Green Building & Design (gb&d) #31

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The next big idea in urban design ���

GREEN BUILDING & DESIGN Januar y + Februar y 2015

Can Rural Studio commercialize its model? ���

Perfe�ing the Ideas Issue ��K House




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In This Issue gb&d January+February 2015 Volume 6, Issue 31


Open Books


Six libraries reflect a nationwide trend to open up our public buildings and provide transparency and accessible amenities






With 189 LEED-certified buildings designed by the country’s leading architects, University of California will be carbon neutral by 2025

Students in Rural Studio’s 20K House program construct a durable, sustainable home for $20,000. What if anyone could do the same?

Seven experts on the built environment weigh in on the one revolutionary idea that has yet to gain traction

CBRE’s headquarters in Los Angeles is the first office project to be certified through the brand new WELL Building Standard

Carbon-Neutral University

Bet the House

The Next Big Idea in Urban Design

Mind, Body, and Bottom Line

january–february 2015



Table of Contents gb&d January+February 2015 Volume 6, Issue 31

Up Front



14 Guest Editors María Arquero de Alarcón

48 Reese Rowland

62 Betting on Transit

& Jen Maigret

16 Editor’s Picks Upcycled bags, and more 18 Portfolio MAde Studio 20 Event Preview VerdeXchange 22 Defined Design One Central Park

Albanese continues its legacy on Long Island

51 Nils Kok

65 Earth Fare Expands

The grocer goes green(er) as it opens nine new stores

52 Gerding Edlen

68 Cambria’s Makeover

The hotel chain targets the ‘green generation’

The GRESB cofounder says money talks in real estate The Portland company is a ‘principled’ firm

56 Brigitta Witt

Diversity informs Hyatt’s green strategy

59 Dustin Watson

DDG’s sustainability director wants more infill

project makes history

76 ‘Renewed’ Residence Whirlpool’s futuristic

bungalow comes with data

78 Vital Benchmarks TIAA-CREF measures

power to better manage

69 ‘Front Burner’ Benefits Restaurant group’s ‘stealth

82 Taco Bell Ups the Ante New El Paso location

green’ approach wins out

slashes energy use by half

72 Renovate and Reuse American Family tracks

the impact of its office


24 Product Spotlight REHAU’s System 4500

The Arkansas architect is also a master storyteller

74 A Data Center for v4 Grainger’s latest green


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Inner Workings


86 Kiln Apartments Smart insulation seals up

123 435 Indio Way A replicable model for a

140 Mix and Match In Milwaukee, design

160 Chicago Power Players Chicago building owners

a Portland Passive House

net-zero Silicon Valley


variation adds value

put smart grids to the test

90 Stash Residence A LEED Platinum home

124 Shape Shifter MetroNational’s theatrical

144 Coming of Age Kraus-Anderson adapts an

163 Sustaining Stronghold Why the Brooklyn Navy

keeps allergies at bay

92 National Center for Civil & Human Rights Trespa panels are key for

the innovative façade

94 Tavern on the Green A New York landmark

sheds its excess

97 Denizen and Dakota Outfall The Denver project adds

density and averts flooding

LEED Platinum Treehouse

icon it built 90 years ago

128 KMC Corporate Office RMA rethinks the limits of

146 Zero Energy House A Studio utilizes passive

165 Fair Weather’s Friend For tropical climates, SCIPs

a living wall

systems in Auckland

can prevent heat gain

130 Green with Envy CSHQA captures every bit

148 Certified Golden Years Atria achieves its highest

168 Federal Aid Government properties

of energy in its Boise office

certification yet

132 Power Structures Architerra proves the

150 Ground Swell MVVA fortifies a flood

power of wood in Syracuse

prone area of Toronto

138 Angelos Law Center A high-tech LEED Platinum

156 Disassembly Required Shipping containers mean

law school building

a future for an Austin bar

“In every project, you have to tell the proper story, make that story accessible to everybody, and make that story count.” 48

are assisted by efficiency

Punch List

170 Person of Interest

Liz Ogbu

172 Material World


Yard is shifting its focus

Bark House

174 Close Up

Superior Essex

176 On the Spot

The gb&d Questionnaire

january–february 2015



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january–february 2015


Editor’s Note Ideas Aren’t Everything


No idea ever changed the world—at least not by itself. We forget this in our mania for the newest innovation in technology or design, which is salivated over at tech conferences and in special themed issues like this one. Imagination is important, but hard work is equally vital, maybe more so. In the words of designer and illustrator Rilla Alexander, “Without the doing, the dreaming is useless.” I recently attended a symposium on the structural potential of wood, a field full of exciting developments (read about some on p. 132). After, I enthusiastically shared the day’s more revelatory insights with my wife Allison on the way home from the gym. “What about fire?” she asked. I sighed—such unwarranted fear was holding the industry back, and I said as much. My wife, always one step ahead, responded brilliantly: “That’s great. But there are thousands of people just like me who will have the same thought.” She’s right. Even as fire tests and other studies prove that cross-laminated timber and other wood products can be as resilient as concrete or steel, clients and code officials will continue to need convincing. An architect’s ideas about wood won’t transform the built environment; only the hard work of advocacy, education, and outright evangelism will accomplish that, combined with rigorous and public examination of every wood building built. Auburn University’s Rural Studio (p. 100) is a place that thoroughly advances the value of hard work in what it teaches. Working in an area of Alabama where one in four residents live in poverty, ideas will only take students so far. The hard work of building the area’s fire stations, parks, and private residences is part of the program. To even start construction requires the intensely difficult work of building relationships, finding project funding, and most importantly, unearthing one’s capacity for compassion and empathy. Of course, Rural Studio wouldn’t exist had its founders not dared to imagine a better way to teach and practice architecture. Alexander is right about the doing, but the dream is what drives us. gb&d

This new year will bring a multitude of new ideas, many of which may be promising, and some of which may be featured in the pages of this magazine. I hope the visionaries behind them know that a good idea is just the beginning, that it is the comically easy first step in what can be a lifelong journey. It’s with this knowledge that I continue my own journey. This issue will be my last as managing editor. In a way, it’s only fitting: the first feature I planned for this magazine was our 2011 cover story on the Rural Studio. Now it’s on the cover again. Separate from my own decision, our supremely talented and award-winning art director Aaron Lewis is taking his leave as well, charting a new course in Seattle. I know I speak for both of us when I say that we will miss sharing with you the work of our industry’s most brilliant minds. The homes, hospitals, workplaces, parks, and schools profiled in these pages inspired us everyday. It’s been a big collaboration: three years, 816 stories, and 2,397 pages in the print edition alone. Though 2015 is bringing changes, one thing remains the same: I’ll be seeking out the next big idea and telling the stories of those who carry those ideas aloft, into the world, one foot in front of the other. If you’d like to stay in touch, connect with me on LinkedIn or visit With gratitude,

Timothy A. Schuler, Managing Editor

ON THE COVER We sent photographer Timothy Hursley to Alabama to photograph the latest generation of 20K Houses. This image captures both the lives and the design that can be found in Hale County. It is an entire story in a single photo. No crop gave us the same effect, so we’ve run the image in its entirety.

january–february 2015



Index People & Companies



A Studio Architects, 146 Abel, David, 20 Accurate Housing, 90 Acumen, 125 Albanese Organization, 62 Albanese, Chris, 62 Albanese, Russell, 62 American Family Insurance Group, 72 Andropogon Associates, 136 Architerra, 134 Arquero de Alarcón, María, 14 Arredondo, Francisco, 156 Ashton, Andrew, 92 Ateliers Jean Nouvel, 22 Atria, 149 Auburn University, 102 Bates, Kevin, 123 Behnisch Architekten, 138 Ben-Joseph, Eran, 115 Bernstein, Daniel, 134 Bishop, Scott, 115 Born, Steven, 174 Brooklyn Grange, 164 Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, 163 Build Equinox, 90 Building Owners and Managers Association, 160 Butts, Natalie, 106 Cambria Hotels and Suites, 68 Cannon Design, 32 CBRE Group, 118 CH2M Hill, 74 Choice Hotels, 68 Chopra, Deepak, 120 Churchill, Beth, 72 City of Los Angeles, 20 Cleveland Clinic, 120 Clinton Global Initiative, 118 Cohen, Dan, 97 Cornicelli, Michael, 160 Crestron, 126 CSHQA, 130 Cushman & Wakefield, 80 D4 Urban, 97 DDG, 59 Delos, 118 DeSimone Consulting Engineers, 62 Dow Corning, 88 Duggal Eco-Solutions, 164 Dunlap, Bridget, 156 Earth Fare, 65 Edlen, Matt, 52 EHDD Architecture, 46 Ehrenberg, David, 163 Elness Swenson Graham Architects, 144 Enriquez, Agustin, 86 Evans, Scott, 69 Fedrizzi, Rick, 76 Freear, Andrew, 102

january–february 2015

Freelon Group, 92 Front Burner Brands, 69 Fuhrman, Glenn, 125 G GBD Architects, 86 GeoComfort, 78 Gerding Edlen, 52 Gladiator, 78 Gladson, Rebekah, 43 Glaeden-Knott, Cindy, 72 Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark, 51 Glover, LeeAnn, 72 Google, 20 Government Properties Income Trust, 168 Grainger, 74 Great Lakes Window, 78 H Habitat for Humanity, 90 Hanway, Kent, 130 Hendley | Knowles Design Studio, 156 Hensel Phelps, 44 Hess Roise, 144 Highland Craftsmen, 172 Hively, Kevin, 115 HOK, 92 Holmes and McGrath, 149 Honeywell, 78 Horne, Lewis C., 118 Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee, 142 Hyatt, 56 I Infrastructure Ontario, 152 Insteon, 90 Integral Group, 43, 123 International WELL Building Institute, 118 J JAS Design Build, 110 JLL, 80 Jones, Jeff, 65 K KMC Constructions, 128 Kok, Nils, 51 Kollman, Michael, 90 Korsh, Mike, 144 Kraus-Anderson Realty, 144 L Landon Bone Baker Architects, 110 Lapolla Industries, 78 Lennar Homes, 20 LG, 149 LMN Architects, 44 Lollini, Thomas, 44 Los Angeles Dodgers, 20 Love, Tim, 115 Lyft, 20 M MAde Studio, 14 Maigret, Jen, 14 Mastic, 78 Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation, 120 McCurry, Chris, 172 McCurry, Marty, 172 McGrath, Mike, 149 Mechielsen, Robert, 165 Metrock, 165

MetroNational, 124 Metropolitan Energy, 160 Metropolitan Transportation Authority, 64 Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, 151 Millar, James, 68 Mithun, 44 Mitsubishi, 90 Mockbee, Samuel, 102 Moss, Elizabeth, 94 Mowbray, Gwyndolyn, 126 MSR, 34 Mueller de Celis, Emily, 151 Munson, Michael, 160 Musk, Elon, 20 N Napolitano, Janet, 40 New York Harbor School, 164 New York Police Department, 163 Nissan, 20 North Arrow Studio, 156 O Ogbu, Liz, 170 OPN Architects, 36 P Page, Scott, 115 Parrett Windows and Doors, 96 Pelli, Cesar, 62 Pérez, Tony, 142 Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects, 30, 48 PolyOne, 174 Purdue University, 76 Q Quest Construction Products, 166 Quigley, Rob Wellington, 38 R REHAU, 24 Reinhart, Dave, 82 Reit Management & Research, 168 Revolve, 90 RJM Construction, 72 RMA Architects, 128 RMW Architecture, 123 Roise, Charlene, 144 Rowland, Reese, 48 RUCK, 149 Rural Studio, 100 Ruth, D.K., 102 S Schwarz, Terry, 113 Scialla, Paul, 120 Sharp Development, 123 Shim, Jae, 74 Situ Fabrication, 164 SLCE Architects, 62 Smarthaus, 90 Solano, Laura, 154 Solar City, 20 Solar Zentrum, 78 St. Clair, Matthew, 40 State University of New York, 132 Stephenson, James, 174 Stolatis, Nick, 78 Studio Red, 125 Studio RMA, 165 Superior Essex, 174 Swanke Hayden Connell Architects, 94

Syracuse University, 134 T Taco Bell Corp., 82 Terrill, Natalie, 96 The Weidt Group, 144 TIAA-CREF, 78 Toronto Region Conservation Authority, 152 Transwestern, 80 Trespa, 92 Tridipanel, 165 Tucker Sadler Architects, 38 U Uber, 20 UltimateAir, 88 University of Baltimore, 138 University of California, 40 University of Michigan, 15 University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, 143 Urban Land Institute, 20 US General Services Administration, 168 US Geological Survey, 20 USGBC, 76, 120 Utile, 158 V Van Valkenburgh, Michael, 153 VerdeXchange, 20 Vidaris, 94 View Dynamic Glass, 123 Voglewede, Ronald, 78 W Waldner, Tim, 174 Waterfront Toronto, 152 Watson, Dustin, 59 Watts, Ellen, 136 Wexler/Kollman, 90 Whirlpool, 76 William Rawn Associates, 28 Williams, Paul, 142 Wilson, Kevin, 149 Wisniewski, Paul, 88 Witt, Brigitta, 56 WRNS Studio, 46 Y Yum! Brands, 82 Z Zwaneveld, Onno, 118


Up Front Typology Trendsetters Approach Inner Workings Features Spaces Next Punch List


14 Guest Editors

MAde Studio principals María Arquero de Alarcón and Jen Maigret

16 Editor’s Picks

Fashion meets eco-consciousness in Freitag’s bags made from tarps

18 Portfolio

Inside MAde Studio’s Liquid Planning Detroit and Playful Horizons

20 Event Preview

Seven things we’re excited to learn about at VerdeXchange

22 Defined Design

Jean Nouvel’s One Central Park is a gleaming, green masterpiece

24 Product Spotlight

REHAU’s System 4500 window can help seal any building’s envelope

january–february 2015



Guest Editors María Arquero de Alarcón & Jen Maigret

MAde Studio is not your ordinary architecture practice, if there even is such a thing. Founded by a Spain-born urbanist and a former biologist, the Michigan-based interdisciplinary studio has made waves recently by adding a layer of water to the way planners and politicians have been attempting to solve the crises of post-industrial Rust Belt cities like Detroit. Principals María Arquero de Alarcón (left) and Jen Maigret met in 2009 at the University of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, both arriving in time for the fall semester. MAde Studio was born less than twelve months later. The studio’s calling card is the rich use of data to foster imagination about public space in communities plagued by blight and disinvestment, an ambition present in projects like Playful Horizons and Liquid Planning Detroit (p. 18). When we asked Jen and María to help guide our Ideas Issue, they turned us onto Liz Ogbu (p. 170), selected our Editor’s Picks (p. 16), and gamely participated in a wild search for the “next big idea in urban design” (p. 112). In our conversation (right), we discuss everything from memory to imagination to “checklist” sustainability. —Timothy Schuler, Managing Editor


january–february 2015


IN CONVERSATION María Arquero de Alarcón and Jen Maigret

PART 1 ‘FANCY DESIGN RESPONSES’ gb&d: You knew one another for less than a year before you began collaborating formally. Jen Maigret: The first submission we did was a way to see how we were going to collaborate. We entered into the project, which was called Water + Sheds and was a larger look at regional watersheds in the Great Lakes and their potential to reread urbanism, and it went really well. So at that point, we knew it was a productive collaboration, and we started pursuing other opportunities more aggressively. gb&d: I recently read an incredible essay about two women who take photographs together. They use an old-time camera and stand under the cover together, and take turns looking through the viewfinder. It’s a really interesting collaboration in what is typically a solitary role. What does collaboration look like for the two of you? Are you a yin and a yang? Or similar? Maigret: I think we share a lot in terms of the things we get excited about and are working toward, which is a commitment to public space and to linking systems of environment and culture, and really advocating for design as an incredibly important tool within all these broader conversations. I think we approach problems differently, though. I think more commonly from the small scale out, and María is fantastic at looking at and analyzing really large systems through mapping and representation and kind of working her way in.


María Arquero de Alarcón: It’s fantastic to be able to work with Jen and learn to see through her eyes. Working together across scales keeps the conversation open and fluid. Jen can read systems relationships that are at times hidden for me. I also enjoy when I can contribute at smaller scales with projects that are more grounded in material The conversation continues on p. 19


january–february 2015



Editor’s Picks Upcycled

Our guest editors pick six things you should check out in 2015




(Pictured) Made from upcycled truck tarps, Freitag bags are great products that are fun, well-designed, and durable: Jen’s is going on 12 years and MarÍa’s a decade. Freitag bags support our daily commutes along with our distant travels.

An interactive installation at the National Museum of Singapore, this inspiring work from MIT’s Senseable City Lab links the power of vision, imagination, and data in order to understand our world in a whole new way.

january–february 2015


An amazing clearinghouse of fresh ideas, interesting interviews, essential techniques, and carefully curated resources that is an enjoyable daily staple.




Authored by a team that includes RVTR director Geoffrey Thun and about to hit bookstores, Infra-Eco-Logics sets an exemplary standard for design research, visualization techniques, and speculative practice.

This collaborative effort breaks new ground by understanding the Great Lakes Basin through the lens of water. It’s an exciting and complementary approach to SOM’s already well-established design excellence within the realm of built work.

A city that has undergone an amazing design renaissance over the last decade and is now a clear leader in urban thinking that integrates approaches to transportation, public education, natural spaces, and civic institutions, all expressed through great design.


Text by María Arquero de Alarcón and Jen Maigret

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Portfolio MAde Studio

María Arquero de Alarcón and Jen Maigret have brought their ideas to life in Europe and across North and South America, yet two of their nearest, dearest projects examine their own backyard. Our guest editors share their latest work in Michigan.

PLAYFUL HORIZONS MAde’s spin on the traditional urban playground—a model that Arquero de Alarcón and Maigret find to be “constrained” by adults’ impulses to micromanage their childrens’ play behavior—sits inside the Garden of Dreams Daycare at the First Congressional Church of Battle Creek. Playful Horizons’ centerpiece and namesake feature is a yellow, nonlinear “horizon” bar that ambles in all three dimensions, discouraging rigidity and fostering imagination, on which kids can climb, hang, and swing. Surrounding it are “garden rooms”—segmented patches of green carved out of the landscape—and a hoophouse skeleton featuring a blackboard on its exterior for chalk drawing.


january–february 2015


IN CONVERSATION María Arquero de Alarcón and Jen Maigret Continued from p. 15

aspirations and assemblies. [MAde Studio] is starting to materialize some of these interests and ways of working in built projects, and at the same time, we are bringing those interests to our teaching. It’s a fascinating moment for both of us. gb&d: Your work is concerned with equitable communities and inclusiveness. Can you point to an experience in your lives that helped form that posture and understanding?

LIQUID PLANNING DETROIT Visions of a radically reincarnated Detroit from ambitious urban designers currently abound inside and outside Michigan, but they more commonly focus on its buildings instead of the waterways surrounding them. With MAde’s framework, Liquid Planning Detroit, all of Detroit’s future developments will consider the city’s water infrastructure first and foremost, and after careful analysis, materialize strictly within the context of its (currently outdated) sewage and stormwater management systems as opposed to forcing those systems to function around them. The plan aims to take advantage of the formerly abandoned railroad corridor Dequindre Cut (now a bike path), as well as the Detroit neighborhoods and businesses that surround the Rouge River.

Arquero de Alarcón: Practicing as an architect in Spain, I was collaborating in the design of different “social housing” projects— which here, to make anyone understand, has to be labeled as “public” or “affordable” housing. I like to keep the term “social housing” because, at least in my mind, it implies much more than just housing for lower incomes. It’s about creating a nurturing environment that brings people together. Design excellence in urban social housing is key because it is a very important part of the civic infrastructure that reaches groups in society who routinely get excluded when we talk about fancy design responses.

DETAILS SPONSOR Graham Environmental Sustainability Institute ($39,925) Client Data Driven Detroit Spatial Data Library Consultant Nicole Scholtz Research Assistants Meghan Archer, Catherine Baldwin, Chris Bennett, Caroline Bergelin, Maria Capota, Leigh Davis, Tara Mather, Anna Schaefferkoetter, Peter Sotherland, Robert Yuen Completion 2013

“Part of the challenge of restoration is building empathy, or building inclusion in terms of appreciation and love for these sorts of things, and that’s really the power of public spaces.” Maigret: I studied biology before I got into architecture. I was in a Ph.D. program and it was clearly not a good fit, and I ended up working in restoration ecology for a little while. That’s where these interests started because it was clear that isolated or individual pieces of projects were not adding up to make larger connections. Part of the challenge of restoration is building empathy, or building inclusion in terms of appreciation and love for these sorts of things, and that’s really the power of public spaces. PART 2 THE ROLE OF MEMORY gb&d: You talk about this idea of “urban stewardship” in our feature (p. 112). Thinking about that idea—and just the word The conversation continues on p. 20


january–february 2015



IN CONVERSATION María Arquero de Alarcón and Jen Maigret Continued from p. 19

Event Preview VerdeXchange

“stewardship”—makes me think of Wendell Berry and people who are very connected to place and who have thought a lot about it. It seems very different from some of the respected real estate development practices today, including adaptive reuse and the restoration of existing infrastructure, which definitely are to be applauded, but at the same time can be very opportunistic and fleeting. How is urban stewardship different? Maigret: I think you can design places that build an appreciation for place and build bridges with people who are maybe like Wendell Berry, who have been in a place long enough to have powerful memory and to have that memory shape their experience of what it has been and what it might become. The work of Anne [Whiston] Spirn was influential for us early on, when she was working on the Mill Creek project. By showing local children historic photos and taking them out to those places in the landscape, the children were able to see their hometown in a whole new light. [They saw] that it wasn’t always the way it is now, which means that it could change in the future. Which is also tied to our experiences in the Midwest. A lot of what we’re doing is responding to cities and their legacies of different kinds of memory. There’s a lot of negative legacy tied to industrialization and what we’re left with now. So in some cases, memory allows us to bring back things that have been historically really important and celebrated, and in other cases, it allows us to see past what the contemporary moment is.

“A lot of what we’re doing is responding to cities and their legacies of different kinds of memory, either tied to loss of industry or tied to landscapes that have been transformed.” Arquero de Alarcón: We’ve also been looking at all the work that is happening in Latin America, where there is always a scarcity of resources, but still there is great imagination. Looking at the work that is happening in cities like Medellín or Bogotá, we discover many good examples of how designers operate in the city grounds as spaces for opportunity and inclusion. In addition, much of the work happening in parts of Germany


january–february 2015

Seven hot topics we’re excited to learn about this month at VerdeXchange in Los Angeles New technologies that boost sustainability have proven their worth in recent years. Today, the challenge is to rapidly scale up these technologies. Commercializing the next generation of solar panels, automated home systems, high-efficiency building technologies, and other new products is the theme of the eighth annual VerdeXchange, a conference devoted to a wide range of environmental topics and held in conjunction with the Urban Land Institute’s FutureBuild event. VerdeXchange founder David Abel says this year’s event represents the third stage of development of the 21st-century sustainability industry. The first stage was raising awareness of new technologies. The second was the introduction of products that had advanced beyond prototypes into the market. Now, with the formidable environmental challenges facing humanity, stage three is all about finding ways to get these breakthroughs to consumers and businesses as rapidly and cost-effectively as possible. Here are seven things we’re excited about at this year’s conference. Get the full schedule at gb&d —Peter Fabris The ‘Uber’-Interesting Question of Mobility

Solving California’s Water Crisis

Services like Uber and Lyft, which use a peer-to-peer concept to efficiently match people who need a ride with car owners willing to drive them around for a fee or allow members to rent a vehicle for short periods, help more people to live car-free. This helps to foster a wider adoption of more efficient transportation with reduced carbon footprints. A vision for future urban transportation infrastructure includes ways to promote services that can reduce the number of cars on the road. For example, the Los Angeles Dodgers are considering reserving dedicated parking for shared car services at Dodger Stadium. This session will provide a vision of how the transportation infrastructure can be reshaped in a more environmentally friendly way using such models.

In the midst of a severe drought expected to continue into 2015, California and other western states are scrambling to cope with water shortages. The Los Angeles conference setting is especially appropriate for this topic. “The 20th-century strategy of importing water over great distances has proven to be untenable,” Abel says. “The new mindset is that every drop of water has to be thought of as supply.” New strategies will have to include rainwater capture, wastewater treatment and reuse, and ocean water desalination. This session will look at the options.


What Home Automation Means for Efficiency

The Next Generation of Smart Vehicles

Automated home systems that track energy use and greatly reduce waste are a major innovation in energy efficiency. These user-friendly systems allow homeowners to manage lighting, appliances, heating, and cooling remotely using any mobile computing device. These systems, among other benefits, help users identify the home’s appliances and systems that are hogging the most energy so that they can be replaced with more efficient items or be used during non-peak hours, when electric demand is lower. Off-peak energy usage can help homeowners take advantage of conservation programs offered by their utilities, resulting in lower electric bills.

It’s well known that Google is testing driverless automobiles, but there are other players performing research in this space. The public will need some time to accept vehicles that operate without drivers on the road, but that barrier may be crossed sooner than many expect. In August 2013, Nissan announced that it plans to market an autonomous car by 2020. “In three to five years, we’re going to see a paradigm change in attitudes about autonomous vehicles,” Abel says. The technology may first be applied to the movement of goods, he says. Combined with zero-emission technology, driverless vehicles could achieve new levels of transportation efficiency and safety. This session will envision the future of autonomous vehicle transportation.

New Battery Technologies Renewable energy in the form of solar and wind power has an Achilles heel: neither can generate power 24/7. Batteries that can store energy generated by sun and wind for use after dark and when winds are calm would make these power sources more practical on a large scale. “Batteries have been viewed as a technology that hasn’t had great breakthroughs in a number of years,” Abel says. That’s changing, with a few manufacturers ready to unveil products for a new frontier in this technology. Researchers who have incorporated new materials such as silicon into lithium ion batteries to boost their efficiency will discuss the possibilities presented by their advancements in the field during this session. Zero Energy at Zero Cost Companies such as Lennar Homes and Solar City (chaired by Tesla’s Elon Musk) have developed successful financial models to make installation of home rooftop solar panel arrays affordable for many homeowners. “The scale we have today is amazing,” Abel says. “This is no longer a niche market.” This session will explore the latest ideas to mass-market photovoltaic panels to the average homeowner at little to no cost.

Resiliency in the Face of Natural Disasters Catastrophic storms like Hurricane Sandy and other natural disasters including the Napa Valley earthquake and the tsunami that damaged the nuclear power plant in Fukushima, Japan, are just some of the recent events that have city planners and executives spending time on making their communities more resilient. This session will focus on what should be done to cope with natural disasters in metropolitan regions. Representatives from Japan, who have been reluctant to speak about the Fukushima disaster in the past, will participate in the panel. Also on hand will be City of Los Angeles executives to talk about a project in conjunction with the US Geological Survey to identify and map fault lines throughout the city.

DETAILS VerdeXchange 2015 January 25–27 Los Angeles

ABOUT VERDEXCHANGE VerdeXchange connects the green dots for B2B market-makers to spur the growth of the green economy and offers information and a marketplace for innovations, opportunities, and public policies that are driving the trillion dollar global energy market.

is inventive at dealing with similar dynamics to what we have here in the region, and how to do a lot with very little. PART 3 A LAYER OF WATER gb&d: You’ve worked a lot in Detroit, which continues to get a lot of attention, but your approach to the city is rather unique. Can you explain Liquid Planning Detroit for us? Maigret: The namesake was picking up on a seminar that we had already started teaching called Liquid Planning, so we saw this as a way of playing those ideas out. And “liquid planning” is literally just that: what if we look at boundaries and the way that we understand divisions or connections in the landscape differently, through the lens of water, not through property or other kinds of political inscriptions that are more common? [This was] a way to reposition some of the conversation at the time and how, if we add a layer of water, we could add some knowledge in terms of how it would make sense to reconsolidate or reorganize—both to help the larger infrastructural system, as well as a way to look at densification. Then, on the other side, thinking about water as a chance to restructure the conduit system: all the railways that were already being discussed as possible greenways but really without any discussion of environmental systems. What if water comes in, and not only gets handled by these systems, but in the handling, you can layer in public spaces to reconnect everything back together again? Those were the Dequindre Cut sites that we were working on. gb&d: Which is a great public space. The few times I’ve been to Detroit, it seems heavily used with bikers and pedestrians—well, “heavily” is a relative term. Arquero de Alarcón: But what you could not see was how stormwater is managed. Because it went into a pipe underground. So we see [Dequindre Cut] as a great public space but also as something that hasn’t been designed to its full capacity. gb&d: We’re talking on Election Day, so it seems like a good opportunity to ask: is architecture inherently political? Arquero de Alarcón: Oh, yeah. (Laughs) Maigret: It is, and it happens in a lot of different ways. Every community meeting that we’ve ever gone to has been political in terms of the discussion of desires and different opinions on how to express those desires even if you reach a consensus about what the desires are. When we did the Eastside Recreation Center, with PLY ArchitecThe conversation continues on p. 23


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Defined Design One Central Park

Sydney’s One Central Park, designed by Ateliers Jean Nouvel and PTW Architects is certainly one of this year’s most visually arresting buildings, but it’s equally stunning in function. Recently, it was honored as Best Tall Building Worldwide of 2014 by the Council for Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, which recognizes “projects that have made extraordinary contributions to the advancement of tall buildings and the urban environment, and that achieve sustainability at the highest and broadest level.” We chose three words that define One Central Park’s groundbreaking design. gb&d —Steven Arroyo

Reticulate \ri-ˈti-kyə-lət (adj) Resembling a net or network; especially: having veins, fibers, or lines crossing. The immediately eye-catching swaths of green wall that intersect and sprawl across the building’s exterior, courtesy of botanist Patrick Blanc, form a series of reticulate gardens made up of 250 Australian plant species.


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Heliostat \ˈhē-lē-ə-ˌstat\ (noun) An instrument consisting of a mirror mounted on an axis moved by clockwork by which a sunbeam is steadily reflected in one direction. Yes, that’s a giant mirror cantilevering over the central gardens of One Central Park, feeding them direct sunlight with mechanical segments that reflect at different angles.

Musical \ˈmyü-zi-kəl\ (adj) Having the pleasing harmonious qualities of music. The vertical stretches of green wall on One Central Park’s glass façade are arranged at seemingly random intervals. Zoom out, though, and they reveal a pleasant harmony and meter, not unlike the jumps of musical notation—a deliberate evocation by the designers.

IN CONVERSATION María Arquero de Alarcón and Jen Maigret Continued from p. 21

ture, we literally staged a series of community events that ramped up to a vote to gauge which of the two alternate ideas that we had developed were gaining traction. Arquero de Alarcón: We are also teaching the next generation of professionals who are going to be out there transforming the built environment. We need to engage in the conversation about how decisions get made and how we contribute to what our cities are going to be in years to come. How we craft discourse in the school embraces those conversations: We’re in charge of training the students to have a series of competencies, but at the same time, we bring different ideologies, so yes, architecture is political, and that makes conversation and education a really productive and fascinating endeavor.

“We are teaching the next generation of professionals who are going to be out there transforming the built environment.” PART 4 THE IMAGINATION-DATA PROBLEM


gb&d: The Taubman College is very well regarded for its architecture program, specifically its graduate program, which is consistently ranked one of the top 10 in the country, and it’s sat at number one for several years. How has having your own practice influenced your teaching?

ABOVE Lounge areas high above Sydney offer relaxation amidst lush plantings and climbing vines. The two towers comprise 240 individual homes and 383 apartments on top of a five-story shopping center.

Arquero de Alarcón: We’ve been really fortunate to have the opportunity to develop courses that are specifically built on our research. We are not only teaching architecture; I also teach in the urban planning and urban design programs so the opportunity to be grounded in between programs and have an audience composed of students in those different programs has been fantastic. Liquid Planning, for instance, has been offered for the past three years, and for the first time this year, we are bringing a different city to the equation because we’re [starting] to work in Cleveland. Maigret: Certainly, some of what MAde is up to influences anything that I do as a teacher because I’m actively thinking about The conversation continues on p. 173


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Product Spotlight REHAU’s System 4500

The 4500 series offers a high-performance operable system that’s as fit for a commercial high-rise as a single-family residence By Russ Klettke

When building green and healthful places, small skirmishes sometimes occur over those glassy things we call windows. For example, daylighting is known to improve occupant moods and increase worker productivity. But solar gain in summer or heat loss in winter force energy-conscious designers to wrestle with building fenestrations. Add to this the extraor-

dinary demands of Passive House and net-zero standards. Such stringent construction standards influenced REHAU’s System 4500, an architectural window and door line that achieved a CW rating, which places the highest requirements on windows for performance factors relating to wind and water penetration. These windows can be used in high-rises and have a wide scope of commercial-building applications, but the system is equally at home in single-family construction. In a Passive House, the 4500’s durability also translates into versatility. Defined by the tightest of envelopes, Passive Houses perform best when windows are operable. During warmer months, open windows provide cross ventilation that is less resource-intensive than mechani-

cally forced air. (Standard air exchanges in most temperate-climate Passive House projects are designed for colder months.) The 4500 series windows have a tilt-andturn design that conveniently allows occupants the option of a tip-in or gatestyle opening. Condensation, another problem in tightly enclosed environments, is less an issue with the new 4500 series. The condensation resistance factor (CRF) is 70 or higher, surpassing standard aluminum commercial windows that generally score in the 50s. Other performance features include a compression seal sash, multipoint locking hardware that ensures safety and insulation, and sound-abatement properties, earning it an enviable 43 sound transmissions class (STC) score. gb&d

ABOVE REHAU’s System 4500 window received a CW rating for its ability to perform well in wind- and water-penetration tests, making it available for use in high-rises. LEFT The 4500 window features a compression seal sash, multipoint locking hardware, and soundabatement properties.


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Up Front Typology Trendsetters Approach Inner Workings Features Spaces Next Punch List



26 Introduction

On the birthplace of ideas

28 St. Louis Central Library Cannon Design restores and opens up

Cass Gilbert’s 1912 landmark

30 Hillary Rodham Clinton Children’s Library

Local food plays a key role in this unifying structure in Little Rock, AR

32 East Boston Library

William Rawn Associates designs a swooping roof that shapes light

34 Madison Public Library

An expansion makes for a greener, more friendly gathering place

36 Cedar Rapids Public Library

Ultra-contemporary, LEED Platinum design makes a statement in Iowa

38 San Diego Central Library

A cubic, all-glass reading room is housed in a giant dome

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William Rawn’s East Boston Library prioritizes natural light and an open plan to create a bright, welcoming atmosphere.


Open Books


“A library is the delivery room for the birth of ideas,” journalist Norman Cousins once said. Indeed, the public library itself may be one of humanity’s greatest and most revolutionary ideas. Today, public libraries continue to foster imaginations, but they are also places to see and be seen. All across the country, new library buildings are opening up in the most basic sense, favoring visual transparency, community space, and strategic siting as sustainable details that draw in the public and help the library regain its central place in the American community. Kathryn Freeman Rathbone takes us inside six libraries, from Boston to Arkansas, that exemplify the library’s return to prominence. * and much, much more gb&d

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St. Louis Central Library Cannon Design ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI

After 98 years, the St. Louis Central Library was in desperate need of renovation when it finally got one in 2010. The architects spent two years overhauling the Cass Gilbert-designed Beaux Arts building to restore and enhance its original splendor. In addition to relocating certain support functions off-site, much of the renovation focused on transforming the North Wing, previously known for its paltry access to light. The new space opens up the stacks via a building-within-a-building concept that puts the books and public gathering spaces on full display. Efficient, plate-glass walls and thin, bright white flooring frame the spaces, and a new entrance facing Lucas Park helps integrate the building into the community. A 250-seat auditorium that will serve mainly as a performance hall makes good use of previously wasted space, replacing an old underground coal bin. The final product is both revealing and inviting, making the North Wing and the rest of the restored Central Library building a place where readers can enjoy spreading out over their books.

THIS PAGE Cannon painstakingly restored the building’s Great Hall, reusing all original finishes and ornaments original to the building.


OPPOSITE Extensive windows and bright, clean finishes enliven the library’s new atrium. Modern data raceways run through the building’s floors, making updates simple and efficient.


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Hillary Rodham Clinton Children’s Library & Learning Center Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS


A large part of the Hillary Rodham Clinton Children’s Library and Learning Center revolves, surprisingly, around food. A fully equipped teaching kitchen plays a prominent educational role in the LEED Gold building; in it, children prepare meals for themselves, learning the basic steps of cooking so they can recreate healthful meals at home. Outside, the library’s grounds have been planted with gardens that are tended and harvested by the kids who take part in the cooking program. Its unique offerings are in response to the Little Rock community, where numerous families face resource hardships.

MORE IN THIS ISSUE Read our Q&A with Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects’ Reese Rowland on p. 48.


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OPPOSITE TOP An open staircase, leading up to a loft-like reading area, curves out beyond the main boundary of the building, giving visitors the sense of being outside and part of the site.


OPPOSITE BOTTOM Kids visit the teaching kitchen on the library’s lower level. Here, children learn how to prepare meals for themselves and the basics of cooking.

ABOVE The library overlooks a pond surrounded by native Arkansas plants. A bridge provides a pathway across the water, just as the building itself unites two sections of the city.

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East Boston Library William Rawn Associates BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS

RIGHT The undulating roof helps project daylight through the space. Furnishings are minimal so that light and views remain uninterrupted. BELOW The new library abuts Bremen Street Park, allowing passersby on foot or bicycle to view activities happening inside the building.

At the new East Boston Library, sky-sourced natural light is king. The library is wrapped in full-height glazing and topped with a swooping roof that cantilevers beyond the building façades. The overhangs shade the building, helping to reduce solar gain, but don’t inhibit the amount of natural light that streams deep inside the library. To keep the space free from obstruction, furnishings and shelves remain low. They also serve as markers, gently shaping different functional areas within the entirely open-plan interior. Back outside, patrons can make themselves at home in Adirondack chairs that line the library’s reading porch. The building welcomes the neighborhood onto the library’s grounds, overlooking Bremen Street Park and the Boston skyline beyond.


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Madison Central Library MSR MADISON, WISCONSIN


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To longtime Madison residents, the Central Library is no longer recognizable. That’s a good thing; the building ditched its deep setback and tiny windows for large picture panes and a street-edge presence. A 25,000-square-foot addition, not to mention a new green roof, tops the original 95,000-square-foot building, and a new glass atrium makes activity visible from both inside and out. Putting a spin on sustainable design, the LEED Gold library offers a makers’ lab that supports hands-on, tech-based tinkering and production. These bright spaces are equipped with everything from cutting-edge digital tools to screen-printing stations and programmed with DIY educational sessions taught by local artists and creatives.


LEFT Topped with a terrace, a green roof, and solar panels, the renovated library features a street-edge presence. At night, colored LEDs help the building feel lively and welcoming.


RIGHT (from top) Die-cut movable wood panels can close off portions of the library. Colorful reading nooks provide private space in the children’s area. A third-floor addition is flooded with natural light. Work- and lounge-like spaces facilitate a variety of guest needs.


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Cedar Rapids Public Library OPN Architects CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA

A devastating flood gave Cedar Rapids the chance to rethink its main library. Located on Greene Square in the city’s core, the new, 95,000-square-foot Cedar Rapids Public Library delivers openness, transparency, and high-performance features through its incredibly contemporary design. The library’s collection spaces can be seen from every vantage point inside the building, thanks to its glass framing. Even the 200-seat lecture hall benefits from light and views via floor-to-ceiling vision glass. But even more impressive are the library’s green features, from its geothermal HVAC system to its 24,000-square-foot green roof that doubles as a bonus public space for library patrons. The building was designed to LEED Platinum standards, and, according to operating data, is on track to hit its mark.

The green roof stays vibrant, thanks to a rainwater-harvesting irrigation system. The space is landscaped with furnishings that encourage its use, weather permitting.


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RIGHT TOP The original library consumed energy at a rate of 100 kBtu per square foot. The new building uses just 37 kBtu per square foot—a whopping 63% reduction. RIGHT BOTTOM The light-filled lobby of the new library is meant to diverge noticeably from a typical library, featuring bold light panels and a coffee shop.


BELOW Even though the library appears mostly transparent, its envelope is efficiently covered in just 37% exterior glazing. The one-inch insulating glass is Argon-filled and features a low-E coating.


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San Diego Central Library Rob Wellington Quigley with Tucker Sadler Architects SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA


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It took 18 years to design and construct San Diego Central Library, but the novel building was worth the wait. Stretching up nine stories, the new library contains the city’s first public reading room, multipurpose spaces equipped with technology of every kind, and even a state-of-the-art charter school. Its crown jewel is its cubic, glass reading room, which looks out over San Diego and the nearby bay. A system of eight steel-mesh sail panels curves over the cube, protecting it from the elements and creating the illusion of a grand dome from ground level. gb&d




Up Front Typology Trendsetters Approach Inner Workings Features Spaces Next Punch List


40 University of California

Led by its Irvine and Merced locations, UC sets the bar for public universities

48 Reese Rowland

The Arkansas architect explains how sustainability boosts storytelling

51 Nils Kok

A Q&A with the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark cofounder

52 Gerding Edlen

The Portland real estate developer prioritizes “principles of place”

56 Brigitta Witt

Leveraging a diversity of experiences to guide Hyatt’s green efforts

59 Dustin Watson

DDG’s director of sustainability on his mission for more dense urban infill

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With more than 40 years on the bleeding edge of sustainability and 189 LEED certifications across 10 campuses, the Golden State’s public university system continues to demonstrate that green design is good design By Matt Alderton

OPPOSITE Ehrlich Architects’ Contemporary Arts Center at UC–Irvine capitalizes on California’s mild climate to naturally ventilate common areas and artist studios, which open onto open-air terraces.


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One can’t help but wonder: Did California sell its soul for sunshine? The Golden State is beloved for its warm, dry summers and mild, wet winters. Its temperate climate, however, comes with a cost: The state is currently in the midst of a severe drought, and in the past, it has been victim to extreme pollution and perpetual energy crises. Even though they love their state, Californians are in constant jeopardy of one day losing it. Against this backdrop, the state’s public university system must graduate students who not only can live with California’s most pressing ecological challenges, but also help solve them. This charge influences how the University of California (UC) educates and operates and also how it builds. “We are a university. Our students are our customers, and they have been the main driver behind a lot of our sustainability efforts,” says UC director of sustainability Matthew St. Clair. “Because our students demand sustainability, we must integrate it throughout our operations in order to practice what we teach and to allow students to learn from the campus as a living laboratory of sustainability solutions.” In fact, sustainability at UC began with students, who in 2002 launched the “UC Go Solar!” cam-

paign, a yearlong effort to persuade the UC Board of Regents to adopt a comprehensive clean-energy and green-building policy, making UC a national leader in environmental stewardship. The campaign was successful. The Board of Regents voted unanimously to adopt a policy mandating renewable energy, energy conservation, and green building across the UC system the following year. “When our green building policy went into effect in 2004, there was one LEED-certified project in the UC system, and that was the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at UC–Santa Barbara,” St. Clair says. “Ten years later, we have 189 LEED certifications, which gives you a sense of the scale and pace of change of sustainability at UC.” The school system has saved $140 million on energy since the inception of its sustainability policy and currently boasts more than $28 million in annual avoided costs on its utility bills. And yet, it’s just getting started. “We have a new president, Janet Napolitano, who started in October 2013 and who has challenged our system to take things to the next level,” St. Clair says. “At her first board meeting in November 2013, she announced an initiative to


University of California



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TRENDSETTERS University of California


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make UC the first major research university in the world to achieve carbon neutrality—and to do it by 2025. So, we’ve come a long way in the last 10 years, and our new president is challenging us to go even further in the next 10.” What makes UC’s goals so impressive isn’t just their ambitious scope, though planning an entirely net-zero campus—as the Integral Group is currently helping UC–Berkeley do at its satellite campus in Richmond Bay—is plenty ambitious. It’s also the university’s appetite for prominent architecture, evident in countless case studies from across UC’s 10 campuses including UC–Irvine and UC–Merced, which illustrate how the UC system is responding to California’s environmental imperatives: with smart thinking, challenging goals, and superior design. IRVINE’S ‘PLATINUM’ VISION You can’t teach old dogs new tricks, the design community often assumes. UC–Irvine is proof that you can. Established in 1965, the 50-year-old campus doesn’t just learn new tricks; it often originates them, according to associate vice chancellor and campus architect Rebekah Gladson, who says UC–Irvine’s relationship with sustainability dates back to the early 1990s. “There was no US Green Building Council and no LEED. Nobody focused on sustainability,” she says. “And yet, our campus said at that point in time that we would beat Title 24 [California’s energy code] by 20 percent. That was a completely unheard-of concept.” It was especially foreign to public research universities, whose campuses by nature are densely populated with large, energy-intensive buildings, such as research laboratories. “Irvine’s energy bills at gb&d

OPPOSITE EHDD’s five-story residence hall for freshmen at UC–Merced is LEED Platinum certified. The solar armature on its roof soon will accommodate photovoltaic panels that will generate clean power. BELOW UC–Irvine’s Humanities Gateway, designed by Fentress Architects, is another Platinum feather in UC’s cap.

the time far exceeded the allocation of funds it received from the state for operations, and the utility deficit on campus was growing,” says Gladson, who was hired in 1992 to lead a new era of energy-efficient building at UC–Irvine. “The only way we could address that energy deficit was if the buildings we built required less energy than what we were given funds for, netting savings that we could use to help offset the negative.” Because it embraced sustainability so early, UC–Irvine got a head start on green building that to date has yielded 22 LEED-certified buildings, including eight that are certified LEED Gold and 12 that are LEED Platinum. In fact, all new buildings at UC–Irvine must now be designed to achieve a minimum of LEED Platinum certification—even though the UC sustainability policy only mandates a minimum of Silver. “We’re told we must achieve Silver, but that’s not good enough. And frankly, neither is Platinum. Ultimately, we want to be carbon neutral, which is something we’re working toward right now,” says Gladson, who adds that UC Irvine is beating the latest Title 24 energy

“We’re told we must achieve Silver, but that’s not good enough. And frankly, neither is Platinum. Ultimately, we want to be carbon-neutral.” REBEKAH GLADSON, UC–IRVINE

standards by 30 percent. “Will it be hard? It will be really hard. But it’s doable, and we’re doing it.” What’s more, they’re doing it without sacrificing design quality. “People fear that when you set lofty sustainability goals, you have to sacrifice. That the design is going to be less than stellar, that you can’t have both. We’ve proven that you can,” Gladson says. “Our buildings are still award-winning, and every well-known architect still wants to design on our campus.” The secret to UC–Irvine’s success is a highly integrated design-build

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TRENDSETTERS University of California

“When our green building policy went into effect in 2004, there was one LEEDcertified project in the UC system. Ten years later, we have 189.” MATTHEW ST. CLAIR, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA

process, which yields designs that are equal parts beautiful, functional, and sustainable. A recent example is the Paul Merage School of Business, Unit 2. Completed in the fall of 2014, it was designed by Seattle-based LMN Architects, which envisioned a LEED Platinum business school that blends indoor with outdoor spaces in order to achieve unique social objectives. “A business school is interesting because it can sow the seeds of entrepreneurship and change the paradigm of how business occurs,” says Gladson, who points to an outdoor courtyard that interfaces with surrounding buildings to engage students from other disciplines and schools as the building’s focal point. “The building is fascinating because it deals with the social component of our society. It’s all about welcoming ideas and people and thoughts and innovation. Plus, the architecture is really great—simple and elegant.” Another illustrative project is the LEED Platinum expansion of


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UC–Irvine’s Mesa Court freshmen dormitory, a design-build project by Mithun and Hensel Phelps. Scheduled for completion by fall 2016, it will comprise three six-story structures encompassing a dining hall, a recreational gym, study areas, and beds for 750 students. “We will use this building to teach the freshmen who live there fundamentals about sustainability while they’re still young enough to be shaped by it,” Gladson says, who finds the building’s most interesting and sustainable feature to be its cooling mechanism, which will save energy by leveraging trickle vents in place of air-conditioning. “We always utilize the LEED innovation points, which requires a lot engineering.” MASTER PLANNING AT MERCED Most college campuses become sustainable. UC–Merced, however, was born sustainable. Established in 2005 after nearly two decades of planning, it has since grown from 100 acres and 900 students to

BELOW At UC–Irvine’s Paul Merage School of Business, Unit 2, Seattle-based LMN Architects envisioned a LEED Platinum complex that meets the social needs of today’s entrepreneurs.

more than 800 acres and more than 6,000 students, maintaining high sustainability standards throughout its adolescent growth spurt. “Our founding chancellor decided that one of the hallmarks of the campus was going to be sustainable design, so she committed to designing to LEED Silver minimum back in 2002, when the LEED program was just beginning,” explains associate vice chancellor and campus architect Thomas Lollini. “The idea was for the campus itself to serve as a living laboratory for sustainability.” The idea has since become reality, thanks in large part to UC–Merced’s central plant, a 41,000-squarefoot, LEED Gold-certified complex that produces, stores, distributes, and monitors utilities in order to help the campus achieve its principal energy goal: outperform Title 24 by at least 30 percent. “All our energy systems go back to the central plant, which was the first operational building on campus,” explains Lollini, who says the SOM-designed plant’s key feature is a 2 million-gallon thermal energy storage tank that improves the energy performance of the buildings it serves. “We use the tank to chill water at night, which we then circulate on campus during the day to cool buildings.” Complementing the central plant is UC–Merced’s master plan. Updated by Lollini when he assumed his current position in 2005, it configures the campus footprint in a compact manner that facilitates maximum energy efficiency—so much so that UC–Merced’s newest buildings outperform Title 24 by as much as 50 percent. “We developed a very broad perimeter road that acts as a buffer between the built environment and the actual landscape, which is



home to seasonal wetlands inhabited by nine or ten threatened or endangered species,” Lollini says. “In so doing, we increased our density by about 25 percent and built a mixed-use plan that includes not only the 815-acre campus, but also an 840-acre university community to support the campus with housing, commercial uses, and research and development.” A key feature of the master plan is a pair of high-density, mixed-use “Main Street” corridors that offer academic and public services on the ground floor, with housing up above. “That’s a significant differential between what we are developing and the classic campus development,” Lollini says. “If you look at the master plan of the other UC campuses, they have an academic core that is solely for academic use, with housing areas on the periphery. Our campus mingles both in a highly compact way that allows us to build district heating and cooling and infrastructure systems, which are more and more being recognized as high-value in terms of achieving energy-efficiency goals for campuses.” gb&d

THIS PAGE Opened in 2005 two hours east of San Jose, UC-Merced’s master-planned campus links all new buildings, such as the dynamic social sciences building (right), to the central plant.

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Although UC–Merced is still taking shape, recent projects offer a preview of the campus that will thrive upon completion of its master plan in 2020. Take for instance its Housing 4 residence hall, a five-story, LEED Platinum-certified building that opened in the fall of 2013 with 525 beds and a large solar armature on its roof that soon will accommodate photovoltaic panels to reduce the building’s overall energy consumption. “It’s a terrific piece of architecture,” Lollini says of Housing 4, which was designed by San Francisco-based EHDD Architecture. “Because it’s tall, it takes advantage of all its views back to and across campus, as well as out to nearby Lake Yosemite.” Another project of note is the LEED Platinum Recreation Center North project. Designed by San Francisco’s WRNS Studio, it features a heavily insulated wall system that reduces heat load and maintains thermal stability within


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the building, shading systems on the windows, and a high-efficiency HVAC system. “This was our first building designed to use 50 percent less energy than [Title 24], and we pulled it off,” Lollini says of the project, which was completed in 2012. “We’re still quite happy with the facility.” Next, UC–Merced plans to expand the capacity of its central plant to power its next wave of buildings, which in the next six years will double the campus’s total square footage to approximately 3 million. With hope, the plant and increased solar infrastructure will help UC–Merced achieve its ambitious, long-term goal to become a “triple zero” campus—net-zero energy, water, and waste—by 2020. “We’re the tip of the spear,” Lollini says. “We’re leading the UC system, the UC system is leading the state, and the state, frankly, is leading the world in its aggressive approach to energy conservation and energy deployment.” gb&d

THIS PAGE Housing 4 is designed for density but offers areas for interaction at various scales. The university’s new recreation center by WRNS Studio (below), is hyper-efficient, beating Title 24 by 50%.


“We’re leading the UC system, the UC system is leading the state, and the state, frankly, is leading the world.”

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A R C H I T E C T, S T O R Y T E L L E R

Reese Rowland “In every project, you have to tell the proper story, make that story accessible to everybody, and make that story count.” Interview by Kathryn Freeman Rathbone

Reese Rowland is an Arkansas architect, born and raised. “I’m a native Arkansan from a Western town with 3,000 people. I’m from a farm,” he says matter-of-factly as we begin our conversation. “Growing up like that, sustainability was a necessity.” Today, Rowland is a principal at the respected Little Rock firm Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects. His projects are large and often complex, but in all of them, one thing is clear: sustainable principles drive their design. His is a common-sense philosophy that comes naturally, and he’s more than happy to talk about it.

ABOVE Reese Rowland, a principal at Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects, has practiced in Arkansas since 1990. The state, he says, is full of design challenges.

MORE IN THIS ISSUE See Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects’ Hillary Rodham Clinton Children’s Library & Learning Center on p. 30.


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Reese Rowland: My grandparents lived on a farm and did many sustainable things all out of necessity. They grew everything. I remember sitting on the southern porch shelling peas and shucking corn. So early on, I started to develop a passion for sustainability. Their farmhouse was built by my great-grandparents back in the 1800s, and it was just good architecture. Its cellar, southern porch, etcetera—it had some very basic technologies that are now called “sustainability.” I’ve also been around construction my whole life. My dad was a salesman for a local brick company, and my mom was the office manager for a small construction company. I loved to draw—especially simple buildings like barns and structures. I knew I wanted to make money drawing so I decided in high school to become either an architect or an engineer. gb&d: You’ve never left Arkansas to practice architecture? Rowland: When I graduated from school in 1990, there were not many jobs in the larger cities on the


gb&d: Growing up in Western Arkansas, how did you begin to discover architecture?


FROM THE PORTFOLIO ARKANSAS STUDIES INSTITUTE The glass fins that define the façade of the award-winning Arkansas Studies Institute in Little Rock, AR, conjure the act of flipping through the pages of a book. The building knits together three previously disparate structures built between 1882 and 2009, the entrance acting as a double wall that’s been pulled outside of the building’s skin, helping to both diffuse sunlight and mitigate solar gain.


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gb&d: Polk Stanley Wilcox has one of the most accomplished sustainable project portfolios in Arkansas architecture. Has sustainability always been a top priority? Rowland: The firm’s philosophy is just good design— light, space, and orientation. Tommy Polk was a great teacher of that. He always capitalized on natural light, which, in Arkansas’s sunny climate, especially feeds into sustainability. Polk Stanley Wilcox helped start the USGBC chapter in Arkansas, and we have the first LEED Gold and LEED Platinum certifications in the state. Our portfolio has a lot of civic and nonprofit work. Those kinds of projects typically allow us to explore new ways of doing sustainability because the buildings are meant to serve a public need. They’re not just there for corporate development.


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THIS PAGE True to his belief that architects should tell stories, Rowland embedded historic photos in the glass railings of the museum, which is located in Little Rock’s warehouse district.

gb&d: Do you think sustainability in Arkansas is moving in the right direction? Rowland: Arkansas is typically four to five years behind everybody else economically. But doing a sustainable building here is night-and-day from doing a sustainable building in a place that’s known for sustainability, like the West Coast. It’s a humid, sunny, southern state that’s also cold, wet, and tornadic. But you can capitalize on natural light and local materials here. We have huge pine forests, four types of natural stone, multiple brick manufacturers, and innovative products like soy-based insulation. gb&d: Are there aspects of sustainability that shouldn’t go unnoticed? Rowland: Yes. In every project, you have to tell the proper story, make that story accessible to everybody, and make that story count. Do that, and you’ll make what is right and sustainable for every project. You’ll make good architecture. gb&d


coasts, so I stayed right here. I stepped right out of school and into design work. After six years, I joined Polk Stanley Wilcox. I was 29. I made partner by 34.




Nils Kok The cofounder of the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark says for owners of large portfolios, money talks

higher prices when sold. Investors were somewhat aware of this and knew about LEED and other certifications, but they had no tools to address sustainability performance at the portfolio level for private equity funds and REITs. GRESB fills that information gap.

Interview by Russ Klettke

gb&d: As an economist, how do you think your science factors into environmental sustainability?

gb&d: What’s your elevator speech for what GRESB is and does? Nils Kok: GRESB provides information on the sustainability performance of real estate portfolios. It thereby allows large investors—pension funds, endowments—to integrate sustainability into their real estate investment decisions. GRESB is based on an annual assessment, designed in collaboration with the industry and investors, along with a Web portal to provide data analytics. It is to real estate portfolios—owners of multiple buildings—what LEED is to buildings.

Kok: Sustainability is often viewed as an altruistic issue, but it needs to be more of a valuation discussion. At the end of the day it’s all about economics. The market wants to reduce energy costs and to improve asset performance; information needs to be visible to the markets. gb&d: Pure economics assumes rational thought. Does that hold in real estate? Kok: It does in highest-valued, downtown, Class-A buildings. But less so in lower-priced suburban and industrial properties. And there is far less rationality on the residential side.

gb&d: What drove you to develop GRESB?

gb&d: What’s missing in building design today?

Kok: As part of my Ph.D., I did economic research looking at building sustainability factors. What we found was simply that green buildings perform better: they net higher rents, higher occupancy rates, and

Kok: Designers and architects often find the financial angle to be boring, complicated, or distracting. If they can adopt more of a value perspective, it will be very helpful in driving the sector forward. gb&d



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january–february 2015




Gerding Edlen The Portland, Oregon-based real estate developer has $5 billion in assets across 8 states and 60-plus LEED-certified projects. A look at the company’s rule-breaking history and its guiding principles. By Russ Klettke

THE GERDING EDLEN COLLECTION Four standout projects prove the company’s commitment to eco-conscious design Brewery Blocks, Portland With underground parking only, this mixeduse, seven-building development includes high-rise residential buildings that feed an active streetscape and a LEED Platinum theater, repurposed from a historic armory. Vestas North American Headquarters, Portland Basing its American operations out of Oregon, the Danish wind-turbine manufacturer chose a historic warehouse in Portland’s Pearl District for renovation. The new headquarters generates clean, solar energy and captures enough rainwater to offset 60% of its non-potable water.

For some, a newly refurbished, multifamily residence in a large American city should be exclusive, with locked entrances and doormen granting access only to residents and approved guests. Not so at Boston’s Factory 63, a 38-unit apartment building situated just a few blocks from the city’s financial district. The LEED Gold renovation of the six-story warehouse, built in 1908, offers an inviting lobby full of chairs, tables, and sofas that are all open to public use. “This building helps define the entire neighborhood,” says Matt Edlen, who is director of acquisitions and development for Portland, Oregon-based Gerding Edlen. “The street-level lobby is a coworking space with conference areas and an art gallery that frequently hosts artist events. A monthly entrepreneurs’ meeting there has spawned four or five startups.” Interior doors and a doorman still provide requisite security, but the building also rents a number of artist residences at significantly

reduced rental rates, a practice that might mislead some to assume that Factory 63 is a nonprofit arts venture. Not the case. Gerding Edlen is a full-scale development, property management, and investment management firm responsible for more than $5 billion in assets in eight states, including Illinois, New Jersey, Utah, and Washington, and the firm holds one of the largest portfolios of LEED-certified buildings (63) in the United States. The inclusive aspects of Factory 63, where one-bedroom units rent for around $2,000 per month, is no anomaly for the firm’s properties. In fact, building community is one of 12 “Principles of Place” that guide the company’s work. “‘Principles of Place’ are what we believe authentic sustainability looks like,” Edlen says, adding that “some of these things are intangible”—a complement to the very specific point-generating components of the LEED scoring system. He says no project is expected to achieve all 12 principles, but that in each

Dexter Horton, Seattle This LEED Gold office renovation, completed in 2002, combines distinct 1920s architecture with flexible floor plates, modern building systems, conference areas, and shower facilities to accommodate bicyclists. Jones, Chicago With 188 residential units and retail spread over 169,000 square feet, this centrally located apartment building is amenity-rich: a lounge, pool, sun deck, fire pit, and dog run, all on the rooftop. Every unit in the LEED Gold-targeting building is equipped with a NEST thermostat.


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Matt Edlen


Gerding Edlen’s Factory 63 in Boston, originally built in 1908, offers 38 apartment units but also offers publically accessible space for business and recreation.


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“‘Principles of Place’ are what we believe authentic sustainability looks like.” MATT EDLEN, GERDING EDLEN

one, the idea is to build places that inspire, foster creativity, and in one way or another provide what could be considered meaningful living and working spaces. As might be expected, all projects strive to “minimize carbon footprint and energy dependence,” which is another of the 12 principles. One of the company’s larger endeavors was the 16-story Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) Center for Health & Healing, a LEED Platinum, 412,000-square-foot structure. It was one of the first large buildings in the US to use chilled beams for passive cooling—a much more efficient system compared to forced air-conditioning. The building generates 30 percent of its electrical needs with an on-site micro-turbine plant and treats 100 percent of its wastewater (22,000 gallons daily) with a bioreactor. A bit more challenging for the firm is the aim to “connect people and buildings to nature,” given that almost all of its projects are urban infill. The transformation of a 38-acre Portland industrial site into 2.7 million square feet of mixed-use space, which includes the OHSU Center, is strategically complemented by garden streets, a bioswale, a river greenway, and a two-block central park. “This is a place where you can clearly see the benefits of getting people outside,” Edlen says. Other residents include osprey, steelhead trout, salmon, and myriad other native riverine species. Fulfilling a principle to “encourage transportation alternatives” in a place such as Portland, storied for its bicycling culture, might seem like a no-brainer. But Gerding Edlen exports that philosophy to Los Angeles, of all places. Its mixed-use, 1.5 million-square-foot South Park


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ABOVE OSHU’s LEED Platinum Center for Health & Healing treats 100% of its own wastewater and was one of the first buildings in the US to use chilledbeam technology.

development—with LEED Gold and Silver certifications on its various buildings—is one of the few downtown developments that places workers near workplaces and within blocks of the city’s Metro line and other forms of public transportation. Residents also are within walking distance of supermarkets and the Staples Center. The remaining principles include creating enjoyable pedestrian environments, inspiring communities with art, integrating schools and neighborhoods, and “preserving symbols that matter”— honoring historic elements as community-defining touchstones. Edlen says investors and zoning

boards have come a long way during the firm’s two decades. In particular, local financiers, especially those holding equity positions, take a greater long-term interest in green building. City planners now ask for higher-performing buildings, often with transparent documentation, and that structures be resilient. The day is fast approaching when sustainable buildings will be the norm— and exclude no one. gb&d

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Brigitta Witt

Hyatt’s global head of corporate responsibility brings a unique perspective to the hotel group’s sustainability efforts By Ryan Schnurr Photo by Caleb Fox

RIGHT Brigitta Witt is responsible for Hyatt’s sustainability strategy, organizing its disaster-relief response, and supervising a program that helps Hyatt employees invest in their local communities.


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Brigitta Witt’s passion for environmental responsibility is infectious. “‘Waste not, want not’ is pretty much my mantra,” she says, adding that her colleagues know not to bring plastic water bottles or paper into meetings. Not even her family is immune to her influence. In a recent interview, she recalled a habit her husband has recently developed: “Every time he goes to a hotel now and uses a bar of soap, he wraps it up and brings it home,” she says. As global head of corporate responsibility at Hyatt, Witt oversees Hyatt’s environmental stewardship, philanthropy, and community engagement efforts, as well as disaster relief and human rights issues. Born in Mexico to a German family, Witt lived in Mexico City before moving to the United States shortly before she turned seven. “If I were to summarize my background, I would say it’s diverse,” she says. “That’s a part of my identity. I adapt easily to different circumstances.” This diversity carries over to her professional life. Witt has worked for nonprofits, global Fortune 500 companies, and startups. Before joining Hyatt, she oversaw operations and development for Green Dimes, an environment-focused junk-mail-reduction service. But there has been one consistent theme in her work: she’s always been in charge of starting something new. So when Hyatt called in 2007 and told her they were interested in launching a sustainability program, she knew that it would be a great opportunity to continue positively impacting the world. Since joining Hyatt, Witt has leveraged passion and hard work to launch a corporate sustainability platform called “Hyatt Thrive,” organize a disaster-relief response plan, and supervise Hyatt Community Grants, a program that empowers teams of associates globally to



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“We have always been and will continue to be a company that cares deeply about our people, our communities, and our planet—it’s at the heart of our company’s long-term success.” BRIGITTA WITT, HYATT

invest in their own communities. She also spearheaded the company’s forward-looking 2020 sustainability strategy, which will focus on efficient use of resources, smart building, and innovation and inspiration—all of which guided development of the recently completed Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort, certified LEED Silver. Her enthusiasm for such projects has played a significant role in Hyatt’s recent successes, but Witt stresses the powerful consequences of simple operational changes and notes that good development should start with an understanding of the business’s impacts, risks, and opportunities. “Understanding these three things will help you to frame a strategy that is really authentic to your company, to your people,” she says. Witt maintains that good sustainability work includes the people on the ground. Global companies in particular face a number of unique challenges, like developing policy that works in a variety of regions, settings, and circumstances. While working on Hyatt’s 2020 Vision, Witt spent extensive time in the company’s hotels worldwide, gathering insight from those who best understand each individual situation. Why, exactly, does Witt care so deeply about issues of sustainability? “We have always been and will continue to be a company that cares deeply about our people, our communities, and our planet,” she says. “It’s quite simply the right thing to do, and it’s at the heart of our company’s long-term success.” gb&d


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Hyatt’s Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort The embodiment of the company’s strategy for sustainable design, this LEED Silver resort reused 93% of the existing hotel’s structural walls, floors, and roof while drastically reducing emissions and water consumption. The hotel, comprising nearly 300 guest rooms on 15 acres of beachfront property, has been recognized for its stormwater design and use of low-emitting materials. It also includes a solar-hot-water system and glassware made from recycled wine bottles. Witt’s favorite part? There are no plastic water bottles in the entire facility.



Dustin Watson DDG’s green champion works to reclaim derelict shopping malls in order to create dense, mixed-use communities Interview by Brian Barth

As partner and director of sustainability at the Baltimorebased international design firm DDG (Design Development Group), Dustin Watson is an architect on a mission to weave the ethics of sustainability into his firm’s design work, but also into its culture and business practices. We recently spoke with him about his views on the big picture of sustainability and the term he has coined to describe DDG’s approach to design: “greenfill.” gb&d: Beyond overseeing sustainability efforts in the company’s design work, do you have a similar role in your office’s internal operations? Dustin Watson: I’ve been the green champion in the office, but I also try to figure out things we can do for our employees as a form of social sustainability. As an example, Baltimore, where our office is based, has some programs to help people live closer to where they work, and we’ve incentivized our employees to take advantage of that. With these initiatives, we hope to attract employees that are interested in making the world a better place. We also hope that reflects in the designs that they do. gb&d: What steps are you taking to integrate sustainability into the company’s business plan?


Watson: You have to create the business case for sustainability and talk about how it’s going to help both the company and the client. For example, we’re about to move into a new space that’s smaller, an existing building that we’re rehabbing, and we are trying to ratchet down the energy use of the office as we move in there. gb&d

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gb&d: Does DDG have a particular approach to sustainability? Watson: We’re really a place-making company. We try to design places where people will want to visit and enjoy themselves, projects that truly become part of the fabric of the community. A lot of the work I do is very early in the design process. I develop strategies that aren’t really going to add significant costs to the project but [will] make them better than they might be if it was just a typical retail shopping center. Some of it has to do with the materials that we use, but it’s also about density. gb&d: What is greenfill? Watson: Over the years, we’ve leapfrogged development further and further out into greenfield areas: farmland and pastures. Some of those communities have grown quite large, and guess what? They’re not going to go anywhere. So, what I see happening is that we’re going to slowly start to infill those spaces in between these satellite communities and the larger urban zones. Greenfill is about combining infill development strategies with green-building techniques that are more sustainable, reenergizing existing communities and reusing existing infrastructure.

In the case of some obsolete shopping malls, for example, we’ve turned what was an eyesore in the community with a sea of parking around it into the heart of the community where people come every Friday night to watch some event or a band playing in the park. It’s really great to see communities take hold of a project. gb&d: What’s the most exciting project on the boards for you right now? Watson: We have dense urban infill projects happening in Indonesia, Turkey, and Mexico. We have an eco-resort on Hainan Island in China and a major

“My ultimate dream is to have a great train system in the United States. Thinking about how people can get from one place to the other without having to get into a car—those are the things I dream about.” DUSTIN WATSON, DDG


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THIS PAGE DDG’s redevelopment of an underutilized suburban property near Milwaukee takes advantage of the change in grade to place all parking beneath the development.

mixed-use community in Dubai pursuing LEED certification. In the US, … there’s one called the Corners in Brookfield, Wisconsin [just outside of Milwaukee], that is a great example of greenfill. It’s a suburban location on an underutilized piece of property that has been developed in the past, but has fallen by the wayside. We’ve created a compact site by taking advantage of the grade— there is a 20-foot drop in elevation from one side to the other—using a platform, so almost all the parking is underneath the project. gb&d: What would you like to do more of as an architect? Watson: My ultimate dream is to have a great train system in the United States. I’d love to figure out how, as an architect, I can do more TOD [transit-oriented development] projects. I hope we’re slowly realizing the advantages of having a great transportation system and having that infrastructure in place. Thinking about how people can get from one place to the other without having to get into a car—those are the things I dream about. gb&d


Up Front Typology Trendsetters Approach Inner Workings Features Spaces Next Punch List


62 Albanese bets on transit

A new Long Island development will continue the firm’s green legacy

65 Environment key for Earth Fare

Grocer has green initiatives in mind as it opens a string of new locations


68 Cambria finds its green identity

A newly rebranded chain of luxury hotels targets the green generation

69 Green goes on the ‘front burner’

Restaurant management company turns to ‘stealth green’ techniques

72 American Family tracks reuse

Insurance giant measures the effects of its first LEED office


74 Inside a LEED v4 data center

Grainger and CH2M Hill are behind the groundbreaking project

76 A ‘renewed’ look at housing

Whirlpool retrofits a 1920s bungalow and produces a model of efficiency

OPERATIONS 78 Measuring to better manage

Financial services provider TIAA-CREF uses benchmark to enforce efficiency

82 Taco Bell’s green prototype El Paso, TX, location of the fast food


giant cuts energy use by almost half

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APPROACH DEVELOPMENT Wyandanch Rising is a new 177-unit housing development on Long Island by the Albanese Organization, which has a history of sustainable building in the New York City area dating back to 2000.

New Albanese project revolves around transit  Wyandanch Rising bets on transportation access for economic revitalization  177 new units fill a gap in Long Island’s affordable housing market This past June, 1,500 applicants con- tacted the owner of a new development on Long Island to express interest in just 177 apartments. The units were housed in two mixed-use buildings, which were at the time still under construction. Both with commercial space below the residences, the buildings are part of the first phase of Wyandanch Rising, a decade-in-the-making revitalization effort by the Albanese Organization that hopes to address Long Island’s acute shortage of affordable housing and revive Suffolk County’s economically distressed Wyandanch area through its transformation into a sustainable, transit-oriented community. The Albanese Organization, designated the master developer on the project in 2011, was founded by brothers Anthony and Vincent Albanese in 1949. A full-service real estate firm with an impressive portfolio of high-profile residential and commercial developments, it is led today by the founders’ sons, Russell and Chris Albanese—chairman and president, re-


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spectively—who have carried on what their fathers began. “I think what we can trace back is our fathers really being innovators in housing, always trying to build quality and being responsible to the community we’re building in,” says Russell, whose father, Anthony, passed away in 2012. “When Chris and I joined the company, that was really at the core of what the company stood for.” These core values—in combination with the company building energy-efficient buildings in the 1970s and ’80s and directing its focus toward developing buildings with enduring value in the ’90s—“really lay the groundwork for our approach to sustainable building,” Russell says. Three buildings in Battery Park City set the company’s commitment to sustainability in stone, beginning with the Solaire in 2000, the first LEED Gold high-rise residential building in the country. “From that point forward, we were building more holistically,” Russell says. The Verdesian, completed in 2006 and certified LEED

Platinum, was followed by the Visionaire in 2008, a collaboration between Cesar Pelli, SLCE Architects, and DeSimone Consulting Engineers that became New York City’s first high-rise condominium to achieve LEED’s highest rank. Substantially enhancing indoor air quality, the filtered fresh-air ventilation system that was introduced in the Visionaire is now standard for high-rise projects. Similarly, its stormwater-capture system has become required by New York City code. It was their look toward communities outside of the city that led Chris and Russell to pursue the 40-acre, master-planned Wyandanch project, a public-private partnership. Located in Suffolk County, Wyandanch has long been marked by blight and disinvestment. Its benefits, however, are myriad: the community is located on the main line of the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR). “It’s less than a one-hour commute to New York City’s Penn Station,” Russell says. And it is just east of a major office corridor. These inspired a new vision for the community a decade ago, imagined by the neighborhood’s residents in partnership with local government. “[The vision] is to create a walkable community that meets the demands for rental housing on Long Island for people of all ages,” Russell says. Along with the island’s critical rental housing shortage, “there is a shortage of communities that are not totally automobile dependent.” The first phase of the project, starting at the train station and spreading from there, includes the two aforementioned mixed-use buildings. The first, with 91 apartments, was nearing completion at the time of press; the second, with 86 units, is due for completion this spring. About 30 percent of the apartments will

“I want to say it’s a new model, but it really is a model that existed in some older communities that have easy access to transit.” Russell Albanese, Albanese Organization

be rented at market rate. The rents of the other 70 percent are income-based. Phase one also will add a public plaza, a new train station, and a new parking garage, on which the Metropolitan Transportation Authority broke ground in September. That’s not to mention a third building for office and retail space that is currently in the design phase. “I want to say it’s a new model, but it really is a model that existed in some older communities that have easy access to transit and are walkable,” Russell says, pointing to communities like Scarsdale, Bronxville, and Forest Hills. “[Wyandanch] is bringing back some of what has been done before.” Contrasting Wyandanch to more common, low-density developments with car-dependent strip malls and general suburban sprawl, Russell says of Wyandanch: “I think it’s sustainable, it’s community-building, it’s providing much-needed affordable housing, and [it’s about] good design,” he says. “It has all the ingredients of what we want to do at the company.” gb&d —Joann Plockova

Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects would like to congratulate Russell and Chris Albanese for their dedication to developing and championing several of the country’s greenest residential buildings, including the award-winning, LEED® Platinumcertified Visionaire. We look forward to future collaborations with The Albanese Organization – making greener places to live, neighborhood by neighborhood.

322 Eighth Avenue,11 th Floor New York, NY 10001 p: 212.417.9496 | f: 212.417.9497 |

DETAILS LOCATION Wyandanch, NY Program Transitoriented mixed-use development Size 40 acres Completion 2015 (Phase 1) Certification LEED-ND (expected) Cost $500 million Owner Public-private partnership with Town of Babylon Developer Albanese Organization Architect Beatty, Harvey, Coco Architects Civil Engineer Cameron Engineering and Associates


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Gallons of hot water produced daily from reclaimed condenser heat


Projected percentage growth in 2015 (with nine new stores)


Environment vital for 100 Earth Fare expansion

Square footage of highly efficient building footprints

Percent LED lighting in new Atlanta store and all new facilities moving forward

 As the eco-conscious grocer expands, it rolls out additional sustainable practices  Shopper-centric systems trump LEED certification With 33 grocery stores across the Southeast and Midwest regions of the United States, Earth Fare is in the business of providing healthy, local, organic, and hormone-free food to its highly educated and environmentally conscious customer base. But a look beyond its product offerings reveals a facility design that’s just as in tune with the environment as the organic tomatoes on its shelves. Jeff Jones, the company’s vice president of construction and engineering, has been working in grocery stores since he was 16 and building them for the past 25 years. He recently joined Earth Fare to spearhead its rapid expansion—nine new stores in 2015—and to continue its practice of implementing sustainability initiatives across new and existing stores. “Earth Fare’s tagline is ‘Real Food for Everyone,’” Jones says. “We want to make sure healthy food is accessible and affordable. And we also want to build a sustainable fagb&d

cility that aligns with those values.” Shoppers in an Earth Fare store are likely to appreciate the robust produce section and educational wellness department. They may also notice the chemical-free, low-maintenance polished concrete floors or the many skylights bringing in natural light. But equally impressive are the things they won’t see: Earth Fare pairs its daylight harvesting with LED lighting and dimming technology to realize significant reductions in energy consumption. “With the added natural light, we can be at 70 percent lighting, and the customer can’t tell the difference,” Jones says. Refrigeration units use high-efficiency condenser fan motors, and they are able to generate 100 Nine new Earth Fare locations are set to open their doors in 2015 as the grocer’s greenest to date.

percent of their hot water using reclaimed heat from those units. Since most Earth Fare stores employ open-joist ceilings, destratification fans are used to push air back down and minimize heat loss through the roof. All of these features are managed by remotely accessible, computer-processed controls that allow for custom climate management and accelerated troubleshooting. As Earth Fare expands, the grocer is looking to implement even more sustainability initiatives. A beta store opening July 2015 in Decatur, Georgia, will use glycol in both refrigeration and the HVAC system. “We are also looking to shy away from traditional compressors and use scroll compressors,” Jones says. “Our system in Decatur, Georgia, will be all scroll compressor technology.”

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“We want to make sure healthy food is accessible and affordable. And we also want to build a sustainable facility that aligns with those values.” Jeff Jones, Earth Fare

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Another new store in Atlanta will be Earth Fare’s first using 100-percent LEDs for both interior and exterior lighting, while in North Carolina, Jones is exploring solar power opportunities for existing facilities. And as always, Earth Fare is planning to continue the education of its customer base. “Starting in 2015, we will be showing more messaging to educate our customers on the environmental and sustainability initiatives that we are putting into our stores,” Jones says. “Earth Fare wants to bring all these initiatives together to reach a broader base.” One unique aspect of Earth Fare’s approach to sustainability is its number of LEED-certified stores. It has zero. “We focus on sustainability, but the LEED certification is a cost where we don’t see a payback for our customers,” Jones says. Pursuing LEED certification can be time-consuming and costly, and those costs simply don’t fit into Earth Fare’s goal of “Real Food for Everyone.” By focusing on what matters— its customers—Earth Fare is able to provide healthy food at affordable prices while contributing to positive environmental change. gb&d —Evan Cline


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BELOW Earth Fare is placing a larger emphasis on LED lighting in its supermarkets. One new location is lit fully by natural light and LEDs.

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APPROACH DESIGN Choice Hotels’ upscale Cambria brand has a new director of architecture and interior design, who plans to launch waste- and water-conservation initiatives under a company-wide program.

Choice Hotels’ Cambria finds its green identity  Director of architecture James Millar moves the hospitality giant’s upscale brand toward a greener generation of travelers When James Millar was offered the opportunity to be director of architecture and interior design for Choice Hotels’ upscale Cambria Hotels and Suites brand, he jumped at the chance. Not only would the position allow him to utilize all his previous roles in hospitality, design, and construction, it would also allow him the chance to put his stamp on an emerging brand. Millar found his way to hospitality through an estimator position in the


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architecture and construction department at Marriott. In comparison to his design and construction experiences with architecture firms and the government, he found hospitality much more fascinating. “If you sit next to someone on a plane, and you tell them you design office buildings, they might say, ‘Oh, that’s nice,’” he says. “But if you say you design hotels, they’ll have a follow-up question because everyone is personally connected to hospitality. I found that aspect of it very engaging.”

In his new role since March 2014, Millar describes his position primarily as support for owners and outside developers who wish to build a Cambria hotel. Millar works with them to hire an architecture firm, reviews the architecture and construction in the process, and makes sure that Cambria’s prototype architects stay on brand—while at the same time helping them fit into their particular market. Part of that brand is Choice’s hotel-wide “Room To Be Green” program. At the property level, the initiative has a recycling-and-waste-reduction component that includes a designated recycling area and a sorting program and a range of energy- and water-conservation practices, including low-flow fixtures and customer-communication opportunities to save. For Millar, an opportunity to enable further change within Cambria’s sustainability platform is a branding shift that includes a name change (it was formerly just Cambria Suites) and the development of a new hotel prototype that, at the time of press, was due to be completed at the end of 2014. The effort is in support of


“We’re laying the groundwork for where [Cambria] needs to go. That’s an exciting position [to be in].”

Landivar & Associates

James Millar, Cambria Hotels and Suites

General Contracting & Construction Management Services

targeting the next generation of travelers who have “grown up with green initiatives” and have come to expect sustainability when weighing their buying decisions. “We’re laying the groundwork for where [Cambria] needs to go,” Millar says, “so that’s an exciting position [to be in].” gb&d —Joann Plockova

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Putting green on the ‘front burner’  Front Burner Brands opts for a ‘stealth green’ program that saves on operating costs  More efficient design provides seating for customers, time for staff For Front Burner Brands, the multi-concept-restaurant management company that owns The Melting Pot, Burger 21, and GrillSmith, sustainability is no longer a trend—it’s a requirement. And franchisees embracing the company’s “stealth green” techniques are helping not only the brand, but also its bottom line. “A huge part of the cost of running a restaurant is maintenance and repair,” says Scott Evans, director of design and construction for Front Burner Brands. “By putting in systems that require less of these, we’re saving both money and aggravation for our franchisees.” The brand’s franchise renewal program is helping its 135 existing Melting Pot restaurants meet modern standards for green building. The design department specifies using a “stealth green” approach by selecting sustainable materials when gb&d


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there is no cost increase to franchisees, such as using low-VOC paint and adhesives or recycled materials. Other updates include new lighting systems with LED technology and setting back HVAC temperatures at unoccupied times. Some restaurants have opted to put in tankless water heaters and efficient grease management systems to boost their return on investment. “Some of these restaurants are more than 34 years old, and they can operate a lot more effectively using green systems that aren’t intrusive,” Evans says. “Plus, the updates create more efficiency so franchisees get the most bang for their buck.” The company also is proactive when it comes to new construction projects for all three concepts. “Eventually, municipalities are going to start requiring more efficient systems so we’re trying to stay ahead,” Evans says.


“Some of these restaurants are more than 34 years old, and they can operate a lot more effectively using green systems that aren’t intrusive.” Scott Evans, Front Burner Brands

RIGHT With 135 existing locations, The Melting Pot is one of Front Burner Brands’ primary franchises. BELOW Upgrades to lighting and kitchen systems save Burger 21 franchisees money.

For example, at Burger 21, low-temperature dishwashing systems save franchisees money on the cost of heating water, and high-efficiency light bulbs that don’t need to be changed as often free up workers’ time. Evans also points

out that many of these systems are smaller, giving franchisees more room for customer seating. While the brand is now requiring its franchises to meet a certain standard, the company isn’t forcing LEED certification. After building a LEED Gold space as part of Syracuse, New York’s Destiny USA, known as the largest green mall in the US, it determined that the cost of getting a professional to certify a building is unnecessary for existing franchisees. Even without certification, Front Burner Brands can apply its own standards to its locations around the world. Evans says The Melting Pot in Dubai created efficiency for its roughly 3,200-square-foot space by sharing an underground water chiller system with other tenants in its development. For restaurants everywhere, Evans says, this is just the beginning. “There are lots of improvements coming in the future for restaurants,” he says, “from refrigeration to LED lighting to variable speed fans.” gb&d —Maureen Wilkey january–february 2015




Employees in American Family’s Eden Prairie office


Square footage of the insurance company’s existing building

90 Building for American Family’s well-being  American Family Insurance Group prepares to complete its first LEED office near Minneapolis The American Family Insurance Group is planning to complete its first LEED office in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, in August. The current building—built in three phases in 1977, 1980, and 1988—had not been updated in years, and components were at the end of their useful life, says Cindy Glaeden-Knott, manager of design and construction.

Given that this was American Family’s first large real estate project in many years, the company also wanted to align the remodel with the company’s commitment to its brand and to sustainability. “An investment in our people is a key part of how we do business, and we wanted to maximize that investment by creating a workplace environment that is inspiring and protective,” Glaeden-Knott says. Minneapolis-based RJM Construction began remodeling the 208,000-square-foot space in October 2013. The $12.5 million project, being completed in as many as 10 phases, involves replacing major systems, including HVAC and lighting, and updating finishes and furniture. When complete, it is expected to achieve LEED-NC certification under version 3.0, an achievement based on notable improvements in energy, water, and recycling. Modeling shows that the building will be more than 10 percent more efficient than base, allowing for at least two LEED credits, and

Percent of construction waste recycled during the renovation

“If three doors go out on the back of a pickup truck, we know if they’re being repurposed in the community.” LeeAnn Glover, American Family Insurance Group


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will use 35 percent less water, thanks to remodeled restrooms with low-flow fixtures. American Family also expects to recycle more than 90 percent of demolition and construction waste, thanks to tracking via an online software program. “We’re having every item that leaves the site in any of the five major construction-material streams—metals, drywall, masonry, cardboard, and wood—tracked,” says LeeAnn Glover, director of real estate and planning. “So if three doors go out on the back of a pickup truck, we know if they’re being repurposed in the community.” Despite the extensive changes, the remodel preserved 45 percent of open space. The 14-acre campus already had 40 varieties of trees and a trail system, around which American Family based a wellness program and an annual 3K run. Deer and turkey are frequently sighted on campus, and last year, a family of great horned owls nested 10 feet from office windows. “We’re proud that as an organization, we’re creating views and access to nature and the well-being that comes from that,” Glover says. When the project is complete, Glover and her team will bring it full circle by engaging the 650 employees who are working in the Eden Prairie office during the remodel with the sustainability efforts. “Before we started the project, we asked employees what sustainable elements were important to them,” says Beth Churchill, the company’s workplace sustainability specialist. “And to show them what we did, we’ve created an artwork installation consisting of LEED-related posters hung throughout the building. It’s a good way to finish the package.” gb&d —Julie Schaeffer


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Illinois home to first LEED v4 data center  Grainger and CH2M Hill earn industry accolades for superefficient beta project Grainger, which has long been known as a leader in industrial supply distribution, today is rapidly becoming known as a leader in sustainable facility construction. In 2008, Grainger became the first industrial distributor to build a LEED-certified facility and has committed to building all new construction projects to LEED standards. Grainger’s latest project is the world’s first LEED Gold data center under the LEED v4 standard. “The challenge with this particular project was that when we


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began, LEED v4 was not yet finalized,” says Jae Shim, a real estate project manager at Grainger. In preparation for the launch of LEED v4, more than 100 building projects participated in beta testing of the new standards. “We were a beta participant, pursuing LEED credits as they were being written,” Shim says. “Understanding the new credits and being flexible throughout the design process was part of the challenge for the entire team.” CH2M Hill, the design architect and engineer

ABOVE Grainger completed the world’s first LEED Gold data center under the LEED v4 standard in 2014. More than 100 projects helped beta test the new LEED standard.

of the data center, located on Grainger’s Lake Forest, Illinois, campus, was responsible for coordinating the LEED effort and keeping the entire team on track throughout the process. To house its new data center, Grainger built a stand-alone structure. “Data centers are often part of larger mixed-use facilities with attached office spaces,” Shim says. By opting to construct a separate building, all of the mechanical and electrical systems could be designed solely to support the data-center space. The most impressive green systems used on the facility are the rooftop air-conditioning units. “The unique challenge was sizing the building to maximize IT space without limiting our ability to cool the space,” Shim says. “Our rooftop is optimized to fit the maximum quantity of rooftop units to support the target IT loads.” Overheating is a major concern in any data center, even with Grainger’s Energy Star-rated servers. The RTUs work by pulling outside air into the facility to alleviate the heat produced by the always-running servers. Due to the high temperatures generated by the equipment, even 80-degree outdoor air can be effective in cooling the space. Estimates show Grainger’s cooling system using 50 percent less energy than a traditional system. The data center also incorporates a number of environmentally friendly technologies that Grainger is accustomed to installing across its properties. The facility is 100-percent LED-lit, inside and out, and is designed to manage rainwater efficiently. Employees use green cleaning techniques and recycle both internal and construction waste.



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LOCATION Lake Forest, IL Program Data center Size 27,000 ft2 Completion 2014 Certification LEED v4 Gold Client Grainger Architect CH2M Hill General Contractor Pepper Construction Group

Further south, in Minooka, Illinois, Grainger completed construction on a one million-square-foot, LEED Platinum distribution center in 2013. There, a 2,200-square-foot solar wall uses innovative air and solar capabilities to reduce energy consumption. And at distribution centers in California and New Jersey, Grainger has invested in four megawatts of solar power. Apart from reducing its own footprint, Grainger’s sustainability efforts are helping to shape other construction projects. The new data center garnered special praise from Rick Fedrizzi, president and CEO of the USGBC. “The Grainger team has not only created a space that mitigates greenhouse gas emissions and saves money through reduced energy and water use,” Fedrizzi said in a statement, “but with the first LEED v4 BD+C project, they are also playing an essential role in driving the market toward healthier, better buildings for all.” gb&d —Evan Cline

A renewed look at housing  Whirlpool, Purdue University upgrade a 1920s bungalow into the net-zero-energy ReNEWW House “One of these things is not like the other” is a phrase that applies especially to the Retrofitted Net-Zero Energy, Water, and Waste (or ReNEWW) House, a retrofitted 1920s bungalow located just off the Purdue University campus in West Lafayette, Indiana.

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Whirlpool and Purdue University have transformed this circa 1920 bungalow in West Lafayette, Indiana, into a net-zero-energy model of efficiency.


Square footage of the bungalow being retrofitted to net-zero-energy performance

3.1m Last September, a collaborative team of Purdue and Whirlpool sustainability experts unveiled a suite of green innovations that will help the 3,000-square-foot home achieve net-zero-energy performance. The ReNEWW House contains a one-of-a-kind, state-of-the-art basement lab that measures each system’s performance. The lab is primarily fit out with Gladiator workbenches and ultra-sensitive monitoring equipment. Researchers and engineers from Purdue and Whirlpool live on-site and run the lab, which is expected to collect more than 3.1 million data points in its first year of operation. “The data and the lab work show results in real time,” says Ronald Voglewede, Whirlpool’s director of global sustainability. “People want to see these systems working. We can give the data to our partners in order to help them improve their products.” Even though the ReNEWW House is ideally insulated, its location in Indiana means it requires heat during the colder months, which is where the home’s solar and geothermal systems shine. The Solar Zentrum, solar array collects thermal energy to help power building systems and provide domestic hot water; at the same time, the GeoComfort geothermal system provides heating for the home. In capturing thermal energy from the panels, they are able to run at peak efficiency by avoiding overheating. A host of insulating products helps keep the home sealed and properly acclimatized throughout the year. A blowing agent typically used for refrigerators was repurposed and used in installing the closed-cell, spray-foam insulation made by Lapolla Industries.


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Voglewede says appliance leader Honeywell provided the agent. “They formulated a product that addressed a significant concern with traditional blowing agents—their global warming potential—and was able to achieve a 99.9-percent reduction in this metric,” he says. Triple-pane windows and siding made from 50-percent recycled materials, provided by Great Lakes Window and Mastic, respectively, make the spray-foam insulation perform even more efficiently, helping to regulate the home’s heat loss and gain. Whirlpool took great care in installing appliances that will slash the home’s electrical and water loads. When it comes to food preparation, the home’s induction cooktop and double oven significantly increase the energy efficiency of cooking. “The double oven offers two ovens of different sizes that can run at different temperatures,” Voglewede says. “Why heat an entire oven for a 9-by-13-inch pan?” In accordance with numerous projections, Whirlpool believes water scarcity will be a central resource issue in the near future. “Water bills will exceed energy bills by 2025 in most major cities,” Voglewede says. “Net-zero water is truly the next big world challenge.” With this in mind, the ReNEWW House will be equipped with numerous experimental technologies to help reduce and reuse precious water in the summer of 2015. “The house will have a rainwater-collection and -purification system large enough to cover all needs, both potable and non-potable, in addition to a greywater system, which can be used for toilet flushing,” he says. Low-flow fixtures and appliances that use minimal water also help

Data points collected by Purdue University and Whirlpool researchers


Year when water costs may exceed electricity, according to some studies

reduce consumption. Water reductions of 30–50 percent are expected. gb&d —Kathryn Freeman Rathbone APPROACH OPERATIONS

TIAA-CREF measures to better manage  Benchmarking is a driving force behind the financial services provider’s Global Real Estate Sustainability Initiative

“Water bills will exceed energy bills by 2025 in most major cities. Netzero water is truly the next big world challenge.” Ronald Voglewede, Whirlpool

A sustainability benchmarking tool has supported the efforts of global financial services company TIAA-CREF to reduce the energy consumption across its US real estate portfolio by 17 percent—an achievement that is all the more significant when considering that the company’s portfolio spans more than 600 buildings. “That translates into the avoidance of 54,500 metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2013, which, according to the EPA, is equivalent to taking 10,500 cars off the road,” says Nick Stolatis, senior director of global sustainability and enterprise initiatives at TIAA-CREF. In the United States, TIAA-CREF has more than $35 billion in direct real estate assets across the four major asset types—office, retail, residential, and industrial—and the




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company has long stressed efficient operations in its investment properties. “It’s the way one should run a real estate portfolio,” says Stolatis, who’s been with the company for 31 years, rising up through the portfolio-management space. In 2002, however, the company made its first formal step into sustainability when it took Stolatis’s recommendation to join Energy Star. “Energy Star is all about measuring your performance against a database the government maintains and updates,” Stolatis says, “and our initial goal was to use it as a tool to help us quantify performance because you can’t manage that which you can’t measure.” TIAA-CREF uses third-party property managers such as Cushman & Wakefield, JLL, and Transwestern for on-site operations. Although many of these firms were familiar with Energy Star, the property teams were not using the tool consistently. During the early years, Stolatis says that “some of the managers used it once, determined they wouldn’t get a certification, and said, ‘What’s the point?’” That was the driving force behind TIAA-CREF’s Global Real Estate Sustainability Initiative (GRESI) platform, the formal commitment of TIAA-CREF to implement sustainability across its investment portfolio, which provides important information about the efficiency of the company’s entire global real estate portfolio. “I wanted to emphasize the use of benchmarking as a tracking mechanism, not a marketing mechanism,” Stolatis says. “It wasn’t about pursuing labels. It was about pursuing improved operational performance.” TIAA-CREF began requiring all properties to benchmark in July 2007. Third-party property managers enter information from utility bills—including energy, water, and waste—into the GRESI platform, and a sustainability consultant then helps Stolatis aggregate the data. Ultimately, he can view efficiency at three levels: by property, by investment fund, or across TIAA-CREF’s entire portfolio.


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You see skies of blue. We see buildings of green. At Colliers International, we get the big picture. From the sky above and the ground below to how buildings interact with their surroundings, we understand how complex systems work. More importantly, we cultivate sustainable, energy-efficient and vibrant communities. Colliers International helps building owners and operators minimize environmental impacts while at the same time maximizing operational efficiency. At Colliers, we grow cities organically, one green building at a time.


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Lend Lease is proud to have played a role in the delivery of Taco Bell’s new energy efficient restaurant in Horizon City, Texas. Lend Lease excels at removing complexity from logistically challenging energy projects. Our integrated organization allows us to tap into expertise if the need arises, which helps keep projects on track. Our strong balance sheet and deep industry relationships create both stability and opportunity within our partnerships.

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It was a monumental achievement, allowing TIAA-CREF to track the operational efficiency of its US portfolio. Over the past five years, at any given time, roughly 65 percent of the total square footage in TIAACREF’s office portfolio—the only significant sector eligible for Energy Star until only recently—has been certified. For its efforts, the company has been named an Energy Star Partner of the Year for seven straight years and at the Sustained Excellence level for the past five years. The company also has seen the initiative impact the company’s bottom line, with the improvement in energy efficiency translating into approximately $15 million in cost savings in 2013 over the baseline of 2007, when the benchmarking effort began. “The benchmarking tool allowed us to translate the environmental benefit into an economic benefit,” Stolatis says. gb&d —Julie Schaeffer Each new Taco Bell location since 2012 has consumed at least 17% less energy through sustainable technologies, which have produced 25% better returns on investment.


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Taco Bell test store is super efficient  The fast-food chain slashes energy use by 40% at El Paso location In the emerging world of sustainable institutions, fast-food behemoths are not usually found at the cutting edge. Nevertheless, because of the considerable scale of their operations, there are massive inherent opportunities for energy and waste reduction at such companies. Taco Bell Corp., a Yum! Brands company, is actively seeking out those opportunities and implementing them across its

“By being sustainable this way, our goals for energy and water reduction are very aggressive, resulting in benefits to both the environment and our shareholders.” Dave Reinhart, Taco Bell Corp.

more than 6,000 US stores. In 2008, when grill-to-order machines were introduced across all stores, Taco Bell saw an energy reduction of 15 percent and a water savings of 100 gallons per day, per store. In 2011, a LEED-certified Taco Bell opened in Middletown, Ohio. And since 2012, Taco Bell has reduced energy consumption by 17 percent in all newly constructed stores. Even more recently, a 40-percent energy reduction was achieved at a test store in El Paso, Texas. “We are in the process of adopting the design elements of this test to our standards to be built into all new company construction going forward,” says manager of sustainability Dave Reinhart. Meanwhile, on existing stores, increased efficiencies are being achieved by updating lighting, signage, and air-conditioning. Water-wise landscaping is being deployed, reducing irrigation consumption by an average of 40 percent. And on-site facilities are being converted over to water-efficient toilets, urinals, and faucets. Currently, Taco Bell requires sustainability initiatives to have a return on investment of an average of 25 percent or better. “By being sustainable this way, our goals for energy and water reduction are very aggressive, resulting in benefits to both the environment and our shareholders,” Reinhart says. This policy, while a good start, has plenty of room for improvement. And although Yum! may not yet be a pioneer on the sustainability front, it is a member of a large body of institutions that is eagerly implementing new, affordable green technologies on a world-changing scale. gb&d —Evan Cline



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Up Front Typology Trendsetters Approach Inner Workings Features Spaces Next Punch List


80 Kiln Apartments

For one of the nation’s largest Passive House projects, no detail is too small

84 Stash Residence

A LEED Platinum house near Chicago uses a CERV to keep allergies at bay

86 National Center for Civil and Human Rights

Trespa panels play a vital role in the Freelon Group’s Atlanta museum

88 Tavern on the Green

A New York landmark sheds some excess to recover its historic context

91 Denizen and Dakota Outfall

A Denver development prizes density while solving flooding issues

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Kiln Apartments One of the largest Passive House projects in the country employs a thin-profile insulation by Dow Corning to seal up its envelope

When it came to the design of the Kiln Apartments in Oregon’s North Portland neighborhood, GBD Architects aimed high. Just how high? Consider this: the Passive House certification the architects are pursuing will require energy performance approximately 65 to 75 percent better than Portland’s already industry-leading code requirements. And, if certified, the 18,000-square-foot building will become one of the largest mixeduse buildings in the country to achieve the standard. “This represents the next leap forward in terms of energy performance,” says architect Agustin Enriquez, a principal at GBD Architects, who adds that with ample wood and natural light, the 19 units were designed to feel “less like apartments and more like well-crafted, single-family homes.” Here’s a breakdown of the building’s energy-saving solutions. By Rebecca Falzano



Because Passive House focuses

One of


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LOCATION Portland, OR Program 19 apartments, ground-floor retail space Size 18,000 ft2 Completion 2014 Certification Passive House (expected) Cost Withheld

TEAM CLIENT Edlen Family Architect GBD Architects Civil Engineer TM Rippey Structural Engineer KPFF Consulting Engineers MEP Engineer Solarc Landscape Architect Lango Hansen Landscape Architects General Contractor Lorentz Bruun

SUPPLIERS Glazing & Doors HH Windows & Doors HRV Ultimate Air Water-Based Radiators Myson Building Insulation Blanket Dow Corning

the greatest benefits of Passive House design is an extremely low annual energy demand, which provides significant savings on operational costs. Thanks to passive solar gain, Enriquez anticipates that the vast majority of heat will come from the building’s many south-facing windows. Sunshades were installed like visors above these deeply inset south-facing windows to help reduce heat gains from high-angle summer sun while allowing in the lower wintertime sun. Any remaining heat demand will come from wall-mounted, hot-water radiant heaters served from solar-thermal roof panels. (On days when the water isn’t hot enough, a gas-fired boiler will kick in to offset the solar hot-water array.) Enriquez estimates that these systems will reduce space-heating costs by 70 percent.


on how much energy is used per square foot per year, buildings must have an ultra-high-performing building envelope. The first step for the Kiln Apartments, according to Enriquez, was creating a continuous air barrier to seal the building, reducing airflow in and out. Comprising the building’s exterior skin is an uninterrupted layer that dramatically reduces air infiltration and improves interior temperature consistency. Next came heightened levels of insulation—double the typical R-values for the walls (R-52), foundation (R-21), and roof (R-70). “If the air barrier acts as the metal skin of a Thermos,” Enriquez says, “then the insulation acts as a Styrofoam cooler holding the Thermos.” In addition, triple-pane, European-style, tilt-and-turn windows minimize any potential weak links in the building skin.


The building’s skin is an uninterrupted layer that reduces air infiltration and regulates indoor temperatures.


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INNER WORKINGS Kiln Apartments

EFFICIENT VENTILATION A central air-handling unit, the UltimateAir 2000DX, provides balanced ven-

tilation—an equal quantity of supply and extracted exhaust air—to and from each apartment 24/7, providing an average of 0.64 air changes per hour. During the winter, a 100-percent outside-air system would incur a significant energy penalty to bring the cold outside air up to room temperature. “Most conventional HVAC systems provide the small quantity of code-required fresh outside air and mix it with a large quantity of return air recirculated from inside,” Enriquez says. At the Kiln Apartments, the ventilation system provides 100-percent outside air to the apartments using a heat-recovery wheel in the air-handler that captures most of the heat in the exhaust air and transfers it with the fresh air; the system recaptures up to 90 percent of the heat that would otherwise be dumped outside.

The Kiln Apartments’ exterior skin

was designed to eliminate thermal bridging where heat transfer could reduce energy efficiency. During construction, infrared imaging was used to identify unintended thermal bridging. A vulnerable area was discovered where the 18-inch metal sunshades were bolted to the wall above the windows, creating a thermal break that bypassed four inches of exterior rigid insulation. “Picture a zipper on a jacket—no matter how warm the jacket is, that metal is going to be cold if it makes direct contact with the skin,” Enriquez says. To remedy this, the team worked with Dow Corning to specify the HPI1000 Building Insulation Blanket, a thin-profile, flexible material that delivers insulation with a per-inch R-value of R-9.8. “It was cut to fit the sunshade attachment area,” says Dow Corning’s Paul Wisniewski, “creating a thin ‘gasket’ that keeps the metal from touching the wall sheathing and conducting heat directly from the framing.”


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THIS PAGE To avoid thermal breaks where the windows’ metal sunshades attach to the wall (above), the architects specified a thin-profile, flexible insulation by Dow Corning. Providing 100% fresh air to each unit, air-handlers with heat-recovery wheels recapture up to 90% of heat that typically would be dumped outside.





Units in the Kiln Apartments



Percent reduction in space-heating costs (expected)

52, 70

R-values of walls and roof, respectively


the building’s energy efficiencies are about high-performance systems—some of it comes down to smart design that also may help increase occupant health. To reduce total energy consumption from the use of the building’s elevator, the architects got creative. “As a four-story building, we needed an elevator, but we decided to find a way to encourage residents to use the stairs instead,” Enriquez says. That meant designing the stairs to be as inviting as possible. Rather than the drab, dimly lit stairwell often found in multistory buildings, the Kiln Apartments’ staircase is visible from the exterior and features site-specific artwork and ample, operable windows, all of which encourage residents to skip the elevator and make the walk up. gb&d

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Stash Residence A fully automated, LEED Platinum house outside Chicago employs a CERV to keep allergies at bay

When the Stash family wanted to build a sustainable home in Northbrook, Illinois, they turned to Michael Kollman, president of architecture firm Wexler/Kollman and owner of high-performance home construction company Smarthaus. The resulting residence is the first LEED Platinum home in the Chicago suburb, a home that is at once stripped down and highly sophisticated. Kollman takes us on an exclusive tour. By Julie Schaeffer




The new house was originally sited

Early on, the Stash family decided

The Stash Residence is one of

on a single lot in Northbrook, but during the design process, the Stash family acquired a neighboring home. Kollman sought to minimize the impact of demolition, deconstructing the existing home on the neighboring property piece by piece. Some items, such as brick, Kollman saved for use in the new home. He then invited Habitat for Humanity to take everything it could use or resell, including flooring, windows, plumbing fixtures, and cabinets. Later, other suppliers were invited to reclaim elements they could reuse or resell. As a result, 95 percent of the existing home was recycled.

on a prefabricated home, in part to eliminate waste. Ultimately, Kollman panelized the entire shell using prefab trusses and walls from Wisconsin-based Accurate Housing. After the foundation was poured, the structure was up within a week. There was little left to do then but wire and insulate the walls, which Kollman had intentionally left open in order to fine-tune design elements. Kollman achieved his goal of waste elimination, too. “For the whole house, we used one 30yard dumpster,” he says, “which is unbelievable when compared to a typical construction project.”

the first in Chicago to feature a conditioning energy-recovery ventilator (CERV), developed for the aerospace industry and designed by Urbana, Illinois-based Build Equinox. “It’s a ventilation system that has a brain,” Kollman says. The CERV, combined with Mitsubishi mini-split heat pumps, continuously monitors indoor air for carbon dioxide, volatile organic compounds, temperature, and humidity. It also takes note of outside conditions, then imports air as required by established set points. “The Stash children, who suffer from severe allergies, haven’t used their inhalers once since moving in,” Kollman says, “and it cost less than a traditional heating-and-cooling system.” FULLY AUTOMATED All of

the home’s electronics are highly efficient, and Kollman installed an innovative home-automation system based on the Revolve platform with Insteon devices. Every switch and outlet that’s part of the system has its own IP address and can be programmed to turn on and off at certain times. The home’s audio-visual equipment is also connected to the home-automation system. All told, the energy required to light the home is roughly 20 percent of what it would be for a normal home. And the price was right: “We looked at a number of options, and this was a very affordable way to go,” Kollman says. SOLAR ORIENTED

the neighboring home expanded the lot size, allowing Kollman to orient the house differently. Situated on an east-west axis, its living spaces are opened to a southern exposure and shaded by a three-foot overhang, taking advantage of passive solar gain. Kollman also oriented the main axis of the roof at an 8/12 pitch to take advantage of photovoltaic panels on the roof. “Even before we installed the solar panels,” Kollman says, “the family used just $100 of energy a month, less than in their previous home, which was a third of the size.” gb&d


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National Center for Civil & Human Rights

A Breathable Façade The rain-screen design uses cladding over the structural wall, creating an open-air cavity between the two. This allows the air current constantly rising from the bottom of the façade to dry out any moisture that could infiltrate beyond the façade panels.

Trespa Meteon panels play an important function in the Freelon Group’s high-performing rain-screen façade By Rebecca Falzano


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Dedicated to the achievements of both the Civil Rights movement in the United States and the broader human rights movement worldwide, the National Center for Civil and Human Rights (NCCHR) in downtown Atlanta was designed by the Freelon Group with architect-of-record HOK to be a “living” center where visitors are immersed in an interactive storytelling experience in each exhibit. The museum’s two powerful exterior walls loosely resemble a pair of cupped hands and represent the center’s uplifting spirit of optimism and progress. The surface of the façade is made up of Trespa Meteon panels, a high-pressure compact laminate used as a drained and back-ventilated façade. “Rain screens allow for the use of outboard insulation that can increase the overall R-value of the wall structure, allowing for a more energy-efficient building structure,” says Andrew Ashton, Trespa’s façade application specialist. The decorative surface of the Trespa Meteon panels is a very dense, non-porous material that results from Trespa’s electron-beam-curing (EBC) process. The end product is a façade that is not only a distinctive, high-performing architectural feature, but one with a greater meaning: a symbol of the many individuals who make up movements for social progress. gb&d


Precision Fabricated Trespa Meteon panels are supplied as an engineered system precision-fabricated with CNC equipment. The fabricator’s shop drawings identify every panel, and they come to the job site labeled to coincide with their exact location.

A Range of Hues The multi-toned façade is symbolic of multiracial faces of the Civil Rights movement. Rotating the Trespa Meteon panels 90 or 180 degrees during installation created the illusion of numerous browns and tans (by the way the sunlight hits the panels), when in fact only two hues were used.

The museum’s two exterior walls loosely resemble a pair of cupped hands, representing the center’s uplifting spirit. Trespa Meteon panels were used to create a highperformance rain-screen façade.


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Tavern on the Green A New York City landmark sheds its excess to recover the restaurant’s historic context

Central Park’s Tavern on the Green is a New York City institution. Built in 1871 as a sheep barn, the Victorian Gothic building was converted into a restaurant in 1934, and in the following decades, underwent numerous renovations and additions that tripled its size and concealed its historic character. To return the building to its iconic status and set it up for an interior fit-out by a new restaurant, the City hired Swanke Hayden Connell Architects and a team that included Vidaris, the New York-based building-envelope consultancy, to renovate and optimize the envelope and infrastructure. Slated to achieve LEED Silver (as required by New York City for such a structure), the building was transformed into an accessible space that respects its history—and promising future. By Rebecca Falzano

This site diagram shows the drastic reduction in square footage during renovations. The 2009 footprint is the hatched area; the current footprint is gray.

REMOVAL VERSUS REHAB The building’s original footprint was 8,000


In renovating this Central Park restaurant, architects scoured historic photos in order to replicate authenticlooking yet highly efficient doors and windows.

square feet, but when it opened as a restaurant in 1934, that increased by another 2,000 square feet. By the time Tavern on the Green closed in 2009, after decades of poorly integrated additions, its footprint had ballooned to 32,000 square feet. “Much of the building was in terrible condition from mold, asbestos, and water damage,” says Elizabeth Moss, director of historic preservation at Swanke Hayden Connell Architects. “We realized it would be more cost effective to rehabilitate the historically significant elements and to remove the non-contributing additions.” The team determined the smallest footprint required to maintain a financially viable restaurant and reduced it to a more manageable 14,436 square feet.


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The renovation team reduced the restaurant’s built footprint by nearly 20,000 square feet to better serve its 21st-century needs.

LOCATION New York, NY Size 14,436 ft2 Completion 2 014 Certification L EED Silver (expected) Awards BD+C Silver Renovation Award Cost $ 15.9 million

TEAM OWNER NYC Department of Design & Construction, Central Parks Conservancy, NYC Department of Parks and Recreation Architect Swanke Hayden Connell Architects Civil Engineer P hilip Habib & Associates Structural Engineer LPE Engineering Mechanical/Electrical Engineer Excel Group Landscape Architect Robin Key Landscape Architecture Sustainability Consultant V idaris Cost Estimating C onCost Associates Food Service Consultant J GL Food Service Consultant General Contractor Atlas Restoration Corp HVAC Contractor CDE Air Conditioning Co. Roofing Contractor H udson Valley Roofing & Sheet Metal, Inc. Metal Fabricator Tri-State Metals


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UNIQUE ENVELOPE “Trying to install new insulation and improve the

building envelope while keeping with the building’s historic look and feel was a challenge,” says Natalie Terrill, a LEED consultant and senior project manager at Vidaris. To avoid concealing the historic exposed trusses and joists, insulation was installed on the underside of the roof between the rafters—as opposed to the interior. “You can still read the historic barn structure of heavy timber, but the depth has been visually reduced because of the insulation behind it,” Moss says. Roof insulation values are R-24 under the slate portion and R-30 under the copper portion.

“We realized it would be more cost effective to rehabilitate the historically significant elements and to remove the non-contributing additions.” Elizabeth Moss, Swanke Hayden Connell Architects



As a critical piece of

During excavation, the team uncovered 25 tons

the building envelope, all windows and doors needed to not only be high performing, but also consistent with Tavern on the Green’s historic aesthetic. This meant weeding through the multiple add-ons over the years and attempting to replicate the building’s original openings. Using old photographs and drawings— as well as one remaining 19th-century window frame on the south elevation—Swanke Hayden Connell Architects came up with a basis of design for new, upgraded windows and doors. Manufactured by Parrett Windows & Doors, new, mahogany, double-glazed windows with a low-E coating fit into the structure’s historic context while offering high levels of energy efficiency.

of stone units from the site, which it was able to use elsewhere in Central Park. In addition, they reused the foundation and slab on grade, exterior walls, and a structural roof deck. As a result, four of the project’s LEED points are for building reuse, according to Terrill. “We calculate that we were able to reuse 68.56 percent of the building,” she says. “We’re really pleased about that.” gb&d




Denizen and Dakota Outfall Denver’s new transit-oriented district overcomes political barriers to achieve density and a long-term stormwater solution

PROJECT LOCATION Denver Program M ixed-use development Size 75 acres Completion 2015 (expected) Certification L EED Platinum (for Denizen, expected), LEED-ND (for development, expected)


OWNER D4 Urban Architect Kephart Civil Engineer S.A. Miro General Contractor CFC, PCL (joint venture) Landscape Design Studio Insite LEED Certification U S Eco-Logic Legal Counsel McGeady Sisneros

Until recently, there was little resembling a neighborhood to see while looking down from the sky at the area around Alameda Station, a light-rail stop two-and-a-half miles south of the state capitol building in downtown Denver. About half of the 75-acre triangle between South Broadway, West Alameda Avenue, and the tracks is parking for the large retailers who make up the other half. D4 Urban, a local development company specializing in urban infill projects, is starting to change that with two interrelated projects that, in the words of D4 development manager Dan Cohen, will “bring the area from an auto-oriented big-box retail configuration to a high-density, mixed-use arrangement”: the Denizen multifamily development at Alameda Station and the Dakota Outfall Project public infrastructure installation. Cohen walks us through the plan. By Brian Barth

BUILT BY TRANSIT After securing development rights to 68 of

the 75 acres of asphalt and big-box rooftops, D4 generated an alternative vision of a much more livable neighborhood. Entitlements allow for a potential 10 million square feet of live-work-play space with a hefty amount of green space left over. As a decidedly transit-oriented development, the first phase involves replacing the three-acre park-and-ride lot at Alameda Station with a 275-unit residential complex, billed simply as Denizen, currently under construction. SHARING ECONOMIES Denizen will be the first LEED Platinum pearl in the planned LEED-ND neighborhood, but

green materials and energy efficiency were simply starting points for the design, not the ultimate goal. “We think this development is going to attract a lot of people that don’t own a car,” says Cohen, explaining D4’s overarching design directive for the project. The district will be a confluence of bus lanes, bike lanes, and rail lines, featuring bike- and car-sharing programs and shared community garden spaces. It’s designed for Denver’s hip, socially and environmentally conscious demographic, a crowd that is big on small carbon footprints and prefers in-town rentals to the white picket fences of the suburbs.


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INNER WORKINGS Denizen and Dakota Outfall


“We’ve unbundled parking from rent to help reduce gross occupancy costs. We think this development is going to attract a lot of people that don’t own a car.” Dan Cohen, D4 Urban

ACCESS AND AFFORDABILITY Tenants at Denizen can choose from 360-square-foot efficiencies,

1,200-square-foot townhomes, and several floor plans in between, all at competitive market rates expected to average below $2 per square foot upon delivery in July 2015. The development’s Walk Score is 89 out of 100, and the parking-to-dwelling ratio is a modest one-to-one. “We’ve unbundled parking from rent to help reduce gross occupancy costs,” Cohen says. With the menu of housing and transit options, walkability, and a building envelope and HVAC system that will keep utility bills to a minimum, Denizen seems destined to become a magnet for budget-minded millennials. A STORMWATER SOLUTION

Photography by Frank Ooms

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Though the Denizen site faces the rail station on one side, the other side

meets with the back wall of a K-Mart and associated inline retail, blocking access from Dakota Street, which dead-ends in the parking lot on the other side of the store. With all those impervious acres in the Platte River bottomlands, flooding has been a perennial problem in the adjoining neighborhoods, posing another significant challenge. D4 unraveled both roadblocks with a single solution: the Dakota Outfall Project, a combination of drainage infrastructure and gateway streetscape. The plan will extend Dakota Avenue through the K-Mart and inline retail site to Alameda Station, routing stormwater along with it, under the tracks and out to the river. PUBLIC-PRIVATE POLITICS Purely from a design perspective, the Dakota Outfall plan made perfect

sense. However, its $21.5 million price tag—as well as its need to relocate three retail tenants and build a new public street—made it a fiscal and political challenge for the developers. “We knew we had to have a public purpose to move tenants around and tear out about 8,000 square feet of retail,” Cohen says. Fortunately, civic leaders adopted the Dakota Outfall as a solution to the city’s larger flooding issues and contributed $18 million towards the infrastructure project that now collects runoff from 1,700 flood-prone acres of central Denver. The resulting public-private partnership enabled the use of eminent domain to rearrange the existing urban fabric. gb&d

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Up Front Typology Trendsetters Approach Inner Workings Features Spaces Next Punch List


100 Bet the House

Rural Studio’s 20K House began 10 years ago as a local student project. Now, the program hopes to house our nation’s most vulnerable on a much larger scale.

112 The Next Big Idea in Urban Design

Seven planners and other experts weigh in on the innovation we need as we rethink our cities

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House Rural , Studio s 20K Wager Story By Brian Barth Photos by Timothy Hursley


Bet the House january–february 2015


These homes are based on Rural Studio’s 20K House, a single-family residence that can be built for just $20,000. What began 10 years ago as an annual student project may soon become widely available.


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Many architecture students enter their university programs seeking to change the skylines of the world with the next generation of iconic buildings. Others work to ensure that every human being is simply able to inhabit a dignified dwelling. The students at Auburn University’s Rural Studio in west-central Alabama fall squarely into the latter group. Here, in the town of Newbern—population 186 at last count—a spirited architectural experiment has unfolded over the past two decades, running contrary to the profit-oriented stream of the profession and enabling one of the most disadvantaged populations in the country to achieve that perennial American dream: owning their own home.

clectic and decidedly DIY, Rural Studio has earned itself a reputation for showing up to help wherever it is needed—building private residences, parks, community centers, churches, greenhouses, and bathhouses over the years—while always being mindful that its participants and instructors will inevitably be perceived as outsiders. Its 20K House project has become its flagship program, encapsulating the ethics of community service, rigorous design development, and architecture-as-activism that have defined the studio since its inception. The challenge proposed by the 20K House project is to design homes that are so affordable



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that a person on government assistance could qualify for a mortgage to buy one. A $20,000 mortgage equates to payments of $100 per month—comparable to the cost of financing a lowend mobile home. The budget must cover materials, labor, and contractor profit, injecting a powerful pairing of austerity and creativity into the design process. Rural Studio has historically limited its work to a 25-mile radius of Newbern, in Hale County, an area littered with dilapidated trailers and the social, political, and economic maladies they represent. Here, one in four residents qualifies for welfare programs. Founded in 1993 by native Mississippian

Samuel “Sambo” Mockbee and his Auburn colleague D.K. Ruth to defuse the entrenched poverty trap in the area through socially responsive design—and as a real world architecture boot camp for students—the region has been a fertile landscape for the studio’s work. But as Rural Studio enters its third decade, it does so with an evolutionary wrinkle in its original mission. “We realized that there was an opportunity to help a broader audience,” says Andrew Freear, the studio’s current director (Mockbee and Ruth passed away in 2001 and 2009, respectively). Freear has catalyzed a transition from building one “charity” home with students each year to de-

OPPOSITE The latest version of the 20K concept, Michelle’s House eschews deep overhangs for bent steel window shades that protect just the south-facing windows. A screened-in porch adds living space.

veloping a product line based on the 20K concept. He and his team are currently in the prelaunch phase, working out the kinks of a version of the 20K house that could be built by any contractor anywhere that an affordable and architecturally sound housing type could be of use. Hale County may be one of the poorest census tracts in the nation, but it’s certainly not the only place lacking an

Rural Studio FEATURES

alternative to mobile homes, and Freear believes that scaling up the idea has the potential to fulfill a sorely vacant niche in the national housing market. “We may or may not be the only folks out there that could do this, but there’s almost a kind of moral responsibility to do it,” Freear says. “If we’re not going to, who is?” riving into Newbern on County Road 61 past the pine plantations, cattle farms, catfish ponds, and abandoned fields—some half-covered in kudzu, others long ago claimed as unofficial graveyards for defunct agricultural equipment—there’s a feeling of entering a place forgotten by progress. It is an invisible realm in many respects, far off the interstate and barely making a blip on the radar of our increas-



ingly urban-oriented society. The town, in the heart of what used to be known as Alabama’s Black Belt—so called because of the dark, rich soil that supported cotton’s 100-year reign in the agricultural economy—consists of a handful of tin-roofed antebellum homes with white picket fences and close-cropped crabgrass turf, churches clad in whitewashed wood siding, and a few modern, but modest, ranch homes. A half dozen weary, patchedup structures comprise downtown Newbern, their boarded-over front doors set back only inches from the county right-of-way. Just one of them, Newbern General Mercantile, shows any sign of life. Here, you can buy gas, a catfish sandwich, cigarettes, and sundry household items. Next door is the post office, now open only

At the end of the day, , it s beaten into them to be humble. , They re in a position of tremendous privilege in a place that , doesn t have money. Andrew Freear, Director, Rural Studio

At the end , of the day, it s

four hours a day, yet its flag is always raised. Across the street from the post office are two civic structures that will stop passersby in their tracks. The volunteer fire station looks like a modernist hybrid of a greenhouse and an art gallery, and Newbern’s town hall looks like a ranger station that would be more at home in the Adirondacks. The largest building in downtown Newbern, however, looks right at home in the rural Alabama landscape, clad in a patchwork of rust-red tin with a sagging second-floor porch, but despite appearances, it is ground zero for the design happening here. Inside, sweating in the August heat, a new crop of Auburn students hover around drafting tables, plotting the future of affordable housing and ecological design. The ramshackle struc-

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This 20K House is simple but far more durable than a trailer, with a central bathroom that doubles as a tornado safe room. Such innovation is vital here, where a quarter of the population lives below the poverty line.


ture, known as the Red Barn, serves as the workshop where Rural Studio’s built projects (150 plus to date) are worked out on the drawing board before students are armed with nail guns and concrete mixers to go build them. “They’re getting an incredible education, but at the end of the day, it’s beaten into them to be humble,” Freear says. “They’re in a position of tremendous privilege in a place that doesn’t have money.” This year, fifth-year thesis students are designing the 17th incarnation of the 20K house for a local family, one of only a few two-bedroom models the studio has attempted. “In the early


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Manager, Rural Studio

We look at what worked when there , weren t modern HVAC systems in homes: , It s sort of like operating a ship; you have to maneuver to open a window and get the right breeze. Natalie Butts, 20K House Program Manager,

days, Rural Studio was known to make some pretty idiosyncratic architecture,” says Natalie Butts from the studio’s administrative headquarters a half-mile down the road, where she wears several hats managing communications and the 20K House project. One early prototype had both a tin roof and tin exterior. The materials were cheap, but the clients complained they felt like they were living in a barn. Other early structures repurposed square showroom carpet tiles or bales of cardboard rerouted from the regional recycling center for walls—both had excellent insulation value but lacked any form of wall-covering to mask

their ungainly appearance. “We’ve become better listeners,” Butts says. Just as the students mature in their time at Rural Studio, so has the program in its 20 years grown to occupy a more comfortable position in the community. To complement the mix of unconventional eco-modernist styles developed in the Mockbee era, local antebellum homes also provide design inspiration, a point that Freear is quick to instill in students that arrive ready to reinvent the wheel. “The students crawl underneath them and look at how they’re built,” Freear says. “Why have they been there for 150 years?


LEFT Bobby’s House, the 14th iteration in the 20K program, is indicative of the Rural Studio’s trend toward simpler, less idiosyncratic design. “We’ve become better listeners,” says Rural Studio’s Natalie Butts.

Why were they comfortable to live in pre-air-conditioning?” The late 19th and early 20th century vernacular styles of the Deep South—such as the dogtrot house, with a screened-in breezeway bisecting its midsection, and the shotgun house, with its own remarkably simple approach to cross-ventilation—have also been primary study subjects in developing new modes of architecture to address the age-old challenge of building inexpensive, yet comfortable, homes that respond to both the culture and landscape of the region. “All we did in looking at the 20K House is say, ‘How can we do that at a smaller scale?” Freear says. “How can we take those lessons?’” Team members behind a 20K House look beyond construction costs to ensure that the home is also affordable to live in and easy to maintain. Repairing a carpet tile wall, for example, could be daunting for homeowners compared to a structure that is made from conventional materials available at the nearest hardware store. And while environmental ethics are integral to the studio’s purpose, Butts emphasizes that their brand of sustainability comes with a lowercase ‘s’. “We look at what worked when there weren’t modern HVAC systems in homes,” Butts says. “It’s sort of like operating a ship; you have to maneuver to open a window and get the right breeze.” Understandably, Southerners have welcomed the age of air-conditioning with open arms, living in a place where near-100-degree-Fahrenheit temperatures and near-100-percent humidity are ubiquitous from May to September. The relief provided by artificially cooled air, however, spelled the end of vernacular approaches to passive cooling. Rural Studio is unabashedly seeking to change this. Most of the thougb&d

sands of design hours involved in each 20K House are aimed at finessing the taut lines between human comfort and energy efficiency, constructability, aesthetics, and affordability. Freear forces iteration after iteration to weigh the pros and cons of every possible design alternative, vetting each idea by the observations made on visits to previous 20K homes. “We watch how people live in them,” Freear says. “Where do they put stuff? Did they put the refrigerator where we expected them to? Did they put the dining room table near the window so it bounces light into the space? We spend hours figuring out where to put the great American refrigerator so that big-ass refrigerator can bounce light into a kitchen off its face. Those things are ugly so you’ve got to try and do something with them that’s positive.” So, after all its attempts to upcycle locally available materials, incorporate sustainably manufactured products, and co-opt alternative building techniques from other contexts—such as straw bale and rammed earth—most of the studio’s design decisions for energy efficiency and resource conservation in its 20K homes trickle back to the basics: 2-by-6 studs to allow for extra insulation; steep, pitched roofs with extended overhangs to block the summer sun; screened-in porches to cool the air before it enters the home; and high ceilings with double-hung windows to let hot air rise out of the living space. Students analyze optimal nail patterns to build roomier structures with fewer materials and diagram the construction sequence to account for every 2-by-4 measured and every cut made, reducing the time—and thus the cost—of labor required to build each house. These details might be considered immaterial in most architecture programs, but they teach skills that are invaluable in the profession, no matter the context. From pouring the foundation to framing walls and finishing the interior, students build every inch of what they design, giving an immediate and implacable response to the feasibility of their ideas. By the

end of the design-build process, students are masters of the art of value engineering—not the dumbing-down that too often occurs between an architect’s inspiration and what is actually built, but more as a Tai Chi of doing better with less. In commercializing the 20K House, Freear sees potential for the program as an economic engine. Despite a desperate need for housing among the rural poor, the flow of capital is often too weak for conventional home-financing tools to work. Yet there are usually willing hands with basic construction skills, so Freear theorizes that a 20K House “product line” could enable a modest construction boom in the region, resulting in sturdy, dignified homes for some and employment opportunities for others. He acknowledges, however, that the process

still needs refinement in order to be feasible within the context of the local labor pool and inexpensive, locally available materials. “If you try to replicate these things on a large scale in a factory, you defeat the object of a site-built house where the money goes back into the local economy,” Freear says. “And the pride of seeing a home come out of the ground.” There are many examples of low-cost modular homes, but not for as little as $20,000, and they’re often made in far-off factories with synthetic materials sourced from around the globe; little wealth is transferred locally with these or with trailers. Plus, industry claims concerning the safety of either housing type during tornado season—as well as everyday safety in light of the off-gassing from interior components—are considered by

If you try to replicate these things on a large scale in a factory, you defeat the object of a site-built house where the money goes back into the local economy. Andrew Freear, Director, Rural Studio

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The Simplest Home Wins Design Evolution of the 20K House

2005 Elizabeth’s House (v1) Hale County, AL 616 ft2 Roof-tile cladding is used on exterior walls, along with traditional wood-framing.

2006 Frank’s House (v2) Greensboro, AL 392 ft2 Corrugated-metal cladding replaces the roof tiles on the exterior.

2007 Truss House (v3) Greensboro, AL 616 ft2 The wood-truss structure is clad with corrugated metal.

2008 (pictured below) Pattern Book House (v4) Greensboro, AL 336 ft2 This wood-framed home is clad with a dynamic cedar rainscreen. Loft House (v5) Greensboro, AL 364 ft2 Featuring metal studs, fiber-cement planks are used on the exterior. Roundwood House (v6) Greensboro, AL 420 ft2 Roundwood (smalldiameter timber) comprises the structure, and a plywood-and-metal curtainwall encloses the house. Bridge House (v7) Greensboro, AL 361 ft2 Sheet metal clads a unique house built with metal studs.


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2009 Dave’s House (v8) Newbern, AL 504 ft2 After 2009, all homes are wood-framed and most feature its corrugated-metal and pine-wood cladding.

2010 MacArthur’s House (v9) Faunsdale, AL 504 ft2 Fiber-cement-board cladding replaces the pine wood and metal.

2011 Joanne’s House (v10) Faunsdale, AL 523 ft2 Materials mimic the 2009 home: corrugated-metal and pinewood cladding.

2012 Turner’s House (v11) Faunsdale, AL 558 ft2 Ship-lap plywood is used as sheathing while corrugated metal is used on the exterior.

2013 Eddie’s House (v12) Faunsdale, AL 608 ft2 A return to corrugated metal and pine wood for exterior cladding, materials that are used on all four 2014 homes.

2014 Sylvia’s House (v13) Newbern, AL 775 ft2 This home doesn’t deviate from the metal and pine cladding but does explore a hip roof, p.110. Bobby’s House (v14) Newbern, AL 900 ft2 A long, narrow front porch defines this simple home, p. 106.

BELOW Over the years, the 20K Houses have become simpler. Since the 2009 version (top) all homes have used traditional wood framing and construction materials readily available to homeowners to allow for easy maintenance.

Michele’s House (v15) Hale County, AL 916 ft2 Here, porches are on either side of the home, but materials remain the same, p. 103. Idella’s House (v16) Hale County, AL 880 ft2 More roof play: a combination gable and shed roof in corrugated metal, p.104.

photo from 2008 shows the Rural A Studio at its most inventive in terms of materials: these homes feature a cedar rainscreen (foreground), fiber-cement panels (middle), and a plywood-and-metal curtainwall (far).


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Rural Studio FEATURES

most to be more than a little dubious. Yet there is another, deeper fault in the concept of trailers as homes. As assets, they have more in common with cars than they do with houses. Their worth depreciates over time, eventually leaving their owners with a dinosaur that costs hundreds of dollars to haul to the junkyard, rather than the lifetime of equity embodied in a real home, which becomes an asset that outlives its owner and is passed on to the next generation. Permanent houses, if cared for, typically appreciate in value over time, providing the proverbial bootstrap to the beneficiaries of the 20K program. “Several of the homes that we’ve built for $20,000 were immediately

Groups for the disabled, for battered women, for AIDS patients— they need this kind of housing, housing that looks like a home. Andrew Freear, Director, Rural Studio

valued for $50,000,” Freear says. Of the studio’s plan to productize the 20K House, Freear says, “We’re talking with some nonprofit housing advocates and different community groups about trying it. Groups for the disabled, for battered women, for AIDS patients—they need this kind of housing, housing that looks like a home.” The question now is how to make the transition from a student-based project to a commercially viable one. As one point of departure, Landon Bone Baker Architects, named Firm of the Year in 2014 by the Chicago chapter of the American Institute of Architects, has been reviewing the plans for three of the top 20K designs to provide feedback on their market-worthiness and to

create industry-standard design documents. Although the labor costs needed to construct each home are estimated with conservative caution, Freear is concerned that contractors will be stymied by some of the less conventional features, driving up labor costs as they scratch their heads over the unfamiliar plans and fail to get the homes up in the three-week time period that has become the studio’s standard criteria for meeting the 20K budget. To serve as a test run before releasing the plans to other contractors, Seattle-based JAS Design Build will soon head to Newbern to build one of the three prototypes at a site just down the road from the Rural Studio headquarters

Sylvia’s House is the most compact of the 20K House series, with two connected, rectangular volumes shifted slightly apart to make room for a pair of porches on opposite corners.


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Groups for

BRANCH: Birmingham

Pub: GB&D Magazine


alongside the two that students have already built. These will then serve as floor models for prospective buyers and builders to tour before choosing a plan. “We want to make sure that the folks that really need them have access,” Butts says, “though frankly, these houses are for everyone.” The studio’s hope is that the efficiency, affordability, and unique design of the 20K homes will appeal not just to charitable organizations, but to those wanting to build a lakeside retreat or a backyard mother-in-law suite. One remaining challenge, however, is to make sure that the 20K House concept holds water with financial institutions. The homes may cost only $20,000, but if financing is not available, they will still be out of reach for those that need them most. “Very few banks are interested in giving people a $20,000 mortgage, especially those whose credit ratings are so poor,” Freear says. “It costs them the same amount to write a mortgage for $20,000 as for $100,000. It’s not really our area of expertise, but down the road, that’s what we need to look at.”

obby Calhoun, Sylvia Coats, Michele Bolden, Idella and Jessie Haywood. There is a mix of pride and empathy in Freear’s voice as he lists the names of some of the recent recipients of the 20K homes and tells the stories of their hardship. He speaks kindly of Leah Avery, who recently took over running the general store from G.B. Woods, who ran it for the last 39 years, keeping the town’s main venue for social interaction alive. Then there’s Gwen Melton, the mail carrier who knows everyone in Hale County. Freear says Melton has come to him often over the years with the names of people she knows are disabled or struggling in some way, local residents who could use a lift in their lives. Many are living alone, with little opportunity to do more than survive. “The poverty that I found down here almost looked like the ghettoes of Soweto, with people living on dirt floors,” Freear says. Every time a match for the 20K program is identified,



Pella Proudly window & door replacement bright-eyed students pour in to Supports talk to the future homeowner Auburn about his or her needs and then, University’s usually within a few months, reNewbern turn to build it. A dozen years Library after his death, these students continue to realize the dream of Sambo Mockbee, the studio’s enigmatic, outspoken founder, who insisted that “everyone, Pella Architect Series® rich or poor, deserves a shelter Wood Windows for the soul.” • Exceptional Mockbee, a fifth-generation Energy-Saving southerner, was a rare individuPerformance al whom his peers remember as equally comfortable hamming it • Exquisitely Crafted up with a local catfish farmer as • EnduraGuard® discussing contemporary design Triple Wood theory over wine and cheese at Protection an art opening in SoHo. Freear, on the other hand, is British, and his wife, Elena Barthel, also an instructor in the program, is Italian. It seems like a strange meeting of worlds on the surface: Europeans in the Deep South pushing contemporary CALL: 205-545-8029 design along the red-clay roads of Alabama. But in his second CLICK: decade of living and working in VISIT: Birmingham, 101 Distribution Drive Hale County, Freear is becoming a local, one of the pillars among the 186. He serves on Newbern’s volunteer fire brigade and is a fixture at community events. His story, like that of Rural Studio, shows how time, gentle persistence, and hard work can take the trendy ideas of “local and sustainable” and help create an equitable place that people of • 800.422.7284 all backgrounds can be proud 35900-1-pellaw-BIRM G&G AD 2014.indd 1 to call home. gb&d

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María Arquero de Alarcón and Jen Maigret are cofounders of MAde Studio and assistant professors at the University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. For more, turn to p. 14.

In North America, the practice of urban design is increasingly facing conditions of disinvestment. Post-industrial Rust Belt cities are especially emblematic of this trend. Within this context, urban design’s next big challenge is to re-establish connections between technologies and construction techniques and their cultural relevance within cities. Think of this as a form of urban stewardship, encompassing the core values of environmental stewardship, but aspiring to link ecology with the daily experience of life in a city. In practice, this would mean ideas that value the material, spatial, and formal development of cities while striving to interlace diverse environmental systems. Urban stewardship would be blind to political boundaries, would involve many scales and points of view, and would generate the level of passion, audacity, and commitment to our cities necessary to achieve the realization of meaningful projects in the present and of radical possibilities in the future.

María Arquero de Alarcón and Jen Maigret URBAN STEWARDSHIP




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For our Ideas Issue, we asked guest editors María Arquero de Alarcón and Jen Maigret, “What is one big idea in urban design that hasn’t yet gained traction?” They then began an “idea chain” by posing the question to a colleague, who did the same, and so on. Here are seven bold visions of the city that have yet to be realized.

Terry Schwarz is the director of the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative at Kent State University in Cleveland, Ohio.

Many suburbs are becoming more urban, adopting established city-signifiers such as bike lanes, brew pubs, and mixed-use lifestyle centers that approximate the experience of a traditional city. Simultaneously, some cities (especially in the industrial heartland) are becoming less conventionally urban, as population loss and the lingering effects of the foreclosure crisis fuel the aggressive demolition of vacant and abandoned housing. In the aftermath of demolition, residential densities in city neighborhoods may begin to feel distinctly suburban, or even rural, as urban agriculture becomes a widely accepted land use. It’s easy to dismiss the ersatz urbanism of suburban lifestyle centers as somehow inauthentic, or to decry the de-densification of core cities as destructive. But since these processes are already underway in many metropolitan areas, perhaps it’s time to embrace more fluid ideas about city, suburb, and countryside— and design for the surprising juxtapositions that can occur when an urbane suburb brushes up against a suburbanized city.






Engineered water systems should be used as resources to generate a productive urban ecology. Rather than just creating a waterfront or bioswale, urban design should leverage all water-related infrastructure, including flood controls (walls, berms, floodways) and stormwater structures (gutters, pipes, sumps, snowfields, ditches, drains, pumps, ponds). We should open these up to something beyond their singular uses. Infrastructure can be used as a multifarious armature that allows for a metabolic transformation at the scale of the city. What is assumed to be waste in a myopic system can be translated into a living framework that cleans our water and air, creates development opportunities, and increases functional habitat, access, and program opportunity. These aqueous, living, infrastructural systems could then become the backbone for revitalized cities where people, plants, and animals interact to create unique places that generate true positive net gain in the human ecological equation.

Our industrial history has indelibly shaped our cities, but industry also has left an undeniable stain on our environment. In the wake of stereotypical factories with smokestacks, industry has evolved; we have large factories and refineries but also logistics hubs, advanced manufacturing, and a growing “maker” movement. So, what are the industrial districts of the future? Urban designers largely leave this question aside. Empty industrial land and buildings are opportunities for something else, it seems. I’ve seen far too many designs that treat this formerly productive space as new mixed-use villages and big-box stores. It’s time to understand how modern-day industry functions and develop design solutions that create greener, better-connected spaces for production. As much as open spaces are increasingly designed to double as infrastructure for stormwater management or food production, our industrial districts require the same rigor of design thinking. Our cities are engines for productivity. Let’s re-think the spaces we use to move and make things with the same level of urgency we’ve used to improve our downtowns and riverfronts.

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Scott Page is the founding principal of Interface Studio, a full-service planning and urban design studio in Philadelphia.



Scott Bishop is a registered landscape architect and a principal at Stoss, a global design firm specializing in landscape urbanism.



Kevin Hively is the president of Ninigret Partners, a Rhode Island-based business consultancy for economic development groups and nonprofit organizations.

One big idea is the incorporation of big data, behavioral science, and economics into urban design. The book Nudge (Penguin, 2008) presents great examples of this. To some degree, behavioral science has been used in transportation-systems design, particularly in ideas like traffic calming. But it has not yet penetrated into place-activation strategies, programming models, and development patterns. We have not yet learned to apply the concepts of consumer decision-making and experience into the field of urban design. I call the concept “economic design”—mixing behavioral science with design principles to support economic outcomes.



Tim Love is a principal at Utile, a research-based architecture and urban planning firm in Boston.

Architects and landscape architects working in urban design need to focus on cities’ backof-house districts. Only design thinking can tackle the physical contradiction between the need for trucks to ship goods and supplies through cities and the need for 21st-century manufacturing districts to be green and walkable in order to attract and retain skilled workers. The issue should be tackled on two fronts. The first is with innovative building types that include both high-bay spaces with state-of-the-art loading docks and sidewalk-hugging frontage for amenity retail and product showrooms. New industrial buildings should include complementary upper-floor functions, whether smaller-scale “maker” spaces, offices, or live-work studios. The second is to think through the spatial implications of the “Uberization” of shipping, which will break up the near-monopoly of UPS and FedEx. An on-call distribution system, served by thousands of independent drivers, will result in a greater number of smaller vehicles making many of the deliveries now made by box trucks. This network would require smaller and more accessible warehouses and would reduce the required dimensions for turning radii.



Have an idea that can shape our cities? Tweet us at @gbd_mag and use hashtag #GBDbigidea.

Join the Conversation SUBMIT YOUR BIG IDEA

Eran Ben-Joseph is a professor and head of the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Innovation happens through necessity, and those at the margins of society innovate on a daily basis. From the favelas of South America to the colonias of Texas, marginality brings about never-imagined urban solutions. Decentralizing innovation by giving a voice to non-experts spurs a level of transformative freedom unavailable to specialists who are bound by rules and codes. At the margins, it is practice before theory, creation before planning. With the flow of information from local to global, we can shift away from the individual experts and start focusing on the crowd, transforming urban design through this new sourcing.






Up Front Typology Trendsetters Approach Inner Workings Features Spaces Next Punch List


118 Mind, Body, Bottom Line

CBRE gives a tour of the world’s first WELL-certified office space

124 Shape Shifter

In Houston, a LEED Platinum office is designed for theatrical transformation

130 Green with Envy

CSHQA reuses a computer’s waste heat in the firm’s new Boise office

132 Power Structures

Architerra’s award-winning Gateway Center celebrates wood’s myriad uses

Milwaukee’s newest mixed-income housing project prizes variability

140 Mix and Match

144 Coming of Age

A Minneapolis building becomes a milestone for its original contractor

148 Certified Golden Years

Atria’s Woodbriar Place uses smart systems to ensure water quality

150 Ground Swell MVVA fortifies a flood-prone

neighborhood in Toronto

156 Some Disassembly Required

Recycled shipping containers give an Austin bar a longer shelf life

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DETAILS LOCATION Los Angeles Program Consolidation of two offices Size 48,000 ft2 Completion 2013 Certification LEED Gold (CI) and WELL Gold Client CBRE Group Architect Gensler Cost Withheld

Helping make the case for the positive relationship between wellness and worker satisfaction, CBRE’s new headquarters is the world’s first office space certified by WELL By Russ Klettke

RIGHT CBRE’s home is the first office certified through WELL. Elements like the central staircase and rooms for yoga encourage well-being.


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This much is intuitive: how we feel affects our ability to work. If we are tired or have a headache, it’s probably not going to be our most productive day. If we have debilitating back pain, we may not show up at the office at all. Buildings and their contents can be responsible for adverse workplace conditions and illnesses; since the 1990s, we’ve wrestled with questions around “sick building syndrome,” while research shows that lighting, ergonomics, and physical activity can enhance workplace productivity. If buildings and interiors are designed with our physical well-being in mind, could our workplaces improve how much we contribute to the enterprise? This is a question that Lewis C. Horne, the president of CBRE Group in Los Angeles, has given a lot of thought to, and in 2013, the global real estate services company—with 44,000 employees in 67 countries—sought to create the prototypical healthful workplace as it built out its own flagship office. As it did so, the company decided to pursue a newly launched building standard that has quickly gained traction all across the globe. INVESTING IN HEALTH Onno Zwaneveld, an executive vice president with CBRE, became acquainted with the WELL Building Standard through a founding member of the Clinton Global Initiative, which is involved with the construction of an orphanage registered for WELL certification in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The standard prioritizes building occupants’ health within the broader context of sustainability by focusing on performance requirements across seven main categories: air, comfort, fitness, light, mind, nourishment, and water. Administered by the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI), a public benefit corporation, or B Corp, that was launched by real estate company Delos in 2013, the rating is third-party certified through the Green Building Certification Institute, the same organization that provides LEED certification. It is the culmination of seven years of rigorous research and collaboration with leading physicians, scientists, and industry professionals. Specific standards were reviewed and refined during a transparent peer-review process that included three phases—a scientific,





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THE WELLNESS TENETS CBRE’s new global headquarters was the world’s first completed office space to achieve WELL certification under the pilot program. “We followed virtually all of the recommendations, from lighting to flooring to everything else,” Horne says, emphasizing that WELL is a complement, not a competitor, to LEED certification because some employees don’t necessarily perceive environmental sustainability as a direct benefit to them. “LEED is good, but when we showed our employees that this improves their air and water quality and their posture, they were elated.” Arguably one of the most impactful features of the space is how lighting is designed to accommodate natural circadian rhythms. Humans evolved to use natural light as a cue to biological processes, but artificial light disrupts these processes in ways that affect sleep quality, levels of alertness, and emotions. The WELL Building Standard advocates for maximum natural daylighting, as well as controls that adjust the light spectrum

WELL BUILDING STANDARD COMMON AREAS OF CREDIT Air  Effective filtration  Ideal exchange rates  VOC-free finishes Water  No pathogens, sediments, heavy metals, or chlorine in water  Optimal water accessibility Nourishment  Promotion of healthy eating habits  Reduced availability of unhealthy foods Light  Circadian lighting controls  Adequate daylighting  UV light to produce vitamin D Fitness  Dedicated exercise space  Close proximity to recreation  Attractive staircases Comfort Noise protection  Deflected electromagnetic fields  Antimicrobial surfaces  Ergonomic furniture 

Mind  Biophilic features and designs that encourage stress management and emotional balance

“LEED is good, but when we showed our employees that this improves their air and water quality and their posture, they were elated.” Lewis Horne, CBRE Group


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and intensities across the course of the day. Lighting is also designed to improve visual acuity and reduce eyestrain while providing ultraviolet rays to enable natural vitamin D generation without damaging eyes or skin. Another tenet of WELL is illustrated by the CBRE office’s visually arresting center staircase, which encourages physical activity. A nearby room dedicated to stretching piggybacks on this, providing a physical and mental escape from workday stress. Spread throughout the office are filtered-water hydration stations, nutritious food choices, and indoor plants, each of which support greater health of mind and body. Though it is not required under WELL, the office layout is structured around “free-addressing,” meaning that no one has a dedicated office. Wireless technologies and a collaborative ethos allow all workers to float between workspaces as needed, and the entire workplace is

virtually paperless, with each employee allotted a single file drawer. Employees can use ergonomic furniture like standing desks or even those equipped with treadmills. Those standing do so on “forgiving floors” that offer additional orthopedic benefits. ‘POWERFUL RESULTS’ Other early projects incorporating WELL features include Stay Well rooms at MGM Grand Hotels in Las Vegas and a luxury condominium project in New York’s Greenwich Village. Another project registered to pursue WELL certification is a block-size, 1.8 million-square-foot mixed-use renovation in downtown Los Angeles developed by The Ratkovich Company, and the standard has been implemented in several LYFE Kitchen restaurants, including locations in Chicago and Tarzana, California. “The possibilities are endless,” Scialla says. But does it really work? A CBRE employee survey taken one year


tioner, and medical review—and was led by top building, wellness, and medical experts from institutions that included Cleveland Clinic, the US Green Building Council, the Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation, and Dr. Deepak Chopra. “The WELL Building Standard is about the people in the building, who account for about 90 percent of the investment that companies make in offices,” says Paul Scialla, the founder of both IWBI and Delos. “Productivity, ‘presentee-ism,’ and corporate health benefits have tremendous potential payback.” For perspective, CBRE’s Horne points out that an office’s energy costs per year are around $3 per square foot, while human capital costs are more like $300 per square foot. “Achieving WELL added less than two percent to overall costs,” Horne says. “If we can lower employee health costs, there could be a very strong business case for this.”


“Ninety-two percent of employees report a positive effect on their health and wellbeing. These are powerful results.” Onno Zwaneveld, CBRE Group

THIS SPREAD Designed by Gensler, the CBRE office uses indoor plants, standing desks, hydration stations, and sunlight combined with special lighting-spectrum controls to maintain employee wellness, which now can be certified through the International WELL Building Institute.

after the move-in is encouraging: “Ninety-two percent of employees report a positive effect on their health and well-being,” Zwaneveld says. “These are powerful results.” Delos is continuing to collaborate with the Mayo Clinic to test the efficacy of human health-oriented building features. Meanwhile, CBRE has had no fewer than 10,000 visitors in its first year, and more than 7.7 million square feet worth of commercial, institutional, and multifamily living space on four continents has registered for or been certified through WELL. That’s a lot fewer headaches and backaches. gb&d gb&d

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lead to HEALTHY


CBRE / DELOS FP AD Stay Well® Meetings at MGM Grand is the first-ever integrated meetings experience, offering numerous amenities and design features to help enhance the wellness of attendees and promote a more productive meeting. The wellness experience continues with our beautiful Stay Well rooms and suites, designed with innovative features to promote restful sleep and relaxation. After the day’s events, attendees can witness legendary entertainment at the Grand Garden Arena, unbeatable dining, and thrilling nightlife, all accompanied by our world-class service. MGM Grand offers the best of Vegas under one roof. Sleep Well. Work Well. Stay Well. For more reasons to choose MGM Grand, call 1-800-929-1112 | | Private registration in the Stay Well Lounge

Stay Well rooms promote healthy, restful sleep

Stay Well rooms with vitamin C showers

Curated menu of healthy food options






Awarded Best Rehab by Silicon Valley Business Journal in 2014, 435 Indio Way represents a model for taking a 40-year-old concrete tiltup and turning it into a high-tech, net-zero office space. A collaborative effort between Sharp Development, RMW Architecture, and Integral Group, the 31,800-square-foot former Hewlett-Packard building is now powered and illuminated by the sun and cooled by the area’s natural breezes. Custom skylights punctuate the photovoltaic arrays on the roof, and operable electrochromic windows by View Dynamic Glass limit solar gain and flush the space with outside air, nearly eliminating a need for a typical HVAC system. Sharp’s Kevin Bates says that despite elegant finishes and sophisticated automation systems, the project was built competitively, making the net-zero renovation of this ubiquitous Silicon Valley typology a profitable, and therefore replicable, endeavor. gb&d —Timothy Schuler


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A showpiece for Houston’s MetroNational, the Treehouse serves as a LEED Platinumcertified multifunctional office and “company beehive.”


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MetroNational’s LEED Platinum office and studio most resembles a treehouse but can be transformed into a multitude of spaces By Brian Barth

PROJECT LOCATION Houston, TX Program Studio and office space Size 14,700 ft2 Completion 2014 Certification L EED Platinum (expected)

TEAM OWNER/ DEVELOPER MetroNational Creative Designer Acumen Architect/Interior Designer S tudio Red Structural Engineer A SA Dally MEP Engineer C ollaborative Engineering Group Civil Engineer W ard, Getz & Associates Landscape Architect The Office of James Burnett Lighting L ighting Design Alliance General Contractor Anslow Bryant Construction


SUPPLIERS GEOTHERMAL HVAC Gowan with Loop Tech Windows Haley Greer Cabinets and Wood Products AAA Woodwork Counters Sigma Marble and Tile Solar Panels A &H Electric Electrical Lighting/Controls Midwest Electric Structural Cast-in-Place Concrete Baker Concrete Green Roof LS Decker Wood Veneer and Metal Skin MCT Sheet Metal Landscaping S ullivan Land Service Reclaimed Wood Floors The Wood Shop of Texas Folding Doors Renlita Doors of North America Accordion Doors Nana Wall Theatrical Rigging/Lighting T exas Scenic Bike Racks Berger Iron Works Fireplace / Fire Pit S aco Water-Storage Tanks Rain Harvesting Supplies Window Coverings Katy Blinds



hen you’ve worked for six decades to knit together 265 acres of urban fabric in a city the size of Houston, you deserve to build something from your dreams. If it can be a showcase of sustainable design, all the better. Such is the story of the Treehouse, an unusual design studio and office space built by Houston-based MetroNational. As the new home of its design and development team, MetroNational hopes the Treehouse will serve as a demonstration of the firm’s evolving ideals and vision for future development in the region. The Treehouse is located at the intersection of I-10 and Bunker Hill Road in Memorial City—the largest, single-owner, mixed-use development inside Houston city limits—which is owned and operated by MetroNational. Though it started as a suburban shopping mall at the edge of town in the late 1950s, Memorial City has evolved into a dense, mixed-use district within what has grown to be a highly urbanized part of the Houston metropolis. Memorial City comprises 7.6 million square feet of retail, office, hotel, and multifamily residential space; the second largest medical center in the area; and now, the Treehouse—possibly the most unique new building in Texas. “We felt like we needed a space that was a symbol to the community and to the people that we work with in the real estate business, a place that demonstrates our creativity,” says Glenn Fuhrman, the vice president of design and construction for MetroNational. At just less than 15,000 square feet, the Treehouse, which was designed by Studio Red in collaboration with Acumen, is home base for the 12 full-time team members that Fuhrman oversees, but it’s quickly becoming the company beehive. It has a bar, a stage, a breakfast nook, and a wrap-around deck with a fireplace on the second level. The rooftop, which features a botanical garden, is a clubhouse environment with a full outdoor kitchen, fire pit, water feature, and big-screen TV. MetroNational has more than 100 employees across the 265-acre site, “but we discovered they were going to coffee shops or other places in the morning or maybe for happy hour after work,” Fuhrman says. “We thought if we could provide an atmosphere that would encourage our employees to come over and hang out before or after work and have coffee, snacks, or fruit, perhaps there would be better interactions among employees instead of everybody working in their silos.” The Treehouse is connected to MetroNational’s main offices in the towering glass and concrete building next door by a wooden catwalk reminiscent of a

swinging footbridge from the Swiss Family Robinson, but it’s still a place for business to get done, albeit in a fun, collaborative manner. A large development company like MetroNational collaborates with dozens of outside professionals each week— including architects, designers, engineers, and brokers—and they are often invited to come and share the space. The staff’s private offices (called “pods”) open out onto a communal workspace (the “nest”), which is adjacent to the lounge area (the “camp”) and just a short flight of stairs below the rooftop garden (the “perch”). With the flip of a switch, the central flex space can be reconfigured for large presentations or as several smaller work areas for project teams, and there are little nooks off to the side where external contractors or visiting staff can have a quiet place to work at their laptops. “Studio Red is known for doing a lot of theater work, and we felt that the Treehouse is like a stage,” Fuhrman says. “Depending on who’s coming—a banker, an architect, or a prospective tenant—we can set the stage differently.” MetroNational believes the collaborative studio environment will increase the productivity of the design and development staff and lead to more inspiring and innovative projects in the company’s portfolio. So despite the fun and games, the Treehouse is serious about fiscal productivity, and it’s very serious about another one of the company’s goals: environmental sustainability. “We made a conscious decision to increase the building’s design and sustainability features and try for the highest number of [LEED] points,” Fuhrman says. “We wanted to get all the bells and whistles we could into the building.” The Treehouse is targeting LEED Platinum, which, according to its scorecard, should be easily attainable. First, MetroNational cleaned up the brownfield left by the gas station and dry-cleaning service that formerly occupied the site. Thirty-five 400-foot geothermal wells were drilled under the parking lot and provide all of the cooling for the building “except on Houston’s hottest

“Studio Red is known for doing a lot of theater work, and we felt that the Treehouse is like a stage. Depending on who’s coming—a banker, an architect, or a prospective tenant— we can set the stage differently.” Glenn Fuhrman, MetroNational

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DIALOGUE GWYNDOLYN MOWBRAY Mowbray served as the interior designer for the Treehouse on the Studio Red team. She shares her thoughts on bringing the treehouse theme to life inside the building.

But it sounds like the treehouse theme played out as much or more in making it a playful workspace? The vision was to foster imagination and creativity while creating a unique space for both work and play. The structural columns that run through the space are clad in vertical wood members that imitate trees. They house color-changing lights, creating a soft glow within the trees and the ability to create various ambiances. There are also a number of informal areas, including a kitchen and bar, living room, small lounges, and a space with a lowered wood ceiling that creates a nook, complete with a grass bench. How do you see the interior layout reflecting contemporary thoughts on the office environment? There is a big focus on flexibility. We have walls that fly into the air, ceilings that move up and down, and a façade that disappears, opening the building up to the exterior to create unique gathering spaces. We used the materials to build one space that can act in multiple ways. The client can produce and entertain in one space with the features to manipulate the environment around them.

100-degree days,” Fuhrman says. The exterior wood cladding is FSC-certified South American machiche, while much of the interior flooring is pine salvaged from an old cotton warehouse in Galveston. Twin 3,500-gallon cisterns capture water for the landscape, which includes an extensive green roof planted with locally adapted botanicals. The need for interior lighting is minimal: there is a high percentage of exterior glazing (mostly tinted to keep the interior climate cool) and a massive light well that peers down into the middle of the space. The lighting that is used is part of a Crestron computer-controlled system that raises and lowers blinds and modulates interior light levels according to the time of day and season. There are also quirky features like indoor bike hutches that retract into the wall like the drawers of a file cabinet and a scrap-metal wind-turbine art installation on the roof. It doesn’t actually generate power, but it does generate conversations about renewable energy.

“Our intention is to use the building for educational purposes,” Fuhrman says, “maybe have elementary-school kids come for a tour or host college kids or AIA professionals—to use it as a teaching tool, if you will.” This intention is on display throughout, as interpretive signage and


There are several unique details that riff on the idea of a treehouse. Do these also play into the building’s sustainability features? Yes. For example, we were focused on bringing daylight into the space. The majority-glass façade with the added frit pattern mimicking tree leaves generates bright workspaces and views while creating opacity in the upper portion of the glazing.

RIGHT Known as the “camp,” the office’s central gathering area faces a wraparound balcony that features an operable door that can be raised to create one large, open-air space.


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interactive touchscreens line the walls, giving clues to the lean green design that went into the structure and tracking the building’s performance. At the center of the second level, directly beneath one of the light wells, is a scale model of Memorial City, showing how the city within a city has been pieced together over time. With the arrival of the Treehouse, a new direction for the place is clear. For MetroNational and Fuhrman, personally, it’s a dream of a workplace come true. “When I was a kid, I really wanted to have a cool treehouse,” he says, “but the only treehouse we had was some plywood stapled to a couple limbs in the forest. Now we have our treehouse.” And Houston has a new bar for what’s possible in the built environment. gb&d

ABOVE A suspension bridge connects the Treehouse to MetroNational’s corporate office in the adjoining building. The lush rooftop is planted with locally adapted plants that absorb stormwater. C








“We have walls that fly into the air, ceilings that move up and down, and a façade that disappears, opening the building up to the exterior to create unique gathering spaces.” Gwyndolyn Mowbray, Studio Red


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Contrary to how it appears at first glance, the office of KMC Constructions in Cyber City, Hyderabad, is not a giant hedge shaped like a building. Beneath its outer sheet of vegetation, which actually consists of many different plant species, are aluminum windows and a concrete frame discreetly holding a custom-built trellis with a series of hydroponic trays complete with their own self-sustaining misting system. The species are arranged in variegated clusters according to the different seasons in which they bloom, bringing to life new sections of the façade every few months, which would make for a great time-lapse video— and makes for a new, threedimensional definition of “green wall.” gb&d —Steven Arroyo


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Green with Envy A design firm captures everything down to the heat from its computers in the design of its own LEED Platinum office By Russ Klettke

Envy the Pacific Northwest. Due to its extensive hydroelectric power generation, the region has remarkably inexpensive energy, and in many locales, geothermal energy—170-degree-Fahrenheit water produced by the Earth’s mantle—is tapped to heat buildings and run steam turbines. The Northwest has used renewable resources for decades. Boise-based architecture firm CSHQA is worthy of at least as much envy. Regardless of the low-cost energy available in Idaho, president Kent Hanway and his entire team decided to go all-in on sustainability for their new offices. “It’s important for our company to be a leader, to walk the talk,” says Hanway, whose firm designed its first sustainable school building in the 1970s. Located in Boise’s city center, the building is an adaptive reuse of a 60-year-old warehouse. Drawing from the municipal geothermal system, it channels water through 5/8-inch tubes embedded throughout the single-story structure’s concrete

floor. In warmer months, this radiant floor system switches over to cool municipal water. Overhead, cloth ducts with small vents spaced every eight inches maintain ventilation without the pronounced drafts that occur with metal ductwork. Also overhead and along perimeter walls are skylights and windows that provide diffused light; electric lights automatically dim when natural light strengthens. This is a sustainable and healthier approach that even manages the tricky nature of the sun’s path throughout the course of a day. Design staff can manually adjust desk lighting as needed, and because the building had a freight-loading zone in its previous life, the canopy that once shielded trucks from rain and snow was retained to block afternoon sun, reducing both glare and heat gain. Where the designers got particularly inventive was in developing a heat-capture system off their desktop computers. The computer exhaust fans are shrouded, connected to a two-inch-diameter conduit that feeds a six-inch spine that runs between adjacent cubicles. In winter, the heat flows through an exchanger to warm incoming air, and in summer, it is sent outside. This building is only the second in Boise to seek LEED Platinum certification, but “there are many more LEED buildings in development,” says John Maulin, CSHQA’s executive vice president and director. “Even with our lower energy costs, a long-term owner can see a favorable ROI.” Other green features include LED fixtures, sustainable landscaping, and an efficient building envelope. gb&d

INSIDE THE DESIGN Three CSHQA staffers describe the features that make their office tick Amy Dockter, electrical engineer of record (lighting/power distribution) “Providing natural light in the space enlivens the environment. Task lighting is provided at each desk to supplement the lighting at night and on overcast days. Daylighting and bright areas are great for mood and when performing written tasks, but less lighting is typically needed, and preferred, for those with computer-intensive tasks. We tried to analyze the different areas of the building and locate employees in the areas most conducive to their tasks.” Russ Pratt, lead mechanical engineer “The geothermal heating system is not much different from a well-designed boiler system. There are no pipes open to the atmosphere so we don’t smell it or see any rise in humidity. The brazed plate heat exchanger is about the size of a briefcase—versus a boiler 50 times larger—so it doesn’t take up much space in the mechanical room.” Danielle Weaver, architect and project coordinator “We have many sustainable featuressuch as secure bike storage, recycle bins at each desk, showers, and locker rooms. Our central downtown location also allows employees to walk to work or use public transit. We also redesigned our existing cubicles to provide a more open feel throughout the office, which naturally lends itself to collaboration. I really feel like I am part of a cohesive unit with the absence of barriers.”

LOCATION Boise, ID Program Office Size 20,000 ft2 Completion 2013 Certification LEED Platinum (expected), Green Globe (expected) Cost $2.0 million Awards AIA Idaho 2014 Awards/ Sustainable Design; ENR Regional 2014 Award, Award of Merit for Green Design; ASID Intermountain Chapter Design Awards, 2014 Commercial Category


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Though site challenges made it a tough build, SUNY College of Environmental Sciences & Forestry’s new Gateway Center highlights wood’s structural and energy-generating possibilities By Russ Klettke Photos by David Lamb


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THIS PAGE ESF’s Gateway Center uses wood for its main entrance’s splayed timber struts, as an interior finish, and as fuel. Using waste-wood pellets generates power for five campus buildings and reduces carbon emissions by 25%.


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With newfound confidence in the structural integrity of cross-laminated timber (CLT) for tall structures, awareness of the superior life-cycle sustainability of wood over steel and concrete, and promotion by the US Department of Agriculture for wood’s renewable and job-creating features, designers and builders are rediscovering wood. But before they can take full advantage, wood still has to get past certain preconceived notions. Can it really perform in large-scale building? (The answer is yes.) Won’t it be vulnerable to fire? (No.) And aren’t some applications—banking, government, and academic buildings, in particular—expected to have the august aesthetic of masonry? (Not necessarily.) The last of these questions is subjective, of course. But a striking example is the Gateway Center, the new centerpiece of the College of Environmental Science & Forestry (ESF), an institution of the State University of New York (SUNY) nestled alongside the Syracuse University campus. “The idea that masonry equates with longevity is a holdover from the 19th century,” says Daniel Bernstein, principal of Architerra, the Boston-based sustainable architecture and planning firm responsible for the Gateway Center’s design. “ESF is about innovation and 21st-century science.” In other words, the extensive use of wood in the low-slung facility has much to do with image. But it’s also fundamentally about functionality. The extraordinary office, conference, exhibition, event, and café space is also a district power


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Glulam beams, part of the building’s structure, are strong enough to support the intensive green roof.

EXCLUSIVE EXTRAS For more of the Gateway Center, download the iPad edition or visit


ABOVE FSC-certified wood bracings mimic the struts of the main entrance in the main concourse, which features a bookstore, cafĂŠ, and conference center alongside the Theodore Roosevelt Wildlife Collection displays.


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PROJECT LOCATION Syracuse, NY Program Conference space, café, offices, district power plant Size 54,000 ft2 Completion 2013 Certification LEED Platinum Cost $ 26.5 million

ARCHITECT Architerra Landscape Architect Andropogon Associations Contractor Murnane Building Contractors Construction Manager T urner Construction Company Structural Engineer Clark Engineering & Surveying MEP/FP Engineer V an Zelm Heywood & Shadford Geotechnical/Environmental/ Hazmat Engineer Dente Associates Client SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry


Glulam Timber Clavert, RLD Millwork Genbrook Millwork Metal Shingles F irestone Porcelain Tile Floor Gres Ecotech Solar Panels Sunpower Green Roof Carlisle Roof Garden Vegetation W atson Farms, ESF greenhouses

plant, providing energy to no less than five buildings on the ESF campus. The large-scale, intensive green roof—a collaboration between the architect, landscape architect Andropogon Associates, and ESF’s landscape architecture faculty—is an active research site. And on its hilly campus, the porticoed, all-glass façade with “tree-branch” bracing functions as both beacon and way station to students. It’s hard to imagine a more appropriate client for this project. ESF is a premier institution that prepares students for careers in forestry management and engineering, environmental sciences, and landscape architecture. Dan Arons, a principal and cofounder of Architerra, attributes the success of the Gateway Center—which has received multiple industry accolades, including the AIA COTE Top Ten Green Projects Award—to what he calls “the power of owner leadership.”

“They set audacious goals and stood by them all through the process,” he says. Those audacious goals included making do with a challenging site, which Ellen Watts, also a cofounder and comanager, describes as “three misfortunes.” First, the site was formerly a narrow parking lot. Second, the lot ran north and south against Syracuse’s Carrier Dome, a 1970s colossus. And the third challenge? “The west exposure is the worst for heat gain,” Watts says. Architerra’s solutions included a bioclimatic form, the use of metal-clad serrations that block afternoon sun while turning views for building occupants southward. The school acquired an additional 30 feet of width from the university, broadening the footprint. As for the hulking concrete and fabric-roofed sports facility, which occupies seven acres, its dull grey mass serves as a nice

The team used metal-clad serrations to orient views away from the monstrous domed stadium to the north.


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backdrop to the bright, woody Gateway Center. “Low and lean, the building can’t overpower the stadium,” Watts says. “So instead it makes a very big gesture.” Eight types of FSC-certified wood comprise the interior and exterior of the building, with rich wood grain prominent in walls, ceilings, load-supporting beams, pyramidal roof monitors, and the aforementioned bracings. But Watts is quick to point out that the goal was not simply to use wood as finishes. “It’s for function and fuel,” she says. “Glue-laminated timber is part of the structure, with the strength to support an intensive green roof.” This “fuel” includes waste-wood pellets burned in a steam-boiler and turbine system. Combined with natural gas, solar photovoltaics, and solar thermal (drawn from half the roof space), energy costs are reduced by 64 percent and carbon emissions by 25 percent. This cogeneration plant occupies about half of the building’s lowest level, providing 60 percent of the heat and 20 percent of power required by the five buildings it serves. The plant is color-coded, monitored, and displayed for educational purposes. The energy-reducing vegetated roof is also part and parcel of the education program for ESF students. “We have to credit the landscape architecture department for their vision,” Watts says. “They have experimented with other green roofs on the campus. At the Gateway Center, they conduct ongoing research on insects, birds, and opportunistic plants.” The students selected native species—Great Lakes dune and Alvar grasslands plants—

“The idea that masonry equates with longevity is a holdover from the 19th century. ESF is about innovation and 21st-century science.” Daniel Bernstein, Architerra


that Watts reports were thriving in their second growing season in a non-irrigated, windswept, low-maintenance environment. The rooftop vegetation, growing in 6 to 24 inches of dirt, captures most stormwater. But rain that falls on the solar panels and other parts of the site is channeled to a 48-inch trench, then into underground detention, and eventually into on-ground vegetation. No potable water is used for irrigation, while water-efficient measures in kitchens and restrooms reduce overall municipal water usage by 32 percent. Back inside, rain-motif wall panels and a natural history exhibit (from the Roosevelt Wild Life Collections, permanently housed in another campus building) bring elements and representations of the outside in. Yet given the abundant indirect daylight throughout the concourse of the Center—and those tree-like structural features—such distinctions are intentionally blurred. “Traditional academic buildings are often monoliths,” Watts says. “This building is very transparent. With layers and screens, it draws you in as it unfolds.” gb&d

TOP To educate students and visitors about ESF’s approach to making the Syracuse campus carbon neutral, the cogeneration plant is visible through floor-to-ceiling glass walls. ABOVE Jutting up from a roof planted with native dune and Alvar grassland species are cedar-clad prismatic apertures that direct natural light to the concourse below. OPPOSITE The Gateway Center’s slim site was formerly a parking lot. The dynamic design, which provides a rooftop gathering space for students, faculty, and staff, was born out of this and other physical constraints.

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As a series of interlocking, “L”-shaped volumes—each featuring a unique façade—University of Baltimore’s 192,000-square-foot Angelos Law Center unites the university’s law school in a 12-story, LEED Platinum building that takes advantage of cutting-edge technologies and centuriesold maneuvers. The structurally integrated heating-and-cooling system uses radiant water tubing embedded in the building’s concrete slab while the central atrium is surrounded by operable windows to create a stack effect. Two of the façades consist of glazed aluminum unitized curtain walls, one an all-glass system with a gradient frit that creates a “woven” appearance on the uppermost stories. From outside, the building’s form hints at the main three functions inside: law library, office, and classroom. gb&d —Timothy Schuler


EXCLUSIVE EXTRAS For more of the Angelos Law Center, download the iPad edition or visit


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Real Vision, Real Value. 1001 Franklin Avenue – LEED® Certified

Wyandanch Village – LEED® Silver (Anticipated)

The Visionaire

The Visionaire – LEED® Platinum

The Solaire – LEED® Platinum

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Leaders in Sustainable Development for Over 10 Years Founded in 1949, the Albanese Organization is a full-service real estate development firm dedicated to creating commercial and residential buildings of distinction, quality, and architectural merit that optimize value, are environmentally responsible, and enhance the communities in which they are located.


Milwaukee’s newest mixed-income housing development trades the cookie cutter for variability By Evan Cline


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With the creation of its newest housing project, the Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee has literally demolished the idea of cookie-cutter, onesize-fits-all public housing.


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employing up to three styles and sixteen color and material schemes. Altogether, 156 single-family homes were constructed. The main entrance to the development passes between two mid-rise buildings designed to house 94 senior citizens and disabled adults. Tony Pérez, secretary executive director of HACM, likens the community to a bowerbird. “The bowerbird is all about trinkets, and the more trinkets the male has, the more the female is attracted [to him],” he says. “So we’re trying to be the bowerbird with our trinkets and attract [residents].” Yet “trinkets” may be a misnomer; what Pérez is talking about is world-class, sustainable amenities. Westlawn Gardens is designed for walkability. Public transit is

BELOW Two midrises that house seniors and disabled adults provide an architectural gateway into Westlawn Gardens in Milwaukee. The community uses multiple housing styles to create a built-over-time look that complements the surrounding neighborhood.

easily accessible on three sides, and a retail corridor lines the neighborhood to the north. Bioswales and rain gardens divert runoff and also beautify the neighborhood’s roadways. The development is the first neighborhood in Milwaukee to employ LED street lights, and the Milwaukee Public Library has installed the first vending library in the entire Midwest. To the south, Lincoln Creek runs along a new park and community garden where 84 raised beds, including six that are handicap accessible, provide an opportunity for residents to grow their own produce and socialize with neighbors. A stone amphitheater installed in the park hosts classes on topics such as healthy eating and food preparation. “Some folks are going to be interested in moving here because of what it represents,” Pérez says. “And others may


The 60-year-old bunker-style houses of Westlawn have been ousted by the townhouses and mid-rises of the LEED-ND Silver-certified Westlawn Gardens. The development provides mixed-income housing that combines green technology with social equality. Phase 1 of Westlawn Gardens was completed in 2012 with 250 public housing units. Phase 2 will begin this year with six additional blocks of market-rate housing. “We’ve found the most stable neighborhoods are mixed-income neighborhoods,” says Paul Williams, the communications coordinator for the Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee (HACM). “You have a variety of households that bring increased diversity to the neighborhood. You’re not creating an island of poverty.” Mixed-income neighborhoods, so the current thinking goes, encourage economic growth and development. “That income diversity helps to stabilize the community,” Williams says. “We see additional retailers come into the neighborhood: grocery stores and restaurants that are providing healthier foods because people can afford them.” Those retailers bring employment opportunities with them as well. Convincing middle-income families to move into a neighborhood primarily made up of public housing would be a hard sell in most parts of the country. “Public housing traditionally looks like several blocks of buildings that are exactly the same,” Williams says. “We wanted to change that and create the appearance of a community that has developed over time and that mimics the surrounding neighborhood.” The ideals of New Urbanism and the LEED-ND guidelines were major design influences for the new development. Twelve different building designs were used, each


Westlawn Gardens’ variable, contemporary architecture stands in stark contrast to the barracks-style public housing that once stood here.

PROJECT LOCATION Milwaukee, WI Program Mixed-use, mixed-income neighborhood development Size 37 acres Completion 2012 Certification LEED for Homes Platinum, LEED-ND Silver (phase 3) Selected Awards 2014 Congress for New Urbanism Charter Award, Best Suburban Retrofit; 2014 American Planning Association WI Chapter Implementation Award; Milwaukee Mayor’s Design Award 2013 Cost $82 million


“You have to be deliberate in creating spaces and common areas so folks have a better chance of actually saying ‘good morning’ to their neighbor.” Tony Pérez, Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee

just want a healthy home with clean air for their families.” The efforts of HACM don’t stop when construction ends. “Our core mission involves providing safe, affordable housing, but we also provide a range of programs and services that help increase quality of life and help individuals move toward self-sufficiency,” Williams says. Past accomplishments include the Central City Cyberschool; developed by HACM to serve the residents of its Parklawn development, it is one of the top-performing charter elementary schools in the city today. At Westlawn Gardens, a longstanding partnership exists with the Silver Spring Neighborhood Center. Centrally located in the development, the neighborhood center provides youth services, teen programming, adult educagb&d

tion classes, and recreation facilities. Two public schools and a nursing center run by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee also operate out of the building. “It has always been our goal to have 20 percent of construction contracts go towards emerging businesses,” Williams says, referencing HACM’s Emerging Business Enterprise Program, which supports the growth of women- and minority-owned companies. “We’ve been able to exceed that goal dramatically at Westlawn Gardens.” While tension between socioeconomic groups has plagued mixed-income developments in Chicago and New York City, Milwaukee has been able to successfully integrate diverse groups of people. “We create housing where you can’t tell whether a resident is low, middle, or high income,” Williams says. “We strive to build neighborhoods that anyone would want to live in.” That standard of quality, combined with easily accessible community spaces, is what generates Milwaukee’s stable mixed-income developments. “You have to be deliberate in creating spaces and common areas so folks have a better chance of actually saying ‘good morning’ to their neighbor,” Pérez says. “Or, ‘Hey, I didn’t see your kid yesterday in school.’ And once in a while, maybe a child doesn’t really understand that his buddy on the playground is economically in a divergent world. So now, guess who’s coming to dinner? I think it’s a beautiful thing.” gb&d

DEVELOPER Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee Owner Westlawn Renaissance Architect Torti Gallas and Partners, Kindness Architecture + Planning Construction Manager Hunzinger Construction Company Civil Engineer Norris & Associates; R.A. Smith National Structural Engineer Arnold and O’Sheridan MEP Engineer IBC Engineering Services Landscape Architect Schreiber Anderson Associates Contractors Vanguard Construction, Horizon Design Build Manage, Rawson Contractors, Stark Asphalt, Rams Contracting, Altius Building Company

SUPPLIERS Glass Systems B&D Contractors Cast Stone Rockridge Cast Stone Sealants Sciachitano Roofing Watry Homes Waterproofing Z ander Solutions, Hillside Damproofing Acoustical Ceilings Badger Acoustic Lighting Dairyland Electric Co. HVAC Butters-Fetting, HVA Products, MRW-Action Heating & Cooling (joint venture)

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COMING OF AGE The conversion of Minneapolis’s 430 Oak Grove into apartments represents a milestone for the building’s original contractor By Julie Schaeffer

Take a tour of the historic building at 430 Oak Grove Street in Minneapolis, and you’ll see why Kraus-Anderson Realty, which built the Loring Park icon in 1924, wanted to restore it. “It’s a beautiful, old, limestone building—five-sided with high ceilings and expansive windows,” says Mike Korsh, the company’s vice president and director of real estate development. “[It] gave us the opportunity to do an apartment project with some character, one that would hopefully have some staying power in a market that goes up and down.” In 2011, after acquiring the building, which was originally constructed as offices for a life insurance company, Kraus-Anderson began the arduous project of getting it listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Doing so was a double-edged sword: it allowed for tax credits that made the project financially feasible but would prevent some changes the company wanted to make. Kraus-Anderson could not replace the windows, for example, or refinish the concrete floors. Even installing wood on top of the concrete became more expensive, requiring a unique application that ensured the wood could later be removed without damaging the concrete.

Charlene Roise of historical consulting firm Hess Roise guided Kraus-Anderson through the process. “Before we purchased the building, we walked through it with Charlene,” Korsh says. “She let us know what it would take to list it on the National Register and later acted as a mediator between Kraus-Anderson and the Historical Preservation Society to ensure that we both got what we needed out of the partnership.” The building’s sustainability story is primarily one of adaptive reuse. “We brought in a sustainability consultant, The Weidt Group, which ensured that we did as much as we could with energy and lighting,” Korsh says, “but, as I learned, when you’re doing these historical projects, you don’t have a lot of choices because you can’t tear things down and bring in new materials. Any original, permanent structures can’t be touched.” Still, the result is inspiring: a Beaux Arts façade, a lobby illuminated by a skylight, an interior courtyard with a glowing fireplace. These details are the work of Elness Swenson Graham Architects, and Korsh couldn’t be more pleased, though solutions were not immediately evident. “The building is in the


This historic former office building in Minneapolis now houses apartments but still features its original entry and limestone façade.


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PROJECT LOCATION Minneapolis, MN Program 7 5 luxury apartments Size 127,000 ft2 Completion 2012 Certification Not applicable Cost $20 million

TEAM DEVELOPER Kraus-Anderson Realty Architect/Interior Designer Elness Swenson Graham Architects Civil/Structural Engineer / Landscape Architect Stantec Mechanical Engineer Major Mechanical Electrical Engineer Medina Engineering General Contractor Kraus-Anderson Construction Sustainability Consultant The Weidt Group Historical Consultant Hess Roise Window Restoration W L Hall Masonry Restoration Acme Tuckpointing & Restoration Property Manager StuartCo


TOP A fourth-floor rooftop terrace overlooks adjacent Loring Park. The building’s proximity to green space is one of its key selling points. ABOVE Contemporary furnishings appeal to tenants without distracting from original architectural elements.

perfect spot for apartments, overlooking a park, which is rare in Minneapolis, but in walking through for the first time, it was so cut up that it was hard to understand what it could be,” Korsh says. “Our architect did an amazing job of coming up with 75 usable luxury units that are almost entirely different.” Each apartment’s unique plan is one of the project’s selling points, and Korsh is gb&d

confident that the $20 million project will have staying power. That’s partly because Kraus-Anderson is a long-term holder of real estate and partly because the building is now part of the historical fiber of Minneapolis, which lost much of its original real estate in the 1950s and 1960s when, as part of a plan for urban renewal, the city razed 200 buildings across 25 city blocks— roughly 40 percent of downtown. Many buildings with notable architecture were destroyed, including those in the Gateway District, the historic core of the city. “With this building, we came of age,” says Korsh, who is the grandson of Lloyd Englesma, who led Kraus-Anderson for decades. “It gives us a sense of pride to be around long enough to repurpose a historically significant building we built almost 90 years ago.” gb&d

Acoustical Ceilings Kirk Acoustics Concrete/Masonry G resser Companies Fiber Cement Siding MG McGrath Architectural Sheet Metal Gyp Board Assemblies M inuti Ogle Metal Fabrications Capouch Iron Works Structural Steel Koronis Fabricating Thermal Insulation/Weather Barriers H OMECO Insulation Passenger Elevators T hyssenKrupp Elevator Garage Doors T win City Garage Doors Flooring/Tile/Carpet G razzini Brothers & Company Painting and Wall Coverings Swanson & Youngdale Precast Structural Concrete M olin Concrete Products Residential Casework/Countertops Brothers Distributing Residential Appliances Sears Commercial Sales Interior Doors Contract Hardware Louvers C ustom Drapery & Blinds

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One of the latest proud brainchildren of A Studio Architects and the International Living Futures Institute, the Zero Energy House sits on a brownfield site in Auckland, New Zealand. Designed to achieve net-zero energy over the course of one year, this modest-looking, modestly sized home creates more than enough energy for itself with the help of careful passive design and state-of-the-art C21 solar photovoltaic roof panels— the first of their kind in New Zealand. Aided by easy access to public transportation and local amenities, all-LED lighting, low-VOC paints, stairs and floors made of recycled timber, and a greywater recycling unit, the Zero Energy House achieved Living Future’s Net Zero certification by passing in petal categories for Energy, Site, Equity, Beauty, and Process. gb&d —Steven Arroyo




DOES THIS BUILDING LOOK INVISIBLE TO YOU? WELL, TO MOTHER NATURE IT IS ALMOST INVISIBLE! • The Public can enjoy walking paths through the dedicated open space. • 3/4 of the total land was set aside permanently as open space. • The adjoining wetlands were improved by the removal of boardwalks. • Significant wetland plantings were installed to protect the adjoining wetlands. • The stormwater runoff from all the improved surfaces is treated naturally on site. • Rare and Endangered Species’ habitat was preserved and enhanced. • The wastewater is treated to very high standards. There has been no detectable 5 day Biochemical Oxygen Demand in the final effluent for over 90% of the tests. • There have been no detectable Total Suspended Solids in the final effluent for about 60% of the time. • The concentrations of Total Nitrogen in the final effluent is less than 5.2 mg/L. • The nitrogen loading on the entire site is less than the former use. • The soil absorption system was sited so the effluent would not reach the adjacent Jones Pond.

So, to Mother Nature, this building has been kind to her.

Site Design, Wastewater Design and Permitting by the consummate professionals at:

holmes and mcgrath, inc. civil engineers and land surveyors 205 worcester court, suite A4 • falmouth, ma. 02540 • phone: 508.548.3564 • fax: 508.548.9672 gb&d

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Certified Golden Years Atria’s LEED Gold Woodbriar Place on Cape Cod uses innovative systems to ensure water quality By Brian Barth


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LOCATION Falmouth, MA Program S enior living facility Size 125,000 ft2 Completion 2013 Certification LEED Gold

CLIENT Atria Senior Living Architect EGA Architects Interior Designer Wellesley Design Consultants Landscape Architect HBLA Civil Engineer Holmes and McGrath General Contractor J.K Scanlan Company Architectural Woodwork J.C. Clocks Company

FLOORING Creative Touch Interiors Appliances Daniels Equipment Company Windows Harvey Industries Doors Kamco Supply Corp. Lumber National Lumber Company Play Equipment Henderson Recreation

Smart, resource-efficient buildings aren’t just for the young and hip anymore. Atria, one of the largest senior-living providers in the country, has put an exclamation point on that thought with the completion of its first LEED Gold facility this year: Woodbriar Place in Falmouth, Massachusetts. Housing more than 21,000 seniors at 179 communities in the United States and Canada, Atria is known for its top-quality care and elegantly designed senior campuses, but the company is now raising the bar for the senior housing industry with the adoption of green practices across its portfolio. Atria counts five LEED buildings in its family of independent living, assisted living, and memory care facilities, but “Woodbriar Place is our crown jewel,” says Kevin Wilson, Atria’s national director of construction. Located in quintessential Cape Cod terrain just a short ferry ride away from Martha’s Vineyard, Atria management felt this was the place to showcase what’s possible in sustainable design for this highly specialized building type. “Cape Cod is a place where this kind of thinking is already mainstream,” Wilson says. The gorgeous, timber-framed construction creates a warm, lodge-like feeling and features sustainably harvested lumber, low-VOC and nontoxic finishes and carpeting throughout, lowflow plumbing fixtures, and high-efficiency light fixtures. A network of paths lined with locally sourced crushed seashells meanders through the 15 acres of outdoor living spaces and gardens and down to Jones Pond, a popular picnic spot for residents and their families.

The quality of water flowing into nearby Nantucket Sound has always been very important to the Falmouth community, a value that the RUCK wastewater-treatment system, designed and installed by local engineering firm Holmes and McGrath, accommodates nicely. “The water leaving that system has between four and seven parts per million nitrogen and virtually no detectable biological oxygen demand or suspended solids,” says Mike McGrath, the firm’s founding principal, referring to the three benchmarks for effluent quality. The RUCK system uses multiple sand filters and a highly available organic carbon additive to treat the water to well beyond Massachusetts standards. Woodbriar Place’s green features are a big selling point for residents, from the biodegradable cleaning supplies to the photovoltaic panels on the roof. In the lobby, residents keep tabs on the building’s energy production with a solar power dashboard displayed on a monitor and proudly note their progress in ‘tons of carbon sequestered’ and ‘gallons of gas saved.’ Residents also enjoy the benefits of the LG variable refrigerant flow (VRF) HVAC system, though the sustainably side of this system may not be as obvious. The VRF is equipped with a heat-recovery system so that when one resident wants to lower his or her room temperature, the heat is effectively captured and transferred to the room of another who may be feeling chilly. “We have to respect that seniors want as much autonomy as possible with ambient conditions,” Wilson says. Thanks to this HVAC system, residents can crank the heat or the air-conditioning as they desire without cranking up their carbon footprint. gb&d

ABOVE The LEED Gold Woodbriar Place features a VRF HVAC system that optimizes comfort by efficiently reusing heat between individual units.

ABOVE Traditional timber-framed architecture hides the property’s notable green features, which include an innovative wastewater-treatment system.


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MVVA fortifies a floodprone neighborhood in Toronto with the playful yet sophisticated Corktown Common By Brian Barth

PROJECT LOCATION Toronto, Ontario Size 18 acres Completion 2013 (Phase 1), 2015 (Phase 2) Program Urban public park and flood protection Awards Federation of Canadian Municipalities 2014 Sustainable Communities Award

TEAM LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates Client Waterfront Toronto Architect Maryann Thompson Architects (park pavilion) Civil/Structural/MEP Engineer Arup Irrigation Creative Irrigation Horticulture Consultant Great Ecology Horticultural Soil Scientist Pine and Swallow Environmental Environmental Scientist Golder Associates General Contractor Eastern Construction Landscape Contractor Aldershot Landscape Company


ABOVE Families may come for the splash pad, play equipment, and huge swath of open, unstructured space, but Corktown Common is a vital piece of urban infrastructure.


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As the fourth largest city in North America, Toronto has its share of post-industrial landscapes to contend with. And as the largest metropolitan hub on the Great Lakes, Toronto’s share of derelict industrial land is heavily clustered on its Lake Ontario waterfront. To reclaim this land, a major revitalization effort has been underway for the past decade, resulting in a string of reimagined neighborhoods, parks, and mixed-use districts that are slowly filling the city’s interstitial spaces. The latest addition to the city’s emerging urban-environmental fabric is an 18-acre park near the mouth of the highly channelized Don River, the waterway responsible for what was historically an immense estuary that was filled in as the city grew, eventually becoming Toronto’s industrial port lands. Known as Corktown Common—after one of the adjacent neighborhoods partially destroyed to make way for the railway—the park may well represent the most complex feat of hydrologic engineering of any site along Toronto’s new “blue edge” thus far. And yet the park design by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates (MVVA) builds upon the work that was done to reshape the river corridor into a more naturalized analog of the landscape that was buried under pavement long ago, leaving an ecologically functional, aesthetically pleasurable park in its place. Remediation of the brownfield site was only the first of the project’s many challenges. The environmental pollution together with the area’s vulnerability to flooding had long ago left the area as an abandoned wasteland, though by virtue of its proximity to the downtown core—a fifteen-minute walk away—it would otherwise have been considered prime real estate. “The more that Toronto developed areas of impervious surfaces upstream, the greater the volume of stormwater that was directed into the channelized Don River,” says Emily Mueller De Celis, MVVA’s project manager for Corktown Common. “It was an increasingly fragile condition.” Until very recently, since the january–february 2015


1950s, moderate to severe flooding in the lower Don River Valley had become a fact of life. HELPING A BUILDING BOOM After languishing for years as one redevelopment proposal after another was nixed due to either a lack of public support or fiscal viability, Waterfront Toronto, the agency charged with redeveloping the area known as the West Don Lands, formed a partnership with the Toronto

“Sustainable landscapes can heighten visitors’ experiences by revealing the dynamic and complex systems that make up the natural world.” Laura Solano, MVVA


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Region Conservation Authority and Infrastructure Ontario to implement strategies that would allow for maximum urban development and maximum green space while simultaneously addressing the flooding and contamination issues. If that sounds like a tall order, it was— one that took six years and a veritable mountain of imported fill to accomplish. The polluted ground was capped, and the underlying loose, wet, organic fill was dewatered with the weight of more than 400,000 yards of clean fill piled on top. In the process, to help mitigate the flooding, the elevation of the site was raised 12 feet (in some places the final topography was raised as much as 30 feet). The result is not at all the classic floodplain levee, but a piece of green infrastructure that serves a variety of functions, including the elimination of the neighborhood’s floodplain designation, which allowed it to be redeveloped after four decades of obsolescence.

“This is not just a piece of stormwater infrastructure, but a piece of development infrastructure,” Mueller De Celis says. “Corktown Common may not be at the center of the development physically, but it is psychologically.” Since the first phase of the flood protection landform (FPL), as it’s called, was installed in 2010, development activity has been intense, with a significant portion of the 6,000 residences planned for the area either completed or under construction. The FPL protects not only the 80-acre West Don Lands redevelopment area, but also remedies long-standing flooding issues in a 500-acre swath of downtown. In potentially catastrophic storm events, the new park’s gently tapering riverside slope will fill with water in what Mueller De Celis calls a “flood release valve” intended to spare the adjacent areas from being submerged. To ensure the integrity of the FPL, no woody plant material or active recreation features could be sited in this




LEFT The 18-acre park was built up with imported fill in order to raise the area out of the flood plain. “This is not just a piece of stormwater infrastructure, but a piece of development infrastructure,” says MVVA’s Emily Mueller De Celis. TOP RIGHT A series of stepped wetland basins, forming a sort of urban marsh, raises awareness of the West Don Lands’ location at the mouth of a former estuary. BOTTOM RIGHT Greywater from the splash pad is channeled alongside runoff to an underground cistern that supplies irrigation. The unique capture system collects every drop of water that falls on the park grounds.

half of the park. However, MVVA devised an ecologically diverse urban prairie with a meandering trail system that allows residents to enjoy an unexpected immersion in nature within the confines of the enormous city. This part of the park also serves as a crucial junction between the north-south Don Valley bike path and the network of east-west paths parallel to the waterfront. “This park is a major player in the larger ecosystem,” Mueller De Celis says of the site’s location at the juncture between the Don River Valley and Lake Ontario. Birds and amphibians reportedly began to arrive spontaneously almost as soon as the wetlands were filled and planted. Wildlife habitat like this is important in any city, but in Toronto, the influence of the avian kind is writ large in ecological terms. The Greater Toronto Area is at the confluence of two major migratory flyways, meaning the estuary of the Don River was once a bustling pit stop for tired, hungry birds gb&d

after completing their flight across Lake Ontario. Now, there is a bright new patch of green to guide them down to a safe place to rest. EVERY DROP REUSED The program of the park’s 18 acres includes a splash pad, some of MVVA’s signature creativity-stimulating play equipment, a multiuse pavilion by Maryann Thompson Architects, more than 700 native trees, and all the open, unstructured space you would expect in a major urban park. But beneath the surface, there are other features that parallel the park’s larger purpose as a piece of urban infrastructure. Due to the engineering constraints of the FPL and its compacted clay core below, “we had to approach the site like we were on hard pan or on top of a building,” Mueller De Celis says. “So we designed a site-specific water-harvesting system that collects, filters, and reuses the stormwater and potable water from

the water play area to create a working landscape. Every drop of water on the site is reused multiple times.” Like children playing in a sandbox, it’s easy to imagine how much the design team must have enjoyed sculpting the massive hill of fill into a beautiful rolling park space, where every drop of surface flow is artfully steered into an innovative closed-loop water system. As Michael Van Valkenburgh tells it, “In the schematic design phase of the project, the dimensions of the central valley space were tested by laying it out with flags and string in a park in New York City so we could be sure that it felt the way we imagined it should.” To bring awareness of the neighborhood’s location at the mouth of a former estuary, the landscape architects developed a two-acre series of stepped wetland basins that greets visitors at the main entrance. The forested hill that rises behind them sends its stormwater runoff directly january–february 2015



BELOW In addition to 700 new, native trees, Corktown Common features play equipment designed to stimulate creativity.

“This is not just a piece of stormwater infrastructure, but a piece of development infrastructure.” Emily Mueller De Celis, MVVA

to the constructed wetlands, along with the greywater from the splash pads at the other end of the park. Overflow from the wetlands is piped to a cistern buried under the large field at the center of the park, which in turn supplies the park’s irrigation system. Other than the area


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adjacent to the wetlands, any water that filters through the park’s topsoil finds its way back to the underground cistern through a network of perforated pipes— and then the cycle begins again. While the stormwater collection system works hard to conserve resources, MVVA’s managing principal Laura Solano says that sustainable landscapes have another function: “[They] can also heighten visitors’ experiences by revealing the dynamic and complex systems that make up the natural world,” she says. “One of our goals was to make something interesting happen at the intersection of landscape performance and user experience.” gb&d


DIAGRAM A stormwater diagram by MVVA shows the flow of runoff and its eventual collection into an underground cistern.


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Some Disassembly Required Recycled shipping containers ensure Bridget Dunlap’s Austin bar will have a long shelf life

The structure employs seven recycled shipping containers stacked into a two-story arrangement around a central courtyard. North Arrow architect Francisco Arredondo said the team aimed to leave the containers as intact as possible through the process, a choice that ended up posing unique challenges. “Construction-wise, the most challenging part of the process was working with a design where everything is exposed,” he says. “Everything is made out of steel—unlike framing walls with wood and having a chance to add layer upon layer to hide things.” To keep the otherwise simple steel enclaves vibrant, engaging, and comfortable, six of the seven containers feature a different interior finish. “We were having some fun there,” Arredondo says. “In one of them, we created a pattern based on the bar’s logo and carved it into MDS panels. One has a super graphic of a winter scene we printed in vinyl, and another one has charred wood. They’re all different.” gb&d


By Emma Janzen

Over the past five years, Austin’s Rainey Street district has transformed from a sleepy neighborhood into a vibrant drinking destination, with many of the street’s historic homes repurposed as bars and restaurants. Now, the area is entering into yet another new era as condo and hotel developers wipe out existing business for new construction, making the notion of building for longevity troublesome at best. So when entrepreneur Bridget Dunlap set out to build her fourth bar in the neighborhood, she came up with the idea for a structure that would be relatively easy to disassemble and relocate should the property eventually be purchased: a bar made out of shipping containers. To execute her vision, Dunlap chose two Austin-based firms: North Arrow Studio and Hendley | Knowles Design Studio. Despite the goal of building for impermanence, the process was still intense: the aptly named Container Bar cost $900,000 and took three years to complete, finally opening its doors in early 2014.


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OPPOSITE The interior of each container is unique, employing distinct finishes like MDF board and charred wood (pictured). THIS PAGE Color plays a major role in enlivening the repurposed containers. Playful furniture continues this theme in the courtyard area.

“Construction-wise, the most challenging part of the process was working with a design where everything is exposed.” Francisco Arredondo, North Arrow Studio

PROJECT LOCATION Austin, TX Program Multilevel bar Size 2,115 ft2 Completion 2014 Certification Not applicable Cost $900,000

TEAM PROJECT DESIGNER North Arrow Studio Design Consultants H endley | Knowles Design Studio Owner/Developer/General Contractor Dunlap ATX Landscape Architect Land Interactive Civil Engineer B ig Red Dog Structural Engineer MJ Structures Welder Salinas Group


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A portion of the Rose Fitzgerald Greenway, a linear park created by the burying of Boston’s I-93 in 2007, is now lit up at night by an architecturally distinct educational pavilion designed to raise awareness about the nearby Boston Harbor Islands, a collection of nearly three dozen coastal islands maintained by the National Park Service. Located just steps from the ferry that takes visitors to the islands, a series of photographs and maps (both mounted and inlaid into the pavement) educates visitors about the archipelago’s rich biodiversity and its ecological value. Protecting the solar-powered, LED-lit kiosks, two digitally fabricated castconcrete canopies are shaped to noticeably create a channel for rainwater, which pours into a concrete catch basin and is used to irrigate the adjacent lawn. gb&d

In addition to channeling rainwater to catch basins below, the concrete canopies support solar panels that power the informational kiosk.


january–february 2014


Up Front Typology Trendsetters Approach Inner Workings Features Spaces Next Punch List


160 Chicago’s Power Players

BOMA Chicago wants to see how far smart-grid technology can take us

163 A Stronghold for Sustainability

Amidst development, the Brooklyn Navy Yard shifts its focus

165 Fair Weather’s Friend

Studio RMA champions the use of SCIPs in tropical climates

168 Federal Aid

Reit Management & Research and the GSA pilot more effective operations

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Chicago’s Power Players Michael Munson and Michael Cornicelli are testing the limits of smart-grid technology in the city’s skyscrapers By Russ Klettke Photo by Caleb Fox

As the saying goes, information is power. And as far as smart electric grids go, power information can be, well, powerful. Fundamentally, smart grids apply digital processing and two-way communications to the flow of electricity. The net result provides better control of both the amount and timing of power use to optimize cost management. Smart grids can also optimize the use of low-carbon energy generation, including the use of renewable energy from the wind and sun. Remarkably, although smart grid research is being conducted in many sectors for a variety of interests—by utilities, universities, the US Department of Energy, and others—it’s in a relatively early stage of development. Nearly everyone believes that smart grids have potential value, but practical test applications verifying that potential require lots of coordination. Further, there are entrenched ideas about who owns, controls, and delivers the smart grids. The utilities, right? Not necessarily, says Michael Munson. “The marketplace of ideas is what makes the electric system ‘smart,’” says the principal of Metropolitan Energy, who is also a consultant to the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) of Chicago. “Large commercial buildings, for example, have what can be considered localized smart grids called building automation systems. There is not simply one static grid where one provider delivers all the answers but a series of systems where many stakeholders can provide unique and complementary values.” Three large office buildings in Chicago’s downtown Loop district are experimenting with building a smart grid under the direction of BOMA Chicago. It is a bold move,


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RIGHT Michael Cornicelli and Michael Munson believe there are efficiencies that can be found in Chicago’s largest buildings if the energy-use data provided by smart grids is used.


Total buildings involved in the program. The smart grid test began with three office buildings, and seven additional buildings are in line.


Range of power-price fluctuation (in dollars per megawatt-hour) in Illinois. Within 24 hours, the cost can go from $240/ MWh to -$40/ MWh.


Smart meters retrofitted for residents and smaller businesses by the local utility. They’re not yet receiving smart grids, but the goal is similar: to reduce peak demand with cost-savings incentives.

perhaps only possible because BOMA Chicago acts as an advocate for the 260 office buildings on matters such as fair utility costs and enhancing competition in the energy industry. Michael Cornicelli, executive vice president of the organization, reminds us that those buildings are among some of the world’s tallest— and huge consumers of electricity. Electricity costs are their second greatest operating expense, exceeded only by property taxes. By aggregating multiple buildings in a smart grid, BOMA Chicago gains leverage with vendors and the utility through economies of scale that work to the benefit of the buildings and their tenants as well as the power grid as a whole. Cornicelli and Munson also stress that an awful lot can be done to improve energy efficiency in new and older buildings alike. While architects and builders concentrate on tight envelopes, consumers of electricity are nonetheless subject to prices that fluctuate as frequently as every five minutes. Peak usage is when prices are typically highest—for example, hot summer afternoons— but if a power plant is down due to malfunctions or maintenance, prices can jump at any time of day or night. As older coal plants close in response to the increased costs of new environmental regulations, electricity supply is reduced, and the cost of the scarcer commodity increases. Under current non-smart grid technology, building owners and tenants—both of whom have incentives to reduce energy costs—at best learn about inefficient and expensive electricity use 24 hours later, and mostly from their monthly bill. With a smart grid, they get real-time information that enables them to make cost-saving adjustments when it matters. For example, hot days in July are fairly predictable and


correlated to high energy prices, so pre-cooling buildings in the cheaper, early morning hours can save money through smarter operations. But if prices rise for other reasons, building owners and tenants can dim lighting in certain areas, deactivate an unneeded elevator bank, or alter temperature settings in underused rooms and hallways. This may or may not drive more use of renewable energy, says Munson, but it certainly can prompt conservation as electric peak shaving uses no fuel, green or otherwise, to perform. “With smart grid information, engineers and building managers can positively affect the energy costs through intelligent application of information,” he says. “There has to be this kind of awareness on the demand side to become more sustainable in the long run.” gb&d



Michael Cornicelli BOMA Chicago Why is this smart grid test in Chicago so important? The only other multibuilding test of a smart grid with commercial office buildings was with a portfolio of smaller buildings under common ownership in suburban Washington, DC. Our test bed consists of large buildings of different ages, owned or managed by different parties with different priorities and different energy strategies. How might new structures be designed to be smart-grid adaptive? Some buildings have 30 meters or more located in various places throughout the building just for the base common-area load and not counting tenant load. A smart-grid building would ideally have these meters all in one location so that they could be interconnected and managed more easily.

What’s in this for commercial tenants, building owners, and the utility? The energy costs for a building’s base load—the heating and cooling and common area lighting—are paid by the landlord, and a pro-rata share is charged back to the tenants through their leases. Managing those costs more effectively through smartgrid technology can reduce the expense pass-throughs. Office equipment, data centers, and lights in leased offices are generally billed directly to the tenant from the utility. Those costs can be managed directly by the tenants. Both landlords and tenants can benefit from the granular, timely information that a smart grid would supply, enabling them to decide on where usage can be cut. And utilities benefit when we moderate the spikes that happen in high-usage periods.

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A Stronghold for Sustainability Amidst the largest development since World War II, the Brooklyn Navy Yard is a national example of sustainable job creation By Emma Janzen

history of the Yard as an industrial powerhouse of the city and country. “This is a multigenerational development,” says David Ehrenberg, president and CEO of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation (BNYDC), the nonprofit that manages the Yard for the City of New York. “Between the buildings and infrastructure, it is the largest expansion at the Yard since WWII. By many orders of magnitude, it’s simply enormous.” The current initiatives represent no small task for the BNYDC, considering the park spans more than four million square feet of existing infrastructure. Many of the buildings haven’t seen attention or investment since the Yard’s last

BELOW Operated by Brooklyn Grange, the urban farm atop Building 3 at the Navy Yard helps manage more than a million gallons of stormwater annually.

major expansion in the 1940s and ’50s, posing a physical challenge for sustainable updates. “[Many of the buildings were] built by the Navy for the Navy’s particular needs,” Ehrenberg says. “Working with things like load-bearing capacities on the roof to put agriculture or solar panels up there is certainly more challenging than with modern buildings.” Most of the green elements woven throughout the development—such as local sourcing, green roof installations, water-conservation efforts, and energy-efficient lighting systems—contribute toward LEED status. Some buildings have already reached the system-wide goal of LEED Silver certification: The New York Police Department’s Perry Avenue Build-


Once the perfect picture of American military force and ingenuity, New York’s Brooklyn Navy Yard has seen waves of change since being established in 1801, few more significant than its current redevelopment, which aims to position the modern industrial park as the national poster child for sustainability and job creation. More than 12 new buildings are currently in various phases of design and construction in the historic mixed-use development, with current projects specifically targeting three goals: to add 2,500 jobs over the next three years, to ensure that all buildings on-site meet LEED Silver certification or higher, and to do these things while preserving the


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NEXT Brooklyn Navy Yard

A Brief History Brooklyn Navy Yard

Though all buildings at the Navy Yard must be certified LEED Silver, Building 92 reached Platinum status.

1801–1940s The Brooklyn Navy Yard is established as one of the country’s first five naval shipyards. Over the next 200 years, some of America’s most important ships are built in Brooklyn. 1940s–1966 WWII brings sweeping change to the Yard, when the government annexes adjacent land, creating the world’s largest dry docks and increasing its workforce to over 70,000. It thrives until 1966, when multiple facilities are closed.

“It’s about producing more jobs and bringing more buildings online in a way that is sensitive to the history, the environment, and the community.” David Ehrenberg, Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation ing reached Gold, and Building 92 reached Platinum. Official certification is only part of the Yard’s coordinated green efforts. Many initiatives have been implemented simply to be “as good of a neighbor as possible” to the surrounding Brooklyn community, according to Ehrenberg. “Most of it is not glamorous work, but it’s basic, simple things that we can do to ensure that we’re at the cutting edge of


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1969–2000 The Yard reopens as an industrial park, and though growth over the next couple decades is slow, by 1998, the yard is 98-percent occupied and home to over 200 small businesses.

how you embrace industry,” he says, “and creating the jobs that come along with that.” As part of a major water-quality and -conservation project, for instance, the nearby New York Harbor School planted a large oyster colony in one of the adjacent waterways to see how the bivalves might help clean sewage from water entering the system from the Yard. One building houses one of the largest rooftop gardens in New York City (other rooftops are being evaluated for solar power systems), and large wind turbines help generate on-site electricity. When it comes to modernizing buildings and implementing new features, Ehrenberg says the new updates must walk a fine line between sustainability and preservation; the Brooklyn Navy Yard was recently placed on the National Register of Historic Places. “The buildings have great bones, high ceilings, wonderful historic touches,” Ehrenberg says. “We take trying to preserve that very seriously.” Apart from the physical challeng-

2001–Present The city launches its largest expansion since WWII. A movie studio facility arrives in 2005, and green initiatives begin to take a foothold in 2009. Two million square feet of new ground is currently under construction.

es of growth and modernization, encouraging a system-wide culture of sustainability has been a relatively easy process within the network of existing tenants, Ehrenberg says. Duggal Eco-Solutions, for example, is already a big proponent of sustainability and has helped implement initiatives in conjunction with the BDYNC, including a system of street lamps that are powered by a combination of solar and wind energy, eliminating the need for electricity. “Most of the Yard’s street lights are entirely off the grid,” he says. “It’s both a sustainability and resiliency measure because during times like [Hurricane] Sandy, those lights can’t go out.” The green initiatives help attract new business—and, subsequently, new jobs—which is a main future priority for BYNDC. “[Sustainability is] something more general tenants are expecting and demanding, especially ours who are in the manufacturing world,” Ehrenberg says. “Being a part of sustainable efforts is core to their business.” In addition to attracting companies like Brooklyn Grange, New Lab, or Situ Fabrication, over the past several years the organization has placed nearly 600 local residents in jobs at the Yard, a number that continues to grow. As new projects come online—including a 260,000-square-foot manufacturing building, the Admirals Row mixed-use development, and the adaptive reuse of Building 77— Ehrenberg says the future will continue to bring more viable jobs to the Yard. “It’s about producing more jobs and bringing more buildings online in a way that is sensitive to the history, the environment, and the community immediately surrounding the Yard,” he says. “It’s an ongoing project with a huge amount of additional potential to create jobs in a sensitive way.” gb&d



Fair Weather’s Friend Structural concrete insulated panels— ICF, inside out—unlock carbon-neutral building in tropical climates By Brian Barth

BELOW This home by Studio RMA uses passive-cooling SCIPs, structural panels that offer superior thermal characteristics in warm climates.

As he demonstrated in the recently completed Hi’ilani EcoHouse (Jan/Feb 2011) on the Big Island of Hawaii—the world’s first concrete, carbon-neutral residence in the US—the emergence of structural concrete insulated panels (SCIP) makes net-zero building a plausible reality in warm climates. ICF’S BIG BROTHER Insulated concrete forms (ICFs) are increasingly common and are favored by environmentally minded designers for their high insulation value. Nothing makes a tight building envelope like ICFs. But in places where managing heat takes priority over managing cold, SCIPs make more sense—though they have their merits in temperate climates, too. “SCIP is like the new mighty brother of ICF,” Mechielsen says.

SCIPs are like ICF blocks in reverse. Instead of a rigid foam structure on the outside with concrete poured on the inside, SCIPs start out as fiveinch-thick panels of EPS foam, which are then coated on either side with a 1.5-inch layer of concrete. The foam is contained within a wire mesh that also serves as a lath to support the stucco-like finish. The wire knits the concrete on both sides of the panel together, forming what Mechielsen refers to as “an integral monolithic concrete structure” once the cement hardens. Several manufacturers now offer SCIPs in North America under trade names like Tridipanel and Metrock. With the structural integrity of poured concrete, they are code-compliant but use 60–70 percent less cement. Fire ratings on SCIPs are through the roof, and Mechielsen


Robert Mechielsen has learned several tricks of the net-zero trade in his nearly four decades of professional practice, but he isn’t one to guard secrets if they might help heal our natural environment. In fact, Mechielsen is eager to share the insights he’s gleaned over the years in hopes of seeing the ideals of carbon-neutral design hit their stride and become mainstream practices. Mechielsen’s firm, Studio RMA, lately has been working in warm, subtropical places like Florida and Hawaii, an experience that has helped Mechielsen tease out the finer points of carbon-neutral design in such environments. Geothermal systems are not great fits for regions without true winters, places “where the cycle of hot and cool is not on a six-month cycle,” he says, “but is a day-and-night fluctuation.”


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“SCIP is like the new mighty brother of ICF.” Robert Mechielsen, Studio RMA

SELF-ENERGIZING STRUCTURES Putting the concrete on the outside of the foam core is the key that unlocks the door for Studio RMA’s warm-climate, net-zero homes. As with ICF, the foam insulates, and the concrete stores thermal energy. But the foam on SCIPs also buffers the interior wall from the heat that builds up in the exterior wall. Concrete block, which is currently the most common building material in the tropics, actually transfers the heat of the day through the wall, “so when you come home at five [o’clock], it’s hot as an oven,” Mechielsen says. SCIP structures, on the other hand, are “self-energizing” in that they create optimal interior temperatures passively rather than relying on artificially cooled air and the enormous quantity of energy it takes to create it. SCIPs are as useful for roof construction as they are for walls. Studio RMA typically designs them in a butterfly formation to channel breezes into the home and rainwater into cisterns. The panels, four feet wide and made to any length desired by the designer, are lightweight and entirely modular. Construction is significantly faster than that of any other concrete-based approach or conventional wood framing, and they are also termite-resistant. Installation labor, therefore, is cheap, as are the panels themselves. Mechielsen finds the use of SCIPs humanitarian, too. “Hot countries are typically not the most developed countries,” he says. Along with many others before him, he makes the link between air-conditioning and education. A student’s concentration di-


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ABOVE Unlike concrete block, which is currently the most common building material in the tropics, SCIPs do not transfer heat into a structure.

minishes when the temperature is 95 degrees with 95-percent humidity, as it often is in equatorial Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia. Families that can afford air-conditioning in these regions are typically the ones that send their kids to college, Mechielsen says. As such countries slowly develop to so-called first-world standards and more of the population has the means to artificially cool their homes, the demand for coal-powered electricity rises. Mechielsen hopes that by offering a cost-effective, passively cooled construction method for the tropics, disadvantaged populations will feel empowered by the comfort of their dwellings and that literacy rates and college attendance will improve—without the associated rise in power production. NET-ZERO CALCULUS Mechielsen, who has a background in structural engineering, is beyond thorough in his carbon production calculations and is quite conserva-

tive. He considers everything from Quest Construction Products’ nontoxic but high-performance HydroStop roofing system to the trucking of construction materials and the extensive travel involved for himself and the contractors he employs in remote locations like Hawaii. The passively cooled Hi’ilani EcoHouse is completely independent from the electric grid, produces all of its own water from the rooftop-catchment system, and uses all-natural lime-plaster finishes throughout. The house is completely carbon neutral in its material and operation, but Studio RMA and the owners still chose to reforest three acres of grassland on the site in order to sequester the 100 tons of carbon dioxide that Mechielsen estimates was produced in the construction process. According to his calculations, the emerging rainforest will reach the target in about 40 years, making the Hi’ilani EcoHouse, by one line of thinking, one of the first successes in carbon-positive building. gb&d


says there is no building he would feel safer in during a hurricane (while speaking from the Hi’ilani EcoHouse, where a Pacific hurricane was actually approaching).


Photos: James Sugg. Copyright 2010, Ho’ole’a Enterprises

Innovative, Durable HydroStop PremiumCoat® Roofing System Meets Design Challenges The groundbreaking design of Hi’ilani EcoHouse, and its signature butterfly roofs and water containment system, called for non-toxic products that completely waterproofed the structure. When the architects needed to specify a sustainable, renewable fluid-applied roofing system with the ability to meet stringent requirements for environmental safety and LEED platinum certification, they turned to Quest Construction Products’ HydroStop brand. The structure’s long life expectancy required a roofing system on which additional layers can be added over time, without requiring replacement of the foundation layer. Quest’s PremiumCoat® roofing system was chosen as an economical, truly sustainable roofing system with negative environmental impact. Over time, additional coats of PremiumCoat® FinishCoat can be reapplied, providing one roof for the life of the building. The PremiumCoat® roofing system is a perfect companion for the concrete based SCIP roofs. More than just a coating treatment, PremiumCoat® is an approved Class 1 Roof system that exceeds the highest standards for hurricane force wind resistance and solar reflectivity. This flexible, UV resistant elastomeric compound is fully reinforced with a tough nonwoven polyester fabric. PremiumCoat® is safe to handle and provides a long lasting, energy efficient and highly solar reflective surface. The roof will yield substantial savings by reducing maintenance expense and energy consumption. Additionally, BarrierGuard® was used to prime the roof’s structural concrete insulated panels (SCIPs), and on the Tridipanel water storage tank. BarrierGuard® is NSF 61 certified as suitable for the containment of drinking water. The PremiumCoat® roofing system supports the Hi’ilani EcoHouse’s efficient use of energy as well as its cutting edge water collection efforts. This sustainable roofing system insures this carbonneutral residence can continue to balance nature and technology: combining outstanding energy efficiency and a small ecological footprint for decades to come.

For more information, visit or call us at (843) 501-0170. HydroStop is a trusted product brand of Quest Construction Products, the leading manufacturer of protective systems and coatings for the construction industry. Building owners, architects, specifiers, contractors, consultants and property management professionals trust our solutions to protect, preserve, restore, repair and beautify the building envelope and surrounding surfaces.


Federal Aid From energy to engagement, REIT expertise can improve green efforts at government properties By Anne Michelsen

On December 19, 2007, President George W. Bush signed the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA), setting sustainability goals for Federal agencies and requiring them to improve their environmental performance. Thus began a massive effort to green Federal operations, with many state governments following suit with sustainability initiatives of their own. The trend has affected not only the agencies themselves, but also the multitude of organizations servicing them, including owners of commercial real estate that lease properties to government entities. The US General Services Administration (GSA) is responsible for overseeing operations and maintenance of government-owned and -leased facilities across the country. Property owners wishing to lease to Federal agencies must be able and willing to


january–february 2015

“[GRESB] creates awareness that sustainability doesn’t just mean energy and water savings.” John Forester, Reit Management & Research

maintain their properties in accordance with GSA sustainability standards, including Energy Star and/or LEED certification. Reit Management & Research (RMR) is a private company that primarily operates publicly traded real estate investment trusts (REITs). In addition to serving REITs that focus on leasing to private sector tenants, RMR also manages properties on behalf of the Government Properties Income Trust, an REIT focused on leasing to the Federal and state government. Needless to say, the company has become adept at implementing policies and programs to comply with government sustainability standards while meeting or exceeding the budget and performance goals at the company. RMR uses a three-step sustainability strategy for its property portfolio. Step one is to benchmark the facility using the Energy Star Portfolio Manager benchmarking tool. This allows the company to compare the building’s performance against other existing buildings of similar size and occupancy and in a similar geography. Step two is to determine what measures will have the greatest potential for positively impacting the property’s Energy Star score while meeting other sustainability goals. In the third step, RMR analyzes the ROI and explores the availability of financing for those improvements or whether the programs should be implemented as part of its annual capital expenditure budget. Lighting and HVAC improvements are the most frequently implemented improvements for Government Properties Income Trust facilities, says John Forester, RMR’s director of energy and sustainability. “Another of our strong initiatives that has proven itself is implementation of real-time energy management,” he says. “It provides a much higher-res-

olution dataset than monthly invoices and helps us better understand what’s going on in the buildings. We’re pushing [that technology] into more and more properties.” RMR also recognizes the human element of sustainability and the importance of communication and transparency. The company has recently begun participating in the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB), an organization committed to assessing the sustainability performance of public, private, and direct real estate portfolios worldwide (p. 49). “GRESB helps create a standard that can provide a comparison of peers, one that encompasses all sustainability aspects,” Forester says. “It creates awareness that sustainability doesn’t just mean energy and water savings. There’s an employee-engagement perspective, a tenant-engagement perspective, and a corporate-governance perspective to operating sustainable real estate, and all three tiers are very important. Tenant engagement, especially, is something we’ve been promoting, and we see a lot of positive response.” Forester expects RMR’s sustainability program to continue to benefit all the RMR-managed companies, including the Government Properties Income Trust, in a variety of ways. Besides the obvious benefits of reduced operating expenses and a smaller carbon footprint at the properties that are realized through energy and water savings, the buildings achieve recognition through programs like Energy Star, LEED, and Green Lease Leaders (a recognition program for companies or brokerage teams that implement green lease language into leases), which in turn attracts tenants to the buildings. As Forester says, “The decision to commit to sustainable practices at RMR is strongly embraced at all levels of management.” gb&d


Up Front Typology Trendsetters Approach Inner Workings Features Spaces Next Punch List


170 Person of Interest

Liz Ogbu discusses her Day Labor Station and designing for dignity

172 Material World

Bark House upcycles the logging industry’s waste products

174 Close Up

New product labels mean telecom cables may earn LEED points

176 On the Spot

María Arquero de Alarcón & Jen Maigret take our questionnaire

january–february 2015



Person of Interest Liz Ogbu

Interview by Steven Arroyo

EXCLUSIVE EXTRAS To see some of Ogbu’s recent projects, download the iPad edition or visit


january–february 2015

gb&d: How did you first become interested in urban design? Liz Ogbu: I was a child of social scientists, and I was the weird child in my family who drew, so I kind of gravitated to architecture because of that. As I started dealing with design and building individualized structure, I became really interested in the city because that sort of strict construct around architecture—the art and science of building—kind of left out the people. And that became deeply connected to my own upbringing. So from the very beginning, I kept on trying to reconcile those worlds as part of my architectural training. gb&d: What kind of problems were you seeing that you wanted to solve with the Day Labor Station? Ogbu: There were some very basic physical problems that you can recognize right away. You know, 75 percent of these sites across the country were actually these informal sites—parking lots, etcetera. At those sites, there was no access to shelter, no access to water, no access to restrooms. That was something that architecture design could somehow address. Once we started to engage, we thought we had to deal with all the social and economic issues as well. It had a lot to do with the fact that existing centers that were built were often church basements or office trailers. They were spaces that were designed for other uses; they were rarely designed around how the day labor system actually operates. And so, for us, that came first and foremost, just looking at these guys and taking the time to observe the ways in which they interact and actually design for what their needs were. On a project several years before, someone said to me that “design equals dignity,” and I really do believe that. You look at a lot of these guys, and they’re often in places that are highly undignified, even though they’re working very hard to earn a living, earn a better life for themselves.

gb&d: What does that relationship between the practice of design and dignity look like on a tangible level? Ogbu: I think people respond a lot to tangibility, even when it has to do with big ideas and big dreams, and I think it means something different to everyone. Whenever we build something, it’s not a neutral act. It has meaning, and we have to take that seriously. For the workers, even just going in and discussing this with them was such a huge deal, which, for me, was very impactful because I took a decent amount of flack on that (laughs). I received hate mail for that project, and people said some very nasty things. But for these guys, it was such a powerful act for them. No architect had ever bothered to talk to them, or not in this sort of way. Very little, if anything, has ever been designed for them. gb&d: How do you find that traveling informs your ideas? Ogbu: When I was a systems designer, I learned that in order to do that well, you have to be able to synthesize lots of bits of information and find commonality or analogous examples that can drive innovation in a new way. For me, being able to see ways in which things are happening in different places, I can take these nuggets and reflect them back either in that place, or in projects that I’m doing elsewhere. Earlier this afternoon, I was retelling some of the experiences I had in [Christchurch,] New Zealand, to one of my partners on this San Francisco project and saying, ‘I was just thinking of a new way that we could do programming and activation at that site this spring that kind of takes it to a whole new level,’ and it was totally inspired by things that I had just seen at Christchurch, which is a completely different context. If I didn’t travel this much, I wouldn’t be able to see those things in action and be able to transfer them. gb&d


Liz Ogbu has taught at UC–Berkeley, led a design workshop for the Clinton Global Initiative, worked with the Nike Foundation, and is perpetually engaged in projects across the globe that might fall anywhere under the umbrella of ‘social design’—but she is probably best known for her awardwinning Day Labor Station, a highly modular structure tailored to the oft-neglected needs of day laborers. We spoke with Ogbu about the Day Labor Station concept and living by the words ‘design equals dignity.’


iz Ogbu received hate mail for L her Day Labor Station concept, but she says engaging the workers lent itself to powerful moments. “Very little, if anything, has ever been designed for them,� she says.


Material World Blue Ridge Bark

SUSTAINABLY SOURCED Five Benefits of Bark House

Bark House shingles are virtually maintenance-free as an exterior product and require no sealing, staining, or painting. They can last for up to 80 years and safely biodegrade.

Highland Craftsmen upcycles waste products from North Carolina’s logging industry into unique architectural elements By Mary Beth Rohde Marty McCurry and his wife, Chris McCurry, drew inspiration for their poplar bark products after witnessing changes to where they live in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. “We were seeing a huge influx of second homes, which was great for the economy, but weighty on local resources and culture,” says Chris, who with Marty founded Highland Craftsmen in 1990. “We wanted to offer an alternative building style and approach that blended with the surroundings and honored the environment and the people crafting the raw materials.”

Highland Craftsmen’s flagship Bark House line includes just about any material derived from local trees: bark shingles, bark panels, bark veneer laminates, millwork and moldings, live edge slabs, handrail components, and split-rail fencing, as well as logs, twigs, stumps, and burls. Historically, the logging industry has stripped bark from American chestnut trees for tanning leather, but as that industry declined, so did commercial uses for the bark. Marty and Chris reintroduced the mountain technique of using untreated poplar bark shingles for siding after researching ways to peel and cut the bark, kiln-dry the shingles (to sterilize and stabilize them), and permanently affix them to building interiors and exteriors. Bark House wall treatments, shingles, and laminates have been used in projects for clients as diverse as Bass Pro Shops, Samsung, and the University of Chicago. “The products lend themselves to a clean presentation and modern applications,” Chris says.

Shingles are handstripped and prepared with tools by hand, using minimal water, electricity, or fuel.

Products are sourced from American forests, 90% sourced within 50 miles of the facility in Spruce Pine, NC, and 99% sourced within at least 500 miles.

Shingles are manufactured with renewable energy, have a high R-value, and are class-B fire rated.

All products have an assurance of ethical purchase backed by Cradle to Cradle and B Corp. The company is B Corp certified and was rated “Best for the World” and “Best for the Environment.”

LEFT Wheeler Kearns Architects specified Bark House as an exterior siding that continues indoors for this childcare center at University of Chicago.


january–february 2015


IN CONVERSATION María Arquero de Alarcón and Jen Maigret Continued from p. 23

practice and teaching at the same time. I’m currently teaching an introductory construction course, so it’s helpful to be able to bring in site photographs of the footings we just put in last week to talk about the reality of how these things play out one way or the other. Conversely, when we’re in design studio or other courses that aren’t directly linked, that’s an incredibly productive situation in reverse, in the sense that it also allows us to be thinking about ideas that aren’t directly embedded in our research. And that allows you to come back with somewhat fresh eyes.

“There’s definitely a tendency right now to give a heavy priority to things that are somehow validated through data. Data is not...infallible.” gb&d: One of you wrote in our questionnaire (p. 176) that the topic of your TED Talk, if you were asked to give one, would be “Why imagination is more important than big data,” which is interesting because the two of you rely on data so much and have been recognized for the critical eye you bring to it. How have you communicated the necessities of both to your students?

“For many big customers, we tailor products to fit their unique concepts.” Highland Craftsmen’s model is based on “cradle-to-cradle” principles, reducing waste by sourcing its raw material almost exclusively from industrial waste products. The company works with local, small-tract loggers, who appreciate sustainable practices and the additional profits that come from selling what would otherwise be waste. And there are continued opportunities for innovation: the company recently introduced a decorative wall system of two-by-two-foot squares that make installation extremely simple. “Everything we have is based on a discard from the industry or a tree dying out due to natural succession,” Marty says. “We’ve always been attracted to using natural and organic shapes and extrusions in building. It’s part of our mountain heritage to make use of the items at hand.” gb&d gb&d

ABOVE A close-up of an interior finish used at Parsons The New School shows the unprocessed aesthetic possible with Bark House products.

Arquero de Alarcón: It’s an everyday conversation, and I would say it’s one of the most important ones. In a way, we are asking the students to do research, to have a thorough understanding of the problem they are trying respond to. And then we are asking them to have enough latitude to be able to respond in ways in which, no matter what it is you are doing in response, you will go beyond problem-solving. You need to be able to add something to the equation. That’s what design does. Maigret: It has a lot to do with learning how to design questions. The imaginationdata interplay—it’s an important part of what we do. It’s a big struggle. There’s definitely a tendency right now to give a heavy priority to things that are somehow validated through data. And while data is certainly important, in and of itself, it doesn’t necessarily bring good questions. Data is not inherently infallible. The conversation continues on p. 177

january–february 2015



Close Up Cables and Credits Thanks to declarative product labels, copper cables can now earn a builder LEED credits.

As EPDs and HPDs improve transparency for suppliers and manufacturers, new accreditation allows LEED points for Superior Essex telecom products By Brian Barth

At the Hoisington, Kansas, manufacturing facility of Superior Essex, key targets within the company’s sustainability goals recently have been met—and promise to have a far-reaching impact on global resource use. “Our environmental initiative is more than just a company objective,” says Tim Waldner, president of Superior Essex, an international leader in the design, manufacture, and supply of wire and cable products. “It’s an ethical responsibility to our communities and to future generations.” For designers, engineers, and procurement managers using Superior Essex copper data cable products—an integral component of any new construction project or major renovation—the company’s environmental initiatives have allowed contributions toward points in LEED


january–february 2015

certification. Superior Essex is the first and only communications wire and cable manufacturer to obtain both environmental product declarations (EPDs) and health product declarations (HPDs) for their offerings, specifically on 25 of their fourpair premises copper products, which are used in high-performance cabling systems found in commercial buildings, campuses, and data centers. “Up until now, organizations seeking LEED certification would not receive any credit for selecting cable products from companies who share their goal of sustainability,” says Steven Born, a LEED AP and the company’s senior applications engineer. “Now, they can benefit from our EPDs and HPDs that are a result of our commitment to landfill waste diversion, recycling, energy conservation, and reduced material usage.” PolyOne, one of the world’s foremost polymer formulators, developed the jacketing material for Superior Essex’s wire and cable products covered under the new EPDs and HPDs. “We’re always asking ourselves how can we make it easier for our customers to run their businesses effectively,” says James Stephenson, director of global marketing for PolyOne Geon Performance Materials, which develops high-performance materials for the wire and cable industry. “And the answer

is increasingly about providing them with more and better information.” PolyOne is a specialty formulator for engineered plastics, colorants, and additives that go into every imaginable industry—from consumer products to construction materials—and offers dozens of environmentally conscious polymers. Whether it’s a bio-based plasticizer for healthcare applications, phthalate-free household plastics, or lead-free polymers for the toy industry, the company wants its clients—and the end consumer—to know what’s in its materials and what’s not, and EPDs have provided the tool to do this. EPDs provide transparency for the environmental impacts of the manufacturing process, distribution, transportation, installation, use, and eventual disposal of each product, while HPDs are a tool for measuring and disclosing the impact of product ingredients on human and ecological health. With the acquisition of these labels, Superior Essex has emerged as an industry leader in the innovation and design of sustainable cabling solutions. As it takes these first steps down the road toward greater sustainability, the company is not just shifting the culture of Superior Essex, but of the cable manufacturing industry as a whole. gb&d

What if pvc cable jackets were all green?

Sustainable solutions: Recyclability Energy efficiency Life cycle



On the Spot María Arquero de Alarcón & Jen Maigret This issue’s guest editors, principals at Michigan’s MAde Studio, respond to our questionnaire and maintain that imagination will always be more important than big data


familiar to you with open eyes. WHAT YOU’D TELL THE GREEN MOVEMENT IF IT WAS YOUR CHILD Pursue what makes you


BOOK EVERYONE SHOULD READ cean Sea (Oceano mare) by O

Alessandro Baricco.

ARTICLE YOU RECENTLY SHARED “ The Future!”, Another Pamphlet

(read it at

THE PERFECT CITY WOULD HAVE ppreciation for its history and A

a diverse population striving to live together.



powerful than big data.


MOST MEMORABLE TEACHER rederick Horowitz, who made F

my transition between biology and architecture possible (Jen).


BAD HABIT YOU’RE TRYING TO KICK Stressing the small things.



MOST MEMORABLE HOMETOWN HAUNT Ribeira do Miño in Madrid, Spain



definition in the use of the term “community” (María). INDUSTRY JARGON YOU’D BANISH “Adaptable” (Jen). “Sustainable”



public education in the Detroit bankruptcy proceedings. MOST IMPACTFUL EXPERIENCE IN NATURE Nature reclaiming the

formerly industrial relics at Landschaftspark Duisburg-Nord, a fascinating project by Peter Latz that reintroduces natural processes while playing with memory (María). Backpacking through the Wind River Range in Wyoming (Jen). ENVIRONMENTAL COME-TOJESUS MOMENT Taking a winter ecology class

with Dr. Michael Murphy (Jen). BEST ARGUMENT FOR ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP We should all protect and

cherish those things that bring richness to our lives. PERSONAL DEFINITION OF SUSTAINABILITY Beautiful, durable, diverse,

affordable, and inclusive.

BOLDEST IDEA IN SUSTAINABLE DESIGN That the material and aesthetic

dimension of all design (including sustainable design) is equal in value to things that are more easily measured and “accounted for.” The experience and longevity of design provides cultural resonance and lasting impact. BUILDING TREND YOU HOPE WILL NEVER GO OUT OF FASHION Retrofitting existing cities and

their components with more sustainable practices in the use and reuse of fresh water. YOUR FIELD’S BIGGEST HURDLE TO IMPROVING ITS PRACTICES Prioritizing cultural resilience

IN CONVERSATION María Arquero de Alarcón and Jen Maigret Continued from p. 173

PART 5 ‘MADE IN DETROIT’ gb&d: What’s your take on sustainability as an industry? Maigret: I would say it’s a mixed bag. There are some aspects of it that are really positive. In relationship to the current debate surrounding the term, I agree with many of the critiques, but I also don’t think we need to find a single word that somehow encompasses the breadth and complexity of the issues it signifies. I think the bigger challenge is how to put it into practice. It’s really difficult to write good policy or to encourage things that tend toward more synthetic practice as opposed to—and this is the big critique—“checklist practice,” where if you order the right finishes, somehow that is equivalent to dealing with broader siting issues or even simple things like orientation. gb&d: If you had to boil MAde Studio down to a single idea, what would that be?

“It’s really difficult to write good policy or to encourage things that tend toward more synthetic practice as opposed to ‘checklist practice.’”

over financial logics.


First Congregational Church playground in Battle Creek, Michigan (in progress but nearing completion, p. 18). BEST DOCUMENTARY rown in Detroit (Jen). Blue G

Gold: World Water Wars (María). SOCIAL MEDIA—HELPING OR HURTING No escape: hyper-connectivity.

THOUGHT OR IDEA THAT CENTERS YOU The responsibility of educating

the next generation of designers to work for a more just and beautiful future. gb&d

Maigret: I come back to why we formed the name the way that we did. We were trying to be playful with three things, and I guess somehow these three things add up to the idea of our practice. One is the “made,” or the “making”: the importance of experimenting and building things and learning from the physical realm. The second is the studio aspect, which was a very intentional choice of words—not to say “MAde Architecture” but “MAde Studio” so that it was about broader, interdisciplinary questions. And the third part comes back to the question you asked earlier about urban stewardship and place. We’d been trying to be playful about this idea of “Made in Detroit” or coming from a local—maybe not knowledge, but knowledge through studying and conversation and really careful looking. Those are the three components of what makes us who we are. I don’t quite know how to boil that down into a single sentence. gb&d

january–february 2015



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Prime Five Homes, 47 310.274.4711 Q Quest Construction Products, 167 843.745.9600 Related story on p. 166 R REHAU, 6 703.777.5255


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