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Creative Commons
Making public spaces unwelcome is a perversion of their purpose, writes ASLA president Wendy Miller in this op-ed. Too often over the past few weeks, the central promise of the civic realm has been turned on its head.

The Fourth of July weekend is upon us. In less fraught times, this is when millions of Americans would gather in their local parks to watch fireworks or crowd along sidewalks to watch holiday parades. Public places are the traditional settings for community celebration. When the pandemic passes, they certainly will be again.

Public space, broadly defined, is where the First Amendment moves from parchment to pavement. Parks, plazas, streets, city squares, the grounds of capitol buildings, and city halls: These are the great stages upon which civic life, democratic values, and constitutional rights play out. The right to free expression. The right to redress grievances. The right to peaceably assemble. Without abundant public spaces and free access to them, those principles have little meaning. Active citizenship and the built environment are inseparable.

In big cities and small towns all across the country, protests have arisen in the wake of the murder of George Floyd and to support the Black Lives Matter movement. Although most end up in the streets, many begin in public parks: Washington Park in Cincinnati; Kaiser in Oakland; Union in Chicago; Franklin in Boston; Patton in Detroit; Humboldt in Milwaukee; and countless others. Landscape architects understand that the beauty of our parks and civic spaces isn’t just in their design, but in their irreplaceable role as launching pad and reflection of our most cherished values.

But too often over the past weeks, as protests have spread to every corner of the nation, the central promise of the civic realm has been turned on its head.

When law enforcement used tear gas and pepper spray to clear Lafayette Square in front of the White House, in order to facilitate a presidential photo op—they committed a violation of the rights of the protesters, and a perversion of the purpose of the park itself.

When a black birdwatcher named Christian Cooper was confronted by a racist harasser in New York’s Central Park, the fundamental rationale of this iconic public space was subverted, denying Mr. Cooper the right to safely enjoy what rightly belongs to him.

The lesson of the current moment is that you cannot separate the place from its promise and purpose. Making public space unwelcome or a site of fear and terror is a subversion of democracy itself. Free speech and free expression have no value if people are attacked and excluded from the places where those ideas are expressed.

But out of this national trauma change can and must come. Both the pandemic and the response to the Black Lives Matter movement have opened the door for a reexamination of the way landscape architects design public places. We must ask hard questions and we must have challenging conversations.

We often say that public spaces are open to all, but there are those who clearly feel unwelcome. Who can doubt that the design of public places does not sufficiently reflect diverse cultures, traditions, and community needs? As leaders of design teams, landscape architects must ensure that community voices are truly heard during the design and planning process. Cities serious about fostering equity in the civic realm should prioritize inclusive, non-commercial public spaces over exclusionary private ones. And we must recognize that places and spaces that serve black communities are best shaped by the hearts and hands of black designers.

This Fourth of July, as we celebrate democratic traditions, those of us in the design professions who have the honor and responsibility to lead the creation of civic space must commit to a reexamination of what we do and how we do it. Our national pain has exposed many things, and both the importance and shortcomings of the public realm are among them. If our way of life relies on the existence of fully inclusive and accessible public spaces—these great arenas of civic engagement—then we have no choice.
Richard Korman for ENR
Construction Employment Picture Brightens in June

Construction employment has continued to rebound, adding 158,000 jobs in June and registering an improved unemployment rate for that month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported.

But the industry’s June jobless rate still stood at 10.1%, more than double the year-earlier mark, and the latest numbers do not reflect the late June COVID-19 surges in Sunbelt states. And the Associated General Contractors of America noted that construction's total workforce in June still was down by 330,000 jobs, or 4.4%, year over year.

The BLS report, released on July 2, shows that compared with May levels, construction gained jobs in nearly all sectors, led by specialty trade contractors’ increase of 135,400.

Buildings construction posted a gain of 32,200.

But heavy and civil engineering construction, which includes infrastructure work, lost 9,700 jobs in June. Ken Simonson, AGC's chief economist, said in a statement, "Unfortunately, those infrastructure-related jobs are likely to keep declining as state and local governments postpone or cancel projects in order to cover the huge budget deficits they are facing in he fiscal year that began for many agencies on July 1."

Citing the heavy-civil construction numbers, AGC urged Congress to produce legislation to provide strong increases in infrastructure funding.

Architectural and engineering services, a separate BLS industry category, recorded an increase of 12,400 jobs.

Construction’s 10.1% June unemployment rate improved from May’s 12.7% but was significantly higher than the year-earlier rate of 4%. The BLS rates aren’t adjusted for seasonal variations.

Overall, the economy added 4.8 million jobs in June and the national unemployment rate improved to 11.1% from May’s 13.3%.

But there’s a caveat attached to the June employment numbers and rates. The results are based on data collected in mid-June, which don’t include the impacts of surges in coronavirus cases in late June in some Sunbelt and other states.

Anirban Basu, Associated Builders and Contractors chief economist, said the employment figures and other indicators are positive signals. But Basu added in a statement that even if the economy keeps improving this year, "construction is less likely to experience a smooth recovery."

He points to important construction sectors that have been hit hard in the recession, such as offices, retail and hotels, and state and local governments' "increasingly fragile" financial conditions, which endanger their capital spending.
Lucy Wang
At the Winkerlaan in Utrecht, Dutch architecture firm EVA architecten has completed SO Fier, an energy-neutral primary school for Special Education Cluster 2 students that emphasizes sustainability, flexibility and connections with nature. The school, which belongs to SPO Utrecht, is split into two volumes — academia and a gym — that read as a single mass thanks to the continuous brick masonry that wraps around the facade as well as the rounded corners that soften the building’s appearance. Large windows fill the interiors with natural light and frame views of greenery and outdoor spaces on all sides.

At nearly 3,000 square meters, SO Fier comprises 15 group rooms, a technical room, two gyms, offices for ambulatory care and additional supporting space. Designed to provide specialized care to the students, each group room includes a bathroom and a workplace that serves as a shelter zone. All group rooms face a central courtyard, which funnels natural light into the rooms and “literally forms a resting point in the building,” the architects explained. “Here you can isolate yourself from the rest as a pupil or teacher.”

In addition to the central courtyard, SO Fier enhances biodiversity with a green roof located on the low roof between the two building volumes as well as with the integration of nest boxes — for local swifts, bats and house sparrows — into the facade. Flexibility has also been built into the school’s design; for instance, the group rooms can be rearranged to accommodate regular classes. The project has achieved Fresh Schools Class B, a Dutch rating tool for determining indoor air quality.

“In consultation with the users and in collaboration with interior architect NEST and landscape architects Beuk, the complete interior and exterior spaces were also designed,” the architects added. “A coordinated color and material palette ensures peace and consistency in the busy life of the school. The same applies to the squares: These are programmatically connected to the spaces on the facade, each age group has its own square that is as green as possible.”

David Wakely
James Woolum, ZGF partner, may be most visible for high-profile workplace projects. Unforgettable is his transformation of the historic Spruce Goose aircraft hangar to Google headquarters in Los Angeles. Yet he is equally invested in healthcare, the subject near and dear to our hearts in these days of a global pandemic. “I’m a strange blend,” he notes. While the Cedars-Sinai Ventana, Tarzana Oncology and Internal Medicine clinic, just north of L.A., is not directly COVID-19 related, the recent project adheres to universal health and wellness precepts Woolum knows well. After all, he’s been working with Cedars for 15 years and ZGF, in fact, has had the vaunted provider as a client for 20.

James Woolum, ZGF partner, may be most visible for high-profile workplace projects. Unforgettable is his transformation of the historic Spruce Goose aircraft hangar to Google headquarters in Los Angeles. Yet he is equally invested in healthcare, the subject near and dear to our hearts in these days of a global pandemic. “I’m a strange blend,” he notes. While the Cedars-Sinai Ventana, Tarzana Oncology and Internal Medicine clinic, just north of L.A., is not directly COVID-19 related, the recent project adheres to universal health and wellness precepts Woolum knows well. After all, he’s been working with Cedars for 15 years and ZGF, in fact, has had the vaunted provider as a client for 20.

The clinic, occupying 30,000 square feet on the third floor of an existing medical facility, comprises two main components. One is a series of clinical pods for doctor-patient exams. The other is the treatment sector for infusions where patients can remain for up to eight hours. No doubt, a stressful situation all around. Woolum centered on ameliorating it to the best of his ability. “Humanistic, uplifting, and supporting the human spirit” were his words. “How does design give people a sense of calm and heal the soul?”

The key? Materials, daylight, and embracing a hospitality vibe where possible. For starters, the architect pulled most functions back from the south-facing window wall to dedicate the area to infusion bays, 22 of them to be exact. While they are open pods fostering a sense of community, their enclosures simultaneously offer a modicum of privacy. The custom millwork decidedly resembles warm wood, but for durability, cleanability, and bleach resistance, it is plastic laminate with solid surfacing used for counters and edges. Meanwhile, lounge chairs in leather-like vinyl hug the window wall as options for caregivers and patients getting post-treatment hydration. Opposite, the undulating interior wall is seemingly aglow with an ombré abstract suggesting sunrise. Created by ZGF’s graphics studio, the design was digitally printed on Acrovyn, a plastic wall protection material. Another nod to healthcare materiality.

For public areas, Woolum’s hospitality cues hint at luxury. The reception desk, separated from the infusion zone by translucent glass, is of onyx, white oak, and walnut with bronze trim. The main waiting area, bright and warm with cove lighting, has a slated hemlock “awning” above plenty of comfy seating, custom brass and stone tables, and pops of color from accessories.

Special care was given to circulation around exam rooms. “They’re not in the midst of everything else,” Woolum explains. “They have separate circulation paths.” Further, entry to each comes from double-sided pocket doors. The patient’s pathway is day-lit, hugging the windows; the physician and care-giver enter from the more clinical environment on the other side.

Woolum credits client involvement, specifically medical director Dr. Johnny Chang and Mary Clare Lingel, VP of strategic integration, for the project’s success. “They were very involved, intent on transforming practice. They came to the ZGF office where we had full-scale mockups.” As for the rest of us, who knew that precepts of medicine would become so tied to the workplace, instrumental in both their opening and future.

Simon Devigtt
On the coast of New Zealand’s North Island, an award-winning holiday home puts a sculptural twist on the local bach typology.

When Ken Crosson of Auckland-based Crosson Architects first met with retired builder Bob de Leeuw and his wife Chris to discuss the design of their new holiday home in Kuaotunu, the architect immediately fell in love with the couple’s attitude to life.

"They are humble but courageous," says Crosson of his clients’ personalities, which drove the design of their new retreat. The understated home doesn’t overshadow its beachfront location, yet it possesses distinctive qualities unique to the region.

Guided by a site-specific design approach, the architects explored Kuaotunu’s gold mining history and the many abandoned mines nearby. To pay homage to the area’s gold rush in the late 19th century, Crosson took the shape of a mine shaft, inverted it, and placed the pyramidal form atop the home to create a sculptural roofline topped with skylights.

"The shafts are inverted, mining the sunshine and starlight, extending into the sky as opposed to the earth," note the architects. "Within the strategically placed shafts, drama is created and time is registered as the sun moves around the house."

The Light Mine has a playful, bach-like quality with its simple timber exterior and single-story massing that comprises a series of "pods" set around a grassy courtyard shaded by a mature New Zealand Christmas tree.

"[The holiday home needed] to work for the extended family, or just a party of two," explains Crosson. The spatial layout consists of a beachside pod that holds the living areas and master bedroom; a pod behind with a bunk room and bedroom for the clients’ kids and grandchildren; and a detached guest suite across the courtyard.

"There was to be a series of zones where one could be closeted away in retreat—or one could open up the buildings and utilize the outdoor space in between."

In contrast to the silvery facade, the light-filled interiors are wrapped in whitewashed band-sawn cedar that lend a sense of warmth throughout. The eye-catching Light Mine won Home magazine's Home of the Year 2020 award.

James Ewing/JBSA
Ever since the drawings were unveiled in 1980, the Portland Building in Oregon has drawn plaudits and catcalls. Designed by Michael Graves with Emery Roth & Sons and considered to be among the world’s first public Postmodern buildings, the municipal-services structure’s garlands and colors seemed to be an Oz-like technicolor moment in the dreary movie of monochromatic Modernism. Vincent Scully commended the finished work in 1982 for the way the “detailing and color relate to the pre-International Style buildings in the city,” and its attempt “to revive the urban fabric.” But, as the pop-star building glowed brightly in the pages of Time, Newsweek, and People, the client, the City of Portland—and its 1,500 employees working inside—suffered.
The architecture’s failures have been well documented, from darkly tinted, cell-block-sized windows to water infiltration through the concrete walls, which left carpeting stained and moldy. Graves long blamed the many functional flaws on the budget. As one of the earliest public projects to use a contractor-led “design-build” process, the Portland Building became a 15-story study in value engineering. Its most defining features—the jaunty salmon/teal/cream-colored array of Mayan-inflected columns, keystones, and garlands—relied on materials befitting a community stage set: paint, tile, and stucco.
Politicians and pundits have long brayed for demolition. In defense, Portland preservation architect Peter Meijer wrote its successful 2011 nomination to the National Register of Historic Places. (Such a listing highlights its architectural relevance, but doesn’t guarantee it will stay in place forever.) City officials grudgingly chose to renovate, and global firm DLR Group began the $195 million redo in 2016; it recently finished ahead of schedule. The team calls this effort a “reconstruction”—every component is new except the original poured-concrete frame and walls. Before his death in 2015, Graves outlined changes he thought should be made: replacing the tinted glass, lighting the building’s dreary arcade, and converting the parking garage and its cavernous entrance, which faces a park, into something “joyous.” DLR heeded the advice and, working with Patrick Burke of Michael Graves Architecture & Design, took even bolder action.

Most dramatically, DLR wrapped the entire concrete cubiform mass in a unitized aluminum curtain wall that waterproofs and adds insulation. The firm clad the podium with a terra-cotta rainscreen instead of the original teal tiles. New windows replace the dark glass and increase light transmission 10-fold. The lighter glass in the six-story vertical flutes of Graves’s graphic rendition of columns allows new conference rooms on each floor to be brightly daylit. The relocation of the HVAC system to the roof opened the second floor to new meeting rooms bountifully lit by windows. The parking garage’s entrance is now glass, with public gathering spaces behind it.
But controversy dogs the Portland Building once again. Despite Portland Landmarks Commission’s unanimous approval of DLR’s design, the State Office of Historic Preservation may delist it from the Historic Register owing to the radical change of materials. To Meijer, the Register nomination author, the reconstruction is an “open and sore wound.” He thought the original materials could be kept, and provided drawings to make the case. A representative from the state office said the agency has not yet set a time for delisting.
DLR’s approach and the potential consequences foreground a fundamental question in the preservation of landmark Modernist and Postmodernist buildings, many made with materials that fail, are discontinued, or fall short of today’s performance demands: what’s historic—the building with its original materials, or the design concept?
Interior Deisgn Media
This year, Pride hits different. June, which marks the anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall riots, typically heralds in a wave of Pride parties and parades across the country, commemorating strides made to improve visibility and rights for the LGBTQ+ community. But the police brutality that led to the death of George Floyd in late May and the global protests in support of racial equality that followed, brought Pride back to its roots, expressing solidarity for those most vulnerable to injustice, including black trans individuals. As people continue to take to the streets, we asked LGBTQ+ designers, architects, and artists to share their thoughts on what Pride means in this historic year marked by isolation and activism, and a Supreme Court victory that protects the rights of LGBTQ+ people in the workplace.

Rayman Boozer, CEO and Principal Designer of Apartment 48

In 2020, freedom of expression is more relevant than ever. Industry leaders have learned that celebrating the equality of race, gender, sexual orientation, and identity is both morally correct and good for business. The creation of niche guilds, such as the Black Artists + Designers Guild, have helped spur this worldwide awakening. And what better industry to explore the merits of diversity than design? As a designer, my goal is to create unique, colorful stories and visuals to enhance the world around me. And the more that the world supports me, the better able I am to do my work and create beautiful things.

Michael Deitz, Designer at Kripper Studio

Pride fundamentally began as a protest against police brutality. Fifty years later that fact has never been more prescient in the midst of the current cultural moment. For me, Pride is exactly what it is supposed to be this year: a protest. Black trans women are responsible for starting Pride in 1969; two black trans women were murdered this month in the year 2020. I’m angry and this year’s Pride will be about that anger; an anger not for “me” but for all of us... Design is inherently political. Nothing gets created in a vacuum which is why we must be hyper-critical of the implications of every design decision. It’s necessary to be abrasive in this approach. I’m reminded of the late Larry Kramer who was considered by many of his peers to be “too loud” in his method of activism. But it is that exact tenacity that the design world could benefit from. We need every LGBTQI+ designer to claim their seat at the table to ask the right questions and ask them loudly.

Cheryl Riley, Artist, Designer, & Art Advisor

This year marked two amazing watersheds in acceptance and protections for the civil rights of LGBTQ+ peoples. First, was the presidential run by an out gay politician who polled much better across many demographics and regions than had been expected. The second was the Supreme Court ruling to extend protections against employment discrimination to LGBTQ+ people... I began my design career in San Francisco which was one of the most accepting cities in America for the LGBTQ+ community, so I cannot say I faced any challenges on that front—instead, it may have been an advantage. I faced more discrimination because of my race and gender based on disclosures about the decision-makers' discussions shared with me by sympathetic staff members... Design and all disciplines can foster social change by acknowledging and removing prejudice from the equation when choosing the ideas of designers, which should be solely based on the quality of our work.

Chad James, Founder of Chad James Group

I’m often reminded of what I’m proud of and this year seems to have my thoughts in an unparalleled feeling of gratitude. I'm thankful for the love and support of family and friends who stand strong with me as we travel this journey. I consider myself to be extremely fortunate, as I’ve never felt that there were any challenges placed on me due to being gay. I’ve always surrounded myself with clients and other professionals who saw me for something more than just my sexuality. Professionals—and many of us are business owners—have a responsibility to stand tall and be the light in the world. Through knowledge we are able to evolve, and grow to the humans we are intended to be. We can and must do better as a design community.

Tyler Hill, Interior Designer at Mitchell Hill

I think while the
The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards' annual survey found a 1% increase in the number of licensed architects from 2018 and a 10% increase from that in 2010.

The following is a press release from the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) announcing the results of its annual Survey of Architectural Registration Boards.

The number of architects licensed in the United States rose to 116,242 in 2019, according to the annual Survey of Architectural Registration Boards. This represents a 1 percent increase from 2018 and a 10 percentage point increase compared to the number of U.S. architects seen a decade ago.

Conducted annually by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), the survey provides exclusive insight into data from the architectural licensing boards of the 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The increase in the number of architects in 2019 is especially apparent when compared to the U.S. population: while the number of architects licensed in the U.S. has risen over 10 percent in the last decade, the total U.S. population has risen just 6 percent, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

While this data may shift in the coming years as the COVID-19 pandemic impacts architectural practice and licensure, data from the survey highlights the relative health of the profession prior to the virus’ outbreak.

“There is reassurance in knowing the profession was in excellent health going into this challenging time, and we hope it emerges stronger and more dynamic than ever before,” said NCARB CEO Michael Armstrong. “With our data serving as a baseline for the state of licensure, we can monitor the impact and identify opportunities to provide support in the years to come.”

The 2019 Survey of Architectural Registration Boards also reveals that there continue to be more reciprocal (out-of-state) licenses than resident licenses issued across the U.S. There were 137,639 reciprocal licenses reported in 2019, approximately 10 percent more than in 2018 and over 20,000 higher than the number of individual architects. This marks the largest increase seen in recent years and could be a result of many factors, including market needs and efforts to publicize pathways to reciprocity for architects.

In 2019, nearly 4,000 candidates finished their final core requirement for licensure—a step that indicates an individual has completed the national experience and examination programs. The average licensure candidate who completed their final core requirement for licensure—including education (i.e., by earning a B.Arch., M.Arch., or D.Arch. degree from a National Architectural Accrediting Board-accredited program), experience, and examination—took 12.7 years. This is 2 percent less time (about four months) than candidates who completed their final core requirement in 2018.

The survey reflects registration data from January to December 2019. Additional data on the path to licensure will be available in July’s 2020 edition of NCARB by the Numbers.
Joas Souza
Look back at the journey behind the creation of the award-winning Macallan Distillery in Scotland’s Spey Side, by renowned architecture studio Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners

Back in the summer of 2012 The Macallan – makers of luxury single malt scotch whiskey since 1824 – launched an international competition for the design of a new and architecturally audacious project. Incorporating a new factory, HQ and ‘Distillery Experience’ for visitors, the proposed building was to be situated on an existing field within 485 acres of The Macallan Estate and the listed Jacobean manor, Easter Elchies House, aka the Macallan’s spiritual home.

The client set architects and engineers a rigorous brief for a design-focused brand home that would project the vision and direction of the leading single malt whisky marque into the future. With the barley field site of the new building at the edge of Scottish countryside designated as an ‘Area of Great Landscape Value’ – a land corridor following the sweep and contours of the River Spey integral to The Macallan Estate and The Macallan Fishing Beat – any competitive proposal would have to be brave, bold and audacious while remaining sensitive to the surrounding environment of ancient Scottish earthworks, long cairns, brochs and wells. The importance of the neighbouring ancestral house had to be respectfully acknowledged but the new distillery would also be required to increase The Macallan’s production of whiskey by up to a third. Quite a challenge.

Enter Graham Stirk of Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, the London-based practice whose impressive portfolio includes One Hyde Park, the Leadenhall Building, NEO Bankside London and the Millennium Dome. Stirk provided a plan that mitigated the impact of the building; a response to the landscape as the primary context rather than the disparate nature of the existing built facilities and storage units.

But it was Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners’ projected roof design that offered the most compelling prospect. Said to be one of the most complicated timber structures in the world – 1,800 single beams, 2,500 different roof elements, and 380,000 individual components, almost none of them the same – the undulating canopy would be a beautiful, meticulously engineered, wood and steel wonder.

‘Whilst the roof design is described as a landscape response, the roof was never intended to disappear or be lost within the hillside,’ explains Toby Jeavons, Associate Partner and Project Architect at Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners. ‘As such, the roof is positioned on top of the retaining structure and not bound by it. This allows the upstanding depth of the roof structure to act as a balustrade to the grid line and to the Northern edge of the roof as it appears to meet the ground. As the roof "sails" above the retaining structures, it is freed from restraining ground pressures and loads.’

Eventually completed back in 2018, the roof structure consists of two principal parts, the primary tubular steel support frame and the rolling domes and valleys of the timber grid shell. The primary steel frame is laced through the centre of the timber beam structure and helps to resist the torsional forces. The timber domes act in compression and the interconnecting valleys are hung between the domes. All the roof beams are straight and all the cassettes are flat, double-skinned panels.

‘This provides the facetted appearance so important for the "engineered landscape",’ says Jeavons. ‘Despite the highly repetitive and rotational roof geometry, the finished structure is constructed from over 380,000 components. All of the timber beams are vertical and a constant expressed depth of 750mm which allows for considered and neat interfaces with internal partitions as well as the solid and glazed facades.’

The changeable highland weather and uncompromising Scottish elements also proved a significant factor in the building’s material construction and profile. ‘The architectural concept of the distillery allows it to thrive in the Scottish elements by reflecting the very nature that surrounds it. The profile is low and hugs the ground. The roof structure anticipates severe snow loading, and the natural green roof coverings utilise a specific, low maintenance mix of Scottish wildflowers and meadow grasses suited to the location.’

To satisfy the proprietor’s desire for increased yield, practicality and an efficiently attractive, visitor-friendly space, the architects envisaged a facility that contained a rhythm of production ‘cells’ w
An adaptive reuse project designed by global architecture firm Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF) that would retrofit an existing 1980s office block in London is moving forward following approval from the City of London Planning & Transportation Committee.

The project, located at 81 Newgate Street, includes a "deep retrofit" of the existing structure that will reposition the building as a "sustainable, mixed-use building that is embedded in the wider public life of the City as a new gateway destination into London’s ‘Culture Mile,'" the architects write.

In a press release announcing the project, John Bushell, Design KPF Principal explains, “81 Newgate Street develops a number of reuse and transformation themes that KPF has been working on for a long time, from the World Bank in Washington DC, completed in 1996, to more recent projects in London, such as Unilever House, South Bank Tower and a collection of projects in Covent Garden." Bushell adds, "The mixture of reuse and invention generates projects with great character, preserving history whilst allowing for vigorous renewal and making substantial savings of embodied carbon.”

The project is set to include an expansion of the building, as well, efforts that are designed to increase interior daylighting while allowing for the introduction of planted terraces along the upper levels of the building, including a new public roof terrace. An existing atrium will be partially filled in with new elevator cores, while the new additions to the complex are designed as a "dynamic composition of smaller elements that step down from north to south."

The plan features a slew of sustainable approaches, including a "zero to landfill" policy that will eliminate construction waste as well as the widespread reuse of Portland stone elements included in the existing structure.

OMA | Office for Metropolitan Architecture
Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA)

Fondly referred to as De Kuip (or the tub) in Rotterdam, Feyenoord’s stadium in the city’s south has been home to the Dutch football club for over eighty years. When completed in 1937, the stadium structure—built entirely with steel and concrete tiers and including a curved, cantilevered stand—was a forerunner in modernist football stadium. Feyenoord’s current ambitions to further strengthen the football club, in combination with the municipality of Rotterdam’s plan to rejuvenate the area of Rotterdam-Zuid, have led to the development of the new Feyenoord Stadium as part of Feyenoord City—a masterplan designed to transform Rotterdam-Zuid into a well-connected and vibrant neighbourhood for sports, recreation, and living.

Over the past decades, stadium design has been evolving in response to football clubs’ new demands, including engagement with a larger supporter base, diversification of hospitality offerings, and development of commercial opportunities. For Feyenoord, various renovations of De Kuip between the 1950s and 1990s have offered immediate solutions to the needs of the football club to upgrade the football watching experience, and to increase its business and hospitality capacity. While catering to Feyenoord’s changing needs, these transformations also compromised the stadium’s original design intent. The new Feyenoord Stadium—proposed by OMA, Feijenoord Stadium, and the Feyenoord football club—at a new location along the Nieuwe Maas and a highly accessible transportation node, is a future-proof infrastructure for football and daily activities in the surrounding communities.

The new stadium is an ensemble of essential elements: the stand, circulation cores, the structure, and functional spaces. Each element has been logically designed to maximise performance. The three-tier stand increases the capacity of the stadium to 63,000, while placing spectators as close to the field as possible for an intimate match experience. All seats have an above FIFA standard C-value that ensures clear and unobstructed views of the playing field. Twelve concrete circulation cores, with different types of stairs and elevators inside, are evenly distributed along the perimeter of the stadium. This configuration allows a large number of visitors to efficiently move between the concourse and upper levels on event days. The bowl-shaped steel structure—a diagrid that requires less structural steel than a conventional steel frame—is the primary structure supporting the stand and its roof. Functional spaces have been designed for specific users such as players, guests, and media. They also accommodate hospitality offerings including restaurants and multifunctional spaces.

All these elements have been assembled to form a stadium that is more than the sum of its parts: logical and functional as De Kuip and offering one of the best sightlines among stadiums of this scale, it is a truly open stadium with an public concourse on the main entry level. Designed in collaboration with LOLA Landscape Architects, this concourse is not fenced off but welcomes the public. With daily open F&B offerings, a playground, and greeneries, it is a space for football fans and the public to gather on match days, and for everyone to use for leisure activities when there are no events.

Distinctive from most contemporary stadiums designed as isolated icons—relevant only to football and detached from a city’s daily life—the new Feyenoord Stadium is a vital space in the Feyenoord City masterplan and open to public. By restoring the stadium’s historical role as a city’s significant public realm, it redefines the existing typology.
Helen Farley, Kelley Johnson, Eva Leung, and Jackson Lindsay
This past spring, a team of students from Yale University won the 2020 Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Innovation in Affordable Housing (IAH) Student Design & Planning Competition for a housing proposal for Santa Fe, New Mexico. The team’s entry features a colorful, tiered design that references local Pueblo-style architecture and a funding model that combines Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) and a limited-equity co-op structure.

The annual IAH competition, which started in 2014, does not result in a built project. It is instead meant to spur students to develop new ideas for the future of affordable housing that authorities can potentially incorporate into future projects.

For the 2020 competition, HUD’s Office of Policy Development and Research partnered with the Santa Fe County Housing Authority to solicit designs for a 1,200-square-foot site in Santa Fe. Yale School of Architecture (YSoA) students Helen Farley, Kelley Johnson, and Jackson Lindsay, along with Yale School of Management student Eva Leung, formed a team in late 2019 that bested three other finalists from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and the University of California-Berkeley, as well as the runner-up team from the University of Maryland, College Park. YSoA professor Alan Plattus was the faculty advisor for the winning team.

The YSoA students, who were all classmates, formed the team after a graduate studio sited near the George Washington Carver Houses, a public housing development in New York City, inspired a shared interest in affordable housing, and the annual competition seemed like a way to dig into the subject in a way academic exercises don’t always allow.

“Affordable housing is a complex typology of building because there are so many budget and timeline limitations, and there is often a fissure between those developing the project, and those who are occupying the project,” Johnson said. “This project seemed like a perfect balance between innovation and practicality.”

Lindsay added that, “The unfortunate thing about architecture school is that you might have very little contact with community stakeholders.”

The IAH competition, however, flew the four finalist teams to Santa Fe in March to meet with local housing advocates and planners, which spurred the team to change how it thought about the project’s financing. Though the visit was only for a couple of days and didn’t include much contact with residents of the city’s public housing system, it did change how the team members thought about their design.

“We began thinking about how we might design in policy or financing measures to ensure the long term vitality of the project, which resulted in our model for shared equity,” said Farley .

In the team’s final proposal, the project would be funded by LIHTC for 15 years, during which time renters could buy equity either through monthly payments or regular labor on site. After those first 15 years, the development would then convert into a limited equity co-op owned by those tenants who decided to buy into ownership. The team believed that this innovative approach to financing was part of what led to their win in the competition, which requires a multidisciplinary team that innovates in all aspects of the project’s design.

The team’s New Mexico visit also led the designers to reconsider the project’s physical contours, as well. They prioritized community spaces like exercise or laundry rooms, making them hinges between residences “so [residents] can share in the idea of communal labor and community gatherings around what might otherwise be seen as domestic labor,” Lindsay said.

Though the design won’t be built, the YSoA team was awarded $20,000.
Cicada Design
A multi-disciplinary team led by Citizen Care Pod Corporation, in collaboration with WZMH Architects, PCL Construction, Insight Enterprises and Microsoft, has worked together amidst the pandemic to launch a new COVID-19 smart screening and testing pod, refined from a version designed last month.

The Citizen Care Pod integrates intelligent technology within a modular design to support a safe, responsible recovery for governments, businesses, and communities.

The concept is a customizable unit outfitted with the capabilities to enable turnkey mobile COVID-19 testing in high-traffic business environments and communities. It aims to expedite testing, screening, and eventually vaccination on a mass scale.

Using modular construction methods, PCL Construction is manufacturing and assembling the pods by retrofitting 20-foot or 40-foot shipping containers to create modules equipped with four to 10 testing stations. A variety of customizable options are available. The process supports rapid delivery and installation to high-traffic or remote locations.

“At PCL, we anticipate challenges and are proactive in developing solutions that make construction safer, more efficient, and more sustainable. The Citizen Care Pod’s modular construction and integrated technology make it a sustainable, plug-and-play solution that can be rapidly deployed to support the safe reopening of our economy,” said Kelly Wallace, Vice President and District Manager, PCL Construction.

In partnership with a lab diagnostics provider, all customizable testing will be administered outside of the pod to address concerns about testing in confined spaces.

To enable safety and security in the physical testing environment, the Citizen Care Pod is equipped with a suite of intelligent, customizable technologies powered by the Microsoft Azure cloud platform and Azure AI, including the Insight Connected Platform and PCL’s Job Site Insights Internet of Things hubs.

The customizable and portable structure is a ready-to-use solution for large-scale businesses, public works, sports and entertainment venues, airports, transit centres and more to support economic recovery.

The Citizen Care Pod can be customized to include additional intelligent technologies and design features, such as exterior cameras and speakers to measure distance between people and send audio reminders if safe distancing is not maintained. AI-enabled cameras can alert healthcare workers when proper face protection requirements are not being met, while security cameras inside the Pod can send alerts when the unit has reached capacity, and tablets enable real-time, non-contact communication between healthcare workers and patients.

Matthew Moore
Matthew Moore is an artist, farmer, and a furniture maker. Now he's producing intubation boxes while pivoting his business for a remote-working world.

As a fourth-generation farmer, Matthew Moore is comfortable with acts of God. "Whether it's bugs or the weather, I know I can't always control the steering wheel," he says. "You've got to react fast."

So when his non-agricultural venture--Urban Plough Furniture, a Phoenix-based manufacturing company with $2.2 million in revenue--lost 80 percent of its business in March, Moore pursued alternative tracks to keep his workers employed while assisting the community. Working with a local physician, Moore transformed his facility into a source for intubation boxes--devices that protect health care workers inserting tubes into patients' airways. Amid the chaos, he also seized the opportunity to begin refocusing Urban Plough around the single product closest to his heart, a desk that he believes the pandemic era has made newly compelling.

Moore is an unconventional entrepreneur. In addition to farming 350 acres of vegetables, he is an artist whose agriculture-themed videos and installations have appeared at the Sundance Film Festival, the Phoenix Art Museum, and the produce sections of some Albertson's supermarkets. Eager to create something with practical as well as aesthetic appeal, he launched Urban Plough in 2016 to design custom furniture and interiors. His consuming interest was offices. Specifically, "I had a bug up my ass about sit-stand desks," says Moore. "They all look the same, and they're ugly."

But restaurants and hotels presented greater opportunity to compete on leading-edge design. So that's where Moore focused. Hospitality, of course, became one of Covid's earliest victims. "We were chugging along," he says. "And then I was looking at a cliff."

The boxing challenge

Moore was casting around for work that felt meaningful and would keep his business open when a friend introduced him to Benjamin Reeser, a local emergency room physician. During intubations, Reeser and his colleagues had been covering Covid patients with plastic trash bags, the best means available to protect themselves from viral particles. In an online forum, Reeser read about a Taiwanese physician who had designed an intubation box in the form of an acrylic cube placed over a patient's head with holes through which a physician could perform the procedure.

Reeser got hold of the plans and approached Moore. Together they modified the design to make the boxes wider and more stable. A team from Urban Plough began working up prototypes--five in one week--before settling on the final product. "When we tried it in the hospital, we said this is a no-brainer," Reeser says. "This gives us a lot less anxiety."

Reeser intended to make just two or three boxes for hospitals where he worked. But word spread, and requests came in from all over the region. Moore offered to mass-produce the boxes. The direct-to-consumer mattress company Tuft & Needle, which is based in Phoenix, signed on as well. Reeser set up a GoFundMe account, raising almost $50,000 to fund production and shipping.

Shipping, in fact, turned out to be the biggest problem. "You couldn't ship this in a box because it would get destroyed," Moore says. "So we had to figure out how to flat pack it." That meant modifying the design further, making it simple enough that physicians could reassemble the boxes on their kitchen tables. Selling direct to doctors was critical, Reeser says, to sidestep the bureaucracy that slows down hospital procurement.

The boxes also needed to be cheap. Urban Plough eventually developed a model it could offer for $150 and has sold about 350. Doctors have ordered from as far away as South Korea.

For two months, the boxes kept Moore's workshop operating from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m. Moore and Reeser also made specs for the product freely available online. Another 30 to 40 businesses have used those patterns to produce and distribute their own boxes. "You wouldn't expect someone to do all this work pro bono, but Matt did," Reeser says. "His response was amazing and encouraged me to keep going with it."

Orders slowed a few weeks ago, but Reeser--who is seeing triple the number of Covid patients he attended during lockdown--anticipates an uptick as things reopen. "Especially out here in Arizona, we are not looking too good," he says.

The perfect desk

When he's not fulfilling box orders, Moore has been pondering post-pandemic office design. The prospec
Tim Griffith
During a renovation and expansion project for Okland Construction, WRNS prioritized features where the company could display its dexterity with concrete.

A workplace renovation can provide a unique opportunity for a company to reaffirm its core values by baking them into the design scheme. For the owners of Okland Construction, a century-old family-owned business with roots in shipbuilding, rehabilitating and expanding its Salt Lake City office was a way to display not only a commitment to the well-being of its employees and the environment, but also to its artistry. Its revamped headquarters, designed by WRNS Studio using LEED, Living Building Challenge, and WELL guidelines, pairs generous glazing with a full-bodied expression of wood and concrete, creating a robust sense of place that had previously been lacking.

The 46,000-square-foot project nearly doubles the size of Okland’s original redbrick edifice, a squat, closed-off building that suffered from poor interior circulation. Unlike its predecessor, the new incarnation is free from barriers to the outdoors, allowing occupants to be more connected to the surrounding landscape. According to WRNS founding partner Bryan Shiles, the addition’s stacked, rectilinear composition was informed by the need to incorporate exterior spaces. At the ground floor, a courtyard nestled between the two structures knits them together. On the second level—which cantilevers over a xeriscape of native plants that extends from the building to the street—a terrace offers more space for respite.

Apart from its functional use as an office building, the cast-in-place concrete extension serves as a “showroom” for Okland’s material expertise. One particular point of pride is the board-formed concrete exterior wall—the result of nearly 15 prototypes testing different blends of natural lumber and ready mix. This type of collaborative attention to detail, says company president Brett Okland, was one of the primary reasons for selecting WRNS. Having worked together previously on Adobe’s corporate campus in Lehi, Utah, Okland trusted the firm’s design instinct. “We knew that we could really tap into the building together,” he says, “and that they could help us to display what we’re good at.”

“The dedication to casting these walls correctly—the carpentry, choice of wood, the tightness of the forms—was just amazing,” says Shiles. “That craft is what Okland’s all about.”

Different applications of architectural concrete throughout the interior—like polished concrete floors and exposed concrete walls and ceilings—further exhibit Okland’s dexterity. Yet the interiors never feel austere, as WRNS and Okland have tempered the coolness of the abundant concrete with warm regional wood surfaces and panels.

On the exterior, burned shou sugi ban wood wraps the two buildings, unifying them as one. WRNS replaced the original south facade with high-performance glazing and louvers, which were carefully spaced as to not impede views to the outside. Much of the existing brickwork, as well as the steel structure, were kept intact to reduce the embodied carbon footprint.

From a programmatic standpoint, the main challenge for WRNS was forging a seamless spatial transition between the two wings. One way the architects approached this was by creating as much transparency and openness as possible. In the original building’s central, skylit atrium, they cut a hole in the ground-floor slab, connecting a large communal area in the basement with the rest of the building, and allowing natural light to filter down. And in the expansion, the inclusion of a skylit staircase and a large collaboration room mirror this arrangement. These two sets of features, says partner Brian Millman, “serve as the project’s anchors, evenly distributing the spaces and encouraging folks to move around.”

Although employees have been working from home due to COVID-19, they’re eager to return, says Okland. “Our people love this building, especially from a psychological perspective,” he says, adding that the headquarters, which opened last summer, should easily accommodate any necessary protocols put in place due to the pandemic. “Given the spaciousness and utilization of huddle rooms, plus the sheer magnitude of our conference rooms, I think we will function well with social distance requirements. We’re in a good place to start bringing people back.”

nic lehoux
tom kundig is an owner and design principal of olson kundig, an architecture firm that works globally from its headquarters in seattle. across his diverse body of work in locations around the world, kundig is known for his elemental approach to design where rugged materials are left in raw or natural states to evolve over time. kundig’s projects — from a sprawling hawaii residence to a 15-story commercial headquarters in seoul — are presented as part of a new book ‘tom kundig: working title’.

coinciding with the release of the publication, which spotlights a total of 29 projects, we spoke with tom kundig who discussed his introduction to architecture and the importance of a ‘hands on’ approach. read the interview in full below.

designboom (DB): can you start by describing your background and why you wanted to practice architecture?

tom kundig (TK): to be honest, I didn’t want to practice architecture. my dad was an architect, so I felt like I had been immersed in that world and kind of knew what architecture was all about, and knew that it wasn’t for me. I was drawn to physics initially, and it wasn’t until I was at the university of washington and taking all kinds of different courses — history, math, hard sciences, literature, art — that I realized the intersection of all those interests was architecture.

DB: how would you describe your approach to architecture? has it changed over time?

TK: I’ve always been a very context-driven designer. my work draws on its specific context to create spaces that feel authentic, meaningful and human in scale. if you start with the primacy of the site, everything else becomes a direct response to that particular place. I think it is important not to compete with the landscape — built or natural — and to acknowledge the place of architecture within the larger context. that approach hasn’t necessarily changed, but the kinds of projects I work on have. the new book, tom kundig: working title, is really about tracing that thread through a variety of different programs and scales. whether it’s a small home or a museum or an office tower, whether urban or rural, the design of every project is informed by its context.

DB: how do you develop your ideas with other members of olson kundig?

TK: we are a highly collaborative firm and we all learn from each other, not just as teammates on a specific project but as an office. sometimes that happens spontaneously — I might see something on someone’s desk or overhear someone speaking about their project, and it sparks a new idea or a different solution. other times it’s the result of a more deliberate approach to sharing. we have established, recurring, office-wide opportunities to share ideas, get feedback and critique each other, which benefits everyone’s work and development. knowledge-sharing is a big part of the culture of curiosity, critical dialogue, innovation and open collaboration that we work to foster here.

Interior Design Media
Polina Zakh, creative director of multimedia design company Sila Sveta, met the company founders at a rave. Today, or at least before COVID-19 threw the world a curve ball, she still goes to raves. But in light of the new social distancing norms, she admits her fascination with the way raves will take to the digital world. As it so happens, Sila Sveta is at the forefront of digitally-enhanced experiences—just turn to the studio’s dazzling portfolio for proof, including a recent Jumbotron takeover at Times Square, a spectacular show in Indonesia where storytelling meets VFX, and a hypnotizing “techno party” in Moscow. Here, Zakh talks about the importance of meaningful stories, overrated immersive experiences, and the power of the billboard as a creative medium.

Interior Design: From set design to 3D mapping on buildings to holographic performances and lighting shows, Sila Sveta produces a wild variety of projects. What is the common thread that defines all of your projects?

Polina Zakh: It’s all about meaningful stories together with the addition of aesthetics from today’s world. There is so much information, so much noise, that we often get lost in it. We are creating this moment of stop and stare. One of our main goals is to get people to reflect once they’ve seen our performance or show or graphics.

ID: Rave culture is in the DNA of Sila Sveta—you even met the Sila Sveta founders at a rave. Do you still go to raves? How has the rave culture evolved over the years?

PZ: Haha great question! I do still go to the raves, but very selectively. Now with the quarantine situation, rave culture is re-exploring itself in a digital world and it’s absolutely fascinating to see what’s coming up next: How can you stay at home but still interact with your favorite DJs and visual artists? It’s also a wild time for this kind of creative business and it needs major support. For example, Berlin’s nightlife community united 40 clubs in one stream platform. Sila Sveta is looking into that dimension a lot now and we hope to share some wild stuff soon. SAVE THE RAVE.

ID: In March 2019, you took over one of the largest LED displays in the world. What was it like to see your own work up on the Jumbotron at Times Square?

PZ: I am very grateful to Ian Schrager & EDITION hotels for this incredible project: I believe we started a new trend of transforming billboard’s environment. After our collaboration, I’ve seen a couple of projects that tap into the same realm and add more art to the LED screens at Times Square and to be honest across the globe too. I first saw our artwork at 4am the night before we launched it and it was an incredible feeling. As Ian always was telling us: “have fun!” And we had so much of it over the course of that project.

My goal is to communicate all sorts of emotions and inspire others to move towards their missions. I feel like those art pieces did move a lot of people: they are still up there—and my friends keep on tagging Sila Sveta on their stories when they are around Times Square. [Recently], it was daytime, and no one was at Times Square besides my friend and our artwork. It gave me shivers—how powerful it was.

ID: What’s your take on billboards as contemporary public art pieces?

PZ: It’s such an understated medium. It gives so much space for creativity, public attention, and deep understanding of how visual culture can impact the society. You can truly influence the environment and the audience. J’adore.

ID: The entirety of your work thrives on dynamics and movement. Do you enjoy “still” art?

PZ: Absolutely. I studied art history and spent a couple of years of my life working in the art market. I love all mediums, specifically sculpture. Also, initial looks for our work are still images, sketches, and style frames—it’s not always a moving image.

ID: Who inspires you the most?

PZ: Marina Abramovic, James Turrell, Tadao Ando and my artist friends and teammates. It’s incredible to see how much inspiration is around us and how easy it is to get lost in it now with all the social media.

ID: Tell me about Trans Studio, the dazzling immersive show you put together for the Trans Studio Cibubur amusement park in Indonesia. You even hand-crafted the costumes for the show. What was the mo
Joel Plosz
As cities emerge from coronavirus lockdowns, the way people use parks, stores, restaurants, transit, streets and homes is changing in ways both subtle and dramatic.

If one thing is certain, it's that our definition of normal has changed. After months in lockdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, cities are reopening — some with masks and social distance, others with still growing numbers of infection. It’s unclear what cities will look like in a year or more, but in many areas the landscape is already starting to shift.

Bloomberg CityLab has compiled and illustrated some of the most noteworthy changes that are already happening in communities around the world. From temporarily widened sidewalks to larger patios for socially distanced restaurants, these changes will transform the urban streetscapes of at least some communities. And not all of the shifts will be by intentional design.

With everybody spread further apart, the crux of many of these changes is space. Most people will need more of it, posing one of the great design challenges of the period for already built-up, congested cities. There will be a premium placed on repurposing outdoor space so that more gathering activities can take place in the open air. “We will need to transform the link between indoors and outdoors, to reshape streets as the prolongation of indoor areas,” says Carlos Moreno, professor of territorial entrepreneurship and innovation at IAE Sorbonne and adviser to the city of Paris.

To be sure, some communities may be defined by little change at all. If a vaccine becomes widely available, we may see much of the before environment return — but some cities are seizing this as an opportunity to invest in much needed infrastructure. And the recent U.S. protests against racism are fueling other policy changes across American cities.

Even in the most resistant places, there are some almost-ubiquitous changes that are built to be low-tech and easily removed: paint stripes on the sidewalk as a social distancing guideline, and hand sanitizer dispensers outside stores. “We won’t need to create new infrastructures,” says Moreno. It’s more about using existing ones more effectively.

Fewer Riders at Rush Hour

Before coronavirus, high-capacity transit systems made the basic math of dense urban populations work: It would not be possible to move through streets of cities like New York, London, Tokyo, and Mexico City if their millions of daily transit riders took to cars instead. Subways and buses were the lifeblood of those urban economies. Coronavirus now casts that role in a troubling light. Standing in crowded spaces for prolonged periods of time, whether on a subway platform or on a long commute by bus or train, could expose riders to the deadly disease. While few cases around the world have been linked to transit thus far — two separate studies of infection clusters in France and Austria failed to trace a single case to a shared commute — emerging survey results suggest many riders will try to opt for other modes.

During the pandemic, transit agencies around the world saw ridership decline by as much as 92% as many workers stayed home or found other ways to get to work; some set up signs and cordons instructing the remaining riders where to sit and stand in order to maintain social distancing. Several cities enacted mask requirements for passengers and did away with fares on buses so that passengers could reduce contact; others, like Boston, are hastening upgrades to contactless fare payment systems to do away with hand-to-hand transactions entirely. Cities like New York have also ordered rider capacity limits on transit vehicles, while others such as Milan are hoping to stagger commuters over the course of the day. It remains to be seen how these protocols will be enforced.

Even less certain is when, or whether, transit ridership is likely to return to its previous levels. With white-collar commuters potentially continuing to work from home or picking up bikes or car keys instead, the people riding transit for the foreseeable future are likely to be poorer than the average urban resident. They could be in for a bumpy ride with service cuts and potentially more crowding if agencies can’t overcome budget shortfalls from gutted ridership. “If you don’t have that big load of people moving at the same time, transit becomes really expensive and not a very effective way to move people,” said Brian Taylor, a professor at the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles
exploring the severe effects of population increase and global warming on future living conditions over the world, manila-based architecture firm dada has introduced the ‘currents for currents’ floating housing solution for the coastal communities. originally set in the philippine context, the proposal aims to combat the vulnerability of waterfront areas in the face of harsh natural calamities, as well as the lack of reliable power infrastructure in these far-flung regions.

coastal communities are ‘caught in the cross fire between the scarcity of land and resources, and the rising tides and storm surges brought about by the sea‘ dada shares. they are forced to live in the most volatile conditions, thus they are in dire need of safe and sustainable shelters, creating room for an innovative solution bringing architecture and the sea together. with blue as the new green as the design philosophy, the currents for currents project can provide resilient, flexible living structures that can adapt to the sea’s ever-changing conditions.

the heart of the project lies in its design which utilizes the unique at-sea context to the structures’ operational advantage. the houses are powered by both tidal and solar energy, harvested by technological systems incorporated within the units themselves, rendering the entire community to be completely off-the-grid and self-sufficient. these systems not only provide each unit with a sustainable primary source of power, but also a means of livelihood and source of income in electricity farming for nearby inland communities. although originally created for the philippine environment, the modular design of these houses, as well as the use of a universally available material for its main structural frame are molded plastic which allows for their ease in construction in practically any coastal site around the world.

Norman Foster
The architect, who left school at 16, on breaking into the business by drawing through the night

Winston Churchill said: “We shape our buildings, thereafter they shape us.” The first building that shaped my future was Manchester town hall, where I started work at the age of 16. The Victorian-Gothic architecture was magnificent – it impressed me then and still moves my spirits today. I spent most lunch breaks wandering around buildings in the city, drawn to them for the aesthetic experience. Some were particularly inspiring – the cast-iron structure of the Barton Arcade, or the modernism of the Daily Express building.

The second was my local library, which was as domestic and homely as the town hall was heroic but, on its bookshelves, I discovered the work of Frank Lloyd Wright and Le Corbusier’s Towards a New Architecture. My imagination was fired by the juxtaposition of timeless buildings from the past next to the aircraft and hydroplanes of the time. Today, more than six decades later, I still find inspiration from the fusion of these different worlds.

I left Manchester town hall at the age of 18 to do national service in the Royal Air Force as a radar technician. My habit of sketching must have caught the attention of the authorities because I ended up designing and painting stage sets for the camp theatre.

Returning home to Manchester I could not face going back to local government, so I did part-time manual jobs, from night shifts baking muffins to working in the local garage and driving a delivery truck. With a passionate side interest in design, I wrote in vain to the leading makers of modern furniture seeking work.

Through a chance encounter, I applied to a firm of architects for a job that was far from creative – it was for an assistant to the contracts manager, who drove around sites checking progress against contractors’ claims for payments. I talked up my town hall experience in the treasurers department and got the job.

The elite in the organisation worked in the drawing office and wore white smocks blemished by countless streaks of black ink from the ruling pens that created line drawings on sheets of crisp linen, dusted with talcum powder.

The youngest of the group was studying architecture part-time at the nearby college of art and his parents were paying the practice for their son’s work experience – a commonplace arrangement at that time. Wanting to start a conversation about architecture, I asked him what he thought about Frank Lloyd Wright. His brow creased as he struggled with the thought and finally asked if I was a student at the college. I then realised that I was more knowledgeable than I thought I was on the subject of architecture and design.

This made me hungry to find out about the profession of architecture. I started to talk more to the men in white smocks. “How do you get into a school of architecture?,” I asked. “You need a portfolio of drawings,” I was told. So I started to create drawings and paintings – the architectural ones were copies of perspectives that I took from the plan chests after everyone left the office, and which I returned before they arrived in the morning. Other works, in gouache, were inspired by one of my hero artists, LS Lowry.

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At some point in this sequence I felt a little guilty and decided that I should tell the principal, Mr Beardshaw, about my intentions. I was given an audience and explained that I was going to study architecture. He pointed out that I could not apply without a portfolio. When I told him that I had one, he suggested that I bring it in the next day for him to see.

When I did so, he was completely taken aback. He pronounced that I was “a square peg in a round hole” and I was immediately transferred to the drawing office, resplendent in a white smock.

I finally found myself with three choices. Mr Beardshaw promising me a lucrative design career within his practice – not just in Manchester but in London as well. The College of Art offered me a place on their architecture course, together with a grant to pay for the fees and living expenses.

However, my research told me that the university offered the best course, and with it came a catch-22 situation. Because I had had left school at 16, I did not have A-levels and therefore could not qualify for a degree course. However, the university came up with a solution. If I could fund my own way through univers
Katie Canales/Business Insider
The tiny home movement has captured the hearts of Americans in recent years.

Tiny homes are defined as abodes that are under 400 square feet. The movement has picked up steam, with many opting for the tiny lifestyle to save money or to be able to travel freely. Sustainable energy use and waste systems are also key drivers, though the tiny home life isn't always as glamorous as it looks.

A 2020 report from home improvement site HomeAdvisor zeroed in on the most popular states for the tiny home life — or at least the states with the most active tiny home Instagrammers. HomeAdvisor scraped Instagram for posts tagged with the #tinyliving hashtag and tagged somewhere in each state, such as in a city or a restaurant. It also considered the amount of activity the posts got through comments and likes. The site didn't factor in posts that didn't have a location tag.

Here are the top 10 most popular US states for tiny living, according to HomeAdvisor.

HomeAdvisor found 1,613 photos tagged in Utah or roughly 3% of all photos scraped by the home improvement website in the US.

Tiny homeowners are tasked with making sure that zoning ordinances in their desired location allow them to legally live in the small abodes.

According to a 2018 Daily Herald report, Utah was a bit slow to adjust city codes to accommodate smaller homes. But progress has been made in recent years, and now the state is riding the tiny home train full throttle.

The report found 1,787 photos with the hashtag #tinyliving in the state of New York.

State officials recently adopted Appendix Q: Tiny Houses, a measure legitimizing safe building standards for 400-square-foot houses on foundations, according to B&B Tiny Houses. The appendix became law earlier this year.

According to a 2019 memo from the North Carolina Department of Insurance, "tiny homes are acceptable as permanent single-family dwellings in North Carolina provided they meet the following minimum requirements."

Tiny home builders in the state, like Wishbone Tiny Homes in Asheville, offer various models and customization options.

About 4% of the total posts scraped in the US were tagged in Arizona.

According to Construction Dive, Pima County — which includes the city of Tucson — eased regulations for houses that measured less than 400 square feet in 2016. However, those new regulations didn't include mobile tiny homes.

Since then, the state has embraced tiny home villages.

HomeAdvisor found 2,674 photos with both the Washington State location tag and the #tinyliving hashtag.

About 16% of those photos were taken in Seattle. The city has been seized by a housing and affordability crisis, and downsizing to tiny homes has been an economic necessity for many.
Gordon Beall
Harrison Design creates a dreamy work studio for screenwriter Matthew Michael Carnahan’s home in Arlington, Virginia.

Architect Bulent Baydar, of Harrison Design, devised this studio for screenwriter Matthew Michael Carnahan’s home in Arlington, Virginia—and although it was never in the plan, it’s as much an entertaining space as it is an office.

"Matthew had been working in his basement," Baydar says. "He’s the father of three young daughters, and he needed a quiet place away from the hustle and bustle of the family where he could write." Carnahan commissioned the architect to imagine a freestanding structure in his rear yard—a construction that would be filled with little noise and plenty of sunlight.

"The studio is strategically situated at the farthest corner of the property to increase its separation from the main home and surrounding neighborhood," Baydar says. "It’s equipped for a full workday, allowing Matthew to stay for long periods of time without going back and forth between the structures."

The 400-square-foot structure has a predominantly glass front facade, framed with cedar, and massive glass doors by NanaWall fold open and connect the interior to the landscape. "When the entire structure is open, Matthew feels like he’s completely immersed in nature," Baydar says.

Inside, the open floor plan accommodates a desk and a sitting area. Toward the rear, floor-to-ceiling bookshelves slide open and reveal a concealed bath and a storage room equipped with a well-stocked mini bar. "Due to space constraints, two columns of bookcases [function as] hinged doors that pivot on a system of rollers," Baydar says. "The hidden rooms give the impression of an uncluttered space while allowing the client to spend the entire workday inside the structure."

The studio is furnished with a cedar ceiling and reclaimed oak flooring crafted from old whiskey barrels. "The original saw marks are still visible on some of the floorboards," Baydar says. "The organic materials contrast with the glass and steel and bring warmth to the space."

A collection of mature oaks tower over the sloping, standing-seam metal roof and lend a treehouse-like atmosphere to a lofted deck that hovers above the work area. "The roof is sharply angled to conceal a spacious deck that can accommodate up to ten people," says Baydar. "If you’re sitting there, no one looking at the structure is able to see you."

Hidden rooms and all, the studio presents as a charming, secret-filled library in the woods—but it’s not always quiet. "While it was imagined as a workspace, guests are always intrigued," Baydar says. "As such, it now often functions as an entertainment area."

Interior Design Media
Following a wave of protests across the globe this month in support of racial equality and justice, Interior Design spoke with Malene Barnett, founder of the Black Artists and Designers Guild. Barnett, who started the guild in 2018 and runs her own studio Malene B, considers herself an artist and creator above all else. In fact, part of her quest to improve representation and democratize the design realm involves shifting the very language around formal titles. As the only black student in her design program more than 20 years ago, Barnett continues to stress the importance of access. "There is a sliver allotted for black people [in the design industry] and imagine if you know that growing up," she said. "There’s only been a sliver and we’re all trying to get that little piece."

Currently, the BADG is working on developing a concept house for black families, which will be a rendered space available for viewing online. Barnett offered more insight into the concept house and spoke with Interior Design about improving inclusion in the A&D community, her influx of Instagram followers, and giving underrepresented creators credit where due. "We’re constantly trying to fit into something in order to survive, in order to practice what we love to do which is design," she said.

Editor's note: This conversation has been edited and condensed.

Interior Design: I'm sure you've been inundated with calls recently, what are you experiencing as founder of the Black Artists and Designers Guild right now?

Malene Barnett: It’s overwhelming and it happened so quickly. The first 24 hours you’re just like 'okay really? I have a 1,000 new followers [on Instagram]?' Then 48 hours later, I have 4,000 new followers... Two years ago when I started the guild, nobody wanted to believe it, nobody wanted to believe us, nobody really wanted to see it—let me not make the blanket statement—I’ll say very few... In order to solve this problem, first you have to admit that there is a problem and that the problem is racism and you have to implement strategies to demolish it... To say, we are taking a moment as a community, as a company, as a brand, to look at all systems in place that have kept black people and black culture out—that’s how you start it off and then we can talk about how we fix it. Until the industry takes ownership, we’re going to revert right back to what happened.

ID: A year ago, in an Interior Design 10Q you said: “The biggest obstacle is waiting for the gatekeepers—white designers, manufacturers, developers—to acknowledge they hold access and opportunity privilege.” Do you think we’re entering that moment?

MB: It feels so, the one difference I do see is that [people] are starting to write checks and the way this works is, if you start to put money toward it, that’s when you start to take it seriously on some level, I’m not saying totally, but racism is economic. There’s economics involved with this system, so it means that the people that have the money and the privilege are going to have to give up—not share—give up in order to change the equity.

I started this [BADG] two years ago with my own money, I did not go and ask anybody, because we were taught you work for what you have... But all of a sudden, the past two days, we've received so many donations that I’m like: 'Oh. Oh!'... If you want to change the problem, you’re going to have to invest in the community.

ID: And now the BADG is developing a virtual concept house for black families, what led to this project?

MB: Right before COVID-19 hit, as a collective we had been meeting on Zoom, like most organizations, which has allowed us to have everyone on whether you live in New York or not, that's the beauty of it... and we decided to come up with our own project that focuses specifically on the lifestyle of the black family because nobody is designing specifically for us. We have different needs, we have different cultural values, and we wanted to tap into that and tell our story. We have two architects on the team who are designing the house and the interior designers and the makers and artists will all collaborate for the spaces.

We are even looking at changing the narrative around the titles of design—we’re not even using that word, we’re using: we’re creators, we’re thinkers. Design is about solving
The coronavirus lockdown has left people marveling over clean air in Los Angeles and images of African penguins strolling through Cape Town. But emissions will rebound in a geologic blink of the eye. Energy expert Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), gives the world six months post-lockdown to get on track before the planet spirals into irreversible damage.

According to the IEA, governments will spend about $9 trillion globally over the next few months to bail out their floundering economies. Exactly how that money is spent can make or break the planet’s future. “The next three years will determine the course of the next 30 years and beyond,” Birol told the Guardian. “If we do not [take action] we will surely see a rebound in emissions. If emissions rebound, it is very difficult to see how they will be brought down in future. This is why we are urging governments to have sustainable recovery packages.”

The IEA published its own report outlining plans for a green recovery. This report prioritizes creating more green jobs instead of returning to the high-carbon economy. It also suggests jobs that will reform energy generation and consumption, such as constructing wind farms, erecting solar panels and retrofitting existing buildings to improve energy efficiency.

April saw global carbon dioxide emissions plunge by an average of 17%. Unfortunately, emissions have already rebounded to within 5% of 2019’s levels.

Birol is not alone in calling for a green recovery. Experts all over the world are urging reform. Some countries are listening. The EU has promised to center its economy on a new European green deal. Whether global leaders will follow through on putting their dollars into lowering emissions is not yet clear.

Cooper's Ferry Partnership
Fifteen examples of how parks and green spaces emerged from parking lots, garages, and underpasses.

Afew years ago, in his book “Parking and the City,” Donald Shoup, distinguished research professor of urban planning at UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs, estimated that there were eight parking spaces for every vehicle that was on the road in the U.S.

Other research also shows that one in three Americans doesn’t have a park within a 10-minute walk from his or her home.

With the number of automobile registrations down, and with ride-sharing continuing to gain customers—Uber fulfills more than 40 million rides per month in the U.S.; Lyft’s domestic ridership rose from 3.5 million in the first quarter of 2016 to 21.2 million in the first quarter of 2020—American cities “are rethinking the primacy of the car and are created parks on land once dedicated to the automobile, including former parking lots and roadways, parking garages, and spaces underneath highway overpasses.”

That’s from “Pavements to Parks,” a new report published by the Urban Land Institute’s Building Healthy Places Initiative. The report provides conversion case studies on 15 projects and four municipal programs. ULI collaborated with 10 Minute Walk, a movement dedicated to improving access to safe, high-quality parks and green spaces in the U.S. That organization’s goal is to create a world in which, by 2050, all people live within a short walk of a park or green space.


Transforming space designed for vehicles to public-use space has had its successes. For example, over 24,000 miles of railroad tracks have been converted to walking trails. The ULI report states that trail advocates announced in the spring of 2019 an initiative to create a coast-to-coast recreational trail, which would connect more than 125 existing trails nationwide.

The coronavirus outbreak has contributed to this pavement-to-parks trend, states ULI, by underscoring the importance of abundant and safe parks. “To provide space for physically distanced recreation, dining, and transportation, many cities are temporarily or permanently closing streets, parking lots, and other public infrastructure assets.”

Paved parking lots and roadways are also being reexamined for their impact on human and environmental health, especially how stormwater runoff picks up contaminants that end up in waterways.

The impetus behind park transformation can emanate from many sources, like the organic community engagement that helped create Chicano Park, a national landmark in San Diego; the drive of a visionary leader as at Norman B. Leventhal Park in Boston’s Financial District; or the determination of a city planning department as in Dutch Kills Green and the Queensboro Bridge Greenway in Queens, N.Y. “Regardless of the spark, the ability to look at an automobile-oriented place and see the possibilities for a greener, healthier, and more sustainable future is essential,” ULI states.

Collaboration in these endeavors is key. The report points to the birth of Roosevelt Plaza Park in Camden, N.J., which required leadership from the city and the redevelopment authority, as well as ongoing leadership from Cooper’s Ferry Partnership, a private nonprofit redevelopment corporation. “When many stakeholders are involved, it is important for partners’ unique expertise and priorities to be understood and respected,” says ULI.

Roosevelt Plaza Park replaced a building that included a parking garage, office space, and ground-floor retail. The building was condemned in 2003 and demolished eight years later. The space—which is located at the front door of City Hall—was reopened as a plaza in 2012.

The Camden Redevelopment Agency constructed the 1.5-acre park with Cooper’s Ferry Partnership. Two years later, a series of pop-up and semi-permanent installations and rotating programming created a flexible changeable model to attract parkgoers. And a partnership of Camden stakeholders stepped in to ensure that its ongoing programing would make it a safe and welcoming space for all residents.

Group Melvin Design and Sikora Wells Appel were the designers on this $9 million project.


Data collection was essential in the case of Philadelphia’s Porch at 30th Street, where project developers had to come up with a variety of programming to engage new stakeholde
The coronavirus pandemic makes moving towards a circular economy even more urgent, says IKEA's head of circular design Malin Nordin, as the company announces a strategic partnership with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

Furniture company IKEA is aiming to become a circular business by 2030 and has partnered with circular economy advocate Ellen MacArthur Foundation to help it achieve this goal.

Nordin believes that the coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the need to move away from linear design to a circular economy as it has made people more aware of the need for products to have longevity.

"It's a big shift that I would say has become even more important in terms of the pandemic," said Nordin. "We want to accelerate the shift."

"It has become even more important and relevant to take care of what you already have and prolong the life of products that you already have," she continued.

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation advocates for a move to a circular economy by eradicating waste and pollution from manufacturing and consumerism by reusing resources. A report issued by the organisation states that 80 per cent of all materials are wasted in a linear economy.

The foundation's CEO Andrew Morlet explained the difference between a linear economy and a circular economy at Dezeen Day.

The home has become even more important

IKEA is looking at all 10,000 of is products to investigate how they can be designed to circular principles. Through its partnership with Ellen MacArthur Foundation it hopes to advocate for wider adoption of circular economic principles in its supply chain and further afield.

"What we realised quite quickly is that IKEA being a circular company on its own is quite pointless," explained Nordin. "We are interdependent of other businesses."

IKEA will promote the ideals to its supply chain, customers and designers, and the two organisations will develop a set of global definitions for terms surrounding circular design and aim to impact legislation.

Millions of people have spent considerably more time in their homes over the past couple of months due to lockdowns to slow the spread of coronavirus. Nordin hopes this will help costumers focus on the importance of circular design.

"We can see that from a consumer perspective, the home has become even more important – the safe home," said Nordin.

"How can I then have home furnishing solutions? How can I take care of what I have at home? These become even more important questions, which I think taps very clearly to the thinking of circular economy and how you prolong the life and take care of and use the things that you already have," she continued.

"So I think that fits very well."

We need to move forward after the pandemic

Although much of the world is now focused on the pandemic and its economic impact, IKEA will not use coronavirus as an excuse to reduce its sustainability commitments said Nordin.

"What is clear, and has been clearly pointed out from our CEO, is that we will not detour from our commitment to our sustainability agenda, especially around climate and our ambitions to be circular company by 2030," she said.

"It is really emphasising even more that we would like to accelerate [the move to a circular business] and have solutions for our customers sooner rather than later."

IKEA is committed to the European commission's green recovery package, which aims to use the rebuilding after the pandemic to focus on achieve climate goals.

"We don't want to go backwards, we need to move forward after the pandemic in an even more sustainable way," explained Nordin. "It's a great opportunity to do that."

Read below for an edited transcript of the interview with Malin Nordin:

Tom Ravenscroft: Why is IKEA trying to become a circular business?

Malin Nordin: For IKEA the journey started quite some time ago. We started off, as many do, very much focused on materials and renewable recycled materials. We looked at how can we close the loop within our own company – I think basically 10 years ago. But then around three years ago we began on a new direction. We want to be more affordable, we want to reach more people and also be a sustainable business.

How do we stay in tune with our customers and consumers? We want to reach more pe
ZGF Architects
Last summer, Paul Schwer, a green mechanical engineer, met with Portland, Ore., Mayor Ted Wheeler to talk about a subject dear to him—resilient structures for the earthquake-prone city. Those who don’t know Schwer, president of PAE Consulting Engineers Inc., might question why a mechanical engineer would be asking a mayor for a city grant program to make new office buildings as quake-resistant as hospitals.

The answer involves Schwer’s pet project—a 58,000-sq-ft speculative office building that started construction on April 1 in Portland’s Skidmore/Old Town historic district. The five-story PAE Living Building, named after its prime tenant, is on course to be the first—and the largest—privately developed office building to be fully certified under the rigorous Living Building Challenge sustainability program of the International Living Future Institute (ILFI). And if it opens as expected in September 2021, it also will be one of very few developer buildings designed to survive a magnitude-7.5 quake with barely a scratch.

A resilient PAE building is attractive to Schwer because it would allow immediate reoccupancy after a quake, which would minimize business interruption. And as a prospective tenant, the mechanical-electrical-plumbing (MEP) engineer wanted seismic resilience. But both Schwer and PAE also had another reason—they have equity in the building. And to further the break with tradition, ZGF Architects and contractor Walsh Construction Co./OR also have stakes in the project.
Though drawn to the idea, Schwer says Wheeler turned down the request for grants for better seismic performance—mostly because the city coffers were dry.

Undaunted, Schwer pitched a wilder idea. After a major quake, PAE would vacate its three floors for six months so the city could move into the fully functional building and set up an emergency operations center. For the privilege, all the city had to do was pay the landlord an annual rent of $0.50 per sq ft. “I thought of this before COVID-19, when I didn’t even know whether we could work remotely,” says PAE’s Schwer.

Again, Wheeler was intrigued but not swayed. Consequently, the PAE building team found another way to pay the $135,000 premium to stiffen the structure.

Ordinary office buildings are required to have an 8-in. seismic joint—an air space between the exterior wall and the property line so that swaying neighbors do not collide in a quake. But the stiffer PAE building would only sway as much as 4 in. at the roof. That allowed a 4-in. joint along the two affected sides of the building. That in turn facilitated a larger floor plate, which increased leasable space—enough to cover the premium.

Seismic resilience isn’t the PAE building’s only rare feature with a premium. The $40.2-million building also will contain the first commercial installation in the Americas of a system that turns nutrient-rich urine into agriculture-grade fertilizer. “We are taking the pee out of PAE,” says Kathy Berg, a ZGF principal.

If successful, the nutrient recovery system could serve as a model for liquid waste treatment in terminals, sports facilities, amusement parks and more—relieving strain on wastewater treatments plants, says Harold Leverenz, co-founder, with Russell Adams, of Advanced Environmental Methods LLC (AEM), which developed the system, called AmmPhotek.

“We are decentralizing fertilizer production. How game-changing is this?” asks Pete Munoz, practice lead for Biohabitats, the PAE building’s water infrastructure engineer and the person who suggested the system.

Living Buildings Cost More

Exotic systems, such as rooftop solar and onsite water and wastewater treatment, may make Living Buildings independent, but they also make them 20% to 25% more expensive. The PAE building is expected to cost $435 per sq ft. That compares to about $314 per sq ft for an ordinary building, says Ed Sloop, Walsh’s chief estimator-project manager.

The premium for rainwater-to-potable water, composting, graywater and nutrient recovery alone is $1.25 million of a $25.2-million hard cost. And though public utility bills are low or nonexistent, there are costs associated with maintaining the systems.

During design, the pro forma ruled. Finding ways to pay for the exotic systems was a near-constant exercise for the investors, which also include d
Timbercraft Tiny Homes
Offered by Alabama-based Timbercraft Tiny Homes, the spacious and rustic Denali XL tiny home is based on the popular, smaller Denali model. Denali XL features 399 square feet of floor space, not including the 65-square-foot loft above the bathroom. The company has stretched the standard Denali from 37 feet long to 42 feet long on a wide trailer with wheels to help get this luxurious tiny home from point A to point B.

Tall ceilings and window-filled walls give this house an airy feel. Powered skylights in the living room open automatically via timers or rain sensors, or manually with a wall switch. Thoughtfully-designed shiplap walls, stained wood ceilings, hardwood floors and Sierra Pacific wood-clad windows fill the space.

In the kitchen, a 24-inch four-burner gas range with a full oven makes it easy to cook an entire meal. The kitchen also features a summit refrigerator with a roomy freezer on the bottom, a trash compactor and dishwasher. Quartz countertops and under-cabinet lighting add a touch of class, and a farm sink with spray nozzle faucet adds to the functional, rustic-chic style of the entire home. Kitchen cabinets are built in-house at Timbercraft and include soft close hinges and a wide range of options for colors and finish.

The house is heated and cooled with two internal 9,000 BTU mini-split units located in both the kitchen and bedroom. Spray foam insulation adds to the heating and cooling efficiency. The bathroom is located behind a sliding stained wood door, complete with a luxurious steam shower with subway tile and sealed glass, an incinerating toilet and a ventilation fan that controls the humidity inside. Additionally, a hidden compartment in the bathroom stores a washer-dryer combo.

A loft-style bedroom sits atop a set of storage stairs. The bedroom includes space for a king bed and storage underneath, additional controlled skylights above the bed and a large walk-in closet. The model shown here also has a secondary loft for another bedroom above the living room.

José Hevia via Calderon-Folch Studio
Spain’s coastal city of Badalona has recently welcomed the Centre for Comparative Medicine and Bio-Image, a new research facility designed to meet high standards of energy efficiency and sustainability. Pilar Calderon and Marc Folch of Barcelona-based architecture firm Calderon-Folch Studio teamed up with Pol Sarsanedas and landscape designer Lluís Corbella to create a site-specific building that would offer the highest levels of comfort as a means to attract and retain both local and international talent. Embedded into the landscape, the compact facility was constructed with a prefabricated wooden framework and clad in larch to blend in with the nearby forest.

Because the Centre for Comparative Medicine and Bio-Image is located on sloped terrain, the architects placed the portion of the building containing the research floors partly underground to take advantage of thermal mass for stable climatic conditions year-round. Building into the landscape has also allowed the architects to create two access levels: one used as a general entrance for the administrative area, and the other for logistic purposes for the scientific-technical area. The separation of areas by levels optimizes building operations and adheres to the strict requirements of biological containment.

“The new Centre for Comparative Medicine and Bio-Image holds a research center of the first order,” the designers explained in a project statement. “A research facility based on ethical research criteria, technical and functional complexity, and comfort features that have been resolved in an efficient and sustainable way that strongly considers its relationship with the environment.”

Natural materials, large glazed openings and naturalized exterior spaces visually tie the research facility to the environment. Eco-friendly considerations were also taken with the use of a modular, lightweight wooden framework with loose-fill cellulose and structural insulated panels that minimize material waste. Moreover, the building follows passive solar principles. The research facility is equipped with high-performance energy and air-flow recycling technologies as well as a 250-square-meter rainwater collection tank for sanitary and irrigation purposes.

Douglas Friedman
Who doesn’t relish a week at the City by the Bay to celebrate West Coast design talent? Obviously, this year’s venue for San Francisco Design Week is changed—to right in front of our computer monitors. Adding to the burgeoning roster of virtual design events, all determined that the show must go on, SFDW takes place from June 15 through 25. It’s an opportunity to catch up with longtime design friends, those newer to the fold, and members of industry in a lively series of panel discussions, presentations, and studio tours. Visionaries include Interior Design Hall of Fame architects Clive Wilkinson and Leo Marmol, as well as Takashi Yanai, Yves Béhar, Ken Fulk, Gary Hutton, and Paul Wiseman.

Topics are particularly timely. Alana Washington, senior design program manager at Uber freight, kicked things off with musings on recent social unrest, its effects on black designers, and looking toward the future. Jenny Arden, senior director of design at Lyft, hosts a panel discussion: “It’s a Pivoting World—How Design Leaders are Helping Companies Navigate Change.” The hospitality branding firm Collective Work presents, “Don’t Waste a Good Crisis: The Post-Covid Future of Good Design.” Maurice Woods, principal designer at Microsoft, gives the talk: “Empowering the Next Generation, Black + Brown Designers.”

Also part of the agenda are discussions addressing technology integration, augmented reality and virtual reality, data collection, and designing with optimism. Roblox, the online game platform, is partnering with San Francisco Design Week to provide a virtual environment as a venue for discussion among attendees. And, of course, there are this year’s design awards. They are juried by Takashi Yanai, partner Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects, interior designer Catherine Kwong, and Irina Blok, Google product design lead. SFDW, virtual style, is yet another example of design’s best traits, resiliency, flexibility, and problem solving—no matter what. To register go here.
The organizations have been working together since 2017, and continue to actively pursuing "ways to break down barriers and build greater access to opportunity in our profession."

The National Organization of Minority Architects and the American Institute of Architects' Large Firm Roundtable have issued the following statement and letters strengthening their partnership and their support of taking action to combat systemic racism in architecture.

To The Architectural Community:

Now more than ever, it is vital that we stand together to combat the insidious impact of racism in our profession. Not only does racism harm our Black colleagues, it compromises our collective ability to protect the healthy, safety and welfare of the public. The time for change is now.

In the attached letter from the American Institute of Architect's Large Firm Roundtable (LFRT) to the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA), there is language underscoring LFRT's commitment to supporting NOMA in addressing the negative impact of cultural and racial bias in the profession. We want to be clear that this is not hollow language or lip service, it is a true commitment to facilitate a stronger working relationship between LFRT firms and NOMA to transform our profession for the benefit of all.

LFRT and NOMA have been working together since 2017 and we believe that our partnership is well positioned in this watershed moment to build upon existing efforts to expand financial support, capacity building and mutual understanding. Founded in 1984, LFRT members represent the 60 largest architecture firms in North America. NOMA was founded in 1971 and includes the voices of more than 1,000 diverse professional and student members in more than 100 chapters.

With LFRT's support, NOMA was able to offer 25 student members paid internships this summer, through a five-year financial commitment for the new NOMA Foundation Fellowship program. This is the first initiative to launch since we agreed on the 2030 Diversity Challenge, which calls for us to grow the number of licensed Black architects from 2,300 to 5,000 by 2030, increasing representation from a mere 2% to roughly 4% Black licensed architects. While that still falls short of the 14% Black population in the U.S., it is a tremendous step forward. We are actively working on ways to break down barriers and build greater access to opportunity in our profession. We encourage each of you to consider large and small ways that you can be part of the solution to our shared problem of racial inequity in architecture.

Together, we can design a better future. The LFRT + NOMA partnership exemplifies what is possible when we collaborate to create positive change.

In Solidarity,Kimberly Dowdell, NOMA President & Carole Wedge, AIA LFRT Chair

June 9 Letter From the American Institute of Architects' Large Firm Roundtable:

Dear NOMA members,

Today, at a time that will be known as a pivotal moment in our country’s history, the AIA’s Large Firm Roundtable (LFRT) members affirm our alliance with the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA). We commit to continue to work in partnership with NOMA to create meaningful change, equitable work environments and systems to realize our core values of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. We are partners with NOMA committed to changing the racial face of architecture.

We have witnessed the horrific murder of George Floyd, as the most recent travesty of a person of color at the hands of authorities. We’ve watched as systemic racism was used as a tool to fabricate and allege a crime against Christian Cooper. We’ve experienced pain, disgust, anger and unrest. We’ve experienced devastation and disruption – some from a distance and some right outside of our doors. We are encouraged by the coming together of diverse groups of people to protest and combat violence, hate, and the abuse of power that impacts our communities of color first and most significantly.

We are taking a stand with NOMA to drive change that achieves racial justice and a better future - for all. We will start, in partnership with NOMA, local NOMA chapters and the communities we serve, by offering help and support to those who are most impacted by the tragedies of the past weeks and committing to working together to dismantle the structural inequities that exist in our firms, our communities and in our work.

The AIA’s Large Firm Roundtable (LFRT) members consists of 60 of North America’s largest design firms, who lead more than 100,000 des
Lyndon French for The New York Times
Safely lending books is just the beginning. Libraries are figuring out everything from how to remain welcoming spaces to how to respond to changing reader behavior.

In pockets of Virginia, Illinois, Missouri and Ohio, there are books sitting in quarantine.

They are public library books that have been returned, and then spend at least three days sitting on tables or in big metal carts, carefully labeled with the dates they came in. After that, they can they go back on the shelves.

Libraries around the country are tiptoeing toward reopening, but they’re not just trying to figure out how to safely lend out books. These are community hubs where parents bring their toddlers for story time, where people come to use the computer, where book groups meet. Now all of that has to be rethought.

“It’s awful because it’s the opposite of what we normally try to do,” said Karen Kleckner Keefe, the executive director of the Hinsdale Public Library just outside of Chicago. “We want to be the community living room, we want everyone to stay and get comfortable. And to design service to prevent lingering and talking is so different from everything we’ve been working toward.”

With their doors closed, libraries moved whatever they could online. Book clubs were held on Zoom. The Queens Public Library in New York changed a job-search training session to focus on online networking. Author events became virtual, too, which, while lacking an in-person touch, sometimes meant they could include special guests — Jean Becker, who edited a book about Barbara Bush, brought the former first lady’s son Neil Bush to a talk she gave for the Kansas City Public Library in April.

Branches around the country have also been offering curbside pickup, where books are left by the front door or dropped in the trunks of waiting cars, along with library catalogs and leaflets about their cleaning protocols. And even when the lights were off, many libraries kept their Wi-Fi humming so people park themselves outside and use it for free.

“We’re getting 500 visits a day,” said Anthony W. Marx, the president of the New York Public Library, which operates branches in Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island. “That means people are going out in a dangerous pandemic to sit in front of our libraries.”

The New York Public Library said it was hoping to start the process of opening in July with eight branches that will provide “grab-and-go” pickup service for books.

Joel Jones, deputy director of library services at the Kansas City Public Library, said he was especially concerned with getting vulnerable populations in the door first. He said his system expects to welcome their first visitors this month through referrals from organizations that work with people with mental illness or those experiencing poverty or homelessness.

They’re also thinking hard about what to do with their furniture, he said. They’re going to try setting up computers that have two monitors six feet apart, one for a library staff member and another for patrons who needs help printing or navigating the internet. The Kansas City North-East Branch was in the middle of a $4.5 million renovation when the country shut down. On a video conference call a few days later with their architects, Mr. Jones said, the library leadership looked at plans for the furniture and shelving and realized they needed to be redrawn.

“I’ve been looking at these plans for months,” Mr. Jones said. “But I looked at it that time and said, ‘This is not going to work.’”

One thing many librarians have noticed is changes in the reading patterns of their customers. Libby, an e-book lending app for libraries, saw a 51 percent increase in the checkout of e-books after shutdown orders were issued in mid-March. Ramiro Salazar, the president of the Public Library Association and the director of the San Antonio Public Library system, said that before the pandemic, the demand in his system was about 5 to 1 in favor of paper books, but he doesn’t expect that to come back.

“Users are being forced to turn to e-books,” he said. “What we don’t know is how many converts we’ll have.”

Even in places where libraries have reopened, things look different. Cari Dubiel, a librarian in Twinsburg, Ohio, said that her branch has been open to the public since May 20. But so far, the largest number of simultaneous visitors in the 45,000 square foot building has been roughly 30, she said. Under normal circumstances, their biggest clientele are parent
Texas Society of Architets
The Texas Society of Architects (TxA) is committed to championing a culture of social justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion within the architectural community, but the ongoing murders of Black men, women, transgender people, and children –– including Ahmaud Arbery, Atatiana Jefferson, Breonna Taylor, Botham Jean, Tony McDade, and George Floyd –– have caused our leadership to ask itself, how does TxA actively dismantle white privilege and systemic racism that is encoded in every aspect of our built environment and profession? As one of the nation’s largest state organizations for the architectural profession, what are we doing to ensure our organization reflects the change we want to see in society? Answers won’t come easily. However, we pledge to do the work necessary to bring about transformation, starting from within.

We acknowledge the lack of diversity represented by TxA Leadership, even to the present day. Since TxA’s founding, there has been only one Black voting member on the Board of Directors, and only one Honor Award given to a Black Architect. TxA must do better than this by engaging the diverse voices, talents, and contributions of our Black colleagues; not just in times of distress, but daily.

Representation alone is not the answer. TxA commits to becoming an inclusive organization through the following of short-term steps with the long-term goal of eradicating the systemic racism that has impacted the lives and work of our Black colleagues. While we have been in the process of integrating equitable practices into our organization, including the formation of the Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Task Force in 2017 to institute long-overdue changes, we have not done enough. We vow to immediately take the following actions:
  1. TxA will educate our leadership by hiring a third-party consultant to advise the Board and provide implicit bias and diversity training. TxA will also provide access to implicit bias and diversity training to our state’s local chapters, firms, and members.
  2. TxA will evaluate and reform as needed the current TxA nomination processes and governance policies to ensure fairness, inclusion, and transparency in order to increase the diversity of our leadership and membership.
  3. TxA will challenge and identify the standards of merit ingrained in the Society by eliminating implicit bias, one of the most harmful obstacles preventing us from truly embracing diversity.
  4. TxA will create partnerships with the National and local chapters of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) to raise awareness of the social, political, and economic challenges NOMA advocates for through its professional and general organization. TxA vows to support initiatives such as NOMA’s “Project Pipeline,” currently planned for the fall in Dallas and Houston. Project Pipeline advocates for increased inclusivity, diversity, fellowship, equity, and excellence in design by ensuring architecture reaches a diverse population of students and increasing the “pipeline” of minority professionals entering architecture programs and gaining licensure.
  5. TxA will collaborate with Texas university architecture programs to support minority students and increase the retention of minority emerging professionals throughout their architecture careers. The first steps are to support the development of curriculum that highlights the roles of Black and minority architects, create mentorship opportunities for students as they begin and develop their careers, and build stronger relationships between AIAS and NOMA.
      By taking the above actions, TxA will move closer to becoming an organization that is empathetic, leads courageously, and does not hide from arduous tasks or uncomfortable discussions. Our goal is to become inclusive, represent the breadth of creeds, colors, and orientations we serve, and voice the systematic problems constraining the attainment of equitable communities.

      Above all, we acknowledge the overwhelming anxiety, frustration, anger, disappointment, hurt, rage, helplessness, uncertainty, disillusionment, and pain our Black colleagues are experiencing, and we invite your feedback on additional steps we can take to advance TxA as an organization that truly reflects our members and the communities we serve. We are here to listen, and we are committed to prioritizing the work needed to become a just and equitable organization and p
Rose Wong
Before the pandemic, telework— for all its virtues—could be messy, ergonomically awkward, and emotionally challenging. What’s changed now?

For many office-goers at the moment, work is happening at home and online. But eventually, we will agree on guidelines, establish protocols, and find a vaccine for the novel coronavirus. Then the office will make a comeback, as will the coworking space and the café. We will also find that work can happen anywhere and be supported in any way we want—if we make the right decisions now. In our June issue, Metropolis tracked five concepts—loneliness, public health, neurodiversity, remote work, and experience management—that anyone involved in the design of workplaces needs to start taking seriously. Paying attention to them won’t take us back to business as usual. It will inspire us to do it better than it was done before.


Companies that survive this recent shove into telework want its benefits—including reduced operating costs—to continue. That’s why Facebook, Twitter, Google, and automaker Groupe PSA are among a growing number of businesses announcing plans to embrace remote work permanently. It doesn’t hurt that numerous studies since the 1970s have found that freedom to work remotely can improve productivity, creativity, and morale. Now organizational strategists and psychologists hope that employers, armed with lessons from this shut-down, will invest in more support for remote workers. Consider a few aspects of the new work-from-home (WFH) landscape they think could emerge.

Extreme Personalization

Individual control over work-station features is a trend that could be adapted and intensified for users’ homes (think height-adjustable desks and partitions). “Setups can’t just be exported. Employers will have to let employees guide them,” says Ravi Gajendran, a researcher and professor of management at Florida International University. Steps could involve establishing guiding principles for WFH environments such as a schematic for kitchen-table setups and a budget for space design. For more individualized control, Alan Hedge, professor emeritus at Cornell University, has developed the Home Office Ergonomics app, available for free at the App Store and Google Play.

Family Freedom

IBM CEO Arvind Krishna recently assured workers that they won’t be penalized if kids interrupt video calls—an extraordinary acknowledgment of the strain parents face juggling work and family, says Brigid Schulte, author of Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time: “Until the pandemic, most people hadn’t worked in the same space as their spouse or partner. Women were told they couldn’t do it.” A 2017 study by Owl Labs found that caregiving was a key reason people chose telework, so accommodating families will be important even after offices reopen. “Firms should consider the value proposition,” Schulte says, “then the old biases will lift.”

A Distributed Workforce

Facebook is looking at normalizing employees’ ability to work from anywhere, but with a salary adjustment down-ward for those who leave the San Francisco Bay Area. “Telework was viewed as a favor to employees. Now it is an arrangement in which workers help companies manage risk and keep businesses running at reduced operating costs,” says Gajendran, adding that he expects more employers to adopt a distributed workforce, with staff dispersed geographically.

Permeable Boundaries

Daily management of distractions remains a sticky, self-guided affair. According to Timothy Golden, an industrial and organizational psychologist and professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, clashes between work and home life are inevitable: “In an office, you’re mentally and physically separated from family. At home, you can presumably manage workflow better, as colleagues are not stopping by your desk. But my research found family interferes more with work in a home setting.” His advice: Try staggering your work schedule and those of family members for different times of day. Strike an arrangement.
The Boldt Company
Oscar Boldt left an indelible business and charitable mark.

Oscar C. Boldt, the third-generation leader of The Boldt Company, the Wisconsin-based general contractor with 14 offices across the U.S., passed away June 9 from natural causes at the age of 96.

Boldt, known to friends and business associates as O.C., had been with the company his grandfather, Martin, founded in 1889 for 72 years. Over more than half a century, Boldt transformed a family business that once teetered on the verge of bankruptcy into one of the country’s largest construction firms that generates around $1 billion in annual revenue and employs 2,000 workers.

“Oscar built a business based on honesty, and fairness, hard work, performance and a passionate love for construction,” said President and COO Dave Kievet. “These are principles that guide our team members on a daily basis and are the foundation of our culture.”

Boldt’s son Tom, the company’s CEO, who with his mother, Pat, was at his father’s side when he died, noted that Oscar maintained a deep connection with the organization. “He loved the company and the positive impact it has had on so many customers and communities. He was excited about what we will be capable of in the future. And, he wanted us to have fun doing it.”

A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he earned a civil engineering degree, Boldt served as a B-24 navigator in the Air Force during World War II. After the war, he joined the company, and assumed its leadership reins from his father, Oscar J. Boldt, in 1950.

During his tenure, The Boldt Company, headquartered in Appleton, Wis., built many local landmarks, including the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center, and multiple healthcare facilities.

Aside from his business achievements, Boldt was a philanthropist. According to local news reports, he and his wife—who married in July 1949—regularly donated half of his annual income to church, charities, colleges, and local arts organization. They also served on numerous nonprofit boards, including the Appleton Medical Center.

Boldt’s accolades include honorary degrees from Ripon College and Lawrence University, and a Distinguished Contractor Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers. In 2000 he was inducted into the Paper Industry International Hall of Fame.

The family is planning a private funeral and memorial service for a later date.
Boston Globe via Getty Images
And therein lies the problem.

The institutional racism in higher education is a story as old as time, and students at Harvard University are fed up with waiting for change.

This week, members of the African American Student Union (AASU) and AfricaGSD issued “Notes on Credibility,” a list of 13 demands aimed at the Graduate School of Design’s administration for how the school must institutionalize anti-racism.

In other words, Harvard students are teaching Harvard University how to be anti-racist — and the onus should not be on them.

“This statement is not about us, it is about you and your credibility as an institution,” the students write. “As Black members of this community, we have maintained silence this past week – both as an act of self-care and because we feel there is no need to publicly share our grief, trauma, or exhaustion. We do not owe you our experiences, ideas on how to organize, or a listening session on how it feels to be at an institution that does not proactively address systems of injustice in its curriculum, classrooms, or social experiences.”

The 13 actions listed in the statement address issues around curriculum, funding, and staffing at the Graduate School of Design:

1. Restructure all courses at the GSD to include Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) voices

2. Hire more Black faculty, staff, and administration

3. Strategy for implementing anti-racist efforts from department chairs

4. Advancement and acknowledgement of faculty promoting justice in the profession

5. Inclusion of BIPOC guest speakers in GSD courses

6. Response to racist remarks issued by the Architecture Department Chair

7. Transparency of selection criteria for awards and honors

8. Access to tools and resources that support academic and professional growth

9. Outreach and engagement with Black communities

10. Financial accountability, transparency, and most importantly support

11. Frameworks and training to understand the specific racial context of America

12. Proactively cultivate a strong network of Black professionals, alumni and students

13. Authorization for AASU & AfricaGSD to donate the remainder of unused allocated funds for the emergency spring semester to select Black organizations outside of the GSD

A GSD spokesperson told Curbed that Dean Sarah Whiting has been in touch with student leaders of the AASU and AfricaGSD about “Notes on Credibility,” and issued the following statement:

“This vital call to institutionalize anti-racism coincides with conversations that have been taking place among GSD faculty and leadership on the range of ways we must address concerns that have long been present and are now glaringly unacceptable. What is clear is that in order to bring about real, institutional change, the GSD’s response and actions cannot come from leadership working alone, but can only arise in close concert with Black student leaders and the many other members of our community whose voices and perspectives have been diminished, if not, as in many cases, overlooked entirely.”

The Harvard Graduate School of Design is regarded as a top architecture school in the United States. Many of the foremost black architects are alumni of the institution: Toni Griffin, an urban planner and founder of the Just City Lab; Phil Freelon, lead architect of the National Museum of African American History and Culture; J. Max Bond Jr., a vocal activist for diversity and inclusion in architecture and the lead architect of the museum portion of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. The Black in Design Conference, which is student organized, draws speakers and attendees from all around the world and is perhaps the most relevant program for design today. Students also created the African American Design Nexus, which aims to be a comprehensive website showcasing the work of black architects and designers. Meanwhile, the chair of the Department of Architecture said that one of the GSD’s strengths is its Eurocentrism, which has (rightfully) rankled students of color.

As the authors of “Notes on Credibility” state:

The Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) cannot claim academic excellence while maintaining silence. Your silence is complicit in anti-Blackness. The Black in Design conference, a student-initiated and led effort,
William Grigsby/Conde Nast via Getty Images
Since coronavirus lockdowns forced workers to take their jobs home, the home office has once again become a much-coveted feature of modern living.

Before the pandemic, architect David Hart noticed a growing glimmer of interest in a somewhat unfashionable interior feature: the home office. Hart is the president and CEO of Steinberg Hart, a firm that designs large mixed-use apartment complexes in cities around the world, among other projects. His clients had lately been asking about reducing the size of closets and bathrooms in favor of creating a small nook or alcove that fits a desk. Pre-Covid-19, only 10% to 15% percent of the apartment units his firm was building had some type of dedicated office space. Going forward, he says, he expects that figure will be more like 75%.

After fading in popularity since the 1990s, home offices have again become coveted real estate. Since coronavirus closed workplaces in cities nationwide, Americans’ work habits and environments have changed dramatically, with millions of professionals suddenly working from home. Affluent teleworkers are spending six figures installing high-end home offices, as the Wall Street Journal reports. The rest of us are sharing kitchen table and desk space with roommates, partners and children who are now homeschooled. Young urbanites in small apartments have had to get particularly creative in carving out a workspace, perching with laptops from hallways, closets and bathrooms. And thanks to another pandemic office staple, the videoconferencing platform Zoom, we’re able to change our actual background to what appears to be a much nicer office during video meetings.

The convergence of working and living space is forcing Americans in the stay-at-home age to reconsider the function and design of those homes. Many are looking at the likelihood of long-term telework for at least part of the week even after the pandemic passes. Working at home may be here to stay, and more widely accepted than ever. But what should these reconfigured home workspaces look like? And how did our offices end up in our homes in the first place?

From cabinets to cubicles: the dawn of the home office

The home office as most Americans think of it today — a dedicated room outfitted with office furniture and equipment — is a distant descendant of the Victorian library: a room where upper-crust men could collect their thoughts, books, and paraphernalia like busts and globes that demonstrated that they were educated and well-traveled. Especially on rural estates, the libraries located in the homes of 18th- and 19th-century landowners in Europe and the U.S. also served as offices, according to Alex T. Anderson, associate professor of architecture at the University of Washington. Though libraries continued to be a staple of wealthy, single-family homes, they were one of the many single-purpose Victorian rooms — like billiard rooms, solariums, and drawing rooms — that didn’t make their way into middle-class houses in the 20th century retaining their original form and function.

But the idea of having an office space inside a private home predates the Victorians. Aristocrats and plantation owners typically had some version of a home office. “Large houses often had a separate, small, private and easily heated room called a ‘cabinet,’ which served more exclusively as an office for correspondence or other kinds of desk work,” says Anderson, noting that this is also where you’d find furniture designed for the purpose of correspondence, such as a secretary.

One enthusiastic remote worker was Thomas Jefferson, whose cabinet at Monticello boasted an enviable collection of early 19th-century office equipment, including a homemade five-sided standing desk and a “polygraph” machine that allowed him to make multiple copies of his voluminous correspondence.

For a long time, most offices were, in fact, home offices, Hart says . Business owners often “lived above the shop” and had a dedicated workspace for performing the administrative tasks. They also took the form of designating a corner of a workshop as an office through the placement of a writing desk, similar to the setup the Wright brothers had in their bicycle shop. “Yes, there are people who had a separate room [that functioned as an office], but from what we see in design legacy, [the home office] began with a desk for writing letters within a shop,” Hart says. This desk — which was sometimes located in a small alcove — allowed a person to disengage from their shop or factory work for a
Summit Tiny Homes
The Heritage tiny home by Summit doesn’t sacrifice style for convenience. It features a spacious loft bedroom, a bay window bump out of the living room and a galley kitchen with white shiplap walls.

This tiny house is designed for full-time living and comes in two sizes, the 24-foot Heritage and the 28-foot Heritage. Each model comes move-in ready with $6,000 to $8,000 worth of built-in upgrades, coming to a total of $69,999 and $78,500 respectively. The models are built on a trailer with a two-foot bay window that extends over the edge, two large skylights over the bedroom loft and a living room filled with windows to allow ample natural light.

The kitchen comes with a 24″ farmhouse sink, gas stove, quartz counters, a full-size refrigerator, shelving units for a pantry and an off-grid 20″ propane range hood. Since the tiny homes are made-to-order, buyers can customize everything from the exterior color and storage options to updated kitchen appliances and washer/dryer combinations.

The 24-foot Heritage provides 220 square feet of living space, while the 28-foot Heritage offers 250 square feet. Designers offer upgraded premium options for sustainability features as well, such as solar panels, rainwater collection and a composting toilet.

Stylistically, the Heritage features a modern-meets-rustic aesthetic, with its bright white shiplap and numerous windows that capture the feel of a larger family home on a smaller scale. The kitchen’s butcher block countertops, soft close shaker cabinets, 24″ fridge-freezer combination and the potential for a washer/dryer combo provide modern creature comforts with all the convenience of a home on wheels. For storage, the staircase comes with built-in compartments, and there is a 28″ storage closet with rod and shelf (34″ in the larger model).

The bathroom has a built-in vanity and shelving, with either a 48″ shower with glass door for the smaller model, or a 60″ tub and shower combo in the larger model. There is also a standard flushing toilet below the bathroom window and upgraded black fixtures throughout.

Oskar Proctor
A hemp farm’s fields flow from the hills to the walls of a new prefab home by Practice Architecture.

History runs deep in the northeast region of England known as Cambridgeshire, home to the world-renowned Cambridge University and some of the country’s oldest archaeological digs dating back to the Bronze Age. The area is also known for producing hemp, which was used for centuries to make everything from rope to fabric, paper, and ship sails.

Drawing upon this agricultural heritage, London-based Practice Architecture incorporated hemp into the exterior cladding of a recently completed, environmentally friendly farmhouse.

The home is located on Margent Farm, a research and development facility specializing in bioplastics made of hemp and flax. Although hemp was outlawed in the 1920s because of its association with narcotics—it’s essentially a low-THC cousin of marijuana—it can be used to produce a wide range of products, and the crop’s ability to sequester carbon makes it an eco-friendly material.

To illustrate the material’s potential, Margent Farm hired Practice Architecture to design a three-bedroom farmhouse with an exterior made from the first hemp crop grown on-site.

First, the firm worked with the farm to find an appropriate location for the building, which is set on the foundation of a former barn. They then collaborated with engineers and material specialists to develop a prefabricated panel filled with hemp grown on 20 acres of the farm.

The corrugated panels are made of nonwoven hemp fiber blended with a resin made from the farm’s biowaste—like corn cobs, oat hulls, and leftover sugarcane fiber. Underneath these panels lies a layer of hemp-based insulation, which is left exposed for a warm, textured feel.

The firm designed the "groundbreaking, radically low embodied carbon house" as a prototype to explore how hemp can be used to create prefabricated, sustainable materials that can be applied to large-scale buildings and homes. Thanks to the prefabricated panels, the home’s exterior was completed in an astounding two days.

"The building is comprised of a series of linked spaces that transition from a large, open single-glazed hot house to a double-height yet intimate living space, and then into two stories of sleeping accommodations," explains Practice Architecture. The interior includes open spaces for work, collaboration, and education; a research and design laboratory; a bold yellow kitchen, three bedrooms, and a bathroom.

The interiors maintain a soft, textured feel with natural fibers and wood furniture, and the farmhouse is powered and heated by a biomass boiler and a rooftop photovoltaic array, making it truly off-grid and potentially even carbon neutral.