Design For Impact 2021

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“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference and you have to decide what kind of a difference you want to make.” — JANE GOODALL, PRIMATOLOGIST, ANTHROPOLOGIST

ON THE COVER: The Miller Hull Partnership achieved Living Building Challenge certification for its renovation of Loom House, a 1960s midcentury home in Bainbridge Island, Washington.




While dedicated to the education of their occupants, these buildings also offer lessons in responsible design and construction.

From single-family homes to multifamily developments, these projects prioritize resident well-being while minimizing environmental impact.



U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Museum Gallagher & Associates


Summer Star Wildlife Sanctuary





Susan Wakil Health Building The University of Cincinnati Gardner Neuroscience Institute Perkins&Will


University of Washington Life Sciences Building Perkins&Will


Gallatin High School Cushing Terrell


Carleton College, Evelyn M. Anderson Hall EYP


Not Just Another Add-On For projects seeking social impact certification through green rating systems, it’s all about process.

Healthy Building Passive House Marner Architecture


Billard Leece Partnership


North Torrey Pines Living and Learning Neighborhood

Loom House The Miller Hull Partnership


St. Augustine Terrace Magnusson Architecture and Planning


Batik Apartments Runberg Architecture Group


The Water Alert and Testing Resource Ennead Architects


Interior Designers, Your Time Is Now! New studies show that interior designers can have a much bigger impact on climate change than they ever imagined.







Wellness, community, and sustainability are at the heart of these environments, which show the way forward for workplace design.

These people-centered facilities and spaces support their neighborhoods with healthy, just, and sustainable design.



T3 Sterling Road DLR Group


KQED Headquarters Transformation





Custom Blocks Studio Fuse Workspace


Okland Construction Headquarters WRNS Studio


Phoenix 850 Biomedical PBC Campus Henderson Engineers


Together for the Planet For offices that want to minimize their impact on the environment, two young companies offer next-generation solutions.

Alta Community Center Ennead Architects


Workplace Studio


Broward County Lauderhill Transit Center Saltz Michelson Architects

Mahlum Architects


PCC Community Markets

Orygen & OYH Parkville Billard Leece Partnership


Nixon Forensic Center at Fulton State Hospital EYP

100 Metric Hotel ANX / Aaron Neubert Architects

102 Education Development Center Corporate Headquarters Taylor & Burns Architects

104 Design for Disassembly What’s possible—and what’s at stake—when buildings come down.

ST. AUGUSTINE TERRACE This LEED Gold–certified building in New York City, designed by Magnusson Architecture and Planning, offers affordable housing while generating 23 percent savings in energy costs compared to other buildings of its size.



Design for the Future There is a sustainability revolution underway. At the World Economic Forum’s Davos Agenda 2021 event earlier this year, Bain & Company chairman Orit Gadiesh warned: “With consumers and investors demanding significant change, profit pools shifting away from incumbents to insurgents, and even the most carbon-heavy companies making net-zero pledges, executives ignore this revolution at their peril.” Real estate is an essential tool in this revolution. The building industry accounts for 40 percent of the world’s carbon emissions, yet it can also have an outsize influence on people’s health and happiness. For any organization or individual interested in making a positive impact in the world, architecture and interior design can show the way forward. This book of case studies showcases a comprehensive cross section of projects that are driving incredible positive outcomes in energy reduction, carbon reduction, health, economy, and community. Taken together, they offer some vital insights into the state of responsible design and construction:

Certifications are important, but outcomes are critical. Systems like LEED, the WELL Building Standard, Fitwel, and the Living Building Challenge provide benchmarks and standards for sustainable, efficient, and peoplecentered facilities and spaces. But the ultimate success of any project lies in its real-world impact. The “green premium” is a thing of the past. Architects and designers now know how to create spectacular, sustainable spaces at low or no additional cost, whether it’s schools, workplaces, hospitals, hotels, community centers, or homes. Moreover, upfront investments in resilient and responsible development and construction generally pay for themselves within a matter of a few months or years— generating savings for the rest of the project’s life. We can make a holistic positive impact with buildings. For many years, executives, developers, and facilities managers remained focused on saving energy through smart design, but now we know that the right real estate decisions can have far-reaching impacts on health, productivity, and community as well. Add those up, and you can see why every building and interior space we create in the future must follow the example set by the 26 case studies in this book. The teams behind the projects that follow are heroes, working tirelessly toward the goal of a healthy, just, and sustainable world. I hope you find inspiration—and future partners and collaborators—through this book. ■

AVINASH RAJAGOPAL editor in chief, Metropolis


Spaces for Learning 10

U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Museum


Gallagher & Associates



Summer Star Wildlife Sanctuary DSKAP



Gallatin High School Cushing Terrell

Susan Wakil Health Building Billard Leece Partnership


University of Washington Life Sciences Building


Carleton College, Evelyn M. Anderson Hall EYP

The University of Cincinnati Gardner Neuroscience Institute Perkins&Will


Not Just Another Add-On For projects seeking social impact certification green rating systems, it’s all about process.




U.S. Olympic


Paralympic Museum The first project dedicated to celebrating Team USA sets a new standard for accessibility through universal design.


URBAN FABRIC The U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum is part of a four-project redevelopment effort in Colorado Springs.



▲ TEAM SPIRIT Powerful graphics and metallic accents evoke the excitement of the games.

The 60,000-square-foot U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum (USOPM) in Colorado Springs, Colorado, a project led by the Gallagher & Associates planning and exhibit design teams, celebrates these momentous achievements, presenting the legacies and stories of Team USA Olympians and Paralympians to visitors through a groundbreakingly immersive and participatory museum experience.

The design strategy tapped into the celebratory and spirited atmosphere of the Olympic Games. Taking inspiration from race timers and distance markers, clean typefaces throughout the museum create a cohesive graphic language. The iconic color palette of the Olympic rings was a springboard for bold and engaging graphics, with metallic accents reflecting the gold, silver, and bronze of the medals.

50/50 In 2021 the museum has seen a near 50/50 split of out-of-state visitors and Colorado residents, demonstrating that the USOPM is gaining momentum locally, regionally, and nationally.


A spiraling sequence of galleries shows the history behind the Olympic and Paralympic movements, continuing through the Journey to Excellence and on to Athlete Training. The Parade of Nations experience leads visitors to galleries exploring the Winter Games, the Summer Games, and the Hall of Fame. A gallery devoted to the Medal Ceremony completes the journey, where emotional and powerful stories of reaching the podium leave visitors inspired. The design team envisioned a museum that reimagined what it means to be accessible for all. This required collaboration between design, fabrication, media, and interactive developers. Through an iterative design process, rapid prototyping, and diverse usertesting groups, our team and partners set a new benchmark for accessibility through universal design. At registration kiosks, guests set their user preferences which are then tied to an individualized, RFID-powered badge. This enables over 100 sensors throughout the museum to respond and adapt to each person’s unique preferences and self-identified abilities. These sensors automatically calibrate to visitor needs for all digital interactives such as The Lab, where digital overlays activate and highlight specific equipment used by Olympic or Paralympic athletes. Displays allow visitors to investigate different components of the equipment and feature clips of trainers and athletes showing equipment in action. This hands-free experience is controlled through a motion control/depth sensor interface. User profiles tied to each RFID badge trigger visitor preferences, such as increased volume, higher contrast visuals, or larger text size. In addition to RFID, overarching design elements throughout activate to support various comfort and ability levels. Tactile floor strips align to trigger points for audio descriptions for sight-impaired visitors. All videos feature captioning and ASL interpretation along with narration for hearingimpaired visitors. Universal reach and sightlines across all interactives ensure



ECONOMY This project leads an economic engine for the entire region, headlined as the “City of Champions,” designed to boost its $1.35 billion annual tourism industry by attracting over one million visitors annually. For Colorado Springs specifically, the new museum represents one of four projects comprising a $250.6 million redevelopment effort that will remake the fabric of the city— placing it squarely on the map as an international destination.


CELEBRATING LEGACY The U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum (USOPM) is the first project dedicated to capturing the rich history of Team USA’s performance in both the Olympic and Paralympic games. In order to ensure the success of this process, Gallagher Museum Services conducted the feasibility study, site selection, and business planning efforts for the museum. Early in the life of the project, the feasibility phase set the business foundation for the USOPM, defining the capital, financial, and operational aspects of the project.


UNIVERSAL DESIGN The team envisioned a museum that elevates the standards for accessibility and inclusivity—no matter the physical and mental ability. Via a creative process rooted in iteration and testing, solutions were developed out of rapid prototyping and diverse user-testing groups. The development team invited Olympic and Paralympic athletes to test interactives at each phase of the process. The insight gained from these efforts allowed our team and partners to achieve a new benchmark for accessibility.

“Colorado Springs is proud to be the home of the nation’s only U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum. The museum’s thoughtful, innovative, and accessible design has redefined our city’s skyline and serves as a catalyst for renewed urban growth and development in our downtown core. It has also cemented Colorado Springs’ reputation as Olympic City USA, a city that has launched and celebrated the dreams of scores of Team USA athletes from all walks of life.” — JOHN SUTHERS, COLORADO SPRINGS MAYOR





▲ MAXIMIZING USABILITY Details like tactile floor strips for sight-impaired visitors and video captioning for the hearing-impaired ensure all guests can access content comfortably.

▲ ACTION BASED Displays invite guests to explore athletic equipment as video graphics show athletes and trainers at work.

that each visitor can access content from a comfortable vantage point. For G&A there was more to the project than a creative lift. Working in parallel with the design team, Gallagher Museum Services, G&A’s feasibility, and operations division, served in an owner’s representative capacity to protect the museum’s interest throughout the development process. In addition to managing the development, GMS has team members as part of the museum management staff. Through this thoughtful design development and implementation process, the USPOM invites visitors to experience—not just observe—the dedication, motivation, and sacrifice of Olympic and Paralympic athletes. ■



Parade of Nations

The Lab

Introduction & Journey to Excellence

Athlete Training

Olympic & Paralympic Medals

Summer Games

Special Events

Changing Exhibits

The World Watches

Winter Games

Theater Medal Ceremony


Entrance & Ticketing

▲ STORYTELLING The 60,000-square-foot, three-level facility features galleries spanning the inspiring history of the Olympic and Paralympic games.


Hall of Fame



▲ TAILORED EXPERIENCE Sensors throughout the museum respond to guest-set user preferences.

CREDITS • Architect: Diller Scofidio + Renfro • Architect of Record: Anderson Mason Dale Architects • Owner’s Representation & Operational Management: Gallagher Museum Services • Exhibit Designers: Gallagher & Associates

• Exhibit Fabricator: CRĒO Industrial Arts • Media & Interactive Development: Centre Screen • Interactive Development: Kiss the Frog • Audio Visual Integrator: BBI Engineering

• RFID System Design & Venue Intelligence: Stark RFID • Feasibility Study, Content & Artifact Curation: Barrie Projects • Lighting Design: Available Light

• Accessibility Consultant: Institute for Human-Centered Design • Retail & Cafe Designers: RGLA Solutions • Acoustical Design & Technology: Arup



Summer Star Wildlife Sanctuary The Trail Head House welcomes the community to learn about the surrounding woodlands and wildlife. The building is minimally intrusive with a focus on preserving the natural environment.

TREE ROOM The materials and design of the building’s tree room celebrate the sanctuary’s natural beauty.



The Landing Eagle Trail Head House is the main building surrounded by Summer Star Wildlife Sanctuary’s landscape of modest hills, intimate valleys, and massive glacial boulders. With exhibit spaces, video, and meeting rooms, and a grand-scale glazed “tree room” for storytelling, the Nature Center will house programs complementary to the curricula of visiting educators, and will welcome neighbors and others from the general public. The Landing Eagle Trail Head House is a gateway to Summer Star’s loop-trail and the larger network with which it connects. In that way, Landing Eagle is a kind of embassy—to help conduct the interface of humans and the natural environment, preparing and orienting visitors for some time on the earth’s rhythm. An immersive space has been created through emphatically gentle interventions on the humble landscape of the sanctuary. A roof of deep earth cover allows the forest’s present understory of low-bush blueberry to return above the exhibit spaces. The materials and gestures of the tree room frame and amplify the native beauty and inspiration. Inspired by old pioneers like Malcolm Wells, and new initiatives like the Living Building Challenge, Summer Star’s values manifest themselves in the building’s photovoltaic arrays, composting toilets, rainwater pool, earth roof, biophilic design, energy reduction, and many other impactful systems. ■



EQUITY & INCLUSION 1. Partnership with Tufts Wildlife Clinic, Student Conservation Association (SCA) & Sudbury Valley Trustees (SVT) 2. Various community outreach programs 3. Places for occupants to gather with the community 4. Cultural/social equality factors and contributors 5. Educational factors (tours, exhibits, lectures) 6. Full accessibility inclusion, including trail walks


LEED 1. Energy reduction (52.5 percent) 2. Waste reduction (87 percent) 3. Site and environmental (stormwater control, light pollution, heat island effect, rain gardens) 4. Indoor environment and air quality (low emitting materials, IAQ performance) 5. Sustainable materials and finishes 6. Photovoltaic system, composting units, and Earth roof 7. Biophilic design 8. LEED Gold Certified 9. 2015 MA USGBC Green Building of the Year


SITE CONSERVATION AND PRESERVATION 1. Partnerships with local preservationists and wildlife groups 2. Limited site disturbance of 45 acres 3. Environmental sustainability 4. Site and wildlife preserve/protection 5. Walking trails

CREDITS • Client: Summer Star Wildlife Sanctuary • Architecture: DSK | Dewing Schmid Kearns Architects • General Contractor: Consigli Construction

• Landscape Architecture: Klopfer Martin Design Group •C ivil Engineer: Outback Engineering, Inc. • Structural Engineer: Simpson Gumpertz & Heger Inc.

•M .E.P. Engineer: Allied Consulting Engineering Services, Inc. • Geotechnical Engineer: McPhail Associates, LLC • Seismic Refraction Survey: Hager-Richter Geoscience, Inc.


• Sustainable Design Consultants: The Green Engineer, LLP •C ode Consulting: Building Code Consulting, LLC • Lighting Consulting: Ripman Lighting Consultants



Susan Wakil Health Building This high-tech health and education research facility embodies Wingara Mura principles and a positive relationship with nature.


EDUCATION IN PLACE The eight-level, 21,500-square-meter building was designed to be embedded within surrounding nature and indigenous principles.



At the forefront of health innovation and learning, the Susan Wakil Health Building delivers a state-of-the-art health facility unifying education and practice. As a place of collaborative research with agile environments for multidisciplinary teaching and high-tech learning across all schools of health and medicine, the design of this building and master plan of the entire health precinct will inspire the next generation of global health leaders. Located at the intersection of two historically significant waterways for the Gadigal people, the building is designed as an extension of the landscape, embodying the University’s Wingara Mura design principles with a commitment to Aboriginal participation and cultural understanding. Over eight levels and 21,500 square meters of building, a threedimensional network of open spaces grows from the landscape—lifting, shaping, and connecting it at every level from inside to outside. At the heart is the Upper Wakil Garden—a multivalent and dynamic reinvention of the campus quad. A “cleave” within the volume of the Susan Wakil Building draws light down to the garden throughout the year. At the same time, the interlacing circulation acts as connective tissue between academic workplaces and clinical spaces within. “The key to success and longevity of this building is its principles of designing with nature—light, views, and ventilation, allowing visual transparency across the facilities, design for active circulation, and socialization—with emphasis on stairs over lifts—creating a healthy workplace and a place of high tech learning of the future,” says Raj Senanayake, Principal at BLP. ■



SOCIAL EQUITY Social equity and utilization of the Wingara Mura design principles were key priorities in the building’s design, including the Yooroang Garang academic space (a dedicated space for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to connect and work together), gender-neutral facilities, and the Upper Wakil Garden (a place of respite at the heart of the building). The building has layers of embedded indigenous narratives: woven dilly bags inspired the facade screen and the pathways reflect the now invisible waterways.


HEALTH Conceived as a total health environment, the building vigorously engages the mind and body. Activating movement, reflection, and social gatherings framed by expansive views of trees and indigenous landscaping promotes interprofessional collaboration and builds a positive relationship with nature. The building embodies the healthy workplace of the future. Interconnected stairs foster physical activity and social interaction. By controlling the flow of natural ventilation through the cleave spaces, the building can purge at night to reduce daily energy consumption.


HIGH-TECH LEARNING The building accommodates the latest design and technology in simulation experience and research facilities, with interconnected flows to the precinct’s nearby hospital and research center. The research and learning environments accommodate an array of purpose-built labs. A Thermal Ergonomic Laboratory, Biomechanics Lab, Simulated Hospital Ward, and Communication Disorders Treatment and Research Clinic provide dedicated environments for students to learn in a real-world capacity. Teaching spaces, equipped with sophisticated AV technology, provide hybrid flexible—or hyflex—learning environments.

CREDITS •P roject Team: Billard Leece Partnership & Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Arcadia Landscape Architecture

• Client: University of Sydney

• Consultants: Laing O’Rourke, Meinhardt Bonacci, Integral Group, Minale Tattersfield, GTA, Philip Chun, Resonate



The University


Cincinnati Gardner Neuroscience Institute UC Health’s new facility puts patients first, providing a new home for innovative care, education, and research for complex neurological conditions.


PATIENT CENTERED Designed with the neurologic patient in mind, UC Health provides state-of-the-art care and improved well-being.



UC Health started this project with a goal to create a state-of-the-art outpatient facility that provides innovative care to neurological patients. Central to the new facility was the aim to improve patient experience throughout, and the building’s distinctive envelope was part of how that was achieved. The Gardner Neuroscience Institute’s exterior is made of a specialized polyester fiber mesh that controls light and heat and prevents glare. This is critical for many neurological patients, as glare can be visually disorienting. The angular, pleated planes that wrap the building on the south, east, and west sides suggest origami, creating a new gateway to the campus. The veil protects lightsensitive patients while simultaneously reducing energy loads, eliminating the need for costly internal shades. The 113,000-square-foot facility brings together 125 faculty from 15 Centers of Excellence into a new home for neurological care, education, and research for complex neurological conditions. As a patient-centered facility, each component of the design was developed with patient, family, and caregiver input. The team also drew on input from Perkins&Will’s Human Experience (Hx) Lab, which studies how specific design elements can help improve the human experience. The design accommodates the needs of patients with susceptibility to nausea, dizziness, fatigue, or movement disorders, and responds to those needs along every step of the patient’s journey. ■

CREDITS • Client: University of Cincinnati Health • Design Architect/ AOR: Perkins&Will • MEP Engineer: Heapy

• Structural Engineer: Shell + Meyer Associates • Civil Engineer: The Kleingers Group • Exterior Lighting: Schuler Shook • General Contractor: Messer Construction

COOL AND CALM The unique facade prevents glare and visual disorientation, adding to the comfort level for neurological patients while allowing natural light to enter the interior.



FACADE The design of the unique facade embodies our Living Design approach, which focuses on holistic human and planetary health. The facade helps protect light-sensitive neurological patients while improving energy performance: The curtain wall features high-performance low-e glazing, reducing loads on mechanical systems, and the mesh screen increases thermal comfort by mitigating temperature swings caused by varying solar conditions. This creates a calming interior environment with consistent temperatures throughout the day.


HUMAN EXPERIENCE A Patient Advisory Group, along with the director of the institute, donors, and the Gardner family, participated in visioning sessions that became the driver behind the design of the entire project. The team also drew on input from Perkins&Will’s Human Experience (Hx) research lab, which is dedicated to design for the human experience. This collaboration resulted in prioritizing views and soft, diffused daylighting, which provides a reduced-stress clinical environment and improved circadian exposure.


INCLUSION The Institute brings together 125 faculty from 15 Centers of Excellence into a universally designed home for neurological care, education, and research. It is located in Coreyville, a historically African American neighborhood with low income, lower life expectancy, and increased rates of diseases. Not only does the project serve this community’s medical needs, but it also improves the surrounding physical landscape with a park-like setting. Its parking garage is clad in regional limestone, forming a plinth to the building.





Building Perkins&Will’s design of the Life Sciences Building at the University of Washington emphasizes holistic human and planetary health.


OUTER MATTER Natural wood balances the facade’s metal, glass, and energyproducing solar fins.



▲ GLASS BOX An expansive glass atrium showcases a suspended feature stair, which connects the building’s six floors.

The Department of Biology at the University of Washington houses the largest STEM program in the state. In order to meet their growing demand, the 207,000-square-foot Life Sciences Building (LSB) embodies three core concepts—Science is a Gateway, Connections, and Engagement—enhancing the building’s relationship to the campus, students, faculty, and environment. Guided by our firm’s holistic Living Design approach, and informed by our client’s core values, we designed a welcoming, inclusive, and innovative, high-performing building.

SCIENCE IS A GATEWAY: LIVING LAB One project goal was to make the building a living lab by placing science and sustainability on display. The department’s greenhouse research and renowned plant collection are steps away from a pedestrian trail, while unique plants from the biology curriculum integrate into the west entrance’s cascading landscape. The lobby and plaza are a gateway to the main campus, welcoming students and the community to engage with the building’s sustainable features.

58.7% Strategies like chilled waves and chilled beams, radiant floor heating and cooling, natural ventilation cooling, and exhaust heat recovery result in a 58.7 percent energy reduction.



Student-led grants Two student-led grants were awarded by the UW Campus Sustainability Fund (CSF): A $112,000 grant for a lab wastewater reuse system for greenhouse irrigation and a $300,000 matching grant for the solar panels on the rooftop and building-integrated solar fins on the southwest facade.

CONNECTIONS: ECOTONE This next-level science facility creates an “ecotone”—the region of transition between two biological communities— in both program and design, where the technology behind the science intersects with the study of the natural world. The southern exterior features metal, glass, and energy-producing solar fins to represent technology, while the northern exterior boasts natural wood to represent nature and visually connect the building to the treasured Deodar Cedar tree canopy lining this woodland path on campus. The ecotone converges at a sixstory, 1,000-square-foot glass-box atrium that connects the south and north ends of the building. Suspended inside the glass-box atrium is the feature stair, which connects the six floors of research spaces with oversized landings that encourage chance encounters between scientists and students. This fosters collaboration and provides natural ventilation cooling. ENGAGEMENT: PROGRAMMING & PLANNING The building houses 40 principal investigators and their teams. Research labs, teaching labs, an active learning classroom, a café, and greenhouses holistically integrate their approach to life sciences—all in a single space designed as a healthy, collaborative environment. Flexible planning allowed for 18 more principal investigators than originally planned, while enabling endless views and ample natural light throughout. ■



ENERGY Embodying Perkins&Will’s principles of Living Design— which emphasize holistic human and planetary health—LSB’s positive energy impacts were integral to our design approach and the occupant experience. The building exceeds the AIA 2030 Challenge standards: It integrates bespoke solar glass fins in its curtain wall, with an innovative design that both shades the offices and generates 12,400 kWh of electricity while maintaining occupant views. The lobby’s interactive touchscreen compares the solar fins’ real-time performance with the rooftop solar panels, creating an educational living lab.


COMMUNITY As part of our engagement with the campus community, we partnered with the student group UW Solar. They were involved throughout design and construction and led tours sharing the design features they helped create. We collaborated with UW Solar to apply for grants for energy and water innovations, key to maintaining both the project budget and sustainability rigor. Today, the building’s core purpose—its “DNA”—thrives via the students; indeed, LSB has become their building and their Living Design story.


HEALTH AND WELLNESS “Create the healthiest working and learning environment,” was a top client goal. One signature feature is a large open stair on display at the main entry, promoting exercise while immersed in daylight and expansive views. With 95 percent of workstations within 30 feet of operable windows, occupants benefit from thermal comfort control. Biophilic connections to nature are designed throughout, including the center slice of 200-foot tall donated trees reassembled, tapering as they rise through the atrium.

“There are many ingenious features that the architect incorporated into the project, but two deserve special mention: First, the architect managed the challenging task of integrating a 190,000-square-foot, high-intensity research lab building with a 20,000-square-foot research and teaching greenhouse. Second, was the architect’s installation of 460 vertical photovoltaic solar fins on the southwest side of the building, generating enough power to light the entire office bar.” — STEPHEN MAJESKI, ASSOCIATE DEAN FOR RESEARCH AND INFRASTRUCTURE, UW COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SCIENCES



▲ NATURAL POWER The building integrates custom solar glass fins designed to shade the interiors and generate electricity while maintaining occupant views.

CREDITS •M anaging Principal: Anthony Gianopoulos • Project Manager/Designer: Andy Clinch • Project Architect: Devin Kleiner • Lab Planner: Alex Clinton • Job Captain: Shanni Hanein

• Client Team: University of Washington • General Contractor: Skanska • Structural & Civil Engineer: Coughlin Porter Lundeen • MEP: Affiliated Engineers • Landscape: GGN

• Lighting Design: Blanca Lighting Design • Acoustics: The Greenbusch Group, Inc. • Building Envelope: Morrison Hershfield • Mechanical Contractor: McKinstry • Electrical Contractor: VECA Electric & Technologies

CERTIFICATIONS 2030 Challenge Compliant




Gallatin High School Designed by Cushing Terrell, Gallatin High School is a healthy place for students to learn and a destination for the thriving Bozeman community.


COME TOGETHER The 1,500-student, 300,000-square-foot Gallatin High School is a combination of stacked one-, two-, and three-story wings that connect through the Commons.



▲ ENERGY SAVER Gallatin High School uses 40.5 percent less energy than a building built to the current energy code and realizes $120,000 in annual energy cost savings.

Gallatin High School in Bozeman, Montana, was designed to meet Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS) criteria and is the first CHPS-verified school in Montana. What does this mean? CHPS schools are designed and built with strategies and systems that protect student and staff health; conserve energy, water, and other natural resources; reduce waste, pollution, and environ-

mental degradation; and enhance learning environments. When developing concepts for Gallatin High School, the design team and building committee gravitated toward a layout inspired by a town center—a place where people come together for a variety of purposes aligned with creating a thriving, interactive community. Central to the school’s design is an area called


of interior finishes and furniture are made from low- or no-VOC materials.



92% The low energy use intensity (EUI) of 36.8 kBtu/sf/yr is estimated to outperform 92 percent of similar buildings.

the Commons—a main hub at the convergence of learning “streets” where students and staff gather for assemblies, small group meetings, and individual study time. A grand staircase gives the Commons a “wow” factor, with the bonus of a coffee bar and café tucked underneath. The glass walls of the Commons provide dramatic views of the surrounding mountains and offer an inspiring backdrop for expansive, creative thinking. The team infused the design with ideas of cross-pollination and discovery, creating greater visibility into learning areas to spur interest in trying something new. Incorporating wider hallways and an abundance of natural light supports a learning environment that feels accessible and full of opportunity. Rather than spreading the 300,000-square-foot school across two levels, the team designed a more compact solution: a combination of stacked one-, two-, and three-story wings. The layout reduces travel time from one side of the school to the other, creates opportunities to make physical and visual connections to the Commons, and enhances efficiency in the building’s footprint, systems, and energy use. These elements, combined with an irrigation system designed to meet high water-efficiency standards, are a few of the features that contributed to the project earning CHPS status. The planning and design factors reinforce the primary guiding principle of the project—to create a strong sense of community and a healthy place for students to learn. ■



COMMUNITY The Gallatin High School Commons is a unifying element, both architecturally and socially. Like a town center, it’s the convergence of learning “streets,” the primary arteries linking the school. This is where academic communities share and connect, and where students and staff strengthen relationships with the Bozeman community. With a bus route extended to serve the school and surrounding neighborhoods, community integration occurs via events within the school and on the grounds, utilizing shared interior and exterior spaces.


ENERGY The team reduced environmental impacts and operational costs associated with energy use through integrated features that include a ground-water-source variable-refrigerant-flow system, heat recovery, demand-controlled ventilation, high-efficiency lighting design, building energy management system, and well-insulated building envelope. The school is anticipated to use 40.5 percent less energy than the baseline due to the design. The commissioning process verified that all building systems were designed, installed, and calibrated to operate as intended, and post-occupancy evaluations provide ongoing optimization of building energy performance.


WELLNESS With indoor air quality a top priority, the school’s HVAC system provides continuous outdoor air ventilation, and EPD-verified products and materials ensure minimal VOC emissions and minimal impact to the environment. The building envelope and mechanical systems offer a high level of thermal comfort while meeting energy efficiency goals. Additionally, each classroom has independent temperature controls and sensors, with staff trained in their use. Strategic daylighting not only brings in natural light, but also minimizes glare in classrooms.

“The Commons are beautiful. There’s so much light and it’s a great space to be in. It makes it fun and exciting to come to work every day.” — ERICA SCHNEE, PRINCIPAL, GALLATIN HIGH SCHOOL



▲ PATH TO SUCCESS Wide hallways, strategic daylighting, and visibility into learning areas create an environment that feels approachable and encourages discovery.

CREDITS • Cushing Terrell Design Team • Project Architect: Nathan Helfrich • Project Manager: Melinda Talarico • Mechanical Engineer: Alex Russell • Interior Designer: Jeffrey Morrison

• Landscape Architect: Wes Baumgartner • Principal in Charge: Corey Johnson • Electrical Engineer/former firm President: Scott Wilson

• Project Partners: Langlas & Associates, DCI Engineers, TD&H Engineering, Schuler Shook, Big Sky Acoustics

CERTIFICATION Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS)



Carleton College A new campus complex is designed to help students better understand the relationships between scientific disciplines.


LINKED UP Bridges and passages connect Anderson Hall’s three buildings to a large, light-filled atrium.



Anderson Hall, a new integrated science complex, positions Carleton to better serve the needs of students and faculty and help ensure that the college maintains its reputation as a leader in the sciences. Students, faculty, and staff now experience the connections between scientific disciplines and the connections between science, other academic fields, and “real life” outside of the classroom. The design incorporates local Minnesota granite and limestone, blended brick, and glass for the new structure while creating a new, lightfilled, atrium to unite three structures; one a mid-century Yamasaki masterpiece, another a Postmodern contextual structure, and the third, our new construction, are synthesized into the vision of an integrated center for today’s sciences at Carleton College. The new facilities enable studentfaculty research and allow more students to conduct meaningful research in their laboratories. The new laboratory block also features adaptable and flexible spaces. Teaching and research spaces will be easy to reconfigure as new faculty, techniques, and areas of interest come and go. All three buildings are now seamlessly connected on every floor with bridges and passages to the atrium, allowing students to feel and see the connections between scientific disciplines. ■

CREDITS • EYP: Richard Clarke, Melissa Burns, Maureen Donato, Paul Davies, Jeremy Oberc, Gerard Audet, Andrew London, Mark Kanonik, Rachel Tuttle,Charles Kirby, Fadi Bark, Dan Lazarz, Dede Nash, Chad Miller, Hacig Tacvorian, Olivia Bowering, Paul Stockert, Eugene Harris, Mihai Dobrescu, Brian Tucker, Shayne

Sobell, Elijah Porter, Dale Greenwald • Client: Carleton College • Contractor: McGough • Consultants Atelier Ten, BKBM Engineers, Rowan Williams Davies & Irwin, Shen Milsom & Wilke, Wildan, Collaborative Design Group

NEW BUILD The design of the addition’s facade blends brick, glass, and local granite and limestone.



ENERGY To help the college meet its mandate of a net-zero increase in campus energy consumption through new construction or renovation projects, EYP designed a facility that has achieved a 33% increase in total square footage while decreasing overall energy consumption by 41%! With no initial sustainable certification goals in mind, the project is now tracking LEED Platinum.


MODERNIZATION The modernization of Olin Hall (1961) and Hulings Hall (1995) was a cost-effective design strategy that brings yesterday’s buildings up to modern standards of performance for programmatic and energy efficiency, as well as occupant comfort and safety. Existing building program spaces were rearranged to allow students and faculty to collaborate on every floor. In addition to the new atrium, a new open cascading stair was inserted into the existing Hulings lightwell to create welcoming connections for all building programs.


DISCOVERY Anderson Hall collocates multiple departments and programs previously spread across five separate buildings into one leading-edge, interdisciplinary STEM community. Transparent labs and classrooms put science on display to engage students and encourage the kind of serendipitous conversations that lead to collaboration, discovery, and innovation. A network of variously sized informal spaces for study and socializing activates the building, encouraging students to stay in the academic milieu after class hours, which increases opportunities for student-faculty dialogue.



Organization Name: ABC Inc. Organization Type: Service Provider Headquarters: Washington, D.C. Office Locations : 10 Number of Employees: 1200 Social Justice Indicators:

Diversity & Inclusion Gender Diversity Ethnic Diversity Inclusion Engagement

Employee Benefi ts Health Care Retirement Provision Family/Medical Leave Training/Education

Stewardship Full Time Employment Pay-Scale Equity Freedom of Association Living Wage Gender Pay Equity

Employee Health Physical Health Well-Being

Local Communities Volunteering Animal Welfare Charitable Giving Positive Products

Purchasing & Supply Chain Equitable Purchasing Supply Chain



EXP. 12/30/2020



◀ BUILDING INGREDIENTS The International Living Future Institute (ILFI) offers one of the most scrupulous green building certifications an architect can apply for. This year ILFI launched JUST, a self-reporting program for building managers and organizations to assess themselves on 22 social equity indicators. Their marks are arrayed in a matrix reminiscent of nutrition labels.








Add-On For projects seeking social impact certification through green rating systems, it’s all about process. By Katie Okamoto

In August 2018, the NAACP announced Centering Equity in the Sustainable Building Sector, an initiative that addresses an uncomfortable truth: Sustainable design is increasingly a luxury commodity. “Communities of color and low-income communities bear the brunt of the impacts of unhealthy, energy inefficient, and disaster vulnerable buildings,” reads the NAACP’s statement. “Yet, as one looks around the tables or worksites of the sustainable and regenerative building sector, there is little representation of the populations most impacted by our current proliferation of unsustainable, inefficient, sometimes unsafe, and often unhealthy building stock.” Heather Rosenberg, an associate principal at Arup and a leader in resilience planning in Southern California, puts it more bluntly: “You can get a green certification and be displacing a community.” Social equity—and positive social impact more generally—was supposed to be central to sustainability from the start. In the 1990s, the decade that saw the rise of BREEAM and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), John Elkington, an entrepreneur and author on corporate responsibility, coined the “triple bottom line”: sustainability

for people, the environment, and the economy. Elkington has since expressed regret that the social part of the equation has fallen by the wayside. “Success or failure on sustainability goals...must also be measured in terms of the wellbeing of billions of people,” he wrote in Harvard Business Review last year. “[The] sustainability sector’s record in moving the needle on those goals has been decidedly mixed.” Among the reasons why are the complexities of how to define equity within social impact, let alone trace the influence of a building upon it. Unlike determining an environmental footprint, which can be measured in cubic tons or parts per million, considering social impact draws on sociology, psychology, economics, and medicine. It requires thinking on three scales: the physical life cycle of a project, including materials and construction; its ripple effects within its context, like a neighborhood or city, as well as across time; and its more tightly bounded cycles of building occupancy. These three loops, in turn, touch distinct population groups: building users and occupants; those working in construction and installation; neighborhoods; and people involved in the buildingmaterial supply chain.

As major project-level rating systems like LEED have gained prominence and become shorthand for “sustainable design,” they’ve put increased emphasis on equity, albeit with varying degrees of specificity. The International Living Future Institute Living Building Challenge was the first and remains the only major green label to require social equity considerations, period. Its imperatives are explicit in ways that equity considerations in other standards are not. The requirement for universal access, for instance, states that all projects must make “all primary transportation, roads and non-building infrastructure... equally accessible to all members of the public regardless of background, age and socioeconomic class—including the homeless.” Compliance with the Seven Principles of Universal Design, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), or the Architectural Barriers Act is nonnegotiable. Within LEED, credits that directly speak to social equity remain optional—but there are some alternatives. In 2014, following a report by a special working group, LEED introduced three pilot credits to its Building Design and Construction program: One rewards projects that identify and address community needs and disparities; a second

rewards equitable practices by owners, architects, engineers, and contractors; and a third calls for supply chain assessments, particularly targeting human rights violations. WELL, meanwhile, is arguably the most obvious system in which to discuss social impact, given its focus on human health and well-being, and its most recent version intends to make “an organization’s ability to level the playing field...fundamental to the [WELL rating] system itself,” says Rachel Gutter, president of the International WELL Building Institute. This has meant introducing three community preconditions to WELL v2, which advocate collaborative design and community-minded practices within the workplace, like providing “easily accessible” wellness education. It is hard to miss, however, that universal design and equitable bathroom accommodations are “optimizations,” not “preconditions,” under WELL v2. It makes sense that sustainability rating systems allow for some

variation, considering that social impact depends on each project’s unique players, site, and history. But it also follows that what “equity” means within these scales is subjective, self-selecting, and, as with sustainability ratings in general, often based on checklist systems that prioritize process over results. These put an emphasis on community engagement during brief formation and the design process, and look for added benefits—like opening outdoor space to public use, installing ADA-compliant egress on city land, or creating philanthropic programs—rather than ask projects to measure and prove the absence of negative impact. Projects pursuing LEED’s Social Equity within the Community credit must complete two portions of the Social Economic Environmental Design (SEED) Network evaluation —a rigorous tool for assessing the social, economic, and environmental impact of design projects—or partner with community service or advocacy

groups, but there is no requirement as to what the outcome of that partnership might be. For those pursuing its Social Equity within the Project Team credit, there are multiple routes: paying wages and benefits that meet or exceed the requirements of the federal Davis-Bacon Act, participating in workforce development training, or demonstrating corporate social responsibility through other certifications, to name a few. “If you look at LEED’s first pilot, it was easier than it is now,” reflects Susan Kaplan, who chaired the USGBC’s Social Equity Working Group. “If you know about your diversity levels or pay disparity, because you have to report it, then you can’t ignore it so easily.” The emphasis that sustainability rating systems put on process often means they rely on third-party mechanisms like the SEED Network’s Evaluator process and Enterprise Green Communities’ Criteria Checklist for low income




▲ SEEDING EQUITY In 2014, LEED introduced its Social Equity within the Community credit. The designation is tied to its Social Economic Environmental Design (SEED) Network evaluation, a rigorous tool for assessing the social, economic, and environmental impact of design projects like the Dahlia Campus for Health and Well-Being in Denver.


housing, which requires, among other things, an evaluation of access to public transportation and public space, and community wealth creation. These organizations have established themselves as experts in tracking community-driven work and provide rubrics and standards of documentation of accessible public meetings, inclusive public outreach, and user interviews that dovetail with the architecture industry’s more marketed systems like the Living Building Challenge. Such processes, however, are above and beyond what most clients want, so the types of projects that seek social impact accountability often have equity in their mission to begin with. Foundations, cities, and nonprofits, for instance, fare well: “[T]hose were the groups that were doing the most interesting things, because [those goals] aligned with the mission,” says Arup’s Rosenberg, who participated in the USGBC’s Social Equity Working Group. Social impact thinking—particularly at the community level—needs to be introduced in the early stages of forming a design brief, sometimes years before an RFP is even issued. And the power to form a brief that takes equity seriously lies disproportionately with the client, be it a developer, building owner, city agency, nonprofit, or foundation. Take the Dahlia Campus for Health and Well-Being in the lowincome Park Hill neighborhood of Denver, completed in 2015 and designed by Anderson Mason Dale Architects. The brief, which eventually earned LEED Social Equity pilot credits, was shaped by a three-year community engagement effort led by the client, the Mental Health Center of Denver. The team’s process—documented with the SEED Evaluator—gained trust from the community and ultimately led to the addition of a number of programs to improve access to fresh food and child care, on top of the mental health services program.

“If you have a client who’s not interested in [social equity goals], then you’re either just rolling with what their goals are...or you’re being somewhat subversive to try to fit in broader community goals,” says Anderson Mason Dale principal Cathy Bellem. “I think a lot of social equity goals oftentimes are only moved forward through what amounts to a volunteer effort [on the part of the architect].” Even when project teams get on board, there’s the question of accountability and follow-up after move-in—something that most sustainable certification programs don’t require. Gaining access to post-occupancy surveys, if they’re

conducted at all, can be challenging because of changeover in project management, and that’s if the client is willing. “We’ve tried to have those conversations [about gaining access to post-occupancy survey data],” says Anthony Brower, director of sustainable design at Gensler and a board director for the USGBC’s Los Angeles chapter. “On one project...we tried writing [survey access] into the contract. It was the first thing the client struck out of the agreement.” “Everybody wants to be seen as doing the right thing, but it’s the old wolf in sheep’s clothing,” says Mindy Fullilove, a psychiatrist and professor of urban policy and health





◀ AFFIRMING DESIGN Missing from the equity puzzle are accountability and follow-up after move-in. Angie Brooks, of the Los Angeles– based Brooks + Scarpa, hopes that architects start creating their own post-occupancy studies. It’s something the firm does for many of its multifamily housing projects, like the 110-unit Rossmore & Weldon complex in the city’s beleaguered Skid Row neighborhood.

at The New School’s Parsons School of Design. She’s skeptical of the motive underlying the inclusion of social impact within sustainability accreditation, particularly if it remains self-reported, seeing it as trading major community change for a few marketable amenities. In her view, a fundamental weakness is that rating systems fail to ask whether a project should move forward at all. “We’re in a national housing crisis,” she says. “We don’t solve that by green lighting developers to create more high-end housing.” Meanwhile, a slew of broaderscaled sustainability rating systems are gaining momentum. Enterprise Green Communities Criteria are

now required for all new Department of Housing Preservation and Development projects in New York City. LEED for Neighborhood Development and for Cities and Communities (introduced in 2016) and the WELL Community Standard pilot (introduced in 2017) use the point system at the scale of urban development, though the jury is still out on their effectiveness. And this fall, the Grace Farms Foundation announced an industry working group to look at slavery in the building industry. Any true accountability around social equity will require looking beyond the architecture office. Angie Brooks, co-principal

of Brooks + Scarpa, an L.A.-based firm with an extensive portfolio of social impact work, particularly in housing, urges architects who want to improve equity to become advocates at the city level. “The designing of buildings is one thing,” she says, but “the framework within which we design needs to be fixed.” Jacqueline Patterson, director of the NAACP’s Environmental and Climate Justice Program, suggests a change in mind-set. “There needs to be a movement towards universalizing access to start with folks who need it most,” she adds. “Equity can’t be an add-on; it actually needs to be foundational.” ■


Ways of Living 40

North Torrey Pines Living and Learning Neighborhood


Batik Apartments Runberg Architecture Group


46 48

58 Healthy Building Passive House

The Water Alert and Testing Resource (WALTER)

Marner Architecture

Ennead Architects

Loom House The Miller Hull Partnership


St. Augustine Terrace Magnusson Architecture and Planning


Interior Designers, Your Time Is Now! New studies show that interior designers can have a much bigger impact on climate change than they ever imagined.




North Torrey Pines Living & Learning Neighborhood The new North Torrey Pines Living and Learning Neighborhood at UC San Diego encourages social and academic interactions at multiple scales.


LEARNING DISTRICT The vision for this project was to create a mixed-use living and learning neighborhood that combined all elements of campus life.



▲ STUDENT WELL-BEING The design prioritizes access to nature and social connection with outdoor pathways and play areas aimed at improving mental health.

UC San Diego is experiencing unprecedented enrollment growth in a city where housing costs are 2.8 times above the U.S. average and availability is critically low. The UC System committed to creating new student housing at below-market rates to equitably provide an on-campus living experience for as many students as possible. Decreasing available campus land and a mandate for climate responsibility has dictated increasingly dense and high-performing campus development,

influenced by the UC San Diego tradition of creating “campuses within a campus” to establish a scaled sense of belonging among its 40,000 students. The COVID-19 pandemic taught us that the “learning” part of a “living and learning” campus experience can be accommodated online, and also highlighted (through its absence) how critical the “living” part is to students’ personal development. Beyond meeting physiological needs of shelter and nutrition, a college experience needs

70% Mitigating the need for additional infrastructure, namely cooling systems, the NTPPLN’s energy consumption is reduced by more than 70% when compared to standard building design (CBECS-2003). Cross-ventilation provides a healthier and more productive environment by increasing outside air volumes and improving productivity (cognitive functions) by more than 1.5%.



Addressing rapidly increasing student enrollment, a mandate to provide an equitable and affordable on-campus living experience, and diminishing available land area on campus, NTPLLN provides 2,048 beds at below-market rates in a community where housing costs are nearly triple the U.S. average and supply is short.

to facilitate relationship-building for successful student development. For the North Torrey Pines Living and Learning Neighborhood (NTPLLN), UC San Diego’s newest campus for Sixth College, the goal was to encourage social connection, learning, self-care, and environmental stewardship through a data-driven design process that welcomed student engagement. During the design process, every user-type was assigned a persona and as concepts developed, each persona was mapped in daily activity scenarios to understand where desired social or learning encounters might naturally or conveniently happen. Plans were adjusted to make these happenings more likely. Places to see and be seen, such as the dining hall, were located prominently in the center of campus. Active program elements were located along important circulation paths, including a street that bisects the project, which was designed to be a “main street” for the campus. Because learning happens everywhere, a key concept for this project was to provide a mixed-use living and learning neighborhood where all aspects of student life intertwined at every scale. The campus includes residential, academic, retail, and administrative spaces, including a craft center, five restaurants, a teaching kitchen, a market, coffee shop, dining hall, commuter lounge, and other amenities designed to create a sense of belonging and facilitate shared social/ learning experiences. Building massing was designed to address climate conditions and reduce the apparent scale of the neighborhood. Parking is underground to make



COMMUNITY Once a parking lot, NTPLLN is an entirely new neighborhood encouraging social and academic interactions at multiple scales—apartment, residence hall, NTPLLN campus, university, and within the community—to increase student success. The architecture offers human-scaled, pedestrian-friendly, and mixed-use environments complete with a “main street,” rooftop terraces, market, retail, coffee shop, and dining hall to activate the neighborhood around the clock. The surrounding community is invited to enjoy underground parking, restaurants, a craft center, and a 650-seat auditorium.


ENERGY An augmented natural cross-ventilation design leverages the La Jolla microclimate, building locations, and massing as well as other integrated passive strategies. This ensures the minimum amount of ventilation is always achieved. The indoor air quality was dramatically improved through trickle vents integrated in the windows and negatively-pressurized, continuous exhaust systems already required by code in the restrooms and kitchens. This increased air volumes by more than 30 percent, and approximately 80 percent of the regularly occupied building area naturally.


WELLNESS North Torrey Pines had an unusual first day, with move-in scheduled in the middle of a pandemic. As challenging as it was for students to socially distance, there was an overall positive response to the move. The project’s design focused on point-of-decision strategies to make the healthy choice the easier choice, with careful and accessible placement of healthy food, dining facilities, staircases, outdoor play areas, etc. Additionally, access to nature and social connection was added at multiple levels to improve mental health.

▲ HKS LEAD TEAM (Left to Right) Upali Nanda: PhD, Director of Research Principal, Assoc. AIA, EDAC, ACHE; Thom Greving: FAIA, NCARB, LEED GA, America West regional design director, HKS; Tommy Zakrzewski: PHD, BEMP, CEM, CMVP, LEED O+M, LEED BD+C, director of building engineering physics, HKS





▲ COMMON SPACES Amenities across the campus are designed to create a feeling of community and promote shared experiences.

“HKS has been masterful in their work on our capital improvement program. Critical to our success has been their ability to understand the university’s mission and the guiding principles of the Living and Learning Neighborhood concept. Their evidence-based approach and empathetic design processes, making our vision their own, has allowed the project to evolve into a vision that delivers both quantitative and qualitative aspirations.” — MATT SMITH, RA, PROGRAM MANAGER, CAPITAL PROGRAM MANAGEMENT UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA SAN DIEGO

pedestrians a priority. Articulated podium buildings don’t extend over five stories and are modulated to provide the walls of outdoor rooms with setbacks and canopies at the sidewalk. Narrow towers step back from the facades of the podiums below and are bent to break up long surfaces. Rooftop terraces at multiple levels offer various vantage points to interact with the neighborhood. Communal spaces across the campus add to the notion that connection can take place anywhere. In the residential buildings, students pass through Great Rooms in the elevator lobbies when going to and from their rooms. The multistory spaces connect adjacent floors and provide a variety of social spaces such as balconies, kitchens, and study and lounge environments. The Southern California climate made it possible to extend interior programming to the outdoors. ■



MIX AND MINGLE Multilevel spaces in the residential buildings connect floors and provide balconies, kitchens, and lounges for socializing.

“Working with UC San Diego has been a career highlight because of our shared values in environmental responsibility and research-based/outcome-driven design. Our partnership with the university to develop design strategies and study outcomes that advance our knowledge of student living and learning communities is already informing our work on future projects.” — THOM GREVING, FAIA, LEED GREEN ASSOC., HKS PRINCIPAL AND DESIGN DIRECTOR.


A longitudinal study was initiated with pre- and post-surveys that found a significant reduction in self-reported depression (8.2 percent) and a significant improvement in satisfaction with diet (11 percent). Additionally, there was a 27.96 percent increase in satisfaction with living environments based on pre- and post-student surveys.

CREDITS • Design Build Project Team: HKS, Clark Construction, Safdie Rabines Architects and OJB Landscape Architecture.




▲ SUNNY SIDE Taking advantage of the Southern California climate, interior programming spills outdoors onto rooftop terraces offering sweeping views of the neighborhood.






Passive House This single-family residence is designed to maximize occupant well-being while minimizing environmental impact.


PERFORMANCE GLASS Large south-facing windows harvest more energy from the sun than they lose during winter.



Almost one million new single-family homes were built in the U.S. last year. Designing a single-family residence for minimum impact on the environment that uses very little energy, is healthy and comfortable, and achieves those goals at a low-cost premium should have a pronounced influence on the direction of house design for the future. When one considers that 90 percent of our time is spent indoors— and anywhere from 50% to 100% of that is at home—the case for a Net Zero Healthy Home is very compelling. This house adheres to the following set of guidelines:

•P roduce as much energy as the home consumes over the course of a year (Net Zero) • Keep carbon emissions as low as possible, and find alternatives to combustion appliances normally used for space heating, hot water, and cooking •B uild just enough square footage to satisfy your family’s needs and still live comfortably—while preserving as much of the site’s natural surroundings of the site as possible •D esign and live in an indoor environment that contributes to the wellbeing of its occupants We turned to Passive House building principles to achieve the above goals. Houses built to this standard achieve very low operational energy use by relying on airtight and highly insulated thermal envelopes, coupled with mechanical ventilation that provides a constant supply of fresh, filtered air. Other energy-saving measures include passive heating and cooling, the use of efficient appliances, and innovative hot water systems. ■



ENERGY The house is highly insulated and airtight. It avoids any thermal bridges. A large area of glazing faces south to harvest more energy from the sun than it loses in winter. The peak heating load is as little as one tenth of the heating load of a conventionally built home. Because Passive Houses are so highly insulated and airtight, they tend to maintain a comfortable temperature for long periods without using much additional energy.


COMFORT The temperature differential between the window surface and the adjacent air measures no more than seven degrees, and the difference between the air temperature at one’s head and feet totals no more than three degrees. The cooling system extracts moisture from the air in the summer months, and an energy recovery ventilator preserves moisture created by cooking and showering during the heating season, when a conventionallybuilt house would typically become very dry due to air leaks.


HEALTH Fresh air brought in by the mechanical ventilation system ensures that the concentration of CO2 will stay well below the ideal range below 600 ppm. VOCs can be found in everyday materials. The ideal range is below 333 ppb. The interior finishes and exterior pine tar finish were all selected for their non-toxic qualities. Incoming air filtered to MERV 13 controls the particulate matter to a healthy range of below 15 millionths of a gram per m3.

CREDITS •P roject Team: Larry Marner, Heidi de Bethmann, Christopher Smith-Adkins, Elisabeth Post-Marner

• Clients: Elisabeth Post-Marner and Larry Marner • Contractors: BPC Green Builders

• Consultants: DeStefano & Chamberlain, Structural; Kugler Ning Lighting, Lighting; Eric Rains Landscape Architecture, Landscape Design



Zero Energy Ready Home Winner 2021



Loom House

GOOD BONES The design team updated interiors while showcasing the homes original Hal Moldstad architecture.


The first-ever renovated home to achieve Living Building Challenge 4.0 Certification charts a path for future residential remodels.




▲ OUTDOORS IN Triple-glazed windows and skylights throughout the house foster a connection to the lush surrounding environment.

Located on a beautifully landscaped bluff overlooking Puget Sound, Loom House is an extensive renovation of a classic 1960s midcentury home that achieved Living Building Challenge 4.0 Certification in early 2021, making it one of only four residences in the world, and the first renovated home, to do so. Inspired by weaving together people, place, community, and equity, Loom House provides owners with a

prototype to renovate their homes using resilient retrofitting strategies. The 3,200-square-foot residence consists of a renovated north and south home. The design team improved the building envelope, provided selfsufficient systems, and offered updated interiors while maintaining the original architectural character of the home. A new, 725-square-foot detached carport and storage area was added


More than 90 percent of Loom House is daylit. Hundreds of Red List chemicals were eliminated, resulting in passing a rigorous indoor air quality test. Loom House is an all-electric home that generates 105% of the energy demand through PVs and produces zero emissions. 100% of stormwater is treated on-site.



100% Homeowners use only 20 gallons of water per day, which is all from captured rainwater. 100 percent of gray and black water are treated on-site.

to the property to house the owner’s electric vehicles and bicycles. The design respects the original architectural character of Hal Moldstad’s midcentury bones and thrives in a rejuvenated Pacific Northwest landscape. A new entry bridge creates a path through the mature, 200-foot tall evergreens that guide residents and visitors to a redefined main entry. The home’s previous maze of small rooms was transformed into an open great room with a new stair leading to a lowerlevel primary suite, replacing an underutilized garage. Triple-glazed windows and skylights throughout the project maintain a connection to the gardens, Puget Sound, and beyond. The impact of Loom House has continued to drive the project forward, advocating for change far beyond its property line. From design through construction, the goal of the project was to create a global impact by showing a path to Living Building Challenge Certification for all residential remodels. Net-positive energy and water were integrated seamlessly into the existing site and structures, and the project team successfully lobbied the City of Bainbridge Island to change the city code to treat grey and black water on-site, paving the way for other residents in the area to follow. The project team went beyond Living Building Challenge requirements and extended Red List–free materials into all of the home’s furniture and furnishings, permanently eliminating chemicals of concern from a wider group of craftspeople, installers, vendors, and manufacturers. ■



HEALTH Health was a primary concern for Loom House—from the health of the homeowners, to the local watershed and beyond, to global communities. Loom reduced chemicals of concern for better indoor air quality, eliminated emissions, improved water quality, increased biodiversity, and supported a healthier supplier chain for building products and materials.


WATER Water was approached with a range of holistic solutions. All stormwater is treated on-site and all potable water used in the home is from collected rain which is stored in a belowgrade 10,000-gallon cistern. After treatment to potable, water is delivered on-demand to efficient fixtures throughout the property. All gray and black water is treated on-site and the treated water is distributed sub-surface as site irrigation—helping to complete the hydrologic cycle.


EQUITY Equity has been a lifelong focus of the homeowners. Loom House helped to fund a variety of projects to further sustainability for a wide-ranging population, including funding studies for sustainable water treatment options in affordable housing. A portion of the home’s garden is open to neighbors with an accessible path, and the homeowners and design team successfully changed the building code to allow dozens of other homes within the community to also treat their water more sustainably on-site.

“Loom House is the most comfortable and beautiful home we have lived in. It costs less to operate this house every month than the cost of our cell phone bill.” — LOOM HOUSE HOMEOWNERS



NET-POSITIVE WATER Potable water demand is met through rooftop collection and storage within a 10,000-gallon below-grade cistern. Rainwater is treated in the mechanical room and then distributed to both the Main House and Office.

ON-SITE WATER TREATMENT All grey and black water is treated on site and reused to meet non-potable demands, including irrigation via a septic tank and textile filter.

NET-POSITIVE ENERGY Power needs are met by the on-site 16 kWh photo voltaic array on the Main House. The array provides 105 percent of the power usage on site. A backup battery system provides resilience in the event of a power failure.

RED LIST To meet the requirements of the Materials Petal of the Living Building Challenge, all construction material, landscape material, and even interior furniture and furnishings are Red List–free.

CREDITS • Architect: The Miller Hull Partnership, LLP • Interior Designer: Charlie Hellstern Interior Design • General Contractor: Clark Construction LLC

• Landscape Architect: Anne James Landscape Architecture LLC • Structural Engineer: Quantum Consulting Engineers

• Mechanical Engineer: WSP • Civil Engineer: Seabold Engineering LLC • Geotechnical Engineer: Aspect Consulting LLC

CERTIFICATIONS Living Building Certification

• Water Consultant: Biohabitats • Envelope Consultant: 4EA Building Science • Lighting Consultant: Lighting Designs, Inc



St. Augustine Terrace A new neighborhood icon offers inclusive living and dignified homes in the Bronx.


SCENIC VIEW The 12-floor tower boasts fully glazed elevator lobbies that allow residents to enjoy the city vista.



Built on the site of the former St. Augustine’s church in the Bronx, this LEED Gold 112-unit building is a mix of supportive and affordable housing serving very low-income residents. The design was inspired by the notion that a house of worship is a beacon of light in its community. With that concept in mind, the architects designed 12 floors of large, fully glazed elevator lobbies which offer spectacular views by day and then become a glowing tower at night. The placement of this south-facing feature was an inclusive way to provide beautiful amenity spaces for residents and share the city vista, while at the same time creating an opportunity to supply light to the adjacent park and street corners in the evening. Rock formations uncovered during construction were incorporated into the landscape at the front of the property, providing a visual association with the park and a connection to the area’s natural environment. They also act as an organic complement to the straight lines and right angles of the building that rises above. Just beyond the entry, decking extends out over the rocks to a look-out point, a spot for residents and visitors to enjoy as the topography slopes downward toward the west, revealing more views. The bell and stones from the original church, which are placed throughout the landscaping, celebrate the site’s history and create yet another link to the community. ■



ENERGY This building is LEED Gold and includes a variety of sustainable features such as VRFs, high efficiency windows, enhanced envelope insulation and condensing boilers for DHW, all of which has helped the development exceed energy code by 23 percent in cost savings. In fact, the benchmark EUI was 57, while the building’s projected EUI was 36.973. It’s actual measured net EUI is 33.74 which is a 41 percent reduction from the benchmark.


EQUITABLE COMMUNITY From shared views of the city to shared indoor and outdoor spaces, to well-appointed apartments with large windows and warm wood floors, no one in the building has access to convenience and comfort that others do not. Opening the best views to all residents in elevator lobbies rather than reserving them for the most expensive units, as would be the case in market rate housing, illustrates an opportunity for inclusivity inherent in affordable housing.


SOCIAL AND CULTURAL IMPACT St. Augustine is a prime example of dignified living. From the beginning, the design intent was to show residents that they matter. The development also raises the level of building design within the community, supporting a beautiful streetscape with prominent landscape elements and encouraging safety with light at night. As a new iconic structure, it adds to the sense of place and demonstrates what affordable housing can be.

CREDITS •A rchitect and Principal in Charge: Fernando Villa, FAIA, LEED AP BD+C •P roject Manager: Rachel Simpson, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP BD+C • Owner: New York Institute for Human Development and Association of New York Catholic Homes

•L andscape Architect : Terrain-NYC Landscape Architecture P.C. •S tructural Engineer : GACE Consulting Engineers • MEP: Johnson & Urban, LLC • Environmental: Bright Power Inc. • LEED: Bright Power Inc.


•C ivil Engineer : Philip Habib & Associates •G eneral Contractor : MEGA Contracting Group, LLC



Batik Apartments Batik, a mixed-use development in Seattle, promotes healthy living for residents and the community.

HILLSIDE HOME Part of Seattle’s redesign of Yesler Terrace, the Batik mixed-used development features a stacked design that highlights views of the surrounding landscape.



▲ GATHERING SPOT A multifloor community kitchen invites residents and neighbors to connect and enjoy meals together.

Seven-story mixed-use Batik was one of the first apartment buildings completed in 2018 as part of Seattle’s dramatic redesign of Yesler Terrace. When the neighborhood was originally developed in the early 1940’s, it marked the nation’s first racially-integrated housing project. The development had clusters of two-story townhouses with balconies and private yards to take advantage of the neighborhood’s

spectacular views. The goal was to develop housing that was decent, safe, and sanitary. Long, bar-like buildings were spaced out along the hillside to make the most of the sunshine, views, and air circulation to promote the notion of a healthy development. Using health and wellness as a blueprint, Batik repurposes Yesler Terrace’s original bar-like design to encourage air flow and increase


High efficiency heat pump space conditioning equipment serves all amenity, corridor, and common areas and 25% of residential apartments. The use of heat pumps for space and water heating eliminates all use of fossil fuels (excluding the rooftop barbecues and decorative fireplace in the lobby).



30% Electric air-to-water heat pump domestic hot-water system recovers heat from below-grade parking garage buffer space for year-round high performance, which uses 30% less energy than a typical gas or electric resistance water heating system.



INNOVATIVE WATER-REDUCTION STRATEGIES Batik uses a domestic hot water system that utilizes high-efficiency reverse-cycle chiller (RCC) technology. This water-heating system uses about three times less energy for water heating than a typical gas or electric resistance water-heating system. In addition, low-flow plumbing fixtures and efficient appliances reduce water usage by about 30%.

02 density. Its programming reinforces an overall health-minded development: an open “irresistible” stairway cultivates social engagement and physical conditioning; a multifloor community kitchen allows residents and neighbors to bond over meals; the landscaped plaza encourages pedestrian traffic and easy access to the building’s retailers; the brick podium anchors three interlocking stepped forms that create multiple exterior gathering spaces with uninterrupted views. But Batik’s nod to its health-focused origins doesn’t stop there: it’s also one of the most energy-efficient multifamily buildings in the region, achieving an energy-use intensity rating (EUI) of just 17 kBtu/ft2/yr—less than half the energy use of a typical new multifamily building of this type. The award-winning project achieved LEED for Homes Platinum certification using off-the-shelf technology in creative ways, including an innovative domestic hot water system that uses high-efficiency reverse-cycle chiller (RCC) technology. This waterheating system uses about three times less energy for water heating than a typical gas or electric resistance water-heating system. In addition, Batik uses low-flow plumbing fixtures that reduce water usage by 30% and high efficiency heat pump space conditioning equipment, creating an essentially carbon-neutral multifamily building. ■

APPLYING HEALTH AND WELLNESS AS A BLUEPRINT Batik’s stacked design repurposes the historic neighborhood’s original bar-like framework to make the most of the sunshine, views, and air circulation, which encourages air flow and increases density. From its “irresistible stair” to its community kitchen, Batik’s programming reinforces an overall health-minded development for its residents and the community.


A PRACTICAL, REPLICABLE DESIGN SOLUTION The award-winning, carbon neutral project uses off-theshelf technology in creative ways—it is a replicable, affordable example of what is possible in the multifamily sector. There are ample opportunities to improve overall building health and energy performance without compromising good design or construction budgets. Acknowledging this in a tight-margin, risk-averse industry, it is possible to accomplish high performance objectives with an approach that maximizes value.

“Batik Apartments shows that you can build beautiful, healthy, and comfortable low-carbon multifamily homes on a tight budget. Thanks to the team’s creative thinking and innovative design, we delivered a LEED Platinum project that uses half the energy of buildings like it— and already meets Washington State’s ambitious 2030 climate goals.” — JONATHAN HELLER, PE PRINCIPAL, PRESIDENT, DIRECTOR OF TECHNOLOGY TRANSFORMATION AT ECOTOPE



High efficiency double glazed windows and highly insulated thermal envelope

30% savings through use of low-flow plumbing/ appliances

“lrresistable” stair cultivates social engagement

Community kitchen for residents and neighbors

Heat pump conditioning in common areas and some units

Innovative reverse-cycle chiller (RCC) powers domestic hot water system

Bar-like design maximizes sun, light, and air

Energy-use intensity Energy-use intensity rating (EUI) of just 17 kBtu/ ft2/yr—less than half the energy use of a typical new multifamily building of this type.

Pedestrian pathway connects to greater Yesler Terrace community

CREDITS • Developer: Vulcan Real Estate • Architect: Runberg Architecture Group • General Contractor: Exxel Pacific • Mechanical Engineer: Ecotope • Electrical Engineer: Rushing

• Energy Modeler: Ecotope • Structural Engineer: Coughlin Porter Lundeen • Civil Engineer: Coughlin Porter Lundeen • Landscape Architect: HEWITT • Building Envelope Consultant: 4EA Building Science


LEED Platinum

• Interior: Two9 Design • Lighting Design: Rushing • LEED Consultant: O’Brien360 • Acoustics: A3 Acoustics





& Testing



(WALTER) The Water Alert and Testing Resource (WALTER) gives citizens information about municipal drinking water supply, enabling greater accountability and stewardship.



Ennead Lab’s proposal is a spatial device for the communication of municipal drinking water quality within the public realm: a water sampling station replicated at strategic points along a public distribution system that monitors and relays critical information locally and network-wide. The Water Alert and Testing Resource (WALTER), is a place for people to see the water quality results of the local waterline and test samples from their own faucets. The simple act of measuring and communicating daily water quality— through parameters such as acidity, bacteria, turbidity, and hardness— can elicit pride and participation in our drinking water infrastructure. While New York City has the highest quality municipal water supply in the U.S. and a proactive list of infrastructure projects, WALTER in NYC can have three major impacts: securing trust and stewardship, future-proofing communication, and being an example to other cities that have a vulnerable system that will benefit from a visible, immediate, and public communication system today.

QUALITY CHECK Ennead Lab’s water sampling station monitors water quality and relays critical information locally and network-wide.

INSTRUCTIONS: ----------------------------------------

pH result



SECURING TRUST AND STEWARDSHIP WALTER imagines a future where knowledge and participation in our water system engenders a cultural shift toward legibility, accountability, stewardship, and mutual responsibility. Water information has the power to influence water consumption, where trust in our municipal drinking water is essential for overcoming the sense of security offered by private bottlers.


FUTURE-PROOFING COMMUNICATION Whether our infrastructure lies under or above ground, we benefit from intelligent and active landscapes that empower and elicit stewardship of our resources. By using the existing infrastructure of the 965-plus water sampling stations throughout the city of New York, we can simply replace the top access box with a communicative and technologically advanced testing system and skin to see these small pieces of invisible infrastructure take on a heroic role in the city.

CREDITS • Ennead: Alan Cation, Stefani Fachini, Masha Konopleva, Ryan Lewandowski, Amy Mielke, Cesar Neri, Yimika Osunsanya, Jetnipat Phruttinarakorn • Bluecadet: Brad Baer, Andrew Moliski, Sara Pasch • In partnership with: New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), Storefront for Art and Architecture, Wade McGillis, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University; Shawnee Traylor, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Caitlin Taylor, MASS


TRANSFERRABLE TO OTHER COMMUNITIES Verifying and communicating safe water supply is an active need for 268 million residents relying on over 50,000 community water systems across the United States. In 2015 during the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, an additional 21 million Americans received tap water that violated health-based water quality standards. Aging infrastructure, health impacts of contaminated water, and advancing technology give us reason and opportunity to ensure equitable and high-quality drinking water. WALTER can help prevent exposure to contaminated water in communities of all sizes.


Interior Designers,




New studies show that interior designers can have a much bigger impact on climate change than they ever imagined. By Avinash Rajagopal




Different Life Cycles Stewart Brand’s classic 6 S’s, from “How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They’re Built,” provide an easy way to understand the layers of impact in a building: STRUCTURE 60–200 years Concrete, steel, or wood structures have a high carbon footprint, but it’s one-time—when the building is constructed. SKIN 30–60 years Building envelopes have high embodied carbon emissions and also affect energy use through lighting and climate control. SERVICES 5–30 years The carbon footprint of mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems isn’t fully understood but can be significant. SPACE PLAN 5–20 years Space layouts and internal walls add to a building’s carbon footprint every time they are updated. STUFF 5–15 years Every interior renovation also adds to the carbon footprint of a building—a fact that has often been overlooked. SITE Forever Site operations do generate carbon emissions, but soil and plants can also sequester carbon.



In November 2018, interior designer Lily Weeks attended the Greenbuild International Conference + Expo in Chicago with a mission. Just a month prior, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had released an alarming report marking 2030 as a point of no return for global warming caused by the emission of greenhouse gases. At the time Weeks was working on an expansion of her firm WRNS Studio’s San Francsico offices, and wanted to learn as much as she could about lowering carbon emissions on the project. She came to the conference determined to dig up more, but was soon frustrated. “I found a session on embodied carbon,” she remembers. “But they didn’t talk much about interior design. There just wasn’t much information out there.” We’ve known at least since 2003 that the building sector contributes 40 percent of worldwide carbon emissions, and the movement to reduce that impact has largely

been spearheaded by architects. Over the years they’ve created initiatives like Architecture 2030 and added commitments to fighting climate change into the code of ethics of their professional body the American Institute of Architects. As buildings have become more energy efficient in their operations, architects have also started paying more attention to embodied carbon (i.e., the emissions associated with manufacturing products, transporting materials, and constructing buildings). “People looked for the big pieces of the pie first,” explains Kate Simonen, executive director of the Carbon Leadership Forum (CLF) and chair of the Department of Architecture at the University of Washington. “That’s where the focus on operating energy came from, because that tends to be bigger than embodied carbon emissions.” Of the latter, most estimates have pegged concrete, steel, and glass as the

big carbon culprits—all materials that architects have the most influence over. By contrast, when WRNS Studio analyzed the embodied carbon footprint of its award-winning LEED Platinum building for Sonoma Academy’s Janet Durgin Guild & Commons, interior finishes came in at about 7 percent of the total. “When my interiors team sees a number like that, they feel like they can’t make much of a difference,” Pauline Souza, the firm’s director of sustainability, says ruefully. But experts might have seriously underestimated the carbon footprint of interiors, according to studies completed in the past two years. Research conducted by CLF and Seattle-based LMN Architects indicates that interior designers may be responsible for emissions at least equal to those associated with the structure and envelope of a building. Interior design, it turns out, has been doing great harm.

CARBON TIMELINE Tenant impovement accounts for roughly 50% of total embodied carbon.




“The cumulative embodied carbon of the interior renovations actually surpasses the emissions of both structure and envelope,” says Jenn Chen.

LMN Architects in Seattle has renovated its own offices four times since it moved into the space. When interior designer Jenn Chen and director of sustainable design Kjell Anderson added up the footprint of every renovation—plus another they assumed had taken

place before they moved in—interior design had almost the same carbon emissions as the structure and envelope. If the building had used lowcarbon concrete, the comparative impact of interior design would be even higher.


It’s the Renovations!

The primary way of assessing the carbon footprint of buildings is through a life cycle assessment (LCA), and therein lies the rub— the life cycles of architecture and interiors are complete-ly different. Take a commercial building: Every few years, leases end, spaces fall vacant, and new tenants move in and fit out the space to better suit their needs. Estimates of how often this happens can vary from 7 to 20 years per space, depending on a host of factors. Tech companies are notorious for outgrowing their offices rapidly, while 70 percent of U.S. homeowners who renovated their homes in 2019 said they had undertaken interior remodels. Such cycles are the engines of growth for interior design. “I started really wondering what the impact would be for cyclical renovations,” says Jenn

Chen, an associate interior designer at LMN Architects. Along with Kjell Anderson, the firm’s director of sustainable design, Chen began to investigate this by analyzing LMN’s own office space in Seattle’s Norton Building. “We used our office because we were able to find the information on our past renovations,” Chen says. “We moved into the Norton Building in 1984, and since then we’ve done a fairly major renovation about every nine years.” Anderson and Chen assumed that at least one other renovation had taken place before LMN moved in, making for a total of five renovations in four decades. They then pulled together environmental data for all the materials in those renovations, fed them into a tool that CLF created to calculate the embodied carbon of tenant improvement projects, and made a shocking discovery.

“If we add all that up together, the cumulative embodied carbon of the interior renovations actually surpasses the emissions of both structure and envelope,” Chen says. To make matters worse, Anderson and Chen’s numbers are conservative estimates. For one, even though many interior products and materials are more sustainable today than they were in the 1990s, the duo used today’s carbon footprint data as the basis of their calculations. Secondly, they did not include any updates in electrical fixtures or lighting. Third, concrete mix has become at least 30 percent more carbon efficient than it was in 1960—so for a building constructed today the scales would tip even further. All signs point to the conclusion that, over the course of a building’s life, interior renovations can have the biggest embodied carbon footprint.




“When you talk to a manufacturer or a product rep, ask them what the carbon footprint of their material is,” says Kate Simonen.

A landmark study by the Carbon Leadership Forum on tenant improvement projects in five different offices found that acoustical panels, ceiling panels, carpet, and flooring all had significant carbon footprints (opposite). Luckily, interior designers today have the power to specify low-carbon

alternatives: Interface’s Embodied Beauty collection (top left) has the first carbon-negative carpet tiles; Armstrong’s TECTUM ceiling and wall panels are Living Product Certified (top right), and Cosentino’s Dekton solid surface has recently been certified as carbon neutral (left).


Demolition waste from commercial renovations makes up over 20% of the total U.S. construction & demolition waste stream. Commercial spaces account for the majority of building sector waste, with renovation projects sending almost a third of that waste to the landfill, according to estimates by reclaimed goods provider Doors Unhinged. In openplan spaces like LMN

Architects’ Seattle office (above), furniture and carpet tiles prove to be the biggest carbon offenders—so in addition to specifying low-carbon options, designers need to look at how easily those products can be disassembled or recycled.




Passing the Baton

End-of-life strategies and design for disassembly must be adopted as basic ethics of the profession.

This research lands at a time when awareness of climate change and carbon emissions is at a fever pitch. “Corporate clients are becoming more sophisticated about their climate impacts and their climate commitments,” CLF’s Kate Simonen says. This past January, Microsoft pledged to become carbon negative by 2030, while in June, Amazon announced that three major partners had signed on to its carbon neutrality commitment. Starting this year, Salesforce has committed to undertaking the International Living Future Institute’s Zero Carbon Certification for all its workplaces. “If we go down to a much smaller scale, where clients had one tenant improvement project every ten years or something like that, they’re going to be slower to take that on, as part of their own climate commitments,” Simonen predicts. “What does that mean for how interior designers practice?” Chen jokes that as LMN was conducting its study, she’d often say, “I’m going to research myself out of a job.” However, as the COVID-19 pandemic has proved, interior renovations aren’t frivolous. In addition to improving air quality or responding to new findings on health and wellness, “there are cultural and societal changes, and shifting organizational needs,” she points out. One can’t simply wish renovations away. Instead, says Meghan Lewis, a senior researcher at CLF, interior designers should be deliberate about where they “spend” their carbon. Before joining CLF, Lewis was head of global energy and sustainability at WeWork, where she conducted a study of one of the company’s tenant improvement projects. “WeWork spaces aren’t all open-plan, so the largest element for us to consider was storefront, and following that, the interior walls,” she says. “With low-carbon options for the wallboard, the installation, the studs, there’s a lot that can happen before you need to think about sacrificing aesthetics.”

Interior designers have great power through the specification process. Many manufacturers of interior products have made significant progress on their own carbon footprints, while scores of others have released their data through Environmental Product Declarations that can be accessed through databases like mindful MATERIALS and compared using tools like EC3. “When you talk to a manufacturer or a product rep, ask them what the carbon footprint of their material is and what their de-carbonization strategy is,” Simonen advises. “Manufacturers that are doing good work will have a chance to talk about it, and the ones that haven’t started will see that they should.” In the long term, though, interior designers will have to adopt structural changes. Since the biggest carbon impact of their profession is through the renovation process, reuse and reclamation of furniture and interior elements will have to become mainstream. Similarly, end-of-life strategies and design for disassembly must be adopted as basic ethics of the profession, so each designer can responsibly pass the baton to the next. None of this should stall the vital momentum that interior design has built by centering human wellness, health, and inclusivity. It will be a tough balance to strike, and not all answers are immediately clear. When Chen and Anderson presented their study’s findings at a virtual event hosted by Designer Pages this October, an audience member asked: “Well, if you don’t have acoustic panel ceiling[s] because you’re going for minimizing material use, how do you deal with acoustics?” Chen’s response: “You don’t want to sacrifice human comfort, but you want to make the best decision. And sometimes that doesn’t mean going straight to the lowest embodied carbon material that you can think of.” ■


Places to Work 70

T3 Sterling Road


DLR Group


KQED Headquarters Transformation

WRNS Studio




Custom Blocks Studio Mahlum Architects


Fuse Workspace Workplace Studio

Okland Construction Headquarters Phoenix 850 Biomedical PBC Campus Henderson Engineers


Together for the Planet For offices that want to minimize their impact on the environment, two young companies offer next-generation solutions.







Set in the Junction Triangle neighborhood, this eight-story timber building offers a modern space for tech workers.


STANDING TALL With a height of 33 meters, T3 Sterling Road is DLR Group’s tallest timber building yet.



Just west of downtown Toronto lies Junction Triangle. Bounded by three rail lines and once an industrial stronghold, the neighborhood is now an eclectic yet gritty warehouse district attracting restaurants, cultural institutions, and young professionals. DLR Group, in partnership with owner/ developer Hines, is expanding the T3 (Timber, Transit, Technology) asset class into Canada, delivering progressive space for today’s creative technology workers. Timber construction and technology integration are key components of the design. At eight stories, the west building reaches an impressive height of 33 meters. To achieve DLR Group’s tallest timber building yet, they engaged in a collaborative process with the city. Through technical documentation, an alternative compliance path was approved to exceed current building code height and story limits for mass timber. The site is master-planned for a total of 39,000 square-meters across three buildings, with two being realized in the initial phase of construction currently underway. The warmth of exposed timber carries through from the ground-level entry upward to every level. Merging past and future, DLR Group’s design uses external bracing, generous private balconies, juxtaposed wood and blackened steel, and warehouse-style floor-to-ceiling windows to create a modern aesthetic with industrial soul. The timber buildings are knit together by a privately-owned public park, with parking tucked discreetly below to support the neighborhood’s urban vibe. Sterling Road features shared rooftop patios with skyline views, social workspace common areas, fitness amenities, and ground floor restaurant / retail tenants, all geared toward inspired work and community vibrancy. ■



WELLNESS DLR Group’s high-performance analysts found three areas significantly impacting well-being: indoor air quality, daylighting, and thermal comfort. T3 Sterling Road is pursuing WELL certification. Through Hines’ partnership with the Well Living Lab, Delos, and the Mayo Clinic, the project will implement technologies that reduce the risk of respiratory virus transmission. Glass technology throughout maximizes daylight penetration, while minimizing heat gain. Advanced HVAC systems allow for optimal occupant comfort.


SUSTAINABILITY An estimated 3,646 metric tons of carbon will be sequestered in the buildings’ timber structures, while construction itself avoids 1,411 metric tons of carbon emissions compared to other building materials. Timber is not only renewable and reusable, it is also linked to productivity and wellness benefits including reduced stress levels and lower absenteeism. Timber also has natural antibacterial/ antimicrobial properties, outperforming other typical construction materials. This, along with natural light and green roofing, positions the design to achieve LEED Gold certification.


COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS The property boasts an acre of green space and a private park co-programmed with the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA). With a Transit Score of 100, the buildings abut a multimodal trail within walking distance to several public transit stops. Ground floor retail and restaurant tenants will help the site become an active part of this riding community day and night.

CREDITS • Owner/Developer: Hines •D esign Architect, Architect of Record: DLR Group •S tructural Engineer: Magnusson Klemencic Associates (MKA)

•M EP Engineering: The Mitchell Partnership (TMP) •L andscape Architect: Janet Rosenberg & Studio • I nterior Design: Partners by Design

• Commissioning: EQ Building Performance •G eneral Contractor: EllisDon Corp.



KQED Headquarters Transformation The San Francisco–based media company’s new home is designed to celebrate and strengthen community.


WARM WELCOME A new facade and corner entry create an inviting street presence.



The transformation of KQED’s San Francisco-based headquarters reimagines the future of public media with a physical expression of their ethos—to Inform, Inspire, and Involve. It is a place of civic dialogue and spirited debates; a vibrant, collaborative workplace that sparks fresh discoveries with creative, courageous storytelling; and robust, flexible studios and broadcast spaces that rapidly adapt to ever-changing means of audience engagement. It is a renovation that is equally inclusive, community-minded, and sustainable as it is ambitious. The new corner entry moves KQED’s front door to a prominent location in the neighborhood, where a lifted, diaphanous curtain wall facade and expanded public lobby open up the building to invite the community in. New program spaces flow seamlessly in at this reimagined corner and through all levels from ground floor to rooftop, showcasing the transparency, accessibility, and engaging experience of KQED. Dynamic daylight and an active central core connect staff and public spaces, and define an inspiring, collaborative new workplace. Furniture, color, graphics, and biophilia are layered into a vibrant, healthy work environment reflecting the KQED culture and brand. A redefined newsroom and centralized production spaces enable new multidisciplinary workflows with KQED content front and center. At the top of the reimagined corner, a new roof terrace level provides outdoor space for staff and gathering space for events. Expansive views of the surrounding Bay Area offer moments to look back out and look forward, celebrating and strengthening the new connections, community, and content created in KQED’s new home. ■



COMMUNITY KQED’s reimagined headquarters drives their mission to build community, through enhanced digital platforms and face-to-face interactions, in more ways than ever before. New studios provide space for engagement and content co-creation, while meeting rooms and offices are made available to mission-aligned partners. Gathering spaces and updated technical infrastructure transform what it means for KQED to convene civic dialogue and drive strategic conversations, in person and virtually, via broadcast, podcast, and TV, allowing the community to participate wherever and however they can.


WELLNESS Bright, open, airy spaces flow seamlessly through the reimagined headquarters, prioritizing health, well-being, comfort, and safety. Low-VOC materials and high-efficiency ventilation/filtration systems ensure safe, healthy indoor air. Strategic spatial planning draws balanced daylight deep into workspaces with shared seating along the windowline. Large skylights at feature stairs bring daylight deeper into the floors, encouraging activity, interaction, and biophilic connections, with dynamic daylighting that changes throughout the day. Indoor plants and well-designed acoustics further enhance a feeling of comfort and ease.


CARBON KQED’s existing building renovation exemplifies a low-embodied carbon design approach, lessening the impacts of new construction while optimizing the environmental performance of existing building stock and preserving the heritage of existing neighborhoods. Seismic improvements enhance the structure’s longevity, providing a safer environment and resiliency of KQED’s emergency communication services. Modernized building systems, including LED lighting, high-efficiency HVAC, and high-performance glazing, optimize energy efficiency and reduce operational emissions. Building materials were carefully selected utilizing EPDs to verify improved life cycle impacts.

CREDITS • Architecture/ Interior Design: EHDD • General Contractor: Cahill Contractors LLC • Structural Engineer: Simpson Gumpertz & Heger

• Civil: BKF Engineers • Mechanical/ Electrical/ Plumbing: PAE • Landscape: INTERSTICE Architects

• IT/Security: TeeCom • Lighting: Pritchard Peck Lighting • AV/Theater/ Acoustics Daylighting: Arup

•R eal Estate: Polatnick Properties • Project Management: Oppenheim Lewis • Signage/ Wayfinding: GraphicUser



Custom Blocks Studio

COMMUNITY SPACE The open collaborative layout is centered around a communal area and kitchen, providing space for staff and neighborhood residents to connect.


For its new office, an architecture firm transforms a 1940’s warehouse into Portland’s first Living Building Challenge–certified project.



▲ COMFORT ZONE Details like custom benching with adjustable locations for monitors and connected work surfaces and operable windows create a flexible, comfortable office environment.

Existing building stock will play a crucial role in mitigating climate change. Deep green tenant improvements, such as the Custom Blocks Studio, is a typology that represents the future of sustainability. As an architecture firm setting out to design a new office for themselves, the leadership knew there was an opportunity to lead with their values. The result is Portland, Oregon’s first Living Building Challenge (LBC)

certified project; a dynamic, communityoriented architectural studio in a 1940’s warehouse meeting the rigorous standards of LBC as a result of that commitment to “walk the talk.” As a certification program, LBC defines the most advanced measure of sustainability—providing a framework for design, construction, and the symbiotic relationship between people and all aspects of the built environment. To begin, the design

100% Daylit As a JUST labeled organization since 2018, creating an equitable work environment was imperative. Access to natural light drove space planning while custom bench-style workstations were designed with sit-stand operability. Fabricated after exhaustive mock-ups and ingredient vetting, they serve a variety of heights from 4’- 11” to 6’-4”.



32 Declare Labeled Products The design team forensically vetted more than 350 unique materials to avoid over 800 “worst-in-class” chemicals of concern most prevalent in the building industry, and harmful to human and ecosystem health.



COMMUNITY Predesign revealed three “must-have” design criteria; equitable access to daylight; seismic resiliency; and a ground level location with direct visual and physical access to the adjacent community. As a result, a 1,000-square-foot community space was designed to be flexible for a variety of events. It is both a community-building resource for the office’s culture and a neighborhood resource. Complete with an open kitchenette and flexible furniture, it is available for non-profit groups as a meeting and event space.


team asked a simple question, “What is it made of and how did it get here?” which resulted in the Custom Blocks Studio attaining LBC certification in the Materials, Place, Equity, and Beauty petals. Recognizing that performing deep materials research in-house would reap benefits for other projects, transparency and market transformation were major drivers for the design. With the help of local industry leaders and rigorous tracking methodologies, the team strove to understand the sprawling manufacturing processes for all the materials and products that went into the project. The 1940’s masonry warehouse has been upgraded to sustain a seismic event, while operational resiliency was built into the design. The custom benching structure, with adjustable mounting locations for monitors and continuous work surfaces, allows for staff capacity to vary without significant impacts to desk arrangements, an added benefit in a post-pandemic work environment. With operable windows, elevated HVAC systems and highly flexible seating arrangements, staff have options that allow them to safely occupy the office. ■

WELLNESS Health and well-being take center stage. Manufacturers with the least toxic processes were prioritized, and products were specified with the lowest volatile ingredients. Every material underwent extensive ingredient documentation, targeting 100% disclosure to 100ppm. From coatings to fasteners, the team pushed beyond the boundaries of Living Building Challenge project certification utilizing third-party labels or having manufacturers assemble complete chemical inventories to ensure compliance with the Red List. The result is a studio with exemplary indoor air quality.


RESOURCES The team took a three-pronged approach to lower the life cycle impacts of the project. First, they established a carbon budget using available comparable data. Then they performed a rigorous Whole Building Life Cycle Assessment using integrated design software. Finally, they reviewed Environmental Product Declarations during construction to further refine the carbon footprint analysis, optimizing material selections to reduce Global Warming Potential. Third-party verified carbon offsets were purchased to balance the project’s impact that could not be avoided.

“Knowing that every material in the new space has been vetted for occupant health and safety is very reassuring.” “The education that comes from the LBC process will continue to benefit not only everyone at Mahlum Architects, but even our clients and consultants that come into the space.” — POST-OCCUPANCY EVALUATION STAFF RESPONSES








A1-A3 PRODUCT STAGE Often referred to as “Cradle to Gate”. Reduction of embodied carbon during this stage begins by choosing to use less. Reduction of superfluous materials, prioritizing products that perform multiple functional needs, and embracing salvaged materials were key to reducing the Global Warming Impact of the project.







50 years was chosen as the estimated project lifespan. While steel and concrete have a larger impact in the A1-A3 Product Stage, these materials have a long life span and reduce maintenance impacts.

With new software technologies and greater product transparency, decisions that impact Global Warming Potential (GWP) can be tracked. Benchmarks were set prior to design and a WBLCA was conducted post construction. To ensure that the service life of finishes (Use Stage) was included in the WBLCA, the project team went beyond a “Cradle to Gate” assessment and performed a full “Cradle to Grave” assessment. To account for the 74.4 mT of CO2, Green-e certified carbon offsets were purchased from Terra Pass.

Net-Zero Embodied Carbon The project reduced its carbon footprint by limiting the number of superfluous materials and reusing salvaged or responsibly sourced items. Locally made products were prioritized; more than 50% sourced from within 500 km of the site. All wood products are FSC-certified, nearly all procured from Oregon.

A4 CONSTRUCTION STAGE The project team reviewed construction submittals as a way to further refine the carbon footprint analysis (either for GWP, volume or both).

C2-C4 END OF LIFE STAGE Choosing products of simple construction such as wood, cork, and felt provide opportunities for upcycling after deconstruction.

CREDITS • General Contractor: Perlo Construction • Structural Engineer: Froelich Engineers

• Lighting: Biella Lighting Design • Telecom, Security, & A/V: Interface Engineering

CERTIFICATION Living Building Challenge

• Acoustics: A3 Acoustics



Fuse Workspace

CREATIVE COMMONS Spaces flexible enough to host team meetings or unexpected interactions support productivity and creativity.


A coworking space company’s new facility is designed to foster community interactions.



Fuse Workspace is a coworking space company with three locations in Texas. Fuse engaged Workplace Studio in 2019 to develop design standards for the brand as well as design and lead project management for its second location opening in Houston—and followed by this project, its third location in Austin. Intended to be “a launching pad for businesses,” Fuse’s new 19,355-squarefoot facility program required shared flex workspaces, dedicated desks, private offices, meeting rooms, communal workspace amenities, hospitality features, and highly flexible community spaces for events and daily business networking. With a construction budget of $3 million, Fuse engaged Workplace Studio for project management, test fitting, design development, full design specifications, construction documents, and construction administration. ■

FLEX SPACE The facility offers a mix of open spaces, communal lounges, and work areas designed for private conversations.


01 CREDITS • Client: Fuse Workspace • Designers: Mara Hauser, Lindsey Fong, Evelina Freeman

• Project Management: Kelly Bozelka


A byproduct of an emerging sharing economy, coworking spaces like Fuse foster a creative economy made up of individuals who not only need an affordable way to operate, but need a consistent flow of new people, new ideas, and new opportunities. Workplace Studio supported this function with spaces that are designed to host chance encounters, creative interactions, and networking events seamlessly during a productive workday.



Fuse Workspace was designed with community interactions in mind. Throughout the design process, Workplace Studio considered the Fuse brand’s measures of success from a user-experience perspective with regard to increasing and elevating the number of interactions that their members and the surrounding community have on a daily basis. To facilitate these collaborative exchanges, Workplace Studio incorporated optimized flow and wayfinding, hospitality features, flexible meeting rooms, open flex space, communal lounges, and workspaces designed for private conversations.



One of coworking’s most important roles is to remove barriers that are caused by traditional overhead expenses. By providing shared space designs and amenities in flexible environments, Workplace Studio provided a space that would diminish the impact of operating expenses and distribute them amongst users in a way that is fully-customized to their businesses. The model recognizes that each person has different circumstances and allocates the exact resources and opportunities needed to reach an equitable outcome.



Okland Construction Headquarters Focusing on LEED and WELL standards, the WRNS Studio-Okland Construction team designed a healthy, inspirational workplace that connects employees with one another and their natural environment.


WELL-LIT Large windows and skylights located above the central stairs bring daylight to each level.



Okland Construction takes pride in their generational history, commitment to community, and in creating remarkable experiences through craftsmanship. Having outgrown their existing offices and shop space, the company wanted to expand their headquarters while focusing on the value of reducing waste, elevating craft, and demonstrating innovation. After exploring several different project approaches, including tearing down the existing office and relocating to a new site, the team decided that a renovation to their existing building would best reflect the company’s legacy and mission, as well as their commitment to supporting the health of their people and the natural environment. Strategies focused on using healthy, regional materials, maximizing daylighting and views, and creating a warm and engaging sense of place. The southern facades use massing and sunshades to mitigate heat gain. The new addition utilizes overhangs and exterior light shelves. Along the existing structure, glass was inserted with exterior sunshade louvers—angled and spaced for cleanability, coverage, and efficiency— while controlling sunlight, glare, and heat gain. All interior sunshades are automatic and daylight sensor-controlled. Despite a rate structure of approximately 13 percent less than the national average, payback was not what drove Okland to incorporate renewables. The existing building featured 1,700 square feet of PVs producing 36.16 MWh, which were reused. Approximately 32 percent of the site is dedicated to landscape compared to 22 percent originally— with 100 percent of that vegetation being native or climate appropriate plants supporting native species. ■



CARBON The decision to reuse the building’s existing framework and exterior materials reflect Okland Construction’s commitment to reducing carbon. Fifty-six percent of the new office is existing building: 100 percent of the subgrade walls and footings, 98 percent of the steel structure, and 100 percent of the roofing, skylight, and PV array were preserved. Preserving 38 percent of the existing brick and upgrading the performance of the existing glazing resulted in a lower carbon building envelope, while also increasing comfort.


WATER The region’s water quality and availability issues provided an opportunity to support local ecology and reduce water requirements. Despite the increase in project floor area, the design team ensured that 60.3 percent of the site’s 31.8 percent open space is vegetated. These natively planted areas create habitat diversity and connectivity with the regional ecosystem. As Great Salt Lake is a terminal lake with no outlet, infiltration systems, like the ones used in this project, are key to maintaining healthy lake environments.


WELLNESS Design focused on health, wellness, equitable access to daylight, and varied working options. Skylights located above the central stairs bring daylight to each level, exceeding the innovation points under WELLv2 Movement. Fitness and recreational areas along with bike racks and dedicated shower facilities support a healthy workforce. Project priorities also included healthy food offering policies and community engagement. Acoustics are strengthened with attenuated mechanical systems and H-shaped baffles, which double the amount of absorbing material.

CREDITS •A rchitect / WRNS Studio Team: Bryan Shiles, Brian Milman, Pauline Souza, Tim Jonas, Stephen Kelley, Lauren Bordessa, Alex Jopek

• Contractor: Okland Construction • Structural Engineer: Dunn Associates, Inc. • Landscape Architect: ArcSitio Design

• Civil: Ensign Engineering and Land Surveying, Inc. • Mechanical: PVE Inc.

• Electrical: Spectrum Engineers • Plumbing: PVE Inc.





Phoenix 850 Biomedical PBC Campus

LAB QUALITY Laboratories feature once-through air, modular and moveable fixtures, high-efficiency fume hoods, and central sinks.


The latest addition to the Phoenix Biomedical Campus, this state-of-the-art building is designed to cultivate innovation within the healthcare technology sphere.



Spanning 227,000-square-feet across seven floors, 850 PBC is the newest addition to the Phoenix Biomedical Campus, a bioscience and medical research development spanning 30 acres in downtown Phoenix. With building systems designed by Henderson Engineers, the state-ofthe-art building is home to labs, offices, conference rooms, and a coworking space that caters to educational institutions, medical providers, research firms, and private companies within the biomedical and healthcare technology fields. Arizona State University is the lead tenant, with biomedical research laboratories, an innovation center, and a translational research center on site. 850 PBC’s design purposefully invites the surrounding community to participate in its success through first-floor elements that are visually porous and accessible. Its architecture draws metaphorical inspiration from the saguaro cactus, which has adapted to the local bioclimatic conditions. Similarly, the building’s concrete, weathered steel, and brick exterior elements combat harsh desert conditions by preventing drastic temperature fluctuations. In addition to cultivating innovation, Henderson and the development team were keenly focused on promoting health and wellness. Floor-to-ceiling windows provide abundant natural light, labs use once-through air, and restrooms are equipped with touchless features for increased sanitation. The building is situated conveniently within walking distance of various dining and entertainment options, as well as major transit stops, allowing occupants to unwind easily. Henderson’s full array of building systems design services included electrical, fire and life safety, mechanical, plumbing, security, and telecom. The project, which is designed to LEED Gold standards, earned the 2020 Medical Office Project of the Year award from NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association. ■



WELLNESS A focus on indoor environmental quality promotes occupant wellness throughout the building. Materials and finishes were carefully selected to promote respiratory health. Ventilation dilution and enhanced filtration limit air contaminants in all indoor spaces. Exterior wind studies positioned laboratory exhaust fans and helped with design of screening to ensure exhaust would not recirculate into the air intakes. Inside, highly adjustable lighting and temperature controls allow occupants to fine-tune their spaces for maximum comfort and productivity.


ENERGY EFFICIENCY As a developer-driven laboratory project, this building proves that significant efficiency can be achieved within a reasonable budget. Advanced controls adapt the operation of the central building systems to continuously maximize efficiency. Energy is recovered from the laboratory exhaust to condition the incoming outdoor air. Inside, large flexible spaces and high reflectance finishes maximize daylight harvesting with dimmable LED lighting. Variable volume laboratory airflow controls with occupancy sensors and high efficiency fume hoods reduce airflow when the laboratories are unoccupied.


ADAPTABILITY The laboratories were designed to maximize programming flexibility for variable research funding cycles, increasing resilience while reducing embodied carbon associated with remodeling. All lab fixtures are modular and movable, with fixed items such as fume hoods and sinks in central locations. Redundancy in power, equipment, and controls ensure continuity of service. Spare central system capacity anticipates a warming climate. Air pre-filters can be quickly changed after dust storms, and enhanced filtration will protect occupants and critical research from wildfire smoke.

CREDITS •L ead Engineer: Henderson Engineers • Owner: Wexford Science + Technology

• Architect: HKS Architects •G eneral Contractor: Okland Construction


Together for the Planet For offices that want to minimize their impact on the environment, two young companies offer next-generation solutions.

In 2018, 9.6 million tons of furniture and furnishings ended up in U.S. landfills, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and a good portion of that waste likely came from offices. Most workplaces are renovated every few years and the stuff inside, whether it has worn out or simply “uglied,” goes into the trash. Not only is this an environmental calamity, but it is also a wasted opportunity, according to a new class of entrepreneurs who are addressing the full life cycle of the materials and products that make up offices. Their expertise and technological solutions help companies close the loop.

Sensitive Sourcing

Brooklyn’s Tri-Lox design and fabrication studio is bringing new life to discarded materials like timber, saving them from the landfill and providing them to the designers of some of New York City’s ambitious cultural touchstones. Launched by childhood friends Alexander Bender and Ellis Isenberg, Tri-Lox cut its teeth working with Big Reuse (formerly Build It Green! NYC) and other nonprofits before word of mouth—and an impressive portfolio—led to commissions for Shake Shack, retailer rag & bone, a wildflower-fringed rooftop for Vice’s Williamsburg HQ, and the Howard Gilman Foundation’s wood-paneled office space. “Everything that we do at Tri-Lox is in service of promoting forest health,” says Bender. The company wants to educate designers that the over-sourcing of any single material—for example, the white oak interiors clogging your Instagram feed— creates a ripple effect on the ecosystem. “We realized that foresters and architects have little to no dialogue,” Isenberg says. “We’re operating as an intermediary between the design and the conservation communities, to give each the tools to understand how to best situate in the industry.” —Laura Feinstein




Asset Exchange

Garry Cooper, cofounder, CEO, and president of Chicago-based tech start-up Rheaply, was working toward a PhD in neuroscience at Northwestern University when he discovered silos within university departments—one department might need equipment that another department might be in the process of discarding, yet they had no way of connecting and exchanging that equipment. “It turns out that at the largest organizations, no one really knows where everything is,” he says. “Rheaply is helping organizations understand what they currently own, and whether they’re using it or not using it.” The company’s Asset Exchange Manager (AxM) records all assets owned by each of its clients—from furniture to technology to building materials—to ensure that the organization isn’t sending things to the landfill unnecessarily. “We then connect all our clients to each other and to their local communities. So, if an organization doesn’t want a piece of furniture or a building material anymore, they can donate, sell, or rent those to charities, high schools, other businesses, and their peers through Rheaply.” In the past five years, Rheaply has helped divert over 15 metric tons of waste, and counts the U.S. Air Force, Google, AbbVie, Exelon, and MIT among its clients. —Avinash Rajagopal

Rheaply proposes a circular economy model (above) that allows companies to avoid material waste and unlock new revenue streams with the help of its Asset Exchange Manager (AxM). For the Howard Gilman Foundation offices (left), Tri-Lox used two generations of oak: a reclaimed heritage oak that predates the Revolutionary War for floor and furniture elements and an oak sourced from local forests for casework and partitions.


Sites for Community 88

PCC Community Markets MG2Corp


Broward County Lauderhill Transit Center Saltz Michelson Architects


102 Education Development Center Corporate Headquarters Taylor & Burns Architects

104 Design for Disassembly What’s possible—and what’s at stake—when buildings come down.

Orygen & OYH Parkville Billard Leece Partnership


ANX / Aaron Neubert Architects

Alta Community Center Ennead Architects


100 Metric Hotel

Nixon Forensic Center at Fulton State Hospital EYP






Markets The U.S. food cooperative’s new Seattle market is the first grocery store in the world to obtain Living Building Challenge Petal Certification.


LOCAL FLAVOR An outdoor market–like entrance sets the tone for a welcoming shopping experience.



Since its inception in 1953, PCC Community Markets—the largest consumer-owned food cooperative in the U.S.—has meticulously curated its store designs, programming, and community engagement to embrace and empower the neighborhoods it serves. In 2017, the co-op began a journey that would not only elevate its dedication to health and wellness on an unprecedented scale but would achieve a standard that no grocery store or chain had before. PCC Community Markets took on the challenge of becoming the first grocery store in existence to obtain Living Building Challenge (LBC) Petal Certification. In the winter of 2020, its vision was realized. PCC Community Markets in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, Washington, is the world’s first LBC Petal–Certified grocery store. The Living Building Challenge is a rigorous and highly revered green building certification program and sustainable design framework that visualizes the ideal built environment. Overflowing outside and welcoming you in, the PCC Ballard experience emulates that of an open air farmer’s market and serves as an authentic reflection of the neighborhood. Furthering that reflection, the store embraces local nautical roots through numerous one-of-a-kind features: a locally made 3D octopus art installation crafted exclusively from reclaimed materials, a sprawling rooftop showcasing panoramic views of the area’s famous canal, and an exclusive market offering unique seafood-centric dishes, local beer, and natural wine. The world’s first LBC Petal–Certified grocery store, PCC Community Markets continues to push the boundaries of sustainability by pursuing certification in five of its other locations. ■



WELLNESS The store’s footprint is specifically designed to support health, wellness, and versatility. Interactive departments like meat, seafood, produce, and bakery reside in prominent, natural light–filled locations that promote visibility and authenticity, doing away with the “back-of-shop” perception that they are traditionally tied to. Further encouraging the well-being of personnel, break rooms feature the same sustainable finishes and materials as front-of-house. Complete with lounge chairs and reclaimed lockers, staff areas offer a personalized space to proudly and comfortably hang one’s hat.


COMMUNITY Ballard PCC showcases local art with the sole intent of infusing beauty and community into its space. Most prominent is “Peggy,” a three-story, multidimensional octopus and her accompanying mural, whose materials were conscientiously selected to meet LBC’s Materials Petal standards. Each PCC location is thoughtfully positioned in its community, offering walkability, bike storage, and EV charging. Ballard PCC additionally features a sprawling rooftop with panoramic canal views, where visitors can enjoy drinks and seafood-centric dishes from the market below.


MATERIALS Over 40 percent of the materials—just shy of $1.4 million— were sustainably sourced, with 9.2 percent of those derived from within 100 miles. Store flooring is refinish-able exposed, polished, and sealed concrete. Steel framing was optimized to ease installation and lower costs. 100 percent of the store’s wood is FSC-certified, with 10 percent of elements having been reclaimed or reused. HVAC and energy metering resulted in substantial heat and energy savings, while simultaneously targeting a 50 percent water usage reduction across the board.

CREDITS • Principal in Charge: Peter Stocker • Architecture Firm: MG2 •P roject Team: Joe Palmquist, Candon Murphy, Laura Gardner, Chrissie Sielie, Celena Lim, Lovelyn Pastrana, Cece Roque, Lori Ross, Jess Vahedian, John Gaines, Collin Mager

•F ood Service Design: Smith & Greene, Bargreen Ellingson • Structural Engineering & Design: Quantum Consulting Engineer • Branding/Early Concept Design: Graham Baba Architects • General Contractor: Woodman Construction

• Mechanical Design: Harris Group •M echanical & Plumbing Consultant: Williams Mechanical • Electrical Consultant & Lighting Design: SeaTac Electric • Environmental Graphics Design: Western Neon


•M illwork Design & Fabrication: Silver Star • Refrigeration Consultant: Key Mechanical • Sustainability (LBC) Consultant: Skanska • Sustainability Consultant: Silliker + Partners



Broward County Lauderhill Transit Center The first net-positive building in Broward County, this bus hub leads the way for future community development with its modern, adaptable design.


VISUAL INTEREST The center makes an architectural statement with unique column design and art sculptures that dot the property.



Situated on a 1.5-acre parcel of land, this new bus transit center consists of three buildings: Broward County Transit Services, a security office, and a public restroom building. The complex serves more than 8,000 transit passengers daily and provides ten bus bays to accommodate 40- and 42-foot fixed buses and 60-foot articulated buses. This bus transit hub is the first net-positive structure in Broward County. A curvilinear bus canopy was constructed around the support building to project a modern image, while multicolored facade panels complement its unique design. The canopy was also designed to ensure easy identification of the facility, while the exposed photovoltaic cells add character. A significant design element, portions of the pedestrian canopy were constructed of integral solar panels to collect and store electricity to power the building. The design distinguishes this building from multiple adjacent retail buildings. It also provides shade and weather protection for people and buses. In the European tradition, particular detail was put into the column design, so that the most repetitive element is architecturally unique and provides visual interest than the more traditional adjacent buildings. Additionally, CPTED design principles were incorporated into the facility’s design. For instance, a central security office is surrounded by glass for increased visibility of the site. The implementation of the Art in Public Places program provides interesting sculptures along the street frontage, enhancing the experience of entering the property. ■



NET-POSITIVE This bus transit facility is the first net-positive building in Broward County. Public buildings that demonstrate environmental leadership convey a progressive message about protecting the environment and set an example for future county development.


COMMUNITY This transit facility offers economic opportunity within Broward County and provides equity by improving mass transportation to this working-class neighborhood. The investment in this older community acts as an economic stimulus, sending a positive message. The transit center establishes an accessible link for local residents and the rest of the county.


LONGEVITY The transit facility design anticipates future changes in vehicular technology, which will continue to minimize the county’s carbon footprint and prepare for a new fleet of electric buses. The facility has the infrastructure in place to act as a charging station as electric buses come into service. Forward-thinking components were incorporated into the project’s design to let the community know what is coming, and to highlight the county’s ongoing environmental stewardship.

CREDITS • Client: Broward County • Architect: Saltz Michelson Architects, Inc. • Principal-In-Charge: Charles A. Michelson, AIA, ACHA, LEED AP • Senior Project Manager: Sheff L. Devier, AIA

• Director of Design: Victor R. Alvarez • BIM Manager: Juan Pablo Garcia • Contractor: Emerald Construction Corp. • Consultants: Chen Moore and Associates (Civil Engineering & Landscape Architecture);

Delta G Consulting Engineers, Inc. (MEP Engineering); Johnson Structural Group, Inc. (Structural Engineering); KAMM Consulting, Inc. (Photovoltaics); Spinnaker Group (LEED Consulting)








Ennead Architects envisions a new community center for a remote mountain town with avalanche risk in Utah.

COMMUNITY SUPPORT As part of its mission to promote community well-being, the center aims to create social connections and opportunities for physical fitness.



▲ NATURAL LIGHT The center’s raised design exposes each space to ample daylight and provides dramatic views of the valley.

For many years, developing a large, multipurpose, public facility has been a goal for the Alta community, a small, physically remote, environmentally volatile mountain town in Utah. Ennead Architects conducted a feasibility study to explore innovative, responsive, and highly sustainable solutions to the challenges of their site, while actively engaging the Alta community in the process to deter-

mine the interest in the new facility as well as a dynamic program that will serve its diverse community. With an eye toward achieving a highly sustainable design solution, computational tools were used for environmental analysis of the selected design concept. Allowing the concept to be analyzed against established benchmarks (daylighting, views, water use, etc.) enabled the design


The design achieves 76 percent of daylight autonomy, meaning that 76 percent of the building can be naturally lit (without artificial lighting) for at least half of all daylight hours.




Indoor Water Use Intensity was defined to be 13.92. In comparing this metric to similar building sizes and types, the community center design reduces indoor water by 56 percent.

team to identify potential opportunities for optimization. The design achieves 76 percent of daylight autonomy, meaning that 76 percent of the building can be naturally lit (without artificial lighting) for at least half of all daylight hours. Indoor and outdoor Water Use Intensity were defined to be 13.92 and 0.17 respectively. In comparing these metrics to similar building sizes and types, the community center design reduces indoor water by 56 percent and outdoor water by 75 percent. The selected design was analyzed using Passive House modeling software to determine optimized levels of insulation in all exterior surfaces, and through these analyses the team projected energy usage and conceived of an on-site renewables program that could allow the center to achieve LEED Platinum and Net-Zero energy aspirations. ■

CREDITS • Client: Town of Alta, Utah • Advisory Committee: Sara Gibbs, Mike Maughan, Nicole Henderson, Jere Wile • Architect: Ennead Architects • Environmental Design Consultant: Atelier Ten

• Construction Manager: Big-D Construction • Structural Engineer: LERA Consulting Structural Engineers • In Coordination With: the Contour Group



COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT During the summer of 2020, Ennead engaged the community of Alta in conversations to inform the feasibility study. Built upon a foundation of learning, listening, exploration, and dialogue, the engagement process allowed the team to become more familiar with the site, its context, its unique challenges and opportunities, and to better understand the town, and ultimately, the needs of the people who would be using the center. By hosting intimate conversations, the Ennead Architects team was able to make more meaningful connections with the community.


ECOSYSTEM EDUCATION AND PRESERVATION The site of the future community center is a beautiful and fragile one. The protection of the natural landscape is an imperative for the region. In response, the community center will educate hikers and seasonal visitors during summer and spring months about how the area can be enjoyed in a way that does not damage local ecosystems. During the winter, the center will provide a similar service for backcountry skiers. Given the area’s high avalanche risk, the center can educate skiers and provide them with up-to-date information and access to the tools that they need to stay safe during dangerous conditions.


WELL-BEING AND MENTAL HEALTH The Alta Community Center will not only provide the town with an added community resource, but it also has the potential to have a direct impact on the well-being and mental health of the town’s community members. As a ski town, its income is driven by seasonal tourism and the area experiences an influx of workers six to eight months a year to support ski operations. Given the remoteness of the town, especially during the winter months, there is not much for these staff members to do outside of work aside from going to local bars. An element of the community center’s mission is to offer more ways for people to engage with one another, provide opportunities for healthy interactions, and to serve as a resource that can improve mental health. The center contributes to this mission by creating social connections, opportunities for education, art and culture, physical fitness, and counseling year-round. The selected design for the center reinforces this by lifting the building out of the winter snow, and a known avalanche path, providing each space with ample daylight and access to dramatic views of the valley.



Community Center

Rustler Lodge

Alta Justice Court Town Office

Our Lady of the Snows

Alta Lodge

▲ LOCAL LANDSCAPE The center will educate visitors on how to enjoy the area without damaging local ecosystems, as protecting the site and surrounding landscape is imperative for the region.



Orygen OYH

& Parkville

A non-hierarchical space dedicated to young people’s mental health is designed for inclusivity and autonomy.


THE OUTSIDE IN Warm wood finishes, timber structure, and plenty of daylight create a space reflecting the natural environment.



Orygen, the National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health, is the world’s leading research and knowledge translation organization focusing on young people’s mental ill-health. Its home is a purposebuilt facility to accommodate care, research, and training services to encourage young people to reach out and seek help. Purposeful design, underpinned by Universal Design Principles, blurs the line between client, visitor, researcher, and educator. Orygen de-institutionalizes the traditional mental health facility through an open-plan approach that allows users choice of environment and flexibility to move while dissolving departmental boundaries. Designed in consultation with young people, for young people, Orygen is the result of young Australians actively shaping the spaces they occupy throughout the design process. A series of welcoming and open spaces, universal and inclusive spaces, and non-hierarchical environments were designed—spaces that don’t present a power imbalance. On a site that combines both an inner-city urban location and a natural bush setting, Orygen is a series of pavilions shaped around a central courtyard with an established apple bark tree. As a symbol of resilience, strength, and agility, the tree grounds the site and forms the heart of a unique bushland environment. Consciously designed to bring the natural beauty of the surroundings into the structure and create open spaces for walking and talking, Orygen heralds a more positive approach to health and wellness. Fundamental to encouraging social interaction throughout the building, casual breakout spaces allow clinicians, young people, and parents to congregate and talk in non-institutional settings. ■



DESTIGMATIZING MENTAL HEALTH The National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health, in partnership with specialist mental health service provider, Orygen Specialist Program, has housed clinical, research, policy, education, and training services for more than two years—engaging over 5,000 young people each year who reach out and seek help. Orygen improves the accessibility and appropriateness of youth mental health services. Committed to inclusivity and providing autonomy for people seeking help, the design is welcoming, adaptable, and non-hierarchical.


CO-DESIGN Orygen’s design reflects an iterative design process, a partnership with over 140 young people to design a facility that improves accessibility of youth mental health services through inclusivity and empowerment. The facility allows Orygen to continue a revolution in youth mental health—bridging research with clinical care to deliver real-world practical solutions—alongside the young minds Orygen supports. In the past year, Orygen has engaged 1,640 training participants, conducted 37 research projects, and 17 clinical trials.


NATURE Embracing the healing qualities of nature, Orygen brings the outside in. Using a distinctive design response shaped around existing trees, the facility celebrates its natural setting. The building doesn’t have a grand entrance, but a discrete introduction that gently welcomes and embraces. A casual and relaxed open space with lots of greenery, natural light, coffee tables, warm timber finishes, and various seating options avoids waiting room clichés. The design directly reflects the wishes of the client—young people.

CREDITS •P roject Team: Billard Leece Partnership, Land Design Partnership

• Client: Orygen Specialist Program, The National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health

• Consultants: Kane Constructions, WSP, Lehr Consultants International



Nixon Forensic Center at


State Hospital The Nixon Forensic Center at Fulton State Hospital is a modern psychiatric facility designed to provide transformative rehabilitation and treatment opportunities for patients.


HEALING SPACE The 500-000-square foot center features six star-like residential clusters and four light-filled courtyards.



The transformative Nixon Forensic Center has replaced outdated and deteriorating maximum-security psychiatric facilities with a new modern mental hospital that not only provides expanded treatment opportunities, but is dramatically safer for clients and staff, and promotes wellness and healing. The 300-bed, 500,000-squarefoot forensic hospital significantly strengthens Missouri’s capacity to provide transformative rehabilitation and treatment opportunities for maximum and immediate-security, severely mentally ill patients. The design of the new building transforms the caregiving paradigm by employing rigorous, dynamic planning, extensive natural daylight, innovative materials, and biophilic principles to improve the quality of users’ lives. The hospital was conceived as an organism with five major components that complement each other to provide unique scales of care for the important and stressful work within. The team also collaborated with hospital clinicians to develop a new patient treatment space for daytime activities. Dubbed the “Program Communities,” this collection of commons and counseling rooms serves as a middleground option between the 25-patient Living Units and the 100-plus patient Treatment Mall. This “three-tier” organization of psychiatric patient space is the first of its type constructed in the world, and is becoming a trend in behavioral health hospital design. Spaces are also positioned for passive observation by providing clear sightlines through patient areas and critical doors, allowing for monitoring of historically problematic areas such as dining rooms and toilet room doors. The facility features bright windows, a welcoming “front porch” for social events, and a central lawn, providing a park-like atmosphere with walking paths for the surrounding community to enjoy. ■



HEALING Nixon Forensic Center’s design was informed by a strong commitment to recovery-based psychiatric treatment. The design team empowered patients and staff through rigorous planning, maximization of light to circulation and treatment areas, and access to outdoor space. Interior spaces incorporate design elements that create a private hospital feel to ensure better patient outcomes and staff retention. The overall design character strives to project a feeling of wellness—a return to normalcy that also represents a patient’s path to recovery.


SUSTAINABILITY The new facility uses 156 solar thermal arrays connected to a 11,000-gallon solar storage tank for preheating all domestic hot water, and for the building heating system. It also features a robust electrical backup system. The entire facility can be run off two 2000kW/2500kVA paralleling generators capable of producing a total of 4000kW. These generators ensure that the facility will never go offline. The incorporation of natural light creates a safer and more inviting interior for patients and staff.


CONNECTIVITY The unique design pairs 12 residential units into six starlike clusters to allow exterior views from every room. The curvilinear circulation lines minimize walking distances to reduce staff stress and provide faster connectivity in times of need. Four light-filled courtyards create visual connections to nature and promote wellness. The treatment mall and program communities were carefully designed to be safe and therapeutic, adhering to the most progressive standards of care for the mentally ill.

CREDITS •E YP in collaboration with WSP • EYP: Richard Clarke, Eric Kern, Brent Castro, Alison Ledwith, Paul O’Connell, Andrea Righi, Courtney Janes, Ted Osbourne, Brian Tucker, Raunak Tibrewala, Karen Zellner, Eric Laine

• Client: Fulton State Hospital • Contractor: River City Construction • Consultants: CBRE | Heery, Marc Shaw, Joel A. Dvoskin, David Mason + Associates, Mazzetti, Rippe Associates, Latta Technical Services,

Kathy Williams & Associates, United Infrastructure, SCI Engineering, Inc., TSi Geotechnical, Inc.



Metric Hotel Following a community-driven development process, a new boutique property is a thoughtful response to the surrounding neighborhood’s growth.


GOOD SHAPE A geometric facade conveys the hotel’s cellular interior, showcasing the building’s circulation and elevator landings.



With the complex challenge of replacing an established business within a rapidly evolving neighborhood, the firm’s objective was to engage the community in an open and transparent development process. Multiple community outreach sessions, focused on the hotel’s street interface and precedent forming planning, were conducted to build support for the new structure. Our final solution, with unanimous support of local residents and community leaders, deployed site-constructed and modular building components. The resulting geometry and cladding express the cellular nature of the hotel’s interior spatial configuration, while sensitively engaging the existing scale of the street and the neighborhood. The front facade highlights the circulation, elevator landings, and lobby, with an alternating pattern of reflective ribbed metal panels and floor-to-ceiling windows oriented toward distant mountain and downtown views. The side facade, a traced white canvas, is punctured by the guest room shadow box windows, creating a daily registration of the sun’s path. The rear facade holds a tectonically experiential egress stair, connecting the ground floor to the roof. Situated behind the ground floor lobby and storefront, the street level contains parking, mechanical spaces, and stormwater planters. The second floor holds the main lobby, lounge, dining area, and service rooms, as well as six guest rooms. The third and fourth floors hold eight guest rooms, while the fifth floor has six guest rooms and the owners’ two-bedroom suite, with commanding views of their neighborhood’s transformation. ■




Raised on the site of his parents’ ten-room, two-story motel in the Westlake neighborhood of downtown Los Angeles, the client left a career in finance to take over the family business in collaboration with his wife. Building on the reputation of the small motel and anticipating the change in character of the community they love, the client decided to raze the tired structure and build a new boutique property to lead the re-emergence of the neighborhood from the inside.



Conceived as an alternative to the franchised hotels proliferating downtown and catering to young, budget travelers priced out of the luxury properties, the hotel offers affordable comfort in a technologically current and efficient environment adjacent to transportation, business, art, sport, shopping, and adventure. Committed to supporting the local economy, hotel ownership will strive to exclusively source hotel staffing, maintenance, and product contracts from within the adjacent community.



The locally owned and operated hotel, embedded in the dense urban community that sprouted it, steps back from the street, providing a public zone for hotel guests, local families, and passing school children. Occupying this zone between the building and the street, a drought-resistant garden and stormwater catchment basin, a publicly accessible bicycle rental and repair storefront, and the hotel entry and lower lobby, serve as a sustainable model for future neighborhood-centric development.

CREDITS • ANX / Aaron Neubert Architects: Aaron Neubert, Jeremy Limsenben, David Chong, Xiran Zhang, Jina Seo, Sheldon Preston •S tructural Engineer: Labib Funk + Associates (LFA)

•C ivil Engineer: Barbara L. Hall •M EP Engineer: Robison Engineering Inc. •G eneral Contractor: Paat & Kimmel Development Inc. • Interiors: House of Honey



Education Development Center Corporate Headquarters

GATHERING ZONES The headquarters features a collection of open and enclosed spaces for collaboration.


Located in a former industrial mill, this workplace helps advance the nonprofit’s mission with flexible, sustainable spaces.



The design for the Education Development Center (EDC) reinforces its mission as a global not-for-profit organization that invents and delivers innovative programs addressing the world’s most urgent challenges in education, health, and economic opportunity. In a former industrial mill, the design features flexible, sustainable spaces that support teamwork and informal collaboration. With this headquarters, EDC transforms not only its physical space, but also how people work. Wanting to advance its mission of inclusion and collaboration, EDC also needs private spaces for focused research work. Its new headquarters provides neighborhoods of open and enclosed private, touchdown, and small group workspaces. The neighborhoods border on two large conferencing and informal gathering zones. Overall, the unified space balances privacy and community. Joanne Brady, learning and teaching division director, says, “We have, for the first time, informal meeting places that belong to everyone rather than a center or particular group. The result is more common ownership and use, as well as an emerging norm for ‘lift your head up, come out of your office, and talk to a colleague when it is productive.’” A communal piazza accommodates large meetings, group meals, or intimate conversations. Common areas provide meeting space for EDC’s far-flung teams as well as telecommuter employees. A modest budget necessitated creative solutions. Bold color, inviting textures, and increased visibility convey a sense of organizational character and pride. Reclaimed wood paneling unites two floors of collaborative work zones with rich texture. ■



EQUITY With the intention that each person at EDC could be heard and provide ideas for the design, a “visioning phase” preceded programming and schematic design. An extensive communications campaign included: enterprise-wide surveys; meetings with each division; interactive thematic workshops including “Sustainable EDC” and “Daily Travel at Work”; (refrigerator surveys posted in lunchrooms for anonymous comments); and “the architect is in” meetings for one-to-one conversations. This outreach involved more than 90 percent of EDC staff, garnering many ideas and support for change.


ENERGY Collaboration with the lighting designer produced an attractive and highly efficient lighting system that complements the office aesthetics while garnering EDC enormous savings. Efficient LED fixtures, task lights, and occupancy sensors contribute to more than 30 percent less energy for lighting than required by code, earning EDC a $43,000 energy efficiency incentive from the local utility supplier. Efficient fresh air exchange uses energy recovery ventilation. The project was designed to the LEED Commercial Interiors Silver level, though not registered with USGBC.


HEALTH AND WELLNESS The design addresses several dimensions of health and wellness. Daylighting design provides natural light to each workstation, and everyone agreed that enclosed space would be away from the building perimeter. Acoustic privacy at all areas is provided by separating neighborhoods, specifying appropriate absorptive materials, and sound isolation in ducting. Access to nature is provided with outdoor space for meals and meetings, protected bicycle storage, and showers. Comprehensive hazardous material abatement of the mill building involved removing solvents from flooring.

CREDITS • Architect: Taylor & Burns Architects Carol Burns, Principal-in-Charge • Client: EDC, Tom Rielly, Director of Operation

•A rchitect of Record: Sasaki •S tructural Engineering: Souza, True & Partners •M EP/FP Engineering: NV5 • Environmental Consulting: EH&E

•L ighting Design: Atelier Ten •G eneral Contractor: Commodore Builders


Design for Disassembly What’s possible—and what’s at stake—when buildings come down.

To understand buildings, consider cities. They are evolving, iterative systems whose peripheries and hinterlands are implicated in their growth, demanding material flows of natural resources and the expenditure of energy. So too with buildings, although such thinking is relatively new. And, as urban development marches on, it is as important to analyze the embodied energy and material output of buildings when they come down as when they go up. Such flows are sometimes redirected into recycled products, but more often they terminate in landfills, waterways, or worse. As the environmental crisis worsens, we must ask: Can we reduce our demand on new resources? Need our built environment be in perpetual flux, an endless succession of dest-

ruction and rebuilding? For Kiel Moe, professor of architecture at McGill University, the discourse surrounding demolition and recycling is “fundamental to an ethos of planned obsolescence” and isn’t “a viable way to think about sustainable construction.” Resisting this “cycle of buildings” assigns greater importance to the architectural imagination—something that should excite designers. Creative reuse, retrofitting, and, most importantly, designing programmatically versatile buildings that last should be architects’ main objectives. But the demolition-construction cycle also entails pragmatic challenges, which may offer important—albeit fundamentally incremental—solutions to our waste predicament. Design for disassembly should become part of

architectural practice, and planning to systematically sort materials during demolition can make it easier to repurpose them. The high environmental and logistical cost of removal, transportation, and processing of materials for recycling should also give pause to wrecking-ball zealots. Ultimately, once building materials are untethered to a structure, they will find a new home, preferably in an up-, re-, or downcycled context. Here, we review the end-of-life potential of five major construction elements: steel, glass, concrete, drywall, and flooring. While varying in impact and availability, such exam-ples point a way forward to mitigating the environmental costs of demolition, and toward closing the loop on circular design, specification, and development.


By Akiva Blander




Glass ▶ Architectural glass is among the most salient building products in use today, used decoratively throughout interiors and deployed in the envelopes of supertall and “transparent” structures. Once removed from its built context, glass is, in theory, a surprisingly reusable material—infinitely recyclable to virgin quality—but several important caveats qualify its broad capacity for recycling. The main obstacle is ensuring glass panels are not mixed in with other refuse during demolition. Another, according to Sydney Mainster, a designer and director of sustainability at the Durst Organization—which owns about 16 million square feet of commercial and residential space in New York—relates to the wide-spread coloration of glass. “You can make clear glass into new products quite easily,” she says, “but colored glass is almost always landfill.” Mainster attributes this to the lack of end-user demand for mixed-color recycled glass products: The market just isn’t there.

▲ Steel Steel is the most common structural framing material for non-residential buildings in the United States and offers an ideal example of a recycling flow that approaches circularity. After a building is demolished, “pretty much all steel will get recycled,” says Moe. In fact, steel is the most recycled material in the world, with about 98 percent of structural steel avoiding landfills. This is due in large part to the nature of steel production itself, which relies largely on melting down preexisting steel, and to the economic conditions of supply chains that incentivize its reuse. Other metals (including aluminum) are also frequently reintroduced into the production cycle in what Moe calls “a pretty standard flow” in the current construction context. For example, steel made from scrap—sourced as postconsumer material or as a by-product of manufacturing—saves iron, coal, and limestone (not to mention carbon emissions) relative to steel production from virgin materials. The picture is less impressive for steel used as rebar and as reinforcing material in concrete construction: Only 71 percent of such steel is recycled, according to the Steel Recycling Institute. The lower percentage indicates the importance of neatly separating different materials during demolition to better guarantee their efficient reuse. Although sorting out multi-material building elements is difficult, it can lead to safer repurposing.



Mic Patterson, a designer who has researched and written extensively on sustainability and architecture, says several glass treatments and surface techniques also preclude opportunities for recycling. In many cases, processes meant to improve glass envelope performance—such as heat treatment, lamination, coating, and double- and triple-pane insulation—“render the primary flat glass material unsuitable for recycling.” In these cases, he says, the raw material, as well as its embedded engineering know-how and production, becomes unusable. “In focusing on thermal performance,” he adds, “we have entirely neglected important attributes of durability, reuse, and recyclability.” If all else fails, high-performance glass can be downcycled as aggregate in lieu of pea gravel and stone. In this manner, glass is finding its way into mixes for interior uses like ceramic countertops and in concrete, although it is unclear whether such cement-glass mixes perform as well technically.

◀ Concrete

Concrete is critical in laying foundations, delineating floors and walls, and reinforcing building elements, but its compositional ingredients of cement and aggregate are not renewable. (Sand, for example, concrete’s most common aggregate, is being harvested to near exhaustion.) There are at least two major barriers to recycling concrete. Like many building products slated for reuse or recycling, concrete faces the challenge of isolating its core materials. Installed concrete is never just concrete, but is paired with everything from mortar paste and gypsum to trace plastics, metals, and woods, says Blaine Brownell, an architect and editor of the Transmaterial book series: “The main difficulty concerns the

various contaminants that are often found in demolition waste.” Concrete’s increasingly common chemical additives also reduce its recyclability, according to Dirk Hebel, professor of sustainable construction at the Karls-ruhe Institute of Technology, since unwanted and potentially hazardous composites should not be recycled into new products. For these reasons, says Hebel, “usually when we talk about concrete recycling, we talk of downcycling processes.” The most common downcycling use is of shredded or pebbled concrete as aggregate, or filler in roadbed construction, retaining walls, and earthworks. Brownell cautions, however, that such infrastructural repurposings are not as simple as they sound. Using different aggre-

gates can be “tricky,” he says, “and the process must be carefully managed to ensure the desired mechanical performance.” Hebel adds that “only certain percentages [of concrete aggregate] are possible in order to keep the desired strength requirement.” Brownell and Hebel agree that architects and designers can be a part of the solution. By taking steps to ensure building materials are cleanly sorted after a demolition and by working with engineers and contractors to specify recycled-content concrete in projects, they can help reduce the volume of concrete entering our waste stream and develop the basis of a circular construction model.


▲ Drywall Drywall (also known as gypsum board) constitutes nearly all walls, plus some ceilings, in commercial builds. At least in theory, it is an extremely recyclable building material, provided its layers are kept intact. “Drywall is two pieces of paper and then that gypsum core,” says Mainster, of the Durst Organization. “You want to keep it as whole as possible.” Drywall’s paper envelope can be ground down and recycled like any paper or wood product, and the gypsum core can be infinitely

recycled without any significant loss of performance. “This is the idealized closed-loop wallboard manufacturing cycle,” Mainster sums up—provided there is foresight in planning the material’s removal. (Packer trucks and mixed-refuse Dumpsters, commonly used in demolition, are out of the question, since they don’t keep the drywall whole.) Key goals in building with drywall, according to Mainster, should be minimizing the use of virgin-mined gypsum and avoiding synthetic gypsum, which is a

by-product of coal-fired power plants and may be toxic because of its heavy-metal content. Legislation may hold the key to advancing drywall recycling, but statutes vary through-out the country. Especially stringent laws prescribing reuse and prohibiting landfill disposal in Boston and in the Pacific Northwest—a similar proposal is currently under consideration in New York City—have resulted in notably high rates of drywall recycling.



▼ Flooring Carpet tiles and PVC, vinyl, and resilient surfaces predominate in commercial flooring, and each comes with its own recycling challenges. Less than 10 percent of carpeting is recycled, and the central obstacle lies in the materials required to install tiles—such as adhesives, latex and calcium carbonate backing, and polyurethane cushions. A range of manufacturers, such as Shaw, Interface, and Tandus Centiva, have rolled out reclamation and takeback programs, meeting with considerable success in diverting flooring waste from landfills, but they are the exception that proves the rule. Sean Ragiel, president and founder of CarpetCycle—a New Jersey–based company that aims to

find uses for postconsumer carpet and building products—stresses the importance of removing carpet tiles as cleanly as possible. This is as much an economic calculation as a material one: Backings are low-value components that contaminate higher-value plastics like nylon and polypropylene; when components are jumbled, “the materials are essentially ruined,” says Ragiel. Absent legislation and economic incentives, the best last resort, Ragiel says, is to use shredded broadloom carpets as a coal substitute in cement kilns, a technique common in Europe. For hard-surface flooring, the state of PVC recycling is also mixed. Despite successful recycling initia-

tives by manufacturers, “the economics of cheap plastics production have been a powerful counterweight,” says Jim Vallette, research director of the Healthy Building Network. In addition, despite pushes toward material transparency, toxic ingredients are still prevalent in luxury vinyl tiles and PVCs, foreclosing the recyclability of those surfaces. Adhesives, insulation, and sealants also bedevil recycling efforts: According to Vallette, even leaders in the recycled-flooring sector can rarely offer products with more than 20 percent postconsumer content. “The next frontier is for a company to achieve true circularity,” he says. “Zero-virgin-material floors would be a real accomplishment.” ■



EDITOR IN CHIEF Avinash Rajagopal

CHAIRMAN Adam I. Sandow





DESIGNER Robert Pracek




EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT Kathryn Kerns 917.935.2900 BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGERS Ava Ambrose 917.934.2868 Michael Croft 224.931.8710



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