the space’s impact on how they live, study, and learn. gb&d

BELOW The LEED Platinum residence hall features hand-built wood furniture in its dorm rooms.


Hastings+Chivetta Architects is proud to serve Berea College as designers of the Deep Green Residence Hall. By achieving LEED Platinum certification, Berea is supporting sustainable practices and embracing its commitment to a culture of simple living. Founded in 1960, Hastings+Chivetta provides planning and design services to institutional, educational, and corporate clients throughout the United States.

1220 North Fillmore Street Suite 350 Arlington, VA 22201 p 703.525.6268


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Wabash Tower’s verticality is as much a product of necessity as sustainability. More than 420,000 square feet of programming was desired, yet the university’s mid-block site was a mere 17,000 square feet in size.


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All Together Now roosevelt university’s Wabash Tower in Chicago redefines the student high-rise with forward-thinking and sustainable features


DETAILS hose glancing down from the 31st floor of SCHOOL Roosevelt University the downtown ChicaLocation C  hicago go high-rise on South Completion2012 Wabash Avenue between Certification L  EED Van Buren Street and Gold Congress Parkway are able to Type of structure experience a stunning view of 35-story high-rise Lake Michigan and Grant Park Why it’s notable  that is usually reserved for An integrated vertical tourists, the city’s well-to-do, or particularly adventurous va- campus offers 17 floors of student grants. But here, in Roosevelt housing on top of University’s Wabash Tower, classrooms and that one-of-a-kind amenity is student services available to all students living in the institution’s vertical campus that combines dormitories with classrooms and students services. Student high-rises are not necessarily new to Chicago. Similar buildings were erected in the ’60s and ’70s, though many were subsequently abandoned due to fears that they were isolating for students. This LEED Gold building, however, prioritizes community by incorporating built-in social spaces on each floor. “The project has actually brought the school and its residents together,” says Christopher Groesbeck, one of the principal designers at VOA Associates, the architect responsible for Wabash Tower. “Everyone realizes how unique it is to live downtown and be a part of the city, so if anything, it’s promoted togetherness.” Entering the building, visitors are met with a two-story lobby that leads to five floors dedicated to student life and replete with recreational space, student organization rooms, and a 300-seat cafeteria. Floors OPPOSITE W  abash Tower was built six through thirteen of the adjacent to the university’s Audito469-foot-tall structure are dedrium Building, a historic landmark icated to classrooms, laborathat houses the Auditorium Theatre tories, and offices, but the top and hosts Chicago’s Joffrey Ballet. seventeen floors are home to The building was preserved and more than 600 students living connected to the tower on multiple sky high in 295 private rooms levels, including through the theater and 320 double-occupancy and the Wabash lobby, creating a rooms. complex web of connections. gb&d

THIS PAGE The second-floor cafeteria and student areas are directly in line with Chicago’s ‘L’ track (seen out the window), connecting students to their urban environs. On floors 6-10, ample daylight in classrooms enhances learning (below).

Everything near the bottom of the building is either mechanical, back-of-house space, or windowless. This allowed the student-occupied areas, like classrooms and dormitories, to be up above with access to daylight. This programatic stacking is to thank for pushing the project past LEED Silver certification to Gold. Sustainability runs throughout the complex, with waste used as compost for its roof garden, which in turn generates produce for the cafeteria, creating a cycle that connects the building with its inhabitants. “This isn’t a sustainable building because we achieved LEED Gold,” Groesbeck says. “It’s sustainable because we made it a priority, and we fully integrated it. And much like that integration, this building had to harmonize with the highly visible, iconic skyline and its own historic landmark building, all while creating something new.” gb&d july–august 2014


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Up Front Typology Trendsetters Approach Inner Workings Features Spaces Tough Builds Punch List


38 Victor ‘Trey’ Trahan

The Louisiana native is inspired by the past, present, and future

44 Onion Flats

A quirky Philadelphia firm aims to build an unprecedented Passive House

50 Virge Temme

The Wisconsin architect balances smart design with a local lifestyle

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A R C H I T E C T, E C O L O G I S T, H I S T O R I A N

Victor ‘Trey’ Trahan “I think as architects, we ought to think more about how we build and where we build. And—as hard as this is for us to deal with—if we should build.” Interview by Lindsey Howald Patton


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For an architect who considers all of his work as springing from an exploration of place and a deep well of personal connection, there was perhaps no better building for Victor F. Trahan than one containing the history of his own state. But the founder of New Orleansbased Trahan Architects, who distinguished himself as one of the American South’s most gifted architects with his austere Holy Rosary Catholic Church Complex in 2004, wasn’t about to design a historic revival building with a

gaze toward the past. Instead, the Louisiana State Museum and Sports Hall of Fame, which blends two collections into one curvaceous space in Natchitoches, stands as an expressive testament to Louisiana’s present. Trahan, known to everyone as Trey, grew up in a rural town in the southern part of the state. He has a slow, gentle way of speaking, and we caught up with him recently to learn more about the unexpected ways his contemporary museum pays tribute to the region’s past,


the time he spent as a child building tree houses, and how an understanding of the word “contextual” might be just the beginning. gb&d: You founded Trahan Architects in your home state in 1992 at a pretty young age—you were just 32. When you look back on being a kid, were there any early clues that you were going to be an architect? Victor Trahan: It started as I was growing up in south Louisiana. During the summer, my buddies and I were constantly removing discarded wood and materials from construction sites in the neighborhood adjacent to us and using them to build little cabins and tree houses in the woods behind my house. Looking back, it was probably quite dangerous (laughs). When I decided to open my office, it was about reflecting on those days of responding to nature in a very intuitive way, and yearning for the architectural profession to have a far deeper and richer understanding of connection and context.


gb&d: Now that you’re building things professionally, do you keep any creative hobbies on the side for your free time? Trahan: I’ve become obsessed with understanding ecological systems. For twenty years, I traveled extensively looking for a beautiful, pristine piece of land, and about six years ago, the conservationists Doug and Kris Thompkins—two Americans who have become very good friends of mine—agreed to sell me this extraordinary piece of land in Chile, off Corcovado National Park on the Pacific Ocean. So that’s how I spend my free time: meeting with ecologists and marine biologists and studying this property. gb&d

gb&d: What have you learned? Trahan: Well, for example, one ecologist shared with me that in Antarctica, a few days of sun a year creates conditions that result in algae development under the ice. That gives birth to billions of tons of krill, which the northerly currents take up the west coast of Chile, where they collide with the southerly currents and move into a bay south of Chiloé Island. The krill bring all this stunning marine life to the area—blue whales, orcas, sea lions, and penguins. gb&d: A pretty big impact for just a few days of sun.

ABOVEThe Trahan-designed Louisiana State Museum and Sports Hall of Fame was influenced in part by the historic Natchitoches buildings that surround it.

how we build and where we build. And—as hard as this is for us to deal with—if we should build. gb&d: Let’s talk about your design for the Louisiana State History Museum and Sports Hall of Fame in Natchitoches. It seems like there’s always a tension, in a designated historic district like this one, between engaging with that district’s past while simultaneously engaging with the present and looking toward the future. How did you navigate that?


Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope is proud to have collaborated with Trahan Architects to supply the custom engineered entrances on the Louisiana State Museum and Sports Halls of Fame. These entrance systems were designed to meet the project’s performance requirements as well as accommodate the unique design and structure of this project. The entrances incorporated low iron tempered monolithic glass. To architects, building developers and owners, contractors, and the entire commercial glazing community, Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope is the leading North American supplier of products specified to close the building envelope. They include: custom-engineered curtain wall and window wall, architectural windows, storefront systems, doors, skylights and architectural glass. For more information, visit 

Trahan: Those are the kind of connections I’m fascinated by—how the smallest thing could take place and have an impact not only in an immediate region, but in a place distant from its occurrence. Because of that, I think as architects, we ought to think more about

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“We as humans want control, but the greatest architecture creates an opportunity to engage with unpredictable people and environments.” VICTOR TRAHAN, TRAHAN ARCHITECTS


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PROJECT LOCATION Natchitoches, LA Size 28,000 ft2 Program E  xhibit spaces, classrooms, administrative space Cost $12.6 million AwardsPhiladelphia International Interior Design Association’s People’s Choice Award (2013)

TEAM ARCHITECT Trahan Architects Owner State of Louisiana, Office of Facility, Planning & Control Interior DesignerLauren Bombet Interiors Landscape Architect Reed Hilderbrand Associates MEPFP Engineer Associated Design Group Structural Engineer LBYD Civil Engineer CSRS Geotechnical Engineer GeoConsultants General Contractor VCC BIM Manager/Technology Case Cast Stone Support Steel Engineer David Kufferman Cast Stone Support Steel Geometry and Detailing Method Design Acoustics SH Acoustics WaterproofingWater Management Consultants & Testing


ABOVEShaded by exterior copper louvers, high-performance glazing by Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope allows natural light into the secondfloor terrace without substantial energy loss.


OPPOSITEThe curvaceous, winding interior of the building, created with the help of Advanced Cast Stone, is meant to reference the power and aesthetic of fluvial forces.

CUSTOM ENTRANCES Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope Cast StoneAdvanced Cast Stone RainscreenA2MG Air/Weather Barrier Henry Company Sealants Tremco Roofing Johns Manville Waterproofing A  merican Hydrotech Acoustical Ceilings Armstrong, Hunter Douglas Acoustical SystemsWhisper Walls SkylightsSunshine Rooms LightingBega-Us, Cooper Lighting, Lehigh HVAC McQuay International Elevator K  one Operable Partitions Hufcor Doors The MPI Group, CRL, Algoma Hardwoods, Schweiss Hydraulic Doors Flooring Allegheny Millwork, Shaw Contract Group Tiling Floor Gres Millwork Allegheny Millwork Paints/Finishes Sherwin-Williams Plumbing Fixtures Toto Gypsum National Gypsum Manufactured QuartzDupont Zodiaq Wayfinding ASI Signage Innovations Exhibits Explus


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REINTERPRETING THE PAST The 1776 Tauzin-Wells Home in Natchitoches, said to be the oldest residence west of the Mississippi, provided inspiration as Trahan translated the historic regional vernacular into his design for the town’s new museum.


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REINTERPRETING LOUVERS Louvers, often made of cypress, shaded the front porches of plantation homes. Here, copper louvers throw the familiar gridshaped shadow of a house’s shutters onto the museum’s front elevation. More than an aesthetic touch, this skin helps control ventilation and natural light.

Trahan: Everyone agreed early on that we should elevate the significance of the community’s historic artifacts and buildings. We looked at everything from handmade furniture to some of the early structures around the Cane River Lake. We discussed how those buildings were, at the time, contemporary, forward thinking, and technologically advanced. So we challenged the community to think about creating a piece of architecture that documented who they were at this time for future generations. gb&d: I know you riffed on the vernacular found in historic Creole structures, and in particular the Tauzin-Wells House from 1776. Can you tell me about your first encounter with the Tauzin-Wells House?

gb&d: And on the museum’s exterior, copper louvers reference Louisiana plantation architecture— many years after the Tauzin-Wells House. Trahan: Yes, and we also enjoyed how they reference some of the old Creole barns—where a crib for the storage of grain was embedded within a lighter and more delicate structure. There are still a number of these in the landscape, and over time, as the exterior begins to age, the inner crib is like an old ruin. I enjoy thinking about a thousand years from now, when this building is a ruin, how this complex-shaped cast stone piece will look and feel as the delicate copper frame around it begins to deform. gb&d: If people let it.

Trahan: Well, a few years ago I was driving in the area and came across this building and just knocked on the door. I was interested in bousillage buildings—they’re so expressive, like primitive pottery. You can almost feel and taste the early settlers who constructed their walls. And how green it is: clay extracted from site, moss extracted from site, horsehair extracted from site, cypress timbers extracted from site. All the materials right there on the river’s edge.


gb&d: How did you bring that inspiration into the Louisiana State Museum? Trahan: The interior cast stone of the museum connects with the bousillage—this kind of sculpted, malleable material that is not a veneer but has mass to it. The meandering path formed in the interior thinks about the way that rivers carve and shape and deposit and scour. gb&d

Trahan: I’m hopeful that the state and community will just allow the copper to express itself over hundreds of years. We as humans want control, but the greatest architecture creates an opportunity to engage with unpredictable people and environments. gb&d: In the number of years since you founded Trahan Architects, do you feel that your work has evolved to get closer to your original ideal—of building something that is truly, uniquely born of place? Trahan: I think we have, although there’s always a ways to go on this journey of exploration. It’s about removing layers, like an onion. You peel away a layer, you design, you build, you learn. You reflect on it and you go, “Okay, how do we go further? What’s next?”

REINTERPRETING BOUSILLAGE The primitive material, originally made from clay, horsehair, and moss, is referenced by the organic, hand-shaped mass of the more than 1,000 digitally cast stone panels in the museum’s interior. REINTERPRETING TIMBER

Trahan: In many ways I think I know, and in many ways I don’t have a clue—and I find those equally exciting. I’m fascinated with investigating natural forces and how they shape landscapes, and applying technology to that understanding—whether it’s five-axis robotics, milling machines, robotic arms, or 3-D printing. Not that I care to mimic natural forces with robotics, but rather to artistically reinterpret them to create rich, meaningful spaces. gb&d

Wood timbers provided framework for bousillage. Rich walnut flooring in one of the museum galleries echoes this contrast between organic and inorganic.

gb&d: What is next? july–august 2014



D E S I G N - B U I L D E R , C ATA LY S T

Onion Flats

The quirky Philadelphia firm known for super-green modular housing projects—and for giving them names like Rag Flats, Thin Flats, and E Flats—is currently building the country’s largest Passive House project to date. But forget the distinction. Ridge Flats is really just the latest game changer from a group of passionate builders who call the city home. By Russ Klettke


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In the East Falls neighborhood of Philadelphia is the largest netzero-capable development in America to date, a 126-unit apartment complex under construction at the intersection of Midvale and Ridge avenues. You might think that such an undertaking would require unorthodox building methods and costly materials. But according to Onion Flats, the developer, it required less of a leap than you would think. In fact, minimally tweaking prefabricated building components is the most economical means to meet Passive House standards. Not that Ridge Flats lacks excitement. It has on-trend green features and aesthetics. But it’s the simplicity of factory-built modular construction that is due trumpet fanfare. “Factory construction is a very smart way to build,” says Tim McDonald, president of Onion Flats, the co-developer-architect-builder of the $30 million project. (Grasso Holdings, a Philadelphia firm, is a joint venture partner on the project.) “Passive House construction requires a conscious approach to airtightness, which we did by working with our prefabrication company.” McDonald, whose subsidiary architecture firm designed the project, collaborated with manufacturers on door and window placement and highR-value insulation. The result is a hyper-efficient building envelope. McDonald believes that, in general, it is smarter to adapt existing methods than to create something new altogether. “To make it simple, we started with the methods manufacturers know,” he says, adding that it is also the best way to achieve a competitive costper-square foot. When completed in 2015, the 140,000-square-foot community could easily serve as a gb&d

OPPOSITE R  idge Flats, the latest and largest development from Onion Flats, is the biggest Passive House project in the country. BELOWWith 126 units, roofs covered in photovoltaics, and a location overlooking the city’s Schuylkill River, Ridge Flats distinguishes itself from its surrounding buildings.

model for ultra-sustainable design and construction systems. NO ORDINARY DEVELOPER Ridge Flats is Onion Flats’ largest development to date, following a progression of smaller projects—all green—that McDonald, along with brothers Pat McDonald and Johnny McDonald and partner/architect Howard Steinberg (who is also the company’s CFO), has built since the firm was founded in 1997. In 2012, Onion Flats constructed Pennsylvania’s first certified Passive House development, Belfield Townhomes. The three side-by-side residences were recognized by the Philadelphia chapter of the American Institute of Architects with a Merit Award for design excellence. With other built homes called E Flats, Rag Flats, Capital Flats, Market Flats, Thin Flats, Margarido, Firehouse, and Number 9, it’s clear that this is no ordinary developer. “Onion Flats was a barroom decision,” says Johnny, who is a partner in the company and its con-

struction, architecture, and green roof and solar subsidiaries, known as JIG, Plumbob, and GRASS, respectively. Why all the “Flats”? Johnny says it allows the name to relate to the building’s history. Rag Flats, for instance, sits on the site of a former rag factory, its 11 units referencing several classic Philadelphia housing styles: row houses, trinities (three-story, small-footprint houses), industrial lofts, and pavilions. Thin Flats, in Northern Liberties, is a collection of nine LEED Platinum duplexes and row houses. It employs glass extensively—including on interior walkway “bridges”— and has vegetated roofs. Viewed from the street, Thin Flats reinterprets the row house with staggered vertical columns of glass and steel punctuated with windows, doors, colored panels, and balconies. Capital Flats is named for a former meatpacking plant (Capital Meats) that operated on site for eight decades. The building’s transformation to an eight-unit apart-

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The company is genuinely focused on how its projects perform over the long term. Which may have a lot to do with the fact that the Onion Flats team is mostly native Philadelphians. 46

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ment building was about turning a derelict eyesore into a community asset while preserving some of its nobler history. For this family, which builds green as a matter of course, sustainability goes beyond energy conservation. Onion Flats’ project statement for the Capital project asserts that the team “began Capital Flats with the belief that each and every building in a neighborhood, regardless of its state, has the potential to transform a community. The project, therefore, was not about converting a meatpacking plant into apartments. It was about carving out an opportunity within the discipline of architecture to experiment with modes of building, dwelling, and the communities engendered in both.”

LEFT As is the case with a number of Onion Flats projects, Rag Flats’ name references its history. The 11-unit complex sits atop a site previously occupied by a rag factory. BELOWTwo of Onion Flats’ most visually striking projects include Stable Flats and Thin Flats (bottom).

Green Homes,” sponsored by a consortium assembled by Syracuse University that focused on affordable housing schemes (under $150,000 construction) that marry design and sustainable strategies. The firm’s winning entry was a 1,100-square-foot single-family home that employs passive venting to reduce summer cooling costs. Ridge Flats is being built on land designated for revitalization by the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority. Onion Flats won the opportunity to develop the project through a competitive RFP—which did not specify Passive House standards. “To make it work, we have to achieve the same costs-per-squarefoot as typical construction,” says McDonald, who is a certified Pas-

FOR THE LOVE OF PHILLY Every building constructed by the Onion Flats team of developers, architects, and builders has distinct green features and is often LEED Gold or Platinum certified. But they do this with nuance, striving not to create green buildings, per sé, but to use “intelligent approaches to the way in which buildings manage their own resources and create communities that sustain themselves,” McDonald says. In other words, the company is genuinely focused on how its projects perform over the long term. Which may have a lot to do with the fact that the Onion Flats team and its employees are mostly native Philadelphians—and the fact that the company houses development, design, and construction in a single enterprise. Pat lives in Rag Flats. Tim lives in Thin Flats. It seems to be a package deal. Onion Flats was one of three winners of a 2009 competition, “From the Ground Up: Innovative gb&d

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PROJECT LOCATION Philadelphia Size 100,000 ft2 (residential), 9,000 ft2 (retail) Completion 2  015 (expected) Program R  esidential and retail

TEAM DEVELOPERS Onion Flats, Grasso Holdings Design-Build O  nion Flats OwnerPhiladelphia Redevelopment Authority Civil Engineer Stantec MEP Engineer D  CM Architecture and Engineering

GREEN CERTIFICATION Passive House (expected) Envelope Triple-pane windows and doors, super-insulated interior and exterior, airtight construction, passive solar design Water Low-flow fixtures and faucets Energy 90% reduction in energy use, 500kW photovoltaic array, in-unit monitors, public art project to visualize energy use Site Located near biking and running trails and public transit


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sive House consultant. As Pat told a Philadelphia newspaper, “You should not have to pay more for a house that is LEED certified.” THE PROOF IS IN THE PASSIVE Investors sign on to an Onion Flats project with a pragmatic—some might say skeptical—perspective. “They ask us to prove our claim of lowered operating costs,” McDonald says. “They want to see that we’re developing a type of building that is genuinely more cost effective. That’s why Passive House is so appropriate. Insulation and a tight envelope are ‘cheap as chips,’ as Passive House consultant and certifier Tomas O’Leary of the Passive House Academy puts it. We’re putting the least amount of money into achieving the best outcome.” Although Ridge Flats will be a market-rate rental apartment complex, charging $1,300 to $2,000 per month for one- and two-bedroom units, future tenants may not all own cars. The building’s location allows for alternative transportation via commuter rail, bus, car-share services, and bicycling (there is a 62-space bike-parking facility on site). In response, the

BELOW Ridge Flats will feature less car parking than is typically required by zoning law. The developer is targeting a younger demographic more likely to ride a bicycle or take public transportation.

developers have zoning approval for a reduction in the number of parking spaces (less than one car per unit). Ridge Flats also will provide electric charging ports for electric vehicles. Much of what makes this development green enhances the experience of living in it. It is pedestrian-oriented, at the terminus of a city park system along the Schuylkill River. A second-level courtyard will feature native plants, irrigated with water captured on site. Referencing Philadelphia’s vernacular of front-entrance stoops, residents will enter homes through exterior circulation platforms (i.e. no enclosed hallways). Solar arrays and green roofs top off all tiers of the multibuilding complex. The fact that this is a rental development also answers housing trends. The number of US households that own their residences has declined in the past eight years, from more than 69 percent in 2006 to 64 percent today, with the highest concentration of renters falling under age 45. Green features such as bike storage and renewable


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energy are part of the marketing package. “Sustainability matters to at least some of them,” Johnny says. “But most renters are drawn first to aesthetics”—illustrating, perhaps, that marketing energy-efficient housing can be as nuanced as building it. “Design is as important as energy conservation,” McDonald says. “But it has to be an inspiring place to live. It has to have good light, inviting spaces, with circulation that fosters community interaction.” This, in combination with low- to non-existent energy costs, is what makes this particular Passive House project a game changer in Philadelphia and beyond. gb&d

72 East Market St. Middleburg, PA 17842 Phone: 800-837-4552 Fax 570-837-6133

ABOVE The second-level courtyard of Ridge Flats features a variety of native plants irrigated by water collected on site.

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A R C H I T E C T, W R I T E R , F O O D I E

Virge Temme “My life philosophy is that we’re here to learn and to contribute beneficial acts. I want the homes I design to reflect that, to be thoughtful and beneficial.” Interview by Christopher James Palafox

gb&d: Today, you’re an accomplished architect with a passion for sustainability. You just completed a LEED Platinum home and have created many others that are leaders in energy efficiency. What first drew you to green building? Virge Temme: In 1992, I worked at the Army Corp of Engineers while going to grad school. I was part of a team that designed a fully sustainable neighborhood in Texas for one of the military bases. Through that experience, I learned about climate-specific design. When I finished, all I could think was, “Why isn’t everybody doing this?” When I started my practice in Door County, Wisconsin, I wanted to make sure that the homes I designed were environmentally responsible. gb&d: Can you pinpoint any influences on how you approach design? Temme: I had the great privilege of being a student assistant for one of the world’s leading authorities on Japanese architecture, Botond Bognar. The Japanese approach design from the basis of impacting the senses—creating spaces that influence your mood and provide balance and harmony. When I design any project, I start with understanding the inhabitants’ lifestyle—what elevates their own unique senses.

BIOGRAPHY VIRGE TEMME Temme founded Virge Temme Architecture in Sturgeon Bay, WI, in 1999. Today, she practices out of her home in scenic Door County, WI. She is an active member of the USGBC and the Passive House Alliance. In terms of square feet, her house is smaller than her garden.


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gb&d: What would you say is your design philosophy?


Temme: I design both for the senses and a lower impact on the Earth. My life philosophy is that we’re here to learn and to contribute beneficial acts. I want the homes I design to reflect that, to be thoughtful and beneficial. gb&d: You’re practicing what you preach with your own home. Why is that important? Temme: I use my home as a teaching tool. People who visit my home cannot believe that it’s actually only 1,800 square feet, because it feels much larger. I walk people through spaces that are completely furnished so they can easily see that they don’t need as much space as they thought. gb&d: Besides living in an Earth-friendly home, what do you do to live a green lifestyle? Temme: I’m a big supporter of the local food movement. I have a 2,000-square-foot vegetable garden and an edible landscape. Much of the food we eat is out of our backyard. I also started the Hundred Mile Food Challenge in Door County. Fourteen families committed to eating only food grown within a hundred-mile radius for one year. We raised the consciousness about local farmers. In fact, the University of Wisconsin Extension office reported that during that year, farmers’ local sales increased by over twenty percent because of the added exposure. gb&d: Besides eating more responsibly, what else can people do if they want to minimize their impact or live more consciously? Temme: We can affect the environment through many small gb&d

ABOVE The Virge Temme-designed Ithaca home in Wisconsin, uses Passive House strategies and is LEED Platinum certified.

actions, like whether we recycle or how many unnecessary items we purchase. I find I rarely buy anything spontaneously anymore. The vehicles we drive also have a large impact. I drive a Prius that gets 50 miles per gallon, and my Honda Phantom motorcycle gets 60. Five years ago, I moved my office back home because I was commuting 25 miles every day to go to my office, which needlessly put about four tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere every year. gb&d: What allows you to work from home? Temme: Our rural area got highspeed Internet about five years ago, which enabled me to work from home. And technology has improved to the point that my office is virtually paperless, so I need much less space. gb&d: You also advocate for a sustainable lifestyle outside of your practice and home. Can you speak a little on that?

Temme: A few years ago, I started writing a bimonthly column for the local newspaper to inform people what was going on in green architecture. Although I became too busy with my practice to continue the column, it transformed into a regular “green lifestyle” feature that still exists today and is positively affecting the community. gb&d: Let’s talk about recent projects. Ithaca, Double Scoop, and Lake Farm—how do these homes exemplify your work? Temme: Ithaca earned LEED Platinum, but all three follow the template of LEED for Homes. They were all modeled using Passive House software, are near-Passive House levels in performance, and are prepped for PV electric and solar domestic water. These strategies have become mainstays in nearly all my designs. gb&d: What advice do you have for people who are looking to build more sustainably? july–august 2014



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TOP Readying homes for photovoltaics and solar domestic water has become the norm for all of Temme’s residential projects. ABOVEEconomizing space and designing to inhabitants’ lifestyles also are constant priorities for Temme, who primarily works in Wisconsin.

Temme: The single most important thing a homeowner can do is create the best possible building envelope. Install the most energy-efficient windows the budget will allow, maximize insulation, eliminate thermal bridging, and seal everything well. It’s equally important to work with a builder who understands why this is important and knows how to properly carry it through. This will reduce energy bills and allow for upgrades in other areas if desired. gb&d: From a holistic perspective, what is the important takeaway from your work in sustainable design? Temme: Education is pivotal and primary for my clients, builders, and myself. Keeping current on changing studies in green technology is key. There’s also a field of study called environmental psychology that I try to keep abreast of, which is the overlapping of human psychology with nature. When I decide to retire from full-time practice in 10 years, there are a couple of books that I’ve been fleshing out in my mind about this subject that I’m hoping to write. gb&d A MESSAGE FROM INTUS WINDOWS

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Up Front Typology Trendsetters Approach Inner Workings Features Spaces Tough Builds Punch List


54 Elegant Green Living

Inside the latest apartments from Essex Property Trust

55 Raising the Bar

Facey Medical Group goes for gold

56 A College Town, from Scratch

The sustainable vision behind Storrs Center, CT


58 Green Light for Modern Design

CR Forma completes a sustainable residence in Tulsa

60 Documenting a Future Home

A next-gen residence from Mike Rosen

62 O’Hare Breaks Ground

Aeroterm helps green the airport’s Northeast Cargo Center

64 Pushing the Envelope

Moreland on Trapp reflects an ecofriendly lifestyle and a simpler time BUILD

66 NOVA Building Continues Trend

A new Arts and Sciences building is one of six ongoing LEED projects

68 National Guard Goes for Gold

In Minnesota, an attention-getting maintenance facility

69 Empowering Facility Managers

IFMA’s SFP program inspires leaders

70 LEED Comes to Oklahoma


An auto dealership sets new standards

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Essex delivers elegant green living  The West Coast developer turns to a revised LEED standard as it hones its approach to building sustainable, wood-framed apartments For Palo Alto, California-based Essex Property Trust, there’s no place like home—especially if that home is in an apartment building. The publicly traded S&P 400 real estate investment trust, or REIT, acquires, develops, and manages large, multiunit communities and specializes in supply-constrained markets. The company has more than 30,000 apartment units in approximately 163 multifamily properties strictly along on the West Coast, from San Diego to Seattle. “Other people try to take on too much


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and move to other areas, and expand constantly,” says Jeff Lambert, the company’s senior vice president charged with running all new construction projects and acting as development manager. “But the stock market is continually rewarding us for not trying to oversize or overgrow and just stay in these markets.” Although sustainability has been a concern for Essex since its inception, the company’s fiduciary responsibility to its stockholders means that it has to do the best it can within constrained budgets;

without enough long-term, return-on-investment data, it has been difficult to justify additional costs. Fortunately for Essex, the two states in which it primarily works, California and Washington, have placed sustainable construction in the limelight, making it mandatory through tighter energy codes. The increased scrutiny has made achieving LEED certification far easier to reach. Essex previously has employed the GreenPoint Rated system for projects in California and Built Smart for projects in Seattle because those certifications are more friendly to wood-frame construction, Essex’s preferred way to build. But with recent changes to LEED for Homes for mid-rise buildings, Essex is fully embracing the rating system. “We do projects from the 150-unit range,” Lambert says, “but it’s usually closer to the 200 mark, and at that quantity, every little thing you do becomes a multiplier.” Concentrating on such large projects means every aspect must be closely dissected. It’s not installing a system—it’s installing a system 200 times. As both developer and manager, Essex analyzes both up-front and operational costs, weighing them against what tenants expect from their properties. Sustainability, however, is attractive to Essex, which will own the building over the long term. Particularly big items like HVAC systems become major challenges because such decisions are nearly impossible to take back. Lambert says that to reach Essex’s desired SEER levels, he mostly employs highefficiency, ductless systems, saving both energy and space. The firm has learned a lot through trial and error, including how to balance sustainable additions with a positive impact on the bottom line. “Getting through the energy model is the most difficult aspect,” Lambert says. But with the introductions of so many green products in the recent past, Lambert and his firm have




MOSSO APARTMENTS (above) Comprising two buildings called Mosso One and Mosso Two for a total of 463 units, this 400,000-square-foot San Francisco project is hoping to achieve LEED Gold certification. Both buildings are nine stories tall, with matching glass and aluminum curtainwalls and interiors that employ recycled and local materials. This is Essex’s first project in San Francisco, and, when it broke ground in June 2012, was also the company’s first LEED project for Type 1 construction. Not just meeting, but surpassing California’s Title 24 required the help of general contractor Webcor, who also served as the project’s LEED consultant. EXPO APARTMENTS (opposite) This 275-unit mixed-use project in downtown Seattle contains a combination of town homes, apartments, and retail adjacent to entertainment hub Seattle Center. LEED consultant O’Brien & Company walked Essex through every step of managing the design and going down the LEED scorecard. A shining example of the company’s current work, this LEED Gold development includes reserved spots for fuel-efficient vehicles, green roof decks, and low-VOC finishes. With a mix of brick, Tisdale metal paneling, and Swisspearl and metal balconies, Essex hopes to upend any notion that affordable green construction lacks elegant finishes.

seen their building processes become increasingly smoother as they become more accustomed to them. Essex begins by going through a checklist in the design phase of what materials are going to be used and what elements are needed to make an appealing apartment. The design-development phase determines which building rating system will be used so that all consultants know whether to approach the building through the LEED lens or something like GreenPoint. The company’s ultimate goal is to create a product that appeals to its tenant base. In its high-demand areas, such as Seattle, Lambert finds that the clientele is more well-versed in environmental subject matter than ever before. Creating apartments that appeal to that demographic is a top concern and, therefore, aligns with sustainability; LEED not only helps Essex as a building manager, but also is a major selling point for future tenants. By building more responsibly, with responsible products, the company hopes to create a healthy lifestyle that appeals to both the sustainability specialist and the neophyte. gb&d —Christopher James Palafox gb&d

SoCal clinic raises the bar for health facilities  Facey Medical Group’s LEED Gold building in Mission Hills, CA, surpasses its sustainability goals with innovative systems and design In 2013, Facey Medical Group opened a $32.6 million, 124,059-square-foot clinic in Mission Hills, California, on the coast north of Los Angeles. The project became Southern California’s first medical office building larger than 120,000 square feet to receive LEED Gold certification. The key to surpassing the original goal of LEED Silver? Technology. A building automation system tracks energy consumption in real time, accounting for the electrical, gas, water, and irrigation systems. Using a combination of energy-efficient fixtures, aluminum windows with shades,

and daylighting, the facility is 23 percent more efficient than the national standard. Lighting plays a large role in that efficiency. Daylight sensors turn off light fixtures closest to windows when enough natural light is coming through, and occupancy sensors turn off lights in a space when it is not being used. To improve indoor air quality, the team selected indoor plants from a list developed by NASA to remove pollutants from the air and improve breathing. For instance, an evergreen perennial known as mother-in-law tongue (sansevieria trifasciata) removes nitrogen oxide and formaldehyde from the air. The addition of a green cleaning policy ensures little odor and noise. Automatic chemical dispensers mix and dispense cleaning products, and automated scrubbing machines with DETAILS variable-speed feed LOCATION pumps and on-board Mission Hills, CA chemical metering Size 124,059 ft2 optimize the use of Completion2013 green cleaning fluids. Certification Recycling and LEED Gold reuse also were ProgramMedical offices and clinic important. Facey Cost $  32.6 million Medical Group Client F  acey retained asphalt and Medical Group concrete from the Design-Build site’s former building  rdman Co. E Developer Pacific Medical Buildings

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200 59% New trees planted after construction

Water savings compared to baseline

and used it as fill material for the new asphalt. Nearly 25 percent of building materials, by value, were manufactured using recycled materials, and Facey Medical Group diverted 95 percent of construction waste from landfill. The facility’s parking lot slopes toward 14 porous concrete sections that filter rainwater before it is directed into the city’s system. These filtration points are composed of five layers: porous concrete, aggregate base, woven filter fabric, filter material, and perforated PVC wrapped in filter fabric. They treat 90 percent of rainfall, removing 80 percent of total suspended solids. All landscaping—including 200 new trees—was done entirely with native plants and decorative mulch rather than grass. The drip irrigation system uses ground-moisture sensors to water plants only when the soil has become too dry, reducing water consumption by 59 percent compared to baseline. The hot California climate also increases the heat island effect, so in order to minimize impacts on microclimates and human and wildlife habitats, Facey Medical Group installed reflective roofing on 81 percent of its roof. To education staff and visitors, signs explain how the building is reducing its impact on the environment. Water bottle-filling stations on every floor provide filtered water to discourage the use of disposable bottles, and interactive walls located on each floor let visitors see real-time information about energy consumption. Visitors might also learn that the facility was built with materials that minimize negative health impacts. Zero-VOC paints by Dunn Edwards were used throughout the building, and you won’t find urea-formaldehyde resins in any laminate adhesives. “Mission Hills is Facey’s flagship location, and we really thought a lot about what this building meant to us,” says Tracy Takeyama, the strategy and planning project manager for Facey


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Medical Group. “It was important for us to say that not only are we caring for people’s health, but we’re also caring for the health of our buildings.” gb&d —Julie Schaeffer

How to build a college town from scratch  Storrs Center near the University of Connecticut campus represents a once-in-a-lifetime project for architect Rainer Muhlbauer Very few architects can say they built a college town from scratch; it would be the project of a lifetime. But it is an achievement Rainer Muhlbauer can safely add to his list of accomplishments. Muhlbauer is BL Companies’ director of architecture, and in 2001, the architecture, engineering, environmental, and land-surveying firm began working on what would become Storrs Center, a onemillion-square-foot mixed-use village in Mansfield, Connecticut, adjacent to the University of Connecticut campus. What it offers was missing before. “When I first moved to Connecticut, I visited the UConn campus,” Muhlbauer says. “It was totally isolated. It felt like it was in the middle of nowhere. There was no ‘there’ there. When the developer, Leyland Alliance, said they had a vision to provide a town center next to the University of Connecticut campus, we partnered with them and worked together with the city of Mansfield and UConn to make this a reality.”

It wouldn’t happen overnight. The project has taken more than 10 years, and the public-private partnership has used $25 million in taxpayer money. Phase one, completed in 2012, encompasses residential units, including approximately 290 studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom, and three-bedroom apartments in a planned community of pedestrian walkways and green spaces. The past two years have shown Storrs Center to be wildly successful; all retail spaces and apartments have been leased. The 17-acre project’s sustainable attributes were mapped out early on when the design team created design guidelines based on LEED standards but customized to meet the specific objectives of Storrs Center. The goal was to make the space compact and walkable with little disturbance to natural features. All of the materials used were sourced within 500 miles, and many feature recycled content. All paints, caulking, and sealants were low or no VOC, and floor finishes were formaldehyde free. Partner Energy, from El Segundo, California, conducted an extensive study of HVAC equipment, and as a result, the new buildings use natural-gas heating and high-efficiency cooling, as well as LED lighting. A storm-water-management system collects rainwater and distributes it to tree wells along sidewalks and newly created hiking trails. Why people are flocking to Storrs Center is no surprise. It offers the best of both worlds: an urban feel with restaurants and shops within walking distance, as well as small-town quaintness with a picturesque setting and a focus on the natural landscape. “We wanted the area to feel like it belonged to pedestrians,” Muhlbauer says of the importance of walkability. “There’s curbside parking with meters, as well as a parking garage tucked behind the mixed-use buildings, with the idea being to promote walking and biking and leave the car behind.”


“Things are changing for the better. A generation ago, sustainability wasn’t even discussed in school. Now, it’s something young people come to expect.” Rainer Muhlbauer, BL Companies

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FINEMAN The idea that so many young people will spend some of their most formative years in what is essentially a wholly sustainable town is not lost on Muhlbauer. “Things are changing for the better,” he says. “A generation ago, sustainability wasn’t even discussed in school. Now, it’s something young people come to expect. I imagine that if Storrs Center was built without incorporating any sustainable features, there would have been much less interest and community support—and that’s not a bad thing. It’s good that there are now expectations around sustainability.” In fact, the local community was an integral part of Storrs Center. Public meetings during the planning phase brought input from the public that was incorporated into the design. “Without the community’s involvement, this wouldn’t have been as successful,” Muhlbauer says, adding that he is proud to have taken part in something that will go down in BL Companies history as a true milestone. “This is the kind of project all architects and engineers aspire to,” he says. “Who gets to work on something like this from scratch? I can only hope that we’ll get the opportunity to work on something like this again.” gb&d —Tina Vasquez gb&d

ABOVEStorrs Center is visibly pedestrian friendly. Less visible is the storm-water system, which collects rainwater and distributes it to tree wells along sidewalks and newly created hiking trails.

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PROJECT LOCATION Tulsa, OK Size 6,500 ft2 Completion 2012 Architect CR Forma ProgramSingle-family home, two master suites, detached three-car garage

MIXED MATERIALITY To blend with Tulsa’s Art Deco and mid-century modern housing stock, Aaron Rogers incorporated similar lines, proportions, and materials where possible, including large overhangs and rocky walls. The stained-cypress, ventilated rainscreen contrasts and softens the stonework and stucco and ties in with the wood fencing and gates.

 With Place41, CR Forma becomes the go-to for sustainable residences in Tulsa Some folks say that new ideas come to Tulsa slowly, starting at the coasts and filtering inland, and that’s generally been true of sustainable home design. Tulsa’s urban landscape is dotted with Art Deco and mid-century modern homes, precious few with contemporary, energy-efficient features. Aaron Rogers, who founded Tulsa design-build firm CR Forma in 2008, is changing that reputation. “Tulsa is fairly conservative in many aspects, including the architecture,” he says. “People here haven’t really gotten to the point where they are willing to spend


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the money for those types of features.” The few Oklahomans who are looking for new energy-efficient homes can look to CR Forma. The owners of Place41, CR Forma’s newest addition to the Tulsa landscape, share Rogers’s passion for responsible building and wanted a home with sustainable materials, sophisticated amenities, and a stately aspect. “They wanted a modern home that would be efficient to operate and to live in, with virtually no exterior maintenance, which created a challenge for us,” Rogers says. “There is very little available land in mid-

USER FRIENDLY The courtyard pool and integrated spa create a focal point for the house. Berms, low-maintenance bamboo plantings, and a 48-inch wall screen the pool area from neighbors and help fulfill a request for hassle-free landscaping.


A green light for contemporary design

town Tulsa and very little inventory for people looking for a truly modern home.” “We had to come up with ways to create clean, modern design in a cost-effective way,” Rogers continues, “so we tried to creatively customize many design and construction elements that were not available from conventional suppliers.” For instance, a local cabinetmaker mimicked expensive European sliding doors that the client loved—with hidden hardware and no visible hinges—for a third of the cost.

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The doors are solid-core birch veneer with a custom stain to match the cabinetry. The 6,500-square-foot residence is located on a two-acre site in mid-town Tulsa; an existing 6,000-square-foot home was razed for the new home, which is set back on the property for privacy and passive solar alignment. The main floor, designed to ADA requirements, features two master suites for the owner and his aging parents and includes space for a future elevator. Large glass walls border the main living areas, overlooking a rear courtyard pool and spa and blurring the line between indoors and outdoors. Outside, monolithic walls and layered stonework provide privacy and security and create the appearance of a larger home. gb&d —Mary Beth Rohde

The future will be televised  Tended by Mike Rosen and Ty Pennington, green building continues to grow in Florida  The pair’s new show will detail the construction of a state-of-the-art residence

ALTERNATIVE ENERGY Radiant heating is used in areas likely to feel cooler in winter, such as bathroom floors, master bath shower walls, and the kitchen. Large, steel-framed windows, which create a bright interior and reduce reliance on artificial light, provide passive solar heating in winter months.


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A Web series starring Ty Pennington of Extreme Home Makeover and architect Mike Rosen is documenting the demolition of an outdated and inefficient house in Florida and the building of its replacement, an environmentally sensitive and technologically state-of-the-art green home. The project, called the First to the Future Home, is a collaboration between Rosen, NextGen Home TV, and Martin Architectural Group. A pioneer in green building since the early 1980s and, until recently, the director of Martin Architectural Group’s Green

This home’s walls can withstand hurricane debris hurtling at 130 miles per hour.

Studio, Rosen has played a major role in the innovation and development of sustainable design and construction technologies for more than 30 years. Now the market leader of the Green Studio at BSB Design, Rosen will use his experience in the development of this 21st-century residence. The team is making full use of practices that were something of a hard sell 10 years ago but have become more standard today. The house also will serve as a showcase and pilot project for even newer technologies, some still in R&D. The most basic elements of a sustainable home are a tight envelope and efficient systems. From the metal, Decra shingle roof down, the house goes far beyond what is required by Florida’s prescriptive building codes for energy efficiency. “This house is going to be off the charts,” Rosen says, “beyond the locally mandated regulations, simply because of the way it’s being put together and the systems we’re using.” The most obvious factors affecting home construction in Florida are sun and weather events—specifically, hurricanes. Rosen’s walls will be able to withstand windborne debris

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LOCATION Palm Coast, FL Size5,000 ft2 Completion 2  014 (expected) Program Single-family residence

ARCHITECT Mike Rosen, BSB Design Project Manager NextGen Home Experience, Ty Pennington Construction Manager Palm West Home Builders Mechanical Consultant Mike Morello Inc. Structural Engineer Tajmir-Davis & Associates Engineering

CERTIFICATION NextGen High Performance Diamond Level Designation WaterSolar-thermal and tankless hot water, low-flow plumbing fixtures Energy 5,000 kW photovoltaic system, LED lighting

“Today’s energy costs are going to pay for the systems in as little as three years, whereas it used to be seven to twelve.” Mike Rosen, BSB Design

ting them at 130 miles per hour, and his windows will withstand a two-by-four-foot projectile at 60 miles per hour. Solar panels will generate power. One particularly unique feature of the home is a band of SageGlass that runs the entire perimeter of the roof, where it meets the wall. The glass contains nanoparticles that can be manipulated by remote control, making the glass turn from transparent to completely opaque at the flick of a switch. Other innovative features of the home include its use of iModules and a Corewall, both developed by Rosen and genuinely groundbreaking in the construction of not only single-family and multifamily homes, but also townhouses and high-rises. The iModule is a self-contained, standalone unit that can function singularly as a one-room house. In fact, one will be delivered to the site of First to the Future Home and be used as a dwelling there. As the house is being stick framed, modules will be added until the original studio becomes a two-story, five-bedroom home.


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iModules also are low-cost, ready solutions for temporary, emergency housing, or could be “plopped in the backyard for a mother-in-law or returning student,” Rosen says. A Corewall is similarly self-contained but houses all of the home’s mechanical systems. The single-wall solution centralizes equipment and makes it easily accessible for maintenance or repair, or even complete replacement. All of this has led to encouraging changes in the costs associated with building efficiently. “We’ve come a long way in terms of manufacturers putting products out there that are sustainable and green but don’t cost more,” Rosen says. “Five years ago, you had to pay a premium for low-VOC paint or carpet, but now they’re readily available and competitive, pricewise.” Other energy- and resource-saving features that have become virtually mainstream: low-flow toilets and LED bulbs. But some sustainable features still come at a higher initial cost, especially renewable energy systems, whether wind, solar, or geothermal. Rosen urges homebuilders and buyers to consider the point at which that cost is recouped. He says the return on investment has become considerably more compelling within just the past few years. “Today’s energy costs are going to pay for the systems in as little as three years,” he says, “whereas it used to be seven to twelve.” “Another thing that needs to happen,” he continues, “is that banks and appraisal organizations need to get on board. A net-zero house with utility bills that are extremely low, if not zero, is a credit that should be factored into purchase and resale.” Rosen says such an evolution in how the industry finances and appraises new homes would be a huge step forward. “[This is] the argument I give my clients for sustainability,” Rosen says. “If your payback is so greatly reduced, why wouldn’t you build green?” gb&d —Brian Justice

Chicago O’Hare continues to break ground  When completed in 2018, the airport’s new cargo center will be the largest built in North America in a decade  LEED and local sustainable guidelines help raise the bar for similar facilities Sustainability has crept its way into every type of building, including airports. As the executive vice president of acquisitions and development for Aeroterm, Erin Gruver knows this better than most. Specializing in modernizing and improving airport facilities, Aeroterm has built an impressive portfolio throughout the past 35 years, and as sustainability has gained a foothold with airports themselves, it has become a priority for Aeroterm as well. “There’s no denying the cost benefits of being sustainable, and obviously, it’s good for the environment,” Gruver says. Aeroterm, which The cargo center has completed work is following both at 35 airports across LEED and SAM the United States guidelines to reduce waste.

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“There’s no overstating the significance of this project. It’s unprecedented.” Erin Gruver, Aeroterm

Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel attends the cargo center’s groundbreaking in 2013.

and Canada (the company was founded in Montreal), is currently working on a game-changing project, one that will assist in generating hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of jobs for the city of Chicago. In late 2013, Gruver and his team, along with mayor Rahm Emanuel, broke ground on a new 840,000-square-foot cargo facility at O’Hare International Airport. The $200 million project, officially known as the Northeast Cargo Center, will be LEED certified. Going into the project, Aeroterm took a distinctive approach: focusing on how to decrease the cargo center’s energy consumption. As a result, the facility, being built in three phases with a projected completion date in 2018, will include green features not typically used in air cargo centers: a vegetated roof, energy-efficient fixtures, access to mass transit, and measures that will help reduce storm-water runoff. Recycling is also taking place during construction. “We want to obtain as high a LEED certification as possible, while being very conscious of the costs,” Gruver says. “We had to be very competitive with the costs in an environment that is already very competitive. That was the great challenge, that balance between the most sustainability possible and the cost.” The cargo center also will conform to the Chicago Department of Aviation’s Sustainable Airport Manual (SAM) guidelines. SAM incorporates and tracks sustainability in administrative procedures; design and construction; operations and maintenance; and concessions and tenants. The goal of the manual is to guide the implementation of sustainability initiatives at O’Hare, providing insight on how to build and operate green airports. “The center will have 15 aircraft positions and will be able to accommodate Boeing 747-8 freighters,” Gruver says. “This is important because this is one of the most fuel-efficient aircrafts, which means that not only will the facility be sustainable, but it will host aircrafts that are


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more environmentally friendly.” Once completed, the center will be the largest airside cargo project developed in North America in the last decade—a historical achievement for Chicago and O’Hare, as well as for Aeroterm. The importance is not lost on Gruver. “There’s no overstating the significance of this project,” he says. “It’s unprecedented. We’ve been doing this a long time, and we continue to get better with every project we complete, so we’re bringing everything we know to this. It will be state of the art.” gb&d —Tina Vasquez

Simple design pushes the envelope  Architect Randall Moreland’s unique Miami home is low-tech but highly sustainable Randall Moreland practices what he preaches, as evidenced by his net-zero-energy personal residence, which will seek LEED Platinum certification when completed this summer. “It’s an outflow of how my wife and I want to live our lives,” says Moreland, the owner of Miami-based Moreland Architecture + Sustainable Design. “All of those sustainable buzzwords you hear aren’t really buzzwords to us—they’re our day-to-day.” Moreland always wanted to design his own home—“I think it’s every architect’s dream,” he says—and in considering the idea over the years, he became more and more interested in making that home

sustainable. When Moreland married, that desire became a necessity. “My wife and I have congruent values in that we’re both recyclers, walkers, bikers, and transit users, so a sustainable home is a natural outgrowth of how we live our lives,” he says. The challenge was finding that home. Moreland and his wife spent a year and a half looking for a house to buy, but when they couldn’t find anything that fit their needs, they decided to expand their search to lots with the potential for renovation or teardown. “We got lucky with this lot,” Moreland says. “It’s close to transit, walkable to the downtown core, and near the water and parks.” The goal was to design and build a vernacular structure. “We looked back to how houses were built before the advent of air-conditioning and … took a low-tech approach,” he says of the house, which is built in the Florida cracker style and uses operable windows, vaulted ceilings, and a chimney effect augmented by reversible high-volume-low-speed (HVLS) fans to provide natural ventilation. “We can open all the windows on the bottom floor and spin the fan backwards to draw cool air up and exhaust it out a clerestory window on the second level,” Moreland says. When finished, the 3,400-square-foot home, which the architect calls Moreland on Trapp, will have a number of other sustainable features: two dozen 270-watt photovoltaic panels with micro-inverters, two solar-thermal panels for domestic hot water, a solar-thermal pool-heating system, an 825-gallon rainwater-collection tank, and a native south Florida landscape with no turf grass and no irrigation system. The biggest challenge, Moreland says, was using insulating concrete forms (ICFs) in a unique way. Typically, ICFs have foam exteriors with concrete poured in the middle. That creates a problem in hurricane-prone regions, however, because the foam does not take impact well and the finish can crack. Concrete provides a

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“My wife and I are both recyclers, walkers, bikers, and transit users, so a sustainable home is a natural outgrowth of how we live our lives.” Randall Moreland, Moreland Architecture + Sustainable Design

much better substrate to resist impact, so Moreland eliminated the foam insulation on the outside of the forms. “Nobody had done that in the city of Miami, so the building department had a lot of questions, and we had issues trying to get it built,” Moreland says. Another hurdle was the roof, for which Moreland struggled to obtain city approval. Miami-Dade County provides notices of acceptance (NOAs) as confirmation of hurricane impact for any product used on the exterior of a home, from windows to roofing materials. A third party does rigid testing to provide the NOA, which exists for most standard assemblies. But no NOA existed for Moreland’s roofing assembly. “In Miami, standing seam metal roofs are typically attached to plywood sheathing on wood trusses, not concrete,” he says. “It’s a stronger connection, but we had to do our own third-party calculations in order to get it approved.” When he completes it, Moreland projects that the home will use less electricity than it produces, not only raising the bar for new homes in Miami, but representing the achievement of one architect’s longheld dream. gb&d —Julie Schaeffer The goal for Moreland on Trapp was a vernacular home that relies on natural ventilation techniques common to Florida before the days of air-conditioning.




Gallons held in the home’s rainwater collection tank


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Academic building reflects commitment to sustainability  Northern Virginia Community College’s new high-tech Arts and Sciences Building is one of six LEED projects in the works Five years ago, the Commonwealth of Virginia issued an executive order that all new state construction and major renovations would be designed to LEED Silver standards. As a state agency, Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) is following this executive order but also is committed to surpassing it. NOVA has had a College Environmental Committee since 2007, which, as of 2012, is now supported by full-time sustainability coordinator Rob Johnson in order to not only reduce its carbon footprint, but also to increase education and awareness of sustainability and LEED. As Virginia’s largest state-owned institution of higher education, NOVA


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administrators and faculty knew it was important to remain relevant and keep the college attractive to prospective students. “In many respects, we are leaders in the world of community colleges,” says Dan Wells, NOVA’s director of capital projects. “We need to be a leader in all fields, including sustainability.” With three buildings already LEED certified—one reaching Gold status—the college wanted to keep the momentum growing. The 84,000-square-foot Arts and Sciences Building on the Woodbridge Campus is NOVA’s newest building. Completed in August 2013, the building includes a cafeteria, black-box theater, library, art labs, science labs, classrooms, and faculty offic-

NOVA’s one-year-old Arts and Sciences Building has 84,000 square feet of LEED Gold facilities, including a library, theater, cafeteria, labs, and offices.

es. As one of just three campus buildings with geothermal wells, it is also expected to achieve LEED Gold certification. The building also employs an energy dashboard by Lucid, a rainwater cistern, and two green roofs. On the top floor, the interior spaces, which are primarily windowless science labs, take advantage of solar tubes—a first for the institution. The entire building runs on a central, computerized light-control system. To reinforce its function as an educational institution, the building has sustainability placards displayed throughout to explain features of the building to students and faculty. For those who want to go more in depth, the school also offers courses related to sustainability, including classes on efficient HVAC and geothermal systems. In fact, two miniature geothermal wells were installed in the labs specifically to serve as teaching tools for technicians and students. The Arts and Sciences building has prompted NOVA to copy its success with the under-construction Workforce Development Center. The building, dedicated to NOVA’s community-oriented non-credit programming, is expected to open in mid-2015 and employs geothermal wells, light wells, and green roofs. Inside, a large meeting room with 1,200 to 1,500 seats can be subdivided to accommodate trade shows, corporate meetings, or large training events. As a community college, Number NOVA’s tuition is roughly of NOVA half that of a four-year state campuses


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In addition to displaying its energy performance, NOVA offers classes on green building practices.

institution, but meager resources have not affected the college’s commitment to sustainability, seen in the six additional LEED projects it currently has in the works. “We’ve pushed sustainability beyond buildings,” Wells says. Already taking advantage of its geothermal wells, NOVA hopes to install wind generators, solar arrays, and other renewable energy sources—not only because they offer energy savings, but to make good on its environmental pledge. gb&d —Christopher James Palafox

 Military agency’s newest vehicle facility uses innovative water and energy solutions to surpass federal standards The Minnesota National Guard’s new field maintenance shop, one of the largest and most modern vehicle maintenance facilities in the country, is on track to earn LEED Gold, setting an example for future military buildings. Designed by BWBR Architects, the 107,500-square-foot building in Arden Hills, Minnesota, provides space and equipment to maintain and repair military vehicles and equipment ranging from Humvees to tanks with nearly 50,000 square feet of work bays, 20,000 square feet of storage, and 15 acres of concrete

The facility’s inverted roof helps harvest daylight, and sensors respond by dimming or turning off lights. PHOTOS: STEVEN BERGERSON PHOTOGRAPHY (MN NATIONAL GUARD)

Minnesota National Guard goes for Gold

parking. “In terms of size and sustainability, it’s the first of its kind in the National Guard,” says Dennis Arntson, project manager for the Minnesota National Guard facilities management office. As a requirement for federal funding, the project needed to achieve at least LEED Silver—the target at the outset—but National Guard leadership worked creatively with the design and construction teams to put the $25 million project on track for Gold status by its completion in May 2013. “Prior to hiring BWBR, we met with some teams early on who told us it would be difficult to achieve LEED Gold with the requirements of this type of facility given the budget, but it all came together,” Arntson says. “From start to finish, during design and construction, it’s been very successful.” Contributing to the higher certification, the building has an inverted roof for light harvesting to illuminate the indoor spaces, which all have automatic sensors for dimming or turning off lights when sufficient daylighting is available. For heating and cooling the structure, the team installed 80,000 square feet of


Moseley Architects has embraced our obligation to support a built environment that performs at a higher level by reducing environmental impact and using less energy. Our team of full-time sustainability coordinators supports our design professionals in creating high performance building and site designs and providing our clients with meaningful choices and research-based data to assist in making decisions that are environmentally-responsible, budget-conscious, and value-based.


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“We’ve reduced water runoff into the watershed by using these on-site, sustainable elements. It also reduces the impact on neighboring properties.” Dennis Arntson, Minnesota National Guard

The maintenance facility collects rainwater that is reused in the wash bays.

in-floor radiant heating, solar hot-water heaters, energy-efficient HVAC equipment, and heat-recovery systems. An extensive water-collection system stores rainwater in a 25,000-gallon underground cistern for reuse in wash bays with a second 20,000-gallon tank to filter rainwater for irrigation. A direct digital control system monitors other building operations. In addition to collecting onsite water, the facility also conserves water with low-flow fixtures and a water-loop heat-pump system. It’s also set up for a future campus-wide geothermal system with an underground pipe loop. Outside the building, the privately owned parking lot has permeable pavement to let rainwater percolate into the ground, rather than creating ditch runoff and soil erosion. The large military vehicle parking area features drainage swells and bioretention ponds, and landscaping uses low-maintenance and native plantings to soften the expanse of pavement. “We’ve reduced water runoff into the watershed by using these on-site, sustainable elements,” Arntson says. “It also reduces the impact on neighboring properties.” The 40-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system provides 6.5 percent of the building’s electricity. Designed for max capacity of 39.9 kilowatts and 51,000 kilowatt-hours in total annual energy production, Arntson says the system is expected to achieve those numbers this year. gb&d —Mary Beth Rohde gb&d

New program empowers facility managers  IFMA’s Sustainable Facility Professional credential helps corporate and institutional staff make the case for greening existing buildings To be responsible corporate citizens, companies need to be conscious not only of the quality of the goods they produce, but also the environmental impact of that production. Recognizing the importance of sustainable facility management, the International Facility Management Association (IFMA) has created the Sustainability Facility Professional (SFP) credential to provide training and tools. “As stewards of existing buildings and key contributors to building design, it is At Dr Pepper Snapple Group’s headquarters in Plano, TX, sustainability initiatives are led by Lynn Baez.

now a central part of a [facility manager’s] function to have an understanding of the footprint left behind by our building operations,” says Lynn Baez, corporate facility manager for Dr Pepper Snapple Group’s LEED Gold headquarters in Plano, Texas. Baez also manages environmental, health, and safety—commonly referred to as EHS— as well as environmental reporting for the business as a whole. Baez earned her SFP in October 2012 while spearheading LEED certification for her facility. “I needed guidance in selling the concept of benchmarking, displaying financial benefit, communicating, and exhibiting the confidence to lead the LEED journey,” Baez says. “Earning the SFP provided a roadmap of my role to support the LEED project, which led to supporting [company]-wide environmental goals for our corporate sustainability initiatives.” The SFP program enables facility managers to drive change by communicating effectively, whether it involves weaving sustainability into their organizations’ values, presenting a business case for sustainability initiatives, or tracking and reporting efforts’ effects on the triple bottom line. “The SFP provided the vernacular for me to articulate the operational and financial benefits of implementing sustainable processes,” Baez says. “Much of the language in sustainability can be misused

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“The SFP provided the vernacular for me to articulate the operational and financial benefits of implementing sustainable processes.” Lynn Baez, Dr Pepper Snapple Group

if proper education has not been attained. The SFP gave me the knowledge and confidence to present our needs clearly.” In addition to course materials and online and classroom training, the SFP program provides an opportunity for knowledge sharing among facility managers. Inspired by a fellow facility manager who successfully engaged employees in a sustainability initiative, Baez created an Intranet page dedicated to her LEED project that gave real-time updates and solicited feedback in building-wide surveys. “This made the employees feel connected to the initiative and led to significantly more buyin than on a typical project,” Baez says. Baez is happy to pay it forward by sharing what she has learned with others in the field. “I am a firm believer in continuing education, as it has played a significant role in my career,” she says. She now serves a member of IFMA’s Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability Strategic Advisory Group, which, in addition to drafting courses for the SFP that speak to the latest technologies and standards, is also in the process of launching an online community for facility managers interested in sustainability where they will be able to connect, share best practices, and continue the learning process. gb&d —Amy Martino


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Third-generation Toyota dealer prizes LEED  Doenges Family of Autos is on track to build the first LEED-certified auto dealership in Oklahoma  Oil discovery doesn’t stop construction or the company’s pursuit of its sustainable mission Striking oil usually is a good thing, but it wasn’t for Doenges Family of Autos, which ran into black gold when digging 300-foot-deep wells for a geothermal system. “We had to re-do the wells to ensure that we didn’t get oil in them,” says Brad Doenges, a third-generation owner of the family business. The story began in October 2012, when Doenges Family of Autos—which operates

This Toyota dealership in Bartlesville, OK, is projected to be 40% more efficient than traditional dealerships of similar size.

new-vehicle dealerships for Toyota, Ford, and Lincoln in Bartlesville, Oklahoma— broke ground on a new Toyota dealership at 1911 SE Washington Boulevard. The idea of a sustainable business is in keeping with the Doenges brand, which is the oldest surviving Toyota dealer in Oklahoma. “My grandfather founded our Ford dealership in 1929, we’ve been in Bartlesville since 1940, we’ve been a Toyota dealer since 1968,” Doenges says. “So we’re the epitome of a sustainable business.” Doenges also has a personal interest in sustainability, having worked for the Oklahoma chapter of the Nature Conservancy on the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve near Bartlesville, which includes the largest protected remnant of tallgrass prairie left on Earth. Sustainability is one thing; LEED is another. But Doenges decided to take the extra step. “In our part of the world, there’s not a lot of awareness about sustainability,” he says, “and I wanted to build into our community a knowledge of LEED.”



75% 40% Amount of the existing building that was recycled

“In our part of the world, there’s not a lot of awareness about sustainability, and I wanted to build into our community a knowledge of LEED.” Brad Doenges, Doenges Family of Autos

The first step was finding the right partners in a community with little awareness of LEED. Ambler Architects had been working with Doenges for years, so that choice was easy, but the company also needed to find a construction manager. Doenges spoke to several candidates and ultimately chose Gorman Construction Company, which, like Doenges Family of Autos, is a third-generation Bartlesville company. The project wasn’t without challenges despite committed partners. A majority of the subcontractors had never been

involved in a LEED project, so Doenges Family of Autos had to educate them about why it was pursuing LEED and what it involved. Plus, the company had to fulfill LEED criteria while meeting Toyota’s own requirements, two things that didn’t always square. “There are 30 other LEED-certified Toyota dealerships in the country, but it’s not the most common way to building a building,” Doenges says. “We had to go outside the box to get certain things set up, like LED lights. But it was important because in our business changing light bulbs is a never-ending process, and LED lights last longer.” In addition to geothermal heating and cooling and LED lighting, the 27,400-square-foot dealership, which opened in the spring of 2014, has waterless urinals, low-flow fixtures, sustainably harvested lumber, and an automated building management system. The company also recycled much of the former LED lights help Doenges reduce energy use in its dealership. Low-flow fixtures do the same for water.

Doenges’ increase in efficiency compared to a traditional dealership

building on the site—about 75 percent, Doenges estimates. Ultimately, the dealership is expected to be 40 percent more energy efficient than a traditional dealership of the same size, with the majority of it attributed to the geothermal system. “We looked at solar and wind, and they didn’t work out economically,” Doenges says. “Between tax credits and energy savings, the geothermal system will pay for itself virtually on day one. It was a no brainer.” gb&d —Julie Schaeffer

PROJECT LOCATION Bartlesville, OK Size 27,400 ft2 Completion2014 Program Automobile dealership

TEAM CLIENT D  oenges Family of Autos Architect/Landscape Architect Ambler Architects General Contractor Gorman Construction Company Mechanical/Electrical Engineer Flynt & Kallenberger Financing Arvest Bank



CERTIFICATIONLEED (expected) WaterWaterless urinals, low-flow fixtures, native plants, limited drip irrigation EnergyGeothermal heating and cooling, LED lights, automated building management system, reflective roofing, heaters that burn waste oil MaterialsSustainably harvested wood, low- and no-VOC finishes, reuse of existing asphalt, highefficiency glazing, recycled and regional materials


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Up Front Typology Trendsetters Approach Inner Workings Features Spaces Tough Builds Punch List


74 Saint Martin’s University Cebula Hall

The Washington school raises the bar for super-efficient construction

79 Pelham Range Armed Forces Reserve Center

Alabama’s first LEED Platinum building goes beyond requirements

81 Cermak Road / Blue Island Avenue

A “complete street” tackles Chicago’s dangerous heat island effect

85 Inside a Living Wall

Why the latest green wall from GSky Plant Systems works

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Saint Martin’s University Cebula Hall

Sun-tracking solar panels. Exposed building systems. Geothermal loops beneath a landscaped rain garden. With cutting-edge technologies that work in sync, this classroom building holds the highest LEED score in the Western Hemisphere.

Building the highest-rated LEED-certified structure in the Western Hemisphere would not have been possible without unwavering teamwork and an absolute determination to stay on budget. Cebula Hall at Saint Martin’s University in Lacey, Washington, received 97 out of 110 possible points under LEED-NC v2009, and yet construction costs were just $225 per square foot, far lower than many non-LEED buildings being built on college campuses today. “Coming in at cost was a challenge,” says Zella Kahn-Jetter, dean of the Hal and Inge Marcus School of Engineering at Saint Martin’s. “There was a lot of back and forth between the architects, engineers, contractors, and us on how to do things.” How did they do it? We took a tour of Cebula Hall to find out. —Julie Crawshaw


On the rooftop deck of the LEED Platinum classroom building are two solar arrays that track the sun. Engineering students use the technology to study solar energy.


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An academic quad, which provides

Cebula Hall is designed to serve as an interactive laboratory for student learning. Building components are exposed and labeled, so students can see what they look like. The second floor boasts a deck with two solar panels that trace the sun, and more than 3,000 square feet of solar panels grace the third floor. “It’s a rooftop lab,” Kahn-Jetter says. “The students do experiments on it.” There are also large computer monitors in the main hallways that show how much energy is being saved and consumed and which systems are currently using the most energy.

An office cluster houses the admin-

open space for student activity and recreation, houses 41,000 feet of geothermal heating loops. Above, a rain garden retains storm-water runoff, reduces the need for forced irrigation, and replenishes local groundwater supplies with the rain that comes off the building’s green roof. Overall, the natural and drought-tolerant landscaping reduces the use of potable water for irrigation by 87 percent.

istration office, the dean’s office, and faculty offices for seven staff members. Each office has large windows to allow as much natural light as possible, as well as daylight sensors to maximize energy efficiency. Windows throughout the building are made from recycled aluminum, and wood elements are made from a mix of recycled and FSC-certified wood. The chairs in each office are manufactured from recycled Coca-Cola bottles.

Biggest Saver The 41,000 feet of geothermal loops buried under the quad and the building’s high-performing envelope, which save 64 percent on heating and cooling costs Most Obscure Reuse Emeco chairs that are each made from 110 recycled Coca-Cola bottles Closest Materials Source Locally made bricks and concrete Biggest ChallengeThe group’s anxiety that the building wouldn’t reach LEED Platinum Lasting Industry Impact Teaching engineering students that projects such as this can be done, leading them to pursue an agenda of building sustainably Lasting Community Impact Hosting state and national sustainability conferences, keeping Cebula Hall in the local and national spotlight

Built on the site of a former tennis court, the wood-framed Cebula Hall uses steel panels and brick for a contemporary look that still feels tied to the existing campus.


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INNER WORKINGS Saint Martin’s University Cebula Hall

OPPOSITEFrom its planted roof, which absorbs stormwater and helps insulate the building, to the geothermal wells buried beneath the quad, Cebula Hall is a model of sustainable strategies. BELOW Young design students learn a lesson in recycled materials just from sitting in their chairs, each of which is made from more than a hundred Coca-Cola bottles. BOTTOMLessons about energy efficiency can be aided by the large monitors found in common areas, which track energy use and other metrics in real time.

LOCATION Lacey, WA Size 26,900 ft2 Completion2013 Certification LEED Platinum ProgramOffice space, classrooms, laboratories Client Saint Martin’s University Architect McGranahan Architects Landscape Architect Robert W. Droll Structural Engineer PCS Structural Solutions LEED Administrator Sunset Air


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Cebula Hall uses roughly half

Communication made this project

The green roof, along with a white

Kahn-Jetter says numerous poli-

a success, says Alan Tyler, Saint Martin’s director of facilities and capital projects. “It was a collaboration between me as the owner’s representative, the contractor, and the architect,” Tyler says. “We all worked on the project simultaneously.” This approach enabled team members to identify value-engineering opportunities along with method-and-means savings. “We also avoided potential project construction conflicts early on,” he says. All subcontractors, too, were design-build contractors who both designed and installed systems and could guarantee performance.

roofing membrane, creates a high-albedo surface that reduces the heat island effect. The solar panels on the patio are computer-controlled so that students can try their hands at programming the systems while getting some hands-on experience with solar power technology. “A part of Saint Martin’s Benedictine core values is to be a steward of the environment,” Kahn-Jetter says. “We’re graduating students who will have seen firsthand that projects like this can get done. That has to be part of their psyche.”

ticians and officials have come to view the building. “They’re going back to where they work having seen it’s possible to build like this, to have the latest and greatest technology and still be responsible and economically competitive,” she says. “From a personal point of view, this project has been mind-boggling. I still pinch myself that I was involved in it. I was so lucky.” gb&d

of the water of a comparable building. Low-flow fixtures reduce water use in restrooms, with the urinals being 88 percent more efficient than standard one-gallon-per-flush fixtures. Dual-flush toilets provide partial flushes for liquid waste, and air dryers eliminate the need for paper towels.


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In 1895, Saint Martin’s University was founded on a spirit of stewardship and a commitment to community. More than 100 years later, those same values inspired us to pursue the highest possible LEED® rating for our new engineering building, Cebula Hall.

In October 2013, Cebula Hall earned the distinction of being the highest-rated LEED®–certified structure in the Western Hemisphere, and third-highest-rated in the world. Saint Martin’s University. Proud to be taking the LEED on sustainability.

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Pelham Range Armed Forces Reserve Center JMR+H Architecture completes the state’s first LEED Platinum building for military training with an emphasis on regional environmental issues

The Pelham Range Armed Forces Reserve Center (AFRC), a facility for logistics, weapons, and unit administration training in Alexandria, Alabama, is the state’s first LEED Platinum building for military training and a model for sustainable construction. LEED Silver is required for all new National Guard projects, but for Pelham Range, leadership wanted to go as green as possible while staying within the project budget, a decision that reflects the military’s growing comfort with LEED certification. “In recent years, they’ve been driven to deliver the highest level of sustainability,” says JMR+H Architecture’s Michael Rutland, who helped design the building. “We developed Pelham Range AFRC based on that mission. We didn’t have to convince them to go LEED Platinum, but we did have to prove we could do it without a high degree of associated cost.” Here’s how they did it. —Mary Beth Rohde




J MR+H reviews all projects at various stages throughout the design process to ensure that they are meeting LEED criteria. When a project is approximately 50 percent complete, JMR+H holds a meeting dedicated to LEED certification and development. The Pelham Range project received 53 out of 69 possible points and earned all innovation and design credits, with three achieved through exemplary performance. The project also earned five out of six credits identified by USGBC Regional Councils as particularly important for the Alexandria area.

The building achieves an energy cost savings of 38 percent, thanks to an improved thermal envelope, reduced interior lighting power density, occupancy sensors, high-efficiency geothermal pumps, and on-site renewable energy. (A photovoltaic array generates 12 percent of the center’s energy.) The estimated 20-year life-cycle savings through sustainable technologies, strategies, and design is $80,000.

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INNER WORKINGS Pelham Range Armed Forces Reserve Center

“We didn’t have to convince [the National Guard] to go LEED Platinum, but we did have to prove we could do it without a high degree of associated cost.” Michael Rutland, JMR+H Architecture


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LOCATION Alexandria, AL Size 32,000 ft2 Cost $6.7 million Completion2011 CertificationLEED Platinum Architect JMR+H Architecture Mechanical/ Plumbing/Fire Safety Engineer Whorton Engineering Electrical Engineer McCarter Engineering Civil Engineer Sanford, Bell & Associates Structural Engineer Stanley D. Lindsey & Associates Landscape/Hardscape Johnson & Co Contractor B  aggette Construction

SOURCING SUSTAINABLY Leadership within the Alabama

Army National Guard and Alabama Army Reserve, who jointly own the AFRC, largely supported sourcing sustainable materials. Thirty percent of building materials by value was manufactured using recycled materials, which qualified for an innovation and design credit for exemplary performance. More than a third of the materials were obtained within 500 miles of the project site. PROTECTIVE MEASURES Finding the right areas of

the building for daylighting was a challenge because of the need to maximize security through Anti-Terrorism Force Protection design. Rutland found a solution by installing a series of high interior windows, placed well above the sightline to help bring in daylight. Translucent window-walls in security-sensitive areas allow filtered natural light and preserve the safety in these areas. Although the use of natural light was extensive for a building of this kind, it wasn’t enough to earn a LEED credit for daylighting. gb&d

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Cermak Road / Blue Island Avenue Chicago’s meanest, greenest streetscape addresses urban heat, smog, and flooding. It also is a lesson in the economics of green infrastructure and an example of placemaking where it is least expected.

One of Chicago’s most iconic features is its skyline, as some of the world’s tallest buildings provide a backdrop to 18 miles of recreational Lake Michigan shoreline. But the public right-of-way—streets, sidewalks, bike lanes, and adjacent utilities space, all radiating westward from the lakefront—consumes 23 percent of the city’s land area. Green buildings count for a lot, but greening Chicago’s 6,100 miles of avenues, boulevards, roads, and alleys is another challenge that shouldn’t go overlooked. On the city’s Near South Side, it isn’t. In 2011, the Chicago Department of

Transportation (CDOT) built what it has described as “America’s greenest street.” The Cermak Road / Blue Island Avenue “complete street” project impressively reduces the urban heat island effect, vehicle-exhaust smog, and flooding. The sustainable streetscape also provides inviting sidewalks for pedestrians and bus passengers and safer travel for bicyclists. The strategies DETAILS that went into the LOCATION Chicago project represent a Size 1  .5 miles of streetholistic approach scape to road building, Completion 2011 providing lessons Program Urban infrastructure and streetscape Owner City of Chicago Department of Transportation

for urban planners everywhere. But equally instructive is how the project was accomplished bureaucratically and for less money than traditional street renovations. In older metropolises such as Chicago, where government bureaucracies can be as entrenched as a century-old sewer system, this is no small accomplishment. “Chicago is lucky. We have a network of folks moving these issues forward,” says Janet Attarian, CDOT’s project director, referring to a long list of more than a dozen city departments, county and state agencies, and citizens’ councils. “We can pitch ideas to people who are educated enough on environmental ideas to know what we are talking about.” The city has learned some hard lessons in recent years. Chicago suffered a deadly heat wave in July 1995, causing as many as 750 residents to die from four days of triple-digit temperatures and poor air quality—stark evidence of the heat island effect in densely built cities. Climate change also brings increasingly expensive flooding: a 6.6-inch rainfall over 24 hours in 2008 forced 10,000 home evacuations. Then-mayor Richard M. Daley responded with multiple green initiatives, including a program to plant a million trees throughout the city. Karen Weigert, the city’s chief sustainability officer, says this is part of the city’s original ethos. “Chicago has a long heritage of innova-

A green roof atop the high school aids the streetscape in mitigating costly flooding.


REFLECTIVE ASPHALT Primarily designed to reduce the absorption of solar heat, reflective pavement also helps mute the chemical interaction that creates smog by lowering surface temperatures. Reflectivity also reduces the need for streetlights.


RAIN GARDENS Ninety-five drought-tolerant plant species beautify rain gardens, bioswales, and infiltration planters, which total 17,925 square feet along the transit corridor. Importantly, no potable water is required to maintain any of landscaping.

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INNER WORKINGS Cermak Road / Blue Island Avenue

“We now think about all users, from age eight to eighty, defaulting to pedestrians first. It’s not just about a safe passageway, but an area where people feel like they can hang out.” Janet Attarian, Chicago Department of Transportation

PERMEABLE PAVEMENT In strategically distributed locations (parking lanes, sidewalks, and the high school plaza), 57,933 square feet of pavers allow storm water to absorb in place. Chicago has installed pervious pavement in alleys since 2006, which a 2012 report said diverts 70 million gallons of storm water each year.


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tial users was a key consideration in its redesign. “A ‘complete street’ takes into account mode hierarchies,” Attarian says. “We now think about all users, from age eight to eighty, defaulting to pedestrians first. But we also wanted to turn space into a place. It’s not just about a safe passageway, but an area where people feel like they can hang out.” This includes a place to learn, particularly for the younger people who now walk to school under the canopy of growing trees, alongside rain gardens, and across the busy thoroughfares with the help of center-road refuge medians. Heat island effects are diminished by inventive high-albedo pavement surfaces and a 131-percent increase in plant and tree canopy cover. A nearby coal-burning power plant was closed in 2013 to satisfy environmental regulations. The project has significant and positive economic implications. “Our city founders gave us the motto, ‘city in a garden,’”

SMOG-EATING CEMENT Technically known as photocatalytic cement, the material uses nanoparticles of titanium dioxide, which removes nitrogen oxide gases from vehicle exhaust. The material is installed as a thin overlay on concrete, itself made of 30 percent recycled content.

Weigert says. “Chicago’s livability often serves as an enormous draw for businesses and their employees, with multiple transportation choices from walking to biking to mass transit.” Speaking of economics, the $14 million price tag on the Cermak / Blue Island project was, importantly, lower than a traditional approach. Attarian says that of 10 streetscapes built in Chicago in 2011, the Pilsen project came in 21 percent cheaper on a per-mile basis. How? Retention of existing pipes—flushed of their silt—was part of it. The efficacy of the decision was proven when the street’s bioswales, infiltration planters, rain gardens, and permeable pavement largely absorbed a five-inch downpour in April 2013. Cermak Road may be lesser known than the John Hancock building, but as a model for modern urban planning, this complete street stands tall. gb&d —Russ Klettke

RENEWABLE EDUCATION Kiosks placed intermittently along sidewalks explain the “complete street” program and its environmental benefits. The stations are lit with lights powered by small-scale solar cells and wind turbines.

CONNECTED BIOSWALES A clever system of stepped underground connections between several bioswales allows water absorption over a greater surface area of open graded aggregates, overflowing into the sewer system only in extreme rainfall events.


tive, environmental initiatives,” she says. “This legacy was strengthened in recent years. Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his team [in office since 2011] have built on this foundation by delivering concrete results that help make Chicago more livable, competitive, and sustainable.” The Cermak Road / Blue Island Avenue project focuses on where the two main streets join on an oblique angle on the city’s Near South Side. It is also where other factors converge: a growing Hispanic community in the Pilsen neighborhood, an expanding high school (Benito Juarez Community Academy, now with a green roof), an industrial corridor, and several old commercial buildings now being converted to accommodate creative enterprises. Attarian says the area was in need of infrastructural revitalization: The sidewalks were crumbling, the sewers silted up, and bicyclists steered clear of the truck-heavy streets. This mix of poten-

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NATURALLY LIT GSky always considers lighting when designing a green wall because available lighting determines which plants can be used. At 888 Brannan Street, no extra lighting was needed; the plants are bathed in sunlight from the building’s skylight.

EASY ACCESS Located in the building’s atrium, the green wall can be accessed and maintained via a lift. Patented (and recycled) tongue-and-groove polypropylene trays are filled with plants in standard four-inch pots, which they will not outgrow.


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Inside a Living Wall Getting to the roots of GSky’s custom installation at 888 Brannan Street in San Francisco

THE PLANT LIST Plants used on the installation include neon pothos, Brazilian philodendron, heart leaf philodendron, white butterfly nephthytis, and dwarf schefflera, all of which can be easily found and thus easily replaced if necessary.

HEAVY DRINKERS An automated, vertical, ebb-andflow irrigation system allows for efficient water management. When installed with recirculation tanks, which can be stored below or behind the wall, all water is used by the plants, making the wall 100% water efficient.


It is well known that green walls improve indoor air quality by naturally filtering out toxins, reduce energy consumption by regulating temperatures, provide sound insulation, and help create a peaceful environment. So when Gensler wanted to up the sustainable pedigree of 888 Brannan Street, a five-story commercial office building in the heart of San Francisco’s SoMa District, it knew exactly where to turn: GSky Plant Systems, which has installed four of the five largest green walls in the United States. In addition to the health benefits, “Gensler wanted a design that would soften the strong element of concrete in the space,” says Hal Thorne, CEO and chairman of GSky. To that end, Debbie Kotalic, the company’s director of horticultural design, worked with Gensler to develop a custom-designed Versa Wall, which is one of four green wall systems GSky offers. (Others include Pro Wall, a green wall designed for the rigors of the outdoor environment, and the Smart Wall, a smaller green cabinet designed to accent interior spaces.) GSky inserted plants in standard fourinch pots into a 1,226-square-foot tray system and arranged the vegetation in patterns that illustrated movement. The installation is self-watering and self-contained. No water spills onto the leaves of the plants or in front of the wall (the Versa Wall is the only system in the industry that can make this claim). Maintenance is straightforward, says Dan Ballay, the maintenance manager at GSky. GSky has relationships with contractors in San Francisco who visit the wall on a scheduled basis to ensure it is working properly and perform routine maintenance once a month. In addition, GSky walls can be reconfigured and seasonalized with ease and little expense, making the Versa Wall an infinitely evolvable centerpiece for 888 Brannan Street. gb&d —Julie Schaeffer july–august 2014


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Up Front Typology Trendsetters Approach Inner Workings Features Spaces Tough Builds Punch List


88 What Are Green Schools Teaching Our Children?

At four public schools, the building is just the beginning

96 Growing Global Citizens

The Academy for Global Citizenship is launching an education revolution

104 This School May Be Hazardous to Your Health

Why educators should pay attention to indoor air quality

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We keep building them, but how much has changed when it comes to the education happening inside these eco-institutions? An examination of four public schools—where we found on-site food labs and hands-on lessons in water scarcity—reveals a positive trend nationwide. STORY BY RUSS KLETTKE / PHOTOS BY CALEB FOX 88

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At one Florida school, kids carry water jugs around the track during gym class to show solidarity with Sudanese children who lack easy access to clean water.

Studying global water issues led students to call for overdue building repairs and create a new xeriscaped garden.


The Center for Green Schools estimates that more than 14 million American children attend K-12 schools in districts where there are green building policies, and that number is projected to climb to 62 million by the year 2040. But what do we know about how such policies translate into environmental education? What relationship, if any, exists between green-building practices and what a kindergartener, say, actually learns about sustainability? Marine conservationist and author Charles Saylan has argued that environmental education in the United States is failing, ranking low on our list of academic priorities. This may be true in some places. But a sampling of four schools suggests that sustainability education not only is on the rise, but also can offer lessons in standard subjects like math, science, and reading. With the help of guest editor Stacy Smedley, who designed one of just three school buildings certified by the Living Building Challenge, and Rachel Gutter at the Center for Green Schools, we set out to find inspiring examples of students, teachers, and communities engaged FOOD in Earth-friendly learning. They weren’t hard to find. Educators are working lessons An elementary school in rural Virginia successfully merges about water, energy, food, and design into the cafeteria with the classtraditional classes; at one school, lunchtime room (opposite) itself is a learning experience. Notably, all four schools are public WATER institutions. Three are part of low-income districts in regions not typically associated A book about water scarcity in Sudan inspires students in with environmental progressivism (rural High Springs, FL, to tighten the Virginia, for instance). This is consistent with pipes (p. 92) one of Saylan’s more optimistic observations, based on his success in engaging students DESIGN from inner-city Los Angeles to voluntarily clean up ocean trash. “They couldn’t ignore A two-year, hands-on course in sustainable design takes the mountain of junk that was coming out advantage of its Washington [of the water],” he said in a 2011 interivew. locale (p. 93) “That was a real object lesson.” Solar panels, school gardens, even leaky ENERGY plumbing are providing object lessons to A net-positive school in North these students, our future citizens, who are Carolina puts its renewable coming to understand the world they will energy systems on display (p. 94) one day steward.


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FEATURES A “grab-n-go” garden at the primary school enables fun, healthy, delicious snacking.

A food service consultant contributed to the school’s kitchen design, improving efficiency without increasing overall space.

Summer-school students reportedly showed a deeper appreciation for and understanding of the foodscape after garden-structured academic lessons.

Buckingham County is strongly agricultural; parents appreciate locally sourced foods.

DID YOU KNOW? American schools are justifiably criticized for serving over-processed foods, even while fewer than ten states mandate physical education or recess periods. But Buckingham County Primary School in rural Virginia is designed to be different. Its LEED Gold campus occupies the county’s former junior-high building, but has a new cafeteria where fresh food is prepared in front of students and gardens where trees and bushes produce vegetables, fruits, and nuts. VMDO Architects led the renovation, and as Steve Davis, VMDO’s director of sustainable design, explains it, creating a cafeteria-as-a-learning-experience did not add to the building’s size or costs. Collaborating with researchers from the University of Virginia and University of Nebraska, VMDO designed the school to provide a real world opportunity to consider how the food gb&d

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 18% of American children ages 6 to 11 are obese, up from 7% in 1980.

environment might contribute to obesity prevention. The kitchen, for instance, facilitates actual cooking, not just warming food, and is open to students, who can view the food being prepared. Importantly, these health-oriented concepts are extended into other classes. “The ways that we are able to incorporate learning in our new spaces are endless,” says Pennie Allen, the school’s principal, noting that the teaching kitchen, food lab, school garden, and outdoor learning spaces mesh well with a state-mandated framework for reading and math. Davis concurs. “What the university researchers tell us thus far is that food and gardens provide new activities for learning,” Davis says. “It’s tied to math, science, history, and art.” july–august 2014



WATER HIGH SPRINGS COMMUNITY SCHOOL HIGH SPRINGS, FL / GRADES PK-8 / 852 STUDENTS Many schools’ green education begins with a building. At High Springs Community School in Alachua County, Florida, it started with a book. Judith Weaver, a school librarian at the rural middle school, managed to get students in grades five through eight to read A Long Walk to Water in 2012. The story is about children in Sudan who spend four hours each day walking to and from a water source. To students in the Sunshine State, where natural springs are a major source of recreation, this was a foreign concept. Yet they embraced it. With the guidance of Weaver and other teachers, students studied various aspects of water scarcity and vulnerability, they raised money to send to water organizations working overseas, and then they looked around their own 30-year-old campus. It was a basket case of water waste. “There was always a small pool in the parking lot,” says Weaver, whose library is situated in a school hallway. “It was due to a leaky pipe. And we had an irrigation system for the landscaping that wasn’t necessary, as well as leaky faucets and old toilets that ran all the time.” The students’ active interest in water conservation provided impetus for administrators to fix things. The leaky outdoor pipe was repaired, bathroom plumbing and fixtures were retrofitted, and landscape irrigation was turned off because natural rainfall was found to be sufficient. That wasn’t the end of it. The whole district and its students realized that water conservation is intrinsic to learning. A xeriscape garden was planted, math classes began calculating water usage from brushing teeth, and carrying two one-gallon jugs (about 17 pounds) of water around the school running track, Sudan-style, became a gym exercise.

GUEST EDITOR STACY SMEDLEY Mike allows his students to be proactive, versus reactive, thinkers. He asks, “What do you want to do?” instead of, “Here’s what you should do.” I’ve witnessed this first hand. It creates a kinetic energy around learning because the students create their own path and frame their projects around what particularly interests them about sustainable engineering and design.

Water usage was reduced by 70%, saving $13,000 in the first year, which exceeded the cost of all capital improvements.

After learning about water scarcity, nearly 400 High Springs students raised money for village wells in third-world countries.


Mike Wierusz, Inglemore High School


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Wierusz maintains innumerable contacts in the design and building sectors, who lend advice on his students’ design projects.







Studying older buildings allows students to learn from the mistakes of the past; field trips to new ones show kids sustainbility in action.

Inglemoor High School, built in 1964 in Kenmore, Washington, is not a LEED-certified building. But that hasn’t stopped Mike Wierusz from creating one of the country’s most unique courses on sustainable engineering and design. Just a few minutes outside Seattle, students in his class visit premier projects like the Bullitt Center—often referred to as the greenest commercial building in the world—and lean on the area’s brain trust of environmental designers, engineers, and businesspeople. Not having state-of-the-art facilities is not necessarily a drawback. Studying older buildings allows students to learn from the mistakes of the past. “With a school that’s already green, it’s like the painting that’s already done,” he says. Instead, he takes students through stages of learning—the vocabulary of sustainability, technical methods, systems theory, and ethics— and they apply what they’ve learned to a conceptual renovation or redesign. Taught over the course of two years, the second year’s capstone project involves the students in real world, self-identified programs. Past projects include creating a touchscreen monitoring kiosk, a mobile green-learning lab for elementary students, wetland housing designs, and a composting toilet. “Don’t ask them what they want to do when they grow up,” he says. “Ask instead, ‘What do you want to do now?’” To these kids, “things like solar energy and compost are assumptions,” Wierusz says. “When they look at the Bullitt Center, they ask, ‘Why not?’” Wierusz’s career path into education is as different as his students’ approach to design. His resume includes a degree in mechanical engineering, a tour of duty with the US Air Force in Uzbekistan, and work in the commercial HVAC industry in Seattle. His students’ interests are similarly diverse—they are “not just math and science kids,” he says. “We grab them through an interest in design, in sustainability, and in the environment. They are not necessarily engineers.”


hen the RFP for a LEED Platinum, net-zero classroom at Smith College came across Bruce Coldham’s desk, it was the architect’s chance to attempt the Living Building Challenge (LBC). “The Living Building Challenge is really a reverse-engineered challenge for the carrying capacity of the biosphere,” he says. “If we want to operate in the biosphere, we need these things as humans.” Smith College called him in for an interview—which, by all reports, is regarded by the college as one of the best it has ever had—and by the time Coldham left the room, it was a done deal. The project was a new building for Smith College’s Center for the Environment, Ecological Design, and Sustainability, and Coldham, a principal at Coldham & Hartman Architects, felt that pursuing the LBC provided an opportunity for student involvement. Early on, he identified about a dozen potential building features that students could investigate. Five students took him up on the offer, conducting research and presenting their recommendations to the project team. One student found that skylights would not be necessary to assist in the building’s net-zero aspirations, which meant that Coldham’s team could stop searching for skylights that satisfied the LBC’s stringent Red List. Thanks to Coldham’s original vision, this Living Building at Smith College will continue to inspire and educate students throughout its lifetime. “[With the LBC,] the owner is an advocate and has a stake in the project,” he says, “and the building will move through its life more successfully.” —Melanie Loth

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More than 2,000 roofmounted solar PV panels generate 142% of Sandy Grove’s electrical needs.


eggy Matta has a history of environmental activism that dates back to junior high school. For her eighth grade science fair project, Matta covered jars in white cloths and set them outside to gather snow. When she brought them inside for the snow to melt, the Detroit air pollution absorbed in the cloths became tangibly, frighteningly visible. Matta, who was born, raised, and educated through college in Detroit, has remained heavily engaged in bringing environmental awareness to Detroit’s classrooms ever since. She is unquestionably one of the city’s leaders in the quest for greener schools. By day, she is a senior associate at Newman Consulting Group and oversees LEED certifications. Outside of work hours, Matta volunteers extensively with the USGBC’s Detroit chapter. One of her most important, ongoing legacies as chair of the chapter’s Green Schools Committee is the local Green Apple Day of Service, part of a nationwide annual event that takes place on the last Saturday in September. Volunteers and students engage in sustainability projects across the city. “Green Apple Day has been a great rallying point for our committee volunteers,” she says. “It gives them something hands-on to work on and be involved with, and it’s such a great benefit for the schools that we get involved with too. Then, we like to keep that cooperation and interaction going throughout the school year.” As she discovered in junior high, when it comes to raising awareness, starting in the schools is critical. ”It’s a shame to have to go to school in a place that triggers asthma,” she says. “And actually, I think these kids get it a lot more than we even do. They catch on faster.” —Steven Arroyo


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The net-positive school will save $35 million in energy costs over the life of the school building.

Sandy Grove Middle School in Lumber Bridge, North Carolina, opened its doors for the first time in late summer 2013. The $16.7 million facility maximizes its physical resources— roofs for solar panels, athletic fields for geothermal wells—to capture all the renewable energy it needs, plus considerable excess that it sells to the local utility, making it the first net-positive middle school in the country. The story of how the LEED Platinum building (certification pending) was financed is as interesting as—and an important part of—its energy story. Sandy Grove was built by a private entity, FirstFloor K-12 Solutions, a sister company to SfL+a Architects, who designed the building. FirstFloor leases the building back to the school district. This was advantageous DID YOU KNOW? economically and environmentally In 2013, 335 megawatts of because FirstFloor qualified for solar-electric capacity were renewable energy tax credits that installed in North Carolina, the third highest nationally. The were not available to the public state ranks 4th nationwide in school district. total installed solar capacity In front of the building, four (557 MW), attributed to a state policy that allows clean energy bright blue, 20-foot-tall solar-encompanies to compete with ergy sculptures make it clear that traditional utilities. this is not your average school. Yet the real action is inside, on computer screens where students visit a Web-based dashboard to view in real time how much energy is being consumed. Because different grade levels occupy separate wings, students compete by grade on energy conservation. “They turn off lights when leaving a room; they unplug electronics that aren’t being used,” principal Erica Fortenberry says. The dashboard data is also used in science and math classes (North Carolina actually mandates solar energy education in the eighth grade), but solar power has a place in English class as well, where the pros and cons of renewable energy are debated. gb&d


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ear Midway Airport on the southwest side of Chicago, surrounded by truck repair shops and fencedin U-Haul outposts, schoolchildren are raising chickens. At the Academy for Global Citizenship (AGC), a K–6 public charter school in a largely African American and Latino neighborhood, the students are the primary caretakers of Daisy and Puddles, who laid 16 eggs over winter break. The teak-stained chicken coop sits on the edge of an asphalt parking lot bordered by raised planter beds fragrant with lemongrass and sweet peas. Students feed the chickens, clean the coop, and collect the pale blue and light brown eggs before heading off to breakfast in the school’s zero-waste cafeteria, where students use reusable silverware, trays, and glassware. AGC pays about $11,000 more per year for organic milk because student nutrition and ecological sustainability are high on its priority list. Leftover food scraps are composted to reduce landfill waste and provide fresh, nutrient-rich soil for the schoolyard garden, where children learn about climate change, photosynthesis, pollination, math, and geography.

After breakfast, the wellness instructor leads yoga class to jumpstart students’ cardiovascular systems and prepare their minds for learning, which might be followed by a community meeting in which kids gather in a semicircle to identify humane ways to deal with classroom conflict. Over the course of the year, students will meet with local farmers and kitchen staff to select what to plant in the outdoor garden. They will take field trips to local architecture firms to learn about sustainable design and ride the city’s subway system, water taxis, and buses to learn about the energy costs associated with different modes of transportation. They will measure rainwater in a rusty, repurposed water heater that collects rainfall through an oil siphon to learn about water scarcity and seasonal weather patterns. These small tasks and lessons create the tiny connections that make AGC students acutely aware of their role in the cycle of life and their larger place in the world— principles that coincide with AGC’s teaching model, the International Baccalaureate (IB) program, which strives to develop inquisitive and knowledgeable people, and which plays out at AGC through many layers of education. Learning vehicles like a demonstration wind turbine are precursors to the school’s master plan for a net-positive, Living Building Challenge-certified campus, which will demonstrate how environmental sustainability connects to students’ core education experience. With 14 times as many applications as available seats, AGC is in high demand. But for Sarah Elizabeth Ippel, the founder and executive director of the school, launching a charter school under the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) umbrella and laying the groundwork for a net-positive campus has not been easy—it has been a long journey that has required courage, faith, and dogged persistence. When Ippel was 23, she rode her bicycle to the Chicago Board of Education with what to her was a simple request: to reimagine public education. She had plans for a school that would serve a largely minority population and embrace a global perspective of international mindedness, social justice, health and wellness, and environmental sustainability. On hearing

GROWING YOUNG GARDENERS Food production at AGC currently is limited to a few raised beds and a small greenhouse. On its future site, the school intends to incorporate a minimum of three acres of urban agriculture, including vegetable gardens, orchards, and multiple greenhouses.


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the proposal, several members of the board looked at her wide-eyed with disbelief. Others told her she was crazy. She strapped on her bicycle helmet and pedaled home. Not long after, the proposal was formally rejected. Ippel was discouraged but not defeated. She’d recently graduated from the University of Cambridge, where she’d earned a Masters of Philosophy in Social and Political Science. During academic breaks, she traveled extensively, motivated by the diverse languages, histories, and cultures of her classmates and the immensity of a world far beyond what she knew from her upbringing in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She journeyed from dusty rural villages in Africa to bustling urban centers in Malaysia. She saw environmental degradation, cities bathed in smog, people living with AIDS, and the physical disfigurement of childhood malnutrition and obesity. These were deeply troubling problems without easy solutions. Yet for nearly every issue, Ippel also saw an inspiring model of education working to remedy it. In the West African country of Burkina Faso, students were writing letters to Tony Blair, urging the then-prime minister to eliminate Styrofoam throughout the United Kingdom. At another school, students were campaigning to fix a leaky water fountain, using basic math to calculate water loss and convince the school’s leadership to get serious about conservation. Small examples, Ippel admits, but when aggregated across schools and districts and countries, they had the capacity to inspire systemic change in educational thinking and practice. In July 2010, speaking at a TEDx conference in Denver, she put it more urgently: “We are living in a time when the world is screaming for audacious and sustainable solutions, and the only way we are going to create lasting change is through the education of our next generation.” Ippel said several other interesting things at the conference—for instance, that 30 percent of the US student body never graduates high school, translating to an average of one dropout every nine seconds and an estimated revenue loss of $944 billion in lifetime public assistance. She pointed out that 1.1 billion people lacked access to safe drinking water and criticized No Child Left Behind, short-term thinking, cheap food, and corporate quarterly profits. She asked the audience to consider the future of Anne, a young African American girl growing up in an increasingly “environ-


Sarah Elizabeth Ippel has made AGC’s principles a reality since pitching the Chicago Board of Education at age 23.

mentally volatile and globally competitive world,” and asked what would happen if we sought to help her do more than survive. A year after they rejected her proposal, Ippel was back in front of the board. She was stiff-lipped and prepared, yet the board was not ready to budge. Not that she lacked compelling reasons for opening a new school. In southwest Chicago, an estimated 15,000 students lacked access to a public school seat. They faced—and still face—considerable obstacles to academic success: incarcerated parents, poverty, gang violence. The latest Illinois State Report Card shows that 84.9 percent of students in Chicago Public Schools qualify for free or reduced lunch, 31.9 percent are chronically truant,


and only 35 percent meet minimum math and reading standards on the Prairie State Achievement Exam. It was not until Ippel arrived a third time, in October 2007, that the board approved the Academy for Global Citizenship as a Chicago Public Schools charter. Ippel says she believes she was successful because she took a different approach, presenting a data-driven proposal committed to rigorous accountability and a holistic framework proven to be effective with the demographic the school serves. Another factor may be that the nature of the public education discussion had shifted. Only a few years earlier, mayor Richard M. Daley had launched an education initiative that called for the creation of 100 new schools by 2010. These schools were to be models of best practices, held accountable for test-score performance through five-year contracts. The initiative signaled to Ippel that there was an urgent shift in the district’s approach to education. The Academy for Global Citizenship welcomed its first 90 students in August 2008, and today, AGC operates in two buildings: a converted barrel factory serving kindergarten through second-grade students and the annex of the nearby Phoebe A. Hearst Elementary School, which serves grades three through six. Of the 350 students currently july–august 2014




Core tenets of the IB philosophy include a global perspective, multilingual education, cultural tolerance, and social and emotional wellness.

enrolled, 85 percent are Latino, 33 percent are English language learners, and 80 percent receive free or reduced lunch. The school’s mission, prominently displayed in the vestibule of the K–2 building, is “to develop mindful leaders who take action both now and in the future to positively impact their communities and the world beyond.” In its six-year history, the school’s track record has been nothing short of remarkable. AGC is outperforming the nearest public school by more than 32 percentage points in reading, 37 percentage points in math, and 19 percentage points in science. The school published a Sustainable Schools Handbook that has been adopted by many Chicago public schools, as well as around the country and world. Six thousand visitors, many from other countries,

tour the school each year. AGC was invited to the White House by Michelle Obama to be honored as the nation’s second recipient of a Gold medal in the HealthierUS School Challenge. It has been designated a National Green Ribbon School by US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, provided a Congressional Record from the US House of Representatives, commended by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Governor Pat Quinn as a model for Chicago, and recognized by media sources as varied as Fox News, Good Morning America, The New York Times, and The Atlantic. So what are they teaching these kids? The core tenets of the IB philosophy: a global perspective, multilingual education, cultural tolerance, and social and emotional wellness. Each is integrated into every as-


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pect of the AGC school day, which could easily be the subject of a Portlandia sketch. Breakfast items include whole wheat crepes with strawberry compote and quinoa with dates and pecans. They attend a wellness class that combines elements of physical education, nutrition, hygiene, and schoolyard gardening. From kindergarten, they learn both Spanish and English. Each student has a “job,” which is posted on the classroom door; there is a class electrician, a librarian, a yogi, and a resident worm expert. Traditional subjects including math and history are taught in a transdisciplinary framework in which teachers incorporate all subjects into six-week units of inquiry, such as Local and Global Food Systems or Renewable Energy Processes. Like the concentric rings that stretch out on the surface of a disturbed pond, these units expand in scale while maintaining formal congruity. For kindergarten students, a theme in the unit How the World Works might be that “all living things grow and change.” In second grade, this idea progresses to “weather is a


force of nature that impacts the everyday lives of humans.” Students in third grade learn that “simple machines make work easier for us by letting us push and pull over increased distances.” Most importantly, students are taught to be curious. They are encouraged to experience things, to feel soil between their fingers, to ask questions and take risks. They rarely use textbooks or sit in desks. They smile a lot. They are remarkably well behaved.

THE AGC SCHOOL DAY COULD EASILY BE THE SUBJECT OF A PORTLANDIA SKETCH. BREAKFAST ITEMS INCLUDE WHOLE WHEAT CREPES WITH STRAWBERRY COMPOTE AND QUINOA WITH DATES AND PECANS. Steven Biedermann, director of sustainability and operations at AGC, is a frank, articulate man with rimmed glasses who is known to work from three computers. He spent 16 years as an investment banker, working at Lehman Brothers, Fidelity Investments, and Banc One Capital Markets before leaving after September 11th with a desire to do something meaningful in the world. Thus began his journey into education. He volunteered for the Peace Corps, living without electricity or plumbing in a thatched-roof hut in Kiribati, a nation of 32 atolls in the South Pacific, where he survived off fish and rice and taught math and statistics to high school seniors. Three years later, he came back to Chicago and spent a number of years as senior investment portfolio manager of Chicago Public Schools— the only person in the building, he says, “who saw every dollar come in and out.” When Arne Duncan was appointed as United States Secretary of Education in 2009, Biedermann says he felt frustrated by what he saw as a leadership vacuum. He went overseas again. He spent time working for an American NGO in Iraq, taught English to young monks near Katmandu, and met a woman who would become his wife in Bhutan, a predominantly Buddhist country with a government-sponsored forest conservation policy, a ban on plastic bags, and a net sink in greenhouse gas emissions. “Bhutan is the only country in the world where they measure gross national happiness, not gross national product,” Biedermann says. In his final job before being hired at AGC, Biedermann served as chief financial officer at Namaste Solar, a Colorado compa-


ny that has received national awards for its solar installations. Fittingly, Biedermann is especially proud of AGC’s solar learning lab, a cantilevered wooden structure that supports three solar panels and allows students to track on-site energy production. Funded by a $10,000 grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, the structure annually produces 850 kilowatts of energy. It was deliberately built in an area accessible to students rather than the roof of the school so it could be used as a demonstration model for lessons on renewable energy and climate change. The structure rests on a repurposed asphalt parking lot that provides the footprint for the school’s raised garden beds, a greenhouse that extends the growing season, and, of course, the chickens. To passersby, AGC is nothing more than a one-story beige-brick building surrounded by a chain-link fence. Inside, however, the school is designed to function as a “third teacher,” a term coined by Italian educator Loris Malaguzzi, founder of the Reggio Emilia model. In the school’s front corridor, a three-dimensional installation of the world’s seven continents is hung with revolving discs depicting regional ecosystems and food indigenous to those regions. The tropical rainforests and dry steppes of South America, we learn, produce peanuts, coffee, and passion fruit. The taiga and temperate forests of the Asian continent? Bok choy, chrysanthemum, and komatsu. Nearby is a “breathing wall,” where a green assemblage of leafy plants and herbs sprout from pots resting in troughs. A color-coded map shows where Spanish, Chi-

nese, Sinhala, Inuit, and 32 other common languages are spoken. A mural of a child’s internal organs serves as a lesson in food and body chemistry: how spinach guards against liver disease, apples improve lung capacity, walnuts and blueberries sharpen memory, and water and limes smooth skin. Meals are similarly educational, designed to educate students about where their food comes from and the impacts of their nutritional decisions. For starters, all meals are 100 percent organic, made from scratch, and nutritionally balanced, thanks in large part to AGC’s head cook Heriberto Arriola, a man the children know as Chef Eddie. Eddie’s children go to the school, and when CPS budget cuts reduced his position to part time, AGC chose to hire him independently and give him a full-time salary. Arriola sources ingredients locally whenever possible—sometimes from just outside the cafeteria’s service entrance, where students grow tomatoes, radishes, basil, and eggplant from seeds. Throughout the building are bins marked for landfill, recycling, or compost. Crayons and pencils go to landfill, paper and plastic are recycled, and fruit scraps and napkins are composted. After a daily afternoon snack, students dispose of fruit and vegetable scraps in vermicomposting stations where worms begin the cycle of decomposition. “Environmental sustainability and appreciation for the Earth are aligned

RECLAIMING DIRTY LAND AGC currently operates out of a former barrel factory. Surrounded by property contaminated by a history of heavy industry, the future campus will transform a nearby site into a blend of plant, animal, and human habitats.

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hoebe Beierle has had a connection to the Earth since she was a child. Growing up in the New York countryside, she and her family harvested most of their food, cut their own firewood, and all worked on renovating their old home. Her inherent knowledge in environmental practices has propelled her to a career as the sustainability manager for Boston Public Schools, where she’s now bringing people together to enact change in their community. As a fellow for the USGBC’s Center for Green Schools, Beierle was placed with the public school district to implement sustainable practices that are then passed down to the classrooms and students. Her position is one of connections, where she brings principals, teachers, and students together with community nonprofits that have similar goals. As the go-to person for sustainability in the district, her biggest challenge is facilitating and then pulling back. “It’s one thing to be a connector and bring together these resources, and another to step away and let them continue connecting,” Beierle says. Through this network of information sharing, Beierle sees a greater awareness in the area’s youth about addressing environmental issues and looking for opportunities to act. This past May, students from one of the district’s schools went to a youth climate summit, where they spoke to the governor’s office about reducing emissions in the face of climate change. And so, her connections continue to grow. —Melanie Loth


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with our mission,” Ippel says. “It’s part of serving the whole child, like teaching from a global perspective. They go hand in hand.” Near the school entrance is a demonstration wind turbine, harnessing wind power to turn a bicycle-derailleur-like gear shaft that generates energy and powers an electric bulb. A sign at the base says, “Wind energy has been used for over 5,000 years dating back to the Egyptians. Wind has been used to sail ships, power windmills, and produce electricity.” But while the wind turbine is well-intentioned and instructive, it is hard to ignore that it is built on an asphalt parking lot. A key part of Biedermann’s job is to supervise the creation of a net-positive-energy campus, which will provide expanded space and resources for lessons in environmental stewardship and ecological sustainability—a new and improved “third teacher.” If all goes well, the new campus could open as early as August 2016, on seven to ten acres within AGC’s current neighborhood. The campus will be the first school in Illinois to produce more energy than it consumes. The master plan, however, is dependent on funding, and although initial drawings planned for about 60,000 square feet of space, until a site is chosen, the actual size has yet to be determined. Early site plans from Cannon Design show seven acres of agricultural land, outdoor classrooms, rain gardens, orchards, a solar-powered carport with plug-ins for hybrids, a production greenhouse, a wastewater wetland, and a swing set that generates energy—even a nomadic yurt camp for volunteer organic farmers. Some of these are wish-list items, Biedermann admits, but the goal of meeting Living Building Challenge (LBC) standards is within reach.



Some of the more advanced details of Cannon Design’s plans for the AGC campus, which will strive for Living Building certification, include an energy-generating swingset, a waste water wetland, and a yurt camp to host volunteer organic farmers.




The LBC comprises seven performance areas: site, water, energy, health, materials, equity, and beauty. For the new AGC campus, that translates to community involvement in the design process, a minimum of three acres of urban agriculture, and at least 10 percent of the developed site dedicated to food production, clean- and renewable-energy production, and on-site water collection and treatment. If groundwater contamination is present—a reasonable possibility in a neighborhood with a history of heavy industry—an open-loop geothermal system will be integrated with the aquifer to begin a water filtration and cleansing process. Yet the school’s true motive in achieving the LBC is loftier: to create a prototype that will shift the way systems across the globe

AMERICAN EDUCATION BY THE NUMBERS Nationwide, 6 Students drop out every minute, and 30% never graduate. The estimated revenue loss associated with these failures is $944 billion. In southwest Chicago, 15,000 students lack access to a public school seat, and 85% of CPS students qualify for free or reduced lunch. The portion of students that meets minimum math and reading standards is just 35%. At the Academy for Global Citizenship, 350 new public school seats have been created to date, and 33% of students are English language learners. And yet AGC outperforms the nearest CPS school by an average of 29% in core subjects.


educate children. The net-positive campus is yet another teaching tool, a fully integrated, replicable model for learning in the 21st century. One question remains, and it is not whether the school’s net-positive-energy campus will be built, but rather whom it will serve. Admission to AGC is determined by a blind lottery. “The odds are like Powerball,” Biedermann says. “I believe access to education for all children is a human right. We haven’t found out how to do that yet here in Chicago, let alone provide it for the rest of the world.” At the enrollment lottery for the 2014– 2015 school year, 92 people were crammed into the cafeteria to vie for 20 available kindergarten seats. (There are no openings for upper grades, only a wait list, though there is a policy to automatically admit siblings of a current AGC student.) One mother entered the cafeteria with her daughter—an aspiring member of the new kindergarten class—rocking another child in her arms. When her daughter’s name was eventually called, she began jumping up and down ecstatically. She understood the significance: her children’s futures, though not guaranteed, perhaps hold greater promise, thanks to the instruction they will receive at AGC. Biedermann is hopeful not that every student becomes a doctor, but that all of them are empowered to become lifelong leaders and learners. “I don’t care if a child goes into construction or becomes a brain surgeon or a representative to the United

CHEF EDDIE’S DOMAIN Students eat meals prepared by AGC’s independently employed organic chef, Heriberto “Chef Eddie” Arriola, whose own kids attend the school. Arriola prepares all food 100% organically with ingredients sourced locally—at times as close as the student-maintained garden plots outside.

Nations,” Biedermann says. “I want these children to be mindful leaders in whatever career they choose. Wisdom is the sum of learning and experience.” Wherever these children go, and whatever they choose to do, they will go with the understanding that they are a part of a global network, an interconnected ecosystem that includes all living things, and they will go with the values instilled by their school’s founder: courage, faith, and dogged persistence. gb&d GUEST EDITOR STACY SMEDLEY Big hugs and kudos to Sarah Elizabeth. She speaks my language. We are, as adults, a collection of our experiences and education. When the two are harmoniously linked and centered on the type of education AGC promotes, we are destined to create positive change.

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This lament was printed in the Chicago Tribune in 1888. Historically speaking, outdoor air pollution has been pretty easy to spot. In those fevered years of the Industrial Revolution, coal smoke blackened streets and buildings. When automobiles commuting from far-flung suburbs became the norm in the 1950s and ’60s, exhaust smog hung thick in the air. To mitigate what would be recognized as a widespread health crisis, the first federal Clean Air Act was passed in 1970. But these days, we breathe a lot less of that cleaned-up outdoor air than you would expect. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, we spend an average of 90 percent of our time inside—in our homes, in our offices, in our schools. And it turns out that pollution generated inside these buildings, while more difficult to see than coal smoke, poses significant health issues too. The idea of indoor air quality, or IAQ, isn’t exactly new. In their coal- or wood-heated homes, our forefathers knew the importance of ventilation. Benjamin Franklin wrote about it in the late-18th century: “Another grand mean of preserving health is to admit a constant supply of fresh air into your chamber,” he wrote. “A more sad mistake was never committed than that of sleeping in tight rooms.” And yet tighter rooms became the norm following the energy crises of the 1970s. “People started to tighten up the building envelope to save on energy costs, and that caused all sorts of sick building syndrome-type issues,” says Scott Steady, who manages UL Environment’s GREENGUARD certification program. Asthma, drowsiness, dizziness, headaches, even more serious diseases like cancer have been linked to poor IAQ. Worker productivity, too, was shown to decrease within these types of office environments. In Franklin’s days there were a limited number of factors contributing to nega-


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tive IAQ, but the proliferation of synthetic materials and cleaning agents in our modern age has brought more culprits than ever. The quality of our indoor air depends on an incredibly diverse landscape of factors. Its temperature and composition depends on the number of people working, learning, living, and breathing inside. It contains varying levels of air exchanged with the outdoors. Natural elements, like mold growing behind the walls or radon leached from soil beneath the building, can poison the space. Humans pollute it by using products for our daily lives, like cooking gas, hairspray, or toilet cleaners, all of which contain volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. And synthetic building materials, finishes, and furnishings can off-gas toxins as they dry, age, or react with other substances. So stop reading. Look around, wherever you are. That wood trim may be treated with urea-formaldehyde or arsenic—both carcinogens. Your wall coverings, furnishings, carpeting, pipes, doors, or windows most likely contain phthalate, a common—and toxic—plasticizer. Your chlorinated roof membrane probably contains dioxin, another carcinogen. From our insulation to our furniture, the materials that have made buildings so much cheaper and more efficient in the past half-century have, to be frank, made us sick. “Once we tightened up the buildings, we further isolated the inside from the outside,” says Dr. Elliott Horner, a lead scientist at UL Environment. “We started trapping what was being produced inside and letting it build up to higher concentrations.” According to the EPA, concentrations of certain pollutants can be two to five times higher inside than outside, and yet with the exception of state and municipal smoking bans, interiors are, in Horner’s words, essentially unregulated airspace.

UL—or Underwriters Laboratories— was originally founded in the late nineteenth century to test and, later, certify, the fire safety of electrical inventions by patent-happy Americans, but it has spent the past decade expanding into the health and environment frontiers. In 2011, it acquired GREENGUARD, arguably the best-known certification related to healthy products for IAQ. (It is recognized by LEED, Green Seal, Green Guide for Healthcare, Collaborative High Performance for Schools, Green Globes, and more.) Hundreds of manufacturers are opting


in. “We felt that GREENGUARD had the most thorough and demanding process,” says John Fischbach, president of Decca Contract, a Minnesota-based maker of wood casegoods and seating products. “And we wanted to be pushed.” The certification process is straightforward, but, as Fischbach says, rigorous. Here’s how it works. “First is the manufacturing and documentation review, where we take a look at a product’s raw materials and supply chain,” GREENGUARD’s Steady says. This can be an extensive part of the process for companies with a wide range of product types, sizes, and configurations. While gb&d

some companies opt to certify an entire product line, others select individual products to test how they sell with the certification attached. A few years ago, having the GREENGUARD mark on your website was somewhat of a novelty, but today, addressing the emissions of your product has become increasingly important if a manufacturer wants to be competitive on a bid. “As people came to understand what the program was about, it became an accepted standard, then it became a desired standard, and then it became a required standard,” says Bill Strickland, the national market manager at Phifer Incorporated, a manufacturer of

“PEOPLE STARTED TO TIGHTEN UP THE BUILDING ENVELOPE TO SAVE ON ENERGY COSTS, AND THAT CAUSED ALL SORTS OF SICK BUILDING SYNDROMETYPE ISSUES.” SCOTT STEADY, UL ENVIRONMENT sun-control products like window shades. “Now I’d say you’d be hard-pressed to find a product in this industry that has not pursued or achieved GREENGUARD certification.” During the next step, a screening test of product samples, the third party’s engineers will warn the manufacturer if it sees anything that would prohibit the july–august 2014






r. Bill Wiecking has an interesting way of explaining why investing in the education of high school students is paramount when it comes to progress in sustainability, and yet it’s one with which few would disagree, especially anyone else who has been a teacher for 35 years. “No one has a stronger sense of attitude than a teenager,” he says. “They have a great BS detector and believe that everyone before them did it wrong… This is not someone else’s quest. This is their quest. They’re owning their own education.” Having earned degrees in both physics and neuroscience, Wiecking is just as qualified to speak on sustainability as he is on the teenage mind. That’s also what makes him a perfect fit for his job. Wiecking is the director of Hawaii Preparatory Academy’s Energy Lab, the second Living Building Challenge-certified facility in the world. Providing one workshop and one classroom that fit a combined 40 students and remain constantly full throughout the school week, the Energy Lab plays a leading role in the academy’s curriculum–not just by demonstrating its own innovations to students, but also through hosting classes of various subjects, from environmental science to art history. Along with Boston firm Flansburgh Architects and project manager Ken Melrose, Wiecking helped the Energy Lab evolve from an ambitious idea into fruition in January 2010. Part of the goal was to prove that no location, not even Hawaii, is exempt from striving for Living Buildings. “Our culture is completely dependent on outside sources,” he says. “So if you could do it here, you could do it anywhere. Where better to demonstrate this than in a place where you’re completely dependent on fossil fuels?” —Steven Arroyo


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product’s ability to earn certification. “At this point, they may go back to the drawing board from an R&D perspective and look at new materials,” Steady says. Finally, certification is offered to the products that pass. For example, in the furniture category, to achieve GREENGUARD Gold, VOCs cannot exceed 0.22 milligrams per square meter, and formaldehyde concentrations have to be less than nine parts per billion. It isn’t just a one-time pass or fail. “We ask manufacturers to tell us if there are any changes to raw materials or components,” Steady says, “and then on an annual basis, we go back in and do random recertification testing.” Upon certification, products are added to UL’s Sustainable Product Guide, a database of GREENGUARD, ECOLOGO (for cleaning products), and otherwise vouched-for products. The free online resource means architects and designers don’t have to reinvent the wheel. They can search UL’s product guide by category, brand, or—helpfully—credits earned within rating systems like LEED, Green Globes, or ASHRAE. The “LEED 2009 For Schools” tag, for example, includes more than 9,500 results, from fiberglass insulation by Guardian to fabric-topped stools by NeutralPosture. “Architects and designers can save time by taking the documentation right out of our Sustainable Product Guide and submitting it,” says Dagmar Ebaugh, PR and communications manager at UL Environment. With the legwork of drilling down through the product chain out of the way, designers can focus on what they do best: design. A preliminary study published in Indoor Air in 2006 reported that high ventilation rates in classrooms correlated with a 14–15 percent increase in standardized test scores, bringing the topic of IAQ directly in front of educators. Studies also show that because children have a higher heart rate and breathe higher volumes of air relative to their body size than adults, indoor pollutants pose a more severe health risk. So ventilation is a very large tip of the iceberg for healthy classroom environments. And it happened to be the issue that Perkins+Will’s Allen Post first noticed when he stepped into a mobile classroom building for the first time. “I was just—” Post pauses, looking for the right word. “Blown away. And shocked. All of the windows had been spray-painted over. There were holes in the floor and even in the door. It was moldy,


overcrowded, dark, and loud. I could not imagine learning in that classroom. When you see that, it inspires you to make it better.” The experience, says Post, who has been with Perkins+Will’s K-12 education group for the better part of a decade, motivated his team to create a solution to the hundreds of thousands of mobile classrooms across the country that have, often because of budgetary constrains, long outlived their intended period of use and become unhealthy environments. That solution was Sprout Space, an approximately 1,000-square-foot modular classroom building that won Architecture for Humanity’s Classroom of the Future award in 2009. Its windows, and even a few walls, are fully operable, allowing huge swaths of fresh air in. One of the marker boards is installed on the exterior to create an outdoor learning space. The building materials—from Marmoleum flooring made of powdered wood, jute, and linseed oil, to FSC-certified, urea-formaldehyde-free wood treatments—were vetted through an open-source website called Transparency that Perkins+Will launched in 2012. The site features a “precautionary” list with known and suspected risk factors of 25 categories of chemicals. But building owners have to think holistically. A perfect building structure, with low-emitting ductwork, flooring, and insulation, will fail at healthy IAQ if it’s filled with high-emitting desks, chairs, lockers, activity mats, and shelves. “A lot of times, clients don’t ask us to be involved in the furniture selection,” Post says. “So they come in after we’re gone and put in furniture that has a lot of the contaminants ... that we worked so hard to keep out of the classroom.” Which is why Perkins+Will teamed up with School Specialty, a full-service

innovative products

Sprout Space, National Building Museum, Washington D.C.

Bison – supporting innovations in Education Wood tiles | 2cmpavertM | pedestals | site Furnishings



MANUFACTURER SPOTLIGHT PHIFER INCORPORATED “About 20 years ago, we saw that if we were going to continue to be a viable textile weaver in the United States, it would not be competing on price alone,” says Bill Strickland, national market manager at Phifer Incorporated. When his market exploded during the late 1990s and early 2000s, with production shifting simultaneously to East Asia, Strickland says the 62-year-old company, based in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, decided to compete on a different level. The resulting decision, to keep employees in the US and focus on product development, led to Phifer’s SheerWeave fabrics becoming the first window treatment product line to achieve GREENGUARD certification. Phifer was founded in 1952 when an Alabama lawyer, J. Reese Phifer, began weaving insect screening. With that expertise, he developed a line of sun-control products that grew rapidly during the energy crises of the 1970s. When heating-and-cool-


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ing costs spiked, government and utility programs subsidized the cost of homeowners adding solar screens to block heat gain and cut energy use. “Oftentimes our product was the one named in those programs,” Strickland says. The transition to interior shading was a natural one, and now Phifer produces a broad range of products all under the name SheerWeave, including 34 fabric styles of roll-up window shades. Fairly recently, SheerWeave fabrics were vinyl-coated. Strickland began to receive phone calls in 2005, in which consumers or architects were “either expressing concern with the PVCs—the chemical content and chemical emissions into the air—or were looking for other options,” he recalls. “Toward 2007, those inquiries became commonplace. I was getting them every week.” It wasn’t enough anymore for the manufacturer to say its product was safe. Third-party verification represented relief for architects or homeowners who wanted products that met EPA and other standards for chemical content and emissions. Phifer submitted its range of fiberglass-core window treatment fabrics for GREENGUARD certification. “We didn’t know


how relevant it would be,” Strickland says. “But it was a way to satisfy a market that was becoming more savvy and aware.” The company’s fiberglass and polyester lines had always matched each other’s sales, but fiberglass—the GREENGUARD-certified line—started outpacing polyester. It seemed clear that the certification was making a difference. With more than 80 products already listed in UL Environment’s Sustainable Product Guide, Phifer continues to introduce alternatives to traditional vinyl-coated fabrics. For example, Infinity2—an olefin-based fabric in a variety of weave densities—is PVC-free, contains 100-percent recycled content, and is 100-percent recyclable. Ecolibrium—a mainly corn and soy-based plasticizer developed by Dow Chemical— recently replaced the typical petroleum-based plasticizers for SheerWeave’s 4000 line. According to Dow, using Ecolibrium reduces greenhouse-gas emissions by up to 40 percent compared to the regular PVCs. “It’s not an arbitrary, vague claim,” Strickland says. “You’re actually having a direct impact that can be calculated by how much fabric is being used on the project.”


“WE HAVE ONE PRODUCT CONSISTING OF SAWDUST, WHICH IS PRESSED AND HEATED SO THE RESIN IN THE SAWDUST BINDS IT TOGETHER. NO OFF-GASSING, NO GLUES, NO PLASTICS. AND YOU CAN BEAT IT WITH A BASEBALL BAT.” SUE WALKER, VS AMERICA educational products company, for Sprout Space. “You want a balanced learning environment that meets total need,” says Jason DeWeerd, the director of sales at School Specialty. “Not only from a structural standpoint, but also a furnishings standpoint.” The company’s Projects by Design division tapped some of its key forward-thinking manufacturing partners, such as Bretford and Mooreco, to outfit the space with GREENGUARD-certified classroom furniture, marker boards, storage, and more. In another educational environment with cutting-edge health strategies, VS America provided all of the furniture for Aspen Country Day School’s recent renovation and new 18,765-square-foot classroom building. While mitigating product emissions, the project also addresses how furniture design and layout can impact learning. “VS has created chairs that allow kids subtle motion, rather than fighting with the static chair,” says Sue Walker, VS America’s Rocky Mountain regional manager. Some studies have shown subtle motion can actually help a child to focus while mitigating negative health issues associated with inactivity. The sturdy,

long-lasting products designed by VS— which is relatively new to the US, but was founded in Germany more than a century ago—are also designed to hold up to the beating they can take in the classroom. “We have one desk product consisting of sawdust, which is pressed and heated so the resin in the sawdust binds it together,” Walker says. “No off-gassing, no glues, no plastics. And you can beat it with a baseball bat.” In addition to obtaining GREENGUARD certification for its furniture, VS achieved a stringent Level 2 certification through the Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association (BIFMA) for about 50 of its products. Level is to furniture what the Living Building Challenge is to the architecture industry, with evaluative categories of materials, energy and atmosphere, human and ecosystem health, and social responsibility. Level also offers a database of its certified furniture online. The indoor air around us may not be federally regulated yet, but in the past several years, attention to indoor air quality has become pretty much standard. There are plenty of available resources to help along the way, from UL Environment’s Sustainable Products Guide and Perkins+Will’s open-source Transparency to the Red List of materials compiled by the International Living Future Institute. Healthy indoor environments make sense at the very zenith of the idealism scale—because if we’re not protecting our children from schools that make them sick, what are we doing?—but they can also be a straight-edged practical matter for those who care about liability, longevity of investments, responding to client desires, test scores, or employee productivity. So there’s really no excuse. Like coal smoke and car smog, indoor air pollution “isn’t generated spontaneously by the heavens,” but primarily by the building industry. Let’s clean it up a little. gb&d


GUEST EDITOR STACY SMEDLEY A few weeks ago I had the ironic experience of being invited to speak about SEED at a high school and then asked to wait in a portable classroom. There were leaks, bugs in the lights, no windows… By the time I presented, I had a pounding headache. It made my presentation very in the moment, and the students all got it. They were experiencing what I just had every day. It has to change.





tephen Ritz lives just three miles from where he grew up in the Bronx, a borough he sees as a place that can change the world. He’s living proof that with a few committed educators and a whole lot of enthusiasm, under-resourced communities can offer kids everything they need to be successful in the 21st century: an education, job opportunities, environmental awareness, and a philosophy straight from Cesar Chavez: “Si se puede! Yes we can!” Ritz has taught biology, special education, even typing—though the classroom had no typewriters—but today he is the dean of students and the community partnership coordinator at Hyde Leadership Charter School, a K-12 institution in the Bronx. Most kids, however, know Ritz as the founder of the Green Bronx Machine, a nonprofit that continues to win awards for transforming at-risk students into highly skilled, academically successful, and holistically minded young citizens. Students don’t just learn about green roofs; they are trained and certified as installers. One gets the sense that Ritz is an eternal optimist. He calls all his students Americans and emphasizes the “can”—African-American, Puerto Rican, Dominican. And green, he says, is key. “The singularly most effective tool that I’ve ever seen for generating academic performance is the act of growing vegetables in class,” he says. “It really works. When they learn about nature, they learn to nurture. Every child deserves a clean, healthy, nurturing, inspiring environment, and while I can’t build new buildings over night, I can put a plant in the classroom.” —Timothy Schuler

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Up Front Typology Trendsetters Approach Inner Workings Features Spaces Tough Builds Punch List


114 More Than Meets the Eye

Travis Price’s Bruneel Residence features a deceptive façade

120 Beyond Curb Appeal

DDG’s latest is green inside and out

124 Sedum, Je T’aime

In a city known for green roofs stands one massive vertical garden

126 The Power of Positive Building

Marc Rutenburg goes for net zero


130 Progress Report

Checking in on Lady Bird Johnson Middle School

Rutgers Business School’s new building is a literal gateway

134 Open for Business

142 Learning in Severe Climates

ERO greens schools in South Texas


146 Greening a Giant

One architect designs three new projects for Green Mountain Coffee

150 Open Air Office

Making the roof work for employees


154 Alfresco Design

How a concession stand became Canada’s first LEED Gold restaurant

157 Luxury Without Limits


In Vegas, custom sustainable solutions

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MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE july–august 2014

At first glance, the Bruneel Residence by Travis Price reveals nothing more than a massive copper façade By Christopher James Palafox Photography by Ken Wyner



centrates on combining ecology, mythology, and modern technology—as does the design-build student exploration program he founded called Spirit of Place | Spirit of Design. Price takes a client’s story and marries it with the myths and culture of a building’s site using today’s most innovative tools. The client of the Bruneel Residence, for instance, wanted the project to seem unassuming upon approach before revealing hidden features and elements. This is when Price keyed in on the iPhone, which at a glance is just a bar of glass and plastic, but when turned on and explored reveals a varied and nearly infinite nature. Approach the Bruneel Residence from the forest to the north, and all you see is what appears to be a green and windowless façade. Move five feet to the left, and you notice a crevice running all the way up the side, revealing the home’s dual towers. Price describes this as the first click—turning on the iPhone. Then, walking through the path between the two structures, you step onto a deck with an

extraordinary view: two gigantic mountains that form a saddle, much like the home’s two towers and middle path. Through the sliding glass door and up the stairs are the living rooms and bedrooms (the home was conceived upside-down, so that living areas have access to more daylight), each new space introducing yet another feature. The stairwell, which also acts as a thermal chimney, was designed to facilitate the rise of air and symbolize the rise of the sun, beginning close together and expanding towards the rooftop vents. The home features a number of elongated slits that imitate the area’s tall pine trees; its roof garden also acts as an outdoor living room. Connecting the two volumes is a transparent glass bridge that brings in sunlight and reinforces the idea of living in tandem with nature. The bridge’s transparency also creates a clear separation of the two spaces because one must go “outside” to reach the other. For Price, the bridge is a symbol of the project’s pur-


ynics around the globe have lamented the death of critical thinking and creativity in today’s society, with the smoking smartphone leaving minds sated and docile, casting inspiration as the Mr. Boddy of advancing technology. There’s something to the argument, but the sustainably built, copper-clothed Bruneel Residence in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, is something of counterpoint—cleverly using technology, namely Apple’s pervasive mobile device, as inspiration for a daring and environmentally responsible home. “This is one of those perfect little passive solar projects,” says Travis Price, whose eponymous architecture firm con-


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OPPOSITEThe green copper façade of Travis Price’s Bruneel Residence in West Virginia suggests the opposite of the open, heavily daylit spaces that it offers inside. ABOVEThe living room is deliberately placed on the second floor so that it receives increased amounts of natural light and overlooks the surrounding woods and neighboring mountains. RIGHTEngineered plywood ceilings lend warmth to many rooms, including the second-floor bedrooms. Most of the home’s fixtures are off-the-shelf to be easily replaceable.


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FROM THE PORTFOLIO Two more homes by Travis Price

pose: to blur the lines between technology and nature. “The passive solar angles, the heat masses, the domestic hot water, and LEDs—all that’s just a checklist, really,” says Price, who allegedly coined the term “passive solar” in the 1970s during a trip to Santa Fe’s Chaco Canyon, where he noticed that the prehistoric pueblos were passively melting snow off of their roofs. “What’s really the big move is, how do I get the family tuned to nature?” One way is to use engineered materials that imply feelings of warmth, such as engineered plywood ceilings, along with

the actual warmth created by tons of insulation, sun, and natural stonework. The project’s green skin, a copper patina, not only acts as a defining visual element, but also is cheap and sustainable. The idea was to use the thinnest-gauge, longest-lasting material that was inexpensive and able to shed water too. “Houses are just the next layer of clothing,” Price says. The Bruneel Residence’s outermost layer is like a water-resistant jacket; the shell is projected to last hundreds of years with a very low environmental impact. And at two-thirds the price of a material like brick, it becomes easier to replace in the far-flung future. Price has traveled extensively and written books on the relationship between architecture and place and cultivating a desire to honor the natural elements that define an area. Today, Price continues to tap into local myth, culture, and styles to design buildings that blur the line between time-tested ideas and cutting-edge technology. gb&d

FLOOR PLANS BRUNEEL RESIDENCE Ground Floor Garage / “Man Cave”


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First Floor Bedrooms/Bathrooms

Second Floor Living/Dining

Roof Terrace Outdoor Living

Hayes Residence Built just five miles from the Bruneel Residence is West Virginia is this getaway cabin that allows one to experience changing seasons in the midst of nature. All of the site’s trees were preserved, including two that the home was constructed around— they appear to sprout up through the roof. The two large, curved roofs use water-shedding copper to feed water to the enclosed trees. So as not to disturb the site, small columns keep the home floating above the landscape and help the building tread lightly on the Earth. The home is noticeably simple, with only a bedroom, a guest room, a living room, and an IKEA kitchenette.


ABOVEWith a sustainable landscape designed by Thomas Tait Gardens, of Washington, DC, the Bruneel Residence is highly integrated with its site. Inside, the corner stairwell acts as a thermal chimney, drawing air up through the home.

Ian Mackenzie Residence Built on a peninsula of Vargas Island, along the southwest edge of British Columbia is the home of environmentalist Ian Mackenzie. Drawing on his Scottish heritage and affinities for Japanese and local Haida culture, the house features tatami mats and Zen elements. Its interior is designed like the belly of a fish, with a mouth at the front and steel trusses that act as fish bones. An all-metal roof and high-grade plastic decking systems were used because of their extremely long life. Hidden photovoltaic cells on a treetop provide only enough power for a laptop and cellphone, keeping the project off the grid. The area’s historic style has buildings “tattooed,” which is represented on this project’s exterior with depictions of local ecology in the form of mushrooms and plankton.


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A full, overhanging garden grows from a 700-square-foot canopy that shades the sidewalk of Manhattan’s historic Meatpacking District.


BEYOND CURB APPEAL LOCATION New York City Size 1  19,000 ft2 Completion2013 Program Condominiums and retail

DDG’s new condo building deftly echoes the lush, urban reincarnation that is New York’s High Line while also referencing the new Whitney Museum being built nearby


By Russ Klettke


DEVELOPER/ARCHITECT DDG Civil Engineer Sullivan Group Design MEP Engineer Glickman Engineering Associates Structural Engineer Robert Silman Associates LEED Consultant Sage Design & Consulting Landscape Designer F  uture Green

GREEN CERTIFICATION LEED certified (expected) EnvelopeExtra-thick, energysaving masonry walls WindowsHigh-performance, in-swing, double-paned glass WaterRainwater collectors, storage tanks Energy conservationDaikin three-pipe split HVAC system with zoned climate control

The principals at DDG, a New York City-based real estate developer, invoke concepts of dialogue when it comes to 345meatpacking, their most recent project. The conversations they reference are literal, between people, as well as figurative, about the relationships between structure and surroundings, past and present, art and life. Although this Big Apple dialogue sounds sophisticated, it actually is quite pedestrian—literally. “When you stand in the street, you see passersby looking, stopping, and taking pictures,” says Peter Guthrie, DDG’s chief creative officer. He and Joe McMillan, DDG’s chairman and

CEO, revel in the curb appeal of the building, which is almost impossible to miss. A 70-foot-long, 10-foot-deep canopy across the front of the building holds a full garden, complete with climate-appropriate grasses, bushes, flowering vegetation like staghorn sumac, and vining plants—all of which tumble through kidney-shaped holes over the sidewalk. It’s unusual in any city to have a hanging garden so close to the sidewalk, but this is the Meatpacking District, a rapidly evolving neighborhood on Manhattan’s Lower West Side. One block west is the wildly popular High Line, a 1.45-mile linear park constructed on a former elevated

RIGHTOn Manhattan’s Lower West Side, near the now-famous High Line, the Meatpacking District is returning to prosperity after decades of decline in the late 20th century.


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ABOVEDouble-paned glass windows overlook 345meatpacking’s canopy garden, creating a groundfloor illusion and plant-framed views. FAR LEFTAlthough it comes from Denmark, the building’s gray Kolumba brick helps 345meatpacking blend into New York’s historic district. LEFTOn the roof, additional vegetation grows in wooden planters and climbs the wire mesh of the elevator tower, complementing a sunny lounging area.


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345meatpacking SPACES

railroad spur, which features its own rich collection of vegetation. District galleries, restaurants, and clubs keep the area lively long after the sun goes down. Inhabitants of the 37-unit, 11-story condominium building can retreat under its vegetation rather quickly, and when they do, another sight awaits. “The minute you step indoors you are greeted by a water feature grotto,” Guthrie says. The building doesn’t completely depart from the electric, shimmering aesthetics of the area; bronze elevator doors and window frames serve as a counterpoint to its characteristic gray bricks. By the light of day that masonry is noticed. The oversized Kolumba bricks by Denmark’s Petersen Tegl help the building blend with the 19th- and early 20th-century structures that dot the district. The 345meatpacking building is a renovated warehouse with significant structural additions; half of the original walls and a quarter of the building floors were kept intact. In DDG’s experience, repurposing existing structures serves environmental, aesthetic, marketing, and financial goals. It almost always reduces construction waste and resource consumption. Relative to new-build costs and related financing, “Either offers different opportunities and challenges,” McMillan says. “An adaptive reuse will build slightly faster, and investors have a propensity to appreciate preservation. Lenders like existing buildings in good shape.” Because renovating a building makes achieving LEED certification more likely (345meatpacking’s own application is pending), adaptive reuse projects can be attractive to environmentally conscious New Yorkers. “LEED is one component,” McMillan says. “But we find many people take a holistic view on eco-sourcing. They are very savvy about looking past simple certification.” As those potential buyers examined DDG’s latest offering, they found a building that held up; 345meatpacking mitigates rainwater runoff with a retention system that irrigates the gb&d

SUPERLATIVES vegetated canopy and other plantings. (Twenty-five percent of roof space is given to growing media.) Vegetation and heat-resistant pavers reduce solar absorption on summer days. Indoor air quality is maximized with 100-percent-filtered outside air, while sealed interior walls eliminate seepage of cooking and smoking fumes between adjacent units. The operable, low-E, double-gasket windows reduce heat and cooling loss as well as solar gain in summer. Not surprisingly, the building sold out in nine months. Units went for prices of up to $6.8 million. DDG wasted no time in letting the world know this was a breakthrough project. During the construction phase, it draped the entire building in netting designed by artist Yayoi Kusama; the artwork was a blown-up version of her 1994 painting “Yellow Trees,” a pattern of swirling black and mustard-colored dots. This was DDG’s answer to a call from the city to enhance the aesthetics of construction sites. It was also a nod to the Whitney Museum, which recently had exhibited Kusama and is building

Biggest Time Saver A previous developer had achieved renovation permits, which DDG acquired along with the property Most Obscure Reuse Thick joists from the original structure are used in the building’s fitness room Biggest Hurdle A  large truss system was necessary to preserve the existing ground floor Closest Material Source Cabinetry was constructed by local New York City artisans

its new museum just a block from 345meatpacking. Such features are not the result of a vision created in a vacuum. They can be attributed, in part, to a dialogue Guthrie and McMillan have with project investors, whose interests in 345meatpacking and other DDG developments go “well beyond the money,” McMillan says. “This group buys into our idea that great buildings are fantastically fun to be a part of. And they want to contribute to the city.” Perhaps this is proof that the most enjoyable conversations are often the most fruitful. gb&d july–august 2014



Morgante-Wilson Architects brings the Parisian-style vertical garden to a city known for green roofs By Lindsey Howald Patton

Husband-and-wife architectural team Fred Wilson and Elissa Morgante flew to Paris to attend a conference in 2009. While there, a project left en media res lingered in both of their minds. Their Evanston, Illinois firm Morgante-Wilson Architects had been asked to find an elegant solution to a side yard created when the clients purchased a neighboring residential lot and demolished the home that sat on it. Specifically, this had exposed a windowless, split-face concrete wall that needed beautifying in order to complement a planned classical garden. During a stroll one day, Paris presented the solution. Morgante and Wilson noticed a home with one exterior wall completely covered in plants. “It was just in a small neighborhood. It wasn’t anything grand,” Wilson recalls. “But it definitely caught our eye.” This was 2009, and Mayor Richard M. Daley was working to build Chicago’s reputation—one that continues today—as a leader in green roofs in America. But green walls? They didn’t yet exist in the city.


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The walls of France, on the other hand, had been covered with vegetation for years. Vertical gardens, as they’re sometimes called, are associated with the country, mostly due to the creations of prolific French botanist Patrick Blanc since the late 1980s. Morgante and Wilson returned home inspired. They had implemented green roofs on projects before, and they proposed building a wall like the one they had seen in Paris for the residence in question, located in Chicago’s historic Lincoln Park neighborhood. “Rather than just creating a mundane patterning on that giant side wall, it literally comes alive,” Wilson says. “We created a garden in the horizontal space down below and brought that garden up to the wall’s surface, and added French doors to the façade that allow access to this side yard. It’s a really cool effect. It’s like a beautiful outdoor room.” Beauty isn’t the only factor. A living wall offers many of the same benefits green roofs do, including energy savings from insulation and improved air quality. After sealing the wall with a roofing membrane, the system was installed in prevegetated panels. The landscape architect on the project, Kettelkamp & Kettelkamp, selected an ELT Living Wall system of high-density polyethylene panels, notched to provide drainage and aeration and attached to a framework. Within that framework, an irrigation system pipes water into a small collection chamber in each panel for distribution to the plants.

Choosing plants is a delicate dance between hardiness and beauty, particularly considering the beating vegetation can take during a Windy City winter. Additionally, green roofs typically include soil, while walls are aeroponic, and plants need time to adjust to growing sideways. This wall’s species—nearly all from the sedum genus, hardy ornamental plants known as stonecrops—include Red Carpet (sedum spurium), Weihenstephaner Gold (sedum floriferum), Forsteranum (sedum rupestre), and Emerald Blue (phlox subulata) in colors that change from season to season. “It’s a living cycle, dying off in the winter and then coming back,” Wilson says. It was the first, and is still the largest, living wall in Chicago, and it took the top prize in Mayor Daley’s Landscape Award Program in the Green Roofs and Walls Category. “I think it brought awareness to green walls,” Wilson says. “The whole process speaks to how our firm tries to create innovative solutions that aren’t knee-jerks. There’s always a little twist to our work.” gb&d

DETAILS LOCATION Chicago Size 800 ft2 Completed 2009 Program L  iving wall Awards 1  st Place, Green Roofs & Walls, Mayor Daley’s Landscape Award Program, ALA Gold Medal Award (2009, 2011) Architect Morgante-Wilson Architects Landscape Architect Kettelkamp & Kettelkamp

At 25 feet wide and 32 feet high, this vertical blanket of green features a polychromatic variety of plants arrayed on a grid.


This LEED Platinum residence by Marc Rutenberg is being adapted for both the luxury and middleclass markets.


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THE POWER OF POSITIVE BUILDING Visionary homebuilder Marc Rutenberg experiments with two net-positive residential developments in Tampa By Russ Klettke

The “trickle-down” effect of green innovation—when products introduced at the high end later adapt to reach a middle market—typically takes years to actualize. But Marc Rutenberg Homes is a company in a hurry—partly because Marc Rutenberg, by his own admission, is easily bored. “I like better mousetraps,” says Rutenberg, the second generation in his family to build homes in the Tampa, Florida, area. “Most of the homes being built today are the same fuddy-duddy models, based on the functionality of what we were building in the 1960s. There’s a limit to how pretty a countertop can look. I began to feel that what we were doing was no longer relevant.” So, the company became relevant, designing and building its first net-zero-energy home in 2012. The LEED Platinum-certified house has 4,552 square feet of luxury living space, complete with four bedrooms, three baths, a study, game room, three-car garage, lanai, and pool. The thermal envelope on the house is tight, which, paired with low-E PGT windows (“Energy Star on steroids,” Rutenberg says), helped significantly reduce the HVAC load. The home achieved a HERS score of negative 15, meaning it produces more energy than it uses. To bring energy use to negligible levels required a focus on some of the smaller details. Tankless water heaters, for instance, are sometimes 100 feet away from the faucet that draws from it. Energy and water are wasted in the trip, defeating the intentions of the device. As an alternative, on-demand recirculating pumps can be triggered as faucets are turned on. gb&d

Rutenberg is building at least eight net-zero homes of similar size in Palm Harbor, west of Tampa and north of St. Petersburg. They range from 4,000 to 7,000 square feet and boast similar luxury features. Rutenberg says the cost to construct a 5,000-square-foot home is about $650,000, plus an additional $125,000 to achieve the net-zero performance capabilities. “But when you combine the federal government tax credit of around $22,500, then factor in the $600 monthly savings in energy bills, it can prove a net monthly savings for the homeowner,” he says. “Keep in mind that a mortgage carries a tax deduction. An electric bill does not.” The builder is wasting no time introducing a more affordable version of net zero as well. While Rutenberg builds this first set of luxury net-zero homes, he is simultaneously planning the ambitious

Village at Grey Oaks: 14 homes with 1,800 to 2,600 square feet of net-zero living space. With 19 families vying for the homes, which are priced in the $300,000– $450,000 range and slated for occupancy at the end of this year, middle-class buyers clearly have embraced the concept. Rutenberg does not build from a template, though “custom-built” also may be a misnomer. “Buyers generally do not have experience in designing houses,” he says. “That’s where we come in. We’re product geeks with a passion for design.” All homes are site-specific and satisfy the preferences of different occupants. Each of Palm Harbor’s homes, for instance, has solar panels to collect energy from the region’s abundant sunshine, but for one model, the design hides them from view, since a photovoltaic array is not an aesthetic that is universally embraced. Additionally, one home will have cisterns that store water for landscape irrigation during the area’s dry season, when watering is restricted by the municipality. Marc Rutenberg’s journey is a story worth sharing, and the homebuilder isn’t holding back. A documentary on his experiences building net-zero homes was produced and distributed via PBS. Produced by Bluewater Media, the film traces the

What appears to be a typical luxury home is actually a net-zero prototype. The Florida home scored negative 15 on the HERS scale.

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construction of the homes, warts and all. “These homes are our laboratory,” Rutenberg says. “We involved our manufacturers in the film, who were very giving with their expertise.” The documentary takes viewers to the research-and-development facilities and manufacturing plants of product suppliers to educate viewers about what goes into creating hyper-efficient homes. “We invite the world to change,” says Rutenberg, PROJECT who has had conversations LOCATION Palm Harbor, FL with people rebuilding in Size 4,500–7,000 ft2 the Philippines in the wake Completion2012 (and ongoing) of Typhoon Haiyan this past Program S  ingle-family residence November. “We discussed what we learned building in the TEAM DEVELOPER Marc Rutenberg Florida climate, including soHomes lar power that can withstand Architect Marc Rutenberg Design hurricanes.” The first net-zero Interiors Marc Michaels Interior residences from Rutenberg Design Homes may be at the luxury Lighting Consultant Aurora Lighting end, but the owner is confident that lessons learned can GREEN and will be “transformed and CERTIFICATIONS LEED for translated to the value-orientHomes Platinum, Florida Water Start ed marketplace.” gb&d Certified, Florida Green Building Coalition Platinum, Florida-Friendly Landscaping Gold Water Rooftop rainwater-collection system EnergySolar panels, electric vehicle charger, solar water heater, VRF air conditioning MaterialsBoral clay-tile roofing and pavers, Hebel autoclaved aerated concrete, bamboo and reclaimed flooring


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Since the idea’s conception in 2006, the core goal of this 10-unit townhome project in the Issaquah Highlands development was net-zero energy, which it achieved and then some. Units each feature a ground-loop heat exchanger and an appropriately sized photovoltaic array that generates all the power the townhome will need, which isn’t a lot, thanks to high-efficiency appliances from GE, Samsung, and Bosch. Further lessening energy demand are operable clerestory windows, which allow for passive cooling rather than reliance on airconditioning. In addition to fulfilling requirements for the Living Building Challenge’s Energy category, the zHome development also met requirements for the Site, Equity, Beauty, and Process categories to achieve Petal certification, making it, by some standards, one of the nine most sustainable buildings in the world. gb&d —Edited by Stacy Smedley

Varying sizes of solar arrays produce enough renewable energy to power each unit over the course of a year.


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When Lady Bird Johnson Middle School opened its doors, it was the first net-zero middle school in the country. Three years later, it continues to operate at maximum efficiency and has become a point of pride for a progressive generation.


By Tina Vasquez


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Back in 2008, Texas’s Irving Independent School District made an unprecedented move by green-lighting Lady Bird Johnson Middle School. If the project was successful, the 152,000-square-foot school would break new ground in the world of green building, becoming the first net-zero middle school in the state of Texas, as well as the first and largest net-zero middle school in the United States. It made it. Lady Bird opened its doors in fall 2011 and earned every distinction. A lot has changed in three years. What originally made Lady Bird so unique is becoming more commonplace, especially in the South. In 2012, for example, Kentucky’s Warren County Richardsville Elementary School became the first net-zero public elementary school in the country. As net-zero schools proliferate, revisiting those early adopters can provide valuable insight for project teams just now reaching for net zero. PUSHING THE ENVELOPE Lady Bird Johnson Middle School is holding up well. Don Penn is a geothermal engineer with Image Engineering Group, which handled Lady Bird’s mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) engineering. When planning for the school began in 2008, Penn says the biggest challenge was being in uncharted territory. Never before had his company combined so many different renewable-energy and sustainable-building systems—including geothermal water-source heat pumps, greywater-reuse systems, 2,988 solar photovoltaic panels, and an academic curriculum based on all of it. With the help of Bosch, a global appliance manufacturer that has grown to provide a variety of sustainable solutions in recent years, the team also incorporated wind turbines, LED lighting, and high-efficiency glazing. “We were familiar with all of the technology, but we’d never before had the chance to bring it all together in one place,” Penn says. “The school is holding up great, and it continues to be a bright


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spot for us. This was our chance to push the envelope on sustainability, and Lady Bird Johnson will always be a project we’re very proud of.” PART OF THE CURRICULUM Corgan Associates, the architecture firm that designed the middle school, had an entirely different set of challenges to navigate in order to ensure the school continued operating at net zero after completion. Susan Smith, a vice president at Corgan Associates, says the site was the biggest hurdle. Much of the surrounding land was developed, leaving them with one long, skinny plot to work with, oriented north-south. They conducted lighting and shading studies in order to optimize the available sunlight. “A green school isn’t the same as a net-zero school,” Smith says. “This was an aggressive goal at the time because a net-zero school of this size had never been done, and it was our first net-zero project. It was a lot to tackle but well worth it.” Designing the school was difficult enough, but making sure it would be used efficiently was tougher yet. Teachers and other school officials had to commit to sustainability. “The building user must use

PROJECT LOCATION Irving, TX Size 152,000 ft2 Completed 2011 Program M  iddle school campus Awards T  exas Association of School Administrators’ Caudill Award (2012), USGBC’s Best of Green Schools Award (2013)

TEAM ARCHITECT Corgan Associates ClientIrving Independent School District MEP Engineer Image Engineering Group

GREEN CERTIFICATION L  EED Gold EnergyBosch geothermal watersource heat pumps, Solyndra photovoltaic panels, 12 wind turbines, exterior solar shading Lighting Daylight sensors, Convia monitoring system, light shelves for interior spaces Envelope Increased wall and roof insulation, high-efficiency glazing


LEFTLady Bird offers student-led tours of its grounds to show off its industry-leading green features. BELOW A kiosk educates students about wind energy. All of the data collected on energy savings and expenditures is used as part of math and science classes.

Beneath this football field is a geothermal system that naturally conditions the building. Lady Bird is the first school in its district to use a geothermal system.

“This was our chance to push the envelope on sustainability, and Lady Bird Johnson will always be a project we’re very proud of.”


Don Penn, Image Engineering Group

OPPOSITEPhotovoltaic panels cover Lady Bird’s white roof and provide 100% of the school’s energy over the course of a year. The Solyndra panels feature cylindrical tubes that capture sunlight from 360 degrees.


the building efficiently in order to capture the operational cost efficiencies of the sustainable systems,” Smith says. This is especially true when considering that the school itself is part of the curriculum. All of the data collected on energy savings and expenditures is used as part of math and science classes, and older students learn about sustainability by way of the green design elements and technology featured on campus. STUDENT AMBASSADORS Lady Bird principal Carrie Daniels says the school was a way to put the city, Irving, on the map. But something even more meaningful has emerged in the three years since the school was completed: the understanding that the school elicits tremendous pride in its young students. “We had no reason to believe the school wouldn’t hold up beautifully, but what we didn’t anticipate was how well it would go over with students,” Daniels says. “We have students who volunteer

to be student ambassadors and run various green areas of the school. They also give tours. They love having a unique school, and it’s caused an awareness of sustainability and of their carbon footprint that I don’t know if they would have developed otherwise.” Daniels’s own child, who also attends Lady Bird, brought home that mentality—literally. At home, the two have talked excitedly about the school’s many “cool” features. “In my opinion, the real beauty of what’s happening goes beyond net zero, beyond the technology,” Daniels says. “Our kids are spreading knowledge to their homes and their communities. That’s the real takeaway here. The world is changing, and we need to change right along with it. What our kids are getting here is invaluable. It’s not just a lesson in a classroom—sustainability is now what they’re living. Their passion opens up a dialogue, one that leaves the school and inspires action that can help change the world.” gb&d july–august 2014



OPEN FOR BUSINESS Rutgers Business School’s new building is sliced open to create a gateway to its evolving Livingston Campus By Christopher James Palafox Photos by Peter Aaron / Esto

PROJECT LOCATION Piscataway, NJ Size 143,000 ft2 Completion2013 ProgramLecture halls, collaboration space, office space Cost $85 million

TEAM CLIENTRutgers University Architect TEN Arquitectos Associate Architect Richard Bienenfeld Architect ME/Structural Engineer WSP Civil/Geotechnical Engineer Langan Engineering Construction Manager Structure Tone General Contractor Century 21 Construction

GREEN CERTIFICATION LEED Silver Site Oriented to maximize daylight, located near public transit WaterRain catchment, snowshedding roofs Energy8.2-MW solar farm, geothermal well field MaterialsGlass curtainwall, articulated metal panels

The fifth floor of the building spans a major campus thoroughfare, held aloft by white, bonelike supports and creating a bridge between the structure’s two main volumes.


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At the corner of Rutgers University’s Livingston Campus—the institution’s youngest of five campuses in or near New Brunswick, New Jersey—rests a passive solar gem: the Rutgers Business School building at 100 Rockafeller Road in Piscataway. With splayed columns playfully propping up the upper curtainwalled corridor and a bottom corner that is seemingly split open, the structure greets students as an embodiment of the Livingston Campus’s vision: to be a model of sustainable and responsible community development and to serve as the gateway to the remaining Piscataway facilities. The building’s interaction-focused design is the brainchild of renowned architect Enrique Norten. Although the project was completed in 2013, its beginnings stretch back eight years. In 2005, Rutgers University held a design competition for a new academic building, a new student facilities building, and significant landscape and transportation improvements to its colonial College Avenue Campus,


located approximately three miles south of Livingston. Esteemed architects such as Thom Mayne, Peter Eisenman, and Antoine Predock participated, but it was Norten’s firm, TEN Arquitectos, alongside Philadelphia-based Wallace Roberts & Todd, that eventually came out on top. The competition was focused on making College Avenue a walkable street and transit shelter, increasing sustainability by allowing students, faculty, and staff to shed their cars in favor of alternative transportation. The plans, however, never came to be—at least not as initially envisioned. The recession caused the project to be shelved. With Norten already on contract, Rutgers announced that TEN Architectos would instead design the next major academic building for the university. In the interim, Norten assisted Rutgers in a campus-wide precinct-planning study, which included working with wildlife habitats and storm-water retention. Eventually, the new project was announced: a new business school for Livingston.

A new site brought with it a new plan that would not only make the campus dedicated to professionals and continuing education, but also help it become a model of sustainability. Because the campus began as only a small collection of buildings (it was an army camp during World War II), it was essential for Norten to define the edges of the campus. Nothing had been built on the campus for more than twenty years, and if the space was to be used primarily by professionals seeking continuing education—coming evenings and on weekends—it would need to take into account the parking and dining needs of the prospective MBA students. Norten started by developing a quad, which pushed parking facilities to the

The 143,000-square-foot site defines the southern edge of the Livingston Campus’s retail plaza and reinforces its east-west pedestrian axis. The building’s street-facing façade is clad with a series of articulated metal panels, some canted at 27 degrees.

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Nothing was conceived haphazardly; wide corridors and accessible spaces were designed to foster chance meetings.

OPPOSITELight pours in to the perimeter stairwell of the business school building, penetrating the interior through glass partitions. TOP RIGHTThe faÇade facing the newly created quad forgoes the street side’s metal panels, creating a sense of transparency with a glazed curtainwall. BOTTOM RIGHTWalkways bridge the multilevel void that separates the offices and classrooms from the less-formal breakout spaces.


perimeter of the space. The business school would be used to define the southwest edge of the campus, creating the campus’s main gateway. The new quad fronts the business school building while housing the central geothermal-well field that helps heat and cool it, as well as all future Livingston facilities. The university also constructed an 8.2-megawatt solar array, which covers roughly 40 acres of parking and generates nearly 60 percent of Livingston’s energy (100 percent during the winter). This solar farm is part of a feed loop that connects to the school’s main cogeneration facility. Norten developed a palette of materials—a sort of sustainable yet neutral “kitof-parts”—that could connect each new structure across Livingston. The south-

west end of the business school building contains the majority of the classrooms, which did not require windows, thereby allowing the skin to be relatively solid. Norten used four different surface treatments to the articulated metal panels— one being flat and the other three having a bent slope of 27 degrees, the minimum angle necessary to shed snow. The northeast side, by comparison, opens into the campus and is made entirely of glass. To the east, a set of interlocking, free-form staircases helps reinforce the section’s openness towards the campus by making building activity visible to passersby. The curtainwall allows daylight to pass through these interweaving stairs and directly into the touchdown spaces. Walls in these spaces are translucent, july–august 2014



ABOVE T  he flow of the white, extra-wide staircase is interrupted by island-like seating areas designed for chance encounters.

RIGHT A  site plan shows the solar arrays, which generate 60% of the campus’s energy. The business school building (red) anchors the southwest corner and spans a bus rapid transit route.

OPPOSITEIn the western wing, a daylit lounge area offers additional work and meeting space and looks out toward the main campus.

EXCLUSIVE EXTRAS Explore plans, diagrams, and more photos of the Rutgers Business School building in our iPad edition and at


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and a light well on the other side reaches interior offices and classrooms. All lounge areas are located on the transparent side. Typical of Norten’s past work, the building is clean and geometric with lively touches to create tension (the angled steel poles that hold up the open edge, for example). In a way, the design of the building’s three vertical sections—classrooms to the west, offices in the middle, and lounges to the east—signifies its program, moving from opacity to transparency. Nothing was conceived haphazardly; wide corridors and accessible spaces were designed to foster chance meetings, and even the stairs and restrooms were located close to areas where sidebar conversations might occur. By daylighting these “collaboration spaces” and ensuring that they all have views across the campus, Norten made them all the more attractive and accessible. Rutgers’s new business school specifically serves those seeking a business degree with a concentration in another subject—an academic path driven by local industries. Ultimately, its new building not only symbolizes the future of sustainability at Rutgers, but also an iconic moment in the evolution of the university as a whole. gb&d


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ABOVEIrregular seating is sprinkled around the bases of the support columns outside the building’s main entrance. RIGHT The three-story, theater-style lecture hall, which holds up to 440 students, is simple and functional. BOTTOM RIGHT The curtainwall with criss-crossing beams provides daylight and views to classrooms.

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LEARNING SPACES FOR A SEVERE CLIMATE Texas-based ERO Architects completes two distinguished school projects that respect the Rio Grande Valley’s culture, history, and resources By Amy Martino

Texas State Technical College’s University Center is one of few buildings in South Texas’s harsh climate to use both active and passive solar features.


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McAllen, Texas, is almost Mexico. It occupies approximately 40 square miles of the southernmost tip of the state and sits on the Rio Grande River, directly across from the Mexican city Reynosa. Long an architectural leader in this diverse community, ERO Architects has become known for its expertise in educational design by connecting culture, learning, and sustainability. The firm leads the region in creating LEED-certified facilities, and its principals, Eli Ochoa and Manuel Hinojosa, pride themselves on their respect for the rich history of the community they serve. “It is important that the students stay connected to the history of the community, and we think that understanding a bit of the past creates a positive learning environment,” says Ochoa, a native of the Rio Grande Valley and a former school board trustee. ERO often uses repurposed materials from the community in the construction of new facilities, which not only saves

clients money, but also incorporates historical elements into the school’s design. Ochoa says he believes that clean, healthy, and more efficient environments are better vehicles for quality education. SEVERE EXPOSURES The state-of-the-art University Center at Texas State Technical College in Harlingen was the first building south of San Antonio to receive LEED Gold certification. In addition to being built on a previously developed site, the educational facility takes advantage of natural light and features a sophisticated air quality system. The college also won a grant to install a solar panel array on the building’s roof. “One of the things that’s hard to do in the Valley is to try to design in more of a passive way because you have so many severe exposures,” Hinojosa says. “You’ll find very few buildings that have a combination of active and passive solar elements, but this building does.” ➤


“With all the technology and competition out there, the student today requires a different environment in order to learn.” Manuel Hinojosa, ERO Architects

TOPThe lecture halls of University Center are equipped with remote cameras for online attendees. ABOVEThe lobby features a distinct wall of worn wood that comes from an old Army Air Corps barracks. RIGHTClassrooms and common areas alike take advantage of the region’s abundant natural sunlight.


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The building supports both on-site and online learning, so lecture halls are set up so students can comfortably see, hear, and learn from any seat, while remote cameras pan to each speaker to capture student participation in real time. True to ERO’s philosophy of “respecting the land, people, and history,” an exterior wall features a weave pattern inspired by Coahuiltecans, a group of American Indian tribes that inhabited the region prior to the 1800s. ERO also repurposed lumber from old Army Air Corps barracks to create the beams that run across the interior ceilings and the focal wall. Nearby, the Donna Independent School District’s 3-D Academy is currently the only LEED-certified public school in the Rio Grande Valley. Geared toward young adults, the school’s three ‘D’s stand for “dedication,” “desire,” and “determination,” and the institution provides a second chance for academic success. Students can earn college credits while completing their high school education through a dual-enrollment program. To achieve a healthful and low-impact environment, low-VOC paints, adhesives, and sealants were selected to reduce indoor air contaminants, and 75 percent of construction waste was diverted from landfills. Thanks to green design decisions made regarding indoor climate control and water consumption, the school district has experienced a 12 percent savings in energy costs and a 30 percent savings in utility costs. “Everything was working together— from the grounds to the building, inside and outside,” Hinojosa says. Design elements complement the history and climate of the area. Materials create a


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“It is important that the students stay connected to the history of the community. Understanding a bit of the past creates a positive learning environment.” Eli Ochoa, ERO Architects

THIS PAGEThe exterior of the 3-D Academy features indigenous plants and designs that reference the culture and history of South Texas.

more natural, rather than modular, look to the exterior, and indigenous plants beautify the grounds without requiring irrigation. Communal spaces, where students and teachers can engage outside of the classroom, flow from the inside to the outside and provide protection from the sun while helping conserve energy. IN THE RING Although the architects have succeeded in paying homage to the history of South Texas, they also are looking toward the future with a commitment to designing for needs of the 21st century. “With all the technology and competition out there, the student today requires a different environment in order to learn,” Hinojosa says. To understand the needs of today’s educators, ERO’s principals are putting themselves in students’ shoes. “We’re starting all over again in how we approach the space that we work in,” he says. Hinojosa and Ochoa are also in the process of gutting the ERO office to create open spaces featuring cutting-edge technologies and functional furniture, effectively giving up their offices to be “in the ring” with their employees, hoping to better facilitate communication and collaboration. Currently, the architects are proposing to use DIRTT walls—digital, glass panels that allow daylight to enter through the entire office—as well as modular carpet tiles, water-based paints and stains, and sustainable construction materials. By experiencing new products and design innovations themselves, ERO hopes to make more informed decisions for clients in their immediate community and beyond. gb&d


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Architect Joe Greene has designed more than 60 buildings, renovations, or additions for Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. His latest projects for the Vermont-based beverage provider represent progress in responsive manufacturing. By Lindsey Howald Patton


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Named for the mountain range bisecting the company’s home state of Vermont, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR) had humble beginnings as a single coffee shop in the town of Waitsfield (population 1,300). When GMCR began wholesaling beans in the late 1980s, its business—and square footage—boomed. In 1992, the company broke ground on a new 10,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in nearby Waterbury, establishing it as its headquarters. It went public a year later. After acquiring the coffee-brewing system Keurig in 2006 and becoming the face of the new single-serving beverage market, GMCR made the official transformation from grassroots to giant. Today, the company employs about 6,000 people and has a market value of $12 billion. GMCR may be traded on Wall Street, but it never lost its Main Street style. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the company’s relationship of over twenty years with local architect Joe Greene, whose Waterbury-based firm Joseph Architects has designed more than 60 projects for GMCR since 2001. Founded in 2000, Joseph Architects is all about relationships. Until 2012, Greene didn’t even have a website for his firm, instead relying purely on word-of-mouth referrals and continued business from cli-

ents, many of whom he says have become close friends. The key to Greene’s business plan is no different than the key to a good friendship: listening. “I want all of our clients to feel, whether we’re in a meeting or talking on the phone, as if they’re our only client,” Greene says. GMCR may not be Greene’s only client, but it’s certainly one of the largest. Joseph Architects has designed about 600,000 of GMCR’s 1.8 million square feet of manufacturing space, in addition to tens of thousands of square feet in renovations and corporate office space; the firm also consults on company projects outside the region. The number of sustainable buildings has grown in lockstep with GMCR’s other green initiatives, which include certifying fair trade and organic coffee lines, developing the industry’s first biodegradable bulk bags, converting Waterbury’s delivery vehicles to biodiesel, and taking steps to reduce waste and energy use. Below, we explore three LEED-certified, Greene-designed projects that emblemize where GMCR stands today. WATERBURY PLANT EXPANSION The Waterbury plant is a reminder of the company’s architectural beginnings. “When I first came to the company, we



had a 13,000-square-foot building, a couple of old houses transformed into offices, and this 100-by-110-foot distribution center in Waterbury,” says Jason King, director of facilities and engineering at GMCR. Completed in early 2012, this addition—the fourth to the Waterbury center—represents a turning point on GMCR’s design timeline. The company’s workspaces during the late 1990s and early 2000s were fairly generic, reflecting only a pragmatic need to keep up with increasing staff and production. But as mass production has moved from Waterbury to larger facilities, “we’ve repurposed Waterbury to be a front-and-center innovation and research center,” Greene says. “This was the first time we were able to fully integrate the Green Mountain Coffee brand into the workplace.” This LEED Gold addition comprises two floors of administrative offices and one of low-volume manufacturing. The workspace is filled with bold brand graphics and artwork with colors inspired by—what else?—roasted coffee beans and coffee trees’ cherries. Large windows offer natural light and views to the employees’ cubicles lining the perimeter, while conference rooms and executive offices are placed at the building’s core. WATERBURY EXPANSION LOCATION Waterbury That employCenter, VT ee-centered layout 2 Size 85,000 ft and brand design Completion 2  012 has become the Certification L  EED new mold for fuGold ture projects. “It’s Program Administrative

INNOVATION CENTER important to echo the sentiment across your organization that no matter what state, country, or continent you’re in, this is you,” Greene says. INNOVATION CENTER From the get-go, “it was foundational to our culture to understand that there was a social component to doing business,” King says. A large part of GMCR’s sustainability policy—particularly as it’s grown to include cocoa, fruit, and tea—has to do with drilling down through the supply chain to ensure efficiency, quality, and social responsibility in regards to economics and politics. GMCR’s plants also compost chaff, burlap, coffee, powder, and tea and recycle corrugated cardboard, reducing solid waste sent to the landfills from 1.6 tons per $1 million in revenues to 1.0.

LOCATION Waterbury, VT Size 32,000 ft2 Completion 2012 ProgramOffices, meeting areas, product development labs, warehouse, café

OEmphasis on sustainable buildings started with the company’s early decision in 2001 to build a cogeneration facility in Waterbury. The Innovation Center, a LEED-certified research and development facility completed in 2012, is perched on a hilltop nearby. The structure used to be a technology complex. “We gutted it right back to the studs, putting in a new insulated roof to meet a higher performance value,” Greene says. Other features include low-flow fixtures, a greywater system, direct digital thermal controls, and high-efficiency air-handling. This building, as well as the nearby Waterbury plant, uses an air-to-heat plate exchanger

offices, low-volume manufacturing

“One of my key sustainability policies is to use a building that exists. Not only is it the greenest form of construction, but if we can take six months off the schedule, it helps a lot.” Joe Greene, Joseph Architects


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COFFEE BREAK Green Mountain Coffee Roasters’ Design Timeline 1981Entrepreneur Bob Stiller founds Green Mountain Coffee Roasters in Waterbury, VT, first as a café, then a small-scale wholesaler of beans. 1992 Construction begins on an 11,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Waterbury’s Pilgrim Park, setting the course for GMCR’s transformation into a coffee retail giant.

ESSEX PLANT to capture excess heat from boilers in the Innovation Center and coffee roasters in the plant and then warm the interiors, heat water for domestic use, and even melt snow on the sidewalks outside during the winter months. Because this is the building from which new ideas arise, the design focuses on fostering the food scientists’ innovation and collaboration. The natural light-filled building features a variety of casual gathering spaces for employees and whimsical touches, like a high-peaked interior roofline, an old-timey clock, street signs that depict urban-inspired “neighborhoods” within the building, and exposed millwork and wrought iron. “We’re asking the folks who work there to create the beverages that will take us into the future,” King says. “It’s truly a creative space.” ESSEX PLANT “I always tell people that a project for GMCR would start like this,” Greene says. “Jason would call me. He’d say, ‘I need a building.’ I’d say, ‘Okay, how big?’ and he’d say, ‘Don’t know.’ I’d say, ‘What are we putting in it?’ and he’d say, ‘Don’t know.’ Then I’d say,’ When?’ And he’d say, ‘Tomorrow.’” In other words, throughout the past decade, GMCR’s needs have not always been easy to predict. “Joe and I were always staying one step ahead of the busi-


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LOCATION Essex, VT Size470,000 ft2 Completion 2013 Certification LEED Gold Program Coffee roasting and packaging facility AwardsEfficiency Vermont’s Honor Award in Commercial Building Design & Construction (2014)

ness,” King says, “coming up with solutions before it was too late.” The plant in Essex, however—which replaced Waterbury as GMCR’s Northeast production and distribution facility—jumps more than one step ahead, laying a template for GMCR’s future. “It’s an absolute word-class manufacturing facility, one clearly designed to take us into the next decade,” King says. The facility, which can produce more than a million single-serving K-Cups a day, consists of three buildings, only one of which is new. “One of my key sustainability policies is to use a building that exists,” Greene says. “Not only is it the greenest form of construction, but if we can take six months off the schedule because we don’t have to build a new facility, it helps a lot.” The Essex plant’s custom equipment is able to process GMCR’s products more efficiently, decreasing energy use, natural gas, and greenhouse emissions. Variablespeed compressed air systems, variable fans for roasting and drying coffee beans, efficient pipe design, and thermal controls save on the plant’s major energy drains. The building saves nearly 4.5 million kilowatt hours of electricity annually, shaving off nearly $2 million in operating costs. LED and Super T8 lighting, as well as smart controls for shutting off lights in unoccupied warehouse areas, help make this possible. And it’s not just the coffee company’s bottom line that benefits. “They’re taking a load off the grid, which is completely transferable to the general population,” Greene points out. “The average homeowner won’t get hit with a rate increase to cover the cost of infrastructural upgrades supporting a major manufacturer.” gb&d

1999 GMCR expands the Waterbury plant and installs an electrical cogeneration system. Joe Greene, founder of Joseph Architects, is introduced to GMCR. 2001 Joseph Architects designs an addition to the Waterbury manufacturing facility for green bean storage and processing. 2002 Joseph Architects designs a 55,000-square-foot distribution center attached via a sky bridge to the Waterbury manufacturing facility. 2006 Built out of a rehabbed train station on GMCR’s Waterbury campus, a visitor center and café opens to the public. 2007 A manufacturing and distribution facility twice the size of the existing center opens in Essex, VT. 2008 GMCR opens its first facility outside Vermont, a 334,000-squarefoot plant in Knoxville, TN. A local firm designs the space with Joseph Architects consulting. 2009 A 572-panel photovoltaic array is installed on the Waterbury distribution center, the result of a partnership between GMCR, the State of Vermont, groSolar, and Green Mountain Power. Joseph Architects also designs a three-story addition to the Waterbury facility. The project receives LEED Gold certification. 2011 Joseph Architects designs a 280,000-square-foot addition to the Essex, VT, manufacturing facility. 2014 GMCR announces a partnership with Coca-Cola to launch a line of cold beverages for its Keurig systems. A sustainable retrofit begins on a 210,000-square-foot facility in Williston, VT, to manufacture this new product line.


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PROJECT LOCATION Mountain View, CA Size70,000 ft2 (building), 13,000 ft2 (rooftop deck and garden) Completion 2  013 ProgramCommercial office

TEAM ARCHITECT Brick LLP Developer The Minkoff Group Landscape Architect Bionic

GREEN CERTIFICATION LEED Platinum SiteSituated near multiple public transit stations, minimal car parking, bike parking facility MaterialsLow-VOC materials for interiors, FSC-certified wood Energy Low-E glazing, operable windows, tight envelope

 he roof of the LEED PlatinumT certified 899 W. Evelyn in Mountain View, CA, is both an office extension and a sprawling garden.


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Just south of San Francisco, Brick LLP uses the green roof for an enviable office extension By Russ Klettke


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Green roofs are used on commercial buildings for various reasons: to moderate energy use, to capture and control rainwater, to achieve LEED or other green building certifications, and to enhance aesthetics. But the vegetation atop 899 W. Evelyn in Mountain View, California, might be a result of a state law that has little to do with design. Numerous academic studies and books have identified the Golden State’s prohibition of non-compete agreements—which effectively enable Silicon Valley tech workers to change jobs within their industry niche with few legal restrictions—as part of why the region is the center of the digital universe. For employers, however, this means they have to work a little harder to attract, keep, and accommodate talent. “We know that part of how companies compete at drawing talent is with building amenities,” says Dan Minkoff, the developer of 899 W. Evelyn. A downtown location was a priority for Minkoff. Mountain View hosts divisional and headquarter offices for leading technology firms—Google, Symantec, LinkedIn, and Intuit among them—and many are clustered near commuter rail, light rail, bus, and private shuttle depots. To locate here, an urban concentration, meant building to property lines with no room for on-ground landscaping. So they went to the roof. What Brick LLP—working with landscape architect Bionic—created is more than a garden; it’s a place to work. In the moderate climate of the South Bay area, where annual temperatures range from the mid-50s to the low 80s, these 13,000 square feet of decking and vegetation

provide an enviable office extension. The space accommodates both intimate and larger group settings, while a sand court for bocce, a game easily accessible to athletes and non-athletes alike, is situated alongside a wall that obscures the rooftop mechanicals. “There is a real interrelationship between planted and built areas,” says Rob Zirkle, Brick’s founder and principal. “Modern offices need informal breakout spaces.” The space is as sumptuous as it is strategic. Both intensive and extensive vegetation (four-foot-deep soil accommodates trees while two to eight inches of growing medium is enough to anchor tall grasses and turf) wraps around a mix of soft-cornered trapezoid-shaped stone patios and wooden decks. Overhead trellises made of wood and steel provide shade, sufficient to prevent glare for laptop users, while

“There is a real interrelationship between planted and built areas. Modern offices need informal breakout spaces.” Rob Zirkle, Brick LLP


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a moveable table allows small groups to choose between sunny and shaded spots. The rest of the building is just as green, with an energy-efficient envelope (including low-E coated windows, some of which are operable), zoned temperature controls, bike parking, limited car parking (because of its proximity to public transportation), and the use of low-VOC materials. Solar panels on the penthouse provide hot water to the building, and bands of sustainably harvested wood wrap the building exterior. “It all adds up to employee satisfaction and productivity,” says Zirkle, who employed Revit BIM software to design the rooftop, accounting for varying angles of sunlight throughout the year. The green roof was part of a strategy to attract a single tenant that would value an outdoor working space. It worked. Nuance Communications has signed a 12year lease. Although it is well understood that natural environments stimulate human creativity, perhaps this open-air workplace takes the notion to the next level. gb&d gb&d

ABOVEAbove the plantings are trellises that provide shade and also support solarthermal panels. OPPOSITEThe building, which houses Nuance Communications, also features zoned climate controls, bike parking, and a super-efficient envelope.

Arȇte Mechanical congratulates the design team and the Cactus Club organization on LEED Gold achievement. The perseverance and expertise on concept, plan and construction of the Cactus Club, English Bay is commendable. It was our pleasure to have been the mechanical contractor for this project.

7985 Enterprise Street Burnaby, BC V5A 1V5 |

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Inside Acton Ostry Architects’ Cactus Club Café at English Bay, an intelligently designed destination for Vancouver By Russ Klettke

Exhaust is conveyed through this colored glass-clad chimney, which doubles as signage for the restaurant.


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What once was a low-slung concession stand on a Vancouver beach is now Canada’s first LEED Gold restaurant. With mountain views to the east and the city’s most popular Pacific Ocean beach to the west, patrons of the Cactus Club Café at English Bay deserved a space that maximized these surroundings, and West Coast-style architecture—a modernist postand-beam vernacular characterized by roof overhangs and glass walls—was the perfect fit. It took a good deal of effort, however, to keep sightlines clear, according to the building’s architects. Mark Ostry and Derek Fleming, both of Vancouver-based Acton Ostry Architects, say that a big part of their final solution was placing building mechanicals, restrooms, and the kitchen underground. Building components above ground was also a challenge but solved through a minimalist approach that exploits Vancouver’s sumptuous topography. The restaurant replaced a banal park board concession structure, and the City of Vancouver, which owns the building and site, required that the new structure rise no higher than the old building and fit within the same overall site footprint. West Coast Canadians, for good reason, value their views in all directions. Acton Ostry met the city’s stringent demands and then some. When completed in 2012, the Cactus Club Café location became the first LEED Gold-certified restaurant in Canada. “Restaurants are very energy intensive,” says Fleming, noting that cooking, refrigeration, and air exchanges are significant challenges. This restaurant, however, employs heat-recovery technologies in a customized solution that fits the tight constraints of the building site: There is no backside to the structure, so mechanical exhaust is conveyed through a colored glass-clad chimney that doubles as signage for the




Biggest Saver The mechanical system employs a high-efficiency, air-source variable refrigerant flow system for heating and cooling; waste heat from kitchen exhaust conditions ventilation air while waste heat from refrigeration equipment pre-heats domestic hot water Most Obscure ReuseInterior flooring is composed of 2x6-inch cuts of end-grain wood, reclaimed from demolition material Closest Material SourceThe greater Vancouver area and Pacific Northwest provide wood products from their abundant forests Lasting Industry Impact Consulting engineers (Integral Group) and other vendors will be able to further refine heat-recovery methods for future restaurant projects

restaurant. A service entrance, partially shrouded in vegetation, is discretely tucked to one side, and the vegetated roof, seen from neighboring high-rises, is a de facto “fifth façade,” Ostry says. The building mechanicals provide heat and air-conditioning when needed, but the moderate climate and green sensibilities of the client allowed for an important building feature: Windows are operable, with the westerly openings receiving sea breezes. The fact that the sidewalk is also cityowned helped the project fit within its tight footprint; it is below that sidewalk that the underground operations take place. The beach and street levels of the two-story restaurant are largely dining


space, inside and out. The area is an entertainment mecca, after all, and the 5,400-square-foot restaurant interior is complemented by 1,300 square feet of outdoor patio. Its orange, red, and yellow motif is a nod to the beach’s popularity for sunset watching. The café’s center-of-everything location is a restaurateur’s dream but a planner’s nightmare. Built-in traffic is a boon for filling seats, and bay swimmers, families, and businesspeople mix comfortably, arriving by car, bike, or foot. They have the choice of entering through the upper, street-facing entrance or the lower, beachside café doors. A separate carryout window provides lower-price offerings, a tradition dating back to the

The Cactus Club Café restaurants are considered casual dining but offer a menu and aesthetic−including a commitment to sustainable food− that elevates the experience.

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LOCATION Vancouver Size 5,400 ft2 (interior), 1,300 ft2 (terrace) Completed 2  012 Program R  estaurant

CERTIFICATION LEED-NC Gold Energy Large canopies for shade, daylighting, green roof, partially Earth-sheltered Water Rainwater collected for irrigation, outdoor terraces used to grow herbs for restaurant  Environment Operable windows, high-performance curtainwall is acoustic barrier

ARCHITECTActon Ostry Architects Owner Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation Developer Cactus Club Café Civil Engineer Alpin & Martin Consultants Structural Engineer Equilibrium Consulting Mechanical EngineerIntegral Group Electrical EngineerMCW Consultants Landscape ArchitectPWL Partnership Landscape Architects General ContractorMAKAM Construction

preceding establishment. But not all traffic leads to the restaurant. The nonstop movement of people in all directions, on foot and on wheels, means that patrons are entering off a path that is perpendicular to the predominant flow. As one blogger noted, the presence of signage and bollards helps calm that traffic a bit, but there has evolved a “naked street” situation, in which a congested collision point becomes difficult to orchestrate, and therefore results in a more organic intersection of people. Despite confusion, most travelers simply employ common sense, moving at slower speeds when in the vicinity. This illustrates the many challenges facing architects in any popular urban recreational space, where human movement cannot be completely regulated. But all in all, “the restaurant design was a sensitive integration of site and purpose,” Ostry says, “including the step down from the street to the beach.” gb&d


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“The restaurant design was a sensitive integration of site and purpose, including the step down from the street to the beach.” Mark Ostry, Acton Ostry Architects

FLOOR PLANS 1 Beach Avenue 2Promenade 3Entry 4Bar 5Dining 6Storage 7Bath house 8Kitchen 9Carry Out 10Terrace






Under the guidance of sustainability expert Katarina Tesarova, one Las Vegas resort company has created new LED bulbs, unique water-filtration systems, and a holistic approach to global sustainability By Brian Justice



BELOWThe impressive fountain in the lobby of the Palazzo is evidence that sustainability needs not compromise luxury. The Vegas hotel is one the largest LEED-certified buildings in the world.

At Las Vegas Sands Corp. properties—including at the Palazzo and Venetian resorts in Las Vegas—sustainability and green practices are more than state of the art. They are constantly upgraded, innovative, and wholly invisible to guests and visitors. “The technology of sustainability has progressed so much that we don’t need to compromise luxury,” says Katarina Tesarova, Sands’ executive director of sustainability. Initially, like many other organizations, the focus at Sands hotels tended toward conservation. As awareness of green issues grew and environmental practices evolved, however, Sands incorporated a more holistic approach to sustainability—particularly in the design and development of new properties. The Palazzo, which was completed in 2008, is one of the largest LEED-certified buildings in the world, and as the company renovates, updates, and remodels existing properties, it prioritizes improved efficiencies. More than 200 such projects are implemented across its portfolio of international properties each year. A LIGHT BULB MOMENT Sands is a proactive partner in innovation. The property owner worked directly with GE to develop a new generation of LED bulbs for the Palazzo. “We kept telling them we need something with more ‘sparkle,’” Tesarova says with a laugh. “The engineers, looking at the problem in a very technical way, asked us, ‘How you do specify ‘sparkle,’ exactly?” july–august 2014



What the Palazzo’s team sought was a light that would accentuate the hotel interior’s high-end wallpapers, stone finishes, and enormous crystal chandeliers. Standard LED bulbs were not good enough. After numerous iterations and prototypes, GE developed a low-glare bulb that enriched the warm, gold hues of the Palazzo’s décor. The endeavor proved so successful that the new LED bulb will become part of GE’s line available to consumers in retail outlets. FOOD WASTE FOR FEEDSTOCK At Sands, there is a heavy focus on recycling. The company has achieved a diversion rate of more than 60 percent, a remarkable achievement for a hotel group. A large portion of that is food waste, uncontaminated portions of which are delivered to pig farms as feedstock. In Macau, China, biodigesters are being tested because food-recycling infrastructure does not exist. Pursuing additional sustainability goals, Sands is constantly evaluating and implementing new technologies in the kitchens of the Palazzo and Venetian’s restaurants, three of which are certified by the Green Restaurant Association. Variable-frequency drives for hood fans are being tested, as are new equipment that would improve the efficiency of large walk-in refrigerators and new methods of reducing water and energy usage. Even the food represents Sands’ commitment. Menus that feature significant sustainable offerings have proven to be especially attractive to meeting and convention planners. SOLVING A WATER PROBLEM Although Las Vegas is in the Mojave Desert, its water table is remarkably high. In response, Sands devel-


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“Because of the size and complexity of integrated resorts, the benefits of sustainability initiatives are really significant.” Katarina Tesarova, Las Vegas Sands Corp.

oped a filtration system that is completely unique. The foundations of the Palazzo and Venetian hotels, which include the parking garages, would be submerged if water were not continuously pumped out. That water would normally be released into a storm drain, but Sands stores and treats that low-grade water and uses it for irrigation. This allows the Palazzo to be virtually off of the public water grid for irrigation purposes; no municipal potable water is used for irrigation of the properties’ landscaping. FAST TRACK TO SUSTAINABILITY Tesarova’s career in sustainability has been somewhat circuitous. With a background in law and finance, she was charged with the development of a LEED-certification strategy for a multibuilding project while a senior financial analyst

with MGM Resorts International. It was “very large scale and high profile,” Tesarova says. “It was a fast-track project with a steep learning curve. I was roped into sustainability.” Learn she did, and she hasn’t looked back. “Because of the size and complexity of integrated resorts, the benefits of sustainability initiatives are really significant,” Tesarova says, “and that’s made for a really meaningful career for me. This field is constantly evolving, with new technologies coming out and changes in customer behavior and expectations that keep you on your toes all the time. And then you add the cultural differences and vast variety of infrastructures in the countries in which we operate, and you end up with an intriguing, interesting, and challenging mission.” gb&d

THIS PAGESands’ sustainability efforts include renewable energy generation through a substantial solar array, upgrades to mechanical equipment, and LED lighting within its various resorts.


Up Front Typology Trendsetters Approach Inner Workings Features Spaces Tough Builds Punch List


160 Educational Powerhouse

Transforming a Chicago power plant into a high-performance high school

166 Platinum Painted Ladies

Josh Mogal updates the Bay Area’s beautiful Victorians

170 Porsche’s High-Performance HQ

An Atlanta brownfield becomes an auto enthusiast’s paradise

174 New Space, New Identity

Inside Brereton Architects’ design for 188 Spear Street in San Francisco

177 Rising from the Ashes

Black Bros. Builders follows a fire with net-zero-energy apartments in Maine

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PROJECT LOCATION Chicago Size 90,000 ft2 Completed2009 ProgramAdaptive reuse of power plant to public charter high school Cost $  40 million

TEAM ARCHITECT Farr Associates Client Homan Square Power House ContractorPepper Construction Co. MEP Engineer IBC Engineering Structural Engineer C  E Anderson and Associates Landscape Architect Conservation Design Forum Historic PreservationMacRostie Historic Façade Advisors Kellermeyer Godfryt Hart


GREEN CERTIFICATION LEED Platinum SiteReuse of existing building, designed for daylighting MaterialsRecycled content and rapidly renewable and regionally harvested materials Water U  ltra-low-flow plumbing fixtures Energy Closed-loop geothermal heating and cooling LandscapeGreen roof areas planted with native sedum



The Chicago Tribune ranks the North Lawndale neighborhood as fourth for violent crime in the city, and its tumultuous history isn’t new. Riots following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., a former resident of the neighborhood, destroyed homes and businesses in the area, and when local factories packed up and shipped out in the 1970s, it left North Lawndale economically devastated. Recently, however, there have been efforts to revitalize the neighborhood, few more important than the Charles H. Shaw Technology and Learning Center, a $36 million restoration and historic preservation effort that has resulted in a LEED Platinum-certified historic structure operating as a modern public charter high school.

OPPOSITE Formerly the Sears Power House, the Shaw Technology and Learning Center has become a catalyst for economic revival in the North Lawndale neighborhood of Chicago.


The Sears Power House was originally completed in 1905, one of four buildings that comprised the Sears, Roebuck and Co. complex. Before it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978, the Power House powered the 41-acre Sears complex until the company relocated to downtown Chicago in 1973. Limited operations continued until 2006, when it was turned over to the Homan Arthington Foundation to be converted into a charter high school. It was nothing more than a dilapidated historic building when Chicago-based Farr Associates was brought on board to turn the structure into a LEED Platinum-certified, high-performance learning environment. It was an adaptive-reuse project of a lifetime, and, according to Farr Associates principal Jonathan Boyer, coupling aspects of the building’s history with cutting-edge green technology was only one of many challenges. From the outset, one of the biggest concerns was the fact that so much of the building and the surrounding area was incredibly toxic. Located near the railroad line, coal was delivered to the facility each day to feed massive furnaces housed in the building, resulting in harsh chemical buildup. Then, there was the DDT that had been heavily used in the area. The entire structure had to be remediated. july–august 2014


TOUGH BUILDS Shaw Technology and Learning Center

“We kept the existing railroad structural lattice and used it to create a new stairway on the south side of the building. We’d never done anything like it.” Jonathan Boyer, Farr Associates

RIGHTWith a new access point required by city code, Boyer created a third stairwell area out of existing railroad lattice. BELOWMachinery that generated power for the Sears Power House in a former life now sits on display, refinished, for students to observe.

illustrate for students how power was created throughout the past 100 years. It was a tall order.


The systems used in the Sears Power House were cutting-edge at the time, and the preserved heating, cooling, and power generation equipment gives the expansive school an industrial feel. (The original coal conveyor system, coal hoppers, and a diesel generator were preserved.) Original building features also were restored. In the Great Hall, large, wooden, arched windows were refitted with double-pane glass, and the original terra cotta floor tiles were restored. Skylights were retrofitted with an energy-efficient, natural-daylighting Kalwall glazing system. In terms of sustainability, the most important feature at the Shaw Technology and Learning Center is the geothermal heating-and-cooling system. The system capitalizes on a half-acre geothermal well field of more than eighty 350-foot-deep vertical ground loops that circulate water with glycol to reject heat during the


Depth, in feet, of the 84 vertical ground loops that make up the school’s geothermal system


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Then came a nightmare of a different kind. “Chicago building code requires three sides of access for schools, so we had to basically invent another point of access,” Boyer says. “We kept the existing railroad structural lattice and used it to create a new stairway on the south side of the building. It was incredibly innovative. We’d never done anything like it. Consequently, it makes the school one of the safest in Chicago.” In terms of sustainability, Boyer and his team wanted to keep the green aspects of the project functional while, from a design perspective, artfully showcasing pieces of machinery associated with the building’s prior use as a power plant. These historic features would also serve as educational tools used by teachers to

A state-of-the-art charter school is housed within the shell of a long defunct power plant, creating a juxtaposition of technologies and building uses.

TOUGH BUILDS Shaw Technology and Learning Center


LEED points received, one more than the 52 needed to reach Platinum under V2.2


Percent of construction waste recycled during the adaptive-reuse project

RIGHTHighly efficient fixtures light one of the charter school’s more contemporary spaces. BOTTOM LEFT Skylights were retrofitted with a natural-daylighting Kalwall glazing system. BOTTOM RIGHTThe architects restored many of the building’s original features to create an antiquated, industrial atmosphere.

“[Renovating existing buildings] is an option I think should be looked at first. There’s nothing greener than working with what we have and working to make it more environmentally friendly.” Jonathan Boyer, Farr Associates


summer months and extract heat during the winter. An integrated DDC (direct digital control) system and 42 individual water-to-air heat pumps enable greater temperature control and reduced energy consumption. Mechanical systems also employ heat recovery and demand-based ventilation, with two energy-recovery units on the roof tempering outside air intake with exhaust air. Being able to shine a spotlight on the past while showcasing the technology of the future isn’t something design teams get to do on every project, but Boyer says he hopes the practice of renovating existing buildings, rather than starting from scratch, continues to gain popularity. “It’s an option I think should be looked at first,” Boyer says. “There’s nothing greener than working with what we have and working to make it more environmentally friendly. The Shaw Learning Center definitely had its challenges, but it was well worth it. Walking around and seeing how beautiful the final product is gives us immense pride, and based on what we’ve been told, it makes the students and faculty proud as well.” gb&d


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Although the early bird rate ended July 1, we are offering FREE Expo for gb&d readers. Visit the CONSTRUCT website, registration page and enter code MAGGBD. Offer valid now through Aug. 15th so register TODAY. *This discount applies to new registrations only.


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By Christopher James Palafox

All credit goes to Al Gore. Around the same time that the former vice president’s 2006 global warming manifesto, An Inconvenient Truth, was released, Josh Mogal moved to San Francisco and bought a 1922 Edwardian home, looking for a new career. “I decided right then that I had an obligation,” Mogal says. “Once I knew about the problems, I couldn’t just ignore them.” Mogal left behind a 15-year career in hightech product marketing to start building technology-driven homes that responded to the reality of climate change. But that’s still only half the story—and half of the name of his company, Eco+historical. As a newcomer in the building industry, Mogal began analyzing the technologies and materials he could incorporate into his projects. Through his research, Mogal noticed a trend: Most sustainable buildings featured contemporary architecture. Having grown up in the Northeast, Mogal missed the warmth and comfort he felt came from New England’s


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simple Colonial homes with their wide-plank, heart pine floors. This style of home offered spaces where people could connect and, for Mogal, conveyed a sense of being cradled by the home. It felt personal, whereas modern felt cold and corporate. As a result, Eco+historical focuses solely on gut rehabs that introduce modern technologies while still invoking the soul of the historical architecture. “I’m not that interested in building a set of specifications so that I can hit the sweet spot in the market with the right number of bedrooms, baths, and appliances,” Mogal says. “Instead, homes need stories.” Such stories are bound up in a home’s history, in where it was built and who had lived there. In San Francisco, homes from the Victorian age in affluent neighborhoods like Presidio Heights still perform well today because of their large size. Mogal’s work in the Noe Valley tackles much more affordable Victorian homes in the 900- to

TOP LEFT1556 Sanchez, a home built in the Stick Victorian style in 1889, now has a third story, located towards the back so that the home’s historic façade appears unblemished from the sidewalk. TOP RIGHTMuch of the home’s original interior was already gone when Eco+historical began the project. OPPOSITENeighboring homes, which sit next to each other with almost no space in between, forced the builder to make a number of compromises, including foregoing an additional third bedroom.





LOCATION San Francisco Size2,625 ft2 Completion2012 Program Single-family home Cost $1.1 million

DEVELOPER Eco+historical Architect Feldman Architecture Associate Architect Jonathan Feldman and Bridgett Shank General Contractor CBC General Contractors Landscape Architect Scott Lewis Landscape Architecture Structural EngineerDouble-D Engineering Geotechnical EngineerDave Olnes

CERTIFICATION LEED Platinum Site Solar shading, thermal mass for passive solar gain, daylighting Materials DuPont vapor barrier, low-VOC solvents, FSC-certified flooring Water Aquatherm piping system Energy H  igh-efficiency solar panels, air-source heat pump


1,200-square-foot range. These former workers’ cottages were typical in the late 19th century, and almost all of them include only two bedrooms and one bath. In fact, although these historic homes feature elaborate façades in order to keep resale values up, their interiors are simple and far less grand. And yet, part of the goal is to keep these homes’ stories alive, even if it is mainly in their façades. Mogal recognizes this, as does the San Francisco government. The city mandates that historic homes undergoing major rehabs receive a historic report that identifies when it was built, who owned it, and when the lot was sold—elements that make up the “story” of the home. For Mogal, the stories have a little more character; for his project at 1566 Sanchez, a Stick Victorian built in 1889, he reused old rafter beams as roof-deck planter boxes to help the home adapt to the 21st century while retaining some of its 19th century identity. The most common architectural style in San Francisco is known


as Queen Anne Cottage, a Victorian-era style also referred to as “Painted Ladies.” These homes were often painted in three or more vibrant colors to help highlight their detailed architecture. (San Francisco was a Gold Rush city, with its major growth in the mid to late 19th century, leading to its many Stick Victorian and Italianate designs.) Mogal’s two LEED Platinum homes in Noe Valley, the aforementioned 1556 Sanchez and nearby 1436 Sanchez, are, respectively, Stick and Queen Anne Victorians. The structure at 1566 Sanchez, like most small workers’ cottages, was a single-level, 1,000-square-foot home that Mogal expanded into a five bedroom, 2,605-square-foot, single-family dwelling. When Eco+historical began the project, much of the original interior was already gone, outside of some of its trim and doors. The home was built into a lot that sloped upwards as one went back into it, which left room for a full lower level. To make it more suitable to contemporary family living, Mogal excavated

“Historic homes are the soul of the city.” Josh Mogal, Eco+historical

the full depth of the house on the lower level to create a lower living space and a garage. He also added a third story, which he set back from the front so that the historic façade of the house appeared largely unchanged from the sidewalk. Challenges abound in this type of work. Compromises, for instance, were required by San Francisco’s Planning Code, which stipulates that an owner cannot build back further than his or her two adjacent neighbors. For 1566 Sanchez, Mogal ideally wanted three bedrooms and two baths on the top floor, but because the home’s neighboring houses were shallow, the limited depth of the new floor forced Mogal to settle for two bedrooms and two baths. Pushing the envelope sometimes creates extra hoops for design teams to jump through. The 1566 Sanchez project was the first San Francisco residence to use a polypropylene pipe called Aquatherm Green Pipe for its plumbing. The green pipe uses less energy to manufacture, is non-toxjuly–august 2014


TOUGH BUILDS Eco+historical

ic, non-leeching, non-conductive, and is completely recyclable. But because of the precedent-setting nature of its use, Mogal had to work with the city’s chief plumbing inspector to get proper approval for the building material. For 1436 Sanchez, built in 1903, Mogal used many of the same techniques, again reaching LEED Platinum certification. The project faced fewer lot-line issues by being one of the few homes in Noe Valley with a three-foot side yard. Like many Queen Annes, this home had a garage that had been added in the 1920s. Because it was deteriorating, however, it was removed and replaced, extending under the home to allow the floor plan to be expanded and comfortably fit five bedrooms and four baths into the tiny footprint. “Historic homes are the soul of the city,” Mogal says, admitting that although he could make more money by not going for LEED Platinum, he feels that it is important for the long-term health of the home, as well as for writing a new chapter in the story of the home. To keep these important, historical structures alive, and the city they make up, San Francisco needs individuals like Mogal, who are compelled by a need to preserve the past by using the best techniques the present has to offer. gb&d


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THIS PAGE Although many details in Mogal’s LEED Platinum renovations are traditional, such as the trim and cabinetry, floor plans and technologies are contemporary.


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Each floor is connected by an open stairway, allowing employees to visit colleagues on foot without using an elevator.


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Reflective roofing with planted portions help reduce solar heat gain in the headquarters.

The HVAC system uses CO2 sensors and cooling towers with variable speed fans to maximize energy efficiency.

Existing asphalt was recycled for the project, a redevelopment of a brownfield outside Atlanta, GA.



Auto enthusiasts swear it: if you like driving sports cars, it should be on your bucket list to do it on the Autobahn, Germany’s federal highway system. Although they look like typical freeways, the Autobahn’s roads are perfectly maintained and superbly engineered. Plus, on a good portion of them, there’s no permanent speed limit. So, the Autobahn could be the best place on Earth to drive a sports car, but a close second might be the new $100 million Atlanta headquarters for Porsche in North America, which will have a 20-acre test track capable of winning over even the fussiest car fiends, whether they’re amateur drivers or professional racers, when it opens later this year. “It’s the headquarters for Porsche in North America, but it’s also an ‘Experience Center,’” says Daniel Barcham, senior project manager at Mace North America, which is overseeing the project on Porsche’s behalf. “That Experience Center includes over 1.6 miles worth of track facilities with a number of different modules, including a handling circuit, low-friction circuit and circle, dynamic area, and kick plate, all of which are opportunities for Porsche to showcase its sports cars and what they can do.” Along with Porsche products, the German automaker’s Atlanta offshoot will showcase the essence of the Porsche brand: efficiency. Which is embodied perfectly in the company’s flagship vehicle, the Porsche 911. “Sports cars aren’t inherently green, but the Porsche 911 is a different story,” Barcham says. “Porsche sports cars have always been small, light, and efficient, and the 911 is one of the most—if not the most—efficient cars for horsepower in its class. So, efficiency is at the core of Porsche. Everything needs to be efficient, and with efficiency comes sustainability.”



When they arrive at the new headquarters of Porsche in North America, visitors will hear a cacophony of engine noises. Some of them will belong to cars whooshing by on the test track, but others will be from planes passing overhead as they arrive and depart from Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport, adjacent to the facility. “Location was extremely important to Porsche in choosing this site,” Barcham says. “Atlanta’s airport is within two hours of 80 percent of the population of the U.S. Being within minutes of the airport allows the business and its employees simple access to travel. Equally important, however, is visibility. If you’re landing at Atlanta Airport, your flight path is right on top of us; if you look out your window, you’ll be looking down on top of this building and the test track itself.” Indeed, as a marketing opportunity, the site is unmatched. More than that, though, it’s a perfect foundation on which to build—literally—the Porsche brand. “The facility, not unlike a Porsche, balances efficiency with performance and experience,” says Darren Draper, the commissioning department manager at Epsten Group, which is providing LEED building commissioning services on the project. “The site is actually a redeveloped brownfield, which is pretty uncommon for a new facility. A greenfield might have been less work, but also less rewarding from a sustainability perspective.” The site had been home to a Ford Motor Company plant. “They built Ford parts here for many, many years,” Barcham says. “When their operations ceased here in 2006, the Ford plant was demolished, and the site became available not long thereafter.” Porsche relied on the geotechnical engineering of AMEC to analyze the site’s existing conditions. Its brownfield status is significant, but so is its size. At 27 acres, the site is large enough to accommodate multiple lines of business, including not only Porsche Cars North America, which acts as Porsche’s

North American importer and distributor, but also previously scattered business units like Porsche Financial Services, Porsche Consulting, and the Porsche Technical Service and Training Center. This consolidation will help Porsche perpetuate the tremendous growth its seen since the recession; sales of Porsche cars in North America have grown from approximately 19,000 units in 2009 to 42,000 units in 2013. “Continuing [Porsche’s] significant growth requires having the best possible environment for its employees, and part of that is bringing all the business units under one roof to create a Porsche family,” Barcham says. Because the Porsche family is very much rooted in the local community, the site also is notable for its potential to stimulate future development in a previously depressed, industrialized area. “Porsche has been a resident in Atlanta for a number of years, so the opportunity to become a corporate citizen was important to them to cement their presence in the region,” Barcham says. “Hapeville, which is the specific community we’re located in, is an area that will undergo a lot of urban regeneration over the coming years, and Porsche’s new facility is going to be a catalyst for that.”

“A very important component of a high-performance, sustainable building is longevity, and what does Porsche as a brand represent if not longevity and high performance?” Darren Draper, Epsten Group july–august 2014


TOUGH BUILDS Porsche North America Headquarters

$100m 100 Cost of the nearly 250,000-squarefoot headquarters


New jobs created by the project, which will house up to 400 employees

When it decided to build a corporate headquarters that embodied its brand, Porsche Cars North America started with the site, but it didn’t stop there. “We have a unique facility; there isn’t another building like it in the local market, the national market, or anywhere else in the world,” Barcham says. The design, courtesy of HOK, consists of a horseshoe-shaped building that wraps around a central courtyard. Encompassing 235,000 square feet that ultimately will house up to 400 employees, it makes room for office space, subterranean parking, a classic car display area and restoration center, an employee cafeteria, a dealer training center, an external business center with meeting space, and the Experience Center, which will include not only the aforementioned test track, but also a driving simulator room, a restaurant and café, a Porsche Design Drivers Selection retail shop, and a human performance center where guests can have their sport-specific fitness profile assessed. Efficiency is everywhere. On the test track, sprinklers that create wet-driving conditions utilize recycled and reused water. Green roof elements assist with indoor cooling. And highly effective soundproofing promises to keep the din of automobiles and airplanes outside.


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Number of sites considered for Porsche’s North American headquarters

Even the building’s orientation is strategic; while east-west exposures are largely closed off to eliminate glare, north-south curtain walls feature glazed glass that maximizes natural light but minimizes solar heat gain. “Daylighting is proven to contribute significantly to occupant satisfaction and productivity,” says Draper, who adds that another example of efficiency is the building’s HVAC systems. “The building’s air-handling units provide refrigerant-based cooling, but whereas a typical building might cool the refrigeration cycle with air, this project is actually using water thanks to a cooling tower with variable speed fans. This helps improve efficiency, as water is a better medium for heat transfer. The air handlers also utilize simple but effective temperature and pressure reset strategies that improve energy performance.” The facility also features CO2 sensors in densely occupied spaces, which helps reduce unneeded air ventilation. The company hopes that the building will achieve LEED Silver certification. Its long-term legacy, however, won’t be its LEED scorecard, but rather its embodiment of the marriage between sport and sustainability. “A very important component of a high-performance, sustainable building is longevity,” Draper says.


Miles of track at the facility’s Experience Center, including a handling circuit

“Achieving this requires alignment of the owner’s project goals with the final product. Porsche and all of its partners on this project understand this concept and have engaged in a thorough review of all of their sustainability options. And what does Porsche as a brand represent if not longevity and high performance?” gb&d

DETAILS LOCATION Atlanta Size450,000 ft2 (built area) 235,000 ft2 (conditioned space) Completion2014 (expected) CertificationLEED-NC Silver Program O  ffice space, data center, business center, car display area, technical training center, test track, parking, restaurant, café, retail Client Porsche Cars North America Project Manager M  ace North America Architect HOK Development Manager J acoby Development Geotechnical Engineer AMEC Commissioning Agent Epsten Group MEP Engineer Barrett, Woodward & Associates General ContractorWhiting-Turner Contracting Co.

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The building formerly known as 120 Howard Street is located on the corner of Howard and Spear Streets in San Francisco’s South of Market area. Not that many noticed it. “[It] was one of those buildings whose front door you couldn’t find,” says Michael J. Castro, associate principal and director of architecture at Brereton Architects. This issue, a result of the building’s entryway being off an alley, was something the owner at the time, Beacon Capital Partners, wanted to remedy. It made plans to extend the lobby to Spear Street, officially changing its address (and name) to 188 Spear Street and, at the same time, expanding the penthouse out to a parapet wall to obtain more rentable space. This had environmental benefits as well as financial ones. “Vertical additions are unique in that they allow you to add density to urban centers within the same footprint,” Castro says.

EXCLUSIVE EXTRAS See more of the addition to 188 Spear Street at


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The project got off to a slow start due to three transitions in ownership. Beacon Capital Partners originally approached Brereton, which occupied the rooftop penthouse of the building in 2006. Brereton consulted a structural engineer, Nabih Youssef & Associates (NYA) and learned that the structure appeared strong enough to take on additional load in the form of four additional stories. The architects did some design sketches, but before the project got off the ground, Beacon Capital Partners sold the building to Broadway Partners, which in turn sold it to Shorenstein Company. This was in November 2009, three years after the project began. Additional challenges were still ahead. Brereton would have to design the expansion to achieve LEED Gold certification and do it with the building 40 percent occupied, not to mention convincing officials in the earthquake-prone city that the building could be constructed to meet their stringent seismic codes. But with Shorenstein’s extensive experience working on challenging redevelopment projects, specifically with the City of San Francisco, the project team felt confident it could

BELOWUntil recently, the existing building at 188 Spear Street was four stories shorter and suffered from a hard-to-find entrance. An expansion, designed by Brereton Architects, solved both issues.

meet the additional challenges that lay ahead. The project moved forward.


Not all existing buildings meet current code, and determining whether 188 Spear Street was one of them was the first step. Michael Gemmell, project principal at NYA, conducted a nonlinear timehistory analysis, an electronic model that simulates the last three seismic events to determine how the renovated building would have performed in those events. Gemmell’s study proved to the city that the building met or exceeded current code.




The addition brought the property from 143,200 square feet to 218,668 square feet, increasing its net rentable area by 50%.


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TOUGH BUILDS 188 Spear Street

“The building is a prime example of density management in an urban situation. We were able to add 50 percent to the building’s net rentable area without increasing the building’s footprint.” Michael J. Castro, Brereton Architects

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ABOVEWhen Nabih Youssef & Associates conducted a structural study of 188 Spear Street, it determined that four additional floors could be added without any risk.

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Percent occupancy at time of construction

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Percent increase in net rentable area as a result of vertical addition


Days it took to replace and relocate the mechanical system


Windows replaced on the building

Regarding its sustainability goals, Castro says everyone involved wanted a green building from day one. “When Shorenstein came on board, there was a strong effort to pursue LEED Gold,” he says. The work that needed to be done placed the building on the fine line between LEED Core and Shell and LEED New Construction. Shorenstein went with the former, which allowed it to address more issues specific to the project scope. Nearly 200 windows were replaced with one-inch high-performance glazed windows, which helped with energy efficiency and sound insulation. Shorenstein also replaced a single rooftop fan with a multi-fan array in a stacked configuration. The so-called fan walls—one for incoming supply air and one for outgoing exhaust air—can be shut down depending on airflow needs. “All told, the new 12-story building uses close to the same amount of energy as the old eight-story building,” Castro says. All this had to be done while the building remained at least partially occupied. Given that the mechanical system had to be replaced and relocated, this was a considerable challenge for Brereton and general contractor Hathaway Dinwiddie Construction Company. Originally, the mechanical system was situated on the roof, but the roof was moving. Plus, Shorenstein wanted to replace it with a new, highefficiency system. The team framed the new stories but left off certain framing members at the old roof, which would become the ninth floor, and installed the new mechanical system once framing was complete. “It was a complicated procedure,” Castro says, “but it minimized down time, and we completed the switch ... over the weekend.” “The building is a prime example of density management in an urban situation,” Castro says of the completed 188 Spear Street. “We were able to add 50 percent to the building’s net rentable area without increasing the building’s footprint, site, or doing significant demolition.” gb&d






In October 2011, a timber-framed apartment building originally constructed in the 1800s in Thomaston, Maine, was severely damaged in a fire. In the aftermath, Black Bros. Builders was hired to ensure that the new apartment complex erected on site would be a positive asset for its owners and the planet. Black Bros. exclusively builds net-zero-energy structures, and from the aftermath of the fire, the builders raised the Sail Loft Zero Energy Apartments. Before the fire, the building held twelve apartments across two floors. Now, the three-story, nine-unit building offers a mixture of one- and two-bedroom apartments. Because of the fire, the team was unable to reuse much of the existing building for the new living spaces—the unburned timbers were donated to a local nonprofit railroad preservation group—and the existing foundation was also in poor shape from 200 years of use. Black Bros. took the structure down to its foundation and installed a super-insulated slab in its place.



The project demanded a quick, six-month timeline. Black Bros. Builders teamed up with Kaplan Thompson Architects, a regular collaborator, which responded with an efficient 60-foot by 36-foot layout that employed identical unit layouts to help minimize costs and save time. “Simplicity in design and construction made this project possible,” says Brenan Black, one of the cofounders of Black Bros. To convince the owner to pursue net-zero energy, despite increased upfront costs, Black and his brother compared the quotes the owner received. A merely code-compliant project would cost almost as much as the proposed net-zero building. The equilibrium point in expenses was only about a year, making the Black Bros. building the significantly cheaper option in the long run. “It was a classic no-brainer for him to decide to go with net zero,” says Black, who typically completes net-zero projects within ten percent of standard construction costs, resulting in an average payback period of three years for, say, a single-family home.


Kilowatts of energy generated by the building’s PV array


R-values in the project’s superinsulated roof (walls hit R-45)


Months the team had to complete the project

The Sail Loft project is one of just six net-zero multifamily buildings in the country and the first in Maine. Although being on the cutting edge often poses additional challenges, Black Bros. found advantages to scaling up. Because shared walls, ceilings, and floors keep conditioned air inside a building, the team merely had to employ its proven multifamily methodology on a larger scale to achieve the energy savings it desired. In fact, the firm air-sealed the entire envelope as a whole, instead of unit-by-unit, so that each apartment contributes to the overall conditioning load. The structure contains double exterior walls that are super-insulated to an R-value of 45. Roofs hit R-70. Efficient electric heating and hot-water production are paired with rooftop photovoltaics. “All these things we had done before—in fact, we haven’t changed our methodology much before or since,” Black says, adding that he believes the company’s approach could work consistently at any scale. “This project is a drop in the bucket of things to come,” Black says. Recently, the company has begun selling and installing net-zero-energy homes by BrightBuilt Home. The modular homes are more affordable than comparable stick-built residences, increasing the reach of net zero to encompass owners on more modest budgets. “Why every builder in the US has not embraced this methodology is beyond us,” Black says. “It is truly a feel-good business model and profitable to boot.” gb&d july–august 2014






Up Front Typology Trendsetters Approach Inner Workings Features Spaces Tough Builds Punch List


180 Toolbox

New products for greener schools

182 Person of Interest

Matt Slagle on healthier, safer schools

185 Discussion Board

Most memorable childhood moments

186 Material World

The benefits of earthen materials

188 On the Boards

Raising the bar at Lincoln Center

191 Tweetable Reviews

Must-read books in 140 characters

193 On the Spot

Stacy Smedley takes our questionnaire

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Toolbox Back to School

From creative classroom furniture to undulating garden roofs, these new green products are geared toward learning environments Text by Lindsey Howald Patton


PUZZLE TABLE BY VS AMERICA In the early 20th century, VS founders and educator Maria Montessori developed classroom furniture designed for interaction. These curvy tables, which feature a powder-coated steel frame and durable melamine-resin-coated chipboard, can stand alone or together, proving VS’s lasting dedication to dynamic, kid-driven environments.

INK SWIRL RUG BY MOHAWK Mohawk is a 2013 GreenStep award winner and one of Newsweek’s top 500 greenest companies, diverting three billion pounds of waste from the landfill each year thanks to carpets made from recycled products. We furnished our own office with this area rug, and it would look just as good in a teacher’s lounge.

SLOPED GARDEN ROOF ASSEMBLY BY AMERICAN HYDROTECH Rather than letting flat rooflines dictate design, Hydrotech’s sloped assembly means architects don’t have to choose between a green roof and creativity. The system can handle irregularly shaped pitches of up to 45 degrees, giving green roofs more interest and visibility.

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XLERATORECO BY EXCEL DRYER Excel’s new “eco” model dials up the energy savings with a no-heat, 500-watt, 15-second dry. At a cost of about $200 per unit, they often return your investment in less than a year versus paper towels. And because school spirit doesn’t stop at the bathroom door, these can be customized to feature team colors and logos.

IN CONVERSATION with Stacy Smedley Continued from p. 21

the water systems and technical data, and behind each piece of equipment are K-12 lesson suggestions. We don’t want to call it curriculum because we don’t want to say that we’re creating something new that a person has to teach, but if a teacher wants to integrate a lesson about water conservation, at a very young level, it would be, Here’s a dial that goes from full to empty. Have the kids pump some water with the hand pump and see how the dial changes. Have them turn on the sink and see how much the dial changes in the same period of time. PART 3 “I MAKE THEM UNCOMFORTABLE FOR TEN MINUTES” gb&d: What’s something you’ve learned from your interactions with young students and your own two-year-old son?

ECO BY COSENTINO What do you get when you combine a partially vegetable-resin slab with a bunch of recycled mirrors, glass bottles, and vitrified ashes? A beautiful, unique countertop that is both Cradle to Cradle and GREENGUARD certified. And Eco isn’t just for horizontal surfaces; the scratch-resistant product can be used in wall cladding and flooring applications as well.

PYROT BIOMASS BOILER BY VIESSMAN When responsibly harvested, wood is a local, renewable, carbon-dioxide-neutral energy source. This wood-burning stove is one of the cleanest energy solutions around, with digital controls, a high-efficiency rotary combustion chamber, and less than 0.06 pounds of dust particles per million BTU.

VS’s tables and chairs are designed to allow subtle movement, something researchers have found improves a student’s ability to concentrate and learn.

Smedley: The capacity for a child to not ask why, and to be able to just imagine. As we get older, we’re trained not to do that. I do Living Building workshops with kids all the time now, and I’ll just say, “Imagine that you’re a flower. It gets all its energy from the sun, water from the rain, and looks beautiful. What if a classroom was like that flower? What would that look like?” That’s all I ask them. And they draw these amazing things. Trees growing on roofs, butterflies inside, fish in the wall, beehives, grass on the floor— all these things.

“We were out on the deck one day and I was watching them cut down my trees, and I said to my mom, ‘One day, I’m gonna find a way to build buildings and not cut down someone’s trees.’” I do the same exercise with adults and they just sit there in this complete, uncomfortable horror. Because they have no idea what I’m asking them for. They want to know what they’re supposed to do. I make them uncomfortable for ten minutes—I give them crayons and paper and tell them to draw these things—and then I pop up the drawings the kids have done in that same amount of time with the same question. And that’s my lesson. We need to have the freedom to think like kids again and not be concerned with the “why” or the “how” but start only with the “what if.” The conversation continues on p. 185


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Person of Interest Matt Slagle

Named Young Architect of the Year by his local AIA chapter, TowerPinkster’s rising star discusses how to design for special needs, crime prevention, and improved academic performance Interview by Russ Klettke

gb&d: You worked on the TowerPinkster office in Grand Rapids, [Michigan], which achieved LEED Platinum certification. Since most of your experience is in academic structures, what was it like shifting from one to the other? Matt Slagle: In reality, schools are ten types of buildings. They include classrooms, gyms, pools, corridors, cafeterias, stadiums, and auditoriums. It is like a puzzle with different pieces, where the mechanical systems, sightlines, lighting, and acoustics all have to work. gb&d: What led you to education design?

BELOWSlagle helped design his firm’s new home in Grand Rapids, MI, which involved the historic preservation of a 23,000-squarefoot Art Deco building known as 4 East Fulton. The building is now LEED Platinum certified.

Slagle: It was originally by happenstance. I did my graduate studies in Colorado, including work in a firm that had a lot of business in K-12 schools. When we moved back to Michigan, I knew I wanted to stay in school and higher [education] architecture. gb&d: School districts are a complicated mix of stakeholders. How do you satisfy

students, teachers, taxpayers, and elected officials? Slagle: Every constituency has a different set of needs, so we take all of them into consideration. For students, it’s about learning and a social experience. Teachers want something that facilitates learning but also maintains order. I also find teachers are oriented to cost-efficiencies. Taxpayers are willing to invest in good schools if the money is well spent, which requires us to surround ourselves with and adopt their values. Elected officials and community leaders all want safety and security. gb&d: One of your clients credited you for deftly managing the challenge of finding consensus among the different constituencies in their district. How did you do that? Slagle: By being a good listener. Architects cannot go into a project with preconceived ideas. These are not Matt Slagle’s projects. They are what the school district wants and needs. gb&d: But you still have to sell new ideas to people. Slagle: True. One thing we do is benchmarking tours, when we take a bus full of stakeholders—the district superintendent, principals, coaches, band directors, anyone of influence—to visit other schools where something new and interesting was done. gb&d: Schools are ultimately scored on how well they educate. How does design affect learning? Slagle: The best book on the subject is The Language of School Design [by Prakash Nair and Randall Fielding, 2009]. Understand that learning is very different today compared to 100 years ago. We know that students in classrooms with sufficient daylighting learn 20 percent faster in


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“Architects cannot go into a project with preconceived ideas. These are not Matt Slagle’s projects. They are what the school district wants and needs. ” Matt Slagle, TowerPinkster

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PUNCH LIST Person of Interest


Pioneer Construction builds exceptional facilities that perform for our clients... on time and in budget. We are headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan and provide construction solutions throughout the continental United States.

Tower Pinkster and West Michigan Lighting... Making it real!! Congratulations on your new office.

ABOVESlagle’s Battle Creek Area Math and Science Center in Michigan reused the bones of an existing museum and features exhibits on technology and sustainability.

math, so we can design with 3-D modeling to measure light penetration. Ventilation and fresh air are also a big deal. gb&d: What about cash-strapped school districts? Slagle: At least half of the projects we work on, since the economic downturn, have been renovations and additions. It depends on the variables in the buildings themselves and the districts. gb&d: You are certified for “crime prevention through design,” which, of course, is a big concern right now. How do you accomplish that? Slagle: It’s a layer of thought on everything. Most importantly, a school’s entry must be controlled. After the bell rings, the only public entry must be past staff members. We also ask, “Where would police go if there were a shooting?” We eliminate places for criminals to hide. Night lighting provides a great deterrence to mischief as well. gb&d: How has your own experience as the father of a special-needs child informed your approach to education? Slagle: My daughter in third grade has spina bifida. Cognitively, she’s at the top of her class. But she wears ankle braces, and that affects her mobility and makes it a challenge to get in and out of spaces. I think a lot about mobility independence.

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gb&d: How will we design schools in the future? Slagle: We don’t know. We can’t know. We have to create spaces today that are as flexible to change as possible. gb&d


Discussion Board What childhood moment most impacts your work? “Growing up as a wild child in Georgia’s swamps and Panama’s jungles, I built tree houses and loved Tarzan movies. I always dreamed that heaven was a tree house surrounded by friends. Now I live in my tree house heaven in the heart of Washington, DC, surrounded by a natural political jungle.” Travis Price, Principal, Travis Price Architects, p. 114

“My dad was a general contractor. Each morning his men gathered for coffee around our breakfast table to discuss their daily tasks, and I learned early about the challenges involved in construction projects. Those mornings left me with a lifelong appreciation of good design-build collaboration.” Virge Temme, President, Virge Temme Architecture , p. 50

“I was good at math and science in school and was told that I should be an engineer. Like many who were told the same, I didn’t have any kind of K-12 experience that shed any light on what engineers do. I entered college blind. I don’t think that’s right.” Mike Wierusz, Instructor, Environmental Innovation, Inglemoor High School, p. 93

“The Civil Rights Movement has impacted all that I do. Growing up in the sixties, all that I saw locally, nationally, and internationally moved me to a permanent state of advocacy, inspiration, and innovation. I will work and fight to the end, rooted in the belief that together we can all prosper.”


Stephen Ritz, Founder, Green Bronx Machine, p. 111

“I grew up the son of an artistic mother and a father who had a love of fine tools and an appreciation of craft. My favorite playtime, from the day I could hold a hammer, was filled with hours in the basement workshop building and making things. Nothing has changed.” Howard Steinberg, Principal, Onion Flats, p. 44

This question was posed by guest editor Stacy Smedley. See what happens when we put her on the spot on p. 193.

IN CONVERSATION with Stacy Smedley Continued from p. 181

gb&d: Going completely to the other side of the design world—the much more technical, much more political one—let’s talk about the legislation requiring life-cycle-cost assessments in certain states. Washington has passed theirs. Tell me a little bit about what kind of impact that’s going to have, especially on schools. Smedley: Well, it’s fantastic. I’m super excited about it. The one downfall for SEED is that it’s only for buildings over five thousand square feet so portable classrooms can still be as inefficient as they want to be. So we’re actually writing a letter to the governor, Jay Inslee, to amend it to include portables. But for larger buildings, new schools and things, what it requires you to do is—normally in school districts the capital-planning money and the operations-and-maintenance money are in two completely separate buckets. So capital planning is worried about first costs and meeting their construction budget, and the operations-and-maintenance guys, who are going to have to take care of it and make sure it’s efficient, are sometimes not in the conversation. [The legislation] is going to force the conversation and bring both groups together, and force contractors and designers to understand and learn how to assess those things by mandating it.

PART 4 MOTHER AND DAUGHTER gb&d: What was it like where you grew up? Smedley: I call it the edge of suburbia. It was in Clackamas, Oregon. My grandpa had bought a plot of land, about three acres, before I was born and built a house on it. It was designed so that my mom and I would basically have the lower floor and my grandma and grandpa had the upper floor. It was sitting on this acreage of land that was wooded, and we had a garden with grapes for making wine and a pond with ducks. When I was eight, my grandpa succumbed to the pressure and sold our land to a developer. We were still living in that house at the top of the hill, and I watched as all of my trees were cut down and my blackberry bushes went away and my grapes and swings and ducks were lost. My mom always tells this story about how we were out on the deck one day and I was watching them cut down my trees, and I said to my mom, “One day I’m gonna find a way to build buildings and not cut down someone’s trees.” She The conversation continues on p. 189

july–august 2014



Material World Consider the Alternatives

Colorado architect Greg Madeen describes the environmental benefits of building with straw, dirt, pumice, and other natural materials By Russ Klettke

Standard stick-built structures are not an ideal way to build. Why? Because they “burn, rot, acquire mold, are eaten by insects, and have poor insulation bridging and limited thermal mass characteristics,” says Greg Madeen, founder of Madeen Architecture and Construction in Durango, Colorado. Madeen points out that traditional, lightweight, wood-frame homes also are increasingly more costly; construction lumber is becoming more expensive, in part due to the adverse effects of fire, beetles, and drought. Alternative building materials such as straw, dirt, and pumice—materials Madeen has used since the early 1980s—can cut embodied energy use and provide additional benefits to occupants. “These are natural materials that tend to be much healthier than modern synthetic materials,” says Madeen, who believes that true sustainability is interconnected with local materials and local labor, a combination that strengthens a community as well as the global environment. Reflecting on the 100 projects he has completed over the past three decades, Madeen says, “The third millennium will have a vast increase in beautiful, holistic buildings made out of various alternative materials that fit their sites and add long-term, real value.” gb&d


july–august 2014

RAMMED EARTH Rammed-earth walls also have been built for thousands of years. Today, moist aggregates are tamped by mechanical pneumatic rammers. Reject soils are used, and Madeen adds Portland cement for stabilization. The appearance of the un-plastered earthen walls, sometimes with added pigment, creates a distinctively contemporary aesthetic. “As with all earthen walls, rammed earth can help with energy efficiency,” Madeen says. The low-maintenance material is fire-resistant and soundproof and can tolerate both dry and wet climates. “The strong, thick walls also lend a physical and psychological sense of protection,” he says. Rammed earth performs best in warmer climates, though Madeen has developed a system for mid-wall insulation that he successfully implemented on a residence in Colorado.


STRAW BALE Considered by many in the 19th century to be agricultural waste, straw bales were one of few materials available to settlers on the treeless plains. Today, they are regaining popularity due to their ability to achieve R-30 thermal insulation. When designed with south-facing windows that allow sun to strike heat-absorbing heavy elements (stone or concrete floors, for example), they become highly efficient and are, surprisingly, fire-resistant. Madeen’s straw-bale walls typically are 18 inches wide, which, though they eat up some of the building footprint, add stability to the building as well as other benefits. “The thick, undulating walls add a sheltering, artistic aesthetic that is hard to achieve with any other material,” Madeen says. ADOBE Adobe has been used in some form for thousands of years. Made from sand, silt, and clay, the sun-dried or hydraulically pressed bricks are valued in desert southwest climates where their thermal mass can moderate fluctuations between hot days and cool nights, though Madeen recommends using extra seismic mitigation (stabilizers) where applicable. Adobe construction is “heavy work,” Madeen says, but the appearance of true adobe is prized for its thick walls, soft corners, and gentle connection to the landscape. The builder typically uses bricks that are 10 inches wide and oftentimes made from site soils. In cooler climates, Madeen applies insulation to the exterior or mid-wall and typically uses plaster or cement stucco as a facing. PUMICECRETE Pumicecrete is a form of lightweight concrete that has been in use since the Romans built with a similar material more than 2,000 years ago. Not yet common in the United States, Pumicecrete is slowly gaining popularity. “I think we are going to see a lot more lightweight concrete construction when people become more aware of our current, short-sighted building techniques,” says Madeen, who has used pumicecrete in roughly fifteen projects and describes the material as “homogenous,” meaning the pumicecrete wall serves as the structure, the insulation, and the thermal mass. Pumicecrete readily accepts plaster as an interior and exterior facing without the need for metal lath. “This ... leads to substantial monetary and embodied energy savings,” Madeen says, who suggests using pumicecrete for contemporary architecture.

BELOWThe natural materials that make up these alternative building types include (in order, as collaged below) straw, earth, mud, sand, water, adobe, pumice, dung, silt, and, clay.

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july–august 2014



On the Boards Raising the Bar

A vertical law school and residence hall for Fordham University advances the school’s master plan and climate goals By Julie Schaeffer

When Fordham University needed a design for its new Law School and Residence Hall—the centerpiece of a 15-year master plan to build out the Lincoln Center campus in New York—it decided to open a competition. The winner was Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, with a design by partners Henry N. Cobb and Yvonne Szeto, who saw the project as an exciting challenge. “We wanted to be mindful of the three constituencies that the building would engage: its users, its neighbors, and the broader public,” says Christina Chung, an associate partner. The design accommodates the unique needs of the law school and residence hall

by creating a cohesive 22-floor building that expresses two very distinct identities. “The first nine floors, comprising the law school, are expressed in a gentle, undulating form with a precast checkerboard façade, while the undergraduate residence hall is clad in a lighter aluminum-and-glass curtainwall façade that rises for 12 stories above the law school,” Chung says. “The two forms meet in a way that reinforces their unity.” Seeking LEED Silver certification at minimum, the building’s energy-efficiency measures will exceed the campus-wide goal of reducing the university’s carbon footprint by 30 percent by 2017. The tower

The law school’s precast checkerboard façade meets the residence hall’s aluminum-and-glass curtainwall in a way that marries the two structures.


july–august 2014


IN CONVERSATION with Stacy Smedley Continued from p. 185

reminds me of that all the time now because that’s what I’m still trying to accomplish. gb&d: Growing up, it was just your mom and your grandpa? Smedley: And my grandma. My mom’s parents and my mom and I. gb&d: Are you an only child then? Smedley: I am. There’s a whole story behind my only-child-ness too, but I don’t know how relevant it is. I’ve been on Oprah because of my upbringing. gb&d: Well, I’m intrigued now…

has a pEUI (potential energy use intensity) of 41 kBtu/sf, a 58 percent reduction from the regional site average for a similar building. The main savings come from high-performance boilers, a combinedheat-and-power cogeneration system, and condensing domestic-hot-water heaters. “Our approach to design has always had its roots in the programmatic needs of the client and in responding to the site conditions and constraints,” Chung says. “Fordham University’s new Law School and Residence Hall is very much the result of a careful study of how to meet those requirements while providing an iconic form that will also be a welcome addition to the surrounding environment.” gb&d

ABOVE(Clockwise from top) The library’s two-story reading room features FSC-certified millwork, including steamed beech wood. The site fronts Damrosch Park, which functions as a forecourt. A partially vegetated terrace floats above the main entrance. BELOWThe Moot Court room, situated in the interior of the first floor and visible from Damrosch Park, was designed to double as an event space.

Smedley: I’ll give you the nutshell. My mom used a sperm donor back in 1979 when that wasn’t a common thing, being a single woman. She’d been through a marriage and lost her first child and wanted another child without the whole starting-another-marriage thing. She worked for OSHU in Portland, which is a big hospital and which had just started an insemination clinic. And she was the first single woman they allowed to do it. She had to go through psychological tests and all sorts of stuff. Then, six or seven years ago, there was a thing on 60 Minutes about this woman who had started a website where you could go put in your donor information and get matched with other siblings, which I had never even thought about. So I did it and found a brother online, and Oprah called us because we were the oldest matching siblings on the site. So they flew him home from Africa where he was a Peace Corps volunteer and had us meet, and then flew us to the Oprah [Winfrey] Show. gb&d: Do you and he still keep in touch? Smedley: We do. The similarities between us for being half-siblings are pretty amazing. We look like twins. He graduated from college with an environmental studies [degree]. He was living in Togo, West Africa, speaking fluent French, and I also speak French. All these things. gb&d: That’s mesmerizing. You’ve written that one of your main mentors was your mom, which now makes a lot of sense. You must’ve shared a really special relationship if it was just the two of you. Smedley: Yeah, and then having my grandThe conversation continues on p. 193


july–august 2014



Tweetable Reviews Must-Read Books

Rural Studio at Twenty Andrew Freear and Elena Barthel, with Andrea Oppenheimer Dean Princeton Architectural Press, 2014, $28.97 Visit Hale County, AL, and the down-to-earth design school that rooted itself here 20 years ago and continues to embody hope and respect.

Walkable City Jeff Speck North Point Press, 2012, $13.00 Who knew the automobile was so dangerous? This book debunks traditional traffic engineering in favor of more pedestrian-friendly cities.

City Parks: Public Places, Private Thoughts Catie Marron, editor Harper Collins, 2013, $34.12 Zadie Smith on Villa Borghese, Norman Foster on Grosse Tiergarten, Andrew Sean Greer on the Presidio—this is a coffee table book one reads.

Landscape Imagination: Collected Essays of James Corner 1990-2010 James Corner and Alison Bick Hirsch, editors Princeton Architectural Press, 2014, $39.73 A collection of 16 essays traces the landscape architect’s influence over 20 years, from early writings to his conception of the High Line.

The Third Teacher Cannon Design, VS Furniture, Bruce Mao Design Abrams, 2010, $21.18 Leaders from across the globe give 79 suggestions for using design to improve the academic and health impacts of our schools.


The Oldest Living Things in the World Rachel Sussman University of Chicago Press, 2014, $34.44 Photographer Rachel Sussman captures creatures around the world that are thousands of years old. Which puts our species in perspective.


Integral: Revolutionary Engineering Molly Miller Ecotone Publishing, 2013, $20.33 An inspiring little book about today’s biggest issues. Custom illustrations illuminate some of the most advanced engineering on the planet.

july–august 2014


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On the Spot Stacy Smedley

The founder of the SEED Collaborative and this issue’s guest editor describes the perfect city, what she’d do if she won the lottery, and how to use the term ‘partisan’

AN ARTICLE YOU RECENTLY SHARED “A Toy Kit for Little Architects and Engineers,” Fast


Philosophically, I think it would be a school, except the school I would want to save hasn’t been built.

WAY TO MAKE THE ENVIRONMENT A NON-PARTISAN ISSUE The definition of partisan is “a strong supporter of

a party, cause, or person.” So I think it’s not, How do we make the environment a non-partisan issue? It’s, How do we make everyone a partisan of the environment? YOUR FIELD’S BIGGEST HURDLE TO IMPROVING ITS



Atlas Shrugged




My mom. What she taught me wasn’t out of books.

I wouldn’t use words. I’d let them go out and expe-

It was how to make goals and reach them, how to think big but start small, how to have confidence in myself and my values, and how to take the time to appreciate life with all of its challenges and successes—because that makes it interesting and worth it.

rience “green.” Walk through a forest. Pick blackberries. Listen to birds chirp. Then they could come to their own personal definition, and hopefully that experience would stay with them. A CENTURY FROM NOW HUMANITY WILL


Either curse us for getting them into such a mess,

Drinking Vitamin Water. Lots of plastic bottles.

or thank us for getting them out of one.



Noodling on my guitar. Writing songs is good

That new homes are more efficient than older ones.


IN CONVERSATION with Stacy Smedley Continued from p. 189

parents there too, my mom and I were more like best friends because my grandma was the one who cooked us dinner and did all those things. My mom worked full time, so she’d get home and we’d have dinner, then my mom and I would go play and do whatever we wanted to do. It was an interesting family dynamic, but it allowed us to really enjoy each other. I think part of the reason she’s such an influence on me too is that she left college to get married to her husband, who she had her first child with, so she never got her college degree. She started at OSHU as an admin in their technology group and worked her way all the way up to chief information officer. That was a big part of what I saw growing up, a strong woman moving up in leadership. gb&d: That makes sense why Sheryl Sandberg’s book (p. 14) resonated so much. I haven’t read it, so I can’t give any informed thoughts, but I’d be interested in a companion book called Lean Back, sharing insights on how to create room and allow for more leaning in. Women have been incredibly successful in talking to one another about all these various challenges and the things they struggle with, and for some reason, men have been tight-lipped, almost just observers of all these changes. I think men need to start talking to each other about these issues as much as women have been for decades. Smedley: It talks a little bit about that in the book. The thing that made me read it was that it was recommended to me by a senior VP at Skanska because he’d read it and taken away all this stuff from it that he could apply not only to management of female employees but to all employees. So I think if more men would read Lean In, it would help them lean back. gb&d


If You Build It, by Patrick Creadon

The little county airport that used to sit above my


house. We could only access it via a path through the forest and it was always such an adventure to get there. We’d pass hobo camps in the woods, see deer and raccoons, eat blackberries, and end up at this meadow where, if we were lucky, a little prop plane would land right in front of us.

THE PERFECT CITY WOULD HAVE Codes that require buildings to collect and treat

their own water and supply their own energy, an education system based on experiential learning and design thinking, a free public transportation system, urban food forests… I could go on and on. Maybe I should just run for mayor.

FAVORITE PLACE YOU’VE TRAVELED Paris. GREATEST PROFESSIONAL PET PEEVE Not admitting when you need help or don’t know

something—it stalls progress.


CAUSE YOU’D SUPPORT IF YOU HAD A BILLION DOLLARS  rotecting virgin forests. I have told my mom a P thousand times that I would buy all the forested land in Clackamas County (where I’m from) if I won the lottery. I’d make good on that promise.

july–august 2014



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Green Building & Design (gb&d) #28