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T H E M A G A Z I N E F O R C A P TA I N S O F I N D U S T RY

CONSTRUCTION LEADERS www.constructionleaderstoday.com

The Design Collaborative 8 DESIGNING BETTER COMMUNITIES President Lou DeLosso and the architects at this New Jersey-based firm wear many hats. They are planners, community activists and teachers and they offer a full range of services custom-tailored to meet their clients’ needs.

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CONSTRUCTION LEADERS TODAY

Editor-in-Chief Todd Weaver Editor Diana Doyle Executive Editor Jonathan Mack Assistant Editor Joseph Orange Creative Director Emily Detoro Art Director Stephanie Hess Director of Advertising Julian Vu Production Coordinator Jason Rone Assistant Production Coordinator Elizabeth Macks Photography Editor Ian Palmer Video Director Susan Maybach Editorial Director Kate Darling Editorial Production Rachel Goldberg Copy Editor William Finch Assistant Copy Editor Amy Roberts Correspondents Brandon McBride (W), Aaron McGaskey (SW), Juan Orellana (NE), Steve Peters (Nation), Mike Rodgers (Nation), Juan Stewart (SE) Vendor Relations Director Diana Stephens Vendor Relations Eric Miller, Dov Teta Advertising Sales Coordinator Patricia O’Brien Advertising Sales Director Peter Jostens Advertising Sales Moe Kazemi, David Levi, Tom Nichols Publisher Steve Reed

oZ WORLD MEDIA, LLC 1330 New Hampshire Avenue Suite B1 Washington D.C. 20036 Construction Leaders Today is a quarterly B2B trade journal that services the construction industry in architecture, custom build, geothermal, green building, specialty architecture, posttentioning, and new technology sectors. CLT has a readership of 100,000 C-Level executives within the energy industry. We do not accept subscription requests from the general public, however an abbreviated version is available on our website.

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The Design Collaborative: 4 Construction Leaders Today


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by Rachel Goldberg

designing better communities through collaboration

The people at The Design Collaborative are architects, but they’re also planners, community activists, and teachers. The firm’s unique philosophy of providing a full range of services custom-tailored to each project keeps them successful—and very busy, says president Lou DeLosso. DeLosso is the first person to meet with each client. With his partners, he creates a conceptual design along and sees each project through to completion. And because the firm provides a number of other services to schools, particularly long-range planning, much of his work also involves dealing with the government and procuring funding sources. When The Design Collaborative was chosen to build a new middle school in Burlington Township, N.J., their inhouse educational planners were there to evaluate the current enrollment and predict future population needs. The result was a complete overhaul of the existing facilities and grade structures. The outdated and overcrowded building that housed school administration and primary grade levels had outlived its useful life, so TDC decided to pull out the 1,450 sixth- through eighth-graders into a new state-of- the-art middle school. The students went from a building with inefficient mechanical systems and poor accessibility to a structure with fully equipped classrooms, gymnasiums, art and media centers. The Design Collaborative provided the plan, plus complete engineering services and interior design. “Programming is paramount in school construction,” DeLosso said. “We 1. One of five engine bays at the Middle Township Fire Distrct #1, NJ. The project consisted of converting an existing warehouse to a new 20,970 sq. ft. fire station. Photo courtesy of The Design Collaborative. Summer 2010 5


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3 6 Construction Leaders Today

can embellish the project and make the spaces aesthetically pleasing, but it’s all to support the educational programs that are required and in place for each of the school districts, including the population and the enrollment projections, so we know the size of classrooms and number of teaching stations that will be required, and the kind of teaching that’s going on.” DeLosso has learned from experience how to get the best possible value out of available resources, by creating designs that are sustainable in the long term and turning to government funding sources. The Burlington Township Middle School earned rebates from the New Jersey Smart Start program for its energy efficiency. New Jersey has developed a special program for distributing aid for the construction of educational facilities. Because of the experience and expertise at TDC, they “are able to get the maximum amount of state aid for the projects, reducing the cost to the voters and still be able to accommodate the program needs,”

Delosso said. The state pays more for renovation projects than for new construction, so TDC tries to adapt existing buildings to current codes and space requirements. “If we can accomplish it through renovation and upgrade to an existing structure, we try to do that,” DeLosso said. Even though the overall cost may be greater for the project, the impact to the district could be considerably less because we get more state aid. When they built a new firehouse for Middle Township, TDC was rewarded for maximizing value for the municipal government by choosing to reuse an existing building rather than create a new structure. After considering several possibilities including using the old firehouse site, TDC elected to renovate an old warehouse in the center of the town. “We were able to show them the dollars that were available in terms of saving by reusing the existing structure,” Delosso said. “The steel skeletal system was in


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excellent shape, but the envelope of the building needed some attention.� The Design Collaborative chose to remove the envelope, create new floors, walls, and a roof, making the building better insulated and more energy efficient. They even added a second floor to the warehouse and additions to the front and back. An important factor in the selection of that particular site was its location between two streets, so that they were able to create a drive-through parking lot so fire 2-3. Middle Township Fire Distrct #1, NJ. A second floor was constructed on the existing warehouse. Photos courtesy of the Design Collaborative. 4-5. The Burlington County Institute of Technology, Medford Campus, NJ. There were 56,200 sq. ft. of additions, alterations and renovations for this campus. The construction revitalized the campus with many new additions, including an 800-seat performing arts center with classrooms and other facilities. Photos courtesy of the Design Collaborative.

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engines could approach an emergency quickly from either street, without having to back up or turn around. TDC keeps an open mind to the possibilities of renewable energy sources in many of their projects, concentrating on solar power, but also considering other sources like wind and geothermal energy. In order to extend this technology to the entire community, Delosso says, he considers it his company’s responsibility to educate the community about the benefits of alternative energy. “The logic is there but they need to see all of the facts and that’s part of our job,” he said. “Our challenge is to show them not just the math, but the actual implementation.” For one of their most successful initiatives, TDC teamed up with the Workforce Investment Bureau, an agency that receives stimulus funds from the federal government, to create a solar system for the Wetlands Institute, a local nonprofit. “We designed a system, they paid for it, and they and the local vocational school taught people how to actually install it so it became a learning tool for the students,” DeLosso said. “Ultimately the wetlands institute wound up with a solar system for nothing that is producing electrical energy savings for them.” With the economy struggling, The Design Collaborative is focusing its efforts on reducing costs for their clients, and the key to doing that is using renewable energy. Their projects, DeLosso said, “actually generate cash for our district and in some instances have a zero impact to the local taxpayers and sometimes even make money from tax credits because we’re able to do a total project scope as opposed to a myopic look at the project.” The Design Collaborative’s comprehensive approach allows them to facilitate the creative reuse of resources in a way that positively impacts their community. When a school district was discarding used foodservice equipment, TDC arranged for it to be donated to a free meal center; they also helped another school donate seats from their old auditorium to a more needy school. CLT 6-8. Burlington Middle School, Burlington, NJ. The new state of the art 181,829 sq. ft. middle school includes over 45 general and specialized classrooms, media center with work rooms and two full-sized gymnasiums, a fitness center and much more. Photos courtesy of the Design Collaborative. 8 Construction Leaders Today

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The Design Collaborative brochure  

President Lou DeLosso and the architects at this New Jersey-based firm wear many hats. They are planners, community activists and teachers a...

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