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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Office Building
As the first building to be designed by Bjarke Ingels Group in the city of Philadelphia, the four-story project has been envisioned to communicate and connect with Central Green. Its east façade is curved and bows inward at the ground plane in a gesture reminiscent of the park’s circular running track, activity pods and planting vignettes. Its cornice, in contrast, remains straight and aligns with the original orthogonal street grid prevalent in the immediate neighborhood. These gestures result in a complex double curved surface which is built of alternating architectural sand-blasted white precast concrete panels and fenestration. The “net” of heavy architectural materials seems to defy gravity as it reaches into and embraces 12th Street and Central Green. The building is certified LEED® Gold. The building’s design can accommodate either a single or multi-tenant layout.

“Our design for 1200 Intrepid has been shaped by the encounter between Robert Stern’s urban master plan of rectangular city blocks and James Corner’s iconic circular park,” said Bjarke Ingels, founding partner of BIG. “The ‘shock wave’ of the public space spreads like rings in the water invading the footprint of our building to create a generous urban canopy at the entrance. The resultant double curved façade echoes the complex yet rational geometries of maritime architecture. Inside, the elevator lobby forms an actual periscope allowing people to admire the mothballed ships at the adjacent docks.”

San Francisco, California, USA
Mixed-Use Tower, Office, Residential, Retail
181 Fremont is an 802-foot (244 m) mixed-use skyscraper under construction in the South of Market District of San Francisco, California. The building, designed by Heller Manus Architects, will be located adjacent to the Transbay Transit Center and 199 Fremont Street developments. The entire office portion of the building has been rented by Facebook to be its San Francisco office

The slender mixed-use tower, developed initially by SKS Investments, is set to rise 700 ft (210 m) to the roof with 55 floors of offices and residential condominiums. A parapet/mechanical screen will reach to 745 ft (227 m), and a spire will bring the total height to 802.5 ft (244.6 m).

The tower will contain 432,000 sq ft (40,100 m2) of office space on the lower 34 floors (from 3 to 36), and 67 condominiums on the upper 15 floors (from 39 to 55). The 52nd floor will contain residential amenities and a two-story open air terrace. Mechanical spaces would be on floors 2 and 38. The building will have a direct connection to the rooftop park atop the adjacent Transbay Transit Center from the fifth floor.[9][10]

Upon completion, the tower will be the tallest mixed-use building in San Francisco, surpassing the nearby Millennium Tower, and the 2nd-tallest in the Western United States.[11] It would also be the second tallest building in the city after the Transamerica Pyramid. However, both are expected to be surpassed by the Salesforce Tower in 2017, making 181 Fremont the city's third tallest in the foreseeable future. 181 Fremont joins several other buildings designed to catalyze the San Francisco Transbay development area.

Amherst, Massachusetts, USA
Higher Education, Laboratory
The Amherst College New Science Center provides state-of-the-art facilities and a flexible space to support the college’s science programs and students through the next century while reducing energy usage by 76 percent compared with a typical research building. The New Science Center is sited at the east edge of the new Greenway landscape, connecting the sciences to the rest of the Massachusetts campus. The building is organized around “the Commons,” a dramatic multistory atrium. The Commons creates a community of science through the five forms that make up the building: two four-story energy-intensive laboratory wings tucked into the east edge of the sloping site and three two- to three-story pavilions of low-intensity programming set in the landscape to the west, facing campus. A roof that floats above the Commons unifies the building while also providing a quiet visual datum for the undulating Pelham Hills beyond. An array of skylight monitors animate the roof, further signifying the building’s scientific purpose and its commitment to sustainable performance. The Commons’ roof monitors integrate architectural and mechanical elements that provide an overall comfort conditioning solution: chilled beams, radiant slabs, acoustic baffles, and a photovoltaic array. A central gap between the laboratory wings at one end of the Commons offers views to the east, drawing nature into the building. It also serves as a circulation nexus with an interior stormwater feature, fostering strong biophilic connections. The Greenway’s new surrounding landscape, when met with the transparent, west-facing glass façade, provides the Commons with remarkable views of native ecology, blurring the edges of the central living room and the outdoors. In turn, the gathering space feel like an extension of the outdoors.

Asilong, West Pokot, Kenya
Education, K-12 School
This is the story of a community imagining a different future for itself, beginning with seeking peace in the region through access to clean water and then enhancing educational opportunities for the primary school graduates. Because of its remote location in northwest Kenya and within a community of subsistence farmers and pastoralists, true sustainability has been the driver for each design decision, including design integration of a severe environment, an engaged community, and local economics. The project is a high school campus that will educate 320 students upon full buildout. Structures accommodate classrooms, offices, dormitories, and teacher housing at its core. The local conditions are harsh by any standard: drastic seasonal swings between dry seasons with harsh equatorial sun and wet seasons with pronounced rainstorms that erode the dry, sparsely planted land with no connection to a municipal water or power system. Design constraints and opportunities are dictated by the place: zero net energy, zero net water, emphasis on regional materials and local labor, and community engagement to ensure generational success. Strategies driven by an integrated triple-bottom-line philosophy include:
  • Respect the beauty of place and people by providing design that is simple, durable, and of its place.
  • Design initial buildings that are flexible in use (classrooms or offices or sleeping rooms).
  • Use familiar materials, but with enhanced construction detailing and techniques.
  • Acknowledge extreme climate by providing an abundance of shaded areas, increasing educational space available for overflow.
  • Capture rainwater in rainy seasons for daily needs.
  • Encourage capacity for local laborers to learn new skills and improve their economic situation (on-site brickmaking, cast-in-place concrete, crafting of wicker screens).
  • Provide teacher housing that attracts the best teachers in the region.
    Integrate original community needs for water, education, and health.
Aspen, Colorado, USA
Founded in the late 1970s as a non-collecting institution, the Aspen Art Museum worked in tandem with the design team to determine programmatic needs and to ensure its new home completely supported the art it hangs. Adhering to a strict 18-month construction schedule, the new museum opened in 2014 and has seen a 400 percent increase in visitorship and a 1,140 percent increase in the number of students served by the museum’s educational outreach initiatives.

Wrapped in a handsome woven composite wood screen, the new museum is located on a prominent downtown Aspen corner. Three floors—two above ground, one below—are dedicated to gallery space, while the top floor includes an ample multiuse space, café, and public terrace with sweeping views of the Rockies.

The long-span timber roof structure that caps the museum is an unprecedented prefabricated system that eliminates metal joints between truss chords and webs. In conjunction with the woven façade, the roof diffuses daylight entering the building’s glass curtain and skylight system. Inside, structural glass floors provide additional opportunities for daylighting.

The museum features an innovative climate design concept based on the functionality of a thermos, wherein spaces with a higher tolerance for climate variation are wrapped around the gallery spaces that cannot see any variation. The spaces wrapping the gallery facilitate circulation through the museum while providing a visual connection with the outdoors. The entire upper level opens onto the outdoors when a large operable wall system is retracted, a feature not seen in many other art museums.

Joining the restaurants, cultural centers, and shopping in bustling Aspen, the new museum helps solidify the town’s position as a destination for much more than world-class skiing.

Austin, Texas, USA
Public Library, Dining, Bookstore, Art Gallery
Located in downtown Austin, Texas, and overlooking Shoal Creek and Lady Bird Lake, the new Austin Central Library is a building shaped by light and designed to respond to the context of its place. Before design began, the project team set aspirational sustainability and design metrics for the project. Two primary sustainability goals for the library were determined: It would be the most daylit library in the country, and it would serve as a water conservation model for buildings in the region.

The heart of the building is the six-story atrium, which provides daylight for more than 80 percent of regularly occupied spaces. The client envisioned an iconic, civic hub where locals could connect with their community by pursuing a variety of interests. The facility is based on flexible, blended spaces, including indoor collections and reading rooms, outdoor reading porches, maker spaces, outdoor dining, a technology center, café, bookstore, 350-seat event center, art gallery, demonstration kitchen, and 200-car parking garage. Integrated artworks, interspersed throughout the library, enhance this technology-focused environment by showcasing local and national artists. The unique rooftop pollinator garden and reading porches draw visitors to connect with nature. The library is a technology-rich innovation hub that promotes scholarly inquiry and cultural intelligence. Serving as the new western portal to downtown, the library establishes a major civic presence and community gathering space in the heart of Austin.

A 373,000-gallon rainwater harvesting system, reused from existing infrastructure, provides water for landscape irrigation, restroom plumbing fixtures, and the landscaped rooftop pollinator garden. The Austin Central Library is the first city of Austin public project to achieve LEED Platinum certification. It is a model for sustainable resource use and library efficiency while promoting visceral connections to collections, history, culture, and place.

East Hampton, New York, USA
Single Family Home
Rigorous—that’s the adjective that comes to mind to describe a refined but relaxed weekend house by New York architect Audrey Matlock in East Hampton, Long Island. Matlock has designed the L-shaped modernist structure—with its two wings supported on slender V-shaped steel pilotis—down to the smallest of elements. It is so precisely designed that, despite its undeniably large size (10,200 square feet), it seems to barely touch its site.

This effect is achieved through the manipulation of any number of details, like tapering the overhanging roof structure so that it appears light and razor thin, or shielding the east-and west-facing glazing with perforated brise soleils, which lend the house a sense of permeability—or covering one roof with shaggy, tall grasses, to soften the edges of the architecture.

Even more striking than the precise assemblage of these elements are the relationship between the house and its surroundings and the treatment of exterior space as an extension of the architecture. The steel structure’s two single-story glass- and zinc-clad linear volumes—one at grade containing the main living spaces and the other elevated and enclosing the family’s bedrooms, among other spaces—intersect at 90 degrees. The composition defines a pair of outdoor rooms: a pool area embraced within the arms of the L and an adjacent sheltered terrace, slipped beneath the bedroom bar, that includes an open-air kitchen.

Media, Pennsylvania, USA
K-12 Education, School, Classroom, Addition
Questions concerning how students learn do not automatically suggest design solutions, but when the Benchmark School approached William and Chris Sharples, two of the founding principals of SHoP Architects, for help in the development of robotics as a teaching tool, they saw opportunity.

The architects, identical twins and the “SH” in the firm’s name, are alumni of the independent school, founded in 1970, by Irene W. Gaskins, to help students who learn differently. In a recent phone conversation they finished each other’s rapid-fire sentences, such was their enthusiasm for the school that changed their lives. “We had graduated sixth grade, but our reading comprehension was barely at third-grade level,” said William. Their parents, aware how challenged their apparently bright sons were, enrolled them in the then-new institution. “We were very upset after the first day,” the Sharples said. “Two weeks later, we were having a ball.”

The two were ultimately diagnosed with dyslexia, which the school is geared to address, along with such diagnoses as perceptual difficulties and attention-deficit disorders—by first building confidence and then helping children discover their own ways of learning, an approach that has been influential. “We meet the students where they are, not where their age says they are supposed to be,” explained Betsy Cunicelli, Benchmark’s director of special projects.

Located in Media, Pennsylvania, 13 miles west of Philadelphia, Benchmark is a five-building, 23-acre campus serving 185 first- through eighth-grade students. There’s a heavy focus on reading and math, with instructors applying a wide range of learning research to support students individually in such tasks as time management, persistence, working collaboratively, and thinking critically.

Many dyslexics use visualization and hands-on experiences to commit concepts to memory. Students who struggle to comprehend a verbal explanation of something may understand better by assembling it on their own. This “constructing knowledge through experience,” as Benchmark puts it, is one way students learn.

Benchmark’s leaders and students visited both SHoP’s Manhattan office and the firm’s lab in an industrial space in Brooklyn, where they saw a repurposed auto–assembly line robot and tools for model-making, comparing fabrication possibilities, and mocking up assemblies to assess their constructability and visual impact. The school’s staff was impressed not only by the students’ excitement over the lab, but by the iterative problem-solving common in architecture. SHoP and the educators together concluded that an innovation lab could give students new opportunities to choose their own approach for addressing open-ended problems, while collaborating with others to succeed.

The resulting lab is a diminutive 2,200-square-foot glass-and-metal-clad two-story structure tucked like a hinge into a gap between two existing buildings. The full-height glass entry wall puts the Innovation Lab’s activities on display, engaging passing students. The upper level houses three spaces for middle-school pupils: two open labs separated by a sliding-glass partition for maximum flexibility, and a small triangular space (for messier projects) wedged between them behind a glazed wall. A classroom for the youngest children is on the lower level. With butcher-block lab-style tables, and counters along the walls for computers, the rooms include sinks, adjustable track lighting, powercord outlets that drop down from the ceiling, and whiteboard wall surfaces.
Asheville, North Carolina, USA
Health Care, Medical Office Building, Orthonodontics Office
Expensive, inconvenient, daunting, even painful: perceptions of orthodontic treatment can run the gamut of negative emotions, for adult and younger patients alike. The design of a new office in Asheville, North Carolina, helps alleviate those stresses, presenting clients with a calm, soothing environment that highlights the region’s natural beauty.

For a prominent 1.3-acre site located on the city’s main thoroughfare, Dr. Luke Roberts commissioned Clark Nexsen to design a flagship treatment and administrative space for his growing practice. (Roberts acquired the property, which housed a McDonald’s restaurant for 40 years, the year before construction began.) The architect, with a modernist sensibility and 10 offices throughout the mid-Atlantic and southern U.S. (including one in downtown Asheville), is well acquainted with the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains, for which the project is named. The firm delivered a 7,500-square-foot L-shaped building that frames views of the verdant landscape while separating patient areas from the new business office that serves Roberts’s three locations.

The glass-and-steel structure opens to a 300-square-foot landscaped bioswale where birds, chipmunks, and other wildlife cavort. Says project architect Dorothea Schulz, “A very early image for me was of being out on a porch. If you have the feeling that you’re outside,” she continues, “then your orthodontist appointment is less of a chore—actually, a very relaxing experience.” The upward-tilting roof supported by wood rafters has a deep overhang, and the ample glazing, reaching almost 13 feet high, lends a pavilion-like quality to the building, which is embedded in low walls of fieldstone. Roberts sees the design as a modern reinterpretation of the historic visitor centers that dot the Blue Ridge Parkway. “Building something on the main road in Asheville, I wanted to contribute to the community, not just put up something quick,” he says.

In a gesture to the local vernacular, the palette of natural materials on the exterior carries through to the interior. Planks of radiata pine extend from the ceiling to the roof soffit, which reaches a height of more than 14 feet. A striking curved ribbon wall picks up on the warm tones: at 9 feet high and 4 inches thick in most places, the serpentine insertion is made from 136 sheets of horizontally stacked poplar plywood. It defines the areas most trafficked by patients and wraps around the reception desk and waiting area, continuing into the primary treatment space. There, cabinets, sinks, and open pass-throughs for sanitized medical implements are discreetly contained within and behind the striated millwork. “We wanted to incorporate any kind of function that we could along the way,” says Schulz. “The wall became this very malleable element.”

Most orthodontic work takes place in an open bay, although there are small single patient rooms around the perimeter of the structure for procedures (or patients) requiring more privacy. Roberts calls the open configuration “extraordinarily typical” for his type of practice, since orthodontia is usually minimally invasive. “This layout makes patients—and especially the younger ones—feel more comfortable, because they’re not alone,” he explains. “They see other kids around them going through the same thing, and no one’s screaming, no one’s crying.” Ten chairs, arranged along perpendicular window walls at the bend of the L-shaped building, look out onto the bioswale.

The calming environment works for parents and children alike, and, although some 65 percent of the practice’s clients are kids, there are no iPads or other screens to occupy young minds; instead, each chair has a basket with binoculars and bird and plant identification guides. “A lot of moms prefer to come somewhere that doesn’t have televisions blasting,” says Roberts, who notes that women make about 80 percent of health-care decisions for households. “So, yes, it was part of the idea to have them focus on the outdoors.”

The glazing that encloses much of the structure has a slightly reflective coating, which reduces heat gain and obscures views from the outside in. In concert with abundant daylighting, adjustable LED fixtures, suspended high above the chairs, provide all the visibility doctors need—no additional headlamps or task lighting required, per Roberts’s request. “We studied the illumination of the old office, then worked with the engineers to achieve the right light loads, at the chairs especially,” says Schulz.

Since the building opened in September 2017, Roberts has seen a 20 percent increase in appointments, up from about 1,000 per month to some 1,200. With space for his staff of more than 40 to grow, the future of Blue Ridge Orthodontics looks as bright as its patients’ smiles.
Vacouver, British Columbia, Canada
Energy Center
Campus Energy Centre The Campus Energy Centre (CEC) is UBC’s $24 million state-of-the-art hot water boiler facility. Located in the heart of our 1,000 acre campus, the facility is capable of meeting all of UBC’s heating requirements.

The CEC is the primary energy source for our new hot water district energy system, which began producing thermal energy (hot water) by the fall of 2015.

CEC Facts and Figures

  • Three 15 megawatt (MW) thermal, natural gas fired, high-efficiency boilers
  • Includes a Condensing Economizer, a cost-effective waste heat recovery system which improves the facility’s energy efficiency
  • Initially fitted with 45 MW of thermal capacity, which meets UBC’s current energy needs
  • Facility is constructed using Canadian produced Cross Laminated Timber (CLT), a new wood building material that can be used as a low carbon, renewable alternative to steel construction
  • CEC is a LEED® Gold certified building, and the second utility facility UBC has constructed using CLT that will achieve the LEED Gold standard, the first being the BRDF
  • CEC is intended for continuous operation and will be staffed around the clock by qualified Power Engineers
Planning for the Future

The CEC has been designed with the future in mind. The facility includes additional space to install a fourth boiler as campus heating demands increase. The CEC’s site was carefully chosen to allow for future electrical and thermal energy cogeneration options, and/or other new thermal energy production opportunities.

Educating the UBC community about the daily energy production on campus is also a priority. The CEC has a large window feature on the ground floor to observe the boiler hall, as well as interactive signage and displays, and opportunities for facility tours.

Contributing to UBC’s Climate Action Plan

The CEC is part of UBC’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction program. Through the CEC’s high-efficiency energy production and our new district energy system and specialized underground piping, we will reduce UBC’s annual carbon dioxide (CO2) footprint by an expected 22 per cent from 2007 baseline levels.

Single Family Home, Housing
A house made of black concrete, inside and out, sounds aggressive and brooding—not an inviting place to live. And a black concrete country house? If you knew anything about its setting, you would assume such a dwelling would be terribly out of place in a forested rural environment. Additional Content: Jump to credits & specifications But a recently completed residence made almost entirely of exposed black concrete defies all expectations. Designed by collaborating architects Fernanda Canales and Claudia Rodríguez, the house, located in the mountains about 100 miles southwest of Mexico City, is an engaging cluster of rustic board-formed boxes that are nestled at angles into their site around an irregularly shaped courtyard. Dubbed Casa Bruma for the mist that often shrouds the surrounding landscape, the 6,500-square-foot assemblage is a weekend retreat for an attorney, his marketing-executive wife, and their two young children. It is one of the first buildings to be constructed within a secluded community that will eventually contain only 70 houses on 500 mostly untamed acres. The clients sought out Canales—known for her small but impressive body of residential and cultural projects, as well as her books and exhibitions on Mexican architecture—because they wanted an architect “who is hands-on.” Canales spends much of her time on construction sites and does not have a traditional office or employees. But she often forms alliances, this time turning to Rodríguez, whom she has known since their days in architecture school at the Universidad Iberoamericana, in Mexico City. Rodríguez had helped create the master plan for the new development and so was well versed in the construction restrictions, intended to restore the ecology of the land. For decades, it had been used for grazing cattle and logged for its once-plentiful supply of old-growth oak trees. The master plan placed few constraints on architectural form but included several pertaining to the individual homeowners’ sites. Among them was: a requirement that the houses be designed so that all of their water, even for drinking, come from collected rainwater; a restriction on nonnative vegetation, and on cutting down trees. The idea, says Rodríguez, “was to allow freedom in expression of the houses, but strengthen the identity of the landscape.” In keeping with this philosophy, Canales and Rodríguez opted not to build on a flat, meadow-like portion of the clients’ 2.7-
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
Education, Research and Office Building
The Center for Sustainable Landscapes (CSL) is conceived as a world class building that provides both a home for administrative and classroom functions and a tool to further the institution’s stated mission 'to advance sustainability and promote human and environmental well-being through action and research.' This project affords an extraordinary opportunity to demonstrate the positive impact that buildings can have on our environments. The design of the CSL applies traditional best practice strategies to the unique context and requirements of this project. High goals were set for the project, which included a commitment to meet five building evaluation systems:
  • Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum Certification - Achieved
  • Net Zero Energy Building Certification - Achieved
  • Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) Four-Star Certification - Achieved
  • Living Building Challenge Achieved
  • WELL Building Platinum Pilot Certification - Achieved
The use of these rating systems help the project track and achieve objectives that are broadly articulated in the requirements of the Living Building Challenge. Highlights include:
  • Achieving a net zero energy facility that generates as much energy with on-site renewable sources as it uses in a year;
  • Achieving net zero water management that ensures that rainwater and sanitary discharge are handled on site with no discharge to the municipal system and all non-potable water is from on site sources;
  • Restricting the use of any 'red-listed' materials that are harmful to people and the environment.
Santa Cruz, California, USA
Higher Education, Research, Lab, Classroom
About an hour and a half’s drive south of San Francisco, the University of California at Santa Cruz is a world apart, with its eclectic mid-rise buildings hidden among clusters of towering redwoods in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains. However, its satellite Coastal Science Campus, on a windswept bluff along the Pacific Ocean a couple of miles away, called for a different architectural response. Designed by San Francisco–based firm EHDD, the new Coastal Biology Building, for research and teaching on coastal conservation, ecology, and climate change, reconciles a context-appropriate agricultural vernacular with modern lab requirements and the demand for collaborative spaces.

The two-story, 40,000-square-foot building brings together faculty, researchers, and grad students of the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology department, previously split between the main campus and an older building at the coast-side campus. It is designed to support 25 researchers and their teams of students, with 20 laboratories, 44 offices, and a specialized seawater research lab.

Because of the sensitive nature of the 98-acre campus, which encompasses a former Brussels sprouts field and a protected lagoon, the university commissioned a comprehensive land-use plan by BMS Design Group and EHDD, in preparation for a major expansion of its existing facilities. The location and size of the Coastal Biology building, along with future planned development, is strictly limited by the plan, which also incorporates an extensive stormwater drainage system of swales to preserve the seasonal bogginess of the marine terrace. In addition to their clients, the architects consulted the state’s Coastal Commission, which has jurisdiction over coastal development— and which asked for a gabled, barn-style structure to reflect the area’s history of farming. “Our goal was to embrace the agricultural form and make the building really simple and elegant,” says Scott Shell, a principal at EHDD. “The design isn’t necessarily breaking new ground so much as being super-respectful to the client and the task we were given.”