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Manim8/Blendswap, TheStranger/Blendswap
And no amount of data or complex modeling will rectify the building industry’s staggering impact on the environment. Design culture itself needs to change.

For the past eight years, I’ve spent every day of my professional life enabling an industry that is responsible for nearly 40% of global climate emissions. I don’t work for an oil or gas company. I don’t work for an airline. I’m an architect.

The environmental impacts of the built environment are staggering. Although it’s become mainstream to discuss energy efficiency and advocate for minimizing those impacts, architects, engineers, and planners have yet to truly reckon with the magnitude and consequences of everyday design decisions. Not only do we burn fossil fuels to heat and cool most buildings, but construction itself is responsible for plenty of global emissions. Construction requires massive amounts of concrete, steel, aluminum, and glass—all of which are carbon-intensive materials. Their emissions extend up and down the supply chain, crossing property boundaries, economic sectors, and markets. While architects are not fully responsible for steel manufacturing or concrete production per se, there is a direct line from the material specifications that architects write to the steel mills of China, the coal mines of Appalachia, the brick kilns of India, or clear-cut forests in the Pacific Northwest or the Amazon.

It is time for the design community to come to terms with carbon and climate change—both the reality of our shared climate emergency and the very personal implications of the building industry’s role in perpetuating it. Only then can we do the hard work of connecting our climate concern with our day-to-day actions, transforming guilt into collective change.

Broadly speaking, there are two ways of measuring the emissions caused by buildings: operational carbon (the emissions associated with energy used to operate a building) and embodied carbon (the emissions associated with materials and construction processes throughout the whole life cycle of a building).

Programs such as LEED, Passive House, and the Living Building Challenge focus on decreasing the former—operational carbon. This is a laudable goal; after all, building operations account for 28% of global carbon emissions, and improving the energy efficiency of buildings through widespread electrification and through decarbonization of the energy grid is essential.

However, we’ve come to recognize that it is not enough for architects and engineers to focus solely on operational carbon. For decades, we have been ignoring the role of embodied emissions in global carbon budgets.

Embodied carbon from building materials and construction currently represents at least 11% of global carbon emissions, much of which can be attributed to just three materials: concrete, iron, and steel. However, that seemingly small slice of the full carbon pie can be misleading. Global construction is proceeding at an incredible pace—with roughly 6.13 billion square feet of construction each year and global building stock expected to double in the next 30 years. When we look at new buildings anticipated to be built between now and 2050, embodied carbon, also known as “upfront carbon” because it is released before a building is even occupied, is projected to account for nearly half of total new construction emissions. For practicing architects, engineers, policymakers, and anyone who cares about climate strategy, this should give us pause.

In 2018, a special report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), called Global Warming of 1.5 ºC, asked two pressing questions: How can the global community reach the 1.5ºC target laid out by the Paris Agreement, and what happens if we fail? The report has two major takeaways. First, it is still possible to meet our climate targets, but only with immediate and unprecedented action. Second, the world presented if we fail to meet this target, by even a modest-sounding half-degree, are bleak—widespread ecosystem destruction, financial instability, growing social inequity, conflict and unrest, the disappearance of landmasses and nations. The scenarios are so clearly articulated, the models so robust, and the science so well documented, that they have ignited new urgency to find pathways across all sectors to meet the targets of the Paris Agreement and accelerate our progress towards a 1.5ºC pathway. Unfortunately, we are nowhere near meeting these targets. Last week, the UN Environment Program issued its annual
Kenny Viese/courtesy of AW²
So long 2019 and all the crimes we committed with you. With 2020, it’s time for a little rest and rejuvenation—and health-geared hospitality destinations are here to help. From a remote Costa Rican retreat with tent-like structures conscious to a sensitive tropical landscape to a spa that cocoons guests in hanging teepees and a pool promising a “womb-like” experience, here are 10 standout spas and wellness retreats around the globe. We’ve focused mostly on those new to the scene—but you’ll find one established favorite and one yet to come.

1. Kasiiya Papagayo, Guanacaste, Costa Rica

In remote Costa Rica, Paris-based architecture firm AW² designed custom timber-and-canvas “luxury tents” for wellness retreat Kasiiya Papagayo, opened in March of 2019. Raised off the ground, the tents protect the sensitive landscape of the dry tropical jungle—and can be broken down to disappear without a trace. The master bath in this tented suite provides a soaking opportunity in a custom copper tub, but self-care can also be drawn from strong personalities on the property’s staff. Yamuna, the property’s healer—rumored to have treated Brad Pitt—will quickly pinpoint over tea both the troubles of your soul and how to release them, while fitness expert Bruno teaches strength-building exercises based on animal movements.

2. Hotel Palácio Estoril, Estoril, Portugal

With another James Bond film gearing up for April 2020, what was once the setting for the classic film “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service,” released in 1969, could be just the place for a limber spy—or anyone else eyeing a few days of well-being. Designed by French architect Henry Martinet and built in 1930, the Hotel Palácio Estoril was a playground for royals for decades. Today the property combines historical grandeur—think a doorman smartly dressed in traditional garb—with high-class health facilities. In the 27,000-square-foot Estoril Wellness Center designed by Palmer Grego Arquitectos, two floors are occupied by a Banyan Tree Spa. For one spa massage treatment, staff takes aim with high-powered water jets, hosing the brave off firehose-style. A more subdued water experience is found in the dynamic pool, where jets slowly spin guests around in circles under the twinkle of LED lights recalling the night sky—no crime-fighting required.

3. The Spa at the Mandarin Oriental, London

Glass above a 60-foot-long pool reveals a lounge’s fire place at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park. With a restoration and enlargement completed by New York designer and Hall of Fame member Adam Tihany in the Summer of 2019, the Spa at Mandarin Oriental, London now includes 13 treatment rooms, a massage suite for two, a traditional mosaic-tiled steam room and warm rain shower, mani-pedi studio, and room dedicated to Chinese medicine consultations and treatments.

4. The Rena Spa at The Midland Manchester, Manchester, England

Spa lounging reaches new heights at The Midland, Manchester, which opened in November after a rebranding conceived by an in-house design team drawn from developers Leonardo Hotels and U.K. and Ireland hotel group Jurys Inn. In the Rena Spa, ceiling-mounted tepees and Eero Aarnio’s retro Ball chair, designed in 1963, are among unique opportunities that tuck guests away from the outside world.

5. Six Senses Thimpu, Bhutan

Perched on a hillside and capturing breathtaking views of a nearby mountain range, the Six Senses Bhutan will be the most recent debut for global hotel brand Six Senses—its fifth property in Bhutan—when it opens in Spring 2020. Packed soil, hemlock wood, bamboo, granite, and natural stone are the dominating materials in a sustainably conscious design crafted by Thailand-based firm Habita Architects and the brand’s in-house design team. In the spa area, shown here, floor-to-ceiling glazing allows an infinity pool to reflect both sky and mountains.
Miran Kambič
Ljubljana-based studio Enota has replaced an outdoor swimming pool with a pool covered in a rugged landscape of geometric, funnel-like roof structures at the Terme Olimia Spa in Slovenia.

Designed to blend in with the pitched rooflines of the surrounding rural structures the pool was built as part of an upgrade of a former 1980s water park by Ljubljana-based studio Enota.

Named Termalija Family Wellness, the pool is the latest in a series of developments at the spa with the overarching aim of better connecting the centre with the surrounding natural landscape.

The new pool replaces an outdoor pool on the site that had been fitted with a retractable membrane cover to allow for use in winter in summer and winter, but had proven too complex to ever be used in practice.

While previous developments to the complex were largely underground, illuminated by cylindrical skylights and drawing on the undulating green landscape, the enclosure of the pool required a large intervention above ground.

"No longer being able to reference only the surrounding natural landscape, the solution was found in the scale and form of the surrounding vernacular structures," said the studio.

Accessed via a series of paved paths that dig down into the landscape, the centre is wrapped in glazed walls that maximise the amount of light entering the pool space.

"The large roof above the water area was divided into sets of smaller segments to prevent its scale from overwhelming the surroundings," explained the studio.

"Viewed from a distance, the shape, colour and scale of the new clustered structure of tetrahedral volumes is a continuation of the cluster of surrounding rural buildings, which visually extends into the heart of the complex."

Inside, the faceted geometry of the roof scape creates a dynamic, wood-clad ceiling structure, illuminated by skylights at the apex of the roof sections and supplemented by artificial lighting.

The geometry of the roof also allowed for the span of the roof to be achieved with minimal structural supports, minimising disruption to the pool below and further contributing to a feeling of openness and lightness.

The pool itself has been finished with sculptural concrete forms that double as containers for plants and trees, creating a space with the feel of an open, outdoor area during summer and a closed area during winter.

"Despite its size and the space it occupies, the new roof simply acts as a big summertime sunshade and does not usurp the precious exterior space," explained the studio.

As our understanding of wellness grows more complex, designers are thinking about the full life cycle of products they are specifying for the workplace.

While our understanding of what is attributed to wellness has changed, we have far to go in practice. When they specify products and materials, workplace designers are thinking beyond occupant health to that of everyone throughout the cycle of production. Similarly, we’re not just concerned with indoor air quality or toxins, but also movement and social interactions as daily rituals—in short, our happiness, not just our safety. Our environment must take center stage: What’s good for the planet is good for us.

We asked specifiers at COOKFOX and IA Interior Architects—two firms with reputations for supporting well-being and sustainability—for examples of what products they turn to in support of wellness at work.

Through their selections, one can see the wide range of concerns and corresponding standards or certifications that are shaping workplace design today. Red lists of toxic chemicals, standards for emissions levels, and new strategies for recycling materials—these and other tools are proving to be vital in building spaces that help people be happy and work safely.

The nine products below represent selections by Bethany Borel from COOKFOX and by Robert Atkinson, Tanya Davis, and Steven South from IA Interior Architects.

BAUX Acoustic Wood Wool Panels Responsibly sourced wood fibers make up the “wool” woven into these panels, which are moisture resistant, fire retardant, and recyclable. baux.se

BENTLEY MILLS Wanderlust This cradle to cradle silver carpet tile takes the hazards out of its fibers, backing, and adhesives to protect installers and occupants alike. bentleymills.com

GEIGER Brabo Lounge craftsmanship, material transparency, and sustainable practices elevate this collection above industry standards, attaining Indoor AdvantageTM gold certification. geigerfurniture.com

KVADRAT Divina The textile boasts six environmental achievements in material composition that include GREENGUARD Gold and LBC Red List compliance. maharam.com

INTERFACE Visual Code This collection is made with 100 percent recycled-content nylon, is treated with EPA-approved preservatives for longevity, and has achieved Green Label Plus status. interface.com

MUSHLUME Trumpet Pendant This biofabricated pendant light is grown from mushroom mycelium and is completely biodegradable. flowandchaos.com

STICKBULB Bough Elegance meets eco-minded design: Made in New York City, these lamps are built from reclaimed and sustainably sourced wood. stickbulb.com

WATSON FURNITURE Tia Part recycled, part recyclable, this office system marries environmental health with the ergonomics of a standing desk, pro- moting movement throughout the day. watsonfurniture.com

UPOFLOOR Upofloor Zero Enomer®, the material used in this flooring, is free from six common toxins affecting indoor air quality, helping it reach M1, the most stringent emissions class. upofloor.com
P. Ravikumar/Reuters
A new WRI report on 15 cities across the Global South reveals that access to safe drinking water is often underestimated—and the challenge will only get worse.

The United Nations has long made access to safe drinking water a global priority. First, the UN began tracking each country’s progress as part of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)—a set of eight targets aimed at improving the quality of life for the world’s poorest. Later, water access became part of the Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs, which replaced the MDGs when they expired in 2015. While some nations have reported improvements over the last few decades, a report published Tuesday by the World Resource Institute finds that such national-level measurements underestimate the reality of water access inside cities.

“The issues of continuous service, affordability, and how people move water in the urban built environment are not apparent from just looking at progress on SDGs,” says Victoria Beard, a fellow at the WRI Ross Center For Sustainable Cities who co-authored the report. “You need to go beyond it.” Just saying that a nation provides piped water, for example, doesn’t tell you how reliable the service is, or how safe the water is. If the population depends on privatized water sources, like local water vendors or tanker trucks, the costs may not be accounted for—especially among those living in informal settlements.

So researchers at WRI took a deeper dive into the urban water crisis by analyzing water access in 15 “emerging” or “struggling” cities across Latin America, South Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa—regions often referred to as the Global South. They looked particularly at informal settlements, which may not always be included in the data. “A lot of times informal settlements are not represented in public city data because they are considered illegal or they’re outside formal planning or regulatory frameworks,” Beard says. Yet in sprawling megacities like Lagos, Nairobi, or Karachi, more than half of households are inside informal settlements, according to the report.

The good news: Nearly two-third of households, on average, across all 15 of the Global South cities studied have access to piped water, according to the report. A deeper dive into each city, though, reveals that availability is uneven. In Mumbai, more than 80 percent of households get piped water, but water is available for only seven hours each day. Similarly, water is available only three hours a day for roughly 70 percent of households in nearby Bangalore, and only for three days a week. The authors also report that in 12 cities, the government struggled to provide continuous water service—often a result of water and energy shortages, infrastructure failures, or “municipal rationing.” That, in turn, affects quality and safety, as water is more likely to be contaminated when water pressure is low.

Access to piped water is even more infrequent and inconsistent for those living in informal settlements. Of the nine cities that reported medium to high piped-water access, five also reported intermittent water supply.

When piped water is absent or unreliable, residents turn to privatized water delivery services, which are not uncommon. State agencies turned to private companies in the 1980s after struggling to provide basic services to lower-income households. In the 2000s, when private companies also struggled to make a profit, cities began corporatizing water utilities, operating on an incentives model. As a result, Beard says, affordability often gets ignored.
The Polish city of Lublin will soon be home to an environmentally friendly bus station that not only offers a new and attractive public space, but also combats urban air pollution. Designed by Polish architectural firm Tremend, the Integrated Intermodal Metropolitan Station in Lublin will be built near the train station and aims to revitalize the area around the railway station. The contemporary design, combined with its environmental focus and green features, earned the project a spot on World Architecture Festival’s World Building of the Year shortlist.

Located close to Folk Park, the Integrated Intermodal Metropolitan Station was designed as a visual extension of the neighboring green space with a lush roof garden and large green wall that wraps the northern facade. Greenery is also referenced in the series of sculptural tree-like pillars that support a massive flat roof with large overhanging eaves. Walls of glass create an inviting and safe atmosphere, while the administration rooms will be provided with tinted windows for privacy.

To reduce energy demands, the building will be heated with geothermal energy and outfitted with energy-efficient LEDs. Meanwhile, motion detectors will be used to activate the lighting to ensure energy savings. A rainwater collection and treatment system will also be used to irrigate the plants that create a cooling microclimate and improved air quality. Air quality is further improved with the use of “anti-smog blocks,” a modern photocatalytic material containing titanium dioxide that breaks down toxic fumes.

“Architecture of public places is evolving in my opinion in a very good direction,” says Magdalena Federowicz-Boule, President of the Tremend Board. “Combining different spaces, open shared zones favors establishing contacts. The communication center, which is to be built in Lublin, is to revive it for revitalization district and become a meeting place where people will be able to meet and spend together time in an attractive environment with green areas. The project is also a response to problems, related to environmental protection and city life, such as smog, water and energy consumption, noise. It is an image of how we perceive the role of ecology in architecture.”

Doublespace Photography
This year's recognized projects included a tuberculosis hospital by MASS Design Group and a dental studio by Matt Fajkus Architecture.

The American Institute of Architects' (AIA) and Academy of Architecture for Health (AAH) have named five projects as winners in the 2019 annual AIA/AAH Healthcare Design Awards. The program, "which showcase the best of healthcare building design, healthcare planning, and healthcare design-oriented research," divides winners into six categories based on price and scope, according to AIA's website: built for less than $25 million; built for more than $25 million; renovations or remodels; unbuilt projects; built or unbuilt innovations in planning and design; and master planning urban designs for healthcare designs. This year, the program recognized international projects in the three former categories.

The jury for the 2019 AIA/AAH Healthcare Design Awards comprised Marlon Blackwell, FAIA, Marlon Blackwell Architects, Fayetteville, Ark.; Vincent Della Donna, AIA, ACHA, Jackson, N.J.; Brian Uyesugi, AIA, NBBJ, Seattle; Sunil Shah, AIA, Kaiser Permanente, Oakland, Calif.; Jim Henry, AIA, CallisonRTKL, Dallas; Jocelyn Stroupe, CannonDesign, Chicago; and James Childress, FAIA, Centerbrook Architects, Centerbrook, Conn.

The 2019 AIA/AAH Healthcare Design Award Winners are below.

Category A: Built (less than $25 million)

Project: Westlake Dermatology Concrete and Glass Pavilion in Marble Falls, Texas
Architect: Matt Fajkus Architecture
Excerpt from AIA description: "The facility in Marble Falls was a ground-up design project strengthened by a collaborative process directly with the clients and consultants. From a distance, the structure is a pavilion in the landscape, standing as a structure to behold in and of itself, but from in and round the building, it acts as deferential backdrop to function and as a frame for views beyond."

Project: The GHESKIO Tuberculosis Hospital in Port-au-Price, Haiti
Architect: MASS Design Group
Excerpt from from AIA description: "The new GHESKIO Tuberculosis Hospital replaced the previously destroyed facility at Signeau, providing TB patients an effective and dignified place to stay for the duration of their long-term treatment. Simple but effective methods of passive ventilation and infection control were used to reduce in-hospital transmission of TB in this high-risk population, as well as reduce energy costs for the facility."

Category B: Built (more than $25 million)

Project: Casey House in Toronto
Architect: Hariri Pontarini Architects
Excerpt from AIA description: "The renovation and extension to Casey House, a specialized healthcare facility for individuals living with HIV/AIDS, develops a new prototype for hospitals. The facility meets the needs of patients in a setting designed to evoke the experience and comforts of home. In order to create a comfortable, home-like user experience, the embrace emerged as a unifying theme—one of warmth, intimacy, comfort, privacy, connectivity, and solidity. The architecture is a physical manifestation of the embrace."

Category C: Renovations/Remodeled

Project: Studio Dental II in San Francisco
Architect: Montalba Architects
Excerpt from AIA description: "Situated within a rapidly developing neighborhood in San Francisco’s financial district, the dentists’ brick and mortar location is defined by a modern aesthetic, while honoring the historic elements of the base building. This creates a transcendent environment that feels gallery-like and serene. The design centers on a conceptual ‘lantern’ within the dark building core, which communicates a sense of scale, luminescence, and transparency, and envelopes the series of operatories within."
NYC Health + Hospitals
New York City’s largest public art collection is in its hospitals. NYC Health + Hospitals, the biggest public healthcare system in the United States, manages a collection of more than 7,000 works, including pieces by important 20th-century artists such as Ellsworth Kelly, Andy Warhol, and Robert Rauschenberg. But some 70 percent of the collection needs conservation, according to Linh Dang, who directs NYC Health + Hospitals’s Arts in Medicine program. A recent survey of the collection revealed mold on a piece by Keith Haring, graffiti on a work by Helen Frankenthaler, and a large collage by Romare Bearden displayed without UV-coated Plexiglas to protect it.

Last February, NYC Health + Hospitals announced a $1.5 million grant that will fund several new arts initiatives, some of which will make use of its extensive art collection. The collection will be used to train doctors, who, research shows, can improve diagnostic skills and better interpret patients’ emotional expressions by viewing art. The funds will also support audio art tours. In hospital waiting areas, anyone with a smartphone, including patients and their families, will soon be able to access descriptions of the artworks on the hospitals’ walls.

But none of the grant money will go toward conservation of existing works. Dang estimates an additional $2 million is needed to adequately conserve the hospital system’s art collection.
The work being done inside NYC Health + Hospitals to manage its art collection reflects similar efforts at hospitals across the U.S. and reveals the unique benefits and challenges of acquiring, displaying, and caring for art in healthcare facilities.

“The appreciation of art and the response to art is heavily based on human perception,” said Upali Nanda, who is principal and director of research for the architecture firm HKS, Inc. and a professor of architecture at the University of Michigan.

Guided by art

Art, she says, can be used for making a space memorable, for positive distraction, for inspiring awe, and for wayfinding—knowing where you are in a building or an environment, where your destination is, and how to get there.

To determine how art might be best used in a healthcare setting, Nanda and her colleagues have drawn on a concept developed by Austrian art historian Alois Riegl at the turn of the 20th century called “viewer’s share.” Riegl recognized that a work of art is incomplete without the perceptual and emotional involvement of the viewer. In a museum, Nanda said, we are cognitively much more prepared to do our share of the beholder’s work. We may even be disappointed if the art we encounter in that context doesn’t challenge us.

In hospitals, however, patients are in varying levels of vulnerability. According to recent research, familiar and non-threatening images of nature tend to be the most calming. But it’s not one size fits all, Nanda said. “Anchor yourself in the human perception.” Think of who is receiving the art and what their experiences might be.
Indoor farming company Plenty’s new, bigger operation wants to deliver fresh greens, any time of year. And its robot farm workers help it optimize growing conditions to make the most delicious produce.

Inside a cavernous warehouse in South San Francisco, 16-foot-tall walls of kale and other greens stretch down aisles twice the length of a bowling lane. Matt Barnard, CEO and cofounder of Plenty, the startup that designed and built the indoor farm, points to two types of mustard greens called mizuna and tatsoi. “This is one of the blends that we are working to position against junk food,” he says.

Barnard wants to change how the world eats by changing how food is grown. The new farm, which will begin selling produce to San Franciscans later this year, is the latest iteration of its indoor growing system, designed to grow food as efficiently as possible in any space, so cities anywhere can have access to locally grown vegetables—optimized for flavor—at any time of year. When I first visited the company’s headquarters in 2017, it used only a small amount of the space, a former electronics distribution center in an industrial neighborhood. A few months later, Softbank led a $200 million investment round in the startup. The new version of Plenty’s farm now sprawls over a much larger part of its headquarters, and the company plans to eventually replicate it near large cities globally.

Each step in the process is now automated. In one corner of the massive warehouse, a bright yellow robot picks up a tower filled with kale that was growing, minutes earlier, in one of the aisles of greens next door. Gently turning the tower on its side, the robot sets it on a conveyor belt where a spinning wheel neatly trims the greens to harvest them. When the farm opens, this will be one of the last steps before produce is delivered to grocery stores or directly to consumers (the company already sells greens from its earlier, smaller farm through a local food delivery service called Good Eggs, along with some independent groceries). In another corner, robots pack trays with soil and seeds and deliver them to another room to germinate. Along another wall, four robots inside glass boxes carefully lift seedlings out of trays and plant them into the tall white growing towers. Back in the growing room, infrared cameras and sensors monitor the indoor climate, and software adjusts details like the precise “recipe” for light or water to create the best flavor in the plants.

“We essentially coax a different flavor profile out of the plants by giving them the right recipe,” says Barnard. Each day, the company runs harvested crops through its “sensory” department, evaluating factors like size and flavor and tweaking the growing environment as needed for the next crop. “We take those plants and analyze what’s in them, and then we work to give subsequent crops exactly the right recipe so that these things are lovable. And that’s critical. That’s how we get to 10-year-olds asking their mothers for our kale.”

Right now, only around 1 in 10 Americans eat as many fruits and vegetables each day as federal guidelines recommend. If it’s possible to buy local, freshly harvested produce in Minneapolis in February—rather than wilted greens that spent a week on a truck from Arizona or California—Plenty believes that people will be more likely to want to eat them. Because the company can control the growing environment, it says that it can achieve flavors that aren’t consistently possible in fields. It can also sell varieties of produce that are too delicate to survive current supply chains. Consumers don’t really want to buy iceberg lettuce, Barnard says. But it’s a huge crop because it can survive both difficult growing conditions on farms and then travel thousands of miles. With a local journey, Plenty can sell crops that don’t exist in typical supermarkets now. I tasted wasabi arugula, a spicy wild green that mimics the heat of the Japanese condiment.

The company wouldn’t comment on the cost of its system. But it says that it’s still possible to sell greens at the same cost as those grown on a traditional farm. One of the largest costs for indoor farms is energy use, especially from lighting; in the last year, Plenty cut energy consumption by 80% per kilogram of plants grown, and it expects to cut that further. Roughly a third of the value of vegetables sold in the eastern U.S., it says, comes from transportation from farms in places like California or Mexico. Indoor farms can also avoid the cost of days in distribution centers and other parts of those long supply
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
Hayward Score
Healthier homes are in demand and it takes a comprehensive strategy to deliver.

Bill Hayward, CEO and chief sustainability officer at Hayward Lumber, set out on a personal mission to uncover home health issues, and has grown it into a new business. He thus founded the Hayward Score. More than 30,000 home owners have contributed to data that Hayward uses to inform builders about how to make home designs healthier.

His data aligns home owner health outcomes with home construction and design, along with the impact of improving both.

Below is a chart that shows the incremental costs to achieve healthier homes along with the reduced risk for the builder and the buyer.

This is one trend that isn’t escaping KB Home. The company just launched its 2018 Sustainability Report: Building for Tomorrow, where it lists one guiding principle for sustainability: to contribute to the well-being of the communities in which it operates.

Dan Bridleman, KB’s senior vice president of sustainability, technology and strategic sourcing, has been living that at KB Home for more than 16 years. Bridleman leads the organization’s sustainability initiatives, maintains partnerships with suppliers, and manages information technology. Previously, Bridleman served as general manager of supply chain management at Boeing Satellite Systems in Los Angeles, California, the world's largest manufacturer of commercial communications satellites.

In this podcast episode of HIVE RE:Think, host Philip Beere speaks to Bridleman about the increasing importance of health in new home design, now embedded in KB Home’s business strategy with technology and innovation that offer personal benefits to the occupants.
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
Acoustic products manufacturer Baux has just unveiled a truly innovative design for some stylish, plant-based acoustic panels. Made out of chemical-free pulp material sourced from sustainably harvested Swedish pine and fir trees, the decorative Baux Acoustic Pulp panels can be used to soundproof various environments such as homes, restaurants office spaces, classrooms and more.

Launched during this year’s Stockholm Design Week, the eco-friendly Baux Acoustic Pulp panels were made possible through a collaboration between Baux, Swedish industrial design studio Form Us With Love and scientists from the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH). The revolutionary design was based on more than 25 years of research, utilizing state-of-the art technology while keeping material usage to a minimum.

The panels are made through a complex process that is similar to making paper. The process begins with wood from sustainably harvested Swedish pine and fir trees. Cellulosic fibers from the wood are broken down into a liquid cellulose to form a chemical-free pulp. The material is then modified to be fire- and water-repellent. The result is an extremely resilient material that is durable and suitable for any number of environments.

But not all of its design is practical functionality; the panels are also quite decorative. At the end of its manufacturing process, the pulp is colored with non-genetically modified wheat bran, giving the panels a pleasant neutral and natural hue that is suitable for almost any interior design scheme. Currently, the panels come in three patterns: Sense, Pulse, and Energy, which are all cut using advanced laser-cutting technology. The company is reportedly planning to experiment with other natural dyes such as lingonberries, blueberries and beetroot.

According to Baux CEO Fredrik Franzon, the innovative design of the eco-friendly panels is completely in line with the company’s commitment to creating building materials that are “sustainable, surprisingly functional and remarkably beautiful.”

“In the face of climate change, environmental pollution and excessive consumerism, we as an industry can no longer afford to ignore the part we play,” Franzon explained. “Designing and prototyping for the future is not enough. We need to create a sustainable future today. The Acoustic Pulp sound absorbing panel is the result of our deep commitment to this vision.”

The importance of buildings in society and everyday human life can’t be underestimated. They are the center of just about everything we do — from work to play — and for most people living without them is unimaginable. However, traditional structures are damaging the environment and green buildings just might be one of the most powerful tools we can develop in the fight against climate change.

According to National Geographic, by 2050 nearly 70 percent of the world’s population will be living in urban areas. Even though the cities of the world cover just two percent of Earth’s land area, they are responsible for 70 percent of greenhouse gas emissions — with nearly one-third of those emissions coming from buildings.

Those numbers are the result of traditional construction, and the exciting thing is green buildings could drastically change things. Already, green buildings in the United States have reduced CO2 emissions by 34 percent.

What are green buildings?

There is no specific standard for green buildings, but some of the features are energy efficiency, less water usage, better indoor air quality, improved acoustics and green roof systems.

Those goals can be achieved via various methods including using alternative energy sources like solar panels, high-efficiency light fixtures and natural light, not to mention, incorporating sustainable and eco-friendly building materials into the design.

But the benefits of green buildings are not just limited improving the environment, there is more than meets the eye when it comes to green buildings and their extensive benefits.

Green buildings save money

The initial construction costs for a green building might be a bit higher, but they are cheaper to operate and maintain, which ultimately makes them a good long term investment.

According to the California Sustainable Building Task Force, a two percent investment in green design will save you more than ten times that investment in the long run. So, if you have a $1 million building project and invested $20,000 in green design, it will lead to $200,000 in savings over 20 years.

Using renewable energy sources significantly reduces the cost of power, heating and cooling, making maintenance costs 20 percent lower than traditional buildings.

In general, the resale value of green buildings is higher because potential buyers know that their utility costs will be lower than normal. Federal tax incentives are also available for both residential and commercial green buildings, with many local and state governments following suit.
David Foessel
Curving brass partitions and vaulted stone ceilings both feature inside this Japanese beauty store in Paris, designed by local architecture firm Archiee.

Designed for new Japanese cosmetics brand En, the 150-square-metre store occupies the ground floor and basement of an 18th-century building in the centre of the French capital. It is the brand's first physical shop.

En's unique selling point is that customers are able to create customised skincare products by mixing their choice of the brand's some 100 "essences", which include organic plant extracts, rock salts and tea-leaf powders.

The name "En" translates as "beauty" in Japanese, but can also mean "circle" and "connection". These three translations all inspired the design of the store.

The store is divided into four main rooms. On the ground floor are two bright minimal spaces, furnished with curving brass partitions and furniture. Meanwhile the basement reveals the building's history, with exposed stone walls and a vaulted ceiling.

Archiee – a studio led by Japanese architects Yusuke Kinoshita and Daisuke Sekine – has added brass elements in different ways in each of the four spaces. Upstairs, they form curved partitions that frame semi-circular spaces, while downstairs they create details for lighting and furniture.

The first room that customers arrive at is an entrance space that contains an enclosed boutique where products are displayed.

The second room contains the counselling and treatment space, the third contains a "hall" and two enclosed massage spaces, while a product gallery and the small circular blending counter are in the fourth space.

"The external surfaces of the circle partitions are finished in polished brass to bring a distorted and warm reflection," explained the architects.

"This beautiful expanded space creates the feeling for the visitor step into an elegant and extraordinary world."

ivar kvaal
snøhetta has built a pair of secluded wooden shelters a short walking distance from two of norway’s largest hospitals. the structures, which have been designed to make hospitalization easier for patients and their families, can be used for treatment and contemplation, and for spending time with relatives and friends away from the hospital corridors. the cabins are open to every patient connected to the hospitals regardless of their condition, and reservations are managed through a booking system.

designed by snøhetta on behalf of the friluftssykehuset foundation, the outdoor care retreats offer visitors a physical and psychological respite from stringent treatment regiments and the isolation that often follows long-term hospitalization. ‘nature provides spontaneous joy and helps patients relax,’ states children’s psychologist maren østvold lindheim at the oslo university hospital, one of the initiators of the project. ‘being in natural surroundings brings them a renewed calm that they can bring back with them into the hospital. in this sense, the outdoor care retreat helps motivate patients to get through treatment and contribute to better disease management.’

leaning towards the lush forest and the sognsvann creek, the first building is located only a hundred meters from the entrance of norway’s largest hospital, oslo university hospital, rikshospitalet. its sister building (pictured here) is situated in the deciduous woodland by sørlandet hospital kristiansand in the south of norway, between oak trees and birch, overlooking a nearby pond. the project was originally developed in collaboration with the department of psychosomatics and CL-child psychiatry at oslo university hospital.

New York City has officially become the largest jurisdiction in the United States to ban polystyrene foam food and beverage containers. On January 1st, the city’s new policy went into effect after a five-year lobbying and litigation effort from the plastics industry to upend the city’s environmental initiative.

Back in 2013, the City Council authorized the statute that states NYC restaurants, food vendors and stores can’t possess, sell or offer polystyrene foam containers for food and beverages. In addition, stores can’t sell or offer “packing peanuts,” which is polystyrene foam used in shipping. They added the ban on the peanuts because they are difficult for both consumers and sanitation officials to dispose of sustainably.

Even though the policy took effect on January 1st, businesses will have a six-month warning period to make the necessary changes before the sanitation department starts to enforce the ban. After June 30th, violators will be facing a $250 fine for their first offense.

In anticipation of the new rule, many NYC food service establishments have already abandoned polystyrene containers and switched to more environmentally friendly options. Some of the substitutes are containers made from aluminum, compostable paper or easily-recycled plastics.

Since hitting the market in the 1970s, polystyrene foam food and beverage containers have been an environmental problem because of their brittle composition, which means they break down into tiny pieces and litter the city streets, park, and beaches.

To make matters worse, the foam gets flushed into storm drains and gets into local waterways, where fish and birds mistake the foam pieces for food. And, if the containers do make it to a landfill, they can survive for more than a century.

The price of more environmentally-friendly containers is nearly the same as the polystyrene foam. However, if businesses with an annual gross income under $500,000 can’t find a substitute with a comparable price, they can obtain a waiver from the ban.
If you’ve been following architectural trends, you’re well aware of the importance of sustainability to a building’s success. It has moved from the earth-friendly movements of the 1970s to current building codes and project-enhancing certifications. Sustainable design is not just about saving water and energy, though. Indoor air quality, accessibility, biophilia and improved materials add environmental benefits to a space, but they have another outcome, too: They make a space healthier for occupants.

One of the most important, fastest-growing trends in the building industry is wellness architecture. Sustainability is about the health of the planet. Wellness architecture is about the health of its occupants, especially humans. It is influencing residential and commercial building design, building products, real estate development and real estate sales. All of these topics will be explored at DesignWell, a new conference to be held in San Diego from January 21 to 23, 2019, and among the first to exclusively address wellness architecture.

Architect Veronica Schreibeis Smith, founder and CEO of Vera Iconica Architecture in Jackson, Wyoming, is one of DesignWell's featured speakers. These are the top three trends she’s seeing in residential wellness architecture, trends that can impact where and how you live.

Re-thinking Rooms

Spaces that were just for cooking and eating, for example, are now being re-thought to “promote life-enhancing daily habits and rituals,” Schreibeis Smith says. These can include meal prepping for the weekend athlete, meditating over a cup of freshly-brewed coffee, relaxing after a meal with a glass of wine, or gathering with friends for homemade pizza parties.“The modern day kitchen has seen only minor refinements,” the architect notes. “The need for convenience during the '50s when many women joined the workforce pushed the industry to create innovations such as highly processed foods that could be stored longer, frozen TV dinners, and the microwave that had a lasting impact on both our diet and the actual design of the modern day kitchen.”

Working women (and men) are busier than ever now, but many are seeking foods, products, spaces and habits that enhance their health and well-being, as well as saving them time. This is spurring the popularity of combi-steam ovens, engineered stone counters, coffee systems, wine captains, pizza ovens and induction cooktops, f
Star Tribune
Companies and building owners throughout the Twin Cities have invested millions this year to re­design and renovate their offices to better suit their organizations and appeal to workers. Modern kitchens with high-top seating, collaboration areas made for informal meetings, and adaptable office furniture with standing desks have all become the new standard for office renovations. While many of those features are predicted to still be prevalent in 2019, architects and designers say new design trends have emerged, with some clients investing in more privacy for their open offices, heavily branded design that reflects their company ethos, and more adaptable layouts.

Branded environments

Many clients want their workspace to reflect their company, a marketing tool that helps organizations stand out to prospective clients as well as a way to reinforce company culture among employees.

"They are really coming up with unique ways to define themselves," said Natasha Fonville, brand manager of Minneapolis-based Atmosphere Commercial Interiors. "That beautifully branded experience is really going to keep trending and keep elevating the spaces around us."

At the new downtown offices of Sleep Number, the company's emblem is throughout the space on the wall and ceiling with Sleep Number settings on some of the tables.

At Field Nation's new offices downtown, which were completed this summer, a network of orange piping that runs electricity to light fixtures was designed as a representation of a technological network.

No receptionists

Some companies have decided to do away with front-desk receptionists, sometimes using technology to direct guests to where they need to go or having a more informal entry area.

Betsy Vohs, founder and chief executive of design firm Studio BV in Minneapolis, said 75 percent of her clients don't really need a receptionist to answer calls or greet guests. "Having them at the front desk isn't the best use of their time and energy," Vohs said.

Building “envelopes” seal off our living and working space. It’s time for a more living architecture.

Traditional buildings are designed to provide protection against a savage world, with us safe on one side and our waste on the other. Architects have long relied on “hard” materials such as masonry, aluminum and glass, specifically chosen to prevent the outside environment from getting in. Impermeability was, and is, a driving goal.

It is time to rethink that approach. Our current built environment squanders too much fresh water and other vital resources, and tips too many poisonous substances into our surroundings. To develop a more sustainable relationship with the natural world, we need to allow chemical exchanges that take place within our living spaces, and between the inside and the outside. We need to embrace permeability.

Until the rise of modernity, a certain amount of the outside world always leaked into our living spaces, entering through crumbling brickwork, broken seals and open windows and doors. However, with the rapid growth of industrial cities in the mid-19th century, pollution, overcrowding and disease posed new external threats. The remedy was to exert tighter control over our habitats, with the result that buildings became true barriers.

Today’s building “envelopes” seal off our living and working spaces to a degree previously unencountered. In many offices, it is no longer possible to open windows manually to let in a breeze. Automated air-conditioning systems (often answering only to sensors and software) blast summer heat out into scorching walkways, amplifying the urban heat-island effect and contributing to heat-related health risks. Such buildings ignore the metabolism that is the dynamic scaffolding of living systems.

During the 1970s, the ecologists John and Nancy Jack Todd and William McLarney founded the New Alchemy Institute–now the Green Center on Cape Cod in Massachusetts–to reconceive building spaces as part of a self-sustaining human ecosystem. Such spaces would not be hermetically sealed, but rather open to the flow of natural elements. The research institute experimented with integrating a range of sustainable systems, such as solar power, organic agriculture, aquaculture and bio-shelter design, which went hand in hand with the permeability of these living spaces. Their results pointed a promising way forward.

Seven standouts from the international conference and expo, held Nov. 14–16 in Chicago.

Nearly 18,000 architecture, engineering, and construction professionals from around the world attended this year's Greenbuild International Conference and Expo, held Nov. 14–16 in Chicago. Participants attended educational sessions, tours, workshops, and summits, and checked out the latest sustainable products and materials on the tradeshow floor, which hosted more than 550 manufacturers and exhibitors.

Here are seven highlights from the Greenbuild Expo:

Duet Living Partition by Sagegreenlife
Designed in a collaboration with Gensler, the Duet Living Partition is an eye-catching, modular living wall system that uses a patented hydroponic (soil-free), non-decaying technology. Chicago-based Sagegreenlife alleges that specifying this product, for use indoors, helps "people feel better, experience the advantages of cleaner air, and be more productive at work." Measuring 69" tall and 52" wide, this double-sided divider can fit 240 tropical foliage plants and comes with a self-contained, re-circulating irrigation system.

These plants are grown off site in tiles made from rockwool—layered basalt rock fiber that Sagegreenlife's horticulturist and lead plant designer Nathan Beckner says is inherently anti-microbial and mold-resistant. Available in three finishes (white shown), the divider comes with a 1.5W LED lighting system and low-friction casters. A related product called Productivity fits 120 plants on one side, and a dry-erase board on the other side. sagegreenlife.com

Pivot Point by Mohawk Group
At Mohawk's booth, ARCHITECT spotted three sustainable flooring products: the carbon-neutral Nutopia collection of carpet tiles; the Air.O collection of recyclable carpet with an integrated PET felt backing; and the International Living Future Institute's Red List–compliant Pivot Point collection of enhanced resilient tiles. Measuring 0.11" thick, the Pivot Point collection offers two sizes: The 7"-by-48" planks are offered in four wood-grain and four textile-inspired patterns, and the 36"-square tiles come in four different natural stone looks. The Pivot Point's carbon-neutral tiles come with a 0.78"-thick commercial wear layer and are finished with Mohawk's M-force 1 enhanced urethane coating. Holds the Living Product Challenge Petal certification. mohawkgroup.com

GreenScreen Nature by Mermet USA
In a new collaboration with Mermet USA, a Cowpens, S.C.–based manufacturer of solar screen fabrics, Draper, a manufacturer of window shades and coverings based in Spiceland, Ind., debuted a new sustainable shade fabric at this year's Greenbuild Expo. Titled GreenScreen Nature, this product is the latest addition to Mermet's collection of recycled fabric offerings and is made entirely of fiberglass, which is inherently nonflammable and does not require any additional flame-retardants or additives, Draper marketing manager Penn Sitler says. GreenScreen Nature is Greenguard– and Greenguard Gold–certified for indoor air quality, contains no heavy metals or halogens, and is 100% recyclable. The new collection features a mock-leno weave and reflects up to 61% of solar energy, with a 5% openness. Additionally, it can block ultraviolet radiation, heat, and visible light. Offered in a neutral, mineral-tinted palette of seven colors. draperinc.com