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The Urban Developer
Developers of a New York skyscraper have been ordered to remove as many as 20 floors from the top of its recently completed project on the Upper West Side.

The 200 Amsterdam Avenue development, being delivered by SJP Properties and Mitsui Fudosan America, has been found to have exceeded zoning limits after developers “gerrymandered” a 39-sided zoning lot in order to add height and bulk to the project.

The decision, handed down by supreme court judge Justice W Franc Perry, marks a watershed moment for community groups who opposed the 204 metre tall project on the grounds that the developers used a zoning loophole to upsize the project to comprise 112 apartments.

The court found that while it is common for developers to purchase the unused development rights of adjacent buildings, the developers in question had put together a highly unusual zoning lot to take advantage of the development rights.

Community groups opposing the tower went to court after their request to stop construction was rejected by New York City’s Department of Buildings.

Last year, the New York State Supreme Court ruled in favour of the community groups and ordered the city’s Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA) revisit the matter.

Despite the court order, SJP Properties and Mitsui Fudosan America continued with the construction of the high-end residential project, which recently topped out.

“200 Amsterdam entirely conforms with all zoning rules, as earlier upheld by equally the DOB and the BSA, the two metropolis agencies with the most important responsibility for interpreting NYC’s zoning codes,” SJP Properties and Mitsui Fudosan America said in a statement.

“We continue to make construction progress and look forward to delivering a building that will significantly benefit the neighbourhood and New York City.”

Attorneys representing the developers plan to appeal the ruling on the grounds that the project was fully compliant with the city’s zoning resolution.

At this point it remains unclear how many floors might need to be deconstructed from the 52-storey tower, but under one interpretation of the law, the building might have to remove 20 floors or more to conform to the regulation.

The Elkus Manfred-designed tower, which is located a few blocks from Central Park, at its current height would boast panoramic views of the Hudson River, Empire State Building and World Trade Centre.

The project also offers high-end amenities including an indoor swimming pool, fitness centre, conservatory, virtual golf room and a residential lounge.

The decision isn’t the first time a ruling like this has been passed down in the state of New York.

In 1991, developer Laurence Ginsberg was forced to reduced a development at East 96th Street by 31-storeys to 19-storeys after it was found to be inside a special Park Avenue zoning district, which limits building heights.
Approximately half of the luxury-condo units that have come onto the market in the past five years are still unsold.

In Manhattan, the homeless shelters are full, and the luxury skyscrapers are vacant.

Such is the tale of two cities within America’s largest metro. Even as 80,000 people sleep in New York City’s shelters or on its streets, Manhattan residents have watched skinny condominium skyscrapers rise across the island. These colossal stalagmites initially transformed not only the city’s skyline but also the real-estate market for new homes. From 2011 to 2019, the average price of a newly listed condo in New York soared from $1.15 million to $3.77 million.

But the bust is upon us. Today, nearly half of the Manhattan luxury-condo units that have come onto the market in the past five years are still unsold, according to The New York Times.

What happened? While real estate might seem like the world’s most local industry, these luxury condos weren’t exclusively built for locals. They were also made for foreigners with tens of millions of dollars to spare. Developers bet huge on foreign plutocrats—Russian oligarchs, Chinese moguls, Saudi royalty—looking to buy second (or seventh) homes.

But the Chinese economy slowed, while declining oil prices dampened the demand for pieds-à-terre among Russian and Middle Eastern zillionaires. It didn’t help that the Treasury Department cracked down on attempts to launder money through fancy real estate. Despite pressure from nervous lenders, developers have been reluctant to slash prices too suddenly or dramatically, lest the market suddenly clear and they leave millions on the table.

The confluence of cosmopolitan capital and terrible timing has done the impossible: It’s created a vacancy problem in a city where thousands of people are desperate to find places to live.

From any rational perspective, what New York needs isn’t glistening three-bedroom units, but more simple one- and two-bedroom apartments for New York’s many singles, roommates, and small families. Mayor Bill De Blasio made affordable housing a centerpiece of his administration. But progress here has been stalled by onerous zoning regulations, limited federal subsidies, construction delays, and blocked pro-tenant bills.

In the past decade, New York City real-estate prices have gone from merely obscene to downright macabre. From 2010 to 2019, the average sale price of homes doubled in many Brooklyn neighborhoods, including Prospect Heights and Williamsburg, according to the Times. Buyers there could consider themselves lucky: In Cobble Hill, the typical sales price tripled to $2.5 million in nine years.

This is not normal. And for middle-class families, particularly for the immigrants who give New York City so much of its dynamism, it has made living in Manhattan or gentrified Brooklyn practically impossible. No wonder, then, that the New York City area is losing about 300 residents every day. It adds up to what Michael Greenberg, writing for The New York Review of Books, called a new shameful form of housing discrimination—“bluelining.”

We speak nowadays with contrition of redlining, the mid-twentieth-century practice by banks of starving black neighborhoods of mortgages, home improvement loans, and investment of almost any sort. We may soon look with equal shame on what might come to be known as bluelining: the transfiguration of those same neighborhoods with a deluge of investment aimed at a wealthier class.

New York’s example is extreme—the squeezed middle class, shrink-wrapped into tiny bedrooms, beneath a canopy of empty sky palaces. But Manhattan reflects America’s national housing market, in at least three ways.

First, the typical new American single-family home has become surprisingly luxurious, if not quite so swank as Manhattan’s glassy spires. Newly built houses in the U.S. are among the largest in the world, and their size-per-resident has nearly doubled in the past 50 years. And the bathrooms have multiplied. In the early ’70s, 40 percent of new single-family houses had 1.5 bathrooms or fewer; today, just 4 percent do. The mansions of the ’70s would be the typical new homes of the 2020s.

Second, as the new houses have become more luxurious, homeownership itself has become a luxury. Young adults today are one-third less likely to own a home at this point in their lives than previous generations. Among young black Americans, homeownership has fallen to its lowest rate in more
The Real Deal
The site is next to Related’s Icon Las Olas

Related Group paid $8 million for a development site on Fort Lauderdale’s Las Olas Boulevard as it continues to bet on the city.

The Miami-based real estate developer bought the 0.35-acre parcel for $525 per square foot, marking the highest-priced land trade on Las Olas Boulevard, according to Cushman & Wakefield. Steelbridge, a Chicago and Miami-based private equity firm, sold the property.

Robert Given, Errol Blumer, Troy Ballard and Ricky Giles of Cushman & Wakefield represented the seller in the deal.

The site has flexible zoning and could be developed into a residential, retail, hotel and office project, according to a press release.

The property is one of the last remaining undeveloped single parcels in downtown Fort Lauderdale, with 70 feet of frontage along Las Olas Boulevard. It’s next to Steelbridge’s Las Olas Square, a Class A, 278,635-square-foot mixed-use property anchored by the 17-story SunTrust Center. It’s also next to Related’s 44-story Icon Las Olas, a 272-unit multifamily project.

Known for its condo towers in Miami, Related is expanding its presence in Fort Lauderdale.

In December, Related scored a $47.9 million construction loan to build its New River Yacht Club III project in downtown Fort Lauderdale. In Fort Lauderdale Beach, Related developed Auberge Beach Residences and Spa, a luxury condo project at 2200 North Ocean Boulevard.
From stylish backyard dwellings to a sleek floating home

Whether it’s Kanye’s dome prototypes or Ikea’s plan to design residences for people with dementia, prefab housing of all stripes continued to make headlines in 2019. For our year-end roundup of the best prefabs, however, we’re highlighting the most impressive designs that are available to order.

You’ll notice that a few of these picks are intended as accessory dwelling units (ADUs), which have had quite a year, especially in California, where new laws are making it easier for single-family homes to add a backyard unit. As prefab construction is particularly well-suited for the job, we’ll surely be looking out for more sophisticated, ADU-friendly prefabs heading into 2020 and beyond.

A city-approved modern ADU

In an effort to incentivize more housing stock, the city of San Jose, California, recently pre-approved a backyard dwelling from Bay Area housing startup Abodu so that residents can buy and install one in as little as two weeks. The 500-square-foot house, designed by U.K. studio Koto, costs $199,000 and offers Scandinavian modern style with stark white walls, pale wood floors, and the option to add a curated furniture package.

A full-size algorithm-designed backyard dwelling

LA startup Cover first unveiled its tiny box of a prefab studio/office in 2017 with algorithm-driven design as its claim to fame. This year, the company made its offering more ADU-friendly by unveiling a full-on one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment. The 436-square-foot, L-shaped design features an open-plan living and dining area, and a bedroom tucked into the back. The cost of design and build is $193,000.

Givlio Aristide
Every year, ArchitectureAU publishes reviews of scores of old and new Australian homes. As the year draws to a close, here are the 10 houses and apartments that most drew our readers’ attention.

10. Passivhaus Apartments by Steele Associates

There was more honesty and acknowledgement this year around the fact that architecture and its related industries have played a part in the unfolding climate crisis, with the global Architects Declare movement in particular bringing renewed focus to the nearly 40 percent of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions that originate in building and construction.

One long-touted approach to sustainable design and construction is the Passivhaus model, an invention of a German physicist, which has so far seen limited adoption in Australia due to a combination of the model’s onerous requirements and the particular environmental conditions of Australian cities.

Oliver Steele, of Steele Associates, told ArchitectureAU that he hoped that this apartment block in Sydney’s Redfern, Australia’s first to meet the Passivhaus standards, would be a “sign of what’s possible” under the model. Steele was keen to point out that, aside from the low energy requirements demanded by the operation of the apartments, the standards also resulted in living spaces that were more pleasant to inhabit.

9. Silver Street House by EHDO

This house combines off-form concrete with Australian cypress to create a playful, jolly home. The design of the house was in part a response to a number of site constraints, including a main sewer line, which diagonally bisects the site.

“Working with the sewer line was a help for us,” said designer Dimitri Kapetas. “When you have these constraints, it’s helpful because the ‘What ifs?’ aren’t there. It’s just a case of: ‘How can I make the best of this scenario?’”

8. Ooi House by Kerry Hill Architects

The news in January that a house by Kerry Hill on the banks of Western Australia’s Margaret River was up for sale drew a large amount of attention that was perhaps increased by the fact that the widely celebrated architect and progenitor of a school of tropical modernism had passed away in August 2018.

A “seminal project” in Australia’s modern architectural canon, the news may also have tapped into the anxiety felt by some about the fate of the country’s stock of modern homes, which diminishes every year.

The house received a Housing Commendation in the 1998 Royal Australian Institute of Architects national awards, with the jury describing it as “a house at peace with the landscape and the horizon.” It is also listed on the Institute’s register of nationally significant 20th-century architecture.

7. Cloister House by MORQ Architecture

This unusual Perth home turns its back, in a number of senses, on contemporary architectural convention, with an austere, inward-facing design that would be spooky if it wasn’t so thoughtfully assembled. Inspired by ancient Roman houses, Cloister House is centred on a lush courtyard, with the surrounding living spaces facing inward to create a highly private perimeter.

Presenting to the street as a rammed-concrete bunker that inspires curiosity about what lies within, the house has an unusual monastic quality that surprises and challenges.

6. Sly Brothers Semi by Archisoul Architects

A modest renovation of, and addition to, a pair of historic cottages in beachside Sydney, this unusual project saw Archisoul Architects working with two separate briefs and two separate clients in a complex arrangement that required a sensitive approach.

5. Daylesford Longhouse by Partners Hill

It is not surprising to find this novel building by Partners Hill attracted the attention of our readers. The Daylesford Longhouse was named the Australian House of the Year at the 2019 Houses Awards in July and then went on to win the Robin Boyd Award for Residential Architecture at the National Architecture Awards.

A multipurpose building, the long, prefabricated shed contains a cooking school and a working farm building in addition to the living quarters. “There’s something quite magical and otherworldly about entering this space,” wrote Katelin Butler in Architecture Australia. “But all design decisions for this building have masterful clarity and are based on rational thought processes.”

“It turns out common sense yields all sorts of poetic pleasures,” said Timothy Hill. “It’s great fun.”
Pendry Hotels & Resorts
Pendry Hotels & Resorts recently announced the first release of Pendry Residences West Hollywood by Montage Hotels & Resorts for purchase. Together with AECOM Capital, the investment adviser of global infrastructure firm AECOM, and Combined Properties, a full-service real estate firm, the Residences are scheduled to open in summer 2020.

Pendry Residences West Hollywood will be comprised of a limited collection of 40 private residences with prices starting from $3 million. It occupies a prime, walkable location on Sunset Boulevard, with spectacular views of nearby hills, downtown LA, and the vibrant cityscape.

The overall development is $500 million and consists of two adjacent buildings: one 12-story, 143,670-sq-ft hotel building with 149-room; and a separate 145,804 sq-ft building that houses the 40 luxury residences. There are also 400 below grade parking spots.

“In the heart of the new Sunset Strip, Pendry Residences West Hollywood promises to be unlike anything else in the city and deliver a new level of fully serviced living in modern Los Angeles,” said Warren Wachsberger, AECOM Capital partner and managing director in a press release.

The project is designed by architecture and interior design firm Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects, and executed by Cuningham Group Architects, with interiors by Martin Brudnizki Design Studio. AECOM is serving as construction manager on the project through its AECOM Hunt business. Landscaping is by Lifescapes.

The development is located in a dense urban community, surrounded by three mid-rise hotels on Sunset Boulevard and a residential neighborhood on the south side.

“Due to the denseness of the area, the project is constrained by the amount of laydown available for deliveries and the project’s hours of operations are also limited in order to be sensitive to the adjacent residential neighborhood,” says Paul Giorgio, partner and executive vice president, AECOM Capital. “To minimize disruptions to our neighbors, we have used the project’s subterranean parking garage and piazza for staging and worked with the owner to host several outreaches with the community to communicate upcoming major construction milestones and lane closures.”

Giorgio says these outreaches were critical to gaining the city’s approval for the required lane closures for both tower crane dismantlements. “We have a full time delivery manager stationed at the gate to manage incoming deliveries and to not clog up surrounding streets,” adds Giorgio.

Pendry Residences are highlighted by contemporary architecture that cascades on a terraced site along Sunset Boulevard and Olive Drive. The residences feature generous floorplans - ranging from 2,900 to 6,000 sq-ft - flowing seamlessly to large private verandas. Select units include landscaped terraces of up to 3,400 sq-ft with private pools, spas, and outdoor kitchens.

The Residences include floor-to-ceiling windows, custom-designed kitchens, white oak floors, Poliform walk-in closets and dressing rooms. Each unit is accessed via a private elevator connecting directly to a private resident’s terrace and secured parking. Owner amenities include a private residents’ lobby, rooftop pool, fitness center, garden deck and boardroom. A residential lounge will feature a stocked bar and wine tasting room with private lockers. Other amenities include a multi-purpose live entertainment venue, screening room, bowling alley, Spa Pendry and a curated art collection.

The project is currently about 70 percent complete, with crews working on exterior framing and window walls, interior framing on the upper floors and finishes on the lower levels. Five of 10 elevators are underway.
TPA Group/City of Alpharetta
Alpharetta is set to decide whether to approve a new 62-acre mixed-use project that would bring 255 apartments, 60 townhomes, 31,525 square feet of retail/restaurant space, and 630,000 square feet of office space to Haynes Bridge Road at Georgia 400.

The city's planning commission is set to review developer TPA Group's 360 Tech Village on Dec. 5, and the city council is scheduled to hear it on Dec. 16.

The new development would be north of the intersection of Georgia 400 and Haynes Bridge Road, on the west side of Haynes Bridge south of Lakeview Parkway.

The city's planning staff is recommending approval of the project with conditions, including that office development will be limited to 630,000 square feet, retail/restaurant space will be limited to 31,525 square feet, a minimum 3,000-square-foot neighborhood grocery store will be required, there will be no drive-through restaurants, no more than 10 percent of the townhomes will be allowed to be rented, and a minimum of 25 acres of civic space and 7 acres of amenity space will be required.

Also required would be pedestrian and bicycle connections throughout the site, including between buildings and recreational facilities within the development and across Lakeview Parkway to the existing office development. Alpharetta planners want the corner of Haynes Bridge Road and Lakeview Parkway to be designed with a minimum 5,000-square-foot green space with a focal point sculpture. TPA Group would also be required to provide a minimum of six original sculptures located at prominent locations throughout the development, as approved by the city with input from the local arts committee.

TPA Group and architect Nelson Worldwide have just submitted new renderings of the project, see the adjacent slideshow.

Midtown Union picks hotel development team
Midtown Union will include three buildings on a 3.8-acre site. In total, it will have 610,000 square feet of office, a 210-key hotel, 355 housing units, 33,500 square feet of retail and 1,850 parking spaces.
18-acre town center mixed-use project moving forward in Snellville
The Grove at Towne Center mixed-use development is slated for 18 acres in the city of Snellville.

Luxury Retreat Surrounded By Panoramic Views

TPA Group said in September it was in late-stage negotiations with a Fortune 500 company that needs up to 120,000 square feet of office space in the project.

In a discussion of the project, Alpharetta planners note that, "The applicant proposes 475,680 square feet of new office on the site, which is in addition to the 154,400 square feet of office building at the southwest corner of Lakeview Parkway and Morrison Parkway. If the applicant’s request is approved, a total of 630,080 square feet of office could be constructed within the master plan. For comparison, Northwinds is approved for 2.8 million square feet of office on 260 acres and Avalon for 660,000 square feet on 86 acres."

The project could have 4,412 office workers, city planners say.

The request includes two low-rise, loft-style office buildings; 3-story, 200,000 square foot office building along Lakeview Parkway and a 2-story, 120,000 square foot office building near the lake. A third office building is proposed at the corner of Morrison Parkway and Lakeview Parkway and is six stories with 150,000 square feet.

An earlier plan for the site proposed a new 211-room hotel, but it has been eliminated from the newest plan.
Studio 216
Wright Runstad is about to jump north across Spring Boulevard. The planned Phase III of its 36-acre mixed-use Spring District project effectively began last month, with the signing of another lease agreement with Facebook.

The lease is for the planned Block 6 office building, which also just entered design review with the city of Bellevue. It’s addressed at 1646 123rd Ave. N.E., on the north side of Northeast Spring Boulevard, which is under construction.

Wright Runstad’s website confirms that Facebook has already leased Block 16 and Block 24, which are now under construction on the south side of Spring. Those two buildings will have about 515,000 square feet of offices (plus a little retail); Block 6 will add another 320,000 square feet or so.

All three buildings are designed by NBBJ. Turner Construction is building both Block 16, which is expected to open early next year, and Block 24, which could open in early 2021.

The Block 6 lease was signed in mid-October and recorded late that month. It’s for 15 years, with 12 years of subsequent renewal options. And there’s a right of first opportunity to buy the building if Wright Runstad opts to sell. The Block 16 and 24 leases have similar terms.

Broderick Group is Wright Runstad’s broker for all the office space; its third quarter Eastside report indicates that Block 6 could open in 2022. Wright Runstad already has its master use permit, also with NBBJ, for the whole project, so Block 6 design review won’t take that long.

In general, Phase I at the Spring District was the apartment component on its south end, at Northeast 12th Street. AMLI Residential and Security Properties have developed multiple buildings with almost 800 units. Retail and a child care center are also included.

North of that, Phase II includes Block 16, Block 24, REI’s headquarters (set to open next year), the GIX building (already open), the small creative office/brewpub building (soon), ancillary structures and park.

Ahead, Phase III could total around 1.5 million square feet of offices (including Block 6), along with apartments, a small retail/bike-parking pavilion, a hotel and more retail. (The exact mix and numbers are subject to change.)

The entire Spring District is thought to be a $2.3 billion project, with JPMorgan and Shorenstein Properties among its backers.
AI SpaceFactory/Plomp
Using concrete and giant printers, home building may one day be much faster and cheaper.

In a forested patch of Garrison, N.Y., on the Hudson River, a giant robotic arm looms over a platform. Later this month, the platform will start to rotate while the arm pumps out a gooey concoction of basalt and biopolymers. Round it will go, receiving layer upon layer, until the arm, like a demonic pastry chef, has extruded an entire egg-shaped house.

This 24-foot-high, 500-square-foot, two-story construction will have a sleeping pod, a bathroom with a shower, a study area and other amenities you might expect from a cool short-term rental. In fact, it will be a cool short-term rental, as well as a demonstration of the future of home building.

The project, called TERA, is one of the latest experiments in 3D-printed houses. Innovators in this arena are seeking to reduce the expense, environmental impact and hazards of construction methods that have remained fundamentally unchanged for more than a thousand years. They are adapting a now-commonplace manufacturing technique in which a computer-controlled dispenser spews a malleable material that hardens into the shape of a pipe fitting, a chair or an internal organ — or, one day, a whole inhabitable building, with its myriad components and systems robotically extruded.

Architects and engineers are edging closer to this goal, by printing portions of houses and assembling or finishing them conventionally. (In TERA’s case the exterior shell will be printed on site and a separate birch plywood interior inserted.) They are testing different structural, surface and insulation materials and struggling to clear one of the highest bars in this technological obstacle course: the 3D-printed roof. (It’s a problem of weight. For TERA, the 3D-printed roof is an easily supported half-inch-thick dome.)

And many of these pioneers have their heads in the clouds.

TERA, which was designed by AI SpaceFactory, a Manhattan architectural studio, evolved from a prototype Martian habitat called MARSHA that won a NASA competition in May. (You can see details at the exhibition “Moving to Mars,” through Feb. 23 at the Design Museum in London.) MARSHA was destroyed as a final test of its stability — NASA wanted to see how much force it would take to crush it. AI SpaceFactory is recycling the crushed material in TERA to demonstrate its commitment to zero waste.

Mars’s atmosphere, about 100 times thinner than Earth’s, determined the habitat’s tubby shape: As pressure within the structure is equalized, the building envelope bulges. Because the cost of shipping construction materials more than 30 million miles is prohibitive, the design makes use of volcanic basalt rock, which exists on Mars, below a layer of dust. The vision is of an autonomous robot that collects, processes and prints what it finds.

Designing for extreme conditions in space helps solve terrestrial problems, noted David Malott, AI SpaceFactory’s co-founder and chief executive. The strategy of building homes on site with hyperlocal materials could have tremendous environmental benefits for our own planet. “It’s a high-tech way of going back to the Stone Age,” he said.

Last year, in a widely publicized collaboration with the San Francisco-based housing nonprofit New Story, ICON introduced a 350-square-foot house in East Austin that has a conventional flat roof with standard framing lumber. The structure was printed with a machine called Vulcan I using a proprietary concrete-like material called Lavacrete. Construction took a total of 47 hours over several days and cost $10,000 for the printed elements.

In May, ICON and New Story again made news with their plans for a village of about 50 printed houses for a poor community in an undisclosed location in semirural Latin America. (An ICON representative recently declined to identify the site out of concern for the privacy of the families who will be chosen to occupy the houses, which are still awaiting construction.)

Now ICON is working with the nonprofit Mobile Loaves & Fishes on Phase 2 of Community First! Village, a 51-acre development that accommodates former members of Austin’s chronically homeless population in RVs, tiny houses and, soon, several 3D-printed cottages. In September, ICON produced the first printed building for the complex, a 500-square-foot welcome center, in a total of 27 hours over several days. The job was done with a Vulcan II, ICON’s next-generatio
There was no formal agenda on Feb. 12, 2018, when Bruce King and William Kelley met for lunch at the Lotus Cafe in San Rafael, Calif. But building regulation is a favorite topic of King’s, a structural engineer devoted to reducing carbon emissions related to buildings. So it was no surprise to Kelley, Marin County’s deputy director for building and safety, that King suggested it would “be nice” to craft a low-carbon concrete building code “to rein in the profligate overuse” of carbon-intensive cement in concrete.

Kelley liked the idea of regulating concrete’s embodied carbon (EC)—the greenhouse gases (GHGs) emitted during production. But funding was needed to support the writing of a code for low-EC concrete.

Two weeks later, King happened to be at a meeting of an ad hoc group trying to rebuild sustainably after California’s devastating 2017 wine-country fires. There, he heard an announcement that the Bay Area Air Quality Management District would soon offer grants for novel methods of addressing GHGs. He alerted Kelley. Soon, Marin County applied for a BAAQMD grant, which it received on Oct. 4, 2018.

The funds, a maximum of $206,456, set the wheels in motion for developing the model Bay Area Low-Carbon Concrete Code. If approved by Marin County’s board of supervisors on Nov. 19, the code, unprecedented in the U.S. because it would limit EC in private—not just public—projects, would be the first of its kind in the nation.

Kelley likes the Bay Area model code because it is simple to use for customers, plan checkers and enforcers. The document, only four pages long, has two sets of compliance pathways for plain and reinforced concrete: 1) limit cement in either the mix or the project; or 2) limit the global warming potential (GWP) either of a concrete mix—based on an approved environmental product declaration (EPD)—or a project, taking into account all the mix designs.

If adopted, the code would apply only to unincorporated Marin County, population 60,000. That doesn’t bother King. “We hope it will be the code heard around the world,” says the founder of the 20-year-old Ecological Building Network (EBNet).

Kelley agrees, saying, “If we can do this here, the code could serve as a template for other places.” Several other Bay Area counties are likely to follow suit if Marin County adopts it, he adds.

King is setting even wider sights on the regulation of EC—the GHG emissions associated with raw material supply, manufacturing, transport, construction, maintenance, decommissioning and recycling of a material, a building or infrastructure. He wants the Bay Area code to serve as a model for other nations, especially India and China. He also wants EC codes for other high-EC products, such as most refrigerants.

EC, formerly called embodied energy, is not exactly a household term in construction. The main focus in green building codes and certification programs—such as LEED and the Living Building Challenge—has been on reducing the operational carbon (OC) emitted by buildings.

EC plus OC make up the carbon footprint of a building. Initial or up-front EC, which accounts for most of a material’s or a product’s carbon, refers to GHG emissions from the cradle to the site gate.

“Many construction materials can be made to very similar performance standards with 50% or more carbon savings,” because manufacturing process, mix composition, recycled content and electricity or energy source have a dramatic effect on carbon emitted during manufacture, according to the University of Washington’s Carbon Leadership Forum. CLF is a nonprofit coalition of 40 construction industry sponsors, founded in 2009 by its director, Kate Simonen, also a professor at the College of the Built Environments.

“Carbon-aware specification and procurement policies, backed by a contractual requirement to deliver verified EPDs for materials delivered to sites, can drive change,” asserts CLF.

Reducing initial EC is no easy task. It has been fraught with problems—from a lack of product and material data to data too complex to evaluate. “It’s an incredibly daunting and new challenge to address in a design process,” says Victoria Burrows, director of Advancing Net Zero for the World Green Building Council.

A net-zero EC building is one that has minimal up-front carbon, with all remaining
Marcos Guiponi
Designed to welcome the outdoors in, two modular and minimalist houses provide a blissful escape in the Uruguayan countryside.

A few years after VivoTripodi completed a prefabricated weekend home for a family in rural Uruguay, the clients called on the Montevideo-based architects once more to create two new residences for visiting friends and family. Like the main house, the minimalist dwellings keep the focus on the landscape.

The architects drew design inspiration from the main home’s boxy form and all-timber palette to create two modular additions strategically placed to maintain sight lines and minimize landscape impact. As with the main house, prefabricated construction provided numerous advantages given the remote location and the desire to minimize waste.

"The main design goal was to create complete immersion in nature," explain architects Bernardo Vivo and Guzmán Trípodi of VivoTripodi. "The interior feels as if you were outside. To wake up in the freezing winter and see the sun come out of the horizon, the fog dissipating in the cold grass, but to do it all in great comfort inside the shelter while drinking a hot coffee…it’s definitely a unique experience."

Each guest house spans 518 square feet and comprises three main spaces with an open-plan layout: a combined living/dining/kitchen area, a bathroom to the side, and two bedrooms on either end of the building.

"The ground had some variation, and we wanted that to remain," note the architects of their site-sensitive approach. "We didn’t touch the ground’s natural curve, to emphasize the fact that we like to respect the natural state of things."

The interiors are lined with pine planks, each of which is 13 centimeters wide—a measurement that determined the interior dimensions. "We had to give specific details so that when the carpenters started working on the interiors, the wood would barely have any modifications to its sizing," explain the architects. "Our precision determined the exact amount of wood needed to minimize waste and unused cuts."

"To create a project with nature as its main factor is amazing," say Vivo and Trípodi. The architects developed their site-specific designs over multiple visits to the site to study how the landscape changed throughout the seasons and time of day. "We hope to get more chances to show our outdoor fanaticism."

Granite Peak Photography
Many tiny home designers are guided by the principles of flexibility when it comes to being mobile, but rarely have we seen a tiny home creation that can be enjoyed on land and on water. Designed and built by our new hero, Scott Cronk, the Heidi-Ho, is a beautiful solar-powered tiny cabin built on a 30-foot pontoon.

According to Scott, the ingenious floating home creation was inspired by his need to explore the world on his own terms, “After wildfires in the Fall of 2017, I sold my home in Santa Rosa, Northern California, and moved to the Palm Springs area, Southern California,” he explained. “This houseboat is a way for me to spend my summers visiting friends in Northern California.”

The Heidi-Ho houseboat was built on a 30-foot long pontoon boat that can be pulled by a trailer. In fact, one of the driving forces behind the flexibility of the tiny home design was that it was an acceptable size for legal road transport. Accordingly, the deck is capable of being reduced to just 8.5 feet wide. In addition to being road ready, the entire cabin can also be removed from the boat deck to be used as a camping trailer.

And although this may have been considered limiting to some, Scott took on the challenge head on and created a spectacular living space. Although compact, the tiny cabin boasts a comfy living and sleeping area, complete with all of the basics.

The interior is light and airy, with wood-paneled walls and plenty of natural light. The interior living space is made up of custom-made bench seating, a removable dining table and a galley kitchen.

All in all, the compact cabin can sleep three. The main sleeping area is created by transforming the dining table into a double bed. Then, a bunk bed drops down from the ceiling for additional sleeping space.

The kitchen has everything needed to create tasty meals, including a three-burner stove top and oven and a refrigerator. Additionally, there is plenty of storage for kitchenware as well as clothing and equipment found throughout the tiny home.

Adding space to the design, the cabin features dual rear doors that can be fully opened. The doors lead out to the pontoon platform, creating a nice open-air space with boat seats to enjoy.
Sergio Pirrone
Eye-catching residences across the globe beguile with bold and eccentric forms.

Firm: Cloud 9

Site: Aigua Blava, Spain

Recap: Olive-glazed clay roof tiles blend architect Enric Ruiz-Geli’s new-build near Girona into the surrounding treetops. The complex’s swooping shaped-fiberglass forms, with intricate vaulted-brick ceilings handmade by a Catalan artisan, loosely follow the shape of the coastline—at times cheekily reminiscent of the female body.

Firm: R2K Architectes

Site: Espoo, Finland

Recap: A radio chat in which Finnish filmmaker Aki Kaurismäki posited that storytelling originated with humans gathering around the fire to eat, drink, and share tales inspired architect Olavi Koponen’s spiraling house, which winds around a central concrete fireplace—the heart and hearth of the home. Aspen shingles clad the interior, larch the exterior; and the whole is dubbed Kotilo, which translates to “conch shell.”

Firm: McBride Charles Ryan

Site: Blairgowrie, Australia

Recap: A wood veranda is an Australian design classic, but the trope is refreshed at this suburban beach house, becoming part of a faceted volume that renders the facade like a frozen wave. Inside, a raked box-beam wall painted cerise is a receptacle for much-leafed books, family snapshots, and beloved bric-a-brac accumulated during vacations.

Firm: Iroje KHM Architects

Site: Goyang, South Korea

Recap: Nineteen buildings spearheaded by architect HyoMan Kim bloom like flowers in the Stella Fiore residential complex, 90 minutes northwest of Seoul. Constructed from steel and concrete, they’re embellished with aluminum sheeting painted a cornucopia of colors. Four possible volume shapes and three possible zigzagging split-level floor plans add an element of organic variation.
Danilo Ramos / Flickr
In their fight against the displacement of local communities, activists are appropriating central São Paulo’s abandoned spaces

Abandoned and obsolete structures have become the newest field of exercise for architectural imagination around the world, converted into bright, mirrorsurfaced corporate towers, world-class hotels, shopping malls, museums or convention centres – real-estate products identified and priced in the global financial market. Without flag or face, global finance is the new colonial empire seizing cities. Deterritorialised and abstract, fictitious and speculative by nature, it occupies cities and materialises into landscapes for rent. Thanks to innovative financial instruments and the digital revolution, architecture – the most tectonic of all the arts – is dematerialised and made to circulate, through technologies and information flows, as pure value — or rather, as the future expectation of value, enabling rapid capital inflows and outflows, without heavy or complex transaction costs. Yet these same spaces are contested by those who are struggling to survive while also aspiring to prosperity. When neglected by urban planning and architectural imaginaries, abandoned sites are appropriated by those with limited resources, generating landscapes for life.

‘The hegemonic paradigm of individual property has been one of the most powerful motivations and justifications for denying other forms of territorial ties the right to exist’

Central São Paulo witnesses these disputes on a daily basis. The creation and consolidation of new urban and real-estate expansion fronts since the late 1960s, as well as widespread use of the car as the preferred means of transport for the middle and upper classes, has encouraged residential areas, services, commerce and cultural facilities to migrate to the south-western region of the city. This resulted in an exodus of the upper and middle classes out of the city centre, and the consequent abandonment of a considerable stock of both commercial and residential buildings. On the other hand, there have been social movements fighting for housing rights ever since the 1970s; although largely based in self-built settlements in the peripheries and favelas, they have also included dwellers of buildings converted into tenements, who partly laid claim to the stock of vacant buildings in the centre for social housing. This combination of factors, coupled with the decades-long insufficiency and inefficiency of housing policies in tackling the huge demand for, and precarity of, social housing in the city, produced the perfect urban and policy environment for the emergence of occupations in empty properties. These squats, usually led by organised housing and homeless movements that had been forming in the city centre for some time, came into being from the second half of the 1990s onwards.

The permanence of an occupation in space and time opens the possibility for the creation and construction of broader dynamics, such as alliances and networks with other movements, collectives, and social and political actors, that seek to claim public resources and focus on public-housing policies, creating other ways of building the city. That is how some of these occupations were able to gather enough public funding for their buildings to be renovated. Formerly a hotel, then a squat, São Paulo’s Hotel Cambridge building now comprises 121 residential units created by the Companhia Municipal de Habitação de São Paulo (COHAB) and the Peabiru Technical Advisory who were hired by the squatters. Even when they don’t reach that stage, the existence of these occupations, focused on fighting for space in the city, transforms how space is created and appropriated. This manifestation of the relationship between a social movement, professionals and activists is one of the ongoing insurgent, counter-hegemonic movements in central São Paulo, a hotly disputed territory.

The occupation of the former Hotel Santos Dumont, named Mauá, is the oldest of its kind in central São Paulo. The hotel, opened in 1953, is located near the city’s old and busy bus station, and in front of Luz train station — an imposing structure built with iron imported from the UK, one of the many manifestations of the coffee economy boom of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The station’s closure during the 1980s contributed to the hotel’s deterioration an
Tesla’s newly released version of solar roof tiles is promising to be a better green energy alternative. For one, it is easier to install than traditional shingles. Plus, these new Tesla tiles are more cost-effective than purchasing a new roof with separate solar panels. Because of the innovative upgrades, Tesla CEO Elon Musk optimistically projects the company will install 1,000 of these new solar roofs per week.

Tesla ventured into the solar roof industry three years ago in partnership with SolarCity, which Tesla acquired in 2016. The most recently upgraded solar roof tiles are designed to look like normal roof tiles yet double as power-generating solar panels.

This newly unveiled solar roof tile is a third-generation version that features more refinements like increased size, beefed up power density, reduced components for better efficiency and improved roof edges that no longer require time-consuming “artisanal” fine-tuning onsite. The new solar roof tiles are made from tempered glass and are three times more durable than standard roofing tiles.

As Musk explained, “With versions one and two, we were still sort of figuring things out. Version three, I think, is finally ready for the big time. And so, we’re scaling our production of the version three solar tower roof at our Buffalo Gigafactory. And I think this product is going to be incredible.”

Tesla’s website offers two varieties of solar roof — a normal roof with solar panels and the third iteration of the textured glass shingle roof. Musk has touted the latter to be cheaper, easier and faster to install than its predecessors. The version three roof has a 25-year warranty, and its glass material can endure 130-mph winds and hail of up to 1.75 inches in diameter.

Efficiency is the name of the game in the solar roof sector. Thus, for Tesla, the company plans to implement a “Tesla-certified installer” program that enlists outside roofers that are local to the client. Similarly, Tesla has optimized its roof installation so that the whole process should only span eight hours.

Musk has said that orders for Tesla’s version three solar panels have risen as a response to the power outages caused by California utility PG&E repeatedly shutting off electricity to hundreds of thousands of Golden State residents to prevent wildfires. Tesla therefore is recommending homeowners go green to avoid these rolling blackouts.

“We can make roofs come alive,” Musk shared. “There are all these roofs out there just gathering sunlight, but not doing anything with it. In the future, it will be odd for roofs to be dormant or not gathering energy.”
Obama Foundation
Today, the Obama Foundation released new renderings of the Obama Presidential Center (OPC), planned for Jackson Park on the South Side of Chicago. Designed by New York–based architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, the refined design is intended "to be more organic in form and to appear more elegant and inviting as visitors approach from all directions," according to a statement by the foundation.

In order to make the building less opaque and foreboding—a criticism that the second iteration of the design also tried to address—the design team has introduced an 88-foot expanse of glazing at the mezzanine level of the 235-foot-tall tower, and incisions on the southeast and southwest corners aim to reduce the building's profile. Faceted stone cladding will reflect the changing daylight, and textured stone wrapping the middle southeast corner will simplify the finish of an area previously planned to display carved text. And within the landscape, which Brooklyn, New York–based Michael Van Valkenburgh designed, a 1-acre wetland area will capture and treat stormwater and will include a "Wetland Walk" area with seating and a place for children to play.

Projected to cost at least $500 million, the project likely won't break ground until 2020, after a federal review evaluates the OPC's expected impact on Jackson Park. But that deliberate pace suits the architects: "We're slow designers," Williams told the Chicago Tribune's Blair Kamin. "We design from the inside out."
Design Week Mexico
Taking place from October 3-27, the 11th annual Design Week Mexico features Cuba and Yucatan as this year’s respective guest country and guest state. The 2019 installment includes more than 15 exhibitions, installations, conferences, conversations, documentary screenings, and pavilions.

Additionally, México Territorio Creativo was launched this year as a platform to analyze design’s connection with the environment, education, innovation, culture, and the economy. Founded by Emilio Cabrero, Andrea Cesarman, Marco Coello and Jaime Hernández, the organization is now in charge of Design Week Mexico. As Mexico City mayor Claudia Sheinbaum says, “Creativity and knowledge will lead us towards a more sustainable city, with better mobility, and more equality and human rights.” Here are our top 10 highlights from Design Week Mexico 2019.

Mondrian Chair by Luis Antonio Ramírez Jiménez

This piece is part of a show organized by the Museo de Arte Moderno (on view until March 2020). “Cuba: La Singularidad del Diseño” deals with the design and architecture that emerged during the Cuban Revolution in 1959.

Entryway by C Cúbica Arquitectos for Design House

Every year, through Design House (on view until October 27), architects and interior designers transform a whole building into a sample of different styles and trends. Among the participants in 2019 are C Cúbica Arquitectos (who created the entryway), Jorge Mustri, MarqCo, Olga Hanono, Studio Roca, and Vieyra Arquitectos.

Origo Lamps by Studio DavidPompa

Made from volcanic rock, the floor lamp and small table lamp from the Origo collection are presented in a shipping container, creating an immersive experience for visitors. A strong contrast between the roughness of the stone and the soft light characterize these lighting fixtures.

Visión y tradición by communities in Taxco, Mexico

Thanks to a residency program in Yucatan and Taxco—a city known for its fine silver handwork—artisans and designers from Cuba and Yucatan collaborated to create unique pieces, which establish a dialogue between crafts and contemporary design.

Ato Sofa designed by Jorge Arturo Ibarra for Luteca

Inspired by Josef Albers’ 1930’s photographs of the pyramids of Tenayuca, Mexico, the Ato sofa designed by Jorge Arturo Ibarra, Luteca’s design director, pays tribute to the pre-Columbian architecture.

Thaw by Mool

Founded by Emmanuel Aguilar and Edgar Tapia in 2016, Mool evoked the effects of climate change through patterns that represent small ice islands in a vast ocean with this functional piece of furniture.

Visión y tradición by communities in Merida, Mexico

Through this Yucatan residency program, artists and designers used materials such as henequen, macramé, and stone to these create pieces showcased through October 27 in the Museo Nacional de Antropologia in Mexico City.

Lamp by MOB

With Ruta del Diseño, visitors were invited to discover some of the city’s best showrooms, galleries and studios. Founded in 2001, MOB focuses on pieces that transform through time.

Secreto desk by Pèrch

Inspired by the simplicity of Scandinavian design, this new piece of furniture features clean lines and hidden drawers on each side to protect sentimental items. The wood comes from sustainable and local providers.

Olho by students Rocío Callado Canteli, Luis Enrique Rosas and Natalia Hernández with professor Alejandra Cordero

Designed by students from the Universidad Iberoamericana, this utilitarian object—which was one of the winners for the Inédito section—reinterprets the preparation of food. It is part of a seven-piece collection designed with natural materials including stone, wood, and clay.
plans have been revealed for the eight penthouses that will sit atop ‘KING toronto’ — the residential development designed by bjarke ingels group (BIG). the project, located in the canadian city’s king street west neighborhood, was first unveiled in 2016 with more details and renderings of the scheme revealed last year. inspired by habitat 67, the housing complex in montreal designed by moshe safdie, and ‘maison de verre’, a glass house in paris, KING toronto is made up of pixelated volumes, which have been rotated to maximize light and views.

a collaboration between allied and westbank, KING toronto has been designed by BIG to create an architectural typology that complements and celebrates the site’s heritage buildings, while bringing nature into the city and creating a diverse public realm. the development’s topographical roofscape forms four ‘mountains’ oriented towards the north, south, west, and east, and articulated around a central courtyard. a total of eight penthouses (two on each peak) form ‘floating sanctuaries’, with units ranging in size from 279 square meters (3,000 square feet) to 418 square meters (4,500 square feet).

each penthouse is conceptually related to its anchor and access point within the building. the north lobby is located within a heritage building facing the courtyard, the south lobby, beneath the green archway connecting wellington park to the courtyard, the west lobby opens onto the courtyard, forming a glowing beacon that illuminates the glass block façade, and the east lobby is a part of the atrium — a multi-storey open space between brick heritage buildings and the new glass block façade.

channeling ‘an industrial chic aesthetic’ through the use of steel and glass block, the two north penthouses are rooted in the industrial heritage of the neighborhood, while the penthouses perched on top of the south mountain are surrounded by lush vegetation. here, two structures are carefully positioned on the stepped slopes: a teahouse that becomes a glowing beacon at night, and a greenhouse and winter garden overlooking the courtyard.

the penthouses situated on top of the west mountain are described as a ‘celebration of light’. ‘la bibliothèque’ penthouse takes its name from a double-height bookshelf connecting two floors, while ‘the treehouse’ unit appropriately contains a tree. finally, the pair of east penthouses are inspired by modernist scandinavian architecture. here, expansive outdoor terraces provide panoramic views of toronto and the cascading roof terraces of the other homes below.

Tishman Speyer and the San Francisco Giants
The new building is called “Mission Rock Building F”—and the “F” is for fantastic

This in-progress residential high-rise is what Mission Bay, a neighborhood known for its many new, albeit listless structures, needs. Mission Rock Building F, as it’s called, looks like that slightly askew stack of books on your desk. It’s mammoth but warm—and fun. It is, in a word, lovely.

Dreamed up by architect Jeanie Gang, plus two principals at Studio Gang, as well as Quezada Architecture, the tower’s unique form also serves a purpose. The floor plates are carved back at the corners to create outdoor terraces, built to allow for maximum sunlight and minimal wind.

Building F will be at the heart of Mission Rock, housing amenities for the entire neighborhood that overlook a new public plaza and vibrant streetscape,” Gang said in a written statement. “For the residences, we designed a tower inscribed with terraces, extending this indoor-outdoor living and offering views amidst elevated bio-diverse gardens.”

The building will rise 23 floors, come with 255 rental units, and offer retail and restaurant space. Its base will feature carved steps leading to a “mesa-like space” with planted terraces and raked seating.

Mission Rock Building F joins a much larger project in store for the budding microhood, an ambitious collaboration between the San Francisco Giants and Tishman Speyer to redevelop the 28-acre Seawall Lot 337 just south of Oracle Park. The new area, to be christened Mission Rock, will come with approximately 1,200 residential rental units in all, with 40 percent low- and moderate-income homes; eight acres of parks and open space, including a signature waterfront park; and roughly 200,000 square feet of neighborhood serving and manufacturing space.

According to Tishman Speyer, the development will create “thousands of construction and permanent jobs.”

This week, Tishman Speyer and the Giants submitted their design application to city’s planning department for phase one of the development, which, if approved, would begin construction next year.

Studio Gang is also responsible for another stunner: the gleaming Mira Tower in the East Cut, another twisty affair that gives off a spiral effect and separates it from its ramrod straight neighbors in the city’s skyline.
When Gensler employees come to work at the company’s new downtown offices, they’ll be able to set up in one of at least six workspaces. If they’re feeling stressed out, they can step into a “wellness room” to decompress. Those who bike to work will be able to take an elevator straight into the office, which will have its own bicycle storage.

“A lot of people ride their bikes to work and it seems like we’re getting even more, so we decided to accommodate a large number of bikes in the work area,” said Gensler’s Vince Flickinger, who was part of the team that designed the company's new space in 2 Houston Center.

The architecture firm signed a lease earlier this year for 50,000 square feet on two floors of the building at 909 Fannin, part of the larger Houston Center office complex on the eastern end of downtown. The company will relocate from Pennzoil Place once construction on the new space is complete.

San Francisco-based Gensler is known for its high-end corporate interiors. In recent years, its Houston office has implemented more of the design trends it studies and carries out for its clients, which include some of this region's top law practices, financial institutions and energy firms.

The new space will bring even more forward-thinking design.

About 70 percent of the Houston 288-person office will focus on so-called agile working, where employees can choose from a variety of workplace settings, whether it’s outside on a patio, in a huddle room or at a stand-up desk.

One section of the office will house mobile work stations that can be fully reconfigured. All workspaces throughout the office will have sit-to-stand capabilities.

“We like to see our office as a testing ground,” Flickinger said.

A design lab will include a makerspace with 3D printers, a virtual reality testing space and a shop area for making architectural models. The firm’s materials library will be twice the size of its current footprint in Pennzoil Place.

Employees will have access to a “sensory-lined wellness room” with adjustable light and sound systems to create a calming atmosphere. Gensler designers also plan to use the room for research on how sight, smell, touch and sound affect the workplace. Other quiet areas will encourage employees to relax without electronics.

“As you have more open areas some times some people just need to get away,” Flickinger said. “Not focus rooms or huddle rooms, but rooms for you to separate yourself from the working environment to get refreshed.”

Houston Center has its own amenities for tenants, including a fitness center, shops and restaurants. The complex is in the throes of its own renovation, which Gensler designed for landlord Brookfield.
Inspired by the apocalyptic imagery from climate change projections, sculptor David Černý and architect Tomáš Císař from the studio Black n´ Arch have proposed a visually striking skyscraper that’s sparked controversy with its inclusion of an enormous shipwreck-like structure. Dubbed the TOP TOWER, the project proposed for Prague rises to a height of 450 feet, which means that if built, the tower would be the tallest building in the Czech Republic. The project is led by developer Trigema who aims to create a multifunctional, LEED Gold high-rise that includes rental apartments, a public observation area and commercial uses on the lower floors.

TOP TOWER has been proposed to be located near the metro station Nové Butovice on the new nearly one-kilometer-long pedestrian zone in Prague. This location is outside of the protected urban conservation zone and would be far enough away from the city center that it would not disrupt the historic city skyline. Taking advantage of its height, the building would offer a public observation area at the highest point of the building where visitors can enjoy a 360-degree panoramic view of Prague.

Rental housing will make up the majority of the mixed-use TOP TOWER, while offices, retail and a multifunctional cultural center will be located on the lower levels. Parking will be tucked underground. The rusty shipwreck-like sculpture integrated into the building will offer opportunities for outdoor spaces and additional landscaping.

“We have been preparing the TOP TOWER project for more than two years and the final version was preceded by eight other alternative solutions. During this time, we have collected and are still collecting suggestions from experts, state and local authorities, and of course the local public, whose representatives have already been and will continue to hold a number of participatory meetings,” says Marcel Soural, Chairman of the Board of Trigema a.s. Trigema estimates that the construction for TOP TOWER will begin in 2021 and take less than three years complete.

A canyon-like tower by MVRDV and a twisting structure by Studio Gang are among the buildings to be revealed for a new San Francisco development.

MVRDV, Studio Gang, Henning Larsen and WORKac make up the four practices that have teamed up to design buildings for a new neighbourhood called Mission Rock.

The development will be located in the Mission Bay neighbourhood, on 3rd Street in between Terry Francois Boulevard and Mission Rock Street. It will span a 28-acre waterfront site on San Francisco Bay that is currently used as a parking lot.

Rotterdam firm MVRDV has proposed mixed-use tower, Building A, that features a 23-storey construction with box-shaped units that project out to form a pixelated effect.

It is nicknamed The Canyon because MVRDV referenced California's mountains when designing, with the intention to bring back the city's hilly topography missing on the flat asphalt plot.

"We wanted to establish a dialogue between the waterfront, the ballpark, and the robust Californian rock formations," said MVRDV co-founder Nathalie de Vries.

"Those formations inspired The Canyon's architectural form: steep rocky walls with a narrow valley running between them, thus creating a mix of apartments of different sizes, roof terraces, and lush public spaces which feel welcoming to all."

The project comprises a central tower as a "canyon" that will "fracture" the north-east podium to make a building form of its own and also a lush space at ground level. Another volume, known as the "annex", will contain a separate lobby on the east side of the building.

At the base of MVRDV's tower is a podium with a similarly faceted, red exterior. Located here will be retail, office and commercial spaces.

The building will scale 240 feet (73 metres) and contain about 285 residential units. Mechanical equipment will be housed on the roof in an additional 14-foot (4.3-metre) volume, and a rooftop patio, partial basement for bike parking, and space for the District Energy System round out the design.

US firm Studio Gang, meanwhile, has conceived a 23-storey tower with floors that twist away from one another to create inlets for planted terraces. Ceramics will clad each floor to offer varying hues.

"Building F will be at the heart of Mission Rock, housing amenities for the entire neighbourhood that overlook a new public plaza and vibrant streetscape," said Studio Gang's founder Jeanne Gang.

"For the residences, we designed a tower inscribed with terraces, extending this indoor-outdoor living and offering views amidst elevated bio-diverse gardens."

Similar to MVRDV building, Studio Gang's project will accommodate residences, shops and commercial spaces.

Danish studio Henning Larsen Architects and New York firm WORKac have both created office buildings for Mission Rock.

Like MVRDV, Henning Larsen Architects has taken cues from San Francisco's hilly terrain for Building G. The lower floors are stepped to create terraces for planting, drawing similarities to Studio Gang's structure, while the gridded facade extends at the top to form a balustrade around a rooftop garden.

"Contrary to the contemporary trend of sleek all-glass commercial towers, the aesthetic of Mission Rock reflects the historic architecture of industrial San Francisco where tactile materials bring an inviting, comfortable environment and deep facades create a dynamic play of light and shadow throughout the day," said Henning Larsen partner an design principal Louis Becker.

"An active ground plane with diverse retail programming and engaging streetscape design will define the success of Mission Rock as a new, yet authentic San Francisco neighbourhood," added Henning Larsen design manager Kelly Holzkamp.

WORKac has created a more linear office building with volumes that form a pixellated exterior. The protrusions are also used to create outdoor areas.

"We thought we could take advantage of all the setbacks at the different levels by carving new openings down the face of the building," said WORKac co-founder Dan Wood. "That way every floor has a garden, open to the sky."

"This a building that reflects the city's embrace of the outdoor life so that no matter where you are, you have access to workspace outside," he added.

Mission Rock as a whole encompasses 12 plots – seven for residential, four
KTGY Architecture + Planning
With a rapidly aging population, an inward flux of new urban residents, and developmental pressures forcing displacement and homelessness on growing numbers of people, housing design finds itself at a critical nexus in the United States.

And while many architecture firms are surely working on innovative housing projects, few have dedicated teams focused on pursuing housing innovation from an integrated, transformational perspective. KTGY Architecture + Planning is one such firm, however. The R+D Studio at KTGY exists to "explore new and emerging ideas related to building design and technology," with an eye toward integrating new housing developments into their surroundings, re-thinking existing design paradigms, and prototyping cost- and time-saving construction approaches all the while expanding the realm of housing design to include co-living arrangements, contemporary senior housing models, and supportive housing.

We talked with Marissa Kasdan, director of KTGY's R+D Studio, to discuss how well-designed housing can serve more people, the changing nature of domestic spaces, and to highlight innovations coming out of her team's work.

What is the focus of KTGY’s R+D Studio? And of your position?

KTGY’s R+D Studio was created as a dedicated effort focused on furthering KTGY’s vision, “to move the discourse of architecture forward by continuously searching for better.” With that goal in mind, the R+D Studio explores new and emerging ideas related to building design, shifts in residential demographics, and trends in the way people live. My role, as director of the R+D Studio, is to maintain the focus of the studio in a way that also supports the design efforts of the various studios within KTGY. I coordinate with studio leaders from KTGY offices across the country and look for opportunities to develop design concepts that support the building types and market segments we serve.

The R+D Studio seems to pursue an integrated approach that considers design, urban-scale considerations, and constructability issues simultaneously. Can you share an example of a project (or an approach/idea) that has most benefited from this arrangement?

The Skytowns concept considers how townhome unit plans in a high-rise configuration could maximize building efficiency while minimizing elevator stops and shared circulation space, all while providing multi-level unit layouts in an urban setting. On every other level, the townhome units recapture the corridor area as unit area, increasing the overall building efficiency to nearly 90%. The inherent nature of the multi-story units creates a unique opportunity for vertical variation along the high-rise façade.

One of your research focuses revolves around expanding the definition of co-living. How is the research coming out of the R+D Studio informing the design of unit plans for this type of housing?

Initially, we developed a co-housing concept to address urban affordability for young professionals trying to manage their rents, leading to the development of an 11-bedroom, 11-bathroom prototype unit. Since then, we have discussed with many of our clients and other interested individuals the opportunity to apply the benefits of shared living in new ways to help address a variety of issues and serve a wide range of demographics.
Westfalia Technologies
This is the first “palletless” system that Westfalia Technologies has installed.

500 Walnut is a 26-story luxury condo building with 35 residences whose selling prices average $5 million, the highest in Philadelphia to date, according to the building’s developer Scannapieco Development Corporation (SDC).

The tower—designed by Cecil Baker + Partners and built by Intech Construction—includes all of the high-end amenities one might expect, such as a heated pool, fitness center, dog grooming, massage room and sauna, and “outdoor retreat.” And then there’s something entirely different: an automated palletless parking system with 86 parking slots, far more than this building could have accommodated had it gone instead with a more conventional alternative.

“This amenity adds a level of convenience that no other building can,” says Tom Scannapieco, SDC’s owner.

The system, installed by Westfalia Technologies of Charleston, S.C., works like this: The resident drives into the building through a street-level bay door that he or she opens electronically via a transponder attached to the car’s grill or bumper. The driver enters a covered auto court—a kind of lobby, says Scannapieco—and then places the car into a transfer “cabin.” Drivers and passengers get out, and proceed to a kiosk into which the resident scans a key fob to answer a few safety questions on a touch screen—are the car doors shut, is the parking brake engaged, is the engine turned off, etc.—that the parking control system evaluates prior to storage.

A lift within the cabin lowers the car to the basement level, where the vehicle is then positioned onto a palletless transfer platform, which Westfalia’s Satellite technology adjusts for the length of the car’s wheelbase. That platform rotates the vehicle 180 degrees so it can be easily driven out when retrieved, and then moves the car into the nearest parking slot.

When drivers need their vehicles, they can scan their fob either in the building’s elevator or at the kiosk, and the system automatically brings the car back to the transfer cabin. (The lobby kiosk notes the car’s position and expected retrieval time.)

500 Walnut has two transfer areas and two transfer platforms. Residents have 24/7 access to this system. There’s negligible risk of vehicle damage, theft, or break-in because there’s no reason for humans to be in the actual parking area.

How much does all this cost? Scannapieco and Ian Todd, Westfalia’s director of Automated Parking Systems, didn’t answer that question directly. On a per-sf basis, 500 Walnut’s 50,840-sf garage with state-of-the-art technology and mechanicals cost double a conventional parking garage, Scannapieco estimates.

But he’s quick to note that on a per-car basis, “there’s no premium,” basing that assessment on the fact that a conventional parking ramp system, with fire protection and ventilation included, would have been impossible to pull off within a building this size, to say nothing of the number of parking slots that Westfalia’s solution provided.

“By having this technology, we’re doubling our parking yield,” says Scannapieco. Todd adds that the developer saved money on excavation, and increased the value of its residential units by enhancing the user’s experience. (Scannapieco says the parking garage has become the most popular amenity in the building.)

500 Walnut opened in early 2018. Westfalia is currently installing its second palletless parking system, with 160 parking slots, in another building about a mile from 500 Walnut. That building is scheduled to open next year. Westfalia also installs palleted systems, but Todd is convinced that the newer technology will catch on as more developers and prospective owners become aware of it.

He adds, parenthetically, that while an automated palletless parking system could be installed in an existing building, there are far greater efficiencies when that system is part of a building’s original design.
Andre Aragon
Best known for his towering urban projects, the Uruguayan architect's private residence rests on five hilltop acres.

Rafael Viñoly's, FAIA is best known for his towering urban projects, many of which become icons on city skylines. The famed Uruguayan architect's 191 Ridgebury Road house, however, remains an outlier as one of Viñoly's rare private residences. Located in Ridgefield, Conn., International Style 191 Ridgebury Road is 16,000-square-foot and features three bedrooms and three full bathrooms. Although the property has been on and off the market several times since 2008, 191 Ridgebury Road is back on the market for $9.75 million following a restoration by the current owner.

Viñoly originally designed the house for Alice Lawrence, the wife of real estate mogul Sylvan Lawrence, in 1984. Working with slabs of pre-cast concrete and glass windows, Viñoly assembled the house on a 35 ton steel frame, resulting in clean, open spaces. By the time the project was completed almost three years later, construction costs had reached an estimated $25 million plus an additional $3 million in landscaping for the five acre estate.

Built to display Lawrence's vast art collection, the Ridgeport house contains expansive, light-filled areas that include a living room, a dining room, a custom kitchen, and a sitting room. The house also features a penthouse office, indoor and outdoor heated pools, and an observation deck offering views of the Hudson River.

Following her death in 2008, Lawrence left the residence to Fairfield University, a private, Jesuit university in Farfield, Conn. The university listed the house for $10 million in 2008 and, after it sat on the market, relisted the property again in 2011 for $3.2 million. According to Connecticut Open Data, the house was sold to the present owner for $2.17 million in 2012.

Over seven years, the owner restored the property beyond its original condition, adding a lower-level suite to the original house and a driveway heating system. According to the Sotheby's International Realty listing, the price also includes the adjacent High Medow Farm at 224 Ridgebury Road, an 11-acre property with a five-bedroom farmhouse. While it is not part of the original Viñoly project, the current owner acquired 224 Ridgebury Road with the intention of having an associated equestrian facility, but is now is selling both together.

191 Ridgebury Road is listed by Laura Freed Ancona at Sotheby's International Realty.

Marsel Loermans via Studio Public
Dutch architectural practice Studio Public has carved out a slice of eco-friendly bliss in Houten, a nearly car-free suburb in Utrecht. Dubbed the Eco Villa, the 2,000-square-foot modern home slots in perfectly with its green and environmentally minded surroundings with an emphasis on natural materials, sustainability and the use of renewable energy. Powered by solar, the abode produces all of its own energy and is even complemented by a naturally filtered pool for chlorine-free swimming.

Built with an L shape to frame the outdoor garden and natural pool with a wooden walkway, Eco Villa features two bedrooms and an open-plan living area, dining room and kitchen. A slim “technical zone” divides the master suite from the living areas. The exterior is clad in a combination of Corten steel panels, plaster and wood screens and is punctuated with floor-to-ceiling, triple-pane glass to bring the outdoors in. The operable walls of glass and strategically placed skylights fill the home with natural light.

As with the exterior, the interior features a natural materials palette and a minimalist design. Timber is the predominate material that ties the various spaces together, from the cabinetry in the bathrooms to the flooring in the living spaces. Clean lines, simple forms and select pops of color — like the blue tile wall divider in the bathroom — make the home look contemporary and cozy without visual clutter.

In addition to solar panels, the Eco Villa is equipped with a heat pump. The use of renewable energy combined with highly efficient insulation and an emphasis on natural daylighting has made the home capable of generating all of its own energy — sometimes with power left over to send back to the grid.

Builder Online
Check out what M&A meisters Michael Kahn, Joe Walsh, and Peter Hazeloop have to say about deal flow in a new period of growing uncertainty.

Michael P. Kahn is one of home building's most-active and--at age 83--most-senior, active senior statesmen. He has known most of the people who run America's big home building companies since they were kids.

They take his call. They return his call. Or they initiate contact with him when they're thinking about selling or buying a home building firm. They've been doing that for about as long as anybody can remember. His knowledge of what they do, what they care about, and fret about, and get really excited about dates back to his own days as a builder and developer in the early 1960s and spans, from then to now, across 125 home building firm mergers and acquisitions deals since 1988. That's an average of one closing every 90 days for the past 31 years.

And there are more in the pipeline.

"They keep calling me," says Kahn, whom Century Communities co-ceo Dale Fransescon has knighted "the dean of home building M&A," and who tried--unsuccessfully--to retire in 2011 as the Great Recession held the business in its tight grip. "We're working with three companies right now who are looking to sell, and I just got contacted to do some buy-side work for a public builder looking to acquire."

The reason they "keep calling" Mike, and the reason they keep returning his calls is pretty simple. Mike knows that good deals equate to value both buyer and seller get--beyond fair dollar market value for tangible real estate assets--and both buyers and sellers trust him and his process to deliver on expectations that particular combination sets. Deals that go well, Mike will tell you, do so not only on the back of KPIs, but human beings. Deals that don't often look great on paper but fail the people sniff test.

Today is tricky for M&A.

Seller motivation and urgency come from a pool of both shared and unique issues. Same with buyer goals. In one instance, an interested seller may be "of an age" where he or she wants an exit before the next down cycle, whenever that may be. In another, the goal may be tantamount to a deep-pocketed capital partner for a growth path into the next up cycle. Buyers may want deeper market scale, or greater exposure to customer segments, such as entry-level or 55+, or may want to thwart rivals in a market, or may want to establish a beachhead in a market new to their footprint.

At the same time, uncertainty, volatility, and an absence of predictability pronounce themselves as ever more material challenges for those who're trying to model growth, profits, and opportunity and risk.

As is always the case where people transact, highly motivated or time-constrained buyers will value the same assets higher than those whose urgency settings are in a longer-term frame. The same goes for sellers--keenness to close opens them to greater willingness to negotiate terms.

It's generally acknowledged that the pace of deals has slowed, but for Michael Kahn & Associates, the cadence has kept up. So, he's reached out to two long-time partners Peter Hazeloop and Joe Walsh, principals of Hazeloop-Walsh & Associates, to carry important parts of each process forward over the months buyers and sellers take to combine from this point forward. Kahn and his firm will partner with Hazeloop and Walsh's company in a joint venture, reuniting them for the research, due diligence, valuation, negotiation, and other disciplines they've mastered as match-makers for decades.

Michael, Joe, and Peter have outlined, exclusively for BUILDER, some of their take on the current drivers of M&A business activity, and where they're headed leading into 2020 and beyond. What follows is their co-authored perspectives on key dynamics motivating buyers and sellers in the late-stage recovery housing has entered:

Current State:
The height of post-recovery home building M&A activity spanned from 2013 to 2017, and it has cooled off somewhat since then. This is due in part because the number of quality candidates has fallen off as many have been acquired. By quality candidates, we mean builders with a three- to four-year land pipeline, a solid management team who will commit to staying on, profitability in the high-end of the range for their market and with a meaningful market share. Another reason for the fall-off is that, in many of the major markets, the large public builders have now re-established their market share since shuttering or shrinking their
Benjamin Minnick
When finished in August 2020, the 850-foot-tall building will be the city's second-tallest skyscraper.

Workers on Thursday raised the final steel beam into place atop the 58-story Rainier Square tower at Fifth Avenue and Union Street in downtown Seattle.

A news release from developer Wright Runstad & Co. says ironworkers and other tradespeople have put in 500,000 hours of labor so far on the $570 million project. When finished in August 2020, the 850-foot-tall building will be the city's second-tallest skyscraper, below the 933-foot-tall Columbia Center.

Rainier Square will have 722,000 square feet of office space, 191 luxury apartments on floors 39 through 58, nearly 80,000 square feet of retail space and a seven-level underground parking garage. Apartments will be available in one-, two- and three-bedroom layouts, with penthouse units on the top.

Runstad says it will be one of the largest mixed-use buildings in the country, at 1.17 million square feet.

Amazon leased all of the project's office space, but earlier this year decided to sublease instead of occupy it. Much of the retail space will be taken by a 20,000-square-foot PCC Community Market and an Equinox fitness club. Runstad says additional tenants will be announced closer to opening.

Apartment marketing is expected to start early next year.

The project is on the north half of the block, where the old Rainier Square shopping center once stood. The building's east facade slopes up to its 40th floor.

Structural engineer Magnusson Klemencic Associates designed a unique concrete-filled composite plate sheer wall core for the building. The system allowed workers to assemble two floors per week. MKA says the system uses two steel plates connected by steel cross ties that are then filled with high-strength concrete — there's no rebar.

Lease Crutcher Lewis is the general contractor and NBBJ is the architect.

Runstad has an 80-year ground lease on the site from owner University of Washington.

Most of the project's financing is coming from a U.S. pension fund advised by J.P. Morgan Asset Management.
PAD Studio
The Lane End House by PAD studio incorporates natural building material and sustainable solutions to increase energy-efficiency. The resulting design creates a passive home with a smaller environmental footprint and a focus on sustainability.

The exterior of the house contains balcony areas that act as solar shading for the property, complete with thoughtfully-placed openings to create a greater distribution of natural ventilation to rid the home of intense heat during the hot Summer months.

Landscape-wise, the clients wanted to incorporate a natural feel as often as possible, with large windows to connect the inhabitants with the outdoors and a functioning herb garden located on the first floor balcony. The placement of the grand windows creates natural sunlight to light the home during the day while incorporating more profound landscape views.

According to the client, “we wanted a house that was big enough to comfortably accommodate the two of us and our lifestyle – and no bigger. For us that meant carefully considered, flexible, multipurpose spaces that created a sense of space whilst retaining a modest footprint.”

High quality, insulated timber wood used to create the frame both reduces the need for artificial cooling and heating in the home, and provides an eco-friendly alternative to traditional (and heavy carbon emission-inducing) building materials. Additionally, the timber is locally-produced from renewable sources and the brick used to make the fireplace is hand-made by local vendors. On the ground floor, concrete was inserted to make the structure even more air-tight and regulate interior temperatures even further.

The builders installed a MVHR system designed to recycle heat produced from the kitchen and bathroom and mix it with clean air circulated through the ventilation and naturally colder areas of the house.

In addition to completing the standard methods such as SAP calculations and EPS ratings, the impressive home was also built to Passive House ideology.

Deborah DeGraffenreid via North River Architecture & Planning
In New York’s Hudson Valley, a beautiful new beacon for sustainable, net-zero design has taken root. New York-based North River Architecture & Planning recently added another energy-efficient build to its growing portfolio of environmentally friendly projects — the Accord Passive House, a modern home that has not only achieved PHIUS+ Certification but also boasts no net energy costs annually.

Located in the hamlet of Accord, the contemporary house is sensitive to both the environment as well as the local culture and history. The architects drew inspiration from the rural farm buildings for the design of a gabled, barn-like house that emphasizes connection with the outdoors and flexible living spaces accommodating of the homeowners’ changing needs. As with traditional farm buildings, the construction materials were selected for longevity, durability and low-maintenance properties.

Galvanized corrugated steel siding wraps the exterior, while a trowel-finished concrete slab is used for the floor inside and is visually tied to the xeriscaped pea gravel patio that requires no irrigation. “Trim materials inside and out were chosen for their adaptive reuse and low resource extraction properties, including the use of engineered lumber for trim work, salvaged white oak slats and carmelized cork throughout the project,” the firm added. “The cork was used inside and out for its sustainable harvest and broad utility for acoustics, water resistance and insulation value.”

Topped with a 9kW photovoltaic array, the impressive net-zero energy build was also created to show how Passive House design can be beautiful, resilient and comfortable without incurring sky-high costs. The firm said it has achieved “a competitive price per square foot relative to regional costs for this market niche.” During construction, the architects hosted open-house learning events to promote open-source sharing of energy-efficient design methods and solutions with the local community.

In her review of the 2019 Housing Futures conference in Melbourne, Alysia Bennett finds a forum that “provides a concrete and acute understanding of the implications of possibilities and barriers to delivery and scalability of best practice housing.”

Housing Futures is a gathering of architectural practitioners discussing recently completed multi-residential projects that demonstrate innovation. The one-day symposium is an important forum in the Australian housing sector as it provides a concrete and acute understanding of the implications of possibilities and barriers to delivery and scalability of best practice housing. The 2019 program featured a diverse range of projects from climate focused luxury high-rise residential projects in Queensland to micro architectural interventions in semi-formal Asian apartments. Despite their differences, three common ideas for the future of the sector emerged: the importance of cultural and contextual specificity, approaches to physical and regulatory flexibility and the need for accountability in order to achieve built quality.


443 Queens Street, Brisbane, shared by Architectus design strategy leader Elizabeth Watson-Brown in conversation with Cbus Property Development Manager Michelle Fitzgerald, demonstrated that high-rise residential towers can be highly responsive to context even if in flood prone, subtropical climates. To overcome precedent and expectation, the profitability of an alternative approach was demonstrated through designing and continuously comparing two tower schemes to investors - one representing the status quo and one that pushed against contextually inappropriate rules and expectations. Similarly, Karen Alcock of MA Architects demonstrated that it impossible to get developers to build high-quality apartments primarily designed for people, not government targets, by demonstrating that specificity can minimise development risk through market diversification.

A valuable counterpoint to the luxury apartments came from Domat’s Maggie Ma who presented eye opening research and sensitive architectural engagement on the semi-legal apartment subdivision phenomenon spreading through Hong Kong’s residential towers. Domat focused on better organising the interior spaces through the design and construction of furniture pieces that the family owned and could take with them rather than increasing the capital value of the landlord’s property and the uncertainty of the household’s tenure.

Similarly, Kieran Wong’s research in East Arnhem Land exposed the legacy of decades of FIFO architects working in remote communities, demonstrating how poor living conditions were directly created by the use of climatically responsive yet culturally incompatible designs in Indigenous housing. In response, Wong and the Fulcrum Agency are working with Gregson Lalara and other Traditional Owners of the Groote Archipelago to develop a series of guidelines that help to translate some of the cultural sensitivities into new masterplans and policies. The Fulcrum Agency and Domat’s work highlights the need for architects to reflect on and adjust bias that they bring to the design process, and what their contribution may be, in order create appropriate housing that is fit for purpose now and into the future.


Wong’s studies on the spatial implication of births, deaths and marriages in the Groote Archipelago also demonstrated that household needs are not static conditions and that culturally appropriate housing strategies need to consider spatial flexibility. By extension, Simon Allford, of the UK’s Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, showed that flexibility is key to not only accommodate household shifts but to safeguard for uses that don’t yet exist via a ‘long life, loose fit’ mentality and the use of frame-based construction systems. Similarly, in reflecting on projects completed over a decade ago at Neometro, Alcock demonstrated the benefits of a ‘wear in, not wear out’ approach to apartment design. Specifically, she called for architects to push back against pressures from real estate agents to design interiors for interior marketing renders and instead focus on the design of robust and generous space that is able to retain quality despite the inevitable refurbishment of kitchens and bathrooms every five to ten years.

However, she was quick to point out that many of the designs are now no longer possible due to the introduction of Apartment Guidelines. The inflexibility of regulation became a recurring point of discussion with Allford agreeing that, based on London’s regulations that he argued were written for a different
Ruy Teixeira
Brazilian architect Marilia Pellegrini has unveiled Casa Container in São Paulo, a micro home inside two shipping containers filled with Nendo furniture.

Pellegrini designed the 18-square-metre show home to demonstrate that recycled shipping containers can be disguised and used for high-end housing.

The architect referenced modern, minimalist Japanese design with Casa Container's interiors, citing Muji art director Kenya Hara's style influence and including pieces of furniture designed by Nendo founder Oki Sato.

Casa Container was unveiled at the 2019 Casacor exhibition, an annual architecture and interiors show in São Paulo.

Two 12-metre-long containers have been laid next to each other, with their corrugated metal structures covered entirely in white Dekton.

This surface material by Cosentino is made from quartz, porcelain, and glass, fused together under high pressure to form a UV- and heat-resistant slab that is harder than granite.

Large glazed walls and doors on the front facade allow light in and can slide back to open out onto a landscaped patio planted with bamboo designed by Studio Clariça Lima.

Windows on the other side create a cross breeze, and slim white Dekton louvres shade the glass walls from direct sunlight. The floors, walls and all of the interior surfaces are also realised in white Dekton, along with marble-effect surfaces.

"Making it all white has the main purpose of giving it evenness, and enlightening the sense of space," said Pellegrini.

Casa Container is separated into two halves, with a living and dining space to one side and a bedroom with a private en-suite bathroom on the other.

The grey fabric sofa is by Sao Paulo design studio Estudiobola. Recessed strip-lighting emitting a soft glow runs through the rooms and over the bed.

Pellegrini is following in the footsteps of other architects who have repurposed shipping containers for housing.

Japanese architect Kengo Kuma used stacked white shipping containers for a Starbucks coffee shop in Taiwan, as did James Whitaker, who designed a house in the California desert made from white containers splayed at different angles like a star burst.
Chris Mottalini
A weekend retreat in upstate New York brings creative renewal for jewelry scion Evan Yurman and his young family

When Manhattanites are looking for a weekend home, they typi­cally go one of two directions: Jump into the high-octane social swirl of the Hamptons or head for the hills upstate. Born and bred in the former camp, Evan Yurman wanted a little quiet escapism when the time came to plant roots of his own. “There are a lot of people that you know here,” the chief creative officer of David Yurman says of the historically artistic Catskill Mountains where he and his wife, Ku-Ling, retreat with their three children. “But you never see them.”

The couple spent years house-hunting before they happened upon the perfect spot: an old bluestone quarry (Evan quips that it wasn’t a very productive one) perched on the side of a mountain with nearly 200 acres unfolding beneath it. The base structure had originally been built as a commercial studio for fine-art photographer Hans Gissinger and was converted into a bachelor pad before the Yurmans came into the picture. “It just wasn’t homey,” Evan says, adding with a laugh, “We had to exorcise the place.” Enlisting Moschella Roberts Architects, with whom they also collaborated on their West Village residence, they redesigned and expanded the existing structure to fit their aesthetic and familial needs, while adding a swimming pool and converting a barn into a poolhouse. A 14-seat basement screening room that was discovered only after they closed on the property remains happily intact for popcorn-fueled movie nights.

The interior of the home is now wrapped in linear slabs of wood and concrete that simultaneously project coolness and warmth. “I have an allergy to drywall,” remarks Evan of the design choice. He and Ku-Ling collaborated on the decorating, which features a revolving roster of midcentury pieces, from Ib Kofod-Larsen and Hans Wegner chairs to Noguchi lamps, all in honest, authentic materials. “Nothing fussy,” he notes, adding, “I love chairs. I don’t know if it’s a guy thing. My wife says it is. If we find ourselves in an area with good furniture, we just buy stuff and fill containers. We have more furniture than we have a place for.” It’s turned out to be a convenient predicament for his role overseeing the design of the new David Yurman flagship on 57th Street in New York City, where he’s parked some of his most prized possessions—among them a pair of Philip Arctander clam chairs and a Heinz Lilienthal brutalist table. “They’re on loan,” he says with a wink.

The creative cross-pollination between his worlds doesn’t end there, though. He regularly sneaks away to the country solo during the week to work on the collections. “It’s so quiet. You can really focus when you’re here. Then you drive back to the city the next morning for work.”

Denilson Machado of MCA Estúdio
A stark white latticework volume conceals kitchen cabinets and a bathroom in this São Paulo apartment, designed by local architecture studio NJ+.

Called Dendê Duratex House, the 155-square-metre studio apartment is laid out as an open-plan L-shaped space. It comprises a bedroom at one end and a lounge at the other with a kitchen in between.

Off the sitting area is a larger living room, positioned next to a lush garden.

A free-standing lattice volume acts as a divider between different the kitchen and bedroom, and accommodates the kitchen cabinetry as well as a bathroom.

NJ+ studio, led by Nildo José, designed the Dendê Duratex House with Brazilian manufacturing company Duratex for Casacor, an interior design festival in São Paulo.

José created the one-bedroom apartment around the festival's theme, Planet Home. He took many cues from the Brazilian state Bahia, where he grew up.

Among these details is dark wood panelling that references Bahia's Jacaranda trees. Walls covered in burnt cement coating in a contrasting pale colour take cues the light and simple architecture of its beach houses.

"Every detail reflects a special bond with his homeland in a sober way, rich in art, bossa nova and poetry," said NJ+ studio in a project description.

Dendê, in name of the project, is also a reference to a fruit from a palm tree native to West of Africa that is commonly in northeast Brazilian cuisine, including Bahia.

The home's interiors comprise a monochrome palette of grey stone floors, a slatted dark wood wall that arches to form the ceiling, and numerous bright white furnishings.

Double-height glass walls line all three of the rooms, and bring in plenty of natural light.

At the entrance is a marble slab of rock salt with a 15-metre long strip of LED light underneath, which "recalls Bahian mysticism in a creative and subtle way". Another rock-like design runs along the bottom of the floor.
The first images of Kanye West's prototype housing for the homeless have been revealed, as the musician faces an order to tear down the structures following complaints over construction noise.

One photo, captured by tabloid news site TMZ, shows a series of incomplete structures at West's sprawling home in Calabasas Hills, California. Another set of aerial shots, published by Metro, captures structures of different sizes and shapes being built.

Comprising domes covered in a wooden lattice, the constructions are believed to be prototypes of the prefabricated, affordable Yeezy Home units, which mark West's first foray into architecture. TMZ added that a source close to West told the publication that the structures are temporary.

West ordered to take prototypes down

TMZ captured the housing as West has encountered some road blocks in the construction of the mock-ups on the site of the property he shares with reality star Kim Kardashian.

Attention was brought to the site when several of his neighbours complained to the Los Angeles County Department of Works about construction taking place late at night.

West has also claimed that the structures were temporary, however, inspectors reportedly found them built atop concrete foundations, which suggested otherwise.

This week, the musician was asked to apply for a building permit to allow him to legally construct the prototypes, or take down the domes, within 45 days.

Yeezy Homes take cues from Star Wars

The hip-hop artist and producer revealed that the units are intended as low-income housing or accommodation for homeless people in a cover interview with Forbes.

The domed structure takes cues from the houses on the fictional desert planet of Tatooine, the home of Luke and Anakin Skywalker in the Star Wars series.

The homes are also expected to be partially sunken, like the residences on the movie set, with a lightwell carved into the top to provide plenty of illumination. In the new photos, each of the structures features a large opening in the top.

Musician wants to use architecture to "make the world better"

The musician has been vocal about his passion for architecture for many years, telling students on a visit to Harvard Graduate School of Design in 2013 that "the world can be saved through design".

In 2018, he announced his plans to add the architecture arm, Yeezy Home, to his Yeezy label via Twitter in a bid to "make the world better".

Shortly afterwards, fashion designer Jalil Peraza revealed renders of prefabricated concrete affordable-housing for Yeezy Home on Instagram but the posts have since been deleted.

While some may be skeptical of Kanye's expertise in the architecture field, "hip-hop architect" Michael Ford spoke to Dezeen about the importance of black musicians like West and Pharrell Williams, who heavily promote their involvement in architecture, in improving diversity in the profession.
Trent Bell
In Englishman Bay, where his relatives have summered since the 19th century, a musician builds an idyllic hideaway for his family and their three parrots.

"When I was growing up, we went to a little log cabin in Maine," says a musician now based in Colorado. "It sounds romantic, but it really was three boys stuck in a one-room cabin with a loft. Maine can be rainy, foggy, and dreary. We’d go a little stir crazy." Like many childhood summers, his was a mix of boredom and adventure. Part of the romance was his family’s deep roots in the isolated area of Englishman Bay, a two-hour drive east of the bustling seaside community of Bar Harbor. His father had been born in the cabin, and relatives had been summering in the region since the 1880s. And, on sunny days, Maine was fun. He and his brothers played in the woods and clambered over the rocks by the ocean. All the same, he and his brothers were ready to go home at summer’s end.

Englishman Bay Retreat resides on a plot of land next door to the homeowner’s parents’ property; he remembers traversing it as a child to get to the pebbled beach. Clad in hardy local hemlock and raised on galvanized steel piers with board-formed concrete wrapping the ground floor’s mechanical systems, the residence is designed to endure through the ages.

Now he, his wife, and their two daughters still visit Englishman Bay, but their vacation home is decidedly more stylish. In late 2015, they asked Whitten Architects and Nate Holyoke Builders (in Portland and Holden, respectively) for a durable, minimalist home, simultaneously rustic and Scandinavian, that would sit lightly on the land and make use of local materials whenever possible. (They knew Whitten and Holyoke’s work because the team had built a nearby Norwegian-inspired home for the musician’s cousin.) Principal architect Russ Tyson translated the family’s request into a striking, partially transparent house with simple geometries. The U-shaped dwelling comprises three primary forms: a three-story entry tower with a roof deck, a rectangular bedroom wing, and a dramatic, three-season glassed-in porch—organized around a double-sided concrete chimney—that serves as a great room.

Maria Saxton studied the habits of 80 recent tiny home buyers

Tiny house proponents have long lauded the compact dwellings as an environmental savior. The smaller the home, the smaller the footprint, right? That argument has helped boost the popularity of tiny homes, but until now, there wasn’t much in the way of actual research on the topic.

Maria Saxton, a PhD Candidate in environmental planning and design at Virginia Tech, spent a year studying the environmental impact of people who moved into tiny homes, and she found that most tiny home dwellers reduced their energy consumption by 45 percent upon downsizing.

How did she get to this number? Saxton lays out her methodology in The Conversation:

To do this, I calculated their spatial footprints in terms of global hectares, considering housing, transportation, food, goods, and services. For reference, one global hectare is equivalent to about 2.5 acres, or about the size of a single soccer field.

I found that among 80 tiny home downsizers located across the United States, the average ecological footprint was 3.87 global hectares, or about 9.5 acres. This means that it would require 9.5 acres to support that person’s lifestyle for one year. Before moving into tiny homes, these respondents’ average footprint was 7.01 global hectares (17.3 acres). For comparison, the average American’s footprint is 8.4 global hectares, or 20.8 acres.

After surveying 80 downsizers, she learned that a change in square footage often leads to a change in lifestyle habits. People living in tiny homes were more likely to grow their own food, buy less stuff, recycle more, and generate less trash. On the flip side, some tiny dwellers traveled more often and ate more meals out due to the constraints of the tiny home lifestyle.

Saxton hopes that the information will be useful to cities considering how to zone for tiny homes. It’s also a wealth of information for tiny home designers, who can start to think about how to build a kitchen that inspires downsizers to cook their own meals.