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Grafton Architects
Dublin firm Grafton Architects has designed a timber research centre for the University of Arkansas' architecture school, which will mark its first project in the US when complete.

Grafton Architects, which is led by 2020 Pritzker Prize winners Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, and local firm Modus Studio have designed the building for the school's campus in Fayetteville.

The team was announced last week as the winners of a competition for the Anthony Timberlands Center for Design and Materials Innovation project, organised by the university's Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design.

The design comprises a timber construction with a zig-zagging roofline that staggers down from approximately six stories at its highest height to one level in the rear.

A render shows the wood construction will be left exposed inside, with skylights bringing in daylight.

"The basic idea of this new Anthony Timberlands Center is that the building itself is a story book of timber," said Farrell. "We want people to experience the versatility of timber, both as the structural 'bones' and the enclosing 'skin' of this new building."

The university building will be used for timber and wood design initiatives within the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design. It will serve as the home for a new graduate programme in timber and wood design, and house the school's design-build programme and fabrication technologies laboratories.

"The building itself is a teaching tool, displaying the strength, colour, grain, texture and beauty of the various timbers used," Farrel added.

Grafton Architects and Modus Studio's design was approved by the university's board of trustees after a committee and an external evaluation team selected the team ahead of six finalists.

The shortlist was chosen from 69 firms that entered the competition and included Copenhagen firm Dorte Mandrup Arkitekter and Tokyo firm Shigeru Ban Architects were among the shortlist.

"The selection of Grafton Architects, in partnership with Modus Studio, for the Anthony Timberlands Center project immediately magnifies the already immense significance of the Fay Jones School's current and future initiatives in the further development of timber and wood innovation for the state of Arkansas," said Peter MacKeith, dean of the architecture school.
Moriyama & Teshima Architects
Toronto-based architecture firm Moriyama & Teshima Architects has unveiled renderings for the new Honey Bee Research Centre, a state-of-the-art research and education facility for promoting honeybee health and awareness that’s slated for completion next month. Developed for the University of Guelph, Ontario College of Architecture, the new center will not only host scholars and researchers, but also welcome visitors of all ages from around the world to its multifunctional Discovery and Learning Space. The project’s mass-timber architecture is reflective of its sustainable mission and will target LEED Gold certification.

The Honey Bee Research Centre (HBRC) spans 19,200 square feet to include research and events programming both inside and out. The building will seamlessly blend into its natural landscape with an accessible green roof featuring a trail that leads to an Interpretative Tower, a public space that doubles as a solar chimney. Inside, the adaptable building will emphasize flexibility to adjust to the needs of the center for years to come.

“Designed to high energy performance and LEED Gold standards, the mass timber HBRC will be a demonstration of sustainability, reinforcing the importance of climate change and its relationship to the vital role of honey bee health and well-being,” the architects explained. “The facility will utilize passive design techniques and features such as natural ventilation, a high performance envelope and mechanical systems, and landscape features such as rain gardens and a green roof system.”

As a research center and home for honeybees, HBRC will host working hives and agricultural plots. To further the notion of a “productive and social landscape,” both the rooftop and surrounding grounds will be planted with pollinator-friendly flora and edible gardens to sustain “Pollinator Pathways” for local species such as bees, butterflies, birds and more, while providing attractive gathering spaces for employees and visitors alike.

Electrical Training Alliance
Construction labor unions have scored a major regulatory victory as the U.S. Dept. of Labor’s long-awaited final rule on apprenticeships retains the construction industry’s exclusion from new “industry-recognized” training and education programs for those seeking to enter its workforce.

That exclusion had divided the construction industry, with the building trades and some specialty-contractor groups supporting it and two of the largest contractor associations opposing it.

DOL says that the overall aim of its new rule, announced on March 10, is to expand the use of apprenticeships in industries where such training programs aren’t greatly used.

To achieve that goal, the regulation calls for allowing companies, industry groups, educational institutions, unions and other entities to set up and operate Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Programs (IRAPs).

Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia said in a statement, “This new rule offers employers, community colleges and others a flexible, innovative way to quickly expand apprenticeships in telecommunications, health care, cybersecurity and other sectors where apprenticeships currently are not widely available.”

The Labor Dept. said the new rule would take effect on May 11.

For construction, the key issue related to the regulation was whether DOL would keep the industry’s current exemption from a central provision of the rule.

That provision is establishment of IRAPs, which would take on responsibilities for much of the apprenticeship standard-setting that DOL and state agencies now handle.

The rule also would let companies, industry groups and other organizations apply to DOL to become Standards Recognition Entities (SREs). The SREs would determine the standards for the IRAPs’ training and curricula in specific industries or business sectors. SREs would be subject to DOL oversight.

That would be a significant change from the current Registered Apprenticeship system, in which DOL or state agencies register and validate apprentices and apprenticeship programs.

Wave of comments
The department published a proposed rule last June and was inundated by more than 327,000 comments on that proposal. DOL said the total was the largest its Employment and Training Administration had ever received for a proposed regulation. It added that a majority of the comments were related to "form letter campaigns."

The building trades unions strongly supported keeping the exemption and also wanted to make it permanent.

Sean McGarvey, president of North America's Building Trades Unions, said last summer that nearly 325,000 of the comments supported the unions' position.

Contractor groups that have joint apprenticeship programs and other relationships with the unions, such as the National Electrical Contractors Association, Mechanical Contractors Association of America and Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors' National Association, also supported keeping the exemption.

Those opposing the exclusion were contractor groups such as the Associated General Contractors of America and Associated Builders and Contractors. They argued that construction has a major shortage of skilled labor and that IRAPs would provide a way to help ease that problem.

No 'sunset' for exclusion
In the end, the Labor Dept. came down on the side of the unions. In the rule, the department said that it “has determined that programs that seek to train apprentices to perform construction activities…will not be recognized as IRAPs.” DOL also decided not to include a “sunset” provision, that would end the construction exemption after a certain period of time.

It added, “The department’s goal in this rulemaking is to expand apprenticeships to new industry sectors and occupations.
DOL noted, “Registered apprenticeship programs are more widespread and well-established in the construction sector than in any other sector.”

Labor Dept. statistics show that in fiscal year 2018, construction had 166,629 active apprentices, the largest total among industries. Ranking second is the military, with 98,435. Construction's total did decline 5% from the 2017 level.
Benoit Wehrle via A+ Architecture
The French city of Nîmes recently welcomed the Ada Lovelace Secondary School, Occitania’s first-ever clean-energy school that’s earned both BEPOS energy level certification and a sustainability rating of Silver-level BDM (Bâtiments Durables Méditerranéens). Opened in the fall of last year, the eco-friendly school is the work of French design firm A+ Architecture. In addition to its energy-saving and -producing features, the Ada Lovelace Secondary School features a bold and contemporary design to help boost the neighborhood’s ongoing urban revitalization efforts.

Crowned winners of a 2015 design competition for the project, A+ Architecture was tasked to reconstruct the 400-student secondary school to a new site that would also include space for housing for half of the student population, sports facilities, a race track and three staff houses. The 5,898-square-meter school also needed to be held up as a positive sign of urban renewal in the Mas de Mingue district.

“Beyond the environmental basics, we have produced a contemporary, bold, powerful and dynamic architectural structure,” the architects explained. “We wanted people to be drawn to this place of education in this difficult neighborhood. Shapes collide, as stainless-steel panels make it seem as though the facades are empty, which are broken up by rows of windows.”

Topped with 800 square meters of solar panels, the Ada Lovelace Secondary School is clad in locally sourced stones that vary in size for visual interest and to help give the volume a more human scale. For stable indoor temperatures, the architects insulated the walls with wood and hemp and installed wood boilers for supplemental heating. Students have also been invited to learn about the school’s energy-saving systems through a digital building model accessible through a game and website managed by Citae.

Tom Harris
The college's new student center reimagines the typically strict delineation between spaces that exist on urban campuses.

On Wabash Avenue in Chicago, the fritted glass skin of Gensler’s new Columbia College Chicago Student Center floats overhead, shrouding the street corner and holding its space somewhere between public and private. A set of glass doors give way to the interior, which greets the visitor with a program rarely found anywhere downtown—a set of high tables with stools where anyone can walk in off the street to charge their phone, or send an email, or post up with a book, no purchase required.

This bold, open greeting hints at what’s to come in the rest of the building, which reimagines the typically strict delineation between spaces that exist on urban college campuses like Columbia College. Its buildings, spread out across Chicago’s South Loop, had no dedicated space for student interaction. “Those kinds of meetings happened in public spaces or even in the hallways of buildings,” says Brian Vitale, principal and co-managing director of Gensler Chicago. So, the central task of the student center, as only the second purpose-built Columbia College facility, was to encourage people to come together in ways not possible elsewhere on campus.

To achieve this, Gensler produced a complex execution of a relatively simple parti—turning an atrium building “inside out.” The spaces in the center of the building—clad on every floor in that same black-stained plywood that lines the entrance—house permanent programs, while the spaces that line the perimeter remain flexible. Concrete stairs move around this perimeter space, tying floors together physically and creating moments of inter-floor openness that provide visual and aural connection. Glass walls like the ones that surround the Makerspace on the second floor encourage curiosity and make private spaces—like the quiet reflection room on the fourth floor, a product of the direct collaboration with students in developing the building’s program—feel that much more special.

Just as important as the internal connections are the links to the city found on every floor. A terrace on the northeastern corner of the fourth floor reaches out to the city, in anticipation of the college’s early graduation parade. And, just outside the second-floor lounge on the building’s southwestern side, almost close enough to reach out and touch it, the train whooshes by. “We wanted to have a little fun with moments like that,” says Scott Hurst, senior associate and design director of Gensler Chicago. Like the whole building, it’s a bold move—but Gensler seems to have just gotten away with having their fun.

Jonathan Hillyer
To generate at least as much energy as it uses, a building may need more photovoltaic panels than its roof can accommodate. One solution is to extend the roof, as Seattle’s Miller Hull Partnership did when it designed that city’s Bullitt Center, a six-story building with a PV panel-laden trellis cantilevering beyond its exterior walls.

Miller Hull has repeated the strategy in Atlanta, where it and Lord Aeck Sargent, a Katerra company, have just completed the Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design at Georgia Tech. The new, 37,000-square-foot, three-story building has a large steel and aluminum trellis that reaches beyond the roof in three directions with the help of thin, cable-tensioned steel columns. About 40 feet off the ground, the trellis shelters gardens that serve as gathering places for students. The main shaded area resembles a kind of front porch, a play on the southern vernacular, says Brian Court, partner at Miller Hull and that firm’s design lead for the building. The porch opens into an atrium surrounded on three levels by classrooms, laboratories, and mechanical spaces. A lower, brick-clad extension houses a 175-seat lecture hall. The facilities are “not just for those students interested in sustainability as a career,” says Michael Gamble, director of graduate studies in the School of Architecture. Instead, Georgia Tech students from a range of departments will have “access to a building that actually teaches us something.”

The lesson is that it’s possible to build a “regenerative” building even in the hot, humid southeast. That was a goal of the Kendeda Fund (created by philanthropist Diana Latow Blank, the former wife of Home Depot co-founder Arthur Blank). Kendeda paid for the $18.6 million building and provided millions more for programming.

While the building is expected to receive a LEED Platinum rating, it was designed to meet the more stringent standards of the Living Building Challenge. To be certified, a building must produce more water and more electricity than it consumes. Net-positive water will be achieved by collecting an estimated 460,000 gallons of rainwater each year (runoff from the PVs is collected in channels and fed into a cistern and filtered to potable standards). As for electricity, the building’s 900 photovoltaic panels are expected to generate 455,000 kilowatt hours annually, 40 percent more than it is projected to use. To make the building energy-efficient, its designers focused on occupant comfort rather than fixed temperature goals and made extensive use of ceiling fans, radiant heating and cooling, and a dedicated outdoor air system (DOAS), combined with a super-efficient envelope. The building met other Living Building Challenge standards; for example, products were eliminated or reformulated to avoid chemicals on the program’s “red list.”

The building will not receive its final certification until it has demonstrated that it is energy- and water-positive for a year, notes Chris Hellstern, Living Building Challenge Services Director at Miller Hull. To achieve that, says Joshua Gassman, Lord Aeck Sargent’s sustainable design director, “Everything has to work together—it’s almost like building a Swiss watch.”

Not only will Kendeda be operationally efficient, Hellstern says, but it was designed to reduce embodied energy—the energy consumed in fabrication and construction—as well. Among other strategies, sustainably harvested wood was used for the main structural elements, reclaimed wood was used for decking, and 100-percent-recycled-content brick was incorporated into the cladding. “We used excess chunks of decking to build internal stairs, both to avoid creating landfill and to show that something that would have been wasted can contribute to both the beauty and the function of the project,” Gassman says. Speaking for the entire industry, Hellstern points out, “Unless we address embodied energy, we won’t meet climate targets.”
MIT has developed M-blocks, a set of robotic cubes that can roll, jump, spin, and self-assemble into different shapes. the robots, called M-blocks 2.0, have a barcode-like system on each face that helps them recognize and communicate with other blocks.

the cube robots were developed by MIT’s computer science and artificial intelligence laboratory (CSAIL). they are actually the second iteration of an original design that MIT showed off back in 2013. the latest version features algorithms designed to help the robots work together more effectively.

inside each modular ‘M-block’ is a flywheel that moves at 20,000 revolutions per minute, using angular momentum when the flywheel is braked. on each edge and every face are permanent magnets that let any two cubes attach to each other.

each module can move in four cardinal directions when placed on any one of the six faces, which results in 24 different movement directions. without little arms and appendages sticking out of the blocks, it’s a lot easier for them to stay free of damage and avoid collisions.

‘M stands for motion, magnet, and magic,’ says MIT professor and CSAIL director daniela rus. ”motion’, because the cubes can move by jumping. ‘magnet,’ because the cubes can connect to other cubes using magnets, and once connected they can move together and connect to assemble structures. ‘magic,’ because we don’t see any moving parts, and the cube appears to be driven by magic.’

‘the unique thing about our approach is that it’s inexpensive, robust, and potentially easier to scale to a million modules,’ says CSAIL PhD student john romanishin, lead author on a new paper about the system. ‘m-blocks can move in a general way. other robotic systems have much more complicated movement mechanisms that require many steps, but our system is more scalable.’

essentially, the blocks used the configuration of how they’re connected to each other in order to guide the motion that they choose to move. in MIT’s experiements, 90 percent of the M-blocks succeeded in getting into a line.

while the mechanism is quite intricate on the inside, the exterior is just the opposite, which enables more robust connections. beyond inspection and rescue, the researchers also imagine using the blocks for things like gaming, manufacturing, and health care.

Fraser Brown MacKenna Architects
UEA Institute of Productivity submitted for planning approval

Location: University of East Anglia, Norwich Research Park, Norwich, UK

Design: Fraser Brown MacKenna Architects

Uncovering the past to reveal the future – UEA’s Institute of Productivity

In creating a home for UEA’s new Institute of Productivity, Fraser Brown MacKenna Architects have removed later additions to reveal hidden details of Denys Lasdun’s original building – creating a state-of-the-art home for a new generation of “Visible Engineers” – a space where engineering activity and its ability to help solve the problems of today are made proudly visible.

Fraser Brown MacKenna Architects have just submitted an application for planning approval and listed building consent for the refurbishment and extension of Building 6 of Denys Lasdun’s Grade II listed Teaching Wall at the University of East Anglia. The refurbished space will provide a home for the new Institute of Productivity, part of the School of Engineering.

The Institute will be located in the former undergraduate Biology Labs in Building 6 and the adjacent single storey Biology Annexe Building. A key element of the scheme is the provision of a new entrance to the Institute at the end of a new pedestrian link from Chancellor’s Drive, the main route through the campus.

The new entrance has been made possible by the removal of a later 1970’s corridor which was added over the original Lasdun façade, obscuring many interesting details, including concrete columns recessed from the blockwork façade to create small window reveals with a sculptural base detail. New canopies help to announce the entrance and to provide covered cycle storage; rationalizing and improving the landscaping and public realm in this part of the campus. In so doing, our design helps to resolve the complex junction between the original Lasdun and later Rick Mather masterplan which has led to convoluted and confusing circulation in this part of the campus.

The new route and entrance will improve visibility for the Institute and assist with the delivery of robots, materials and machinery. A new window will be punched through the blank east façade of the former Bio Annexe to allow passers-by to look in to a state-of-the-art robotics workshop inside.

Internally, the former labs will be reconfigured to provide a studio space and digital design laboratory, a CAD studio, an additive manufacturing workshop to house 3D printers and a subtractive manufacturing and robotics workshop.This project, like our other schemes at UEA, has involved working closely with Norwich City Council, Historic England and the Twentieth Century Society, to ensure that the Grade II listed fabric of Lasdun’s original design is protected and to discern how his original vision for the campus can be maintained as it develops to meet the needs of today’s staff and students.

The scheme involves the removal of paint from the pre-cast concrete structure to return the soffits to their original condition and re-cycling the original lab bench tops as fixed furniture within the new Institute of Productivity.

The scheme has been submitted for planning approval and a decision is expected in January 2020.
Laurian Ghinitoiu
BIG has arranged the classrooms of this white-brick and glass school in Arlington, Virginia in a fan-shape to allow for a "cascading terraces".

Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) designed The Heights public school on a tight plot in the Virginia city, about 30 minutes outside Washington DC, which is surrounded by three roads and the edge of the city's Rosslyn Highlands Park.

"The density of the urban Arlington neighbourhood became the inspiration for the school – we fanned the classrooms to allow each and every floor to be connected to the roof garden on top of the classrooms below," said BIG founder Bjarke Ingels.

Five classroom volumes are stacked and pivoted on top of a larger base level, and detailed to look as if they overlap one another.

A swooping staircase alternates between inside and outside to provide access to each of the floors and the rooftop gardens above.

"The resultant cascading terraces are connected by a curving stair that weaves through all levels – inside as well as outside – making all students, from both programmes and all ages, visually and physically connected to each other," Ingels added.

"Each terrace is landscaped to lend itself not just to the social life of the students but also as informal outdoor spaces for learning."

Glazed white bricks clad the exterior of the 180,000-square-foot (16,700-square-metre) building. Large expanses of glazing are placed on the inner side of the fan to offer views to the surroundings.

BIG worked with executive architect Leo A Daly, Arlington Public Schools (APS), West Rosslyn Area Plan and the local community on The Heights, which was first unveiled in 2016.

The projects was initiated to combine two existing school systems in Arlington: H-B Woodlawn school for grades six to 12, and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Program that offers special education for students ages 11 to 22.

The two lower floors are intended for the latter and include an occupational physical therapy room and a space to aid sensory processing.

In total, The Heights spans 180,000 square feet (16,700 square metres) and accommodates over 775 students. A sports field is set on one side and enclosed with a fence, and an existing convenience store is at another corner.

To complement the recreational field, BIG also created two sunken courtyards, an entry garden and a new public park on the corner of Wilson and Quinn Street. The first roof terrace is also accessible to the pubic when school is not in session.

As a contrast to the white brick exterior, each classroom level inside the building is decorated with a unique colour, including blue, purple, pink, yellow and orange. There is also an indoor basketball court that has green walls.

A large amount of glazing inside echoes the windows on the exterior and creates views to other spaces inside the building.

"Glass walls open up views between the different activities, making it a three-dimensional composition of all aspects of learning and living in the school," said Ingels.

Dennis Wise, courtesy Burke Museum of Natural History & Culture
The new Burke Museum brings history and culture out into the open

The Burke Museum, a natural history museum on the University of Washington (UW) campus, opened the doors to its new facility October 12. In the 113,000-square-foot facility designed by Olson Kundig, the 130-year-old natural history museum hopes to show off more of its massive collection of fossils, artifacts, and American Indian art—which, until now, has been filed away in closed-off spaces—to the public.

The culmination of a decade of planning, the new building is designed to bring all of its work together by integrating the museum’s research and preservation efforts into the visitor experience. Previously, visitors couldn’t see the scientists behind the scenes researching, cleaning, and restoring items. With the new facility, glass panes between public and behind-the-scenes spaces and more versatile storage bring the full collection out of dark closets and into the light.

Over the past century and change, the Burke has bounced around between less-than-ideal facilities, inheriting previous buildings or settling for smaller facilities. After the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific exhibition, the Burke, then the Washington State Museum, it shifted its exhibits and collections between various UW buildings, many that were leaky or bug-infested. In the late 1950s, its home at the time was condemned.

Its most recent facility was custom-built in 1962, but was smaller than ideal, so the museum quickly outgrew the space as its massive collection grew. It also lacked climate control to keep its artifacts safe, equipment to analyze the collection, and visual cues to even let passers-by know it’s a museum.
The new building, completed with consultation from 29 local tribes and a Native American advisory committee, is in many ways designed to be the complete opposite of the previous building, which had gotten cramped and let in little natural light. Now, the museum is designed around open space: Skylights allow natural light to come in from above, but can darken to block brighter rays. Upper and lower lobbies are lined by windows, welcoming the public in from both the street and the university campus.
“It reads like a museum,” project architect Edward Lalonde told Curbed Seattle last year, as opposed to the “opaque” old Burke space. “People understand what they’re approaching.”

From the lower-level entrance, a large whale skeleton floats above the stairs. Mark Stone, courtesy Burke Museum of Natural History & Culture
Fittingly for a natural history museum, the exterior is designed to work with the environment around it. A sloped roof just about matches a 15-to-20-foot grade change along the site. A madrona tree that had to be removed from the site to start construction was planked and integrated into the design, coating the university-side entrance. The shed-style roof was inspired by traditional Coast Salish dwelling.
Kebony siding, constructed from southern pine, is meant to mimic area classics like fir and cedar, but with a longer lifespan. As time goes on, the wood “will age naturally to a silver,” explained Lalonde last year. “That’s important to us that the building ages well and it ages naturally.”

Building elements, like tall, skinny windows, are also meant to nod to fir and cedar.
“A major focus of the design is maximizing transparency—large areas of glazing look in from the street and the interior experience to connect the Burke to the campus, landscape and city,” says Tom Kundig, principal and owner of Olson Kundig and principal on the project. “We wanted visitors and the surrounding community to connect to the museum’s collections and artifacts, and engage with the process of scientific discovery in a true working museum.”
One of the biggest changes visitors will notice, though, is intentional space. Rather than shift between awkward dividers, small offices, and a basement, rooms are designed around exhibits and purpose.

Pictured in 2018, the Burke’s T. rex skull sports googly eyes as a visual aid. Sarah Anne Lloyd
The Amazing Life exhibit shows how our earth’s ecosystem has functioned both in the past and today. Fossils Uncovered is the classic natural history museum fossil exhibit, with the only real dinosaur fossils on display in the state, including one of the Burke’s most famous pieces, one of the best-preserved T. rex skulls in the world. The Northwest Native Art Gallery highlights cont
Justin Knight
Two years ago, after 19 years of conducting this ranking survey, DesignIntelligence (DI) moved from using the word “best” when ranking design schools (“Which programs are best preparing students for a future in the profession?”) to the term “most admired” (“What schools do you most admire for a combination of faculty, programs, culture, and student preparation for the profession?”). This was done to acknowledge the subjective nature of such rankings, in the absence of empirical evidence. Our research made clear that “best” is related to an individual respondent’s proclivities and therefore is not universally applicable.

While the DI survey always asked hiring professionals what programs were “best,” we have focused sharply over the past two years on what schools those professionals actually hire from the most. Professionals may say they admire one school over another, but that may not always have to do with the readiness and competence of the graduates. Often admiration is assigned to an institution based on a personal encounter, intellectual curiosity, or an inclination shaped through public relations. But when those same professionals put forth budgets, time frames, and performance expectations, the subjective is secondary to what is known, observable, and measurable. So we now ask a second primary question: “From which schools have you hired the greatest number of students (graduate and undergraduate combined) in the last five years?”

What the professional hiring managers from firms across the nation desire is the ability of graduates to hit the ground running when they begin work in the real world. That competence ranges from the fundamental knowledge of how buildings come together to the collaborative communication skills essential to design work. Our survey results indicated that 32 percent of professionals rank such fundamentals as inadequate among architecture graduates.

The wonder of new graduates is that they’re digital natives and comfortable with all types, uses, and expressions of information and design technology. But what’s so often missing is the human necessity of effective personal interaction. Conversational and written communication to defend and support detailed design decisions is critical to the future of the profession, yet so many don’t possess these basic skills.

We also survey students, and this year two unexpected results stood out from the 4,000-plus responses we received. First was the 5 percent drop in architecture undergraduate students wishing to go on to graduate school. The noted reasons were straightforward: accumulated debt and the marginal economic benefit that an advanced degree was thought to provide in gaining employment, as well as the drive to get out and get busy using their design skills.

The second standout was the answer to the following question: “If there were no barriers, what firm would you want to work for?” The No. 1 response overall was to be self-employed.

The lion’s share of students indicated that the work they do in the future must be purposeful, responsible, founded in defensible research, with a measurable impact. That sense of purpose continues to be a major drive in the generation entering the workforce: working for a wage is no longer enough motivation. A range of work is also critical: engaging various market types and solutions, and using a broader range of their skills. Traditional architecture/engineering and construction (AEC) practices were labeled out of date, stuck in old paradigms, irresponsible to communities and the environment, and motivated by financial considerations rather than the desire to do what is right.

As the leadership of DesignIntelligence travels the globe, these themes emerge on a consistent basis. Students, as well as young professionals, are demanding a different kind of industry. The future of AEC is on a radical path toward reinvention, led by the upcoming generations who have a new set of attitudes, values, and behaviors. Innovative ways of working, collaborating, leveraging knowledge through technology, and devising economic value are all challenging traditional ways and means across the design and construction industry. Lessons from other industries, such as tech, software/systems development, and aerospace are being directly applied to AEC, and the initial outcomes are indicating dramatic shifts in approaches, process,
Trent Bell
American firm Supernormal has created a nursery and preschool in the Boston area that features sculptural volumes wrapped in vibrant wallpaper and open play areas illuminated by speckled daylight.

Opened in 2019, the SolBe Learning Center is a nursery and preschool for children aged six months to five years. The 550-square-metre facility is located in a strip mall in Chestnut Hill, a community in the Boston area.

Supernormal – a multidisciplinary firm based in the nearby town of Somerville – sought to create a new type of daycare and learning environment. Working in collaboration with SolBe's founders, the architects conceived a model that pairs each classroom, called a Dwelling, with an open space, called a Yard.

"The SolBe Learning Center questions the traditional definition of the classroom, commonly interpreted from early education code as a room bounded by four walls with an area of 35 square feet of space per child," the studio said in a description.

"Instead, the classroom is re-imagined as distinct zones of activity with specific spatial characteristics that better match the quality and level of activity within them."

For the classrooms, the team created sculptural volumes wrapped in colourful, patterned wallpaper. The interiors are fitted with oak flooring, creamy walls and wooden decor. Up above, a billowing ceiling was constructed using light-gauge metal framing with an acoustical plaster finish.

"The ceiling geometry allows for, and amplifies the effect of, indirect light in the dwellings," firm principal Elizabeth Bowie Christoforetti told Dezeen.

"The soft classroom lighting and dynamic ceiling contribute to a sense of calm and wonder in the learning spaces."

Acting as "islands" within an open-floor plan, the Dwellings provide space for focused, quiet learning. In contrast, the Yards are meant for lively play, dining and group activities.

"This oscillation between focused learning and free-play territory reflects the innovative curriculum, creating space that is sensitive to the needs of children as they transition through growth stages and times of the day," the studio said.

In the open areas, activities take place under a 4.5-metre-high (15-foot-high) ceiling punctured with skylights and covered with a screen made of white, acoustic baffles. Dappled, natural light moves across the interior, enabling kids to feel and observe how light and weather change throughout the day.

When school is not in session, the facility acts a community centre, offering opportunities for weekend play, music lessons and continuing education courses for adults.

"The space is an embodiment of SolBe's distinct, open and inclusive approach to early childhood education and life in community," the studio said.

"The space and the concept that drove it hold an enormous amount of potential to push at the edges of the existing status quo toward a redefinition of our experience of young family life in America, in whatever traditional or untraditional form it exists."

The SolBe Learning Center is longlisted for the Dezeen Awards 2019.

Other innovative schools and daycare facilities within the US include Big and Tiny in the Los Angeles area, which has a co-working space for parents and a wooden play area for kids, and WeWork's first school in New York City, which features lily-pad-shaped cushions and sculptural wooden enclosures.
Debra Hurford-Brown
For many architecture and design schools across the United States, 2019 marks a shift in institutional leadership. From Charlotte to Berkeley, new deans will assume the helms of some of the country’s most challenging—and exciting—programs. The deans will have the opportunity to shape design pedagogy and practice in significant ways, potentially guiding how academic institutions teach and address issues related to the built environment for years to come. But in an era of collaborative learning and community engagement, what does deanship look like? AN asked eight of the country’s new deans about their plans for the future of their schools and their discipline. Here’s what they have to say:

Respondents’ answers have been edited and condensed in some cases.

Vishaan Chakrabarti
University of California, Berkeley College of Environmental Design

A former principal at SHoP Architects, Vishaan Chakrabarti is a professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation and the founder of the New York-based Practice for Architecture and Urbanism.

The Architect’s Newspaper: What is your vision for the school moving forward?

Given the spatial nature of our three existential challenges—climate change, social inequity, and technological dislocation—I believe that schools of architecture are as relevant today as law schools were during the civil and equal rights era. I am keenly interested in exploring with students, staff, and faculty the questions of how to reconcile the demands of professional practice—which takes decades to do well—with the understandable impatience of many students to radically and immediately change our world in light of the environmental, intersectional, economic, and political crises in which they have come of age.

How is your new school different from your previous institution, Columbia University?

Because [Berkeley] is public, it serves disproportionately large numbers of first-generation college students, Pell Grant recipients, and other diverse groups relative to most private institutions. More broadly, Berkeley is part of the Pacific Rim and therefore exists at a healthy distance from the Eurocentric framework that still dominates many design schools.

Harriet Harriss
Pratt Institute School of Architecture

Before assuming her role at Pratt, Harriet Harriss was the head of the postgraduate program in architecture and interior design at the Royal College of Art in London, where she explored new models of design education addressing gender imbalances that exist at many institutions.

What is your vision for the school moving forward?

The tradition of parachuting in architectural visionaries ready to superimpose their agenda and aesthetics upon an unsuspecting faculty—with little regard for the established expertise within a school of architecture— is no longer viable. The vision I have is the one I intend to co-design with the talented and dedicated educators, students, and administrators at Pratt Institute School of Architecture… What’s needed is a dean who is willing to facilitate, enable, and empower, who is committed to ensuring talented students’ and educators’ work gets the recognition and exposure it deserves, and one who will work toward ensuring the work is realized across an expanded field of professional practices and public contexts.

Who would you consider a role model dean and why?

Architecture’s habit of focusing upon an individual’s contribution over that of a collective does not reflect the reality of architectural practice or education. Instead, we need to recognize the achievements of collectives in shaping the most successful spatial outcomes and increase our capacity for collaboration in order to respond effectively to challenges ahead.

What would you make your school’s mascot?

Do we need mascots? Or actions that lead to meaningful impact?

Branko Kolarevic
New Jersey Institute of Technology Hillier College of Architecture and Design

Previously a professor and administrator at the School of Architecture, Planning, and Landscape at the University of Calgary, Branko Kolarevic is a designer and educator with experience at multiple universities across North America and Asia.

How i
Wanda Lau
Building professional connections is a skill not taught in many architecture programs, but it is a necessity in practice, Evelyn Lee writes in her first column for ARCHITECT.

According to Malcolm Gladwell’s book The Tipping Point (Back Bay Books, 2002), I would be considered a “connector.” I’ve been in the industry nearly two decades, with about 15 years serving on different AIA committees at all levels. As a business school graduate and contributing writer to several publications, I seek out individuals and organizations thinking about the future of architecture and how practice needs to adapt. I enjoy connecting people within my network because, while the design profession is relatively small, the number of us thinking about the evolution of practice is even smaller. Relationship building has been critical to my own growth, professionally and personally. My best connections keep me excited about the industry, challenge my viewpoints, and have become incredible mentor and advocates—and I take pride in cultivating my network.

Which is why I was taken aback by the flurry of cold emails and messages I received from firm principals and senior designers almost immediately upon updating my LinkedIn profile with my new role as the inaugural senior experience designer at Slack, the fast-growing tech company in San Francisco. Since I had moved to the client side three years ago, my ability to hire architects was nothing new. So why the widespread attention? Perhaps it was Slack’s recent IPO?

The myriad mindless messages I received in response to my new position truly left a bad taste in my mouth. Business school graduates know that networking is fundamental: Universities want to promote what percentage of their alumni have gone on to find successful jobs, and building relationships enhances that stat. Literally, Networking 101 is built into B-school orientation.

But designers could certainly do much better when they reach out. To make the process more palatable to both you and your networking target, I offer five recommendations for developing professional relationships.

Look for Mutual Connections
Regardless of your age or experience, leverage the resources that exist in your network. People are more receptive to an email that comes from someone they know—or even someone who knows someone they know—than from a stranger. This validates a good connection and assures the recipient that the contact will be deeper than a superficial ask for new work. The architecture world is not that big.

It’s Not About You
The first outreach should never be about your needs: It’s always about theirs. Do not fish for information in the first contact; instead, be specific about why you want to talk or, at the very least, if you’re requesting their particular experience and viewpoint on your own work. If you explicitly want to talk about my new job, then I will shelve your request.

Simplify Your Ask
Most people will be happy to talk for 15 minutes on a topic they are passionate about—just make sure you know what that topic is. I have had more success asking for a 15-minute phone conversation than an in-person sit-down. Even a coffee meetup means you are asking someone to take time out of their day, go to a place out of their routine, and commit to a conversation that they may not be excited about. Fifteen minutes first. Then maybe coffee.

Be Patient
Relationships take time, trust, and nurturing. A milestone in a person’s career is a good reason to reach out or pick up a conversation with a connection you haven’t talked to in a while. As with personal relationships, it takes time to develop professional confidantes.

Google Yourself
Leverage technology but be mindful of your own profile. Whether you are building your own network or on the receiving end of a cold email, people are going to research who you are. Clean up your public personas and make sure they reflect your professional self.

About 10 years ago, I picked up a great book on social media marketing for AEC professionals. I wanted to meet the author and was excited to discover she was running a workshop at the local AIA component. I made the workshop but had to run immediately after the event without speaking with her. My few shared connections with her on LinkedIn were merely acquaintances to me—so I took a chance and messaged her directly. In my email, I explained that I had attended her workshop, had questions about specific points she made, and was interested on her take on the profession’s
Nick Merrick © Hall+Merrick
The design-build project—with architects BNIM and builders Level 10—features extensive passive ventilation driven by thermal chimneys.

The delivery man was lost. He’d circled Palomar College’s campus twice already, looking for the maintenance warehouse. Finally, he pulled up to a sleek L-shaped complex located right at the campus entrance. The structure was clad with terra-cotta and surrounded by a native-species garden; the delivery man ducked into the building’s sleek, glass-walled lobby.

“He came in and asked, ‘Where’s facilities?’” remembers Dennis Astl, the southern California community college’s construction and planning manager. “When our admin told him he was in it, he turned around and said, ‘You’re kidding, it’s too pretty.’”

Astl is proud of that story—he tells it at tours of Palomar’s Maintenance and Operations complex, which opened officially on April 12th, four years after he first sat down with the project’s general contractor and architect and told them he had two goals: to win a design award and to hit Net Zero energy usage. Everyone at that initial design meeting says Astl’s clarity—along with the project’s design-build format, which fostered close architect-builder collaboration—was the key to making something extraordinary, especially on a limited, public bond–funded budget of $15.5 million.

“We didn’t take the easy path,” says Mike Conroy of Level 10, the general contractor. “What’s special about this project is we pushed ourselves outside the boundaries of what could have been just a normal maintenance building.”

The task of architect Matthew Porreca, who leads Kansas City–based BNIM’s California business (the firm has an office in San Diego), was to design a facility that would consolidate more than ten back-campus buildings, lots, and maintenance shops—one of which was nicknamed “the swamp.” Even tougher, he had to convince experienced electricians, carpenters, landscapers, operations and custodial workers that he’d meet their needs on a far smaller footprint, and without putting air conditioning in any of their new shops.

“Our team definitely absorbed a lot of feedback,” laughs Porreca now. “But we needed to be good listeners. They know what they do better than anyone.”

Porreca had worked on campus projects before, but never a maintenance building, so he was free to approach its design with a fresh perspective. His Palomar designs had a makerspace vibe, with unfinished surfaces and creative storage systems. Hoping for a green light from the workers, Porreca used virtual reality for the first time, offering them a look at their new, albeit smaller, shops though a cardboard Google headset attached to a mobile phone.

“As soon as they saw it, they were like, ‘Oh, I can work with that,’” says Porreca.

With that buy-in, Porreca and Conroy focused on tackling the Net Zero mandate. They eliminated two thirds of the facility’s mechanical systems by using tall thermal chimneys that collect the sun’s heat and—because heat rises—draw air up and out, creating a passive ventilation system. Workspaces stay cool, even when the desert’s Santa Ana winds kick in. Many of the complex’s walls are tilt-up concrete that’s padded with exterior insulation and a terra-cotta rainscreen, allowing interiors to remain as cool as a dry basement. Porreca and Conroy made ample use of daylighting, too, and are crowning the complex this summer with an array of metered solar panels. Overall, they aim to provide 105 percent of the building’s electrical demand. If they can pull that off for a year, Palomar will be the only community college in the world to be in the running for a Living Building Petal Certification.

Porreca says the best award for him has been watching Palomar’s maintenance and operations workers adapt so easily to non-traditional, carbon-positive spaces. Eddy Seckendorf, a carpenter in his tenth year working at Palomar, brags about how steady the temperatures stay in his new shop, and how fresh the air feels.

“Honestly, it’s pretty cool,” says Seckendorf. “We keep looking at each other like, ‘Wow, this does not suck at all.’”


The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) and the RAIC Foundation are pleased to announce the three winners of the 2019 RAIC International Prize Scholarships.

They are:
  • Laure Nolte, Dalhousie University
  • Lucie Palombi, University of Montréal
  • Odudu Umoessien, University of Manitoba
Each student has won a $5,000 scholarship for writing an essay describing the moment they decided to become an architect or knew their decision to become an architect was the right one.

The RAIC International Prize Scholarships are presented in conjunction with the $100,000 RAIC International Prize. The winner of the RAIC International Prize, to be selected from a shortlist of three projects from Senegal, Peru, and Chile, will be announced at the RAIC International Prize Gala on October 25 in Toronto, ON. The scholarship winners will receive their awards at the same event.

The RAIC received 93 eligible entries in both English and French from students enrolled in Canada’s 11 accredited schools of architecture as well as students at the RAIC Centre for Architecture at Athabasca University and the RAIC Syllabus Program.

“These essays describe moments when their authors understood the world through architecture and formed their own wish to be an architect,” says RAIC President Michael Cox, FRAIC. “Gathering with people, travelling, reading – all are enriched by the places where they occur. In very different ways, the essays evoke the value given by the built world to our lives, and the wish of architects to contribute.”

Amal Dirie will receive a Certificate of High Merit for her essay, on the temporary dwellings built by nomadic people in Somalia.

The 2019 jury members are:
  • Elsa Lam, FRAIC, editor of Canadian Architect magazine;
  • Anne Bordeleau, MRAIC, director, School of Architecture, University of Waterloo;
  • Douglas MacLeod, FRAIC, chair, RAIC Centre for Architecture, Athabasca University;
  • André Perrotte, FIRAC, partner, Saucier + Perrotte Architectes;
  • Barry Sampson, FRAIC, principal, Baird Sampson Neuert Architects;
  • David Covo, FRAIC, associate professor, Peter Guo-hua Fu School of Architecture, McGill University.

In the first decade of the 2000s, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) went on a building spree unlike any in its history. Acting as architectural impresario, the then dean of the university’s School of Architecture + Planning, the late William J. Mitchell, brought in architects like Frank Gehry, Fumihiko Maki, Charles Correa, and Steven Holl, who designed lavish signature buildings throughout the triangular campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts, all with the enthusiastic blessing of MIT’s then president Charles M. Vest.

The cost of the program was immense. In addition, there was a lawsuit by MIT against Gehry’s firm for cost overruns, schedule delays, and leakage at the Ray and Maria Stata Center—all of which seemed to make the institute wary of hiring star architects. The MIT News Office says the suit was settled “amicably” in 2010.

“After that building boom, there was a fear on campus of an architect acting as a lone ranger, not adhering to budgets or engaging the community,” says Nader Tehrani, who was head of MIT’s architecture department from 2010 to 2014. (Tehrani is now dean of the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture at Cooper Union, in New York.)

Now MIT is in the midst of another building boom—but this one is different. It is more con- textual, more aligned to the institute’s goal of melding with its Cambridge surroundings, whether Kendall Square to the east or Central Square to the west.

On the Kendall Square side, a pair of towers currently under construction on Main Street will form the new “eastern gateway” to the campus. One, by Tehrani’s Boston-based firm NADAAA, in collaboration with Perkins+Will as architect of record, is a 28-story, 454-unit graduate-student residence with daring cantilevers and views of the Charles River. The structure will also include retail, offices, a childcare center, a 200-seat forum for public events, and the new MIT admissions office.

On the opposite side of the Kendall Square T subway station, New York–based Weiss/ Manfredi has designed a 17-story tower for academic and commercial office space, with fritted glass pleats forming subtle cantilevers. “Some buildings can be a little quieter,” says firm cofounder Michael Manfredi, noting the involvement of MIT’s current architecture dean, Hashim Sarkis, who “laid out a set of urban conditions rather than encouraging singular architectural bravura.”

The building’s four-story orthogonal glass base will house the MIT Museum—the interiors of which Boston firm Höweler + Yoon will design. Eric Höweler, cofounder of the practice, says that the space will “bring out the quirkiness that MIT is about. It will be a teaching museum—‘hands on,’ not ‘hands off.’ ” With an adjoining bookstore and café, the project seems poised to add some much needed vibrancy to Kendall Square street life. The NADAAA and Weiss/Manfredi buildings are expected to open in fall 2020, the museum in May 2021.

MIT has two forthcoming projects on the western edge of campus that look to be standouts, one residential, one academic.

Just down Vassar Street from Steven Holl’s Simmons Hall and not far from Alvar Aalto’s Baker House, a new 450-bed undergraduate dormitory by Los Angeles–based Michael Maltzan Architecture aims to continue a tradition of innovative residential design at MIT. “Our building is the next step from Aalto and Holl,” says Michael Maltzan, design principal. The project will feature “cluster neighborhoods” to foster student camaraderie, and, in a nod to the “deep culture of creation that exists at MIT,” says Maltzan, a transparent maker-space at street level. The dorm will be occupied by fall 2020.

he academic space on this west campus side will be a new home for the School of Architecture + Planning. New York–based Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DSR) is leading the redesign of the historic Metropolitan Warehouse, at the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Vassar Street. “The Met,” as it is called, is a substantial redbrick building complete with a crenelated roof edge. “We’re interested in taking this building that looks like a fortress and make it appear to be a design school of the future,” says Ben Gilmartin, a partner with DSR.
Except for people who have their own jets, most would agree that the romance of air travel faded long ago. But that isn’t stopping those who want to be on the move. Worldwide, aviation numbers are expected to double to 8.2 billion passengers per year by 2037, say estimates by the International Air Transport Association. Airports everywhere are racing to ramp up capacity, with $737.3 billion-worth of projects in planning, design, or construction globally, according to one industry-analysis firm.

More than many countries, the United States is suffering from outmoded aviation infrastructure, with the average terminal building more than 40 years old. According to T.J. Schulz, president of the Airport Construction Council, at least $70 billion is being spent over five years, beginning in 2017, modernizing 50 medium and large U.S. airports. The lion’s share of this sum is going toward terminals—their revamping, expansion, or construction.

For architects, the focus is not merely on moving travelers from curbside to gate as smoothly as possible but trying to improve the ambience of travel. “It’s not all about speed and efficiency,” says Ryan Fetters, a senior associate in Gensler’s San Francisco office. In a joint venture with Kuth Ranieri Architects, Gensler is part of a design-build team for the landside of the $2.4 billion Harvey Milk Terminal 1 under construction at San Francisco International Airport (SFO). The team describes the facility as transparent and daylight-filled, with features such as intuitive navigation, site-specific art, and generous areas for passengers to reorganize their belongings after going through security.

Many architects are trying to elevate the passenger experience by injecting airports with local flavor. “We try to capture the spirit of the place, even if it isn’t a top goal of the client,” says Laura Ettelman, managing partner in the New York office of SOM. Among her firm’s current projects is the 2.4 million-square-foot Terminal 2 at Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru, India, organized around a series of indoor and outdoor green spaces. The scheme, inspired by the tech hub’s history as a garden city, takes advantage of its benign climate and will offer a “rich, sensory experience,” she says.

For architects dealing with a multitude of complex functional requirements and rapidly advancing technology, terminals are buildings that can quickly become outmoded, says Ettelman’s colleague Derek Moore, SOM aviation practice leader. He points to Eero Saarinen’s TWA Flight Center at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport as the “poster child” of this obsolescence problem. Enclosed by a dramatic, winglike thin-shell roof, the building, which was conceived before the introduction of the first commercial jet, was out of date almost as soon as it opened in 1962.

Since TWA, aircraft have of course continued to evolve, though sometimes in unexpected ways. The latest example is the phaseout of the Airbus A380 announced by the manufacturer in February. Sales of the superjumbo jet, designed for long-haul travel and carrying up to 850 passengers, have been stagnant as airlines opted for smaller planes that use less fuel per seat. Many of the budget airlines that serve regional airports, meanwhile, have been flying fewer flights than before, now with larger aircraft, like the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320, for similar reasons of economy.

Disruption in the airline industry can make a facility outmoded almost overnight. Pittsburgh International Airport occupies a 1992 terminal designed as a US Airways hub to handle up to 32 million passengers per year, many of them connecting to other flights. But after US Airways merged with American in 2013, traffic hit a low, and the airport now operates primarily as an origin and destination facility, with about 9.5 million passengers annually. Officials plan to “right size” by building a smaller terminal, now in schematic design by a joint venture of Gensler and HDR in association with Madrid-based luis vidal + architects. “We currently have ever increasing maintenance costs and aging infrastructure that we can’t upgrade,” explains Paul Hoback, the airport’s chief development officer.

The changes in how people get to the airport are affecting planning as well. More people are arriving by ride-share services like Uber and Lyft, and revenue from park
Bret Hartman/TED
The University of California, Berkeley, has named Vishaan Chakrabarti dean of its College of Environmental Design (CED). The founder of New York–based Practice for Architecture and Urbanism (PAU) will continue to lead the firm during his deanship.

Chakrabarti is a 1996 graduate of CED’s architecture program and member of the college’s Dean’s Advisory Council. He holds a Masters of Architecture from UC Berkeley and a Masters of City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as well as dual bachelor’s degrees in art history and engineering from Cornell University. An AIA Fellow and Honorary Fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, Chakrabarti has also been a professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation (GSAPP) since 2009, where he is currently an associate professor of professional practice. There, he has directed projects including a public-private partnership to redevelop Penn Station, and the adaptive reuse of Domino Sugar Refinery and Park, both in New York City. He also served as director of the Manhattan office of New York City’s Department of City Planning from 2002–2005 during the rebuilding that followed 9/11.

In this new role, Chakrabarti will succeed Jennifer Wolch, who stepped down at the end of the spring 2019 term after 10 years at the helm of the CED. Professor Renee Chow, chair of Berkeley’s architecture department, will serve as acting dean beginning July 1, 2019, until Chakrabarti begins on July 1, 2020.
John Wardle Architects
The University of Tasmania has unveiled designs for the first building to be developed as part of its $334 million Northern Transformation Project at its Inveresk campus in Launceston.

The proposed library and student experience building, designed by John Wardle Architects, will form part of stage one in the redevelopment and will be the centrepiece of a new precinct plan for the campus, itself designed by John Wardle Architects and Tasmanian practice 1+2 Architecture.

The building will be sited in front of the Annexe Theatre and beside the School of Creative Arts. Its sawtooth roof lines will reference the industrial heritage and materials of Inveresk and the broader city.

“The new Student Experiences building will be a contemporary place for people to connect with one another and to continue in the long traditions of the site to gather, drawing in people from all regions of northern Tasmania to share and create new and other experiences,” said Jane Williams, principal of John Wardle Architects.

The University of Tasmania Vice-Chancellor Professor Rufus Black said, “This is a thoughtfully designed building that will nest within the existing buildings and rooflines of Inveresk.

“It speaks to and respects the industrial heritage around it through its form and materials, but it is a thoroughly modern and exciting building that will serve the needs of today’s students and those of tomorrow.

“As we promised, this is also contemporary timber building. It uses engineered timbers for its three-story structure and throughout the internal fit out. It will be a living demonstration of how we can use timber to construct large buildings in Tasmania.”

The design team led by John Wardle Architects were appointed to the project in July 2018. The updated masterplan, which now includes the addition of student accommodation buildings, also outlines several stages for the redevelopment.

Stage one will also include a pedestrian bridge across the North Esk River to the Willis Street site, which will be home to a health science and research building, to be completed by 2024 as part of stage three, as well as townhouse style student accommodation buildings.

Stage two will include a learning and teaching building, to be completed by 2023, which will be located adjacent to the existing School of Architecture designed by Six Degrees and SBE. Both the library building and learning and teaching building will face onto a proposed University Square that will be situated along a central spine linking two sites across the river. This spine will also include active recreation facilities.

“It is a campus designed to deliver the aspirations of the University’s Northern Transformation Program, educating more Tasmanians and attracting students and staff to Launceston,” Black said.

“The campus is designed for today’s students and life-long learning, so we can work with the community to lift educational attainment and address disadvantage. Our research facilities will enable us to partner with industry to grow their businesses and to see start-ups create more new jobs for the region.”

The redevelopment of University of Tasmania’s Inveresk campus is the single largest infrastructure investment in Launceston’s history. It is funded jointly by the federal, state and local governments and the university as part of a $260 million city deal. The addition of student accommodation to the precinct plan will be funded in partnership with the private sector to the tune of $54 million. The federal government will also contribute $30 million for a Maritime and Defence Innovation and Design Precinct at Newnham.

Koning Eizenberg Architecture

A secondary school on a college campus uses indoor and outdoor space to form a smart, informal learning environment.

Some of the newest students at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) campus haven’t taken their SATs—they are the middle and high schoolers at the new Geffen Academy at UCLA. The university decided to start a secondary school for students from the greater Los Angeles area—including those of UCLA faculty—back in 2015. It selected a campus building designed by Culver City, Calif.–based Ehrlich Architects (now Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects) as a facility to temporarily house various departments during renovations, and hired Santa Monica, Calif.–based Koning Eizenberg Architecture (KEA) to transform it into Geffen Academy. The school opened in 2017, and moved into its new facility last fall.

KEA principal Julie Eizenberg, FAIA, says that the client was not interested in a traditional school: “They told us that they expected a third of their students to not be in class at any given time, that they wanted to begin to break down the barrier between faculty and students, and that they believed in wellness programs,” especially the importance of daylight.

To address this brief, KEA reoriented the entry from one of the short sides of the building to the long side to create a better area for drop-off, and to reclaim some of the parking lot surrounding the building to create an outdoor patio for students. Existing roll-up garage doors now open ground-floor studios for dance, art, and maker space to light and air, and connect the patio to a cafeteria. Inside, KEA cut a stair into the floor plates to connect the three levels and admit daylight via a skylight above. Glass interior partitions allow light to penetrate deep into the floor plates.

An important design concept was “the idea of empowerment,” Eizenberg says. “To make the students feel empowered, you need to give them choice.” A central, open library offers a variety of study and collaborative environments for students and teachers alike to choose how and where they want to work. The library starts on the ground floor with a space known as the living room, and occupies the center of floors two and three, where it is surrounded by classrooms. While the sequence of spaces is called a library—and does indeed hold books—the school has taken to it just as the architects intended. “We used indirect lighting on Unistrut that the students can also use for display,” says project manager Mandi Roberts, Assoc. AIA. The last time she visited, “the living room was a theater.”

“To make teachers and students comfortable, you need a fairly sophisticated environment,” Eizenberg says—high-tech offices were a source of inspiration. But the school was “keen that the kids create the narrative. It’s got to be a place where you can make a mess.”
SHoP Architects
Media, Pennsylvania

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.

Bowed wood strips suspended from the ceiling of the upper-level space demonstrate the assembly processes that students will use on their own; they were computer-designed and then CNC-milled in SHoP’s Brooklyn lab. Students learn how the ceiling was made by viewing the sequence of fabrication and assembly in a virtual-reality film; they can then apply a design-and-build process to their own work. Instructors also show off a similar design-to-fabrication process used for the exterior metal panels. The creases in the panels vary light reflections, designed according to a computer-generated algorithm.

The lab was completed in August 2018 but was fitted out over ensuing months. Pedagogically, it will remain a work in progress, with Benchmark director of innovation Emma Mattesky, who oversees the lab, helping instr
Thomas Mueller
Can digital fabrication unlock a new frontier in low-cost timber construction? All signs point to yes in the IBA Timber Prototype House, a micro-architecture project that’s been playfully described as “a log cabin turned on its side” by its designers at the Institute for Computational Design and Construction at the University of Stuttgart. Designed to meet PassivHaus standards, the airtight and highly sustainable building system was developed as part of the International Building Exhibition (IBA) Thueringen and is currently on show in Apolda until September 29.

The IBA Timber Prototype House shows how computational design and fabrication technologies can turn low-cost timber construction into an environmentally friendly, economical and architecturally expressive way to build. The mono-material building consists of a series of staggered upright spruce timber frames with thin slits that serve as stress-relief cuts to prevent splitting and dead-air chambers to increase insulation values without compromising structural capacity. Digital fabrication and five-axis CNC milling also allowed for the creation of precision-cut airtight joints for connecting the timber elements so that no metal fasteners or adhesives were needed in construction.

“Conventional building systems have a vast array of different materials embedded in them, which often have very high embedded energy costs and are difficult to separate for recycling,” explains the ICD team. “In contrast, this research draws on traditional joinery, and a system was developed that relies purely on wood elements for structural connections and airtight enclosure, minimizing system layers and ensuring easy disassembly for end-of-life recycling. Furthermore, the project sources all the wood from within the state of Thueringen, where the demonstrator was built, allowing the team to minimize the embodied energy costs associated with moving materials over transportation networks.”

The tiny building’s curving walls and roof are also a result of digital fabrication, while simulations of the home’s energy efficiency—the house achieves a U-value of 0.20 W/(m^2K) without additional insulation—have indicated that the prototype should perform up to PassivHaus standards even during cold German winters.

Joe Fletcher
Albany, California

Mark Cavagnero readily admits that his personal relationship with Catholicism ended after he attended a parish school as a child in Connecticut. So, when he received a request to interview for a commission to design a student chapel for a Catholic high school in the San Francisco Bay Area, he wasn’t sure he was up to the task.

“My faith had wavered, to say the least,” Cavagnero recalls. But then he began to think about the intersection of spirituality and architecture in a broader way—as “idealized space that could offer empathy, with room for contemplation that may, or may not, include prayer.”

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That impulse is now embodied in a small structure of concrete and glass at the entrance to St. Mary’s College High School, in Albany, California. Unapologetically modern yet suffused with tranquil warmth, it serves as a symbolic portal to the campus, as well as an open refuge for students seeking inspiration or solitude, often at conflicted times in their lives.

Unlike other buildings on the 12.5-acre campus, most of which were built as needed during the past 30 years and have a vague air of Mission Revival style, the 4,400-square-foot chapel makes a striking first impression. Just inside the campus’s entry gate, off a shaded street of single-family homes, a rectangular concrete “ steeple” rises, its back pitched and its eastward face inset with glass that is divided into quarters by a thin metal cross. Around and behind the tower, like rectangular ridges beneath a mountain peak, the building’s lower sections hold the chapel and a small sacristy.

The religious imagery is obvious. But the steeple, a great, hollowed-out light shaft, also allows morning sunlight to slice into the sanctuary, illuminating the altar, where a priest addresses the pupils, who often gather for brief talks or services before classes begin. Later in the day, when a student might come on his or her own, the altar fades into the shadows while the chapel is lit from behind.

“It seemed important to break the room down into different scales,” explains Cavagnero, who in 2015 won the coveted Maybeck Award from the AIA California Council. “I was thinking about what it would be like if I was going through a moment of stress in my life. I’d want a space where I could think and brood and wonder.”

While the morning light is clean and direct, the afternoon sun—entering through floor-to-ceiling glass panels at the chapel’s southwest corner—fills the sanctuary with a diffused glow. A clerestory window of frosted glass, tucked along the north edge of the space, evens out the illumination without calling attention to itself.

The pews are white oak. So are the slats along the chapel’s southern wall—positioned not only to direct light toward the front of the chapel, but also to form a screen that blocks distracting outside views from the pews. The floor is smooth Alabama limestone. The vertical plane behind the altar is the same stone, but split-face, and the other walls are of white Portland cement. “The best way to make a space that’s visually and spiritually quiet,” suggests Cavagnero, “is to use as few elements as possible, and to keep them under control.”

The architect was less successful, however, in his quest to make the chapel feel like a sanctuary entirely apart from the hectic commotion of a high school with more than 600 students, and other challenging conditions. Though the site parallels a creek lined with tall redwood trees—hints of nature that filter into the chapel and its courtyard—it’s also bordered by a service road. The tower, meanwhile, faces a wide asphalt roadway and a utility building.

To counter these encroachments, the design moves the chapel entrance to the site’s rear, in a small courtyard, reached from the east by a pathway, flanked by Cavagnero’s building on one side and, on the other, by a concrete wall that drops from 8 to 4 feet high as it nears the courtyard. When the three Japanese maples that are part of Andrea Cochran’s landscape design grow in, the sense of passage should feel more natural. It’s an imaginative response to a challenging site, but a self-consciously choreographed one, as well.

Once inside the chapel, though, emotional resonance emerges in the way clean details are infused with higher purpose. The choic
John Sutton
California firm CAW Architects used prefabricated elements and economical materials to create a series of light-filled buildings on an agricultural campus operated by Stanford University.

The structures are situated on the O'Donohue Family Stanford Educational Farm, located on the edge of the university's campus in Silicon Valley.

The Farm not only provides food for the university community, but also serves as an outdoor classroom where students can learn about farming practises. Over 200 varieties of vegetables, fruit, herbs, field crops and flowers are grown on the six-acre (2.4-hectare) site.

"The Farm serves as a working agricultural complex that provides over 15,000 pounds of produce each year to the campus – and a living laboratory where students, faculty and the community test ideas about social and environmental aspects of farming and urban agriculture," said CAW Architects, a firm based in the nearby town of Palo Alto.

CAW Architects was tasked with creating a cluster of buildings to serve different purposes. The structures were designed to minimise their impact on the site.

"The design tightly clusters farm structures to preserve the majority of the site for field crops and orchards," the team said in a project description.

The siting of the buildings was also driven by a desire to provide views and outdoor gathering areas, while also ensuring that daily work could be efficiently performed.

Wooden slats, corrugated metal and polycarbonate panels were among the materials used to create the structures, which were built on "a very modest budget". Prefabricated elements helped keep costs down.

The centrepiece of the complex is the Barn, a single-storey, 5,300-square-foot (492-square-metre) building with wooden walls and a gabled, metal roof. Clerestories rise up from the roof, ushering in daylight and facilitating natural ventilation.

The Barn houses a workshop, a seminar room, offices, storage space and restrooms. On the east side, a sheltered pavilion overlooking the fields serves as an area for demonstrations and gatherings.

Just south of the Barn is a trio of smaller, basic buildings – a greenhouse, a lath house and a wash-and-pack facility. The Farm also offers a barbecue area, where fresh meals can be cooked up and enjoyed during events.
OMA new york + KOO
OMA has held off competition from two other high profile firms — morphosis and johnston marklee — to design a new arts center for the university of illinois at chicago (UIC). earlier this year, the institution initiated a contest that called for ‘an architecturally significant center for the arts that serves as a gateway and bridge between UIC and the world, and as a destination for innovative arts and cultural production.’

as the only public research university in chicago, the university of illinois at chicago (UIC) provides a rare combination of research excellence and public access to higher education. UIC’s school of theatre & music (STM) will be the primary occupant of the proposed center. every year, the school presents four main stage theater productions and more than 50 concerts, all of which are open to the public. in developing their proposals, OMA, morphosis, and johnston marklee each partnered with a chicago-based architect — KOO, STL architects, and urbanworks architecture respectively.

as a public, urban hub for performance and gathering, and a home for the school of theatre and music, the project required an 88,000-square-foot building with a 500-seat vineyard-style concert hall and a 270-seat flexible mainstage theater, as well as instrumental and choral rehearsal halls and theater production shops. supporting facilities, a donor lounge, a small café/jazz club and exhibition space will also be included.

OMA/KOO’s winning concept design proposes two towers: a student tower that faces the campus and opens to a performance park along the peoria street bridge, and a public tower that looks to the cityscape and opens to a phase one screening plaza along halsted street. large ramps flow from the street to an ‘accessible topography of performances’ on the second level, connecting the outdoor and indoor performances spaces, including the concert hall between the towers, and the phase two mainstage theatre on halsted street. production spaces line harrison street on the ground floor.

the scheme is topped with a translucent, tent-like roof with embedded photovoltaics that stretches from and between the towers, covering the concert hall and the mainstage theatre. the colors of the performance space volumes would shine through the translucent areas. ‘we are honored to be awarded this project that will serve as a new cultural anchor for the students of UIC and the city of chicago,’ says OMA partner shohei shigematsu. ‘our design focuses on fostering dialogue between performance and the public — the new building will be a connector between the city and UIC’s urban campus.’

KRJ Architecture
The US Green Building Council has recognized the Missouri Alternative and Renewable Energy Technology (MARET) Center at Crowder College as a LEED Platinum facility. The building, which itself acts as a hands-on training tool for student learning, is one of very few LEED Platinum buildings that produces more energy than it consumes, making it “net-positive.”

This efficiency was achieved through significant modeling, planning and research by KRJ Planning & Research, who utilized renewable energy sources (solar heat, wind, biomass, solar electric), together with an exceptionally well-planned and constructed building envelope with an internal energy distribution system. Daylighting is utilized throughout the entire facility, keeping use of electric lighting to a minimum. Solar cells on the roof produce energy, as does a wind turbine on the site. HVAC is provided through geothermal means, in addition to hydronic heating and cooling that utilizes roof-mounted solar collectors. The building is cooled by groundwater alone. Even rainwater from the roof is collected and reused for plantings surrounding the facility.

The building is utilized by the college as a teaching facility to demonstrate how energy can be collected, stored and distributed, so accessibility to the facility’s mechanical systems was paramount for educational purposes. Likewise, the facility was organized to allow ease of building system modifications, allowing students to run energy use experiments. Finally, the facility was built with modular construction, allowing students and building prefabricators to participate and learn with these systems. Overall, the entire facility is an incubator for student and industry learning.

Of key interest to instructors and students alike, is how a facility in the Midwest, with high temperature extremes and high humidity levels, can be so comfortable and energy efficient year-round. Students involved in STEM projects, those interested in renewable energy businesses, and those seeking training and certification in alternative energy processes are all drawn to the facility.

“When we conceived of the idea to build a facility that would itself be used in teaching energy efficiency, we knew we needed to work with an architectural planning group that went well beyond the norm,” said Dr. Kent Farnsworth, former President of Crowder College. “We had worked with KRJ Architects in the past, and they had recently formed an innovative planning group to allow the types of in-depth planning and research that we required for this project.”

The 10,000-square-foot building was conceived in 2003, built in 2011-2012, and has been utilized as a teaching facility by Crowder College for several years. The facility itself has been tested, improved and modified, allowing students to take full advantage of cutting edge technology. Awarding of the LEED Platinum certification came in 2018, after the college renewed their interest in securing the USGBC certification.

David Kromm of KRJ Planning & Research stated, “we were thrilled to be selected to plan and develop this outstanding facility for Crowder College, and are honored that our work is being used as a teaching model for tomorrow’s leaders. The MARET Center is a great example of how innovation can lead to an efficient, functional, delightful and culturally meaningful facility.”

In addition to being used as a teaching facility, the MARET Center also houses a small business incubator.
Rice University
For nearly the past 100 years, Houston has been proud to be a world leader in the oil and gas industry. However, despite the recent fracking boom, there seems to be a growing sense among its entrepreneurial and political elite that this economic model is going to fail at some point, or at the very least drastically contract, just as the manufacturing economy did in the Rust Belt. FOMO is writ large in their minds. The fear is Houston will be left behind. That Houston was the largest city not to be included in the top 20 choices for Amazon’s new headquarters, for example, stung badly. A concerted attempt to reorient the city is evident in such initiatives as the ambitious push to enhance its major parks and bayou green spaces and the expansion of public transportation, both of which were seemingly inconceivable a generation ago, when the only thought by those in power was how to get more cars on the freeways.

Prestige institutions that can’t just up and move want their physical and intellectual investments in the city to remain viable as well. The president of Rice University, David Leebron has made it a centerpiece of his administration to increase both the stature of the school and its influence beyond the hedges surrounding the campus. To this effect, he has initiated a nonstop building campaign and increased student body. In 2009, there was serious discussion of acquiring the Baylor College of Medicine to get a foothold in the Texas Medical Center. Several interdisciplinary institutes have appeared. The latest effort to move beyond the campus includes Rice’s plan to reclaim the old South End as a hub for tech workers.

Rice was endowed with $4.6 million in 1904. In 115 years, that endowment has grown to $6.3 billion by means of Rice’s varied investments, a little more than 10 percent of which are real estate holdings. One highly visible property is the tract at South Main Street and Wheeler Avenue a couple miles south of downtown that houses a New Deal-era Sears department store building much in the local news due to its recent closure. In January of this year, Rice publicly re-christened this building “The Ion.” It will be repurposed as the centerpiece of what Rice is variously calling an “innovation hub” or “innovation district.” The stated intention is “to support businesses at all stages of the innovation lifecycle and provide resources for Houstonians seeking to participate in the innovation economy.” Outside institutional project partners include the University of Houston, UH-Downtown, the University of St. Thomas, Houston Community College, Texas Southern University, Houston Baptist University, San Jacinto College, and the South Texas College of Law.

Originally the site of the expansive gardens around the Walter B. Sharp House (1895), a rambling Queen Anne building in what was then the almost rural outskirts of Houston, this tract, along with two adjacent city blocks, was later acquired by Rice. In 1938, the house was demolished to make way for a new suburban Sears, Roebuck and Company store (1939), designed by Chicago architects Nimmons, Carr & Wright. This store was one of five locations across the country designed by the firm that was profiled in Architectural Record in September 1940 as being “planned for the motor age.” The $1 million retail complex, which opened in November 1939, encompassed four city blocks. It included the 195,000-sf, four-level store, parking for 700 cars, a super-service station with 16 gas pumps (demolished), and a freestanding building selling farm supplies (still standing). The upper floors of the store were windowless and fully air-conditioned; the escalators connecting the floors were the first of their kind in Houston. Local reports at the time of its opening also remarked on the extensive interior art program of murals depicting scenes from Texas history, painted by Texas native Eugene Montgomery. In 1945, Sears, then highly profitable, entered into a 99-year lease with Rice. Fast-forward to 1962, when the building’s street-side windows were bricked-over and the upper parts of the building were clad in a slipcover of corrugated metal panels. (Ironically, this preserved the building, and today it is one of only a handful of relatively intact prewar, early suburban Sears stores left in the country. Houston’s first auto-oriented Sears building (1929) on Allen Parkway, also designed by Nimmons, Carr & Wright, was demolis
Not so long ago, one of the most compelling reasons for daylighting a space was energy savings. Since the 1970s, lighting has been one of the largest users of electricity in buildings. But advances in lighting technology, namely the rapid improvement of LEDs, which are longer-lasting and more efficient than more traditional sources, are changing the discussion. Lighting’s energy consumption has been on the decline, representing 17 percent of electricity end use in commercial buildings in 2012, according to the U.S. Energy Information Association, down from 38 percent in 2003. Electric illumination’s slice of the energy pie should fall even more as LEDs develop further and their controls become both more sophisticated and more user-friendly.

Of course, there are other arguments for designing around daylight. Architects have intuitively understood its ability to elevate the experience of their interiors. Now an increasing body of science, accumulated over decades, has quantified daylighting’s beneficial effects. One still frequently cited 1999 study examined schools in three U.S. districts and found significantly improved performance among students occupying daylit classrooms. Since then, research has demonstrated higher sales figures in skylit big-box stores, as well as better outcomes for patients in hospital rooms with daylight, including shortened stays, reduced need for pain medication, and quicker post-op recovery.

Design teams and their clients are showing renewed interest in such health and productivity benefits. One chief factor is the expansion of the green building movement to encompass occupant well-being in addition to energy efficiency, says Chad Groshart, lighting-design lead in the New Haven office of Atelier Ten, an environmental design consultant: “The focus is no longer only on how the meter is spinning.”

One attribute of daylight that architects are keen to harness is its ability to help regulate our biological clocks, or circadian rhythms. Its spectral distribution and intensity affect a host of interrelated physiological and psychological functions including mood, alertness, and hormone levels. Designers are also eager to use electric light to improve these functions, a possibility enabled by the advent of tunable-white LEDs, which have color temperatures that can range from very warm to very cool. But experts warn that there is still debate about the optimum color, timing, and duration of exposure in such electric illumination. “Circadian lighting design is more of a lengthy experiment rather than an authoritative design standard,” says Brian Stacy, Arup’s lighting lead for the Americas. Groshart echoes this view: “Sunlight is the best circadian light,” he says, advising that project teams seeking to help regulate occupants’ internal rhythms should first focus on strategies for achieving the best quality daylight, including the orientation, form, and fenestration of the architecture.

Such factors can be readily manipulated when designing a new building, but tenant fit-out projects or the renovation of existing buildings naturally require a different approach. An example is one of Groshart’s own projects, the New York headquarters for Delos, the wellness real-estate and technology company best known for creating the WELL Building Standard (the rating system is now administered by Green Business Certification Inc.). Delos moved into its space on the fourth and fifth floors of 860 Washington Street, a new 10-story structure by James Carpenter Design Associates and Adamson Associates Architects in the city’s Meatpacking District in late 2017. The organization picked the building in large part for its floor-to-ceiling glass curtain wall on three of its four facades, since both daylight and views are important aspects of WELL. This skin affords ample daylight and views of the adjacent High Line park and the rest of the neighborhood. (The offices have been certified WELL Platinum, have earned Living Building Challenge “petal” status, and are on track for a LEED Gold or Platinum rating.)

The project’s architect, Gensler, with Atelier Ten as lighting designer, developed the 19,000-square-foot office with a variety of environments, including “free address” workstations, a café, and meeting and focus rooms, all organized around a central stair featuring a digital artwork that is activated as occupants ascend or descend. At lea
Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the winners of its seventh annual Campus RainWorks Challenge, a national competition that engages college students in the design of on-campus green infrastructure solutions to address stormwater pollution.

“EPA’s Campus RainWorks Challenge encourages students to transform classroom knowledge into innovative ideas to solve real-world environmental problems,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “I congratulate this year’s winners, and it is encouraging to see how contestants worked closely with their local communities to develop ways to protect water resources from harmful stormwater pollution.”

Stormwater runoff is a significant source of water pollution in America. Managing runoff remains a complex environmental challenge for local communities across the country. EPA’s Campus RainWorks Challenge asks students and faculty members at colleges and universities across the country to apply green infrastructure design principles, foster interdisciplinary collaboration, and increase the use of green infrastructure on the nation’s college campuses.

Through this year’s Challenge, EPA invited student teams to compete in two design categories: the Master Plan category, which examines how green infrastructure can be broadly integrated across campus, and the Demonstration Project category, which focuses on how green infrastructure can address stormwater pollution at a specific site on campus. With the help of a faculty advisor, teams of students focused their expertise, creativity, and energy on the challenges of stormwater management and showcased the environmental, economic, and social benefits of green infrastructure.

The Challenge winners are:

University of Oregon (1st Place Demonstration Project Category) – The team’s project, titled “Good Drainage Good Vibes,” redesigned a local high school campus to incorporate a variety of green infrastructure practices. Extensive stakeholder engagement within the community led to a practicable design capable of not only managing stormwater runoff onsite, but also providing hands-on education for students and connecting the local community their watershed. Watch the team’s video about their project: https://youtu.be/3QkKMIUBRhs

"The challenge was meaningful for our College of Design students because it created a chance to collaborate on tackling an urgent environmental design problem while working with local high school students on connecting the community with their watershed,” said University of Oregon College of Design Dean Christoph Lindner.

University of Louisiana at Lafayette (1st Place Master Plan Category) – Titled “The Ripple Effect,” this project’s ambition reached beyond the borders of its own campus. Located in low-lying Southern Louisiana, the community of Lafayette often experiences extreme weather events that cause flooding and threaten infrastructure. With the support of the university’s Department of Sustainability, the team redesigned their campus to incorporate realistic, replicable green infrastructure practices that engage with the broader community to cultivate regional resiliency. Watch the team’s video about their project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c6qMrIi7sLc

"The Ripple Effect is designed to improve infrastructure at UL Lafayette, and to provide a framework for using campus as a ‘living lab’ for researching and developing green infrastructure strategies that will benefit the entire community and region,” said Gretchen LaCombe Vanicor, director the Office of Sustainability at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

University of Arizona (2nd Place Demonstration Project Category) – Their project titled “(Re)Searching for a Spot,” this team proposed to transform a parking lot to manage stormwater runoff onsite, reduce local flooding during Arizona’s monsoon season, and create a multi-functional space that yields educational and ecological benefits. The design’s proximity to relevant research departments on-campus inspired the students to incorporate monitoring installations into the design to provide quantitative information on the environmental benefits of green infrastructure practices. Watch the team’s video about their project: https://youtu.be/UUxH6zG51kY

“We are so thankful to the EPA for providing this opportunity t
Ryan Rhea
AIA's Committee on Architecture for Education honored nine school and college facility projects located in the U.S. and Canada.

In April, The American Institute of Architects announced nine projects honored in this year's Education Facility Design Awards, including four Awards of Excellence and five Awards of Merit. Eligible projects represent various learning institutions from the early childhood level through higher education, as well as specialized training centers and non-traditional learning facilities including community centers, interpretive centers, libraries, museums, and nature centers. The 2019 award winners are located in California, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Tennessee, Texas, and Canada.

This year's jury comprised Michael Nieminen, FAIA, partner at New York–based Kliment Halsband Architects; Meriyati Johari Blackwell, AIA, principal at Fayetteville, Ark.–based Marlon Blackwell Architects; Jason Forney, AIA, principal Boston-based Bruner/Cott and Associates; Kim Tanzer, FAIA, University of Virginia professor emerita now based in Gainesville, Fla.; and JoAnn Hindmarsh Wilcox, AIA, principal at Seattle-based Mahlum Architects.

Award of Excellence

Project: Crosstown High School, Memphis, Tenn.
Firm: ANF Architects

Project: Daniels Building at One Spadina, the University of Toronto, Toronto
Firm: NADAAA, with associate architect Adamson Associates Architects and heritage consultant ERA Architects

Project: Magnolia Montessori For All, Austin, Texas
Firm: Page

Project: San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco
Firm: Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects

Award of Merit

Project: Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, Ithaca, N.Y.
Firm: Weiss/Manfredi Architecture/Landscape/Urbanism

Project: Illinois Institute of Technology Innovation Center, Chicago
Firm: John Ronan Architects

Project: MIT.Nano, Cambridge, Mass.
Firm: Wilson HGA

Project: University of British Columbia Aquatic Centre, Vancouver, British Columbia
Firm: MJMA and Acton Ostry Architects
Harvard GSD
The Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) has named Sarah Whiting its new dean. The architect and educator, who has served as Rice Architecture dean since 2010, will step into the role on July 1, 2019.

“The GSD has long been a center of gravity for my thinking and actions, and I’m thrilled to be returning,” Whiting said. “It is altogether tantalizing to look across the school’s three departments, with their individual and collective capacities to shape new horizons within Gund Hall. And it’s even more enticing to envision working with the GSD’s remarkable faculty, students, staff, and alumni to help imagine and create new futures for the world, not just at Harvard but beyond.”

At Rice, Whiting has led efforts to reform the curriculum, introduce novel studio options, enhance existing facilities, recruit new faculty, and boost funding for research. “Schools need to push architecture forward,” she told RECORD in 2014. “We need to see how ideas developed here can become manifest in the field.”

Harvard President Lawrence S. Bacow praised Whiting as an “outstanding scholar, educator, and architect with broad interests that range across the design disciplines and beyond,” highlighting her “keen understanding of design as a force for shaping the communities we inhabit and for engaging with some of contemporary society’s hardest challenges.”

Whiting received her M.Arch. from Princeton University and her Ph.D. in architectural history, theory, and criticism from MIT. In 1999, she founded her firm WW Architecture with partner Ron Witte. She was a GSD faculty member from 1999 to 2005, then returned to Princeton as an assistant professor from 2005 to 2009.

In 2017, she won a Women in Architecture award from Architectural Record for her work as an educator.

Whiting will succeed Mohsen Mostafavi, who will step down from the deanship at the end of this semester after 11 years in the role.
Max Touhey
Bjarke Ingels' firm has completed an extension to the business school at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst with gradually sloping walls that resemble falling dominos.

BIG teamed with Boston firm Goody Clancy, which served as the architect of record to design the extension for the college's Isenberg School of Management.

The 70,000-square-foot (6,503-square-metre) Business Innovation Hub accompanies the original Isenberg building, which was completed in 1964, to provide a flexible space for students and faculty.

Sited on the campus' Haigis Mall, the round addition extends in a circle from the north and eastern facades of the existing rectangular building, and wraps around a courtyard.

"The new Business Innovation Hub at the Isenberg School of Management is conceived as an extension of both the building and the campus mall," said BIG founder Bjarke Ingels in a project statement.

"The linear structure is bent to form a full loop framing an internal courtyard for the life of the students."

BIG designed the fanned design to continue this link between the mall with activities in the hub. The facade comprises thick copper slats and windows, which gradually slope from dramatic angles to an upright position.

"The facade is pulled away in a domino effect to create a generous invitation from the Haigis Mall to the Learning Commons," Ingels added.

"The mall and the courtyard – inside and outside form a forum for the students, the faculty and the profession to meet, mingle and mix society and academia."

Aaron Betsky says that Craig Hodgetts’ writings remind us how to make architecture for today and tomorrow.

We stand on the threshold of a post-organic landscape we already know but cannot see, with induction hums instead of mechanical rattles, the secret interiors of solid-state diodes instead of the livid glow of the vacuum tube, the seamless box instead of the bottled contraption.

With that image of a future in which communications and computing technology would bring about a world of iPhones and crystal city skyscrapers, streamlined forms from grips to cars to cities, and a mysterious interconnection of energy that binds all that and us together, the architect Craig Hodgetts, FAIA—writing way back in 1970—pretty accurately predicted the reality we inhabit today. He might not have foreseen the remaining messiness and the ephemeral quality that the digital turn and the emergence of a hyper-object world has created, but he did understand that we would indeed, as the title of his essay indicates, live in a “Synthetic Landscape.”

The observation is one the hyper-productive author, editor, and section head at Ohio State University’s Knowlton School, Todd Gannon, AIA, has collected in an array of Hodgetts' writing entitled Swimming to Suburbia and Other Essays, published by ORO Editions in 2018. (Full disclosure: I once worked for Hodgetts and his wife and partner, Hsinming Fung, FAIA, and they have remained close friends.)

Born in Cincinnati, Hodgetts has spent most of his life being the Los Angeles-based and -inspired bad boy of architecture. Trained first as an automotive designer and then as an architect at Yale—where he came under the sway of the architect he still admires most, James Stirling—Hodgetts remained fascinated by cars, gizmos, and tools. But he was equally in love with movies, cartoons, and anything science fiction, letting those extra-architectural visions inspire his work as much as his thorough knowledge of both the technology of building and its history. While pursuing commissions, first with Robert Mangurian as Studio Works, and then with Fung as Hodgetts + Fung Architects (which recently merged into Seattle-based Mithun), he kept producing a stream of ideas and stories, including several movie scripts and set designs, while teaching at schools such as CalArts, SCI-Arc, and UCLA.

In all of this work, Hodgetts has kept arguing for an approach to architecture that is both pragmatic and narrative. As he said in the essay “Object Lesson: Four Short-End Views” for ARCHITECT’s predecessor Progressive Architecture in 1973 and collected in this volume:

The pragmatist employs one set of objects to ventilate the space, another to light it, and a third to fill it with atmospheric sound with the proper reverberation time. His buildings have the erasable qualities of magnetic tape. Always adjusting image to content, configuration to information flow, his buildings are conceived as a field of environmental controls, supporting a range of activities in a loose-fitting matrix, rather than fitting a single activity into a customized mold. The luxury of exclusively formal constraints, like the luxury of couturier clothing, is only for those who can afford it.
Aalto University
With clothing production leading the world as one of the highest-polluting industries, a new fiber contradicts the earth-damaging qualities of traditional materials. Ioncell technology, developed at Aalto University and the University of Helsinki, uses a range of materials, including wood, recycled newspaper, cardboard and old cotton to make fabric. This is good news for an environment scarred by cotton production and the development of synthetic fibers. The new and improved material can also be recycled at the end of its life cycle, significantly reducing clothing waste.

In a country already acutely aware of sustainable practices in forest management, the trees sourced from Finland offer a much lower carbon footprint than traditional clothing. Ioncell materials also protect the water supply by using ionic liquid in place of harsh chemicals.

While the designers focus on sustainable sourcing and manufacturing, the clothing also avoids contributing to a massive post-consumer waste problem. That’s because the fibers are biodegradable. Additionally, the fibers do not contain any harmful microfibers now associated with massive ocean pollution and damage to sea life.

Sourced from birch trees, the wood is responsibly harvested as part of a forest management program that grows more trees than they harvest. Once cut into smaller logs, the wood is sent through a machine that turns it into large chips. At this phase, the chips are sent to the cooker and then turned into sheets of pulp. The pulp is then mixed with the ionic liquid that results in a cellulose material. Fibers are then spun into yarn and turned into fabric.

Designers and researchers involved in the project report that the resulting material is soft and drapes naturally, making it a good choice for formalwear, coats, scarves, gloves and other products. It also accepts dye well.

The process for making Ioncell fibers is still in the research and development phase and they currently only produce it on a small scale, but they are hoping to unveil a preliminary product line as early as 2020.

John Folan
A recent national gathering of architecture educators in Pittsburgh highlighted the myriad ways architecture schools can help their nearby underserved communities.

The Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA)—an organization of over 200 educational institutions dedicated to advancing architecture pedagogy—recently held its 107th annual meeting in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The gathering was broad and diverse, with a stacked lineup of panels and workshops, but one particular question stood out within the many themes of its workshops on housing: How can schools help students engage with local communities? The conference’s location in Pittsburgh—a city with many struggling neighborhoods—provided a unique depth to the discussions.

As many speakers and panelists described, the challenge of connecting architecture students to underserved communities is hugely important. For example, Dr. Theodore Landsmark, a distinguished professor of public policy and urban affairs at Northeastern University, said in one panel, “It strikes me as not just negligent but almost criminal that the architectural community … and our educational institutions, many of which are in or adjacent to Opportunity Zones in our cities, have not been actively engaged in helping shape—particularly the community engagement aspects—how billions of dollars are about to be spent in our cities.”

Pittsburgh, though, has a long history of acting in this arena. In the 1960s, Carnegie Mellon urban design professor David Lewis founded the pioneering Urban Lab, an early example of university-led participatory design that still operates in the city today. With many educators and organizers at the conference hailing from Buffalo and Detroit, the fate of Rust Belt cities emerged as a natural focus. Below are some of the key takeaways from the event’s many panels, lectures, and workshops.

Forge Meaningful Partnerships with Other Disciplines

John Folan, a professor at the Carnegie Mellon University School of Architecture, directs the Urban Design Build Studio (UDBS), a collaborative initiative of professors, graduate and undergraduate students, and allied professionals who work with local residents and organizations to combat the cycle of decline plaguing many Pittsburgh neighborhoods. UDBS also challenges the notion that public interest design means sacrificing design quality; the studio has been awarded several local and state AIA design commends, including AIA Pennsylvania’s 2018 State of Pennsylvania Impact Design Practice award as well as the Bronze Award in Impact Design for the REACH Mobile Computer Literacy Training Lab.

Find Ways to Transmit the Lessons You Learn

While the UDBS has been operating in Pittsburgh’s East End neighborhoods for several years, Stefan Gruber takes a more globally-oriented approach in the Master of Urban Design program at Carnegie Mellon University. Acknowledging that the majority of his students are from abroad, and that many ultimately return to their home countries to practice, Gruber wonders what it means “to transfer design methodologies and community design tools from Pittsburgh to radically different contexts? … How can we tap into the self-organizing capacity of cities?” Through extensive global research, Gruber assembled An Atlas of Commoning: Places of Collective Production, a traveling exhibition that showcases various grassroots design case studies. The show will travel internationally for the next ten years. In Pittsburgh, Gruber’s students draw from the Atlas to to complete their own urban design thesis projects, many of which similarly challenge notions of ownership, production, and collective governance. “The implications are far-reaching for society but also important for us to rethink our agency as designers,” he says.
Last week, the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) unveiled three short-listed proposals for a performing arts center. Two of the finalist designs, by OMA and Johnston Marklee, take strong cues from Walter Netsch’s arch-Brutalist UIC campus—one of Chicago’s least understood bits of architectural history. The third, by Thom Mayne’s Morphosis, staunchly stands apart from Netsch’s legacy.

Located at the campus’s northeastern corner adjacent to a freeway and a Blue Line El stop, the arts center will be a gateway to the school, adding a 500-seat concert hall and 270-seat theater. This new home for the university’s School of Theater and Music comes with an estimated budget of $94.5 million. Each proposal (crafted by a major national or international firm partnered with a local architect of record) is designed to be phased in gradually, offering flexibility for a project that is still raising the money needed.

Designed and built in the mid-1960s, Netsch’s UIC campus is one of the most singular academic environments in the nation. Unabashedly Brutalist, its imposing, fortress-like buildings of stone, brick, and concrete were connected by elevated ramps, and feature stacks and layers of rotated cubes with a logic (one Netsch called “field theory”) all their own. Some of the SOM architect’s original designs for the campus went unbuilt, including “Project Y,” a performing arts center that would span the nearby freeway, and was planned for roughly the same site as the new proposals.

OMA’s concept for the new performing arts center consists of two glass towers flanking the main concert hall, with the smaller theater situated at the eastern end of the site. The hall’s seating arrangement is a rotated square, a la Netsch’s field theory. The two venues are conceived as opaque and colorful articulated volumes under a curving fabric membrane that caps an expansive roof terrace to form a “covered park,” said OMA partner Shohei Shigematsu, whose firm was paired with the local practice KOO. A system of ramps, reminiscent of Netsch’s no-longer-intact elevated walkways, connects to the building’s main lobby and echoes some of the material heft of the Brutalist campus. “It’s a way to re-introduce people to the core concepts of a lot of what happens within the Netsch design, but to do it in more modern way,” OMA’s Christy Cheng told RECORD.

Johnston Marklee’s plan is a pair of ziggurats—one is turned upside-down—that each contain a performance venue and are separated by an atrium lobby. Firm principle Mark Lee noted “there’s something very archaic and ancient” about the right-side-up form, in contrast to the upside-down ziggurat, famously seen in Frank Lloyd Wright’s Guggenheim and at Netsch’s University Hall less than a block away. Lee said it carefully nods to the Brutalist massing and articulation of Netsch’s campus, where volumes are often stacked and rotated. “If you look at the diagram and squint, it could be a Brutalist building,” he said, speaking to RECORD. But a closer look reveals a radically different materiality. The outside is clad in system of perforated metal half-cylinders that will glow at night with interior lighting. The building’s scalloped facade is midway between rigid and lofty, and has “a certain gaiety to it,”said Lee, whose firm was paired with UrbanWorks.

By contrast, Mayne told RECORD his proposal is a “complete break” with the mid-century campus. His design offers Morphosis’ signature canted and twisted massing, making its exact volume difficult to intuit at first glance. With a vaguely boomerang-like form, a shallow angle at its center separates the two performance venues. Hoisted up on pilotis, renderings show a facade with pixelated apertures—“a texture that’s breaking down the scale, but is also acting as windows,” said Morphosis principal Arne Emerson, who developed the design with Chicago’s STL Architects. Inside, monumental terraced stair seating leads to the halls. Perhaps most uniquely, accessibility ramps in both spaces make even the back-of-house rigging catwalks totally accessible.

Given the campus’ strong aesthetic identity, the question for the school will be whether to add a totally new formal precedent to a place that’s always seemed a bit out-of-this-world, or to begin with bits of Netsch’s design language, and evolve them towards contempora
Kevin Gaddie/U.S. Air Force
Few students will become architects, but architecture may be able teach them more about real-life problem-solving than geometric proofs.
  • Contemporary schools are reconsidering their subjects and teaching methods in order to offer the best education for children.
  • Vicky Chan launched an architecture program designed to teach students STEM, creativity, sustainability,and problem-solving.
  • Chan is hardly alone; others have integrated new subjects and methods into curriculum, hoping to instill in students the skills necessary to be engaged, thoughtful citizens.
It's a well-worn joke that many of the subjects we learned in school aren't terribly useful as adults. High school calculus forces us to memorize L'Hôpital's rule but glosses over the practical math of budgeting. P.E. fills our days with dodgeball and the box step, not knowledge of how to maintain an active body and mind while working 40-plus hours a week. And then there's cursive. You know what we mean.

The state of contemporary education has led many experts to argue a changeup is in order. Are there subjects that would enrich the average student's life and impart a more versatile skill set than, say, calculus? Vicky Chan, founder of the design firm Avoid Obvious Architects and the voluntary organization Architecture for Children, believes one candidate is architecture.

Most students won't grow up to be architects. That's probably for the best since the career's projected growth rate is slower than average. But that's not Chan's goal. In a recent CityLab interview, he tells why he began instructing grade-schoolers in architecture. At its heart, architecture is about problem-solving.

In an example relayed to CityLab writer Mary Hui, Chan discusses a class tasked with designing an eco-hotel on a former quarry site. The students chose to place the hotel on a hill's crest for the luxurious views and wanted to include a tram for easy travel accommodations. As they began to plan, they ran into problems with the concept, but rather than scrap it for something else, they were required to evolve the process and develop beyond their original thinking.

This offers a unique approach to STEM and much of school, where too many classes ask students to solve a problem with a predetermined answer or memorize and recite key information.

"With design, no solution is 100-percent right or wrong," Chan said in the interview. "It's not like solving a mathematical problem. In sport, you can teach team spirit, but at the end of the day, it's a competition and it boils down to winning and losing. But in design, there is no absolute answer, and it's very much like in real life."

Chan then uses the class to help student understand modern connections, especially regarding sustainability. As he notes, a lot of students think sustainability is recycling water bottles — which is probably true for most adults, too. But Chan wants people to view the environment and their approach to it differently. He introduces his students to concepts like the wall effect, helping them to see that although something is commonplace, that doesn't mean it's the most effective or salubrious design.

In Chan's view, the goals of architecture and education align nicely: "The other thing is learning how to see opportunities. Once you discover a problem, you learn to see opportunities. Problems present opportunities. But if you can't see the problem, then you can't see the opportunity."

It's also worth considering how Chan's class can be upgraded from STEM to STEAM — that is, STEM with an additional focus on art. Students get to design their buildings with cardboard models, allowing them to tap into their creativity and create something that's uniquely theirs. Again, they may not become architects, but they may develop an appreciation for the aesthetic value of design that we find in such illustrious examples as Casa Mila, Prague's Dancing House, the Lotus Temple, and China's Forbidden City Temple.

Nor is Chan alone. Many experts are suggesting we add new subjects or methods to school curriculum or revamp old ones to be more viable for contemporary students.

As Fareed Zakaria told Big Think, Yale has opened a school in Singapore that is re-imagining liberal education for a global context. Rather than focus on subjects, the school's core curriculum focuses on critical thinking and methods of inq