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january/february 2011

anchorage museum expansion, p.8

a goode green roof, p.144

Team building ZGF Architects’ dynamic selfdesigned workspace, p.82

building legacies, p.131


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Features

features

76 Theory in Practice Perkins+Will designed the new corporate headquarters for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification in Washington, DC, finally giving the organization the flexible, well-designed space it deserves.

82 Moving Up, Moving On When ZGF Architects took on the challenge of designing their own corporate headquarters, they crafted not only a stunning modern workspace, but also the award-winning, LEED Platinum-certified skyscraper that houses it.

Pictured: At ZGF Architects’ headquarters, this floating staircase in the entrance lobby gives a strong first impression to employees and visitors alike. Photo: Nick Merrick Š Hedrich Blessing.

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Contents Briefs

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Editor's note

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american spaces

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abq building excellence awards

call for entries

144

american homes

146

materiality

Departments 17 Nonprofit Development 18

Tenderloin Neighborhood Development

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Detroit Housing Commission

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Utah Nonprofit Housing Corporation

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Retirement Housing Foundation

27 Niche Resources

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The Brickman Group, Ltd.

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Metro Sign & Awning, INC.

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Boyd, Inc.

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Western Wire Products Company

56

37 Inspired Architecture

61 Community Construction

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Image Homes Ltd.

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The Dobbins Group

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LD Design

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Darden Architects, INC.

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B. Wood Architects

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DHArchitects, INC.

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Brown Chambless Architects

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Matthei & Colin Associates

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Graham Downes Architecture

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Chicora Real Estate

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Yankee Barn Homes

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Dominium

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Gabellini Sheppard Associates

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101 Responsible Design 102

ON Design Architects

106

Merryman Barnes Architects, INC.

109

One Sky Homes

111

Louis Design Group, INC.

113

Dreambuilder Custom Homes, INC.

116

Arthur J. Henn AND Associates

118

Fennell Purifoy Architects

120

Sopris Homes, LLC

123

Sustainable Architecture, LLC

125

Northworks Architects and Planners LLC

127

FM Solutions Inc.

129

Space Architects & Planners LLC

89 Energy & Technology

131 Building Legacies

90

Les Gray & Company, Inc

132

Texas Log Homes

92

ANC Heating & Air Conditioning, INC.

134

Meyer Buildings, Inc.

94

Chesapeake Geosystems, INC.

138

Ferrier Builders

96

Ambassador Services, INC.

140

Busk Inc.

98

Diversified Communication Services Inc.

142

Studio [intrigue] Architects

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The conference room is a wellused space at the Perkins+Willdesigned NCIDQ Headquarters.

Photo: Ken Hayden

editor’s note

I

t’s a brand new year, and this issue of American Builders Quarterly® explores not only the American building market in general, but also takes a close look at the design and implementation of corporate buildings that are home to design-savvy firms. Featured on our cover is a stunning project by ZGF Architects (p. 82) that is as functional and forward-thinking as it is aesthetically pleasing. The firm took on the challenge of designing their own main office—a large project in and of itself. Not only did ZGF successfully create a collaborative, sustainable workspace, but also built a massive, energy-efficient mixed-use skyscraper called Twelve West. Gene Sandoval, a partner at ZGF and the lead architect on the project, succinctly describes the mission of their office space. “We knew we wanted a building that accurately represented us, that carried our values on its sleeve.” These values include the importance of sustainability and team collaboration—values that are always on the minds of architecture and construction firms across the nation. We hope that our featured coverage of this project inspires you, dear reader, to take on the challenge of designing an office space that works just as well for your team. Brand new this year is a department titled “American Homes.” ABQ takes a sneak peek inside the home of one American builder, and explores their personal space through a candid question-and-answer session. We were lucky enough to get to know Lisa and Chris Goode, owners of the landscape-design firm Goode Greene (p. 144). The Goodes have created a breathtakingly unique rooftop garden high above the busy streets of New York City, and they share great advice on designing and constructing successful green roofs. As you explore this issue of ABQ, we encourage you to think about your own contributions to the construction community. ABQ has always covered builders who embody excellence in their fields, and as we approach our first-ever Building Excellence Awards, we continue that tradition proudly. I look forward to featuring the best of what the American building community has to offer. As always, we hope the articles in this issue motivate, inform, and inspire your work. Enjoy.

Introducing the all-new

americanbuildersquarterly.com • View the latest issue of American Builders Quarterly® in a full-sized readable format • Get inspired by featured projects, builders, architects, and designers • Discover what’s in store for upcoming issues, and how your company can get involved • Find out what events the American Builders Quarterly® staff will be attending and more!

Molly Soat Features Editor

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jan/feb 2011

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Editorial editor-in-chief Christopher Howe features editor Molly Soat molly@bgandh.com associate editor Michael Danaher correspondents Cristina Adams Zach Baliva Daniel Casciato Chris Cussat Julie Edwards Joyce Finn Annie Fischer Karen Gentry Sandra Guy Sheena Harrison Dave Hudnall Frederick Jerant Russ Klettke Ladan Nikravan Kelly O’Brien Laura Williams-Tracy Brigitte Yuille

Art creative director Karin Bolliger designer Aaron Lewis

Research director of editorial research George Bozonelos george@bgandh.com

Publishing bowen, guerrero + howe, llc Cory Bowen, President Pedro Guerrero, COO

editorial research managers Anthony D’Amico Gerald Mathews Heather Matson editorial researchers Holly Begle Genevieve Bellon Emily Bowman Ashley Brown Deidre Davis Laura Heidenreich Ryan Jones Ellie Kim Jessica Lewis Carolyn Marx Will Megson Bronwyn Milliken Matt O’Connor Brian Panezich Molly Potnick Issa Rizkallah Erin Windle Katie Yost editorial research assistant Adam Castillo

senior photo editor Zach Huelsing associate photo editors Samantha Hunter Courtney Weber

advertising director of sales Titus Dawson titus@bgandh.com

Christopher Howe, CEO & Publisher

www.bgandh.com

administrative controller Andrea DeMarte accounting assistant Anya Hostetler Mokena Trigueros hr generalist Greg Waechter human resources assistant Katherine Lazaroff

sales managers Stacy Kraft Krista Williams sales representatives James Ainscough Jessica Barker Blake Burkhart Michael DiGiovanni Drew Dimit Michelle Harris Justin Joseph Rebekah Mayer William Winter Brendan Wittry Daniel Zierk senior account manager Cheyenne Eiswald account managers Kim Callanta Lindsay Craig Megan Hamlin Amy Lara

circulation manager Lee Posey assistant to the publisher Brittany Miranda executive assistant Katherine Lazaroff administrative assistant Jacqueline M. Lowisz

Subscriptions + Reprints Printed in South Korea. Reprinting of articles is prohibited without permission of BG+H, LLC. To order reprints, call Karen Tate at 312.450.2129.

For a free subscription, please visit americanbuildersquarterly.com/sub/ Offices production 53 W Jackson Blvd., Suite 315, Chicago, IL 60604 sales & research 28 E Jackson Blvd., Suite 300, Chicago, IL 60604 American Builders Quarterly® is a registered trademark of Bowen, Guerrero & Howe LLC.

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american spaces

Anchorage Museum Expansion david chipperfield architects, an internationally renowned, awardwinning architecture firm based in London and Berlin, was chosen to design the expansion of Alaska’s Anchorage Museum from 38 teams who submitted credentials to the Museum Building Committee (MBC). The organization of the new building is based on five linear volumes of varying length and height arranged along the western face of the existing museum. This arrangement forms a new faÇade and entrance facing downtown Anchorage. The new building features expansive windows through which the activity of the museum and city can be observed. The visitor, from within, is re-oriented to the city context and its extraordinary natural setting beyond. Anchorage-based Kumin Associates was the architect of record for the project and managed the design phases, construction documents, and construction-administration processes on the ground. It was critical to the MBC to select a local architecture firm with the technical expertise, design capability, and management skills to lead the design team. Project manager Daphne Brown and her team at Kumin worked closely with David Chipperfield’s team, the engineering team, the community, and the MBC to ensure the design met the exacting requirements of the sub-arctic environment as well as the programmatic needs and aesthetic aspirations of the museum and its board. >>

The Anchorage Museum’s new building incorporates design features to qualify for LEED certification under the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED program. Locally sourced and recycled materials were used wherever possible, and the building includes recycling facilities, low-flow plumbing fixtures, and employee showers and bike racks to encourage employees to bike to work.

The museum’s “front yard” is a 2-acre, landscaped public common with benches that provide a place to have lunch or enjoy the outdoors. Here, the landscape architect, Charles Anderson, looked to birch trees, an icon of the southern Alaskan landscape. Birch trees were planted on a graduated grid that moves from dense spacing at the west end of the site to airy spacing near the new building. The result is a dramatic urban forest in the middle of the city.

Photos: James Steinkamp

Project Details Location: Anchorage, Alaska Completed: 2009 Client: Anchorage Museum Building Committee Architect: David Chipperfield Architects Architect of Record: Kumin Associates, Inc. Landscape Design: Charles Anderson Landscape Architecture

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The addition is intended to encourage an appreciation of the museum’s extraordinary natural surroundings. The east-facing fourth-floor gallery doubles as an event space and features sweeping mountain views.

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The building’s shimmering glass façade is made up of more than 600 panels fritted with a striped mirror pattern. The 4-foot-wide, 12-inch-thick transparent and opaque panels provide ultraviolet protection, and the transparent panels are fitted with blinds to shield the museum’s collections from sun damage.

WHERE Old meets new

Museums are complex facilities and intricate design puzzles, particularly when adding to an existing structure. The Anchorage Museum expansion required the reprogramming of the entire museum, existing and new, with new public and service entries, revised circulation, and other relocated functions. Structurally, however, the expansion is a completely separate building with its own dedicated mechanical and electrical systems.

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contents american spaces

>>

According to Chipperfield, the design of the museum’s expansion is intended to encourage an appreciation of the museum’s extraordinary natural surroundings. The expansion also houses the Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center, exhibiting 600 Alaska Native ethnographic artifacts from the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History and National Museum of the American Indian. Many factors were considered by the designers when designing the grounds—they felt the site needed to create a bold presence, complement the building’s architecture, serve the museum’s programming, and provide respite from the adjacent city streets. The project is pursuing LEED certification, setting a high standard for green building in Anchorage. The certification would make the Anchorage Museum the municipality’s first LEED-certified building. abq COMMUNITY OASIS

The Plans Level 1

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Entry/Reception Atwood Resource Center Gift Shop Orientation Gallery Museum Café Kitchen Art Receiving Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center Lab Office Cultural Resource Center Galleries

Expansion Circulation

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Photos: Ken Graham Photography. Floorplans: David Chipperfield Architects

The museum and the adjacent park has been called Anchorage’s “living room,” functioning as a place that fosters interaction between locals and visitors alike. It is directly connected to the urban environment of downtown, but also reflects the spectacular natural surroundings. More than 30 public meetings were held throughout the design process to enlist community input during the development of the program and the design.


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A significant component of the museum expansion is the Atwood Resource Center, a 5,500-square-foot open-to-the-public library, with archive storage and supporting work spaces. This important pubic amenity is located on the ground floor directly adjacent to the museum entrance and its transparent windows make it highly visible to the passerby while providing views out to the landscape and the promenade.

The new public spaces—including an entrance lobby, open vertical atrium, library, café and gift shop—are concentrated on the building’s ground floor. The use of different colors and materials in each space gives each room its own identity.

The interior exposes and celebrates the building’s concrete structure as a design element to establish the character of the internal spaces.

american builders quarterly Photos: James Steinkamp

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contents american spaces

Toni Stabile Student Center marble fairbanks has designed a new student center for Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism that transforms both formal and informal work, meeting, and social spaces of the school. Central to the proposal was the introduction of several new spaces to serve as a social and intellectual center for the school: a multipurpose “social hub” for student-faculty interaction as well as larger meetings with visitors to the school, and a more informal student-lounge space. The project includes a 9,000-square-foot renovation within the historic McKim, Mead, & White-designed journalism building and a 1,000-square-foot addition in a previously unused exterior plaza. The university asked that the addition maximize transparency but minimize its structure, and Marble Fairbanks obliged with an operable glass faÇade that literally opens the space up to the campus. This new, modern space houses a casual student lounge and café, while inside the journalism building the new “social hub” accommodates a more diverse range of programs: study space for students in between classes, meeting spaces for students and faculty, informal presentation spaces for visitors from the journalism industry, and other communal event spaces for the School of Journalism. The extensive interior renovation also provides space for the Journalism Library, a newsroom and interview space for the Columbia Journalism Review, assorted faculty and administrative offices, and flexible classroom space. The project also offers a new model for implementing digitally-driven design, exploring highly engineered surfaces to achieve specific architectural and experiential effects. abq

The faÇade is an event in itself: it opens to the exterior in favorable weather, extending the interior space out onto the plaza. A motorized glass wall rises up behind the fixed transom like a giant double-hung window.

Project Details Location: New York, NY Completed: 2008 Client: Columbia University Architect: Marble Fairbanks Structural Engineer: Robert Silman Associates PC Lighting Designer: Richard Shaver Architectural Lighting Graphic Design: Thumb Projects Photography: Jongseo Kim and Marble Fairbanks

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The Plans Classrooms Addition (CafŽ/Lounge) Student Center Offices

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SOLAR SHADING

The west wall was created by converting a photograph of the building’s view into a perforated pattern cut into structural metal panels. The pattern is calibrated to “snap” into focus at the point at which one walks into the social hub, but as one moves closer, the image dissolves into a much more abstract pattern of ovals.

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The ceiling for the new café addition, hung below a glass roof, is designed and engineered in conjunction with the low-E insulated glass to reduce heat loads and allow for a more efficient conditioning system. Two strategies of patterning were used to develop the most efficient means of solar shading for the space: corrugation and perforation. Through a rigorous modeling and scripting process, the corrugation and perforation patterns were developed in tandem to optimize solar shading and reduction of solar-heat gain inside the new building, while also achieving a more qualitative effect evocative of a tree canopy.

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Café/Student Lounge Pantry/Coffee Bar Social Hub Journalism Library Library Office Student Services Office Suite Office of Admissions Journalism Building Lobby Newsroom/Interview Stations Teaching Lab PHD Suite Mechanical/Storage

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CALL FOR ENTRIES Registration Deadline: January 24, 2011

American Builders Quarterly速 is celebrating the very best in American building and design with the 2011 Building Excellence Awards


APPLY TODAY: The ABQ Building Excellence Awards recognize achievements in architecture, design, and community planning. Winning projects will receive featured coverage in the November/December 2011 issue of American Builders Quarterly速, in addition to prize packages available exclusively to Building Excellence Award winners. For more information, a complete list of categories, and downloadable entry forms, visit:

americanbuildersquarterly.com/awards

ELigibiLiTY: 1) Projects must have been completed between December 31, 2007 and December 31, 2010. 2) Entries are limited to construction firms headquartered in the United States; however, projects constructed abroad will be considered. CATEgOriEs: One residential and one commercial project will be designated as the Project of the Year, and awards and honorable mentions will be given in over 15 categories across all residential and commercial building sectors.


Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles Jordan Downs Public Housing Redevelopment Watts, California

Creating a Vibrant Urban Village

“At Jordan Downs, our goal is to improve the quality of life for every resident. We are revitalizing an entire community and building a sustainable neighborhood by encompassing transit-oriented development, job training and career opportunities, and measures to ensure the safety of our residents.� Antonio R. Villaraigosa Mayor, City of Los Angeles

Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles 2600 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90057 Tel: 213-252-5400 Web: www.hacla.org

EQUAL HOUSING

OPPORTUNITY


Nonprofit Development

Tenderloin Neighborhood Development .................... Detroit Housing Commission..................................... Utah Nonprofit Housing Corporation ......................... Retirement Housing Foundation ...............................

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Pictured: Tenderloin Neighborhood Development’s Zygmunt Arendt House.

Photo: Bruce Damonte

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nonprofit development

Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation. Affordable-housing nonprofit creates attainable dreams for thousands of Californians At a Glance Location: San Francisco, CA Founded: 1981 Employees: 200+ Specialty: Low-income housing

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Every real-estate developer sets out to create projects that shape a community. In the case of Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation (TNDC) in San Francisco, the nonprofit has worked for more than 30 years to update the neighborhood for low-income residents and to surround them with support. Today, TNDC owns and operates 30 affordable-housing buildings serving 3,000 tenants in the Tenderloin and adjacent neighborhoods. TNDC has 11 projects in development that will add another 1,250 affordable units for the homeless and extremely low-income San Franciscans in the next few years. “We’re not a small group these days; we have 2,500 units and $300 million in real estate,” says Don Falk, TNDC executive director. Developing residential real estate in any economy is a complex undertaking. Building affordable housing with sometimes seven or more funding sources, often with conflicting regulations, and then supporting those residents with a broad array of social services makes TNDC’s mission unique. “One of my colleagues once said that affordable-housing developers are to market-rate developers what Ginger Rogers was to Fred Astaire,” Falk says. “We have to do everything backwards and with heels on.”

However, it’s a challenge TNDC relishes. The nonprofit got its start in Tenderloin—one of the most dense and diverse urban neighborhoods in America—in 1981, when three luxury hotels were proposed for the eastern edge of the neighborhood. Tenderloin is listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its history and architecture. The hotels were harbingers of a future when droves of low-income residents would be displaced by high-rise developments. TNDC helped stop the hotels and formed as a taxexempt, nonprofit organization that acquires property, secures financing, oversees design and construction, and owns and manages the completed buildings for occupancy by low-income individuals and families. Large banks receive low-income-housing tax credits for supporting the developments. These sophisticated financing structures, highly regulated compliance requirements, and unique service needs of the tenants have demanded that the organization grow to more than 200 employees. Projects are financed in such a way as to include the cost of social services as an operating cost— much like paying for a resident manager. Some buildings generate excess cash flow, while others lose money. In recent years, TNDC has begun to develop housing

american builders quarterly


nonprofit development Opposite: Exterior view of Tenderloin’s Zygmunt Arendt House—a new, 37-unit affordable-housing project in San Francisco that incorporates several sustainable features, including rooftop solar-photovoltaic panels, a stormwater-runoff system, and an energy-efficient mechanical system. Photo: Bruce Damonte

of increasing complexity and size, and more units have been designed for seniors, families, and formerly homeless individuals. The organization recently completed two new projects. One is a 56-unit apartment building with offices and retail space and green features, such as high-efficiency condensing boilers and HVAC systems. The other project includes studios and family apartments for 47 low-income seniors. In August, TNDC will start construction on an adaptive reuse of the historic, 100-year-old San Francisco YMCA building. Using historic tax credits, TNDC will renovate the building for 172 chronically homeless people and open a community medical clinic. “It’s a $95

Affordable-housing developers are to market-rate developers what Ginger Rogers was to Fred Astaire. We have to do everything backwards and with heels on. Don Falk, Executive Director

million project that is going to make a commensurately big impact when it’s finished,” Falk says. “We’ll be able to offer a lot more services and see 4,000 patients there.” Only 15 percent of TNDC’s units are for homeless people. Most living there are working poor, senior citizens, the disabled, and those on public assistance. All pay rent, between $150 a month for those who receive rental subsidies to $800 a month. Residents are eligible for assistance programs, including TNDC’s Tenderloin After-School Program for children and youth ages 5–17. Other programs include on-site social services and a community-organizing program so residents can advocate for themselves. “For our population, people can’t realistically ever hope to own their own homes,” Falk says. “Their incomes will never grow to such a level. For us, it’s permanent housing to live in a safe and stable environment and have a quality of life that’s not possible otherwise.” —Laura Williams-Tracy

EXCELLENCE S i n c e

1911

CAHILL C O N T R A C T O R S ,

I N C .

P ro ud t o s e rv e T ENDERLOIN N EIGHBORHOOD D EVELOPMENT C ORPORATION in their endeavor to develop and build high-quality affordable housing, and to be a responsible member of the Bay Area C o m m u n i t y .

Arnett Watson Apartments | 2009 Project certified by the Green Communities

Other projects built for TNDC: Curran House Alexander Residence West Hotel 1166 Howard

CAHILL-SF.COM O a k l a n d

5 1 0 . 2 5 0 . 8 5 0 0

415.986.0600 200 South Division Street Buffalo, New York 14202

733 Broadway Albany, New York 12207

3629 Madaca Lane Tampa, Florida 33618

621 Cowboys Parkway, Ste. 300 Irving, Texas 75063

NORSTAR DEVELOPMENT USA, L.P. Real Estate Development, Property Management & Construction Norstar, developer and owner of Gardenview Estates in Detroit, Michigan is a full service affordable housing developer specializing in complex mixed-finance transactions using low income housing tax credits, HOPE VI and other public funding sources. In addition to projects owned by Norstar, the company also provides turnkey services to public housing authorities and other not for profits. Current projects are underway or have been completed in New York, Michigan, Florida and Texas. Norstar ranked 20th in the Affordable Housing Finance top 50 affordable housing developers of 2009.

- Kadushin Architects & Planners

Please visit Norstar at www.norstarcompanies.com or 1-800-355-4268 jan/feb 2011

american builders quarterly ABQ Norstar Development LLP 1/4 Page‫‏‏‬.indd 1

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nonprofit development

Detroit Housing Commission. Bringing Motown’s mixed-income families together to create healthy communities There was a time when thriving and innovative companies At a Glance Location: Pontiac, MI Founded: 1908 Employees: 85–90 Specialty: Educational, healthcare, institutional, and municipal construction Average Sales: $150 million Average Projects: 100–150

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made Detroit one of the world’s top cities. Things are different now. In 2008, the Detroit Free Press named its hometown among the poorest large cities in the nation, with 33.8 percent of the population living below the federal poverty threshold. The automotive crisis and the recession have made a bad situation worse. In January 2010, the Department of Labor reported unemployment at 15.3 percent, but the Detroit News claims part-time workers seeking full-time work bring the real total closer to 50 percent. Clearly, the Motor City needs help. Eugene E. Jones Jr. serves as executive director for the Detroit Housing Commission (DHC). His group is the largest public-housing agency in Michigan and serves a metro area of more than four million people. Once owned and operated as a city department, DHC severed those ties in 2004 to function as a separate municipal body. Now, the agency owns 4,000 publichousing units, awards 6,000 housing choice (Section 8) vouchers, and is redeveloping three obsolete public sites. Jones believes his work at DHC is helping revitalize a city in need of change. “When you improve one area, you

change more than just a community,” he explains. “By rebuilding, you affect the surrounding neighborhoods.” Theories continue to evolve regarding publichousing projects, and Jones admits his board of directors continues to learn through experience. Their first development, Parkside, occurred in the early 1990s. Then, DHC was committed to higher quality and lessdense housing that appear to be market-rate units. Now, the agency is more focused on mixed-income properties that offer several advantages. “By putting market-rate units and low-income public housing in the same developments, we increase the diversity and quality of life for people in Detroit,” Jones explains. “We’re giving people mentors and opportunities, and encouraging healthy interaction.” Various DHC programs serve individuals who earn between 0 and 30 percent of the area median income. While traditional and outdated public-housing developments were characterized by crime, loiterers, and graffiti, modern mixed-income units are safe, welcoming, and clean. “People talk and live their lives together,” Jones says. “Safety is not just created through

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nonprofit development

flooding an area with police officers but by working with the city and police force and residents.” When DHC helps people find housing, it instills citizens with pride. Tenants and owners respond by maintaining their property and reporting crime. New developments also attract schools and commercial developers who join DHC’s revitalization efforts. “We receive money from the city for

When you improve one area, you change more than just a community. By rebuilding, you affect the surrounding neighborhoods. Eugene E. Jones Jr., Executive Director

infrastructure so we can develop these areas,” Jones says. “We’re increasing property value, helping small businesses, bringing public transportation, and providing home-ownership opportunities. Everyone wins.” Although businesses, owners, and developers might hesitate to invest in a troubled state, Jones says they won’t get a better deal anywhere else. One DHC development, Woodbridge Estates, replaced the infamous Jeffries Homes in Midtown. Opened in 1953, the Jeffries projects housed eight 14-story buildings known as a regional drug mecca. DHC and Scripps Park Associates (the developer) have replaced Jeffries West with Woodbridge, an attractive collection of townhomes, single-family homes, and multifamily properties. “People who look at our latest developments never know they are or were publichousing units, and that fact changes the whole outlook of a community,” Jones says. What was once a selfcontained, row-house public site was transformed into a mixed-income neighborhood that remains connected to its surroundings. DHC is also developing Jeffries East, the area across the freeway, as Cornerstone Development. There, 180 mixed-income rentals will replace 260 units. Jones and his colleagues keep busy throughout the entire metro area. Another development, Gardenview Estates, boasts 800 mixed units, a Boys and Girls Club, and a community center. DHC is lining up financing for a 180-unit property on the east side and received $18 million in stimulus funds to renovate 400 vacant homes. With its energetic board of directors, many resources, and large staff, the Detroit Housing Commission is working hard to help the city of Detroit rediscover its greatness. —Zach Baliva

american builders quarterly

The Detroit Housing Commission’s Gardenview Estates project is being built in three phases, seen in the master plan (above). The development includes a mixture of townhomes, duplex apartments, and multi-unit apartment buildings paired with park space, courtyards (opposite page) and a community center. Photos: Kadushin Associates Architects Planners.

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nonprofit development

Utah Nonprofit Housing Corporation. Helping local municipalities craft and implement effective and sustainable affordable-housing programs At a Glance Location: Salt Lake City, UT Founded: 1967 Specialty: Affordable housing Households Served: 2,000+

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For decades, low-income-housing or affordable-housing projects in this country were an afterthought in the communities where they were built. As a result, these developments devolved over time, and the residents eventually fled. However, lately there has been a movement to invest in these types of projects and to make them more engaged in the community. The Utah Nonprofit Housing Corporation (UNPHC) and the Lotus Community Development Institute of Salt Lake City have worked together over the past four years to create two new affordable-housing developments in Salt Lake City: the Riverwood Cove Apartments and Taylorsville Senior Housing. The $9.5 million Riverwood Cove is up for a Renovation of the Year Award in multifamily housing for the state of Utah. This 110-unit facility replaced a 40-year-old dilapidated property that was completely gutted and rehabbed, according to Marci Milligan, president of the Lotus Community Development Institute. “Sustainability was an important aspect to this project, so we used green building techniques and systems when we rehabbed it,” she says. “What was once one of the worst properties in the market in multifamily housing is now really one of the best in the marketplace. Today, it is an Energy Star Plus property that serves low-income families.”

The development is comprised of 12 one-bedroom apartments and 98 two-bedroom apartment units, with rent for the property ranging from $305 to $570, depending on the size, location, and household median income. Many of the residents are Hispanic single mothers, and about three-fourths of the residents are children under the age of 12. What Milligan is especially proud of is the fact that the development offers a variety of supportive services at a lifelong learning center in bilingual format. “There will be after-hours, at-risk youth programming and self-sufficiency training and education for adults,” she explains. “We fundraised an extra $75,000 so we could create this computer learning laboratory and these programs. It’s pretty amazing.” The other project that the two organizations collaborated on is the 61-unit Taylorsville Senior Housing, an affordable-housing project for seniors 62 years and older in the Salt Lake City area. It is expected to be complete in the spring of 2011. Like the Riverwood Cove Apartments, this project meets the LEED for Homes guidelines and is, in fact, the first LEED-certified senior-housing project in the state. One of the highlights will be an in-ground water-pump heat system that is expected to save residents hundreds of dollars a year in utility bills. Sustainability was a critical component in both of

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nonprofit development Opposite and Right: UNPHC recently renovated the Riverwood Cove Apartments, which consists of 110 units and will offer a variety of supportive services for the residents. The 40-year-old Riverwood Cove Apartments were in a dilapidated, rundown state before UNPHC completely gutted and rehabbed the property.

these projects for two reasons. “First, because the longterm maintenance on these projects will be less over time,” Milligan says. “Second, is that our utility bills for our tenants who are low-income are greatly reduced. It will allow our tenants to have a little more income to care for their households. For example, Riverwood Cove saved about $3,700 in utilities in the first six months in the common areas alone.” The goal of the UNPHC, founded in 1967, and the Lotus Community Development Institute, founded in 2007,

What was once one of the worst properties in the market in multifamily housing is now really one of the best in the marketplace. Marci Milligan, President, Lotus Community Development Institute

is to offer charitable technical assistance in lessening the burdens of government in providing relief of the poor and distressed or under-privileged. It also promotes community building and social welfare through education, housing, and economic development. It recently developed a software tool that models housing demands and needs, and it has partnered with the state of Utah to get a commercialization grant to make this product nationally available. Milligan hopes that this municipal-housing analysis tool can assist other communities across the country in creating their own affordable-housing programs. Milligan adds that these projects cannot happen without bringing together the best financial, construction, and government professionals in the area. “Projects of this magnitude take a whole team,” she says. “These projects require a great amount of subsidy and coordination with community government. When the community is on board, it’s their project first and then we can go in to help. We help the cities write a housing plan, and then we put together partnerships and the projects come into fruition. It’s an asset for the community over time.” —Daniel Casciato

american builders quarterly

A Message from DuraChic Our goal at DuraChic is to find flooring solutions that are cost effective for our customers and life enhancing for the tenants. The DuraChic vinyl planking system was designed specifically for multifamily housing. DuraChic looks beautiful and can be cared for without special equipment; it takes just a simple pass over with a spray bottle of mild detergent and water. Those products are now made available through our partners to provide for their tenants. DuraChic Inc. acts as a direct manufacturer and distributor, passing along the savings to its nonprofit customers like Utah Nonprofit Housing Corporation featured herein. In this way, we can help assure that the quality of the built living environment and the aesthetic nature of the finished flooring in the apartment are the best possible solution for today's market place. We are proud to be part of creating intentional community in every step of both the development and operational processes with our network of for- and not-for-profit housing developers serving America's workforce.

22 Years of Experience

At Harold P. Woodruff Architects, we’ve been working with Housing Authorities and Nonprofit Housing Corporations on senior, transitional and low-income housing projects, offering Planning & Design services for over 22 years.

Harold P. Woodruff Architect/Planner 223 East 800 South, Salt Lake City, UT 84111 P: 801-355-8684 | F: 801-359-3780

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Affordable, Durable, Stylish Designed specifically for multi-family housing

www.Durachic.com Vinyl Plank Flooring

3694 South 500 West, Suite C Salt Lake City, Utah  84115

p: 801.747.0077 f: 801.747.0079


nonprofit development

Retirement Housing Foundation. Working hard to expand affordable senior housing across the nation At a Glance Location: Long Beach, CA Founded: 1961 Employees: 2,600 Specialty: Affordable senior housing Communities: 159 Seniors Served: 17,000

Above: Made up of four 16- and 17-story towers, Angelus Plaza is the largest affordable-housing community for seniors in the United States.

In the late 1970s, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) was funding a full 20,000 units a year of new 202 developments. (The 202 Program provides rental assistance for low-income seniors.) Today, that figure is down to less than 4,000 annually, despite the tsunami of baby boomers reaching retirement age who are growing in demand for affordable housing. “With the economic crisis, people have spent down their retirement savings in order to live,” says Laverne Joseph, president and CEO of Retirement Housing Foundation (RHF), a nonprofit that connects seniors with housing services. “There’s a downturn occurring right now, and we need to get back to a reasonable HUD 202 Program.” Joseph has dedicated nearly his entire professional career to affordable senior housing; he’s been with RHF for 25 years now, the majority of which he’s been leading the organization. RHF itself was founded in 1961, with a $7,000 investment and a vision of offering seniors quality, affordable housing. 50 years later, RHF operates 159 communities throughout the United States; a staff of roughly 2,600 serves more than 17,000 seniors. The organization is currently in the midst of a major project, a $43 million rehab of Angelus Plaza, located in the Bunker Hill area of downtown Los Angeles. Angelus

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Plaza is the largest affordable-housing community for the elderly in the nation, housing 1,300 residents and taking up two zip codes. Originally opened in 1980, its renovation was among the first projects in the city’s recent redevelopment efforts in Bunker Hill. “There was a general concern out there that a lot of seniors were living as pensioners in rundown hotels in the area, and the new developments in Bunker Hill, particularly south of Bunker Hill, would destroy some of those options,” says Richard Washington, vice president of business development at RHF. “The redevelopment in downtown Los Angeles was too geared to the commercial side of things.” It’s impressive, then, given the economic climate, that RHF was able to get the renovation funded. “At the height of the financial crisis in 2008, we managed to secure financing for both phases of the renovation using tax-exempt bonds and low-income-housing credits,” Washington says. Four towers and a parking structure are being brought up to date. Phase 1—which is 761 units— will be completed by May 2011. Bearing in mind that it’s located in California and funded in part by government dollars, it should come as no surprise that the new and improved Angelus Plaza

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is heavy on sustainable elements such as low-E glazing windows; dual-pane, noise-proof, energy-efficient sliding glass doors; low-flow faucets in kitchens and bathrooms; and energy-efficient fan coils (heating and cooling fans) in common areas.

Angelus Plaza is the largest affordable-housing community for the elderly in the nation, housing 1,300 residents and taking up two zip codes.

development and planning at HUD—notes that, although Angelus Plaza is the largest project the organization is currently involved with, it continues to grow nationally. New developments in Nevada and Connecticut are on the horizon. And in Los Angeles, RHF is working on a deal to repurchase four sites for subsidized senior housing. “We’re constantly working to move ahead and develop more housing for seniors and families,” he says. —David Hudnall

Below: Home to more than 1,300 low-income seniors, Angelus Plaza has a six-story senior center, providing services not just for those living in the community, but for seniors throughout the area.

“We’re also greening it up by replacing major mechanical equipment—heating and air-conditioning units—and improving lighting efficiency,” Washington says. “We’re spending somewhere around $39,000 per unit to provide that development cost.” (California-based KTGY Group, Inc. is handling architecture on Angelus.) Washington—who, prior to joining RHF twenty years ago, spent several years working on community

Pearce Consulting, Inc. (PCI) has provided acquisition, relocation, and economic consulting services to both Public and Private entities since its incorporation in 1998. The firm has a vast knowledge of, and experience with, Acquisition and Relocation regulations for City, State and Federally funded projects. Its relocation consultants have IRWA certification as well as real estate licenses. They have performed residential and commercial acquisitions and relocations for Cities, Redevelopment Agencies, Public Works Departments, the Retirement Housing Foundation and School Boards, throughout the country. PCI operates from Corporate offices in Seal Beach, California and has had site offices in many Cities and States throughout the past twelve (12) years.

Pearce Consulting, Inc. 347 10th Street, P.O. Box 56, Seal Beach, CA 90740

26 AD141 jan/feb ABQ 2011 J/F-1/2 p.-Pearce Consulting.indd 1

(562)598-6968 (562)598-6998 Fax www.pearceconsultinginc.net

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Niche Resources

The Brickman Group, Ltd. ........................................ 28 Metro Sign & Awning, Inc. ........................................ 30 Boyd, Inc. ................................................................. 32 Western Wire Products Company ............................. 35 Pictured: A lush landscape and water feature designed by The Brickman Group, Ltd.

Photo: The Brickman Group, Ltd.

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Photos: The Brickman Group

niche resources

The Brickman Group, Ltd. Passionate care for customer satisfaction and the environment has shaped these providers of quality landscape services At a Glance Location: Gaithersburg, MD Founded: 1939 Employees: 1,500 Specialty: Commercial landscape maintenance

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Sixty years before everyone was going green, Theodore W. Brickman was. The Brickman Group, which now has more than 170 branches in 29 states, was founded in 1939 by Theodore, a horticulturist for the Chicago Park District who had a vision to lead the landscape industry with supreme quality, customer service, and innovative ideas. His theories and objectives have led the company to be one of the largest landscape contractors in the United States, providing landscape architecture, maintenance, and contracting; snow and ice management; irrigation; tree care; and sports turf. Stephen Cook, the division account manager for the company’s Mid-Atlantic division, has been with The Brickman Group for 19 years, and accredits the company’s success to its culture of continuous improvement and commitment to quality. “The company has been consistent for the past 70 years and empowers a lot of people to make decisions to do the right thing regardless of the short-term cost,” Cook says. The cost that Cook speaks of is the up-front cost of sustainability initiatives such as the recycling of organic waste, the use of fuel-efficient small-engine technologies, and the company’s fleet of Prius hybrids. Although the initial cost of environmentally friendly initiatives can be high, Cook believes there is always an attainable return on investment. “A lot of

people have made the misinterpretation that being green is costly, but there are ways to move towards sustainability and save money in the long run,” he says. “Sometimes there are more up-front costs, and the ROI might take five or six years, but we try and make it manageable for the client.” The Brickman Group serves various national, regional, and local property owners and managers of office parks, hotels, corporate facilities, retail centers, industrial sites, schools and universities, hospitals, municipal facilities, cemeteries, and sports facilities. Brickman’s larger projects have received national recognition. The Professional Landcare Network (PLANET) presented Brickman with its Grand Environmental Improvement Award in 2001, in recognition of the firm’s work with Marriott Hotels’ national headquarters building in Bethesda, Maryland. The award calls attention to Brickman’s commitment to high-quality client satisfaction and the company’s ability to create an innovative, new look for the its campus. Sustainability at Brickman has been driven by the clients. Clients want to know that a space is sustainable before they rent it and ask Brickman to document sustainable practices and help buildings achieve LEED certification. Brickman has had two sites selected to participate in the SITES pilot project—a new rating system

american builders quarterly


niche resources Opposite and Top: As one of the largest landscape contractors in the country, The Brickman Group provides services in landscape architecture, maintenance, irrigation, tree care, and much more. Middle: The firm was awarded the PLANET Grand Environmental Improvement Award for its work on Marriott Hotels' national headquarters in Bethesda, MD. Bottom: The Keystone project, which won the PLANET Grand Award winner in the category of Commercial Design/Build, showcases a contemporary, airy, parklike setting that shields the facility from a busy road.

designed for sites only. This new rating system focuses on five ecosystem services: hydrology, soils, vegetation, materials, and human well-being. One project the company is currently studying is the development of a metric to reduce fuel consumption and emissions. “The client loves the PR aspect of this,” Cook says. “We hope to

Sustainability to me is leaving as small a wake as possible as we move through our daily efforts. We should disturb as little as possible. Stephen Cook, Division Account Manager

expand the metric and data we gather from studies such as this in other systems and projects in the future.” When approaching a project, The Brickman Group hopes to implement whatever will have the biggest impact. “In additional to our size, our training and leadership is unique,” Cook says. “We’re always looking at the bigger picture.” Typically, this includes properly handling organic waste, using green fertilizers and pest controls, maintaining equipment, and monitoring soil through testing. “Most of my favorite projects have been projects where the clients have a deep passion for improving the environment they’re in,” Cook adds. A challenge for the company has been changing people’s perceptions about what landscaping should look like, as there is less perfection when using green products, and the difference between native versus cultivated plants often disturbs clients’ visions. However, through consultations and education on sustainability, clients are delighted to use Brickman’s approach to total quality management. Cook is thrilled to share his philosophy on sustainability with his clients and glad to see them respond so enthusiastically. “Sustainability to me is leaving as small a wake as possible as we move through our daily efforts,” he says. “We should disturb as little as possible.” —Ladan Nikravan

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niche resources

Metro Sign & Awning, Inc. Providing integrity, expertise, quality, and the latest innovations in signfabrication technology At a Glance Location: Tewksbury, MA Founded: 1989 Employees: 23 Specialty: Signs, awnings, and custom displays

Above: With new lighting technology being a main focus for Metro Sign & Awning, the company has become an industry leader in using LED lighting rather than neon.

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Metro Sign & Awning’s two initial owners, Brian A. Chipman and Thomas E. Dunn, faced an all-or-nothing crisis when they took over the company six years ago: the company’s revenues were about half of the projected amount, with no new business in sight. Then a miracle happened: a local bank changed its name and logo, requiring several hundred pieces of new signage to be installed over a three-day weekend. Metro Sign & Awning completed the challenging job despite the new owners’ lack of experience in the business, and garnered the good will and long-term business of the bank. “The job required intricate coordination and project management to meet banking regulations, and we completed it over a President’s Day weekend,” recalls Chipman, who serves as president of Metro Sign. “The bank remains one of our best customers.” On a separate occasion, a church in downtown Boston needed a dimensional letter sign installed during the height of a snowstorm two days before Christmas. With a limited staff, no one was available, so the owners loaded up and took care of the customer. Metro got the job done. “Our philosophy is that we do whatever needs to be done to help a customer,” Chipman says. “If you do the basics well, good things will follow.” Dunn, who serves as vice president of sales and marketing, adds, “When we purchased the assets of Metro, we found there was a proliferation of signage companies—many good ones, but a great deal that were very poor in responding to the needs of their clients. We spent a significant amount of time meeting with sign businesses that were doing it well, and began to put together a game plan of what we could do to provide a service as

good or perhaps better. We believed our niche would be exceptional designs that work within a budget, along with the best customer service to include a ‘whatever it takes’ mindset to get the job done well.” Chipman and Dunn had met through their wives, who are lifelong friends, and pinpointed Metro Sign as a perfect business for a combination of Chipman’s operational experience and Dunn’s marketing background. They were joined six years ago by a minority owner with an engineering degree—Corey Fisher, vice president of operations. Metro Sign’s continued growth and progress have nothing to do with miracles; they are the result of investments in office and manufacturing technology, improvements in employee benefits, continuing efforts to educate employees about the company’s finances in a process known as open-book management, and a commitment to continue learning and improving while focusing on integrity and top-notch customer service. The company has grown to 20 full-time and 3 parttime employees from 8 employees when Chipman and Dunn bought the company from its founder, Arthur “Bud” Robitaille. Its revenues have steadily increased each year, with a total growth of 470 percent from its initial six months of operation. The firm sees continued growth in spite of the economy and expects sales to increase by another 30 percent by 2013. Chipman, Dunn, and Fisher have cultivated a casual work environment that encourages self-management and individual growth. They agree with author Stephen Covey’s sentiment: “You lead people and you manage things.” They believe strongly that a large part of their

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niche resources

Signage, if done well, is the best advertising investment a business can make. Alternatively, a sign that does not stand out and get the attention of potential customers is quite simply a waste of money. Tom Dunn, co-owner and Vice president of Sales & Marketing organization’s success is due to the quality people with whom they have surrounded themselves. Technology is another key part of the company’s strategy. Metro Sign led the industry in using LED technology in its signs, rather than neon, and relocated its fabricating process to a 15,000-square-foot facility (three times the size of the original) with two 10-ton gantry cranes, 35-foot-high ceilings, CNC routing and digital printing processes, and a 1,000-square-foot spray-painting area using professional paint systems. “Research and development are vital to our continued success,” Fisher adds. “We are constantly innovating our manufacturing techniques and exploring new materials and technologies to enhance and broaden our product lines.” Exclusive relationships with two independent “virtual” sign company representatives that have broadened Metro Sign’s commercial customer base. One of the independent firms specializes in signs for institutions and retirement communities, while the other is focused on upscale clientele, including an insurance company and a property-management firm. Metro Sign’s growth, roughly doubling the number of its clients, landed the company on Inc. magazine’s list of 5,000 fastest-growing companies in America in each of the past two years. “Signage, if done well, is the best advertising investment a business can make,” Dunn says. “Alternatively, a sign that does not stand out and get the attention of potential customers is quite simply a waste of money. We care about our customers and will do all we can to help them succeed.” Metro Sign’s recent projects include signs for Rumford Center, an economic, historical, and cultural development aimed at revitalizing a former chemical factory site in Rumford, Rhode Island; Tuscany Villa, a retirement community in Naples, Florida, designed in the style of a quaint Italian village; and an entire block of Boston’s Boylston Street, including First Republic Bank, the L’espalier and Sel de la Terre restaurants, and the Mandarin Oriental hotel, featuring Boston’s only fivestar spa. As Metro Sign has evolved, Chipman relies upon his belief in lifelong learning. “Just because your formal schooling has ended doesn’t mean you should stop trying new things and looking for ways to get better,” he says. He quotes as one of his inspirations author Dale Dauten’s lesson, “Different is not always better, but better is al-

american builders quarterly

ways different. You cannot be better by being the same.” Dunn says the little things make all of the difference. “In our day-to-day business, we wanted to do the little things very well,” he says. “Answer our phone, call back when we don’t have the answer, always act professionally, be responsive, hit our commitments.” Looking forward, Metro Sign’s executives plan to remain focused on controlled growth while maintaining exemplary customer service. “We turn all of our profits back into the business, and continue to nurture and feed this organization to help it grow,” Chipman says. —Sandra Guy

Congratulations to our friends at Metro Sign and Awning J. Williams Insurance Agency offers the coverage you can rely on with many of the top Insurance Carriers in Massachusetts. We have the ability and experience to offer you a total risk analysis in order to design an insurance and loss control program that is unique to you and your business. We are an Independent Insurance Agency which allows us to choose from the top carriers to fit the specific needs of your business. For more information, please visit our website or give us a call us today.

J Williams Insurance 781.848.9192 | jwilliamsinsurance.com 14 Wood Road, Braintree MA 02184 (F) 781-848-9116

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niche resources

Boyd, Inc. Taking an innovative approach to reducing every project’s energy consumption At a Glance Location: Mansfield, TX Founded: 1974 Employees: 1,500 Specialty: Commercial roofing and waterproofing Annual Revenue: $4 million

Above: Focused on commercial structures, Boyd has developed several roofing solutions to help cut down on a building's energy consumption.

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Gary Boyd, founder and president of Boyd, Inc., a Mansfield, Texas-based roofing contractor, has a simple way of illustrating the difference between a black roof and a white roof. “On a hot, sunny day, put one hand on the hood of a black car and another on a white car,” he says. The difference is stark, if not painful. And it helps explain the color revolution going on with the roofs his 26-employee firm installs on commercial buildings, from Texas to Oklahoma to Louisiana to Kentucky (where the firm was founded, before moving to Texas in 1984). A large-scale roof can get pretty hot in either color. Boyd’s infrared monitor has found temperatures as high as 198 degrees Fahrenheit on a black-tar roof, while a white roof in similar weather conditions will be only 115 degrees—still hot, but 40 percent less so. That explains the essential nature of roofing relative to air-conditioning, the primary cause of energy consumption in this region. For large, sprawling buildings, the roof is the primary point of heat absorption that also holds higher temperatures through the night. “Traditional tar and gravel roofs just don’t make sense anymore,” Boyd says. “Everything used to be black and gray. And the idea of coating a roof was considered bad 15 years ago. But the coatings are now improved, with single-ply roofs manufactured with white coatings.” What led to the change, aside from the obvious cost savings a building owner will see? “The greatest thing for our industry was when LEED standards permeated the marketplace,” Boyd says. “We’re all thinking environmentalism now. The introduction of conservation also got us thinking about not throwing things away so

much anymore,” he says, detailing how the large volume of debris from reroofing a building can fill the firm’s dumpsters pretty quickly. “Three inches of material are required to meet energy codes,” he continues. “When you tear off that much, it’s a lot of garbage.” This circles back to the idea of the cooler, whiter roofing. As it turns out, less cooking means longer-lasting materials: a traditional black roof might last 10–12 years, but a white roof is expected to last closer to 30 years. One might think that Boyd has little incentive to double or triple the lifespan of his product, but he takes a longer-range approach. The company works exclusively on commercial structures, so customers often have multiple buildings to manage. It doesn’t hurt with business referrals, either. And smart solutions might just be in the entrepreneur’s DNA. When asked to fix some leaks on an 80,000-square-foot warehouse facility for furniture manufacturer Rodco-Brandt, Boyd provided a watertight membrane for the entire structure (white, of course) that left the customer very happy. Another large-scale project, The Parks at Arlington mall in the Dallas-Fort Worth suburb, had a roof and wall system on top of the buildings that employed bellows-expansion joints. The neoprene joints were black and consequently absorbed heat that led to faster degradation. Boyd showed the customer how replacing those with longer-lasting white counterparts would save them $100,000 over a 5- to 10-year period. Boyd himself is gearing up for the next level of ecofriendly roofing, specifically vegetative green roofs. He became an accredited Green Roof Professional in 2010

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niche resources

through Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, a nonprofit industry association. GRHC promotes the incorporation of plant-growing media that feature waterproof and root-repellant membranes, as well as water drainage and capture systems. Green roofs offer several benefit. They are economic, in the sense that they extend lifespan of roofing materi-

The greatest thing for our industry was when LEED standards permeated the marketplace. We’re all thinking environmentalism now. Gary Boyd, President

als and reduces energy heating and cooling costs. By one measure, a six-inch green roof reduces heat gains by 95 percent and heat losses by 26 percent. Green roofs also reduce the heat-island effect through evapotranspiration, remove particulates from the air, and convert carbon dioxide back to oxygen (through photosynthesis). Furthermore, noise from traffic, airplanes, and machinery

are absorbed, reflected, or deflected by plant material and the growing media. And some green roofs even produce edible vegetables, while others are valued for creating green space that is pleasant to view, offering a psychological benefit to people who can see or walk among the plantings. All good, but a structural matter prevents installing rooftop gardens in many southern-region buildings. Because building codes don’t require roofs to withstand the weight of snow, as is standard further north, many structures consequently can’t bear the increased weight load of gardens. But Boyd is undeterred. He says that larger commercial and government buildings can handle the weight, and he hopes that next-generation structures embrace the green-roof revolution. —Russ Klettke

Above: With smart, energyconscious solutions and a variety of coatings available, Boyd's roofs can help reduce the urban “heatisland” effect.

Left: One of Boyd's roofing specialties is creating watertight membranes. Photo: Ray_from_LA.

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BOYD, INC. Bon e Dr y R o o f ing

Boyd, Inc. is a commercial roofing and waterproofing company that was incorporated in April of 1974. Boyd, Inc. is a full service roofing company offering maintenance and service crews as well as re-roofing crews. -built up asphalt or tar and felt roofing -roof coatings -personnel trained in shingles, slate, -single ply roofing -modified bitumen roofing tile, metal, and spray foam

Excellence in Roofing CORPORATE OFFICE 601 S. Sixth Avenue Mansfield, TX 76063

CORPORATE NUMBERS 817.477.3436 817.477.3437 817.477.5841

ABQ J/F-1/2 p.-Boyd, Inc..indd 1

TOLL FREE NUMBER 888.BOYDINC FAX NUMBER 817.477.3438

8/6/10 9:16 AM

commercial plating company inc. I S O 9 0 01 : 2 0 0 0 C E RT I F I E D / R O H S C O M P L I A N T O V E N B A K I N G C E R T I F I E D / X - R AY T H I C K N E S S T E S T E R

BRASS CADMIUM COPPER NICKEL TIN ZINC

Commercial Plating is a 50,000 square foot barrel plating shop located in St. Louis, Missouri. We specialize in Brass, Cadmium, Copper, Statuary Bronze, Nickel, Tin, Zinc, and Zinc & Black Chromate finishes. All plating lines are fully automated and capable of small and large volume production. We pretreat our waste water to consistently remain within EPA and Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District treatment guidelines. All our wastewater treatment by-products are shipped off site for “environmentally friendly” recycling.

Plating Excellence since 1949

We are members of NASF.

9 10 0 R i v e r v i e w D r i v e S t . L o u i s , M O 6 3 1 3 7 3 1 4 . 8 6 7. 4 2 1 2 v o i c e | 3 1 4 . 8 6 7. 4 5 2 3 f a x w w w. c o m m e r c i a l p l a t i n g . c o m ABQ Commercial Plating 1/2 Page‫‏‏‬.indd 1

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niche resources

Western Wire Products Company. Fabricating steel wire into a variety of fasteners, plumbing and electrical pipe hooks, and custom wire forms of any size is a family business that dates back to 1907, when the uncle of the original founders invented a machine that made woven wire fabric—which was eventually made into door or bar mats, and sold door to door. Some historians consider the patent on this machine to be the original precursor to today’s chain-link fence. Eventually the woven fabric was used as a bed spring and marketed by the company as it was then known—the Great Western Wire Fence and Manufacturing Company. Then in 1912, the family inventor, Ira J. Young, applied for a patent on a machine that formed split pins—later to be known as cotter pins. In 1914, WWPC incorporated under its current name when these cotter pins became the main product line of the company. Almost a century later, the cotter pin continues to be one of WWPC’s primary products. Over the years, new products have been added to the company’s product line, including ring cotters, clinch pins, pipe hooks, perforated hanger bars, one- and twohole pipe straps, tie wires, tag fasteners, spring (roll) pins, hitch pin clips, lock pins, hog rings, upholstery rings, D rings, safety-pin fasteners, tinner’s tape, wedge-fast cotters, key snaps and rings, stud guards, and lock washers, and J, S, and V hooks. Beyond its standard product line, though, WWPC responds to requests for special, customized wire shapes and fasteners. Today, the major industries that WWPC serves with its products are aerospace, agriculture, office furniture, lawn and garden equipment, and retail displays. The company services customers in all parts of the United States and exports to Europe, South America, Mexico, Asia, Australia, and Canada. (A WWPC product even went to the moon!) Western Wire Products Company (WWPC)

At a Glance Location: Fenton, MO Founded: 1907 Employees: 1,500 Specialty: Cotter pins, bridge pins, spring pins, and wire forms

american builders quarterly

Representing the third generation of his family and WWPC’s founders, Gene B. Young is WWPC’s current manager. He believes that the company’s competitive edge is a result of its ability to successfully look for, find, and capture the appropriate market niches where WWPC believes it can be successful. “That’s where we find the most profitable effort, and then we’re also very nicely equipped for doing custom work,” Young says, “so we can respond pretty well to lower volume.” He notes that WWPC is flexible in its production capability, and the company has an effective staff that cumulatively has many years on the job and an abundance

In 1907, the uncle of the original founders invented a machine that made woven-wire fabric. Some historians consider the patent on this machine to be the precursor to today’s chain-link fence. jan/feb 2011

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We’re more concerned about growth that we can handle without disturbing employment relationships or offending existing customers by focusing all of our energy chasing new ones. Gene B. Young, Manager

This Page: WWPC manufactures a multitude of wire products, including these zinc- and copper-coated two-hold pipe straps used for plumbing and electrical applications.

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of combined experience. “So our workforce is also one of our many strengths,” he says. Responsiveness to clients is an additional, addedvalue aspect to WWPC. “What sets us apart is that we’re extremely responsive to customers,” Young says. “For example, we try to get quotes out in a speedy fashion and respond to our clients’ requests for expediting so as to not impact somebody else’s work.” Young’s goals for the future of WWPC include deliberate yet controlled growth while maintaining steady employment and profitable operations. “We’re not looking for rapid growth,” he says. “We’re looking for a slower increase in business over time because we would rather have a stable work environment for our employees.” In fact, the company did not lay anybody off during the economy’s recent struggles. “We’re not growth addicts—we’re more concerned about growth that we can handle without disturbing employment relationships or offending existing customers by focusing all of our

energy chasing new ones,” he adds. After decades in the industry, Young has learned one important thing about running a successful business: always count to 10. “Try to not react too quickly to any crisis, or even any opportunity,” he explains. “Recognize that most problems are bigger than they really are when they first appear—so take a little time to gain a perspective. Usually when you react quickly, it’s quite often not the way you would prefer to have reacted if you had time to think about it.” It’s this philosophy of calm control that allows Young to achieve the thing he enjoys most about his job—helping people solve their problems. “What makes me feel like I’ve done something useful is when a customer comes to me with a problem and I can either help them directly or recommend someone who can,” he says. “If it solves their problem or it heads them in the right direction and they feel good about it—it makes me feel good.” —Christopher Cussat

american builders quarterly


Inspired Architecture

Image Homes Ltd...................................................... LD Design ................................................................ b. wood Architects ................................................... Brown Chambless Architects .................................... Graham Downes Architecture ................................... Yankee Barn Homes ................................................ Gabellini Sheppard Associates ..................................

38 42 46 48 50 54 56

Pictured: A crisp, clean design aesthetic by Gabellini Sheppard Associates.

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inspired architecture

Image Homes Ltd. Client input allows San Antonio builders to make dream homes a reality At a Glance Location: San Antonio, TX Founded: 1989 Employees: 1,500 Specialty: Custom homes Average Value of Homes: $800,000+

Opposite: Image Homes has built its reputation on producing high-quality custom homes, such as this Cresent Park project in San Antonio, TX.

Roberto Kenigstein had always liked architecture and intended on pursuing it as a career, but one thing stopped him: he couldn’t draw well. As a result, this curtailed his career goals and led him to another field. He graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington with an engineering degree. Coming out of college, Kenigstein worked primarily as a civil engineer. This included holding a position at a company that built commercial and residential homes. After observing the process, Kenigstein soon decided he wanted to set out on his own and start a custom-home business in San Antonio, Texas. Kenigstein anticipated a struggle. When the company began, it was during a slow economic time in the late 1980s. However, the business survived. “We were very lucky,” Kenigstein says. “We didn’t have major problems— just day-to-day problems. We were able to get enough work to stay busy.” As the years followed, the company created a reputation for building upscale homes. Two decades later, the family-operated business is still doing well and has survived yet another economic slowdown. Kenigstein believes it’s because of the company’s specialization in custom homes, whose values range between $800,000 and $12 million. “The homes are very architectural with fine quality,” he says. “There’s always a

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market for people who want a little better. Our challenge is to make sure that every client is happy and that we do the best for them.” Image Homes’ established team makes an effort to listen to the needs of its clients—business executives and professionals in the upper-income levels—most of whom have become second-time clients. Once the clients’ needs are identified, the custom-home team makes recommendations to the architect or designer who will work on the plans. “We also recommend a landscape architect and interior designer,” Kenigstein says. “We will visit the site to see if there are any special features.” These features may include a magnificent view or a row of trees. Upon visiting the site and identifying the clients’ needs, the experts at Image Homes and the client will work very closely with the architect designer to develop the plans. Most of the company’s business is located in San Antonio, but it does venture an hour outside the city to places in Texas, such as Boerne or Fredericksburg. Currently, Image Homes is completing the development of seven custom homes, and it’s also remodeling. “We got a lot of awards for our homes being the best in San Antonio,” Kenigstein says. These awards include two Best Product Design awards from the 2009 Summit

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inspired architecture Opposite Top: This Huntington home in San Antonio features an abundance of quality craftsmanship and attention to detail. The home's front courtyard features a fountain, serving as the home's central focal point. Opposite Bottom: The firm offers eclectic influences for its high-end approach to creating client-pleasing custom homes. This impressive residence, which sits adjacent to a golf course, was highly influenced by Tuscan design and incorporates many characteristic features of the style. Below: This interior view of a Sedgewick Court home's kitchen is another example of Image Homes' award-winning work for satisfied clients.

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Awards, as well as various awards from 2005 Anaqua Parade of Homes, including Best Kitchen, Best Interior Entertainment Area, and Best Interior Design for its 11414 Cat Springs project. “One of the homes we built was featured the front page of a book called Dream Homes of Texas, by Jolie Carpenter,” Kenigstein adds. “We’re always recommended by clients or architects or realtors.” Although drawing prevented Kenigstein from becoming an architect, his creativity is apparent in Image

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I have always gravitated toward residential because I can identify with it better. When you are dealing with residential, it’s complicated and challenging, but it’s also more fun. Lawrence Duggan, Owner

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LD Design. Fashion-forward taste spells success for this New York interior-architecture firm that focuses on high-end design for sophisticated homes At a Glance Location: New York, NY Founded: 2001 Specialty: Interior architecture and custom millwork

As a 20-something working in retail in New York City, Lawrence Duggan knew the foundations that made him successful in fashion could carry him into interior design. While working days as a buyer for Brooks Brothers, Duggan went back to school and earned a degree in interior design. Now he parlays his eye for color, shape, and trend to high-end design in sophisticated homes. His Manhattanbased design business, LD Design, focuses on residential interior architecture and custom millwork. “I always knew I wanted to do residential work, but I didn’t want to start from the beginning,” says Duggan, a Michigan State graduate. After studying interior design at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology, Duggan bridged the gap again, going to work for retailers but designing their stores. He worked for Aeropostale and Charter Club before taking an assignment with designer Calvin Klein, to design all of the overseas CK shops in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. The experience honed Duggan’s affinity for clean lines and muted colors. After several years working for a series of residential architects, including Bruce Bierman Design, Duggan launched LD Design in 2001. “It was right after 9/11, and it was a bit of a scary time”—especially in his new hometown of New York City, he says. But Duggan’s timing was perfect as the luxury-housing market ramped up for an unprecedented boom.

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“Everybody’s real-estate values were going up, and they didn’t mind doing a total renovation of their bathrooms and kitchens in their apartments,” he says. “It was a great beginning.” Duggan soon found he was designing Manhattan kitchens with top-of-the-line appliances and custom cabinetry. As business boomed, he remodeled his own vacation home on Fire Island, replacing the windows, recladding the exterior with cedar siding, and remaking the interior. “It went from ‘shack’ to ‘Palm Springs meets Fire Island,’” he says. Moving from the sometimes-restrictive building standards of a major metropolitan area to less urban areas gave Duggan the freedom to expand his repertoire of skills. And he found an appetite for his services outside of the city. One notable project was a kitchen and bath renovation of a home in Short Hills, New Jersey. Duggan says the homeowner had impeccable taste, but the home’s kitchen and guestroom bathrooms had not been redesigned in 30 years. “The rest of the house looked great, but the kitchen was very dated and poorly laid out,” he says. “It was very large by New York standards.” In keeping with the home’s modern style and abundance of warm wood tones, Duggan gutted the kitchen and baths and reworked the layout, expanding windows to bring in natural light and eliminating upper cabinets

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for a more modern approach. The clean lines of the recessed panel cabinets are complemented by a Finnish pendant fixture by Seppo Koho and muted colors. In a nod to his former career, Duggan selected Calvin Klein fabric for a kitchen banquette. The room includes a command center with a TV, workspace, and file cabinets.

My clients like my sense of design and my ability to pull spaces together and integrate new spaces with existing spaces. I make the most of small spaces, which in Manhattan is so important.

you are dealing with residential, it’s complicated and challenging, but it’s also more fun.” Duggan says there are common themes to both retail and residential interior architecture. Stores are designed to draw customers in and take them from one visual point to another. Well-designed homes do the same, creating a cohesive effect. “My clients like my sense of design and my ability to pull spaces together and integrate new spaces with existing spaces,” Duggan says. “I make the most of small spaces, which in Manhattan is so important.” —Laura Williams-Tracy

Previous page: In need of an update and redesign, this home in Short Hills, NJ, served as an opportunity for Duggan to rethink the spatial layout. Right: Duggan notes that one of the biggest challenges of the project was its outdated kitchen, which desperately needed to be reworked with a new layout and updated amenities. Below Right: The reworked space features expanding windows in order to bring in more natural daylight. Below Left: Thanks to Duggan, the Short Hills project features a modern, clean-lined design equipped with an improved layout and trendy, muted color palette.

Lawrence Duggan, Owner

“The kitchen is the most important room in the house,” he says. “What I accomplished is that now it is seamlessly integrated with the rest of the house. [The homeowner] joked that she wanted to move their bedroom down to the guestroom, because the bathroom was the best in the house. I have always gravitated toward residential because I can identify with it better. When

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b.wood Architects. Small bicoastal architecture firm is one part art, one part architecture, and one part entertainment At a Glance Location: New York, NY Santa Monica, CA Founded: 1999 Employees: 4 Specialty: Architectural design

Having numerous projects completed throughout the US, b.wood has set its sights on the hospitality market in Mexico. Shown here is a proposed master plan for a resort in Cabo.

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Barry Wood, principal of b.wood Architects, believes in the “master builder” concept and its ability to harmonize art and science. Due to this, the firm strives to balance art and science in its projects layered with exploration and invention in mixed-use, corporate, hospitality, residential, and commercial design. Wood believes that any project, big or small, will enhance the daily life of a client and permanently vitalize the space. “Architecture is a piece of sculpture you can inhabit, and people are constantly changing part of that art,” Wood says. “That’s what I love the most—that we are an ever-changing part of the architecture.” The firm, which has offices in New York City and Santa Monica, California, with Reggie Hernandez (Wood’s classmate at Syracuse University) serving as principal for the West Coast office, while Wood oversees the East Coast location. Wood launched b.wood Architects in 1999, after returning from a summer of projects in Italy. And despite 2009’s economic state, the firm feels very fortunate for prospering through harder times and continuing to create unique, functional designs with sizable projects ahead. Having established a presence on both coasts, the firm is currently waiting for funding to kick in on a large resort project in Cabo, Mexico, for which the firm has already completed a conceptual master plan. This is the first of several resorts the client is developing around the world with b.wood Architects.

The number of staff members in the company fluctuates on any given month, but there is currently a junior architect and architectural business manager also working with Wood in the New York office. “I get very personable with clients, whether residential or commercial, because part of my belief is that the best product that I can provide for a client of mine is when I get as intimate as possible with them,” Wood says. Similarly, the New York office atmosphere is very relaxed. Employees have no dress code or formal, set office hours. “I have a studio environment, and there aren’t many rules other than to get your work done, and that goes for me as well,” he says. In a world with a vast diversity of lifestyles, Wood believes that as long as the work is finished, the manner is up to the architect and client. It is such diversity that intrigues most of Wood’s work. The company feels that design should be contextual yet unique to the community and individuals it affects. “I love the diversity of the world, and I love how different societies and civilizations have different ways of life and survival,” Wood says. “They’re just different ways of doing the same thing, and that’s inherent in the architecture of every place in the world.” Wood is currently creating a TV show to showcase beautiful architecture from around the world. Driven by his belief that architecture is inspired by the land and history behind it, the pilot episode is staged in one of his

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favorite cities—Barcelona, Spain. “Whether a different medium or a different part of the world, when I am exposed to anything artistic, I see a new technique or message that I can add to my creative core,” he says. Wood’s background in architecture, design, modeling, and television acting, coupled with Hernandez’s background in architecture and acting, give the duo a broad range of ideas and interpretations. Each project begins with a brainstorming session between Wood and Hernandez to fully understand the client’s project and goals, followed with each designer’s own self exploration to a solution, ultimately to return to intense collaboration between the two of them. “We both have a mutual respect for each other as designers,” Hernandez says. “A client is always seeing both of our design solutions when

Architecture is a piece of sculpture you can inhabit, and people are constantly changing part of that art. That’s what I love the most—that we are an ever-changing part of the architecture.

they work with us, and whichever design option the client chooses, then we take that direction.” To b.wood Architects, architecture is as much about the people as it is the design. “You always think it’s about making buildings, but it’s about making space for humans to occupy within buildings and between buildings,” Wood says. The firm combines project organization and decision-making, to create contemporary, eclectic designs that amplify a space and a client’s lifestyle. “Architects are always trying to reinvent or find something new,” Hernandez says. “We’re all exposed to so much, but we’re trying our hardest to invent something that doesn’t exist at the present moment.” Moving forward, the firm aims to celebrate diversity for its clients through art, design, and architecture, in hopes that the firm’s creative manipulation and coordination of design influences those it is inhabited and shared with. —Ladan Nikravan

Below Left: For this upscale residence in New York, NY, b.wood Architects flipped the location of the kitchen to the inside wall of the apartment to maximize the size and exterior exposure of the living room and dining room. Below Right: For this Pennsylvania home, the firm created the kitchen and dining area as one large, open, and fluid space that takes maximum advantage of daylighting.

Barry Wood, Principal

Barry Wood’s TV Experience TLC’s Trading Spaces (2003–2005) Wood harmoniously integrated form, function, proportions, textures, and colors as a designer for the popular show by taking rooms apart and bringing the homeowners together in a new space. HGTV’s My First Place (2005–2006) Wood redesigned part of a couple’s first home together by marrying their domestic desires, and then led them through the installation process before sending them away for the final surprise reveal. HGTV’s Hidden Potential (2007–2009) Wood showed home buyers the hidden potential of homes before they purchased them by creating computer-generated graphics that showcased the home’s design possibilities. Untitled Pilot (2010) Wood is currently creating a program showcasing architecture from around the world. Driven by his belief that architecture

is inspired by the land and history behind it, the pilot episode is staged in one of Wood’s favorite cities—Barcelona, Spain.

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Brown Chambless Architects. Formed by the merger of two smaller companies, this Alabama-based design firm is now a major player in the South At a Glance Location: Montgomery, AL Founded: 2000 Employees: 25 Specialty: Hospitality and lodging design Annual Revenue: $8 million

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In 1977, Don C. Brown, AIA, opened his architectural firm in Montgomery, Alabama. In 1980, John R. Chambless, Jr., AIA, began his career at Chambless and Associates, which his father had established in 1961. Then, in 2000, the two firms merged to become Brown Chambless Architects (BCA). BCA is a significant presence in the Montgomery area, providing planning, architecture, interior design, project management, programming, furnishings, equipment, urban planning/master planning, cost management, and other services. Its primary market is the southeastern United States, but the firm has also worked as far north as Pennsylvania and as far west as Texas, as it specializes in an array of project types, including office and commercial, retail development, hospitality and entertainment, clerical, educational, and healthcare facilities. “Much of our work comes from referrals, and from contacts we’ve established over the years,” Brown says.

“You get that way from working hard every day, trying to satisfy a need.” Its staff includes LEED-accredited employees, and in mid-2010, BCA had three LEED projects in either design or construction phases. One of its most impressive projects was the Wind Creek Casino and Hotel in Atmore, Alabama (350,000 square feet, $130 million budget), for which BCA served as architect. The 17-story structure, owned and operated by the Poarch band of Creek Indians, includes 232 threestar rooms and suites, 4 luxury suites, a steakhouse restaurant that seats more than 350, an entertainment lounge with capacity more than 200, an outdoor amphitheater, a cooking school, a spa, and 55,000 square feet of gaming space,. Perhaps the greatest challenge BCA faced on the 40acre site was that it “had to create a resort environment in an area without any natural amenities,” Chambless recalls. “So we designed and constructed a lush natural

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Left: The creation of lakes and water venues generate a resort environment at the Wind Creek Hotel & Casino. Right: Natural materials and imagery create an elegant dining environment for cooking school students at the Wind Creek Spa & Cooking School. .

environment with three-acre lake—and then built the hotel, casino, cooking school, and spa around it. We were charged with interpreting the tribe’s traditional concept of ‘four elements’—wind, water, land, and fire— in modern ways. We did that by applying natural materials and patterns, like stone and wood, and by using other design features such as a leaf motif in the ceiling details and carpeting.” Jennifer Norris, the project manager for the spa and cooking school, says food and nature were her main themes. For example, she took a cue from the decadence and long shelf life of honey, and designed three “honey walls.” “About 120 glass jars of varietal honeys were mounted in the walls, bottoms-out, then backlit to form a glowing sculpture that played off the various colors of honey,” she says. Another notable project, completed in the spring of 2010, is a 20,000-square-foot facility for Neptune Technology Group in Tallassee, Alabama—an internationally acclaimed manufacturer and provider of water meters and utility automation systems. BCA designed the exterior and interior, prepared and completed construction documents, bid the project, and provided construction administration. The new building houses about 80 R&D engineers, as well as numerous members of its marketing department. “Neptune needed to recruit the best talent available,” Brown says, “and wanted the workplace to be inspiring and the appearance impeccably professional looking. We made the interior nonhierarchical. Open offices form the perimeter of the structure. Closed-off rooms—for meetings and other privacy needs—were placed in the center of the building. The intent was for R&D and marketing personnel to interact with each other, exchanging ideas and concerns,” rather than working in relative vacuums, Brown says. Furthermore, the steel exterior reflects the contemporary interior design. “We extensively used DIRRT walls,” says Samantha Evans, interior designer, “to create a transparent, flexible, and modern look. The reception area’s furniture was influenced by Eileen Gray and Knoll’s Barcelona line. Conference areas are outfitted with dark woods, offset by streamlined chrome-and-leather chairs. And work stations were done in soft shades of blues and grays. The overall effect is soothing and light.” “Neptune wanted to look like a cutting-edge engineering company,” Brown concludes, “and it was exceptionally pleased with the outcome. In fact, some of our other clients have seen the project, and want to adapt the feel for their work and are interested in having us do similar work for them.” —Frederick Jerant

american builders quarterly

Much of our work comes from referrals, and from contacts we’ve established over the years. You get that way from working hard every day, trying to satisfy a need. Don Brown, Principal & Owner

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When someone steps into a space I’ve designed, I want their hearts racing. Graham Downes, Principal

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Graham Downes Architecture, Inc. Fresh, unusual designs help retailers, restaurants, and hotels lure customers At a Glance Location: San Diego, CA Las Vegas, NV Founded: 1994 Employees: 25 Specialty: Hospitality and retail architecture

Opposite: The swanky interior of the GDAdesigned Tower23 Sushi Bar features rippling walls and mood lighting.

Many architects claim to be “different,” but Graham Downes, founding principal of San Diego’s Graham Downes Architecture (GDA), actually has the portfolio to merit such a statement. Downes’ forte lies in creating innovative hotels, restaurants, clubs, and other lifestyle spaces designed to bring energy and excitement to his audience. His high-profile projects include the Hard Rock Hotel in San Diego, Tower23, Padre and Heat Hotels, and Love Culture stores. GDA is regarded by many as the foremost design firm in San Diego, a reputation Downes attributes to his approach. “We come at a project with lots of creativity, combining art and architecture,” he says. While other firms are chasing educational, municipal, defense, and federal work during the slow economy, Downes refuses to change his course. “We must stay true to our core, which is innovative ‘lifestyle’ architecture,” he says. “We’re sought after to create projects intended to transcend convention and to bring another paradigm to the equation.” Because his clients are always looking to run a business or lease his company’s creations, Downes and his twenty employees are project driven. “We research very

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thoroughly and invent a story that guides every aspect for each space,” he explains. “It might never be clear to the consumer, but it is critical to making the project cohesive.” After opening in 1994, Downes ran a doubleshift business for four years to meet the needs of his high-performance market. Every solution must meet each project’s stringent demands. “My honest goal is to serve the needs of a project,” he says. “I don’t care about a client, I care about a product. We sound tough on our clients, but the approach never wastes their time—because if we do the right thing for the project, we’ve done the right thing for the client.” The lifestyle market also dictates and drives GDA’s creativity. The firm’s fresh and unusual designs exist to attract guests and customers who interact with the space for a short time. “Every space we create should feel like a party,” Downes says. “Whatever we do should elevate sensory perception, but never in a tacky way.” The philosophy is clearly visible in the more than 30 stores GDA has designed for retail outfit Love Culture. Downes constantly changes lighting, flooring, and wall surfaces to keep potential customers in the store and flowing (and

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Every space we create should feel like a party. Whatever we do should elevate sensory perception, but never in a tacky way. Graham Downes, Principal

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shopping) through its space. “The longer a customer is in a store, the more likely they are to make a purchase,” Downes says. As Love Culture’s clientele consists of young, fashionable women, GDA focused on creating an energized space loaded with features to keep visitors engaged. White chandeliers randomly hang from the ceiling, rigid red planes bend from the ceilings to the wall, and lights illuminate etched countertops. The owners of Hard Rock San Diego hired Downes and encouraged him to push all limits of interior design for their 315,000-square-foot hotel that holds two 12-story towers and 420 modern guest rooms. GDA remained true to Hard Rock’s brand identity in creating environments suitable for a rock star. Downes created two entrances to generate flow and draw guests into the lobby. Unlike typical lounge-style hotel lobbies, Downes’ busy transition zone greets guests with a million-dollar LED display and randomly placed pods that offer personal check-in. Hard Rock San Diego is more than an average hotel. “People go to Hard Rock to amp it up, so there’s lots of programming in the rooms,” Downes says. “When someone steps into a space I’ve designed, I want their hearts racing.” His firm completed 20 contemporary room designs, some of which include ‘maxibars,’ halo-illuminated beds, ebony floors, and exterior terraces with fire pits. The Black Eyed Peas, who purchased two rooms in the condo hotel, personally helped select materials for those suites from GDA’s à la carte design menu. While most of his work is completed in the lifestyle

This page: The hip and luxurious Rock Star Suite at the Hard Rock Hotel in San Diego, CA, includes a private terrace with skyline views. Opposite Left: Each suite in the Hard Rock Hotel is completely different—the Rock N Roll Suite offers an equally luxurious feel. Opposite Right: The lobby of the Hard Rock Hotel in San Diego, CA, features a million-dollar LED display and pods for personal check-in.

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sector, Downes is taking his signature style to the corporate and multifamily world. There, he also strives to create innovative spaces. “People who live in my buildings should feel like they belong to a greater social network,” he says. GDA’s residential units, like the lifestyle properties, are open, communal, inspiring, and easy to navigate. Graham Downes Architecture has offices in San Diego, Phoenix, and Las Vegas, from which Downes’ staff completes its dynamic projects. Downes has found a unique way to draw on his creativity to maximize clients’ investments and help them turn a profit. In doing so, he’s created an architecture firm that truly is different. —Zach Baliva

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Yankee Barn Homes. Building classic post-and-beam homes throughout the Northeast for more than 40 years At a Glance Location: Grantham, NH Founded: 1969 Employees: 40 Specialty: High-end post-and-beam homes

Above: This open-concept carriage house provides comfortable, spacious guest quarters over a twoto-three-car garage. Photo: Shane Godfrey.

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Founded in 1969 by Emil Hanslin, Yankee Barn Homes’ original concept was simple: people in the northeast United States valued the classic simplicity of barn-style homes, and Hanslin’s company would manufacture those homes. In the 1980s, its scope expanded, and Yankee Barn Homes began offering customers frame extensions— ells, dormers, guest houses, garages—that could attach to its timber-frame designs, allowing for increased customization. Today, it has evolved further still, manufacturing not just barn houses but a variety of structures with old-American design aesthetics, in locations well beyond its headquarters in Grantham, New Hampshire. “We’re a national builder,” says Jude Golden, director of design. “We deliver home shells all across the country, and we offer full design services for our clients. We make sure the budget fits with the site, we have design managers to interpret the design, and we have architects and engineers.” When Yankee Barn Homes delivers a home, a shell specialist from the company goes to the site and works with local builders to ensure the home is properly erected. “We’ve essentially become a custom designbuild firm with the capacity to easily do a house a week,” Golden says. The company—whose 40 employees are now led by chairman Tony Hanslin, Emil’s son (Emil passed away

in 1987)—is by all accounts thriving, having doubled its project load over the past year. This is in part due to its willingness to take on almost any type of post-and-beam style of construction. Yankee Barn Homes’ aesthetic niche is still barn-style homes, but mountain lodges, carriage houses, and beachfront cottages now comprise more than half of revenues. Tea houses—small outdoor living structures designed in a gazebo-style with East Asian influences that are often used as entertainment areas or exercise/yoga rooms—are also on the rise. “We’ve been getting lots of work in New England, upstate New York, and the Hamptons, but there are also a few pockets in California where we’ve been sending houses, as well as an occasional project in the UK,” Golden says. “A lot depends on the economy. We’re towards the luxury end of the market—we tend to be more expensive than the average stick-built home—but there’s a good amount of demand for what we do.” True Panels, the insulated wall and roof panels that Yankee Barn Homes designs custom for each structure, are an important draw for clients, according to Golden. A True Panel has lower sound transmission and is thicker than the average structurally insulated panel (SIP), and fits seamlessly into the home’s design, which makes the structures easier to remodel and rework. Most impor-

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tantly, True Panels serve to make Yankee Barn Homes more efficient from an energy-saving standpoint. “You end up with a very tight, insulated house,” Golden says. (Another green quality: the company only uses timber from eco-conscious lumberyards.) Repeat business always helps, too, and Yankee Barn Homes has been collaborating with a client who is a New York-based interior designer as well as a speculative home builder. In the past year, he’s used the company for three barn-style homes in the Hamptons. “We’ve finished two and are about to start the third,” Golden says. “We

A corollary to increased customization on a wider variety of homes is the potential for confusion in the design process. “Our design team works closely with each client to be sure we meet their goals and the client is not overwhelmed by the creative process,” Golden says. “A well-designed barn-style home will be comfortable and a perfect match for the homeowner, so we always try to get a feel for how they intend to use the space at the outset.” —David Hudnall

Left: Carriage houses are increasingly popular due to customer demand for multiuse structures. Right: This cottage-style home was built with cozy proportions to suit its Casco Bay, ME, island setting. Photos: Shane Godfrey.

We’re towards the luxury end of the market—we tend to be more expensive than the average stick-built home—but there’s a good amount of demand for what we do. Jude Golden, Director of Design

can design houses very quickly and at a very high custom level. So for clients like this one, who have very clear ideas of what they want, our process allows them to add exactly what they want. The next one will resemble a German barn, with a beautiful stone façade.” With its European-style carriage houses, the company places emphasis on warmth and charm in the upstairs, where it puts the kitchen, living room, and bedrooms, leaving the garage, mudroom, and utility rooms to the first floor.

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Gabellini Sheppard Associates LLP. A deep fascination with design enhances New York firm’s work, making every project a new adventure The lasting strength of anything is most often the result At a Glance Location: New York, NY Founded: 1991 Employees: 25 Specialty: High-end architecture and interior design

Left: Gabellini Sheppard's 4,000-square-foot loft project in Chelsea resembles a 1920s industrial space, ideal for high-end living and entertaining.

of the sum of its parts. And when such cumulative inner workings are a seamless blend of diversified ideas and talent, the end product is usually an entity saturated with creativity, vision, and a redefining perception. For nearly two decades, Gabellini Sheppard Associates has used its inclusive and collaborative structure to embolden and rethink architectural design. In 1991, Michael Gabellini, founder and principal of Gabellini Sheppard, started the company (then just named Gabellini Associates) after collaborating with interior designer Jay Smith. The firm’s earliest commissions were actually for Jil Sander, the 1993 flagship boutique on Avenue Montaigne in Paris. Jil Sander and Gabellini ultimately collaborated on more than 80 projects worldwide. In 1994, design partner Kimberly Sheppard and managing partner Daniel Garbowit joined the firm, and its name was changed to Gabellini Sheppard in 2006 to more accurately reflect this partnership. Today Gabellini Sheppard is a full-service architecture and interior-design firm, with a work portfolio that encompasses high-end residences, hospitality, luxury retail and retail masterplanning, art installations and

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exhibition design, historic renovation, furniture design, and urban planning. The firm works on an international scale, Gabellini points out, for such notable clients as Tishman Speyer, the Related Group, RFR Holding, Westfield Shoppingtowns, Boyd Gaming, Jil Sander, Salvatore Ferragamo, Giorgio Armani, Vera Wang, David Yurman, and many more. Gabellini adds that the firm’s work is characterized by spatial clarity, attention to detail, and sensitivity to the dynamic properties of light. Since Gabellini believes that many architects neglect the conception and perception of interior environments, Gabellini Sheppard’s expertise in these matters has provided the firm with a definite competitive advantage. “Conversely, the majority of interior designers are unable to think beyond the existing limits of floor, wall, and ceiling,” Gabellini says. “Clients often come to us looking for someone to consider not only layout and spatial flow, but also materials, lighting, and color.” For Gabellini and the other designers at the firm, design is viewed within the studio as a fluid process of navigating a rigorous problemsolving mentality with the poetics of space. Another unique quality of Gabellini Sheppard is the fact that its clients are attracted to the way the team’s de-

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signs balance a sense of purity with warmth and comfort. “Often our clients respond very favorably to the collaborative rapport that we establish from the beginning,” Gabellini notes. “In fact, collaboration is an integral part of our process—something we intrinsically embrace.” As a result of this, it is not at all surprising that different clients have commissioned Gabellini Sheppard as architects, interior designers, or product designers working collectively with others to achieve the greater whole. “We treat design as an inclusive tonic with the ability to transform any living environment,” he adds. This intrepid philosophy is set to guide Gabellini Sheppard steadily into the future—but Gabellini always equilibrates prudence with ambition. “One of our guiding principles is to ‘grow ourselves small’ in order to remain

We treat design as an inclusive tonic with the ability to transform any living environment. Michael Gabellini, Founder & Principal

lean and agile in an ever-changing design environment,” he says. As a result, Gabellini Sheppard maintains an expansive association of creative and technical practitioners worldwide with whom it engages on various projects. “Seventy percent of our work is abroad, and this group of colleagues, former employees, and artisans becomes the basis for a very collaborative global network,” he explains. Gabellini feels that the firm’s continuing success is because the firm’s studio operates as an interdisciplinary design cockpit—which means fluid collaboration with artisans, craft experts, and specialists in numerous fields.

This Page: This Chelsea loft was designed with an open layout that takes advantage of both northern and southern exposures. Works by contemporary artists give the modern living space a gallery-like feel. Materials include poured-concrete flooring in the main living and dining area, translucent sliding-glass panels for all interior doors, and honed botticino marble in the master suite.

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“From this open dialogue has come some of our most successful and memorable designs, from facilitating contemporary art exhibitions, to creating custom furniture lines with Nakashima and B&B Italia, to projects such as Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Center,” he says. In the end, creativity and quality customer care have been the ultimate testament to Gabellini Sheppard’s reputation and proliferation. “For us, treating design as a creative and technical platform for self-expression has continually lured interested clients and companies to the sensibility of our craft,” Gabellini explains. He concludes that in order to perform at the highest level in developing buildings and spaces for clients, one must have the ability to listen to their needs. “But once you do that,” he says, “the second most important thing is to anticipate their unstated needs.” —Christopher Cussat

This Page: Located in a historic cast-iron building in Manhattan’s SoHo district, the two-level, 2,000-square-foot Vera Wang boutique is infused with light. Gabellini Sheppard’s design features a fullwidth, white Corian grand stair, which transitions into the display and changing area at the rear of the space. Illuminated by LEDs, the steps appear to float and can also serve as seating for special events.

A Message from Bernsohn & Fetner LLC Celebrating 30 years in business, Bernsohn & Fetner LLC is a fullservice construction-management and general-contracting firm dedicated to delivering custom, high-end, residential construction. We are committed to providing our clients, including Gabellini Sheppard & Associates, with the highest quality performance, value, and service, in the pursuit of realizing their design.

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Grant’z Construction, Inc. worked with The Dobbins Group of Lake Forest, Illinois in furnishing the metal studs, drywall, and

Grant’z Construction, Inc.

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acoustical ceilings for the Animal Emergency Treatment Center in Chicago. We are proud to have partnered with The Dobbins Group on many other projects, including RIM (Research in Motion) in Rolling Meadows, Belvidere Medical Biulding in Grayslake, and the M & N Trade Building in Chicago.

Animal Emergency Treatment Center, 3927 West Belmont Avenue, Chicago, IL.

metal studs • drywall • ceilings & acoustical ceilings Grant’z Construction, Inc. is a union based commerical company that was opened in 2003. With over twenty years of experience in the construction field, we have worked on numerous projects throughout Chicagoland, including offices, factories, stores, restaurants, and more. We have developed a reputation for satisfaction and reliability.

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To find out more please visit our website, email us at grantzci@yahoo.com, or give us a call at 847.343.3109. We look forward to working with you and building a better tomorrow.


Community Construction

The Dobbins Group .................................................. Darden Architects, Inc. ............................................. DHArchitects, Inc. .................................................... Matthei & Colin Associates ....................................... Chicora Real Estate................................................... Dominium.................................................................

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Pictured: Darden Architects’ Alex G. Spanos Elementary School in Stockton, CA.

Photo: Mullins Studio

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The Dobbins Group. Chicago-based design-build firm maximizes efficiency and creativity by developing uncommon specialties and nurturing smart alliances At a Glance Location: Chicago, IL Founded: 1996 Employees: 18 Specialty: Architecture, interiors, and construction Annual Projects: 30–40

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Citizen Bar, a trendy social hotspot located in Chicago’s River North neighborhood, is popular in warmer months among crowds taking advantage of its multilevel, 5,000-square-foot outdoor space. When 11 p.m. hits, though, patrons are required by city ordinance to vacate the open-air spot, either moving inside to the smaller bar there or relocating altogether. By the time cold weather moves in this year, customers will no longer have to make that choice. As part of a redesign by The Dobbins Group, an 18-employee design-build firm based in Chicago, Citizen Bar is adding a custom retractable roof, allowing revelers—and accompanying revenues—to stay put. So far, the enclosure is one of the first of its kind in the city, and it’s a great example of what TDG strives to do best: offer efficient and innovative solutions that are both cost-effective and schedule-sensitive. When Tom Dobbins founded his firm in 1996, he laid out a strategic project planning philosophy. While that label has since become increasingly popular, he says that it means the same thing now for his company as it did then: getting a project started correctly. Rigorously evaluating objectives and developing a plan that matches services and team members to project needs (whether or not the

client asks for it or thinks it’s necessary), being unafraid to offer differentiated advice, and customizing delivery for each project remain the tenets to TDG’s philosophy. Like most architecture firms, TDG took a hit in recent years with the economic crisis, but the firm found a way to adapt to the changing environment. “Ground-up buildings are few and far between,” Dobbins says, “but interiors work has been pretty consistent. Clients have the freedom to move to spaces with lower rents, and we’re hired for the renovations.” Dobbins also notes that business climates like this force companies to master creativity and resourcefulness—a combination that can be see in the group’s alliance with Jillian Harris, an interior designer and reality-television personality who starred on seasons of ABC’s The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. When Dobbins heard Harris was relocating to Chicago, he reached out to her about the possibilities of working together; by January 2010, Harris was heading up the firm’s new restaurant division. Though she decided to move back to Vancouver in July 2010, as of press time there were five new design projects still underway—including Citizen Bar’s interior—and for now, Harris is moving forward with her TDG collaboration.

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“Jillian is a terrific designer and business-development person,” Dobbins says. “In this day of electronic communication, it’s not difficult for us to continue the relationship. She’s a very strong idea person, and we do the hands-on work.” This hands-on approach is a key factor in TDG’s design-build process. Dobbins says that seemingly insignificant decisions often have important impacts on both the short- and long-term success of a project, and clients appreciate the firm’s integration of in-house architecture, interiors, engineering, and construction capabilities, which brings a single-source responsibility and fast-track implementation. Another distinction that sets TDG apart from its competition is the expertise the firm has developed in designing and building veterinary specialty clinics. In September 2009, the firm completed the Animal Emer-

I’ve never worked harder to keep clients. Cost and fees are as competitive as I’ve ever seen them. But I think our group is now more nimble as a result. Tom Dobbins, Founder & President

Opposite: A rendering of Chicago’s Citizen Bar, which The Dobbins Group is outfitting with a retractable roof—one of the first of its kind in the city. Top: The firm’s work on the Grainger Waterloo service center in Waterloo, IA, resulted in a LEED-Gold certification. Middle: The 10,000-squarefoot Animal Emergency Treatment Center in Chicago features multiple exam rooms and surgical suites with radiology capabilities. Bottom: Exterior shot of one of The Dobbins Group’s many notable projects, the Belvidere Medical Center in Grayslake, IL.

gency and Treatment Center’s (AETC) new specialty clinic on West Belmont Ave., a 10,000-square-foot space including multiple exam rooms, specialty procedure rooms, and surgical suites with CT and radiology capabilities. While the suburbs house similar facilities, the AETC clinic was the first one founded in the city, and the design of the reception and lobby area celebrates that by evoking a Chicago-style loft space. The Dobbins Group is also flexible when it comes to which parts of the design-build process a client wants the firm to provide. The group recently completed the W.W. Grainger Service Center in Waterloo, Iowa—a single-story, LEED Gold-certified building of 40,000 square feet that supports customer service throughout the United States, with 325 call stations and advanced education training rooms. The firm worked closely with Grainger to help make early decisions regarding what eco-friendly strategies to pursue and to evaluate the cost-benefit of building components in the design phase. The project was completed on time and under budget. “In 30 years, I’ve never worked harder to keep clients,” Dobbins says. “Cost and fees are as competitive as I’ve ever seen them. But I think our group is now more nimble as a result. We’re even looking to hire.” —Annie Fischer

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Darden Architects, Inc. Adding interior-design services and healthcare experience to an already impressive repertoire of public works At a Glance Location: Fresno, CA Founded: 1959 Employees: 45 Specialty: Public-works and healthcare architecture

Above: Exterior view of the Riverbank New Gymnasium in Riverbank, CA. The gymnasium is open to the north through a transparent lobby, maximizing natural light and creating a visually attractive main public-entry point. Photo: Mullins Studio.

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Companies that last as long as Darden Architects must field for essential services. The hospital contains statebe willing to take risks and change with the times. That’s of-the-art technology, meets all regulatory requirements, one lesson that Martin Dietz, principal at the California and fits naturally within the community. firm, has learned since joining the company in 1978. Several services complement traditional architectural Historically a public-works and education firm, Darden offerings at Darden. In fact, the company has an entire Architects added interior-design services nearly 15 years interior-design department that operates independently ago and started to increase its work in the healthcare and collaborates on in-house projects. “Architecture is market. The moves have helped the company grow as the so much better when an interior designer is involved at a industry continues to evolve. project’s beginning,” Dietz says. The branch was started Although Darden Architects has worked for healthin 1985, with its greatest success being realized over the care clients since 1980, the market has changed dralast decade. “It takes five years to really establish any new matically over the last decade. Dietz says his firm was part of a business,” Dietz explains. formerly dominated by K–12 school projects but now At Darden, interior work comes in many areas and completes more medical facilities. “Doctors used to tell makes the overall service and products better. After 50 their patients where to go for treatment, but now payears in business, the firm remains design-oriented and tients decide where they’ll be seen,” he says. “Architects has won more than 60 design awards during its tenure. must make the buildings as welcoming and attractive as “Our awards are a testament to talent and effort,” Dietz possible in such a competitive sector.” says. “It takes talent to come up with solutions and effort The partners at Darden believe that an attractive, functo translate those ideas into reality.” Good people bring tional, comfortable, contextualized building will attract good ideas, and Darden Architects has a tradition of the most patients. First, a building must comply with all nurturing internal talent through an intern development regulatory mandates and commissions. Second, it must be program. The AIA-recognized process pairs young probuilt quickly and efficiently. Third, it must meet physicians’ fessionals with senior architects who help their protégés needs by providing a nurturing and comfortable atmolearn all aspects of the complicated profession. sphere. Lastly, it must fit within the existing community. Riverbank High School was one of Darden’s special, Dietz and his colleagues are putting their theory community-driven projects. There, Darden Architects into practice with interior services provided for a new built a gymnasium designed to revitalize a school district. hospital in the small town of Tehachapi, California, so its Surrounded by larger towns like Modesto and Stockresidents will no longer have to drive to nearby Bakerston, Riverbank suffered an exodus of teenagers drawn

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to schools with better sports facilities. After a bond referendum passed, Darden partnered with the school district to revive its campus with a new iconic structure. The resulting 23,000-square-foot facility is integrated into the campus (the old gym remains in use). The new structure showcases ample daylighting and other green features that have helped breathe life into the building. A panoramic window into the gym allows parents volunteering in the snack bar to watch their kids play sports, skylights provide natural light but can be darkened for other events, and a graphic-glass hallway, where lights illuminate a large “Bruins” sign, engenders pride throughout the town. Best of all, Darden saved enough money on the project that the company was able to start on a new

We look for opportunities to help each client. We are available because we don’t collect projects, we collect clients.

Left: The Clovis Performing Arts Center in Clovis, CA, is dramatic yet intimate and uses a simple palette including maple and cherry-wood veneers. The room can be tuned to match the musical style and level of clarity desired with a wide range of reverberation times and a variable-height, over-stage canopy. Right: The interior of the Riverbank New Gymnasium is lit with 20 skylights designed with reflective interior shafts and a diffusing internal lens for effective daylight distribution, saving significant energy costs. In addition, the skylights have operable louvers that can dim or darken the gym during the daytime hours for special events, if needed. Photos: Mullins Studio.

Brooks Ransom Associates Structural Engineers 7415 N. Palm Ave. Suite 100 Fresno, CA 93711 (559)449-8444 www.brooksransom.com

• • • • •

Celebrating 35 years of valued business. Licensed in California & 35 other states. Team approach during design, plan review, and construction. Specialization in Educational, Healthcare and Industrial. Structural designs and solutions that are innovative, economical, schedule oriented and custom tailored to meet the needs of each project.

Martin Dietz, Principal

elementary school instead of forcing the town to decide between the two buildings. The Riverbank Gymnasium won several awards, including a 2010 C.A.S.H./AIACC Design Award of Honor. Dietz believes his regional firm competes with larger companies through its service mandates. “We look for opportunities to help each client,” he says. “We are available because we don’t collect projects, we collect clients.” By contributing to Central Valley schools, colleges, and medical facilities, Darden’s associates are contributing to the communities in which they live. —Zach Baliva

american builders quarterly

Project: Fugman Elementary School Owner: Clovis Unified School District Location: Clovis, CA

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DHArchitects, Inc. Fostering strong relationships with cultural and community-development clients At a Glance Location: Fairfield, OH Founded: 1986 Employees: 4 Specialty: Educational, commercial, clerical, and cultural architecture and historic renovations

Above: DHArchitects helped develop Village Green Park for the City of Fairfield Park District in Ohio.

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Founded in 1986, Fairfield, Ohio-based DHArchitects strives to approach each project with a sense of collaboration and cooperation—a commitment that the firm’s president, Derek Howard, worries is lacking in much of today’s business environment. In deadline-driven industries like building and design, in which professionals are constantly working to meet client expectations, it’s imperative to build a strong team, Howard says. “I believe you do whatever you have to do to foster a supportive environment,” he explains. “I’d give anything to replicate the relationships I had on my college football team, when you’d automatically step in and help out whenever you could… It’s not unlike marriage, either— putting someone else’s needs above your own.” That sense of trust, where commitment to a larger goal is superior to that of an immediate challenge, is what Howard is after—and one made difficult for any number of reasons, not excluding the individual, hyper-competitive nature of architecture school. His ambition has clearly earned him a number of fans: with only one location and currently fewer than five employees, DHArchitects has been named one of Cincinnati’s 10 Under 10, the top small businesses with fewer than 10 employees, by the Regional Chamber. The firm averages between 15 and 20 projects per year, including faith-based and cultural buildings, educational and commercial architecture, and historic renovations. And it has completed work in Ohio, Michigan,

Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Georgia. When Howard recently reviewed a list of projects completed since the company’s inception for an insurance renewal form, he was surprised to find between 85 to 90 percent of revenues came from repeat clients. Now, after a couple years of decreased activity, those clients are beginning to call again. DHArchitects manages client relations with a mix of education, respect, and intuition. Clients often aren’t aware of the level of detail required in his field, Howard says—even on very small projects—so he might send an e-mail each time a step is complete. He tries to keep them as informed as possible, since building and construction aren’t typically processes with which they are familiar or completely understand. The firm is also careful with regard to how that information is presented, resisting the way in which a conversation can fall into technical jargon. Finally, Howard is flexible about control. “I allow them to lead if I sense that’s what they want,” he explains. The same sense of reciprocity is extended to all parties involved, as Howard emphasizes partnership during construction as well. Open lines of communication allow for quick and efficient problem solving in the field, enabling DHArchitects to complete projects on time and under budget. In 2008, the firm finished phase one of the St. Paul AME Church in Macon, Georgia—a 22,000-square-foot facility on approximately 30 acres— in just seven months. Other satisfied clients include

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Ohio State University, the Great Miami Valley YMCA, and the City of Fairfield Park District. The latest project to exceed expectations is Cincinnati’s Mount Airy School, an 85,000-square-foot public school that houses 650 students, pre-kindergarten through eighth grade. Partnering with Turner Construction and ESI Electrical Contractors, the $15 million project was completed six months ahead of schedule and $500,000 under budget. It was quite special from a construction standpoint; issues arose in the field, of course—they always do—but the level of cooperation and teamwork was “top-notch,” Howard says. To celebrate that environment, each month the construction supervisor nominated someone considered most instrumental in the success of the project in the preceding weeks. DHArchitects sought specific information from the nominee’s friends or family regarding how best to reward that person—dinner at a favorite restaurant, maybe, or a round of golf. Then, at the next meeting, the chosen team member was presented with a certificate of appreciation and asked to share how they did what they did. “People were shocked that we would make that effort,” Howard says. “We don’t want to get into anyone’s personal business, of course—just strengthen relationships and the community on-site. And it was amazing, really, to see what happens when you start to peel back that onion.”

The discipline required in initiatives like that—exerting extra effort now because it will pay off later—speaks to Howard’s athletic background, but it also provides the basis for his work philosophy. “The realities of construction humble you, I think,” he says. “If you shoot for 150 percent, though, you feel pretty good hitting somewhere around 90—because when you don’t reach high, you can be disappointed. Not to get too serious, but I think everything should be pursued that way. I really do.” —Annie Fischer

Above: The firm's latest project is the 85,000-square-foot Mount Airy Elementary School in Cincinnati.

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Matthei & Colin Associates. Comprehensive architectural design and planning for America’s healthcare sector At a Glance Location: Chicago, IL Founded: 1974 Specialty: Healthcare facilities Annual Revenue: $8 million

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As Randy Bacidore, Linn Floerchinger, Bill Heun, and Ron Kobold came out of college, none of them thought they would be in the business of the architectural planning and design of healthcare environments; but over the years, it has become their passion. Each member of the four-person partnership at Matthei & Colin Associates has accumulated 25 to more than 30 years of experience working at the Chicago firm. The partners, who each grew up in small towns, have specialized in the development of community-based hospitals. “We understand where they’re coming from,” Bacidore explains. “The hospital becomes central to the well-being of the community.” The partners point out that the firm’s environment is low-key and does not have the type of ego that is always attempting to create a self-serving new trend. Instead, it works to develop solutions that are appropriate for the client’s place and culture. It draws upon the client’s past

experiences as a point of departure for new and individual solutions. It does this by integrating a client’s vision while paying close attention to the details. “We bring a skill and knowledge base that can transcend changes in administration and provide consistency to the organization’s longer-term planning,” Bacidore explains. “We learn and understand the right questions to ask to move the project forward. That comes from our experience.” “It’s very seldom we do one project for a client,” Floerchinger says. In fact, it’s more common for the firm to be on a hospital campus for 10 years or longer, working on a series of projects. Floerchinger has even measured his career in blocks of 5 and 10 years because of the time worked on a client’s campus. As a result of its lengthy projects, the firm has built long-lasting relationships with its clients. “We worked with a CEO of a hospital in 1978 and still work with that administrator today,” Floerchinger says. The firm has maintained its client base by getting to know the culture of each institution. “Hospitals have many layers of management; a lot of decisionmakers are involved in the design process. It’s not an autocratic governed institution. You have a lot people with a lot of input,“ he adds. The firm’s ability to connect with people who are moving into new positions has become a marketing effort as well. “They end up taking us with them because of our level of service and commitment,” Bacidore explains. Most projects are led by a partner and a project architect to maintain a high level of quality control. “It sounds like a project is overstaffed by having a partner intimately involved,” Floerchinger says, “but we believe it develops a better project.” The firm is willing to work on projects of different sizes and scopes, and the partners have found that taking

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Since 1974, M&CA has specialized in the planning and design of healthcare environments. As one of ten firms nationally who focus our entire resources to healthcare, our mission is to deliver imaginative solutions that address both facilities and operational criteria, maximizing staffing and functional efficiency.

M&CA

Opposite: The Edward Heart Hospital, a specialty hospital focusing on cardiac health in Naperville, IL, designed by the firm. Above: A rendering of the proposed Surgery and Bed Tower addition for the Palos Community Hospital in Palos Heights, IL. The design also includes a

mca-architecture.com

Matthei & Colin Associates

312.939.4002

new main entrance for the hospital.

You have to surround yourself with people committed to a very technically oriented building type.

Congratulations Matthei & Colin Associates and thank you for 25 years of partnership.

Linn Floerchinger, Cofounder

on small projects has led to larger commissions. “We are happy to do a $500,000 dollar project because we know that, sooner or later, a larger one may come,” Bacidore says. Matthei & Colin Associates currently has nearly 10 projects in progress, including a $160 million replacement hospital in Maryland and the expansion and renovation of a women’s center in Naperville, Illinois. Floerchinger believes the key to the firm’s success is its dedication. “You have to surround yourself with people committed to a very technically oriented building type.” —Brigitte Yuille

american builders quarterly

engineers

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• Existing Building Commissioning • Commissioning • Sustainable Design

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constructors

• LEED Administration • Energy Modeling and Audits • Emissions Audits

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Chicora Real Estate. Attracting younger buyers with stylish, hurricane-resistant communities built to withstand whatever may come in Myrtle Beach There probably isn’t a residential real-estate developer At a Glance Location: Myrtle Beach, SC Founded: 1972 Employees: 6 Specialty: Community realestate development Annual Revenue: $6 million+

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in the country not affected by the real-estate market downturn. That includes Chicora Real Estate in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. But the four-decade-old company—which has a brokerage affiliation with Coldwell Banker, plus divisions that offer property management and long-term rentals—is prepared for many challenges. In coastal South Carolina, those challenges start with natural disasters. Hurricanes dictate how new homes are built here, explains Lawrence Langdale, vice president of new home development. According to the Southeast Coastal Climatology Project, the Myrtle Beach region is hit by a Category 1 storm or higher every 17 years, with a Category 3 storm or higher every 78 years. So, occasionally in the life of these buildings, there will be a strong 110-mileper-hour-plus windstorm. Building codes require that new homes be able to withstand the forces of wind and rain. (Chicora developments are at least 20 feet above sea level, high enough to avoid storm surges.) The company is currently focused on the Cottages on Farrow Parkway, a community of three- and four-bedroom homes, just eight blocks from the ocean. Notable features that help these homes withstand hurricane conditions include shingles that are secured with six nails and cemented around the edges of the roof; sheathing that is nailed three inches on center around the edges and six inches on center through the body of board; metal clips and tie-downs that tie from the foundation to the

roof; and impact-resistant glass and hurricane shutters available as options. Since Myrtle Beach is also in an earthquake zone—a quake measuring 7.3 on the Richter scale hit Charleston less than 100 miles away in 1886—earthquake codes are maintained here as well. “But every house is individually engineered,” Langdale says. “We do not make it ‘one shoe fits all.’” No home is built before a buyer is identified—a benefit to the future homeowner in several ways. Details such as carpeting, fixtures, and upgrades are known before ground is broken. Consequently, the construction period is shorter because Chicora’s experienced subcontractors do not have to wait for materials to arrive—they can plan construction with extraordinary efficiency. “The buyer never has to settle for second choices,” Langdale explains. “We can focus on quality control. This comes also from having 25-year relationships with many of our subcontractors.” The developer also builds only single-family homes, which means their own staff and subcontractors know this style of building very well. Chicora also builds with an eye on the environment and operating costs to buyers. Langdale says they use 14 SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating) heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems. They also use finger-jointed studs that are made of waste material, which in three-foot lengths glued together are stronger and straighter than standard nine-foot studs. The use of 15/32-inch plywood boards reduces the number of

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tie-downs needed for strength. Other features include carpeting made of corn fibers, low-E windows that allow 25 percent less solar heat gain than the minimum requirement of the Building Codes Council, and drainage retention ponds that reduce storm runoff. Getting past the prospect of an occasional natural disaster, this semitropical region is a popular retirement location precisely for its climate and affordability. The Cottages on Farrow Parkway, priced around $240,000,

Every house is individually engineered. We do not make it ‘one shoe fits all.’ Lawrence Langdale, VP of New Home Development

is situated in a 220-acre community that includes lakes, walking trails, a community pool, and close access to a golf course and upscale shopping in Myrtle Beach. Some buyers make it their primary residence, while others consider it a vacation home. “We get a lot of cash buyers—people who are selling homes up north that they lived in for many years,” Langdale says. And despite market conditions, many are able to do so, thanks to Chicora Real Estate. In fact, 58 of 88 planned homes in this particular development have already sold. —Russ Klettke

american builders quarterly

Opposite: The Cottages at Farrow offer residents the use of a private pool and cabana. Above: The development also allows for outdoor living with the inclusion of porches and patios on nearly every model.

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Dominium. A pioneer in affordable-housing development At a Glance Location: Plymouth, MN Founded: 1972 Employees: 735 Specialty: Affordable-housing developments Annual Revenue: $115 million Sales Growth: 2.5 %

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Founded in 1972 by David Brierton and Jack Safar, Dominium has a successful 38-year history in developing and managing affordable and market-rate housing. This history began with developing Section-8 housing and continued with the advent of the Section-42 Tax Credit Program. Dominium has tackled some of the most-complex transactions in the multifamily industry since its inception, earning the company a reputation for financial expertise and a creative approach to real estate. In fact, Dominium and its principals have acquired and/or developed more than 20,000 units of housing with a value of more than $1 billion. The firm’s current portfolio boasts in excess of 6,000 units developed, 8,000 units acquired, and 5,000 units fee-managed, for a total of more than 19,000 apartments owned and managed nationwide—a number that has more than quadrupled since 1994. One of its primary strategies is that it is in the business of “growing oak trees”—acquiring properties with the mindset of a long-term owner. “We are willing to invest in properties early on and hold them until they’ve fully grown in value—or become mature oak trees,” says Armand Brachman, a managing principal of the Plymouth, Minnesota-based firm. “With the ‘oak-tree approach,’ we are able to maintain a seasoned portfolio, so we are not dependant on the next developer fee to be sustainable.” Another critical strategy has been to stick to what the organization knows: affordable housing. Some of its recent projects include Mountain View Apartments in Beaumont, California; Albertville Meadows Townhomes in Albertville, Minnesota; and the Seville Apartments in Beaumont, Texas. Dominium has also expanded into work-out projects for large banking institutions. In many of these types of projects, the property has some combination of construction, tax credit, occupancy, or financial problems. Dominium is brought in as the replacement general partner to rectify the situation and bring the property to a stabilized position. “We have successfully completed numerous work-out projects in the last year and, based on the reputation we have built, we plan to do many more in the coming years,” Brachman says. Another reason for its success is its multigenerational ownership structure—meaning business life is therefore indefinite. “The result of this is that investments into systems increasing the productivity and effectiveness of the company are more easily justified,” Brachman adds. The firm’s keys for growth are virtually the same as these strategies for success. One addition is its connection to large financial institutions and investors. Through the years, it has been able to establish positive relationships with a number of large banking institutions and investors. These relationships have led to the ability to work on and acquire projects it would not have otherwise known about. “Additionally, we have found that with a stable history, we are able to obtain more favorable financing,” Brachman says. One of the biggest differences between Dominium

and the competition is its longevity. Many development companies are founded by a single individual. Once that individual is ready to be done, the company typically shrinks or dissolves. Because of the philosophy of a multigenerational ownership structure, Dominium is set up to continue to grow and expand indefinitely. “We have already been in business for 38 years, which is already on the high end for a real-estate-development firm,” Brachman states. “Additionally, our long-term approach to property ownership is something not shared by most of our competitors. Many developers are simply doing a deal for the up-front developer fee and are not interested in careful long-term management that adds value over many years.” Over the past several years, Dominium has become more system-oriented. The result of this change is that

We have successfully completed numerous work-out projects in the last year and... we plan to do many more in the coming years. Armand Brachman, Managing Principal

its process for things such as property acquisition, management takeover, and annual budgeting are far more effective and streamlined, and not as many things fall through the cracks. “Because we have a long-term ownership and sustainability mindset, we are able to more easily justify the monetary investment into these systems,” Brachman says. One of its proudest accomplishments over the years is the acquisition of the NHG portfolio (58 properties totaling 3,862 units in 9 states) in the mid-1990s. It’s also proud of the fact that it has steadily grown and maintained financial strength for 38 years, which is a very long time for a real-estate-development company. As Brachman looks ahead, he says that the overall outlook for the future is positive as the organization continues to grow (it even moved into a new office after outgrowing its previous facility). “We have seen growth each year in terms of portfolio size, income, and employee base,” he says. “In the last couple years we have expanded into new markets—Texas, California, Georgia—and we plan to continue to increase our presence in those areas.” —Daniel Casciato

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Features/

01.02 2011

NCIDQ Offices DESIGNED BY PERKINS+WILL /// ZGF architects’ HEADQUARTERS ////////////////////////////////

There is a noticeable trend in office spaces that are created for design professionals, like this self-designed headquarters for ZGF Architects. Design firms in the know are after sustainable buildings where the focus is on staff collaboration and interactivity. Mobile furniture and ergonomic workstations lead to better productivity and satisfaction in the workplace.

Photo: Nick Merrick

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daley genik architects

features

Classic Louis XIV Arm Chairs circa 1765

The National Council for Interior Design Qualification puts interiordesign theory into practice in their new Perkins+Will-designed headquarters, where function meets the history of interior design.

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Hill House Chair circa 1901 by Charles Rennie Mackintosh

Marble-topped Knoll Table circa 1946 by Florence Knoll

Client: NCIDQ Location: Washington, DC Completed: 2009 Architect: Perkins+Will

Text by Annie Fischer Photos by Ken Hayden Illustrations by Aaron Lewis

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features Brazo task lamp circa 2006 by Pablo Pardo Mobile furniture for flexible workspace configurations

T

he National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) identifies

Work stations were placed along the perimeter of the office so that employees have access to plenty of daylight and can take advantage of the views.

interior designers who have both the taste and know-how to create safe, functional, and aesthetically pleasing spaces. Until recently, though, the

Washington, DC-based offices housing the nonprofit—whose mission is to protect the health and welfare of the public by establishing standards of competence in the practice of interior design—failed to reflect its employees’ hard work or the industry they are tasked with certifying. In 2009, the organization relocated to a new office in a year-old building on L Street in the nation’s capital, nearly doubling its space from 3,200 square feet to 6,000 square feet. To best plan a functional, efficient, collaborative, and healthy new environment—and to create a memorable design statement to accompany it—the organization hired a Washington, DC-based team from Perkins+Will, an international commercial-architecture and interior-design firm. “What stood out most to me about working with NCIDQ was the overall attitude,” says project designer David Cordell, an associate at Perkins+Will. “Because of the group’s role in the industry, Jeff Kenney, the executive director, saw this as an opportunity to educate his staff, many of whom are not designers.” The Perkins+Will team was led by principal Tama Duffy Day, who is also a National Interior Design Practice Leader. Kenney closed

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the office during team meetings so that his staff members could all attend. They participated in visioning sessions to establish project goals, and everyone had a chance to voice opinions rather than just primary decision makers. “Presentations were more like educational seminars,” Cordell says. “You could really see lightbulbs go on when you explained the ergonomics of a workstation or why certain spaces were adjacent.” With the input of the client, the Perkins+Will group determined three project goals central to the design: flexibility, sustainability, and aesthetics. Multifunctionality was a key driver. Three user groups occupy the NCIDQ headquarters at various times, and each group has separate needs. From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, the space operates as a typical office environment, and the full-time staff numbers around 15. Volunteers and the NCIDQ Board of Directors also use the

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space for more interactive tasks—from committee meetings around policy, finance, and nominations, to envelope stuffing. “Because so many of the needs are sporadic,” Cordell explains, “we couldn’t afford to devote any one space to a single function.” Kenney also wanted to give his full-time employees access to the space’s prime real estate—the bank of floor-to-ceiling windows along busy L Street. While the natural design sense is to locate office functions centrally, Cordell says, Perkins+Will instead arranged the NCIGQ workspaces there to take advantage of the light and atmosphere. The boardroom, workroom, and pantry are grouped and placed away from that workplace, allowing volunteers and board members to occupy areas that are visually and acoustically separate. To maintain a sense of visual connection between the workspaces, zones are separated by sliding doors, mobile furniture, and lots of glass. Another important objective was to incorporate NCIDQ’s eco-friendly approach into the building’s design (the project is currently seeking LEED-CI Silver certification). “Water and energy consumption are at the forefront of the sustainability movement,” Cordell says, “so we definitely wanted to tackle that. We reduced baseline water consumption by 40 percent.” The team was careful to manage air quality during construction and was responsible in its choice of materials, buying from local manufacturers like Armstrong and Lees. Locating workstations near the windows offered psychological benefits to the employees but also allowed the designers to take advantage of natural light; workspaces also feature LED task lighting. Materials with low-VOC emissions, FSC-certified wood, formaldehyde-free adhesives, a de-mountable wall system for offices, and a building location accessible by public transit also contributed to NCIDQ’s green strategies. Additionally, each staff member met with an ergonomics professional regarding his or her individual workspace. One of the challenges the Perkins+Will team met was that sustainable materials often lack a classic design aesthetic. “We didn’t want you to walk in and immediately think, ‘That reception desk was made out of sunflower seeds,’” Cordell jokes. The designers instead tracked down sustainable materials that still looked tailored and corporate, like Trend Q’s white terrazzo tile with recycled glass.

american builders quarterly

“Because so many of needs] are sporadic

[NCIDQ’s functiona

, we couldn’t afford

devote any one spac e David Cordell, Pr oj

l

to to just one function. ”

ect Designer, Perk

ins+Will

Demountable glass office fronts (below left) highlight iconic furniture while allowing daylight to filter into every corner. Multiple conference rooms (right top and bottom) allow the office to perform many functions at once.

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theory features in practice

s] open and Because [the NCIDQ wa to meet so many receptive, we were able the space does of our goals. As a result, would. everything we hoped it ect David Cordell, Proj

ill

Designer, Perkins+W

That commitment to aesthetics translated into a desire to visually portray the complex history of the interior-design industry. Interior design has evolved from a vocation based on good taste to a profession requiring artistry, business acumen, and extensive expertise. Visitors to the NCIDQ office are greeted by a pair of restored Louis XIV chairs, a Florence Knoll oval table, and a technology screen made from wood, metal, and glass that offers the latest LED lighting science—a balance between classic design and advancing technologies. According to Cordell, the design team realized, through research and collaborative planning, that the origins of the interior-design industry could be traced through craftspeople, styles of furnishings, and textiles. Perkins+Will created a design plan that seamlessly blended that rich history with the modernism movement and recent technological advances. “We wanted to tell that story in a more dynamic way than a timeline mural along the wall,” Cordell says, “so we chose to showcase industry innovators and iconic designs that pay homage to who and what has transformed the industry.” Located throughout the office are chairs representing technological and aesthetic advancements in wood, plastic, and metal by designers like Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Eileen Gray, and Charles and Ray Eames—designers who each shaped the interiordesign profession. Textiles range from hand-loomed wool and nylon fibers to more modern, environmentally friendly selections. Lighting, too, reflects NCIDQ’s historical breadth: the space houses both the

Walls painted in a range of Pantone® greens representing color theory

Bertoia diamond chairs circa 1952 80

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All workspaces in close proximity to windows Low and contemporary dividers foster collaboration and communication

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CHINESE CHIPPENDALE SIDE CHAI THOMAS CHIPPE

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Sustainability and durability find a perfect balance in the pantry (opposite) which is conveniently located next to the workroom for maximum flexibility.

1958 Poul Henningsen “artichoke” light and Armstrong’s TechZone integrated ceiling and lighting system. The result is a visually rich and energetic environment, Cordell notes, in which visitors experience the evolution of the industry just by walking through the space. “Because NCIDQ was open and receptive, we were able to meet so many of the project goals,” he says. “As a result, the space does everything NCIDQ hoped it would. You walk away from these offices and you remember them.” abq

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a history in furniture

10 3

The design team at Perkins+Will realized, through research and collaborative planning, that the origins of the interior-design industry could be traced through styles of furnishings, specifically tables and chairs. Perkins+Will created an interior-design plan that seamlessly blended that long, rich history with a trendy, modern aesthetic and the latest technological advances. 1 Knoll Table, 1946, Florence Knoll

2 Conference Table, 1960 (Joseph D'Urso)

7 Panton Chair, 1960 (Verner Panton)

3 Eileen Gray Table, 1927 (Eileen Gray)

8 Bertoia Diamond Stool, 1952 (Harry Bertoia) 9 Wishbone Chair, 1949 (Hans Wegner)

5 Hill House Chair, 1901 (Charles Rennie

10 High Sticking Chair, 1970 (Frank Gehry)

11 Louis XIV Chair, 1765 (French Classics)

Mackintosh)

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10

12

(Thomas Chippendale)

4 Aeron Chair, 1994 (Don Chadwick)

6 Chinese Chippendale Side Chair, 1760

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12 Eames LCW, 1946 (Charles and Ray Eames)

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moving up, Moving on

Moving Up When Portland-based ZGF Architects took on the task of designing its own headquarters, flexibility and collaboration took center stage. Below, take a peek inside this design-savvy workspace.

I

t was time to move on. Portland, Oregon-based Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects LLP (ZGF) had outgrown the historic brick building where its employees had spent nearly 30 years—so much so that operations had spilled into an adjacent building, where the firm rented an additional three floors of office space. Since its founding in the Pacific Northwest in 1942, the company has opened four more outposts in the United States, (Seattle, Los Angeles, New York, and Washington, DC), and the Portland location is home to the firm-wide accounting and technology departments. For ZGF, one of the largest architecture firms in the country, the question of when and where to relocate—and how that new space should be designed—was a pressing one. ZGF knew that no outside design firm could complete the expansive space they needed as well as one of their inhouse design teams. “Change is difficult for people,” says Gene Sandoval, ZGF partner and lead architect on the project. “Each group had its own preferences, but we knew we wanted a building that accurately represented us, that carried our values on its sleeve.”

Project: ZGF Architects’ corporate headquarters Architect: ZGF Architects Location: Portland, OR Completed: July 2009 Size: 85,000 square feet

Text by Annie Fischer Photos by Nick Merrick, Basil Childers & Timothy Hursley

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moving up, moving on

Those values include sustainability and interactivity, and the final representation of that philosophy was Twelve West, a $138 million mixed-use building in Portland’s emerging West End neighborhood. Completed by ZGF in July 2009, Twelve West is 23 stories high and features street-level retail space, 17 floors of apartments, and 5 levels of below-grade parking, in addition to the four floors occupied by the firm. There’s an eco-roof, which includes a rooftop garden and terrace space, and a complete fitness studio. Perhaps most notable are the four wind turbines fixed prominently atop the building—the first US installation of a wind-turbine array on an urban high-rise. In 2010, Twelve West—designed to meet two LEEDPlatinum certifications and serve as a beacon for leading-edge, sustainable design strategies—was named one of AIA/COTE’s Top Ten Green Projects. The energy systems save 45 percent more energy than required by code, achieved through a combination of daylighting, natural ventilation, and night-flush of thermal mass. In

ZGF’s Portland office serves as both a reflection of the firm’s culture and as a living laboratory. The firm’s team members can evaluate firsthand how their workplace functions and feels, and use what they observe in future corporate designs.

ZGF knew that no outside design firm could complete the expansive space it needed as well as its own in-house team.

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moving UP, moving ON

Twelve West's office aesthetic is defined by ZGF's use of while-oak floors and transparent glass walls that allow the space to be illuminated by an abundance of natural daylight. The Portland office also features a plethora of green fixtures that allowed the project to be designed to LEEDPlatinum standards.

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addition, efficient water fixtures, low-water roof plantings, and rainwater reuse help cut potable-water usage. The kitchenettes employ Energy Star appliances, and each floor has a central trash and recycling station, with receptacles for everything from compost to batteries to CDs. Much of the exterior concrete building structure is exposed on the interior, an architectural choice that minimized the use of finish materials and provides ample thermal mass. Back in 2007, though, the ZGF design team was still setting careful and specific architectural goals—for the building in general, of course, but also for the firm’s 85,000-square-foot office space within it, which would house hundreds of the firm’s design-minded employees. In the planning stages, ZGF hosted an office-wide design charrette in which the team met with all fellow ZGF employees to explore ways of maximizing productivity and satisfaction, asking questions to determine how best to increase interaction and foster innovation. Meetings with smaller ZGF groups followed, further refining user needs and creative input. “What we discovered was that our employees were willing to forgo a lot—new furniture, for example—to

succeed in environmental responsibility,” Sandoval says. “We’re committed to sustainability because of our belief in conservation and stewardship, but also because of the experience, the feeling that comes from being connected to the landscape and to nature.” That feeling informs much of the office’s comprehensive aesthetic. Natural wood is used throughout the space to reflect the surrounding Pacific Northwest. White oak floors in the reception area help create a visual barrier between public and employee spaces, and the large reception desk in the lobby, designed by Sandoval, was crafted without fasteners from salvaged Oregon walnut, featuring leather hide as the transaction surface on top. Interior offices have transparent glass walls that allow natural light to penetrate deep into the building, and outdoor decks and small balconies are available to employees. On the building’s north façade, where outside views are obstructed on the lower floors by adjacent structures, a light well ensures sunlight is able to filter down from floors above. Sustainability extends to lifestyle choices outside the office, as well: locker rooms are provided to support employees who walk or ride bicycles to work, offering showers, storage cubbies for clothes, and drying

american builders quarterly


features

“We knew we wanted a building that accurately represented us, that carried our values on its sleeve.� Gene Sandoval, Lead Architect & Partner

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moving up, moving on

Home to ZGF's firm-wide accounting and technology departments, Twelve West is 552,000 square feet and 23 stories of impressive sustainable technology and sleek, modern design.

racks over radiant heaters. Additionally, bicycle storage is provided in the building’s garage. “A lot of people think of sustainability as systems,” Sandoval explains, “but we want to tie it to the notion of using as little as you need. Less is better.” Related to ZGF’s sense of economy is its goal to combine resources; interactivity was another intention that seriously informed the office design. Vertical connectivity was important, Sandoval explains, and each office floor features alternating interior communicating stairs: levels two and three are connected on the building’s east end, whereas levels three and four connect on the west, and so on. The stairs themselves echo the design of the entrance-lobby stair, which hangs two inches above

the floor, suspended by 375 stainless-steel cables, each 1/8-inch in diameter. The space around each landing is meant to serve as a community lounge area, with coffee bars and seating space to foster employee interaction. Gathering spaces with tables for informal team meetings are also provided along the building’s perimeter on each floor, rather than locating all the meeting rooms in one central location. “We really democratized the space,” Sandoval says. “The glass interior walls allow visibility and sunlight throughout the floors, and no one has a ‘corner office.’ We planned communal areas there instead.” A warmer participatory atmosphere accompanies that sense of democracy. Pinup spaces are located

“A lot of people think of sustainability as systems, but we want to tie it to the notion of using as little as you need. Less is better.” Gene Sandoval, Lead Architect & Partner throughout the office, featuring projects underway and celebrating company art, awards, and other design achievements. Workstation walls are low, allowing for easier conversation and collaboration, and finger joints on the workstations are exposed to show the working parts of the desk—a theme echoed throughout the office. Computer servers behind a glass wall visibly track plans for the building’s energy performance and water savings on a monitor in the lobby for everyone to see. It allows ZGF’s clients to understand and trust their architects even more, Sandoval explains. “They can see that we really are walking the talk,” he says. “There’s this idea that building performance is a means to an end. We think that story needs to be broader.” abq

first floor Retail Space Residential Lobby Office Lobby Elevator/Stairs

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Second floor Open Office Conference Rooms Circulation Elevator/Stairs Restrooms Outdoor Space

third floor Open Office Conference Rooms Circulation Research Library Restrooms Outdoor Space

american builders quarterly


The Sustainable Skyscraper

ZGF’s LEED Platinum-certified Twelve West, home to its headquarters, features advanced green technologies inside and out. Four Wind Turbines produce 10–12,000 kWh of electricity per year. Solar Thermal Panels heat 24% of hot water used in the building. Roof Gardens clean, detain, and filter rainwater, significantly reducing roof temperatures. Low-E Glass admits 55% of visible light, but reflects 70% of the associated heat, reducing total energy consumption. Rainwater Re-Use is used in the restrooms and irrigates the green roofs, reducing use of city water by 286,000 gallons each year.

Under-Floor Air Distribution efficiently delivers air directly to occupants. Personal floor vents are adjustable. Water Storage Tank temporarily stores 22,000 gallons of rainwater and condensation for re-use. Efficient Central Cooling Plant nearby provides chilled water for cooling. Rainwater Harvesting piping gathers 273,000 gallons from the roof annually. Condensation from the air-handling system collects about 13,000 gallons during summer months.

Efficient Plumbing Fixtures help reduce water use by more than 44%. Operable Windows provide fresh air, cooling, and a connection to the outdoors. Daylight Sensors switch off lights when possible, reducing lighting energy use by 60%. Exposed Concrete moderates indoor-air temperatures. The “thermal mass” is cooled by the night air and absorbs excess heat throughout the day. Passive/Chilled Beams provide energy-efficient cooling on the hottest days.

fourth floor Office Conference Rooms Circulation Break Room Restrooms Outdoor Space

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fifth floor Office Conference Rooms Circulation Elevator/Stairs Restrooms Outdoor Space

Roof top Green Roof Public Space Storage Elevator/Stairs Terrace Amenity Room

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Congratulations to Les Gray & Company Inc. on 35 years as a Leader in the Industry

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Pictured: Les Gray & Company installed this fuel system at a data center in Dallas.

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energy & technology

Les Gray & Company, Inc. A leader in the installation of emergency fuel systems for more than three decades Throughout the state of Texas, Les Gray is an expert in At a Glance Location: Garland, TX Founded: 1975 Employees: 8 Specialty: Petroleum-equipment distributor and installation contractor Annual Revenue: $4.5 million

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the petroleum-equipment distribution and installation industry. “There are several area companies in the fuel tank, piping, and installation business, but they’re primarily geared toward convenience stores and grocery stores,” Gray says. “We’ve made a niche for ourselves by concentrating on the installation of emergency fuel systems. If a hospital loses power and its generators aren’t working properly, then that’s a real disaster.” Years ago, when generator fuel tanks were installed and filled, they remained inactive until an emergency. Now, companies and hospitals are required to run their generators on a regular timed basis to keep the systems operational. “The EPA brought down guidelines in the late ’80s and early ’90s, and the rules and regulations have changed over the years as technology changes in the equipment that’s available.” Tanks went from singlewalled, unprotected steel to double-walled, all-Fiberglass tanks guaranteed to last over 30 years. With smarter technology came electronic leak-monitor systems. Gray founded his Texas-based business in 1975; in 2009, revenue was $4.5 million, up from 2008. Along with hospitals, another industry sensitive to continuation of power in emergency situations are data centers. “That’s where your websites are, and the storage of credit card information and insurance policies,” Gray says. “If that data center goes down, you lose access to everything. The

biggest business boost we had was the Y2K scare. Major corporations were in fear that at midnight they’d lose everything. We were out putting in tanks right up until December 31st.” For the 35-year-old company, its reputation is so good that more than 85 percent of its business comes from repeat customers. The company often assists design engineers with system redesigns. Les Gray & Company completes three or four major projects, along with numerous smaller projects, each year—from a small single tank for fuel for a fire truck, to major-sized hospitals and data centers. Costs for projects range from $40,000 to $2.5 million. One recent project that highlights the company’s expertise is the Cisco Data Center in Allen, Texas. Gray’s firm installed four 20,000-gallon main storage tanks and eight day tanks for generators, as well as an emergencyoverflow-return tank and the electrical systems and controls, including the automatic remote-fill system. These electronic controls can be remotely monitored by companies worldwide. The company, licensed in Texas and Oklahoma, is a member of the Petroleum Equipment Institute (PEI), the American Subcontractors Association (ASA), Associated General Contractors (AGC-TEXO), and the Associated Builders & Contractors. The company is an active supporter of several charities such as the Young Life Golf Event, a yearly event to assist disadvantaged

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energy & technology

We’ve made a niche for ourselves by concentrating on the installation of emergency fuel systems. If a hospital loses power, and its generators aren’t working properly, then that’s a real disaster. Les Gray, President children, and Cars for Casa, which offers aid and support for children of distressed families. Looking to the future, Gray says, “We’re looking into a preventive maintenance program for the systems already installed. These systems need [semiannual] and annual checks. We’re finding some existing facilities where the fuel systems were not properly installed or commissioned, and their components are failing. There aren’t that many companies qualified to do that in our area.” Over the years, Gray must be doing something right, as his firm receives very few calls to return to a completed project for repairs, and the majority of his employees have been with him in excess of 25 years. —Joyce Finn

Opposite Page: These two steel, 20,000-gallon, double-walled fuel storage tanks serve a Dallas-area data center. Left: An 8,000-gallon above-ground steel, double-walled tank supplies fuel for a school district’s bus fleet and service vehicles. The tank has compartments for both diesel and gasoline.

MARBLE ▪ GRANITE ▪ CERAMIC TILE ▪ TERRAZZO

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ANC Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. Fireplace and HVAC provider offers services through its extensive showroom At a Glance Location: Binghamton, NY Founded: 1963 Employees: 30 Specialty: HVAC, hearth, and fireplaces sales and service

Above: ANC offers a wide assortment of fireplace options for any household application.

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Others in the HVAC industry couldn’t believe Lloyd Knecht Sr.’s plan to open a 5,000-square-foot showroom because it was so unusual. Knecht is the owner of Binghamton, New York-based ANC Heating & Air Conditioning, a fullservice heating, air-conditioning, and hearth company for residential and commercial customers. “In this business, there is no such thing,” Knecht says of his company’s showroom. “When I bought the building, I wanted to have a beautiful showroom to create warm, fuzzy feelings when customers walk in.” Today, when people enter the showroom in Binghamton, there’s the “wow factor.” It’s a place where potential customers can see how the pellet and wood stoves the company sells operate. “Once I get them in the showroom, they’re sold,” says Knecht, noting their wine room in the winter catering to women who typically make the decision about fireplace and hearth purchases. Knecht also had a brainstorm about marketing his company. For more than five years ANC Heating & Air Conditioning has produced and starred in The ANC Comfort Zone, its own 30-minute television show that airs during the week and is on Sunday evenings at 6 p.m. on ABC, for the Binghamton, Ithaca, and Elmira areas. “It’s one of the best forms of advertising I’ve ever done,” Knecht says, adding that it provides the company

time to explain new products and showcase some ANC’s fireplaces, as well as coal, pellet, wood, and gas stoves. The popular, unscripted show has made local celebrities out of employees featured on the show. “It makes it a lot easier to close on sales,” Knecht says. “We’re already a friend who has been in the home.” ANC has grown from $485,000 to a peak of $6 million in annual sales since Knecht purchased the company in 1988. ANC now has a fleet of 42 vehicles and employs upwards of 45. “By making sure we hired the right people and provided the right training, we’ve grown to be a powerhouse in the southern tier of New York,” Knecht says. “No one can compete with us. We do everything we can to stay ahead of the curve.” With about 60 percent of ANC’s business being residential, the company offers the Amana and Coleman brand for homes that Knecht describes as “good, solid brands with good warranties and backup.” Trane and Carrier are the two brands primarily used on the commercial side. To control costs and compete, ANC has a preset list of materials for kits to go to the job site. Inventory is reduced because whatever is not used goes back to the wholesaler for a win-win relationship, Knecht says. ANC also revised its service price book and offers a flat rate

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to protect the customers. A new protection program, for as low as $9.99 per month, to take care of a furnace and water heater, was introduced in June and has been very popular. Increased efficiency with air-conditioning is a major industry trend, according to Knecht. He says air conditioners from 10 years ago cost twice as much to operate, compared to today’s units that are now rated at 16 SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio). ANC has also been winning bids on bigger geothermal projects and has landed a job with a 5,000-gallon geothermal field, and some employees are now certified for solar hot-water projects, which have become very strong in the area. This keeps in step with ANC’s commitment to providing substantiated and effective green technology for its customers.

By making sure we hired the right people and provided the right training, we’ve grown to be a powerhouse in the southern tier of New York. No one can compete with us. We do everything we can to stay ahead of the curve.

Above: ANC specializes in unique fireplace and stove resources.

Lloyd Knecht, President

Knecht says that employee training is one of the biggest challenges to leading a HVAC company, because of complex technology. ANC built a training area that is now also used by other companies. Working with modulating gas furnaces and electrical troubleshooting in air-conditioning are two examples of training topics. The company also does a lot of NATE (North American Technician Excellence) testing on site—a certification program for technicians in HVAC and refrigeration. Knecht is assisted in the business by family members, including his wife, Becky, his son Lloyd Jr., who serves as customer-care manager, and sons Wesley and Ryan, who work in the service department. Other key employees include Mike Bucko, residential sales manager; Ryan Conklin, commercial sales manager; and Shaun Hanzalik, commercial service advisor. With such dedicated and experienced employees set in place, ANC looks to effectively maintain its edge over the area’s competition. —Karen Gentry

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Savings, comfort, peace of mind. www.geocomfort.com

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Chesapeake Geosystems, Inc. Switching to geothermal systems yields a sustainable business model and continued success At a Glance Location: Baltimore, MD Founded: 1998 Employees: 100+ Specialty: Geothermal heating and cooling for commercial projects

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Mike Huber has been involved in the geotechnology business since the 1970s. However, it wasn’t until the end of the 1990s, when one area of the business was on the decline, that Mike Huber and his associates started looking for new opportunities. They discovered a promising prospect in installing geothermal-heating and -cooling systems. They adapted their equipment and retrained employees, and the business took off five years later. “We did a school district and soon subsequent schools wanted geothermal systems,” Huber explains. The company has since continued its success. Today, Chesapeake Geosystems, the self-proclaimed largest geothermal contractor in the country, believes it offers the best in quality and knowledge. The full-service contractor services include excavation, loop installation, grouting, and lateral piping. Over the past five years, the company has seen tremendous growth. “We have spent $10 million to upgrade our drilling and excavating equipment to meet the demand,” Huber says. Among its experienced staff are project managers and environmental and construction drillers who Huber

calls “top notch.” “They have a good attitude about their work, and they are willing to go the extra mile,” he says. The 100-plus employees have support from management that the company often trains internally. Overall, the company has maintained good camaraderie and friendly competition, and while its competitors have increased, but the company hasn’t been hurt by the competition. Most of Chesapeake Geosystems’ jobs have been geothermal installation for public, commercial, and large-scale residential projects throughout the country, including New England, Georgia, Mississippi, and Texas. It completed 37 jobs last year, which involved between 30 and 800 wells drilled per project. The company also has a number of concurrent projects taking place at one time. “We usually have seven or eight projects ongoing from South Carolina to New England,” Huber says. Furthermore, its diverse clients include government agencies and universities, but are mostly “scheduled” general or mechanical contractors. “We adapt to meet their schedule, and we have a reputation of beating the schedule,” Huber says.

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The key to the Chesapeake Geosystems’ success has been its longevity. “We’ve been around longer than most,” Huber says. “We’ve figured out all the things that can be done wrong. We try to be as efficient as possible.” For instance, one of its most recent projects has been at the Aberdeen military base in Aberdeen, Maryland. The company’s workers encountered difficult drilling conditions but managed to overcome them by maximizing their efforts and industry know-how to handle the situation. “We tend to be very efficient with the larger projects as time goes by,” Huber says. “We become more competitive on the larger projects and less on those that are smaller.” He adds the projects contract values are $500,000, and that the Aberdeen military base has is expected to be completed by the spring of 2011.

Sustainability to me is leaving as small a wake as possible as we move through our daily efforts. We should disturb as little as possible. Stephen Cook, Division Account Manager

are some things that the residential contractors are not accustomed to. They tend to go into the market and overbid the job.” Huber advises these and other new contractors to do a detailed estimate of their cost and know the cost. By this, he suggests not using the rule-of-thumb estimates for figuring out the cost—but to know the real cost. Such approaches are at the core of what has propelled Chesapeake Geosystems’ success thus far. —Brigitte Yuille

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Longevity is what Huber believes has been key to company’s success. “We figured out all the things you can do wrong,” he says. In fact, he and his team of geology experts have noticed a consistent misstep with those new to geothermal business. “Because the residential market has fizzled due to the economy, a lot of the small residential firms are starting to jump into the commercial market, and they are not as prepared,” he explains. “Things like cash flow and the ability to meet deadlines

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All Photos: Chesapeake Geosystems provides equipment and labor for geothermal-well drilling, which produces usable energy in commercial and residential applications.

Perform field fabrication services and/or train contractor and user personnel in current fusion techniques.

fusion equipment & service McElroy Fusion Machines, 1”–64” for rent or sale. Central & Friatec Electrofusion Processors and Couplings.

in-house fabrication Our expert custom fabrication department can design and build any header, manifold, or HDPE vault to meet your projects’ specifications.

Forrer Supply Company Inc. jan/feb 2011

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Ambassador Services, Inc. Great service coupled with fast response wins HVAC, plumbing, and electrical clients for At a Glance Location: Owings Mills, MD Founded: 1995 Employees: 38 Specialty: HVAC, plumbing, and electrical services and installations Annual Revenue: $6 million+

Above: ASI workers install a York 30-ton rooftop unit at a Salvation Army in Baltimore.

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life

Ken French decided to start a business based on

two compelling desires: to be his own boss and to create a company that is committed to the satisfaction of its customers. Since its inception, Ambassador Services, Inc. (ASI) has thrived as a result of its commitment to highquality customer-service standards and by establishing long-term relationships with its clients. The company always stands behind not only its work and employees but also its customers for total satisfaction. As a family-owned and -operated, full-service mechanical company, ASI has been providing highquality heating, cooling, plumbing, and electrical services and installations for more than 15 years. Tracey French, business manager of ASI, has been working with her husband since he founded the company out of their basement. ASI services both commercial and residential clientele, treating each customer as unique. “Our HVAC, plumbing, and electrical services include the bestpossible products based on customer requirements and budgets,” Tracey says. The company also offers a number of green products to its customers, to help them save on energy, water, and gas. Tracey believes ASI’s competitiveness is a result of always respecting its customers and offering them individualized, customized pricing. ASI achieves customized pricing in a few ways. “In the commercial realm, we often service certain clients that have multiple locations [as many as 10–20],” she says, “so because

we’re servicing so many of their locations, we have a consistency of work from them. As a result, it’s a lot easier to customize a pricing plan for them where this is always going to be their hourly rate or even flat rates for items.” Likewise, ASI passes its mass-volume order savings onto its residential clients. It also helps that ASI is such a multifaceted company. “That makes it a lot easier for us, especially since we service heating, cooling, plumbing, and electrical—we can cover all of our clients’ mechanical needs in a timely and cost-efficient manner,” Tracey says. This literally makes ASI a one-stop shop. Another unique aspect of the company is that it offers some niche items—such as geothermal, radiant heat, ductless systems, and high-velocity systems. “Many of our competitors don’t carry some of our specialized electrical items,” Tracey explains, “and along with certified training, this gives us an additional edge in selling and servicing these items.” One key to ASI’s success is the fact that it also keeps up with the latest technological trends. “We receive all of the information from our vendors whenever new stateof-the-art products come out, and we strive to make sure that we’re on the cutting edge of our competitors,” Tracey says. In addition to offering the newest technologies, the company is also diligent in making sure its crews are well versed in the installation and repair of them. “We make sure to keep our technicians are well trained on

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all of the brand-new items,” Tracey explains. “As soon as something comes out that we’re going to start carrying, we schedule proper training with the vendor right away. As a result, we always know that our guys can service the latest products—naturally, we only sell products we are certified in servicing.” ASI is always looking for ways to improve its interaction with customers and the community and to acquire long-lasting relationships for the business. “Whether it’s our follow-up calls to customers or a double-

Many of our competitors don’t carry some of our specialized electrical items—and along with certified training, this gives us an additional edge in selling and servicing these items. Tracey French, Business Manager

employees. Without a strong, committed team, the end user could see less-than-adequate results. We promote unity and see it everyday. “If they don’t think you’re someone of good character, or that you’re not someone they can trust, then they’re not going to deal with you,” Tracey says. “So we go out of our way to make sure that our customers are satisfied, no matter what.” —Christopher Cussat

Above: ASI workers install multiple York units at an apartment complex in Bel Air, MD.

In Business Since 1995 For all your Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and Electrical needs.

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check system to ensure that needs are met, we continue to strive to solidify our customers’ trust with us,” Tracey says. In fact, she believes the keys to ASI’s success have been knowing what people want and need; the willingness to change and adapt to new things; technology; and consistency with its employees and customers. Tracey’s last bit of advice about running a successful company is to make sure that your character and integrity stay intact when it comes to your customers and

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www.ambassadorservices.net

8 Music Fair Road, Suite K | Owings Mills, MD 21117

Phone: 410-833-1575

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Diversified Communications Services Inc. California wireless company changes hands but not traditions At a Glance Location: Santa Fe Springs, CA Founded: 1988 Employees: 66 Specialty: PCS/cellular, microwave, fiber, and solar installation, design, testing, and maintenance Annual Revenue: $9 million

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When Ken Doll purchased Diversified Communications Services (DCS) in August 2004, nearly 80 percent of the wireless-service company’s business came from Cingular mobility services. Doll worried about the vulnerability inherent in that dependence—and, as it turned out, his instincts were correct. Within months, Cingular paid $41 million to acquire AT&T Wireless Services. As part of the FCC’s approval, much of California’s Cingular network transferred to T-Mobile, and Doll’s customer base changed overnight. His solution? Take his new company’s name to heart. “We had to diversify,” Doll says. He and his employees secured the new business from T-Mobile and reached out to make fresh contacts at AT&T. DCS also picked up clients like Verizon, Bechtel Communications, and Sprint, and in addition to new

construction, tower modifications, and troubleshooting, his technicians now assemble COWs (mobile platforms supporting cellular antenna tower and transceiver equipment) for special event sites—music festivals, marathons, and the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, among others. DCS even broke into new industries: Chevron contracted the company to plan, engineer, and construct an 80-foot-tall, self-supporting tower in the San Joaquin Valley for its MW backhaul and communications network, intended to provide WAN coverage and systemmonitoring capabilities to its numerous oil fields. Doll also continued to rely on the more-established traditions of DCS, which was founded in 1988 by Doug Hajek and Steve Hurley on a simple premise: offer unparalleled customer service, technical support, and

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response time in a safe, professional manner. Crews are available for service calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week— “Christmas and Thanksgiving the last two years,” Doll jokes. The company also holds regular safety training programs for all employees, and on the first Wednesday of every month, employees attend a company-wide safety meeting—the focus of which is to update or modify any procedures to reflect new obstacles or regulations.

It’s worked out so far as a successful model for our business—hiring untrained, aggressive people who like learning cutting-edge technology, who appreciate working on diverse projects. Ken Doll, President

OSHA recognized DCS’s dedication in April 2010 with its Golden Gate award for implementing and maintaining an effective injury- and illness-prevention program. DCS is also a finalist for the organization’s

prestigious Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) award. When the US Air Force contracted the company in August 2009 to upgrade a solar-driven communications system on Mount Pinos, the fact that DCS had never before engineered or installed a similar system deterred no one. According to Doll, the remote mountaintop’s existing solar array was unable to sustain necessary power, due in part to poor design that allowed the array to be buried in snow during harsh winters. Taking advantage of new technology and building techniques, DCS delivered the specially engineered equipment, manpower, and materials right on schedule, fully completing the installation prior to the first snowfall. “It was another opportunity to gain more expertise,” Doll says. “Now we can make solar communications into a side business.” A similar optimism is top criteria for new hires. DCS grew from 45 employees in 2009 to 66 in 2010 (thanks primarily to the race among cellular companies to upgrade to 4G networks), and with such a rapidly changing industry, finding experienced technicians is tough. Because DCS was chosen as an approved installer for Clearwires’ aggressive build of an estimated 1,100 sites, Doll anticipates another 18-month window of important growth for his company. Hiring quality employees is paramount. “What we do is a learned skill, so the challenge is to educate our new employees to the industry as quickly as possible,” Doll explains. “It’s worked out so far as a successful model for our business, though—hiring young, aggressive people who like learning cutting-edge technology, who appreciate working on diverse projects. They’re sharp folks. We really hire almost solely based on attitude.” Simply more of that keen business instinct, perhaps. —Annie Fischer

Left: This solar array at the Mt. Pinos Microwave site serves the Edwards Air Force Base in California.

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Responsible Design

ON Design Architects ............................................. 102 Merryman Barnes Architects, Inc. .......................... 106 One Sky Homes ..................................................... 109 Louis Design Group, Inc. ......................................... 111 DreamBuilder Custom Homes, Inc. ........................ 113 Arthur J. Henn and Associates ............................... 116 Fennell Purifoy Architects ....................................... 118 Sopris Homes, LLC ................................................ 120 Sustainable Architecture, LLC ................................. 123 Northworks Architects & Planners LLC ................... 125 FM Solutions Inc. .................................................... 127 SPACE Architects + Planners LLC ........................... 129 Pictured: The bioswale at this Merryman Barnes project handles 99% of storm runoff.

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ON Design Architects. Approaching design through a historical and sustainable lens At a Glance Location: Santa Barbara, CA Employees: 6 Specialty: Design and master planning of multifamily housing and green design Annual Projects: 25–30

A luxurious kitchen in ON Design’s Las Palmas Viejas Mediterranean Villas.

Forty percent of energy consumption in the United States comes directly from buildings, and half of that is comprised of homes. But as recently as a few decades ago, there were no energy standards in place for designers and builders, no clear paths to efficiency. Today, the Home Energy Rating System (HERS) can certify new and existing construction, and a growing number of designers and builders are using it to find results. Santa Barbara, California-based ON Design Architects, for example, owns another company, Applied Building Performance, along with business partner Dale Johnson; Johnson is a certified HERS energy rater. “So through HERS, we can do an energy audit of an entire house before we start design work to see how certain energy issues and features would affect a project,” says Justin Van Mullem, principal and partner. Van Mullem likens his firm’s approach to green design to pumping a bicycle tire. “If you’ve got a tire with a hole in it, it doesn’t matter how much air you pump into it— it’s still going to leak,” he says. “So instead of just throwing a bunch of solar panels on a roof, we have a wholehouse energy audit performed to show the deficiencies. Maybe the duct system needs to be cleaned and sealed, or the ducts need to be moved closer to the windows to more comfortably heat the room. Maybe the glass in the

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home is too thin, or there are gaps in the walls. Any number of things could be decreasing efficiency. Theoretically, you can create a tight, insulated building; but if it’s not built correctly, you’re going to have serious problems.” Currently, ON Design specializes in design and master planning for multifamily residential projects. “In the 1990s, we did a lot of industrial and telecommunications projects,” says principal Keith Nolan. “But around 2003, we started to foresee growth in the multifamily housing market, and we shifted our focus that way.” The firm still does some single-family homes, especially during downward economic cycles, as well as senior housing and continuing-care retirement communities. With half a dozen employees, ON Design typically tackles somewhere between 25 and 30 large-scale projects a year throughout the western United States. Nolan says the firm has avoided being pigeonholed into any stylistic niche, opting instead to look at each project in terms of its own identity. But Nolan and Van Mullem have backgrounds in historic preservation, and as a result ON Design often sees designs through that lens. “Our first impulse is usually to do a regional response to a prior historical solution,” Nolan says. “[We want] to be respectful of what has defined a given area in the past, and then bring our own interpretation to it.”

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responsible design Opposite: Located in Santa Barbara, CA, ON Design’s Las Palmas Viejas is an award-winning Mediterranean village that provides the homeowners with a close-knit luxury community whose homes provide luxury amenities and stunning views. Top: The Sandyland Cove home is an award-winning renovation that added a new second story onto an existing historic house. Middle: Door detail of a home in Las Palmas Viejas. Bottom: An interior living room for a Las Palmas Viejas home.

Take, for instance, the recent 40-unit rowhouse condo project ON Design worked on. “It was a courtyard with three-story rowhouses, and each unit has its own covered front porch,” Van Mullem says. “So you can sit on your porch and get to know your neighbors. It’s kind of a preautomobile setting, so we try to match the details but bring things up to today’s standards.”

Any number of things could be decreasing efficiency. You can create a tight, insulated building; but if it’s not built correctly, you’re going to have serious problems. Justin Van Mullem, Principal & Partner

On a recent addition to a Santa Barbara home, ON Design sought to meet new fire standards, increase energy efficiency, and present a historic feel. “We essentially took a 1970s house with a lot of glass and no insulation and turned it into a Spanish Revival, Mediterranean type of home,” Nolan says. Exterior wood was reduced, detailing was done in plaster, glass was dual-paned and tempered—all in the interest of increasing the likelihood of the structure surviving forest fires, which have threatened the area. A high-efficiency heater was installed, as were mission tiles on the roof that don’t absorb heat as quickly as concrete tile or shingles. Spray-foam insulation was used to both reduce outside noise and fuse possible leak areas, like outlets. “We created a very tight envelope,” Nolan says. Currently, ON Design—which is a member of the USGBC, Built Green Santa Barbara, and the Santa Barbara Contractors Association—is working on a master plan for a new senior-living facility that will incorporate additional sustainable elements, like compostable waste systems and rainwater harvesting. “We see sustainable projects as an important focus moving forward,” Van Mullem says. —David Hudnall

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Merryman Barnes Architects Inc. Female-owned firm with a passion for sustainable design makes its mark on the Pacific Northwest At a Glance Location: Portland, OR Founded: 1992 Employees: 7–8 Specialty: Master planning, feasibility studies, institutional projects, affordable housing, and residential design Annual Revenue: $700,000 Annual Projects: 15–30

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In a field mainly dominated by men, Merryman Barnes Architects has carved out a name for itself as one of the first entirely women-owned firms in the Pacific Northwest. “Because all-woman-owned architectural firms are rare, we’re more visible than many traditionally populated firms,” says Nancy Merryman, principal for the firm. She notes, however, that the firm’s sustained success is a result of its diversity and quality of work. “Because we do such a wide variety of work, especially for a smaller firm, we bring a fresh and informed perspective to each project,” Merryman continues. “We never start a project with preconceived ideas about style or organization. We always listen carefully because we know our clients’ needs and insights will lead us to create a solution that meets and, we hope, exceeds their expectations.” Originally founded as Robertson, Merryman, Barnes Architects in 1992, the firm was renamed in 2008, be-

coming Merryman Barnes Architects. The firm set its own bar high from the start, winning a local AIA design award for its very first project. Since that time, it has created many professionally acclaimed projects in the Greater Portland area, including the Frank Schmidt Pavilion at the Oregon Garden. Merryman Barnes also designed the 100th LEED project in the nation, and just completed work on the first two green street segments for an eco-district in Portland. In fact, approximately 40 percent of the firm’s staff are LEED APs, including the two principals. “LEED AP is a natural progression in our commitment to sustainable design and practice,” Merryman says. “We are lucky to live in Portland, Oregon—one of the leading exporters of sustainable design and development throughout the United States and to countries around the world.” Thus, sustainable design principles are the corner-

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stone of the company’s fundamental beliefs. “Our expertise in this area is key to the firm’s continued viability and success in this competitive marketplace,” Merryman continues. “Both the state of Oregon and the city of Portland have legislated aggressive energy and sustainability requirements for all publicly financed projects. Our local private clients also have very high sustainability and energy efficiency goals. So, as you can tell, this is not a specialty in our state anymore—it’s business as usual.” Merryman says one of the firm’s most memorable projects was actually its first. “Our first project—affordable housing for nonmigrant farm-worker families—af-

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fected us professionally and as a firm in ways we never could have predicted,” she says. “Because we so enjoyed listening to the potential tenants and property managers, realizing their unique characteristics and needs, and studying their culture, we were able to tailor the site and the individual units to reflect their preferences and support their specific needs.” Merryman Barnes Architects’ goal for the coming year is to return its project load to normal levels following the economic downturn of the past several years. The firm also is looking to create their first net-zeroenergy project.

Opposite Page: This residence in Vancouver, WA, is a modern interpretation of a Japanese aesthetic and takes advantage of southern views over Vancouver Lake. This Page: Old Town Lofts in Portland, OR, is a new forsale condominium project that provided for-sale housing in Portland's Old Town/ Chinatown neighborhood. The project is located at the north end of the district. The penthouse units take advantage of views to the river, city, and surrounding mountains.

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responsible design Left: Merryman Barnes served as the resident American architect for the Lan Su Chinese Garden in Portland, OR. The very unique and authentic garden was designed by The Garden Institute in Portland’s “Sister City” of Suzhou, China. The design features various covered bridges, pavilions, and a tea house.

Our goal has always been to work on projects that make a positive difference in our communities, and we also are committed to incorporating as many sustainable practices as possible in each project. Nancy Merryman, Principal

“Everyone deserves beautiful places to live and work,” Merryman says. “While beauty doesn’t have to be expensive, it does incorporate careful site planning, development of scale and volume, use of natural light, interesting use of materials, and environmental comfort for the occupants. Our goal has always been to work on projects that make a positive difference in our communities, and

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we also are committed to incorporating as many sustainable practices as possible in each project. And buildings people love are inherently sustainable, because they will be taken care of over time.” —Julie Edwards

INC

“Once you start in sustainable design, it becomes a passion,” Merryman says. The firm also hopes to deepen its relationships with various public and nonprofit clients with flexible-service contracts. These contracts allow the clients to either direct-select, or to do a limited request for proposals for smaller projects, saving the agencies significant financial and staff resources while benefiting smaller firms.

STRUCTURAL ENGINEERS

Providing innovative and compatible structural solutions to inspired and creative architectural design. Pictured: A reinforced cob wall that BKE designed in conjunction with designer Mark Lakeman for the Rebuilding Center in Portland, Oregon.

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responsible design

One Sky Homes. Proving that designing an energyefficient home doesn’t mean sacrificing luxury At a Glance Location: San Jose, CA Founded: 2000 Employees: 6 Specialty: Single-family homes, whole-house renovation, project management, and consulting

Some people might think that shifting from a career in software to one in residential design and construction is a radical stretch. Not Allen Gilliland. A self-professed “refugee from the Internet bubble,” he founded his company, One Sky Homes, in 2000, after deciding that he might prefer a more down-to-earth job. “I did a top-to-bottom remodel on a downsized home my wife and I bought, and rediscovered all the building skills I had learned from my dad,” Gilliland recalls. “It developed into a passion.” That passion developed into a business with six employees and two to three projects per year, of which 8–12 months are likely to be occupied with the construction phase. Unlike many contractors or architectural firms, San Jose, California-based One Sky Homes offers complete design-build services—that is, an integrated approach to the design and construction processes, from the initial concept through construction and completion. This approach, as Gilliland puts it, ensures that whoever is actually going to build the structure is also around

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during the design stage. As a result, both designers and builders are on top of a project’s complexities, costs, nuances, and quirks. “In the traditional model, the company that’s going to perform the construction doesn’t even see the design plans until they are completed and approved by a local building department,” Gilliland points out, “so projects suffer from cost, schedule, and quality issues.” Being less than conventional is nothing new for One Sky Homes. It is, after all, a Silicon Valley company, so pushing the envelope is practically a requirement. And that’s just what Gilliland has done. Since its founding, the firm has increasingly focused its efforts and talents on the relatively new (in the United States) field of highperformance design and construction. It’s a field that, once it takes root here, could potentially transform the home-construction industry. What exactly is a high-performance home? According to Gilliland, it’s a structure specifically designed and built with the goal of providing exceptional performance

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across several categories: safety (particularly in terms of indoor-air quality), durability, energy efficiency, water efficiency, sustainability, and comfort. Interestingly, the comfort factor—which includes thermal, acoustical, respiratory, visual, and functional elements—is what differentiates a high-performance building from the greenbuilding movement. Gilliland is quick to point out that

and beer are lukewarm, nothing else matters. The home is a failure.” Home performance, he insists, is a more precise concept—one that will ultimately resonate more powerfully and effectively with both the industry and its clients. To that end, One Sky Homes has partnered with the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Consortium for Advanced Residential Building to build its first zero-energy home. Following a two-year design phase, the firm broke ground in late spring 2010; when it is finished and ready for occupancy in spring 2011, the 3200-square-foot San Jose home will be able to meet all its energy needs in a sustainable fashion, thanks to rooftop solar panels and PV systems. What’s more, the DOE will monitor the home’s performance through data-logging sensors that have been installed throughout to measure everything, from temperature and relative humidity to energy and water consumption. It’s an experiment of sorts to see whether or not high-performance home construction is truly a viable option and whether or not it will catch on long enough to become an integral part of the home-building landscape. Gilliland is sure it will. It’s just a question of when. “The challenge for us is that this is still a small, early-adopter market segment,” Gilliland says. “We hope it will grow—and when it does, we’ll be able to leverage an early leadership position.” —Cristina Adams

From a homeowner’s perspective, comfort trumps everything. We like to refer to this as the ‘hot-showers and coldbeer factor.’ If the showers and beer are lukewarm, nothing else matters. The home is a failure. Allen Gilliland, Founder

the movement has had a very definite, positive impact on the construction industry and that he is an advocate of sustainable building. But he also notes that many green organizations’ rating systems for buildings fail to include ‘comfort’ as a necessary performance criterion. “From a homeowner’s perspective, comfort trumps everything,” Gilliland says. “We like to refer to this as the ‘hot-showers and cold-beer factor.’ If the showers

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Louis Design Group, Inc. Buffalo-based architectural firm embraces innovation, sustainable design, and collaboration There’s nothing quite like being your own boss. Sure, it carAt a Glance Location: Buffalo, NY Founded: 1993 Employees: 12 Specialty: Architectural design

Above: For the Lofts @ 136, an adaptive reuse of a 100-year-old warehouse building into student housing, the firm partnered with Schneider Design Architects. Photo: Katie Schneider Photography.

ries a hefty responsibility—budgets, employees, benefits, job bids, pink slips, bull markets, and recessions—but for those who think it’s all late nights and loneliness at the top, think again. Being in charge also means having creative control. That’s why, after years of working for other companies, Brian Louis started his own business. “I became an architect because I wanted to design buildings,” says Louis, who founded Louis Design Group in 1993. “Ironically, as firms grow, the first responsibility that typically gets delegated is design. Our business model allows me the freedom to perform the design work myself.” For Louis, freedom is what it’s all about: the freedom to craft a hands-on approach, to create rather than delegate, to take on a broad array of projects. It is, as he points out, the ability to maintain control over the direction of the practice and the work that it performs, which is varied in both scope and size. Indeed, the Buffalo, New York-based firm offers a complete menu of architectural design services—structural, mechanical, and electrical engineering as well as civil/site, landscape, and interior design—that take a project from the initial idea to the final product. Louis explains that the firm typically takes on work in the range of $250,000–$1 million, but smaller projects with a price tag of less than $50,000 and larger projects worth upwards of $8 million are also on the radar. They run the gamut, from residential and commercial jobs to retail and government/institutional. Indeed, Louis Design Group’s varied client list includes state government agencies, schools, real-estate developers, churches, entertainment complexes, financial-service companies, and more. Interestingly, general contractors and home

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builders also provide a steady stream of projects, accounting for up to 20 percent of the firm’s business. “We are good at collaborating with them during the design process,” Louis says. “That way, their customers get the design attention they deserve, but we still bring the project in within the customer’s budget.” Budgets—and keeping them from soaring out of control—often can go to the wayside in the world of design and construction. So it’s a point of pride with Louis that his firm is known for consistently delivering on time and within budget. In fact, Louis Design Group counts a number of nonprofits among its clients. “These groups are typically trying to accomplish a lot with very limited budgets,” Louis says, “and they find that we’re good at prioritizing their needs and wants through careful design and detailing.” In addition to giving customers a great bang for their buck, Louis Design Group also embraces innovation, evidenced by its membership in the Buffalo Design Collaborative (BDC). Founded in 1990, the BDC is a consortium of independent design firms—architects as well as graphic, interior, and landscape designers—who share space, equipment, and staff. This arrangement allows each firm to be small and nimble, while at the same time keeping overhead very low. This, in turn, means profits for the firms and savings for their clients in the form of competitive fees. It’s a win-win for everyone. BDC members, such as Louis, can stay involved in the creative process in a hands-on way, and also be choosy about how much work they take on. If, on the other hand, a big project comes along requiring a more sizable dedication of staff and time, that’s where the collaboration comes in. “We are able to put together whatever size project team we need to allow us to compete for and successfully

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Fred House, Buffalo Sales Associates 3120 Elmwood Avenue Buffalo NY 14217

716.875.5030 or 800.870.7595 Fax: 716.875.2119 Email: sales@buffalosales.net www.buffalosales.net

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Above: This mixed-use retail/residential project in Buffalo, NY, is the retrofit of an existing Queen Anne-style residence. The renovation features a two-story addition and exterior dining space. Louis Design Group completed the project in association with Schneider Design Architects. Photo: Katie Schneider Photography.

complete much larger projects than could normally be undertaken by a one- or two-person firm.” Louis says. “Our team offers over 120 years of combined professional experience, and we use it to great advantage on every project we commit to.”

The continued development of green technologies and construction methods, along with the potential for a new green economy, will provide opportunities for architects who incorporate leading-edge technology into their building designs. Brian Louis, Principal Architect & Owner

Looking ahead, Louis is excited about the growing trends in sustainable building—something that he has pushed for since his days in architecture school. “The continued development of green technologies and construction methods, along with the potential for a new green economy, will provide opportunities for architects who incorporate leading-edge technology into their building designs,” he says. “And I intend for Louis Design Group to become a regional leader in this field.” —Cristina Adams

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Photo: Lee Meier

DreamBuilder Custom Homes, Inc. Comprehensive technical proficiency brings a high-performance approach to high-end efficient homes Tim Walker has been in the construction industry his At a Glance Location: Tigard, OR Founded: 1999 Employees: 4 Specialty: Custom homes and remodels

Above: This high-performance home's Nichiha-brand siding was selected because of its beautiful, long-lasting, and low-maintenance qualities. The home's solar panels were placed for optimum performance but minimal visibility, while the landscaping features an automated-drip irrigation system and storm-retention system.

entire life, having built his first house when he was just 22 years old. Now, Walker owns and operates DreamBuilder Custom Homes, based in Tigard, Oregon. The company focuses on building custom and spec homes, as well as remodeling projects, with Walker specializing in the high-end market and taking advantage of his technical proficiency to build high-performance homes. Walker, whose father was a mechanical contractor, spent 15 years doing mechanical work in the commercial sector before attending 5 years of night school for an apprenticeship program. “The technical background I have means that I understand equipment, specifications, and details at another level,” he says. “A lot of general contractors are too general and rely on their subs for everything, but I bring full technical skills to the table.” By growing up in a smaller niche—a subcategory on an industry—Walker has put himself ahead of many competitors. The approach, Walker says, ultimately helps clients get what they want. “I can work deeply with engineers to decide together which products and systems will make the house work best,” he says, adding that other contractors defer to subs who, in turn, choose products based solely on familiarity. On a recent project, Walker hired

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a mechanical engineer to assist with system design and selection, ultimately allowing the customer to maximize the project budget. DreamBuilder customers receive a home that performs as intended and maximizes the return on investment. The company started in 1999 and completes between two and eight homes per year, most of which fall between $500,000 and $2 million. “We fill a high-end niche, but we like to stay nimble to meet the needs of a diverse market,” Walker says. “Our customers are friends for life because we build relationships. The company has developed a reputation for adding both individuality and value to each DreamBuilder home.” Walker draws upon his vast mechanical and technical knowledge to add that value. His company is known for its efficient and high-performance structures. In 2009, DreamBuilder completed a 2,500-square-foot home in Portland that was ranked by EarthAdvantage as one of the greenest homes in Oregon. The home is also certified by Energy Star and includes efficient ductwork that prevent air leaks; a furnace 15 percent more efficient than a standard unit; an eight-inch-thick wall with a R-36 rating; a 3.5-kilowatt solar array; a solar hot-water system; Energy Star lights in more than half of fixtures; sealed

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responsible design Opposite: The great room of this high-performance home was designed around a full-height rock wall with a fully concealed gas fireplace. The mantle was handmade from wood flooring salvaged from the previous home on the property. The hearth serves as the home’s focal point and remains a favorite place for guests. Top Right: In the kitchen, the owner elected to pair the existing appliances with custom-designed cabinets, solid-surface countertops, and skylights. Bottom Right: DreamBuilder outfits its homes with energy-efficient fixtures and high-end materials, much to the pleasure of its clients.

gas fireplaces for healthier indoor air; an on-site storm management system; and recycled job waste. The efficient approach continues to Walker’s team—he has just four full-time employees on the payroll despite working simultaneously on custom homes and remodels. “I like to use very specialized tradespeople in all areas so everything is done exactly right,” he explains. One of Walker’s consultants is a designer who works with clients on each project to select colors, materials, accents, finish-

The technical background I have means that I understand equipment, specifications, and details at another level. Tim Walker, Owner

es, and other items. “Customers are often overwhelmed if you make them choose everything,” he says. “Our designer makes it a fun process for them and ensures that all details of a project come together smoothly.” Another DreamBuilder hallmark is the company’s refusal to waste space. Every last inch is finished or turned into storage instead of lying unused or walled off. Careful planning also contributes to Walker’s efficient approach. In fact, DreamBuilder recently completed a 6,000-square-foot house in just seven months. The $2 million project was finished five months early, and the owner reaped the associated savings. “Pulling off a large project quickly and competently requires good organization and a good team,” Walker says. He begins scheduling before projects commence, relying on computer-generated papers that are updated weekly so each worker understands his duties and timelines from start to finish. DreamBuilder views itself as a true partner to a home builder. By offering his technical expertise and skilled tradesmen, Walker ensures that each decision will be made only to serve the needs of the project. By adding value, focusing on performance, and moving quickly, he ensures each owner will get a little more than they expected when the project is finished. —Zach Baliva

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Arthur J. Henn and Associates. A lifelong passion for building underpins sustainable residential architecture At a Glance Location: Roselle Park, NJ Founded: 2000 Employees: 4 Specialty: Architectural design Annual Projects: 100

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since the age of 10, Art Henn would help his electrician dad by running wire on construction sites; this early introduction led to a lifetime interest in residential construction. Now he and his award-winning architectural design firm, Arthur J. Henn and Associates, are renowned for their residential designs. “Residential work is very interesting because each client has different tastes and needs, and each home has different problems to be solved,” Henn says. The firm, licensed in both New Jersey and New York, completes approximately 100 projects annually, ranging in cost from $30,000 to $1 million. Although the firm focuses mostly on residential renovations and adaptive reuse, it is also adept at designing small and medium commercial structures. “We never turn away from small projects, because a satisfied client with a small project can always lead to a referral for a larger project,” Henn explains. “Even small projects are an opportunity to design.” Henn is also a licensed building inspector for the State of New Jersey, and he says this background is invaluable when working on-site with contractors. In addition, he is a LEED AP and member of the American Institute of Ar-

chitects, while the firm is a member of both the National Kitchen and Bath Association and the USGBC. Although most of the firm’s clients arrive through referrals, it also advertises online with ServiceMagic and through local home shows. In 2009, the company website was extensively overhauled with added features such as digital animation and an expanded portfolio section. “We designed it to be an educational tool for our clients and potential clients, and are pleased that many people find us through our website as well,” Henn says. Recently, the firm invested in specialized software and training, and has diversified their services even more by providing detailed kitchen and bath design. As with most national architectural firms, Arthur J. Henn and Associates tries to educate its clients on sustainable design. “There’s an awareness of sustainability and green efficiencies in the public, but it seems that many want to hold onto their dollars right now, even though they know there would be long-term savings,” Henn says. Most of the firm’s clients want their properties to meet a LEED standard without the additional cost of LEED certification. To this end, Henn and his associates design with energy efficiency in mind, encouraging

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There’s an awareness of sustainability and green efficiencies in the public, but it seems that many want to hold onto their dollars right now, even though they know there would be long-term savings. Art Henn, President

their clients to incorporate the energy-efficient products and concepts with a short payback period. Some of these items include added insulation, double-pane windows with “Smart Sun” glass, daylighting, and energy-efficient mechanical systems. They also suggest small interior finish changes such as high-efficiency lighting, rapidly renewable materials such as bamboo or cork floors, watersaving devices such as dual-flush toilets, and low-VOC paints to maintain better indoor environmental quality. One example of the firm’s sustainable designs was a 2008 adaptive reuse of an historic barn into residential space. The barn was stripped down, and after a new foundation was laid, the refurbished timber frame was re-installed along with SIPS panels. The design included an extensive list of energy-efficient products, as well as roof solar panels. In 2009, Arthur J. Henn and Associates transformed an inefficiently designed split-level ranch in Westfield, New Jersey, into a 6,250-square-foot extended Colonial

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while retaining 25 percent of the original home. This total gut renovation and expansion project cost $1 million and took just shy of a year to complete. Henn believes the key to a successful business is having an excellent and creative team that listens to each client’s needs while providing an exceptional product at a fair price. This winning formula is seen in the awards the company has received in the past five years. —Joyce Finn

Opposite: Arthur J. Henn and Associates was able to preserve more than 25% of the original structure of the Petrovich home while completing a total home transformation and offering an inviting, warm, and spacious environment for a large family. Left: The home, before its renovation, was a split-level Colonial home that suffered a lack of balance and an inefficient floor plan.

FROM DREAMS TO REALITY... Serving New Jersey & New York Residential and Commercial Architecture We understand the significant investment our clients are making when renovating or building their home or workplace. Our goal is to provide our clients with a comfortable, attractive, energy efficient, and affordable environment.

20 East Sumner Avenue Roselle Park, NJ 07204 908.709.6734 www.AJHarchitect.com

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Fennell Purifoy Architects. New green technologies create successful public buildings At a Glance Location: Little Rock, AR Founded: 1985 Employees: 10 Specialty: Residential, educational, and clerical buildings Annual Revenue: $1–1.25 million

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When Little Rock, Arkansas-based Fennell Purifoy Architects (FPA) set out to adapt an abandoned community center for use as a nature center and state office for Audubon, Arkansas, the team faced a considerable challenge. The masonry building, left over from a demolished public-housing project, had bricked-over windows and zero thermal insulation. To prepare the structure for its wide range of community needs, FPA wrapped the walls in straw bales, added layers of mud and lime plasters, and applied corrugated-metal siding. The team also retrofitted the roof with heavy insulation and reflective roofing, which funnels rainwater into cisterns for irrigation; highefficiency mechanical equipment; and computer-controlled lighting, to maximize energy savings. While the full-service architectural firm has perhaps more visually stunning projects in its profile, this one speaks especially well to the FPA philosophy. “When you can reuse a building and improve everything about it,” says founder and principal Tom Fennell, “it’s a very good thing.” And when a project’s design approach dovetails with the client’s mission—here, allowing Audubon’s conservation champions to use their new rehabilitated home as a teaching tool for environmental science—it’s even better. FPA calls it “performance design”: assessing the needs

of a client through an extensive discovery stage to create holistic design solutions, eventually delivering the most building for the money. To best accomplish that task, the firm asks discriminating questions and collaborates on answers, underscoring the project with a sense of responsibility and resourcefulness. To begin, programming is considered as a basic service, since developing a problem as deeply as possible allows FPA to determine the best solution: surveys, questionnaires, and other relevant streams of information are collected prior to even the first drawing. When clients don’t know exactly how to supply the answers that would be most helpful, FPA just gets more creative with questions. “We try to trace the footprints of [potential] users in and out of the buildings,” Fennell explains. “We ask: What are you trying to accomplish? What spaces do you enjoy? What is this building supposed to do?” The collaborative nature of the 10-person work environment lends itself well to this process. Operating basically as a studio, with no private offices, the firm’s interactive atmosphere is one in which the best idea is the one used—whether it comes from Fennell; his partner, principal Phil Purifoy; or an intern. FPA is popularly known as a good place to earn Intern Development Pro-

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gram credits because of the breadth of project exposure. Sustainability has been a major focus since the firm’s founding in 1985. Cooling loads take up two-thirds of energy demands in Little Rock, so good design can minimize clients’ eco-impact while considerably lowering their energy bills. Wide overhangs, big porches, and correct site orientation are critical design elements in

We try to trace the footprints of users in and out of the buildings. We ask: ‘What are you trying to accomplish? What spaces do you enjoy? What is this building supposed to do?’ Tom Fennell, Founder & Principal

the Little Rock region to help control daylighting, retain stormwater, and reduce solar gain. “Executing design in a traditional style doesn’t come easily to a lot of architects,” Fennell says, “but traditional architecture was very responsive to the environment.” This general approach goes for all the projects FPA takes on: libraries, colleges, and churches, as well as highend residential and affordable housing structures. For the recently completed Fine Arts Center at East Arkansas Community College, FPA spotlighted flexibility, ultimately designing a convertible auditorium: total capacity is 1,100, but the space can be divided by a moveable partition into a 500-fixed-seat theatre and a banquet/exhibit hall with retractable seating for 600. Another project, for top online bicycle-retailer Competitive Cyclist’s office and warehouse building, features custom solar-shading

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devices, an open floor plan with natural light, and open double-height spaces, allowing air to stratify. And at the 13,500-square-foot Dee Brown Public Library in southwest Little Rock, annual energy costs land at $1.05 per square foot—making it one of the most efficient institutional buildings in Arkansas. Architecture that intelligently considers both aesthetics and the surrounding environment grows ever more popular, but as the firm points out on its website, FPA has carried out this mission for years: “What is now referred to as LEED architecture, we just called responsible design.” —Annie Fischer

Opposite: Lobby and gallery of the Fine Arts Center at East Arkansas Community College in Forrest City, AR. Photo: Ken West Photography. Left: Exterior view of the Audubon Community Center. Right: Exterior view of the Competitive Cyclist bike shop in Little Rock.

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Sopris Homes, LLC. Building distinctive, highperformance luxury homes throughout Colorado Sopris Homes emphasized energy efficiency early on, At a Glance Location: Boulder, CO Founded: 1994 Employees: 5 Specialty: High-end custom homes Annual Revenue: $8 million

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before the green movement gained momentum across the country. Based in Boulder, Colorado, the luxury- and custom-home builder focuses on the Denver metropolitan area and is one of the first builders in Colorado to build homes to the EPA’s Energy Star standards. John Stevens, manager of Sopris Homes, says energy efficiency and home comfort cover many facets, including indoor-air quality, mold resistance, and home durability. “We’re green in the sense we’re all about energy efficiency—not the aspect of green such as using ground-up pop bottles for carpeting,” Stevens says. This efficiency push started in 1999, when Stevens and his wife were building their own house and installed state-of-the-art HVAC equipment, including furnaces, water heaters, and a heat-recovery ventilator, with limited benefit. “This led us on a mission to try and do things better,” Stevens says of the holistic approach. “If ductwork isn’t installed properly, there’s very little ben-

efit from a high-efficiency furnace. Improper insulation doesn’t help.” Through Masco Home Services Inc., Sopris Homes offers homebuyers an energy usage and comfort guarantee. “With a computer analysis, we’re able to determine how much energy is needed to heat and cool a house for a year,” Stevens says. Masco underwrites the guarantee and will the pay the difference if the amount exceeds the guarantee, although to date it has never had to pay out. Sopris achieves the energy goals through advanced framing techniques, improved insulation systems, and efficient ductwork. These building practices also help ensure that there are no comfort problems. “The comfort guarantee states that no two rooms will be more than three degrees different in temperature,” Stevens says, adding this will account for no more cold basements or hot rooms above the garage. In a region with temperature extremes of 100 degrees in the summer and down to zero degrees in the winter, homebuyers of a

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Colorado Mountain Lodge and European Country are the two most popular home styles constructed by Sopris Homes. 4,500-square-foot, above-grade home have been pleased with energy bills averaging $120 per month. Sopris Homes recently completed a 6,500-square-foot, zero-energy home with high-end finishes that produces more electricity than it consumes. Stevens said that home uses a ground-source, geothermal heat pump and a 14-kilowatt photovoltaic system that produces electricity and a highly efficient thermal envelope. Thanks to efforts like these, the company has garnered some acclaim in the Denver area, with awards from the Home Builders Association of Metro Denver—including the Raising the Bar Award for a 5,500-square-foot, urban infill home in Boulder. The home was challenging to build because of its location on a steep hill. “We brought in 1,000 tons of moss rock boulders from Wyoming that varied in sized from 10 to 20 tons each,” Stevens says, noting the rocks are similar to the area’s indigenous rocks. That home took about a year to build, including five months for the site work. Sopris works on about 10 building and major remodel projects every year. The Colorado Mountain Lodge and

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All photos depict the Sierra Residence, which was the 2009 Metro Denver HBA’s Raising the Bar Award winner for Urban Infill Home of the Year.

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European Country are the two prevailing home styles that Sopris Homes uses. The European style features a cottage look, with stone and stucco, steeper roofs and curves, and softer, delicate architectural elements. With the Colorado style, there’s less pitch and more exposed beam work. These two home styles are in tune with Colorado homes’ aura, which feature a natural look. “In our part of the world, its natural finishes, not painted,” Stevens says, adding that the firm will utilize such looks as natural granite countertops. Currently, Sopris Homes is building 25 houses in the Sanctuary of Huntington Trails, an established customhome neighborhood in Westminster, Colorado, between

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Boulder and Denver, with homes starting around $550,000. Homes built by Sopris are known for distinctive features, including an owner’s entry with coat closet and a bead-board-backed bench with numerous hooks and cubbies. Additionally, a functional Home Center is designed to provide a place to stash those briefcases and backpacks. In a highly competitive and tough market, Sopris Homes has carved out a niche for itself. Stevens says an in-house architect, top-notch project managers, and a CPA/controller with more than 30 years of experience helps the company stand out and will continue to distinguish the company for years to come. —Karen Gentry

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Sustainable Architecture, LLC. Customer demand drives green design to the forefront of firm’s offerings At a Glance Location: Moore, SC Founded: 2002 Employees: 1 Specialty: Green design Annual Revenue: $75,000

Above: In this sustainable home, the custom fireplace and masonry wall serve as a thermal mass to reduce energy consumption.

When the standard for LEED for Homes was enacted, Bob Bourguignon, principal of Moore, South Carolinabased Sustainable Architecture, became one of the first architects in the state to become a LEED AP. Bourguignon, who designed his first energy-efficient home in 1978, has noticed an upward trend in the past few years in the Southeast toward energy-efficient residential construction. “New construction is changing in the Southeast—sometimes grudgingly, but it is changing,” he says. “At first, everyone said it wouldn’t work here, [that] it might work well in the north, or even in California, but not here. Now energy-efficient homes are a driving force in the area, and so much so that some builders are doing their entire line as Energy Star homes.” Bourguignon discovered the US Green Building Council in 1998. “When I looked at their proposals for green buildings, I thought these guys have everything,” he explains. “They were doing things I never even thought of, such as saving water and using healthy materials. I knew immediately that’s what I needed to do.” Unfortunately, at the time, his two business partners thought sustainable energy-efficient designs were a fad and would only alienate customers. An office stalemate continued until 2001, when one of their customers requested a green house. “The owners gave me complete

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architectural license and told me to have fun and to use my imagination,” Bourguignon says. “I sure did.” Bourguignon has another first to his credit. In 1998, he was with one of the first architecture firms in South Carolina to use Revit. “We were a new firm and had to buy all new software, so we installed Revit,” he says. “I fell in love with it.” In 2002, Bourguignon started his own architecture and design firm, completing approximately four to five residential projects per year. Among potential new projects is a five-acre development that will contain 34 townhomes and 12,000 square feet of retail space located in Columbia, South Carolina. The complex is planned to be LEED for Homes, LEED-NC, and LEED-ND certified. One design project nearing completion is a residential property sited on a field at the top of a mountain three miles out of a city in northwest Georgia. The house, when finished, will be completely off the electric grid. A tower at one end of the 2,236-square-foot dwelling will be used for heat ventilation and viewing the spectacular surrounding countryside. This zero-energy dwelling has a second building specifically built to house the 6.8-kilowatt photovoltaic system. Additionally, the ICF walls have an R-factor of 38, and there are SIP panels on the roof for greater insulation. The house was built so that

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Our Services Include

Making your home energy efficient is more than just “going green” • • • • • • • • • • •

New Home Energy Star Certification New Home Indoor Air Plus Certification Certification of Plans as “Designed for Energy Star”. Blower Door testing for homes Duct Leakage testing for homes Commercial and mult-family building blower door infiltration and zonal testing Comprehensive Home Energy Audits Building shell air sealing Duct system air sealing Fiberglass and cellulose insulation removal and disposal Manual J load calculations

Our Services Include • New Home Energy Star Certification We travel throughout the Carolinas, Georgia, and Tennessee • New Home Indoor Air Plus Certification Contact us at: • Certification of Plans as “Designed for Energy Star”. Tel: 864-271-0244 Fax: 864-752-1225 Email: info@bentongreenenergy.com Web: www.bentongreenenergy.com • Blower Door testing for homes Mail: 2320 E. North Street St. Ste. RR 101 Greenville, SC 29607 • Duct Leakage testing for homes • Commercial and mult-family building blower door infiltration and zonal testing • Comprehensive Home Energy Audits • Building shell air sealing • Duct system air sealing • Fiberglass and cellulose insulation removal and disposal • Manual J load calculations We travel throughout the Carolinas, Georgia, and Tennessee

Mail: 2320 E. North Street St. Ste. RR 101 Greenville, SC 29607 Tel: 864-271-0244 Fax: 864-752-1225 Email: info@bentongreenenergy.com Web: www.bentongreenenergy.com Top: Sited at the southern edge of a meadow on the top of a small mountain near Ellijay, GA, this 2,236-square-foot farmhouse is completely off the grid. The residents are able to grow vegetables and raise livestock in the meadow, fulfilling their dream of living on a functioning farm. Bottom: The two-story home also features a large root cellar, a solar-power utility building, and a tower serves dual purposes as both a scenic overlook and a heat-capturing chimney.

it did not disturb the forest, and the owner’s horses will graze on the nearby meadows and farmlands. Other energy efficiencies include a geothermal heat pump, no-VOC paint, and a masonry Finnish heater (and bread-baking oven) as a heat source. The dwelling will have a root cellar for food storage of vegetables grown onsite, insulated concrete-slab floors, and salvaged-wood cabinets and doors. According to the owners, the home, including solar, will cost about $360,000 or $125.00 per constructed square foot after tax credits. “I designed everything in the house to meet LEED standards,” Bourguignon says. “If I could’ve talked the owner into connecting to the grid, she’d be making money.” Bourguignon believes that if a house is LEED certified then it will sell well above the competition. He mentions a Realtor friend who completed a gut rehab on a historic home in Spartanburg, South Carolina, to Earthcraft Homes certification standards. It sold in two weeks for almost $100,000 over the selling price of competitive homes in the area. Green and sustainable building has indeed become a realty force in the Carolinas. —Joyce Finn

es Include

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• Solar PV in a variety of mounts • Solar-hydronic combination systems

w Home Energy Star Certification • NABCEP certified in electric and hot water w Home Indoor Air Plus Certification rtification of Plans as “Designed for Energy Star”. • Residential and commercial wer Door testing for homes ct Leakage testing for homes mmercial and mult-family building blower door infiltration and zonal testing 608.935.3670          info@driftless.com mprehensive Home Energy Audits american builders quarterly lding shell air sealing 124

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Northworks Architects & Planners LLC. Timeless quality in modern, budget-conscious, and sustainable designs At a Glance Location: Chicago, IL Founded: 2005 Employees: 9 Specialty: Full-service architecture and planning 2009 Revenue: $750,000

Above: Northworks' Sidney Peak project in Routt County, CO, combines American frontier-inspired architecture and state-ofthe-art sustainability like solar photovoltaic panels.

Northworks Architects & Planners prides itself on being a forward-thinking design firm that keeps its clients’ best interests at heart. The Chicago-based company strives to create buildings that are both modern and timeless without breaking the clients’ bank. Cofounder William Bickford says those principles have helped Northworks to become an up-and-coming design firm of choice for Windy City professionals. “We approach our projects with an innovative and creative style, but we also are very grounded in the reality of schedules and budgets,” Bickford says. Northworks was founded in 2005 by Bickford and Austin DePree, two friends who met as freshmen attending Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. The duo attended separate graduate schools and worked for various architecture firms before striking out on their own. By the time Bickford and DePree founded Northworks, their long-standing friendship provided a framework for a strong business partnership, Bickford says. “What we went through in our very formative years allows us to have complete trust and faith in what we each do.” Northworks’ recent work includes the Sidney Peak Residence in northern Colorado, a project that was contracted by a Chicago client who was familiar with North-

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works and asked the firm to design his vacation house. The 4000-square-foot single-family home operates on solar power, while incorporating a modern design that complements Colorado’s “old frontier” style, Bickford says. “It’s an innovative look.” In 2009, the firm redesigned the historic Hotchkiss Chapel at Bellefontaine Cemetery in St. Louis. Northworks preserved much of the building’s original character, which opened in 1905, while incorporating skylights and design updates to make the building more inviting for visitors. Clients who have been happy with Northworks’ previous projects have served as word-of-mouth advertising for the company. In fact, many of the firm’s residential clients are now contracting Northworks to design restaurants and other businesses. This organic diversification has put Northworks on a recent growth track. The company generated $750,000 in 2009 revenue and expects that number to grow by 25–30 percent in 2010. In addition, new work has allowed the company to hire new employees—Northworks has nine staff members, up from five in 2008. Northworks resides in a 7,000-square-foot building in Chicago’s Elston Corridor, an industrial area that has

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started seeing new development in recent years. The founders named their fledgling firm after an old steel company that used to stand across the street from their offices. Over time, Bickford and DePree have used their firm’s design skills to renovate and redevelop the building. Today, Bickford says the company’s offices serve as

We are a young firm, and our clients, our consultants, and our contractors are encouraged by our endless enthusiasm. William Bickford, Cofounder

a testament to the quality of Northworks’ work. “We experiment with certain materials and details inside and outside of our space, so the clients see and respect that we also own our building, and we’re taking good care of it,” Bickford says. “It’s become a real emblem of our practice.” Bickford hopes Northworks’ innovative reputation will continue bringing in new business for the company as it continues to grow. “We are a young firm, and our clients, our consultants, and our contractors are encouraged by our endless enthusiasm,” Bickford says. “Sometimes it’s contagious.” —Sheena Harrison

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Top Left and Right: Originally built in 1988, the Graceland Chapel's granite stone exterior and entry were restored to their original style thanks to Northworks' extensive restoration work. Middle: Northworks fully renovated the Hotchkiss Chapel to meet today's building criteria. Bottom: Aerial rendering of the Lakeside Gardens in St. Louis, MO.

A Message from Driftless Solar LLC Driftless Solar LLC is a certified Solar Electric and Solar Thermal full-service installer with a specialty in whole building solar. Driftless Solar is proud to provide the photovoltaic system for Northworks' innovative Dodgeville project. May the sun always shine on Northworks' projects.

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FM Solutions Inc. A five-part sustainable business strategy perpetuates an extensive green-design portfolio At a Glance Location: Phoenix, AZ Founded: 2002 Employees: 40 Specialty: Project design, management, and consulting Annual Revenue: $5 million

Above: Interior of the 12,000-square-foot APS headquarters in Phoenix.

At FM Solutions, five diverse business units complement one another in a way that makes the Arizona-based design, project-management, and facility-consulting firm self-sustaining—to the tune of $5 million in annual revenues. The facility-consulting work naturally feeds into other divisions, so that when a series of issues is identified in a master plan as requiring additional needs, the company’s other groups are in a strong position to take care of them, making FM Solutions a turnkey operation. The element of sustainability embedded in that structure is fitting. Founded in 2002 by former members of a facility-management team at public power-utility Salt River Project, FM Solutions is considered to be the LEED expert in the Phoenix metropolitan area. In addition to that distinction, president Curtis Slife says that the company also excels in project management and design, covering both architectural and interior bases; those divisions are the firm’s top two moneymakers. Successful planning, execution, and support thereafter have firmly established FM Solutions as a quality provider for all stages of a facility’s life cycle—“from cradle to grave,” Slife says. The facility-consulting group, led by Peggy Lundeen, is the next largest earner. This group applies mathematical projections to optimize strategic facility operations issues and oversees services that include master-plan development, building programming, and LEED services

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and design. In this multiphase process, FM Solutions comprehensively assesses data, including input from existing reports, standardization requirements, staff interviews and questionnaires, and an exploration of alternatives—in addition to much more—to prepare and present a detailed final report. FM Solutions has recently completed master plans for the largest nuclear plant in the world, Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station, and for the largest county in the country, Arizona’s Coconino County. The firm also brings in revenue through the Property Management team, as well as its newest division, Field Services, created as an extension for that group. Field Services provides ongoing handyman-type services for the company’s facility clients, from move coordination and equipment ergonomics to tweaking doors—valueadded fixes meant “to improve owner equipment, availability, reliability, and efficiency,” states FM Solutions’ website. Phoenix was one of the hardest-hit cities in the economic crisis, and FM Solutions works diligently to maintain a shaky position. “The biggest challenge is just to stay in the business,” Slife says. “There’s almost no work. We’re lucky because we have the lion’s share, but competition continues to shrink, and we don’t expect to see any up-trends in Phoenix until 2012.” FM Solutions instead focuses on continuing to

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ARCHITECTURE + DESIGN FACILITY CONSULTING PROJECT MANAGEMENT FIELD SERVICES PROPERTY MANAGEMENT

Above: Interior rendering of the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station's outage-support building, one of FM Solutions' newer projects.

succeed in the areas where its competitive edge has been established. In 2005, the company worked closely with General Dynamics on its C4 Systems facility, a 650,000-square-foot manufacturing and office building in Scottsdale—and the first industrial building of its size in the United States to achieve LEED certification. Since then, the firm’s expertise has become particularly well

Our position is that any new building we design should be LEED-certifiable by the end of the project, without additional costs to the owner.

Visit us online at www.fmsolutions.net mlange@fmsolutions.net | 602.265.7900

Relationship Focused, Result Driven.

MORTISE & TENON

Curtis Slife, President

regarded in the field of existing buildings, and FM Solutions is the only company in the state completing LEED projects for O&M. The consulting group’s commissioning and retro-commissioning services typically bring buildings’ energy loads down by around 30 percent with the upgrade costs typically recovered within one or two years. “Our position is that any new building we design should be LEED certifiable by the end of the project without additional costs to the owner [other than the fees required by the USGBC],” Slife says. “If we’re taking over an existing building, it should be certifiable within five years.” The firm’s diversity is a key element to its success, but Slife also points out that FM Solutions is not projectfocused but relationship-focused—unlike 99 percent of the competition. “As long as we continue to provide outstanding service,” he says, “business can basically selfperpetuate.” —Annie Fischer

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F I N E C A R P E N T RY Contemporary and Traditional Craftsmanship

www.chicagocarpenter.wordpress.com 773.573.3157

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SPACE Architects + Planners LLC. Multidisciplinary firm approaches each design challenge with open channels of communication between staff and clients SPACE Architects + Planners has been standing at attention since 2003. In fact, Jean Dufresne, principal and At a Glance partner, will be the first to tell you that his firm was built on a successful foundation of paying attention to both Location: details and clients. Chicago, IL As a boutique architecture firm, SPACE specializes in Founded: 2003 the Chicago-area market, from residential to commercial Employees: projects. “We handle every aspect of a project, from site 4 selection, design, bid/permit/construction documents, Specialty: interior design, construction administrations, and final Residential and delivery,” Dufresne notes. The LEED-accredited firm commercial projects also infuses all of its projects with as much environmenAnnual Revenue: tally responsible design elements as possible. $500,000 Unique company qualities include SPACE’s attention to detail and the completeness of its drawings. “We’re very particular, and we take a lot of time to do internal reviews before things leave the office,” Dufresne says. He believes that this, unfortunately, is not common practice. “It’s just something that we’ve prided ourselves on since we opened our doors, because we wanted to make sure Above: The SPACEthat quality was one of the things we had control over. So, designed Logan Square the best job we can do and the most complete drawings Kitchen, located in Chicago, that we can do, the better.” is a shared-use kitchen SPACE is also known for its excellent problemand event space. Photo: solving abilities, and Dufresne, along with his associates, Ingrid Bonne.

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constantly tries to come up with solutions by approaching problems from different angles. “We always look at things differently because there’s never just one way to solve a problem—so we put in that extra effort and talk to each other about options,” he says. “I’m so happy that I have people to bounce ideas off of and ask them if I’m missing anything.” Reaching such great professional strides in a relatively short time span, SPACE’s short-term goal is to maintain its recently renewed momentum. “Our longterm outlook is to grow into new markets, expand the company to about 20 people, and keep improving the quality of our services,” Dufresne says. While keeping up with its current workload, the firm has also challenged itself to maintain the work stream coming in while simultaneously growing at a controlled and appropriate rate. “We have been working hard to set ourselves apart and to get the work we are getting,” Dufresne says. “We simply want to keep that going and improve.” Dufresne plans to expand SPACE into new markets by word of mouth—an approach that has proven lucrative so far. “I’d say 100 percent of our business is word of mouth, and the nice thing is we’ve managed to build a solid reputation from the work that we do,” he says. In fact, many of SPACE’s customers started off as residential clients who

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Top Left: Front elevation of an infill Chicago townhouse. Photo: SPACE Architects + Planners. Top Right: SPACE's designsavvy work is on display in the dining room of the Hoyne Residence in Chicago. Photo: Ingrid Bonne. Left: Stylish nursery in the Hoyne Residence. Photo: Ingrid Bonne.

later hired or recommended the firm for commercial jobs. For example, the firm just finished two bars in Chicago— projects that were a direct result of doing an addition for one of the owner’s house.

Sustainability to me is leaving as small a wake as possible as we move through our daily efforts. We should disturb as little as possible. Stephen Cook, Division Account Manager

After being asked to consider SPACE’s keys to being successful, Dufresne acknowledges the four traits of his company and staff: respect of the client, listening to the client, quality of plans and documents, and knowledge of the city process. He explains that proper communication within the company allows SPACE to excel at these traits. “We understand that we were trained as architects, not as bosses,” he says. “As a result, we have learned to be better leaders, to listen to our staff, and to motivate and inspire them as best we can.” Although Dufresne admits that this

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has been the most challenging part of his job, it is something he truly enjoys, and he believes it is something that should be constantly worked on. “We are blessed to have a great team that is always willing to grow, learn, and work with us.” By continuing to work hard to set SPACE apart, Dufresne believes the firm will continue getting ample projects and satisfying innumerable clients in the future. “Above all else, our team just wants to make sure that clients receive a product that they’re happy with. That’s why we pay such close attention to detail, are very diligent about what we do, listen really well to our clients, and stay involved in all of our projects from beginning to end.” —Christopher Cussat

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Building Legacies

Texas Log Homes ................................................... Meyer Buildings, Inc. .............................................. Ferrier Builders ...................................................... Busk Inc. ............................................................... Studio [intrigue] Architects .....................................

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Pictured: The airy living room of Ferrier Builders’ Heather’s Home project.

Photo: Terri Glanger Photograpy


Texas Log Homes. Fulfilling city-dweller dreams of a country-living lifestyle At a Glance Location: Chappell Hill, TX Founded: 2000 Employees: 4—6 Specialty: Log and stone homes

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clients seeking rustic living need not look further than Texas Log Homes. For more than 10 years, the company has been building custom homes that fit a comfortable country lifestyle, attracting a steady clientele of homeowners who desire a more laid-back way of life. “From the beginning, our philosophy has been to build unique homes for special people,” says Bill Sterman, co-owner of Texas Log Homes. “Most of our customers have always felt the urge to escape the city for the pace of country living. Their desire for this change in lifestyle makes it much easier for me to fulfill their dreams.” Sterman and his partner, both with more than 35 years’ building experience, also own Cedar & Stone Concepts, a residential construction company offering custom-built cedar and stone homes. Since the companies’ formation in 2000, they have gone from crafting log-home shells to turnkey timber and stone projects reminiscent of the hill-county style, in addition to lodgeand resort-style projects. Sterman says the company’s rural location in Chappell Hill, Texas—which is conveniently located between Houston and Austin—allows it to easily appeal to clients looking for a home in the country. And although the company is willing to travel wherever they need to go for

a project, he says, costs usually keep its services in Texas— specifically in the southeast and south-central regions. What’s different about Texas Log Homes, however, is the company’s goal: to fit each home it builds to the owners’ wants and needs by offering custom options usually found in high-end homes. “We’ve created a niche of building quality, custom homes with a comfortable, rustic feel,” Sterman says. “Most of our customers have purchased acreage in the country and want to create a secondary residence as a retreat, but they still want the amenities of city living. Often, they are planning for their transition to retirement and want the home to be their primary residence after they retire.” Most of the homes Texas Log Homes builds are modest by today’s standards, ranging from 1,500–2,500 square feet; however, the company has completed several notable projects, including a $1 million family compound for a Texas lottery winner. “We created an 8,200-square-foot home reminiscent of a Swiss chalet ski lodge—specifically to the owner’s requests—including a copper-colored metal roof, log-andstone fireplaces, and a 25-foot beamed cathedral ceiling with balcony,” Sterman says. In addition to the main house, the project also features a 2,200-square-foot guest

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building legacies Opposite: This 25-foot beamed cathedral ceiling is accented by Aspen tongue-and-groove interior trim and rustic-style lighting design. Top Right: This 2,940-square-foot home is the first of it’s kind for the area, operated 100% by solar power. Bottom Right: Solar power on this rural home saved the owners tens of thousands of dollars in energy costs.

cottage and game room and a 1,600-square-foot office. The company also built a completely green solar residence for a Chappell Hill-based client. “The solar panels were due to necessity—the location was so rural that the electric company would have charged tens of thousands of dollars to run cable to the home,” Sterman says. Instead, solar panels were added to the 2,940-square-foot home to create electricity to run the lighting, refrigerator, and other small appliances, while gas is used to power the heat, water heater, cooking appliances, and clothes dryer.

We approach each project with an open mind. And whether it’s a milliondollar mansion or a modest weekend cabin, we’re here to create a home for clients that is uniquely theirs.

We Do It All. • Decorative Concrete Work • Staining

Bill Sterman, co-owner

• Scoring • Engraving

Sterman notes that the company’s small size and targeted focus, along with the options it can offer through its sister company, allows more flexibility when working with clients. “We’re very hands-on and are willing to create totally custom options,” he says. “We also offer unique materials in a variety of combinations and are willing to build in remote locations where other builders will not go.” Although the company has several large projects on the books, it’s remained small in size in order to maintain a close, personal involvement with clients. “While we use subcontractors, we’ve worked with most of them for more than 20 years, and my partner and I also are in the field constantly,” Sterman says. “We’ve even been known to strap on a tool belt, if needed.” Overall, Texas Log Homes offers a professional yet relaxed building experience. “We approach each project with an open mind,” Sterman says, “And whether it’s a million-dollar mansion or a modest weekend cabin, we’re here to create a home for clients that is uniquely theirs.” —Julie Edwards

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• Stamping • Concrete Countertops • Epoxy Floors • Concrete Overlays

New Creations

CONCRETE (979) 451-1608:Brenham area (830) 377-8879:Kerrville area www.newcreationsconcrete.com

We have been in business since 2004 and have completed hundreds of jobs!

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Meyer Buildings, Inc. Passionate care for the environment and customer satisfaction has enabled it to become one of the largest providers of quality landscape services Three generations of the Meyer family have been offering At a Glance Location: Dorchester, WI Founded: 1957 Employees: 5 Specialty: General contracting and construction management Annual Revenue: $3 million

Above: A Meyer-designed warehouse and office for a local auctioneer.

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quality service to their clients in rural Wisconsin since 1957. “We’ve been in business for 53 years and plan to be in business for another 53 years,” says Jeff Meyer, president of Meyer Buildings, and grandson of the founder. “We’ve built our reputation on quality buildings, and we won’t stray far from that.” Meyer Buildings specializes in commercial buildings, dairy and equestrian facilities, machine sheds for tractors and equipment, workshops for farm repairs, barns, garages, and recreational buildings. The company also offers full design and erection of pre-engineered steel-frame buildings. Currently, 80 percent of its work is in the agricultural sector, but in the past four years the company has been transitioning into more turnkey agricultural/suburban general-contracting projects. The company completes 50–80 projects per year within a radius of 150–200 miles, and revenue in 2009 was $3 million. Meyer laughs when asked about the range of projects. “We completed a small 8’ x 12’ horse shelter for under $1,800,” he says. “We’ve based the company on not losing focus of where we started. We accommodate the small projects, and we don’t want to lose them as a

customer base.” The top range for Meyer Buildings has reached up to $1 million for turnkey projects, including a dairy facility for 200–1,500 cows. “Unfortunately in the past two years, dairy farms are struggling, so those jobs are ceased for now,” Meyer says. “It’s based on financing, which really is the key. In this economy, everyone is trying to save money, so they come to us to get the structure up. This year’s proven to be tougher than last year. Most of it has to do with financing—banks aren’t giving away money at zero percent, and they’re now requiring 30–40 percent down at the start of financing.” Meyer Buildings buys its two bulk recyclable products—wood and steel—locally, and Meyer comments that the company has seen a surging interest in steel roofs. “I’ve probably sold three times the roofing steel in the past six months than all of last year,” he says. “I can’t believe the demand for it. It surprises me in this economy that people are willing to spend a little bit more on a roof. Typically when they need a roof, they’ll do it as cheaply as possible, but the government rebates have really helped. It makes the difference between an asphalt and a steel roof that much more competitive so people are

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building legacies

upgrading to steel.” Steel roofs, besides lasting a lifetime, reflect the sun which keeps heat from penetrating into an interior. It also allows snow and rain to slide off a roof at a faster pace, creating less load and no need to shovel after a two-foot snowstorm. “People are starting to live in these steel-sided buildings,” Meyer continues. “It’s more economical, and they’re easier to maintain—no summers spent staining or replacing rotted shingles and fascia boards. There’s a

We’ve never tried to cut corners. It’s been hard to do in an economy like this, and we lose a lot of jobs based on price. But I always want to be quality oriented. I don’t want to put cheap products in my buildings, because when the economy gets better, people are going to remember that you skimped on this or that. It affects you in the future, and I don’t want that to happen.

30–40 year warranty on the steel, but it’s obviously going to last longer than that. Typically we build a workshop or storage building where people park their toys. Now, what we’re seeing is that they’ll section it off and use half of it for a living area.” In 2008, Meyer Buildings won a Design in Excellence award from American Buildings, the steel-building supplier, for its design and construction of a pre-engineered steel Do-It-Best Center for Meyer Lumber. “We developed a pre-engineered steel line in the past four years to accommodate our larger span needs,” Meyer says. “All these buildings are getting larger in size, and wood just isn’t effective—so we’ve brought in a steel line.” This 20,000-square-foot structure used Exterior Insulation Finishing System (EIFS) panels on the exterior. The roof was a free-floating standing seam panel, and the energy-efficient interior walls were spray-foamed, then blown-in with fiberglass insulation to give the walls an R-factor of R-60. Additionally, the ceilings were a blownin fiberglass system with a white fabric facing for an R-factor of R-50. After 53 years in business and a well-known local name, Meyer Building prides itself on the fact that most of its clients are repeat business or referrals. “We’ve never tried to cut corners,” Meyer says. “It’s been hard to do in an economy like this, and we lose a lot of jobs based on price. But I always want to be quality oriented. I don’t want to put cheap products in my buildings, because when the economy gets better, people are going to remember that you skimped on this or that. It affects you in the future, and I don’t want that to happen.” —Joyce Finn

ALVIN MEYER Founder Meyer Buildings dates its founding all the way back to Alvin Meyer in 1957. Today, Alvin's grandson Jeff serves as president of the company.

Jeff Meyer, President

Above: This detailed farm workshop features a full-length sitting porch which is lined and insulated for maximum employee comfort. Left: Meyer Buildings incorporated an indoor riding arena, tack room, and boarding stalls into this small equine facility.

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Net Zero Lake Casita

Heather's Home


building legacies

Ferrier Custom Homes. Adopting and applying green building techniques from the ground up At a Glance Location: Fort Worth, TX Founded: 1984 Employees: 4 Specialty: Custom, energyefficient green homes Annual Projects: 10–15

Above: The living room in the LEED Platinumcertified Heather's Home features ample natural daylight and a modern, airy feel. Photo: Terri Glanger Photography.

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Don Ferrier, the president and founder of Ferrier Custom Homes, has been building what we now call green homes for more than 25 years. Ferrier has a background in structural concrete, and starting out as a builder in north Texas, he constructed a number of early-generation earth-shelter homes that greatly reduce heat loss and maintain steady indoor-air temperatures. “But it wasn’t until 11 or 12 years ago that somebody asked me if I was a green builder,” he says. “I thought, ‘Indoor-air quality, recycled products, energy-efficient homes—I guess I am a green builder,’” he says. Today, Ferrier Custom Homes has proof: it built the first LEED-Platinum home in Texas (and the third in the entire nation). Ferrier’s daughter, Heather, who currently serves as general manager of the company, was the inspiration for the project. In 2005, Heather, a long-time sufferer of asthma and allergies, was seeking a new home with high indoor-air quality, and, perhaps not so surprisingly, Ferrier Custom Homes ended up building it for her. Over time, it became known as Heather’s Home. “The goal was to create the most sustainable home possible on Heather’s limited budget as a single 25-year-old,” Ferrier says. It ended up earning not only LEED Platinum status but was also the first home rated under the American Lung Association’s revised, more stringent Healthy Home guidelines. Some of its more remarkable features include a solar hot-water heater, pervious driveway and walkways, structural insulated panels

(SIPS, which Ferrier uses for 95 percent of all projects), a high-performance Daikin AC with an advanced filtration system and humidity control, and low-VOC products. “The home ended up being a kind of safe haven for Heather,” Ferrier adds. The company has been working on more homes in recent years; last year, roughly 70 percent of its projects were residential, with 30 percent commercial, “though there’s been many years where those numbers were reversed,” Ferrier says. “And with the style of homes we do, we really run the gamut—Mediterranean, midcentury modern, Texas Hill Country-style, a wide variety.” In addition, Ferrier was recently involved with the construction of an especially progressive lake cabin in northwest Fort Worth, known as the Zero Energy Casita. “We had a client come to us in 2006 with an idea for a home that he was calling his ‘casita’—a ‘little house,’” Ferrier says. “He knew he wanted an energy-efficient design, and so we started discussing what that would entail.” Over time, the project evolved into a net-zero-energy home and a flagship example of Ferrier’s capabilities. The two-bedroom, two-bathroom, 1,015-square-foot space features SIPs; a reflective corrugated roof that reflects 73 percent of the sun’s heat back into the atmosphere; WeatherShield ZoE5 windows; passive-solar orientation; and a SkyStream 3.7-kilowatt wind generator that is connected to the energy grid for when the wind isn’t blowing enough for net-zero conditions. “It’s on the

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grid, but you produce as much energy as you consume,” Ferrier notes. The client was seeking a historic-looking home, one where visitors couldn’t be certain whether it’d been constructed recently or 150 years ago. To help achieve this aesthetic, he tracked down some reclaimed wood from an 85-year-old barn, used timber-frame beams from a 100-year-old farm, and selected as his subfloor a 150-year-old chicken coop. “So when you look at the home, with its old, red barn paint on the corners, you

I learn a lot from my own clients… Sometimes a client will propose doing something in a way I’ve never thought of before, and it’ll work out. You end up learning a better way of doing things. Don Ferrier, President & Founder

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Don Ferrier (above) pictured with his crew (left) at an earth-sheltered home site in 1983.

actually do wonder how long it’s been there, because most of what you see on the outside really is 85 years old,” Ferrier says. Initially, the client wasn’t keen on the net-zero idea. “But he’s a commercial developer, and he ran the numbers on the investment in the wind generator and found he was happy with his return on investment, so he purchased it,” Ferrier says. Ferrier has accrued an enviable level of knowledge and experience since his early days as a builder, back when he was pioneering some of the techniques that have become common and, in some cases, required today. But he says he’s always on the lookout for new ideas, especially in the areas of sustainability and energy efficiency. “I learn a lot from my own clients, believe it or not,” he says. “Some have better ideas than others, of course. But sometimes a client will propose doing something in a way I’ve never thought of before, and it’ll work out. You end up learning a better way of doing things.” —David Hudnall

Top Left: The living room in Heather’s Home is filled with natural light. Photo: Bjorn Wallander. Bottom Left: The upstairs bedroom in Heather's Home is ready for guests. Photo: Terri Glanger Photography. Top Right: The Zero Energy Casita combines cuttingedge technology with turnof-the-century aesthetics. The kitchen (bottom right) is fitted with Energy Star appliances.

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Busk Inc. Three generations of building experience provides an edge over the competition At a Glance Location: Richfield, UT Founded: 1955 Employees: 6 Specialty: Pre-engineered metal buildings Annual Revenue: $3 million

Above: Busk outfitted the Utah Department of Transportation’s maintenance complex with a new maintenance building, storage building, and salt-storage building.

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When Daniel Busk and his brother, Duane, bought into the family business five years ago, they weren’t just accepting the mantle of co-ownership for a multimillion-dollar construction company—they were committing to a family legacy that’s now in its third generation. “We’d both been doing [construction] all our lives,” Daniel says. “We wanted to carry on the torch.” That torch has been burning for more than 50 years. Before founding Busk Inc. in 1955, Jewell Busk, Daniel’s grandfather, spent years doing construction on naval bases in Alaska’s remote but strategically significant Aleutian Islands. When he returned to Richfield, his hometown in central Utah, Jewell put the experience to use as a contractor—and when he first started out, no job was too small. “He liked to boast that his first contract was a double-hole outhouse,” Daniel says. The company has come a long way since then. As business began to pick up for Daniel’s grandfather, he recruited his sons—six of them, in fact—to help him run the company. Throughout the late 1950s and 1960s, the company established itself primarily in residential construction, earning a reputation as a start-to-finish contractor—a reputation that still gives it an edge, Daniel says. Being able to do “everything from the footing to the rooftops,” he says, gives the company a sense of the project as a whole. “We know that one step prepares for the next step prepares for the next,” he says, and the company relies on that perspective “to make that job the quality construction it needs to be.” In the early 1970s, Busk had the opportunity to try its hand at pre-engineered metal buildings (PEMB). As a quick and cost-effective form of construction, PEMB proved popular, not only in the private sector, but also with the state and federal government. In the 1980s, the company began picking up contracts for the National

Guard and several state parks, and ever since, they’ve been doing steady work on government contracts all around Utah. While the company still splits its time between the public and private sector, PEMB work now makes up nearly 95 percent of its contracts. Daniel says the move toward pre-engineered construction wasn’t really planned; it was more of a right-place, right-time situation. “It was a lucrative niche,” he says, “and there were not a lot of people doing it at the time.” Although Daniel wasn’t around for those first PEMB jobs, he’s been working for the company since high school and has witnessed quite a bit of its evolution first-hand. Daniel, now 33, is one of the company’s four co-owners (along with his brother, Duane; their father, Rodney; and their uncle Richard), and he’s helped the company change and adapt to survive the last few years. Although their revenues are down by about half of what they were in 2008, the company is still in good shape. Part of that, Daniel says, is thanks to a shift in strategy. “Seventy-five percent of the jobs we’re doing right now, two years ago we would’ve let pass,” he says. “We’re taking on much smaller jobs—$20,000–50,000 projects; whereas in 2008, we would’ve been about $1 million a project.” And while the state and federal work has been a boon (Daniel says they’ve even landed a few stimulus contracts) what’s been getting the company through the recession is actually the private sector. “The best money we’re seeing right now are those businesses that are taking the initiative and going out and expanding,” he says. Another strategy has been to play to Busk’s strengths. PEMB construction is the company’s strong suit, and that’s where it puts its energy. Daniel says he’s seen a lot of companies go under recently by spreading themselves too thin. Bidding too aggressively is dangerous. “You end up

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QUALITY PRODUCTS. UNCOMMONLY WELL. RICHFIELD - PRICE - HEBER CITY “UNCOVERING ALL OF UTAH”

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Top: This 31,500-square-foot retail center, which serves the city of Lindon, UT, is just one of many impressive Busk projects. Bottom: A newspaper clipping from the 1950s reports on the founding of Busk Inc. by Jewell Busk and his six sons. Busk leveraged his naval-construction experience to build his business, bringing his sons into the fold and creating a legacy that continues today. Busk Inc. is now in its third generation of family ownership.

We’ve stood by our products for over 50 years now. Not many companies can call on that much experience. Daniel Busk, Co-owner

overworked, underpaid, and things fall apart,” Daniel says. “Slow down a little bit and concentrate on what you’re really successful at—that’s what you go after.” In addition to the company’s adaptability and focus, Daniel says its history has been an invaluable asset. The company has come through down markets before, and it has been able to draw from that experience for this recession. In the end, Daniel says, Busk’s reputation in the community, stretching across three generations, is really what sets it apart. “We’ve stood by our products for over 50 years now,” he says. “Not many companies can call on that much experience.” —Kelly O’Brien

www.buskincut.com

experience YOU CAN TRUST

Busk Incorporated is a central Utah-based company specializing in commercial and residential construction. Busk is a complete, one-stop shop when it comes to engineering and developing your steel building.

For over 30 years, Busk has been a leader in providing specialized service to all our clients by combing the highest quality steel products with customized, professional engineering. As a member of the Better Business Bureau, you can rest assure we have your best interests in mind throughout your project.

1535 South Airport Road Richfield, Utah 84701

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Studio [intrigue] Architects. Long-time team finds success by paying attention to small details At a Glance Location: Lansing, MI Founded: 2003 Employees: 8 Specialty: Commercial design Affiliations: USGBC, Energy Star Partner, AIA

Above: Studio [intrigue] Architects refurbished an abandoned Lansing school, transforming it into the Old Town Medical Arts building. The building's exterior (left) was completely refurbished. A reception area (right) welcomes visitors to the remodeled building, which earned LEED-Gold certification.

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A small but growing design firm in America’s Heartland can fulfill every design nook and cranny for clients— from logos and brochures to construction and interior planning. Every year, Studio [intrigue] Architects’ team of eight completes hundreds of self-performed, fullservice architectural and design projects around the country; although the company specializes in commercial design, the owners, Ken Jones and David VanderKlok, say that they will work on any project except highly specialized or highly competitive projects like prisons and hospitals. Regardless of the project type, Studio [intrigue] Architects’ team devotes full creativity and functionality to every project. “We take the same artistic approach with technical backup when working on projects with architecture, graphics, or furniture design,” Jones says. The company began without clients, projects, or team members on March 3, 2003, in Okemos, Michigan. Jones and VanderKlok, previously college roommates, had the vision of a design firm that could be successful in midMichigan, and by the end of 2004, the company had more than 300 projects on its list. Chris Weir, coordination supervisor and sustainable-design advisor, credits the company’s success with its unique approach and respect for clients’ visions. “We design specifically to the client’s taste,” he says. “We take the client’s point of view and help them to develop their own ideas.” Such approachability has made Studio [intrigue] Architects a popular name in Michigan’s development landscape.

The owners of the company expect growth in the future, but have been fortunately steadily occupied with projects. Recently, the company renovated the Old Town Medical Arts Center in Lansing, Michigan, transforming it from an abandoned school to an office building by using elements such as a rainwater-collection system, recycled materials, sustainable roofing, and a geothermal heating system. The project is pursuing LEED Gold certification. “We try to do a lot of sustainable design; even if the project won’t be certified through a LEED program, we still try and use sustainable practices to benefit the client and the environment,” Weir says. The company hopes to increase its work with sustainable design, as illustrated by its work with the Lansing City Market, which included items such as environmentally friendly fans, natural lighting, and reflective cladding. “ I aged 10 years on this project, but I am proud to say that it is one of the projects that I am most proud of,” VanderKlok says. “It really transformed the urban fabric by being pushed up against the riverfront at the most highly used section of river trail.” Both Jones and VanderKlok believe that once the economy improves, architecture and design projects will boom. “There’s pent-up demand by the lack of financing in the current economy,” Jones says. “There are a lot of projects that are ready to move ahead. When things in the real world economy change, Studio [intrigue] Architects is going to grow because of that.” VanderKlok agrees and foresees a bright future. “The next five years will be

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Top Left: The fitness room of the Old Town Medical Arts Center. Top Right: Old Town Medical Arts Center multi-purpose activity room. Left: The Studio [intrigue] Architects’ office.

a period of renewal for everyone,” VanderKlok says. “ I see it as new growth after the forest fire. New builds will steadily sprout up in the landscape with a much heavier focus on sustainability, uniqueness, and committed users.” The owners’ predictions are justified by the company’s large list of future projects. One such project, the

We take the same artistic approach with technical backup when working on projects with architecture, graphics, or furniture design.

DARLING BUILDER SUPPLY 1600 Turner Street Lansing, MI 48906

517.484.5707

bponbrick@gmail.com

Ken Jones, Owner

Temple of Michigan, is in its early stages of renovation and is being transformed from an old, unused church into a restaurant and nightclub; it is going to be completed by Spring 2011. Such large-scale projects are part of Studio [intrigue] Architects’ future growth. “Being able to see the finished products that we produce is a phenomenal feeling,” Jones says. “It’s great to see projects turn into something real.” —Ladan Nikravan

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Project Details Project: Grand Street Green Roof Retrofit Location: New York, NY Designer: Goode Green Completed: 2008 Size: 6,000 square feet Award: 2008 AIA Design Excellence Award

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hile most New Yorkers rely on farmers’ markets or a local bodega to provide fresh food, Chris and Lisa Goode can find all they need right on their own rooftop. Eight years ago, the couple designed an elaborate green roof for their own building on Grand Street, driven by the desire to maximize their outdoor space. The project sprawls over 6,000 square feet, and features lush lawns, rosebushes, trees, and flower beds that provide an urban home for chickens, bees, and butterflies. The Grand Street project went on to win a 2008 AIA Design Excellence Award, and, at the urging of friends, colleagues, and neighbors, the Goodes joined with partner Amy Trachtman to found Goode Green, a company that designs and installs green roofs of all types for residential, commercial, and hospitality clients. ABQ: What can you tell me about your clients and your New York City location? Lisa Goode: We’re doing a lot of different things for a lot of different people. Small residences, large-scale commercial buildings, common spaces for condo developments, and a layer of agricultural projects. Hotels, restaurants— you name it. New York is perfect because green roofs were meant for an urban setting.

trees and deep plantings of 24–30 inches in some areas. We have every type of green roof up there, and it serves as a great showcase for us to demonstrate the variety and flexibility of what a green roof can be. A second penthouse roof has a wildflower meadow. ABQ: What are the benefits of a green roof?

ABQ: How did Grand Street come about? LG: My husband and I found a six-story commercial build-

ing where it was feasible to build a residence on top and started to rehab it because we were priced out of apartments that we wanted. We started looking at big buildings where we could control the space to create what we really wanted. We were general contractors on the project and started researching green roofs as a way to create outdoor space through a comprehensive plan that fully utilizes the entire roof. Our project was finished with a high aesthetic level, which is rare in the market, and after we had learned so much, we realized that we could fill an empty space in the market. ABQ: What kinds of things did you include in your own

garden space? LG: Retrofitting the roof with steel allowed us to have

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LG: They help with stormwater-management problems and cooling costs. And growing your own food is one of the most delightful things. Having a lawn and trees and creating a natural habitat in a dense urban area is great, too. Our trees and gardens are so mature now that we find mockingbirds making nests.

Opposite Page: The lawn, hedges, and trees have matured, now in year three of the garden. Far Top: An overview of the Goodes’ green roof in New York City. Near Top: Low-maintenance wildflowers make the garden aesthetically pleasing.

ABQ: What’s happening with Goode Green now? LG: We’re very busy. We did Eagle Street Rooftop Farm last year, and the 6,000-square-foot organic rooftop farm gave us international attention because it’s this beautiful project on the East River, with the Empire State Building in the background. People are really starting to understand green roofs and urban agriculture and local food in and around New York City, so our momentum continues to grow. A year ago, we were explaining green roofs to people. Now they know what they are and they want to have one.

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building legacies Materiality

Green Walls The green-roof movement has created a very high demand for green walls, or living walls, in both commercial and residential applications. Green walls are particularly suited for cities, since they allow for efficient use of vertical surface areas. They are also suitable for arid climates because the circulating water on a vertical wall is less likely to evaporate than water used in traditional horizontal gardens. Living-wall products are popping up from distributors all over the world, and are easier to install than ever before. Below are a few from across the globe that are functional, versatile, and simply beautiful. EasyGreen Panels / ELT Easy Green / eltlivingwalls.com / This large-scale living wall in London, made of Evergreen plants, is the largest installation using ELT EasyGreen Panels in the world to date.

Vertical Garden Panels / Plants on Walls / plantsonwalls.com / These easy-to-install, low-cost framed panels are self-watering and also happen to be made from recycled plastic water bottles.

Green Mural / Verticalis / verticalis.ch / Verticalis is a living “mural,� created by the Swiss company Hydroplant AG and designed by Christoph Marchand. The units require neither a pump nor a water connection—simply fill the water tank every few weeks.

VertiGarden Module / VertiGarden / vertigarden.co.uk / This completely enclosed growing module, with built-in irrigation, allows the user to change the dimensions of bedding plants easily and cost effectively. 146

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ith over 25 years of experience and an extensive project portfolio, Toomey Construction Company has become a recognized leader in the field and is the area’s benchmark for building excellence.

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American Builders Quarterly Issue 38