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Interior Design Media
Office design provided some of the most surprisingly cool projects of the past year as traditionally sedate corporate workplaces transitioned to dramatic social hubs designed with the wants and needs of employees in mind. Here are the most creative office projects of 2019—three of which won Best of Year awards and five of which were honorees.

Boies Schiller Flexner Law Office in New York by Schiller Projects

A modernist architect might begin a design with a concept, simple enough to draw on a restaurant napkin. A structuralist might import a typology, everything understood in advance. A text-driven architect might initiate a project with a theory. But for Aaron Schiller, principal of the integrated architecture, design, branding, and strategy consultancy, Schiller Projects, the process always starts with data. Asked to design the New York headquarters for Boies Schiller Flexner, a high-profile international law practice relocating from Midtown to Hudson Yards, the first thing Schiller and his team did was to descend on the firm’s existing offices and, like sociologists with iPads and notebooks in hand, observe work patterns, chart logistics, conduct interviews, and weigh expectations. The result speaks for itself—and won the 2019 Best of Year Award for Medium Corporate Office.

Campari’s New York Headquarters by Gensler

These days, workplaces often contain cafés, wellness rooms, and lounges galore. But a bar? Not as likely... let alone four of them. But such is the case at the North American headquarters of the Campari Group—the Milan-based company famous for its bright-red namesake aperitif—that now also counts more than 50 other beverage brands in its portfolio. Mix them all together, and it makes Campari Group the sixth largest spirits company in the world—a feat worthy of celebrating. Gensler helped the group do so with its new two-story New York office and won the 2019 Best of Year Award for Corporate Cafeteria/Bar.

Sunbrella’s North Carolina Headquarters by Tsao & McKown

“We truly cross the divide,” Calvin Tsao begins, meaning: “We’re equally comfortable with architecture and interior design.” So naturally Tsao & McKown was among the talented mix-masters that members of the Gant family wanted to meet when they were planning headquarters in Burlington, North Carolina, for their growing Sunbrella brand. The Gants had their eye on converting the early 20th-century former mill they owned. “We had the aha moment, literally, in looking at our birthplace,” Glen Raven chairman Allen Gant Jr. says. “So we weren’t looking for an architect who could design us the most beautiful building—we felt we already had that. But instead for someone who could understand the functionality of the business.” The result earned Tsao & McKown a 2019 Best of Year Award for Manufacturer Headquarters.

Google’s Los Angeles Office by ZGF Architects

It was inevitable. Google, which we like to call the first stop for everything, would one day expand its presence in Los Angeles. When that time came, not just any venue would do. The company alit at the hangar built in 1943 to house Hughes Aircraft Company’s Spruce Goose. Google and ZGF Architects had already worked together on six projects, but this would be the largest effort that either had ever undertaken in the realm of adaptive reuse. “The outcome was unknown when we embarked on the project,” Google project executive R.G. Kahoe says. “But we knew we could do something amazing, a moon-shot idea, as well as being the correct stewards for the building.” The project was a Best of Year honoree in the Office Transformation category.

Showtime’s Los Angeles Office by CannonDesign

Some of the edgiest programs to hit the airwaves come from Showtime: Dexter, Homeland, Ray Donovan, Billions. The list goes on. You’d never have guessed, however, from visiting the Los Angeles office. The space was unremarkable at best. Relocation offered the opportunity to create “an environment that was warm and welcoming, cool without being trendy,” says Showtime Networks president of entertainment Jana Winograde. For that, kudos go to CannonDesign where Principal Chari Jalali led the project from L.A., while design principal Robert Benson commuted from Chicago. And the project earned Best of Year honoree status for Creative Office.

Mark Jackson
Founder of his eponymous Fayetteville, Ark., firm, Blackwell will be awarded the Institute’s highest honor at the 2020 AIA National Conference on Architecture in Los Angeles.

This afternoon, The American Institute of Architects announced that Marlon Blackwell, FAIA, will receive the 2020 Gold Medal, the organization's highest honor recognizing "an individual whose significant body of work has had a lasting influence on the theory and practice of architecture," according to an AIA press release.

Born in Germany, Blackwell received a B.Arch. from Auburn University and an M.Arch. from Syracuse University in Syracuse, N.Y. In 2000, Blackwell founded his eponymous, Fayetteville, Ark., firm Marlon Blackwell Architects, focusing his work in Northwest Arkansas. He is the E. Fay Jones Chair in Architecture and a distinguished professor in the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design at the University of Arkansas.

“Marlon Blackwell is a student of his ‘place’ in the world. This ethic provides a philosophical coherence to his work,” wrote Brian MacKay-Lyons in a letter supporting Blackwell’s nomination. “His is a uniquely American architecture; he builds confidently upon the American cultural landscape. His ‘cultural realist’ approach is democratic, looking to the ordinary and the everyday for inspiration. It is connected to society, rather than being aloof. This is not a nostalgic architecture, but an architecture of its time and place.”

Over the last 20 years, Blackwell's firm has been awarded 20 national and 14 international design awards including the Cooper Hewitt National Design Award. In 2017, he received the E. Fay Jones Gold Medal from AIA Arkansas. In 2018, he was inducted into the National Academy of Design in 2018 and he was selected as the William A. Bernoudy Architect in Residence at the American Academy in Rome.

Blackwell's notable projects include the Harvey Pediatric Clinic in Rodgers, Ark. (2017), the St. Nicholas Eastern Orthodox Church in Fayetteville, Ark. (2012), and the Steven L. Anderson Design Center and Vol Walker Hall at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Ark. (2013).

“Every Marlon Blackwell design is a new lesson in the transformative ability of architecture to reveal the uniqueness of every site and give meaning to any program, to achieve an expressive clarity in strong and simple forms,” wrote Julie V. Snow, AIA, in a letter supporting Blackwell’s nomination. “In every way, across all measures, the work raises our expectations for our own architecture and teaches us that it is possible to exceed what appears to limit us.”

The jury for the 2020 AIA Gold Medal was chaired by Kelly Hayes-McAlonie, FAIA, director of campus planning at the University of Buffalo, New York; and comprised Emily Grandstaff-Rice, FAIA, senior associate at Arrowstreet in Sommerville, Mass.; Norman Foster, Hon. FAIA, founder of Foster + Partners in London; Marsha Maytum, FAIA, founding principal of LMS in San Francisco; Takashi Yanai, FAIA, partner at Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects in Culver City, Calif.; Scott Shell, FAIA, principal at EHDD in San Francisco; Melissa Harlan, AIA, architect at Kiku Obata & Co. in St. Louis; and Maurice Cox former planning director for the City of Detroit.

MNLA
Conversations around resiliency today seem to imply that planners and designers might be capable of—might even be expected to—save every building and public space at risk. The sad truth is, however, that we cannot, and perhaps we should not. Climate change and its attendant sea level rise will radically redraw urban edges, forcing us to make difficult decisions. Even if we had the vast sums of money required to protect the precarious status quo, that might not be enough to stave off the inevitable.

So, then: What are our priorities? How do we choose what to save? How do we responsibly chart this uncertain future? I believe the answers to these and similar questions should begin with an honest assessment of three essential considerations:

(1) Consider the useful life of buildings, structures, and public spaces. When thinking about how to apportion funds for resiliency and risk assessment, the “useful life” of a facility should be a key determinant in what is saved (note that I do not say “protect,” a potentially more accessible goal). Every structure and public space is designed to have a “useful life”: an anticipated life span based on design and construction. This is usually determined by clients, but it should be a significant consideration for designers, too. For example, hospitals are designed for, at minimum, a 100-year existence, even if internal mechanical systems require upgrading to keep pace with technological advances.

Sadly, housing—particularly standalone and attached residences—typically falls far below this threshold. One of the major challenges for this sector is that we largely construct these buildings with concrete, which is also true for infrastructure. Exposed-concrete structures, such as bridges and tunnels, have an approximate 50-to-60-year life span. In other words, New York’s Robert Moses-era infrastructure has now reached the end of its viability. Steel structures are also limited, if they are not regularly inspected and monitored for rust and deterioration. As a result, in the future, hospitals located near or in flood zones might warrant saving, but at-risk housing and infrastructure might not.

(2) Evaluate their worth to society. Every structure and space should be considered in terms of the value to people of its ability to withstand the impacts of a physically disruptive occurrence—i.e., the ability to recover from a traumatic event—and supported accordingly. Critical facilities include hospitals, food storage and delivery systems, and infrastructure such as bridges, roads, and telecommunications that provide evacuation and emergency response opportunities. Among these, facilities considered highly critical should be evaluated based on their capacity to integrate redundant systems that will enable them to function immediately following a catastrophic event. For example, following Hurricane Sandy, a number of major facilities along New York’s Upper East Side “Hospital Row” lacking in-built redundancy had their mechanical systems overwhelmed by flooding, which resulted in weeks of disruption to crucial medical care.

Considering public spaces, one might ask whether parks, for example, are “critical infrastructure.” Clearly, they are not vital to one’s ability to recover or survive a catastrophic event, but are they critical in terms of daily life? I would argue that they are. So what level of risk are we willing to accept for parkland? And if this parkland—125 of New York City’s 525-mile-long coastline, for example—is within a zone of vulnerability from storms and sea level rise, then will we slowly see the disappearance of it as seas rise and storm frequency accelerates? Should we be planning to replace that parkland elsewhere? Should we relocate (“retreat”) people from coastal communities so that we can build replacement parks at a higher elevation (a highly unlikely option)? Or do we simply accept this “taking” of parkland by natural forces? On the other hand, when is a “floodable park” no longer usable? When it floods monthly, or weekly, or diurnally with the tide? All of these elements come into consideration when evaluating the investment value of resiliency interventions in these spaces.

(3) Officially categorize structures and spaces and take action based on risk management and climate change considerations. The NYC Mayor’s Office of Climate Policy an
Keith Negley
Over the last 50 years, a once-nascent conversation about sustainability has evolved into a full-scale priority for the profession.

Passive design—or design that takes advantage of the climate to maintain a comfortable temperature range—has been used to heat and cool living spaces throughout human history, but the practice saw a strong groundswell among architects in the United States in the 1970s.

The 1973 oil embargo, sweeping policy overhauls like the Clean Water Act, and the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency all contributed to the conviction of a small group of passionate and environmentally conscious architects that they needed to design differently. These architects saw it as an essential task to revive practices that could heat and cool buildings without relying on the energy-intensive mechanical systems introduced in the decades prior. In the process, much of the sustainability discourse present in the architectural profession today began to take shape.

With climate change conversations becoming increasingly urgent, sustainability has shifted from a nascent movement to a major focus. We talked to four architects—two who started their careers working on passive residential projects in the 1970s, and two leading sustainability initiatives at larger firms today—about how they use passive design techniques, how a drive for designing lowenergy buildings informs their practice, and what sustainability means to them.

David Wright, Owner, David Wright, Architect, Grass Valley, Calif.

David Wright is a pioneer in the field of passive solar design, a practice he still continues today. He is also the author of The Passive Solar Primer: Sustainable Architecture (Schiffer Publishing, 2008).,

I graduated from CalPoly [California State Polytechnic University] in 1964, and there was not a lot of concern for energy conservation in the early ’60s. I joined the Peace Corps and was assigned to Tunisia, and one of the projects I worked on was a 60-unit affordable housing design for police, schoolteachers, and nurses—people who couldn’t necessarily afford “good” housing. I had learned several things about some of the traditional architecture in North Africa, which used natural conditioning features—orienting the buildings properly to let in sunlight in the wintertime, and allowing breezes off the Mediterranean to cool them in the summertime. Lo and behold, the buildings worked to naturally heat and cool themselves.

I finished my stint there and was reassigned to Guinea, in tropical West Africa. My job was to design and build an agricultural junior college, 300 kilometers up in the jungle. There, I was designing for a whole different climate. I looked at traditional ways of keeping the rainfall out, making sure the breeze could blow through, and generally adapting the buildings to the climate zone.

When I came back to the U.S. and became licensed, I moved to New Mexico because I was enamored with the idea of using natural materials like adobe. I analyzed the performance characteristics of traditional adobes in conjunction with more modern materials, and with—by then—a very strong understanding of physics and the laws of nature, started developing what became known as passive solar techniques.

It was fascinating to evolve new ways of space-conditioning buildings, and when the 1973 oil crisis occurred, we went from what I call the “lunatic fringe”—people out there in New Mexico trying to figure stuff out—to what I call “lunatic center.” All of the magazines, all of the newspapers, and all of the people writing books showed up to check out what was going on.

From then on, everything we did was an evolution. I got away from adobe and into super-insulated and earth-integrated buildings, especially in Oklahoma and Minnesota—but with heavy insulation and thermal mass, using all of the principals of passive solar. At the time, my staff and I all thought, “We’re going to revolutionize architecture here because we’re going to create buildings that are functionally formed in response to the climate, and that will become a methodology for architects all over the world to start developing their own microclimate regional-style buildings.”

It’s still totally fascinating to me as an [older] architect. I’m amazed at how the code [has] changed and how, today, the things that I and a couple of other guys [were talking about] in the 1970s are actually in the code now, especially in California—you have to pay atten
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.


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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.
Gensler
A European hotel brand entering the South Florida market broke ground on one of its three forthcoming locations.

And more may be coming.

The Netherlands-based citizenM broke ground on Thursday at the Miami Worldcenter. The 128,000-square-foot hotel at 700 NE Second Ave. will rise up to 12 stories with 351 rooms. It will cost more than $100 million to build, said Craig Kinnon, citizenM project director.

The company will have two other hotels in the Magic City, one at the former Perricone’s restaurant in Brickell and another near the Lincoln Road Mall.

The hotel brand made its U.S. debut in New York in 2014.

“Who’s to say in time we won’t be in Wynwood?” Kinnon said about the possibility of future expansions in Miami.

The multiple spaces in Miami will allow guests to select a spot near the amenities they most want to visit, said Kinnon. “Do I want to go to the beach? Do I want to be near the buzz? Am I coming for business?”

The hotel has three other locations in New York and Boston. It will open another in Seattle in 2020, and break ground on other sites in Chicago and Washington, rounding out its U.S. locations to nine offerings.

The Miami Worldcenter location will be completed in mid-summer 2021, according to the project’s general contractor Suffolk Construction’s Project Executive Alex Suarez.

The other two citizenM projects will also be completed in 2021, said Kinnon.

citizenM is the first of three planned hotels to break ground at the $4 billion mixed-use project Miami Worldcenter spanning 27 acres. A 220-room hotel and 240 condo-hotel Legacy Hotel & Residences is in the pipeline, according to the Next Miami. A 1,700-room Marriott Marquis hotel is also planned.

The former will cater to the luxury market and the latter to the business traveler, said Miami Worldcenter Associates Managing Partner Nitin Motwani.

citizenM will cater to a wide demographic with more affordable pricing, said Motwani. The price range hasn’t been set, according to Kinnon, but prices at other citizenM locations range from the mid-$200s up to the mid-$400s.

Building a city within a city, said Motwani, it’s important to cater to as many demographics as possible.

And more lodges may be coming to Miami Worldcenter.

“Are more hotels in the pipeline? Time will tell,” he said.

Other hospitality brands are also entering or expanding in the market with spots near Downtown Miami, including Virgin Hotels and AC Hotel by Marriott alongside Element by Westin.

“It’s exciting the vibrancy in downtown with the Design District, Wynwood and Edgewater. I’m excited about the different hotel brands coming into Miami,” said Wendy Kallergis, president and CEO of the Greater Miami & the Beaches Hotel Association.
CitizenM
CitizenM is due to break ground this week on its Miami Worldcenter hotel designed by Gensler and its long-term collaborator Concrete, which will mix feature-rich rooms with a varied amenities offering for guests.

The 128,000sq ft (11,900sq m), 12-storey hotel will accommodate 351 guestrooms, all with rain showers, motorised blinds and adaptable lighting colours.

Rooms will also feature king-size wall-to-wall beds, widescreen TVs and super-fast Wi-Fi.

Guests will be able to relax at a 10th-floor sundeck and rooftop bar, which will offer views of Biscayne Bay and the downtown Miami skyline.

The hotel will also feature a public art programme and interiors displaying contemporary works, photography and objects by local artists.

As at other CitizenM properties, there will be living room-like common areas, as well as a 1,850sq ft (172sq m) work facility with creative spaces and meeting rooms and a fitness centre with a gym.

Diana Farmer-Gonzalez, principal and co-managing director of Gensler’s Miami office, said: "As a Miamian living and working in the city, I am excited to be working with a brand like citizenM that is redefining the guest experience through smart, efficient rooms and dynamic public spaces that will provide unique environments for travellers, for co-working, business meetings or communal gatherings with colleagues and friends."

A groundbreaking ceremony will take place on 21 November.
Lillie Thompson
Australia’s most exceptionally designed hospitality venues were celebrated at the 2019 Eat Drink Design Awards, which were announced at a ceremony in Melbourne on Tuesday 12 November.

The jury said, “There was one word that arose over and over during our deliberations: restraint.”

“The principle of restraint marked every single winner, as well as many commendations, though it was expressed in myriad ways.”

In 2019, there was a marked increase in entries from regional locations, which was also reflected in the winners of the awards.

“From a pink-hued bar in a country town with barely over 2,000 people, to a future-focused CBD restaurant, this year’s winners are very geographically diverse, indicating that in Australia, good design transcends location. It’s something that has permeated out to our suburbs and our regional areas, which should be applauded,” said Cassie Hansen, jury chair and editor of Artichoke magazine.

The jury also selected one iconic hospitality venue to enter the Eat Drink Design Awards Hall of Fame. Venues considered for this accolade have achieved a level of cultural significance as well as demonstrating longevity in an industry often categorized as transient.

The 2019 jury comprised Besha Rodell (restaurant critic for the New York Times’ Australia bureau), Nathan Toleman (restauranteur, CEO and founder of the Mulberry Group), Graham Charbonneau (co-founder of Studio Gram), Phillip Schemnitz (architect of Cookie, the 2018 Hall of Fame inductee) and Cassie Hansen (editor of Artichoke magazine).

Find more information on these projects in the full list of winners below.

2019 Eat Drink Design Awards

Best Bar Design

Blacksmith Lake Mulwala – The Stella Collective

Best Restaurant Design
Di Stasio Citta – Hassell

Best Cafe Design
Via Porta – Studio Esteta

Best Installation Design
The Magic Box – Liminal Objects with Van Tuil

Best Retail Design
Piccolina Collingwood – Hecker Guthrie

Best Hotel Design – joint winners
Drifthouse – Multiplicity
The Calile Hotel – Richards and Spence

Best Identity Design
Lagotto – Studio Hi Ho

Hall of Fame
Cumulus Inc – Pascale Gomes-McNabb

Commendations
See the 14 commended projects across seven categories.

Winners, commended projects and the shortlist are all featured in Artichoke 69, along with a full jury overview. View all the entries and more images at the Eat Drink Design Awards gallery.

The 2019 Eat Drink Design Awards are organized by Architecture Media and supported by major partner Chandon Australia; supporting partners Harbour, Latitude, Ownworld, Roca and Tasmanian Timber and event partners Four Pillars Gin, Jetty Road Brewery and S.Pellegrino.

The Eat Drink Design Awards are endorsed by the Australian Institute of Architects and the Design Institute of Australia.
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.
Climate Reality
o its great credit, the American Institute of Architects recently denounced the Trump administration’s decision to formally withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement. This may put the professional organization on the right side of history, but it’s unlikely to sway any hardened hearts and minds in Washington. Obviously, the executive branch is worse than useless on this issue: not just an impediment to change, but a malevolent force for willful inaction. It’s hard to see it as anything less than an enemy of the climate.

Until this odious cast of characters in changes, climate activists must turn their attention elsewhere. Fortunately there’s an under-the-radar lobbying effort underway in California, by the AIA’s state chapter, that holds the potential to totally transform the building sector. In July, the organization’s Committee on the Environment, in collaboration with Edward Mazria of Architecture 2030, persuaded the California’s AIA’s governing board to support the adoption of a statewide Zero Code as soon as possible. The organization sent a letter to the governor in September, co-signed by leading firms, virtually all of the local chapters, as well as the cities of Berkeley, Santa Monica, Fremont, San Luis Obispo, and Culver City.

Green buildings in California would no longer be about rewarding good intentions or being less bad, no longer be about commemorative plaques or LEED ratings. Emissions-free buildings would be required by law.

If enacted, a Zero Code would essentially mandate emissions-free new buildings almost immediately. (Architecture 2030 defines a Zero Net Carbon building as “a highly energy efficient building that produces on-site, or procures, enough carbon-free renewable energy to meet building operations energy consumption annually.”) Green buildings in California would no longer be about rewarding good intentions or being less bad, no longer be about commemorative plaques or LEED ratings.

Emissions-free buildings would be required by law.

Before we go any further, though, the logical question to ask is the obvious one: Is this even possible? Is it politically feasible? For all of the well-meaning rhetoric swirling around the idea of a Green New Deal, none of it can even begin to happen without fundamental changes in policy, primarily at the state and local level. In California, the adoption of a Zero Code is largely dependent on the strong support of Governor Gavin Newsom, who has not weighed in on the issue.

Mazria initially approached the California AIA with a bolder approach, pushing the idea of an immediate Zero Code adoption via executive order, presumably the fastest route possible. As it turns out, this isn’t an option in California, where energy codes for buildings must be vetted and approved by the California Energy Commission. (The next overhaul will occur in 2022.) The governor, however, exerts a fair amount of control over that body. In two years, Governor Newsom will have either appointed or reappointed a majority of the commissioners on the five-member governing board. If he truly wanted to kick start the Green New Deal, putting his political muscle behind adoption of the Zero Code would be a monumental first step.

In the meantime, AIA California is working on several fronts, pushing and pulling at three different levers of power. “We’re organizing opportunities to enlist Governor Newsom’s active support,” says San Francisco architect William Leddy, who with Mazria helped convince the chapter to support adoption of the clean code. “Thanks to Michael Malinowski, the AIA’s government liaison, we’ve also discovered that there’s an avenue that might be much easier to attempt right now. And that’s to introduce the Zero Code immediately as a ‘reach code’ within CALGreen, which is the California Green Building Standard. We believe this approach doesn’t require the energy commission process. It would give cities around the state the option to adopt the Zero Code now, while we continue to pursue formal statewide adoption through the lengthy code-revision process.”

The reason these considerations are even possible is why Mazria approached the California AIA in the first place. Despite the apocalyptic fires, the rolling blackouts, the somewhat predictable this-is-the-end-of-California-as-we-know-it pronouncements, the state is well under way in its eventual transitio
Snohetta
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Civic leaders in Charlotte, North Carolina, unveiled renderings yesterday for a $100 million “library of the future” designed by Snøhetta and partners, which is intended to be an anchor for revitalization efforts in uptown Charlotte.

The unveiling marked the culmination of a two-year effort to design a new Main Library for the Charlotte Mecklenburg system, on the site of its current building at 310 North Tryon Street.

In 2017 the library system selected Snøhetta to serve as the design architect, with Clark Nexsen of Charlotte as the architect of record and brightspot strategy to lead community engagement and space planning efforts.

Plans call for a 115,000-square-foot building with five levels above ground, and one below. The above-ground portion will be a curving structure (the firm is no stranger to designing swooping libraries), clad in glass and ceramic, that frames an entrance plaza and provides views to the activity inside.

At one end, the library will anchor the corner with a translucent “prow” that cantilevers over the sidewalk. Once inside the timber-clad interior space, a soaring atrium with a spiraling stair will help visitors get their bearings and draw them upwards through the building.

There has been a library on the North Tryon Street site since 1903. Library representatives say they hope the new structure, which will replace the current one, will become a major destination for the region.

“The new main library will be an architecturally-distinctive, state-of-the-art, technologically-advanced knowledge center and public commons, where everyone in our community can access the resources of a 21st-century library,” said Charlotte Mecklenburg Library CEO Lee Keesler, in a statement. It also will be a “gateway to a re-imagined North Tryon Street corridor and a catalyst for additional redevelopment.”

“This will be the jewel of the cultural neighborhood,” Snøhetta senior architect Nick Anderson told The Charlotte Observer. “The library will be unique, but we want it to be of this place.”

The renderings show that the building will contain a variety of spaces that are intended to accommodate public gatherings, events, and various employment-oriented services, as well as reading rooms providing access to print and digital materials. There will be a large lobby, cafe, two “immersive” theaters, flexible meeting rooms, and two outdoor terraces.

The lower levels will contain most of the pre-function and event spaces, along with a job training center, counseling services, and maker space offerings, including a technology center, computer lab, and recording studios.

Levels three and four will house the bulk of the collections, while the top floor will have a large reading room, writer’s studio and porch, administrative offices, and a terrace with views of uptown Charlotte.

When Snøhetta was selected to lead the design effort, founding partner Craig Dykers indicated it would be a model in demonstrating how many ways a 21st-century library can serve the public.

“Libraries are more popular today than they have ever been, serving a wider range of needs than access to books only,” he said. “The architecture of libraries is also changing, and Charlotte’s new library will lead the way in showing how a city and its core of knowledge can be open, welcoming and intriguing for decades to come.”

Funding will come from both public and private sources, with Mecklenburg County committing $65 million to build the main library and an offsite “support services center.” The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Foundation, through its newly announced CommonSpark campaign, is raising $50 million for the new library plus another $20 million for the library system. The Knight Foundation also announced a $10 million donation to the project yesterday. Public and private funding for the project is currently totaled at $135 million.

Assuming its fund drive is successful, the library plans to break ground in early 2021 and open the new library in early 2024.

This is the second time Snøhetta, Clark Nexsen, and brightspot have collaborated on a library project, after the 2013 James B. Hunt Jr. Library on the Centennial Campus of North Carolina State University.

Other Snøhetta libraries include the Ryerson University Student Learning Center in Toronto; t
Jonathan Hillyer
To generate at least as much energy as it uses, a building may need more photovoltaic panels than its roof can accommodate. One solution is to extend the roof, as Seattle’s Miller Hull Partnership did when it designed that city’s Bullitt Center, a six-story building with a PV panel-laden trellis cantilevering beyond its exterior walls.

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

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

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

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

Not only will Kendeda be operationally efficient, Hellstern says, but it was designed to reduce embodied energy—the energy consumed in fabrication and construction—as well. Among other strategies, sustainably harvested wood was used for the main structural elements, reclaimed wood was used for decking, and 100-percent-recycled-content brick was incorporated into the cladding. “We used excess chunks of decking to build internal stairs, both to avoid creating landfill and to show that something that would have been wasted can contribute to both the beauty and the function of the project,” Gassman says. Speaking for the entire industry, Hellstern points out, “Unless we address embodied energy, we won’t meet climate targets.”
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
Sean Airhart
NBBJ returns to a 1989 Seattle project and creates a wow moment using parametric design and cardboard models. gn and cardboard models.

Parametric design and the geologic processes that formed the rock bluffs of the Puget Sound region may seem unrelated, but Seattle-based NBBJ senior associates Sarah Steen and Daniel Cockrell believe the processes share a—relative—independence from human hands. In creating a feature wall that abstracts the bluffs for the third-floor lobby renovation of the 56-story Two Union Square, also in Seattle, Steen says the designers aimed “to use technology in an unpredictable manner,” similar to the way tectonic activity is uncontrollable by humans.

The office tower, designed originally by NBBJ in 1989, features a curving reinforced concrete building core, which had been finished in a faceted wood veneer. NBBJ wrapped the core on the building's third floor in approximately 1,650 curved panels of pale travertine—selected due to its lightness in both color and weight—which were quarried and custom fabricated by the Poggi Brothers in Tivoli, Italy.

Because of the lobby’s prominence as the pinnacle of a grand staircase leading from the building’s first- and second-floor entrances, the architects saw a need for a focal point. “It just begs for something cool to be happening,” Steen says.

Instead of a surface treatment, the design team “started experimenting with something that could be part of the wall,” Steen says. They envisioned a sculptural element inspired by the geologic history of the Pacific Northwest, “sharp and angular with peaks and valleys.”

Using Grasshopper and Rhino, the NBBJ team established a set of parameters that would maximize the number of triangular sizes and shapes in order to keep them as irregular as possible. Next, they “allowed the script to connect the dots and create this network of angles,” Steen says. “That’s how we arrived at the patterning.”

The result is a nearly 20-foot-tall by 20-foot-wide 3D sculptural ribbon of 415 fractal panels that cuts diagonally across the wall plane like a mountain range. (A smaller tectonic wall feature arises near the elevator bank.) The angular stone panels emerge seamlessly from the more conventional coursing of the rectilinear wall panels, creating a monolithic central element that simultaneously feels divorced from its heft, floating above the floor. This juxtaposition is amplified by the natural banding in the stone, which was preserved meticulously by NBBJ working with the Poggi Brothers and local stonemason Synergism Stone. “It’s laid up on the wall as it [appeared coming] out of the Earth,” Steen says.

Ranging in thickness from 1¼ inches to 3¼ inches, the fractal panels are effectively pinned into place through pre-drilled holes in their top and bottom edges. The holes accommodate steel dowels welded to bent steel plates that are screwed into horizontal strapping, which, in turn, is secured to an 8-inch-wide stud wall covered with gypsum wallboard.

Though the concept of an abstracted cliff face came early, the final design required much refinement. “We did a lot of lighting experiments to make sure that we weren’t protruding from the wall too far and creating too many shadows,” Steen says. “And we did a lot of cardboard mock-ups [following the modeling]. We went analog.”

The light tests, conducted by NBBJ’s internal lighting studio, revealed that the panels, when positioned under overhead illumination from a recessed light cove, only needed to rise a maximum of 2 inches outboard to achieve the desired relief. This was fortuitous since the existing structure had to bear the additional dead load of the travertine panels.

Other design considerations came from the material restraints of the stone. The most significant deviation from NBBJ's 3D model followed the construction of a full-scale mock-up in Italy, working with the Poggi Brothers and Synergism Stone. Some triangular stone panel vertices chipped during installation. “We realized some of our acute angles were a little too fragile,” Steen says, “so we applied another parameter or two to control those acute angles.” Vertices had to be greater than 25 degrees and NBBJ specified filled travertine for panels with the most acute angles.


NBBJ ran a final mock-up with the stone on-site in Seattle, testing every aspect of the process, from fabrication to shipping to installation. Because the firm planned to preserve the natural coursing in the travertine, sp
Topping Out
On the evening of Thursday, November 7th the following projects were announced and celebrated by over 350 attendees from the A/E/C community of the greater Dallas / Fort Worth area.

The 2019 TOP AWARD WINNER

Park District

Submitted By:
Balfour Beatty

Team Members:
Owner: Trammell Crow Company
General Contractor: Balfour Beatty
Owner’s Representative: CBRE
Architect: HKS
Landscape Architect: The Office of James Burnett
Mechanical Engineer: Blum Consulting Engineers
Structural Engineer: Brockette Davis Drake
Consulting Engineer: Purdy-McGuire
Consulting Engineer: Halff Associates
Geotechnical Engineer: Rone Engineering
Curtainwall Consultant: Curtainwall Design Consultants
B2 Architecture + Design

The 2019 TOP TEN AWARD WINNERS

Cambria Dallas

Submitted By:
Merriman Anderson /Architects, Inc.

Team Members:
Owner/Developer: Kirtland Realty
General Contractor: Andres Construction
Architect/Interior Designer: Merriman Anderson Architects
Structural Engineer: JQ Engineering
Civil Engineer: JQ Engineering
MEP Engineer: JJA
Landscape Architect: LaTerra Studio
ADA/TAS Review & Inspection: BDA Accessibility
Construction Manager: Todd Interests
Exterior Lighting: BHB
IT/Telecom: Dtech
Food Service: Bruce Abraham Design
Hotel Operator: Fillmore Hospitality

​​Dallas Fire Station 6

Submitted By:
DSGN Associates, Inc.

Team Members:
Owner: City of Dallas - Dallas Fire Department, Dallas Fire-Rescue
General Contractor: Core Construction
Architect: DSGN Associates, Inc
Landscape Architect: MESA Design Group
MEP Engineer: Purdy McGuire
Structural Engineer: JQ Engineering
Civil Engineer: JQ Engineering
Commissioning: Teliosity
Accessibility: Abadi Access

Frost Tower Fort Worth

Submitted By:
Bennett Benner Partners

Team Members:
General Contractor: Balfour Beatty Construction
Owner: Anthracite Realty Partners, LLC
Architect: Bennett Benner Partners
Interior Design: Bennett Benner Partners
MEP Engineering: Summit Consultants, Inc.
Civil Engineer: Dunaway Associates
Structural Engineer: L.A. Fuess Partners, Inc.

JPMorgan Chase Regional Hub

Submitted By:
HKS & ​The Beck Group

Team Members:
Developer: KDC
Owner: JPMorgan Chase, Inc.
Principal in Charge: HKS
Project Manager: HKS
Project Designer Principal in Charge Interiors: HKS
Marketing Manager: HKS
Civil Engineering & Land Planner: Kimley + Horn & Associates, Inc.
Interior Designer: HKS
Landscape Architect: Kimley Horn
Construction Manager/General Contractor: Beck
Structural Engineer: L.A. Fuess Partners
Lighting Design: CD+M
Architect: HKS
MEP Engineer: Syska Hennessey

Karya Siddhi Hanuman Temple
Monumental Tower


Submitted By:
Epsilon Architecture

Team Members:
Owner: Karya Siddhi Hanuman Temple
Architect: Epsilon Architecture, Inc.
Chief Artisan and Sculptor: Thangam Subramaniam
Construction Manager: Epsilon Master Builders, Inc.
Structural Engineer: Charles Gojer & Associates
Concrete Contractors: ACS Contractors
Lighting Protection: Bonded Lightning Protection Systems, Ltd
Electrical Contractors: George-McKenna Electrical Contractors
Geotech & Construction Materials Testing: Alpha Testing

North Texas Food Bank - Perot Family Campus

Submitted By:
GSR Andrade Architects

Team Members:
Owner: NTFB Perot Family Campus
Architect: GSR Andrade Architects
Interior Design: GSR Andrade Architects
Developer: Hillwood Development
General Contractor: Hillwood Construction Services
Civil Engineer: Kimley-Horn
Structural Engineer: Engineering Analysts, Inc.
Mechanical Engineer: Venture Mechanical
Electrical Engineer: Fox Electric
Plumbing: Howard Kane Plumbing Company, Inc.
Accessibility Specialist: Abadi Accessibility
Furniture Provider: OFS Brands
Photography: Tracy Allyn Photography
Landscape Architect: Belle Firma

Scottish Rite for Children Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Center

Submitted By:
HKS & The Beck Group

Team Members:
Owner/Developer: Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children
Principal in Charge: HKS
Project Manager: HKS
Project Designer: HKS
Project Designer/Medical Planner: HKS
Landscape Architect: T
Kim Westerman
Today marks a historic moment for The Presidio Trust, the National Park Service, and the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, as the Presidio Tunnel Tops project was formally launched this morning with a “groundmaking” ceremony to kick off the construction phase of this highly anticipated phase of the development of The Presidio.

Set to open in 2021, the ambitious Tunnel Tops project, designed by James Corner Field Operations (the firm behind New York’s High Line), will create an entirely new 14-acre park atop two freeway tunnels just east of Crissy Field. The new multi-use public park will have unparalleled views of the Golden Gate Bridge and, more importantly, it will re-connect the San Francisco waterfront to the Presidio Main Post, a passage that was broken some 80 years ago when Doyle Drive was built to create access to the Golden Gate Bridge.

Corner says, “This has been an extraordinary experience to create a new green centerpiece for the Presidio in the context of the larger Bay Area and the world-class city of San Francisco. The iconic setting is perfect for transforming highway infrastructure into a vibrant new public space.” The final design was informed by the input of more than 10,000 community members to ensure that residents would be happy about the ways in which their neighborhood would be transformed.

Funding efforts have been led by campaign co-chairs Lynne Benioff, Mark Buell, and Randi Fisher, along with the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy.

When Tunnel Tops opens in 2021, it will include gardens with native vegetation, walking pathways, scenic overlooks, a campfire circle, picnic areas, and a three-acre interactive play area designed to connect urban kids with nature. The hope is that this “Youth Campus” will encourage environmental stewardship among the city’s youth population, setting in motion education and awareness about the state of our immediate environment and our planet, in general.

Younger kids will have access to “The Outpost,” a multi-sensory, inquiry-driven space for place-based learning and adventure. Geared toward toddlers up to age 13, The Outpost will also offer activities for teens involved in the youth mentorship programs run by the Crissy Field Center.

The Presidio is one of San Francisco’s most exciting neighborhoods right now. It has always been rich in history and a compelling area for hiking and other outdoor activities, but now it’s a full-blown destination for both day-trippers and visitors from afar, with excellent restaurants, museums, a new visitor center, a free shuttle, a brand-new theatre, and some of the most exciting programming in any U.S. city. Tunnel Tops will also be an impressive green space in the heart of urban San Francisco.

The park has 12 trails for hiking and biking, from wooded paths to coastal cliffside walks, each offering a different ambiance, length, and level of difficulty.

Two hotels — The Inn at the Presidio and The Lodge at the Presidio — are affordable and comfortable, a rarity in San Francisco these days.

To learn more about Tunnel Tops or to contribute during its construction phase, visit the project’s website.

ENR
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
Miran Kambič
Ljubljana-based studio Enota has replaced an outdoor swimming pool with a pool covered in a rugged landscape of geometric, funnel-like roof structures at the Terme Olimia Spa in Slovenia.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MIT
MIT has developed M-blocks, a set of robotic cubes that can roll, jump, spin, and self-assemble into different shapes. the robots, called M-blocks 2.0, have a barcode-like system on each face that helps them recognize and communicate with other blocks.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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.
City of Helsinki
Finland’s most ambitious library has a lofty mission, says Helsinki’s Tommi Laitio: It’s a kind of monument to the Nordic model of civic engagement.

You might say, “Yes, of course I love the library.” We do, too. But I’m not sure anyone loves libraries quite like the Finns do.

In a country that boasts one of the world’s highest literacy rates, the arrival of the new central library in Helsinki last year was a kind of moon-landing-like moment of national bonding. The €98 million facility, whose opening in December 2018 marked the centenary of Finnish independence, has since been widely celebrated internationally as a model reimagining of these critical pieces of social infrastructure. At the CityLab DC conference this week, Tommi Laitio, Helsinki’s executive director for culture and leisure, offered his own, more personal take on exactly why this building is so important to Finland’s future.

Designed by Finnish architecture firm ALA and dubbed Oodi (“ode” in Finnish), the three-level structure is a kind of spruce-clad monument to the principles of Nordic society-building. Still, Laitio opened his talk not with shots of the building’s sleek interiors but with a sobering image from Finland’s brutal civil war of 1918, which killed 36,000 people, many of whom perished in prison camps.

“You can be your best person inside this building.”

“This progress from one of the poorest countries of Europe to one of the most prosperous has not been an accident. It’s based on this idea that when there are so few of us—only 5.5 million people—everyone has to live up to their full potential,” he said. “Our society is fundamentally dependent on people being able to trust the kindness of strangers.”

That conviction has helped support modern Finland’s emphasis on education and literacy—each Finn takes out more than 15 books a year from the library (10 more than the average American). But Nordic-style social services have not shielded the residents of Finland’s largest city from 21st-century anxieties about climate change, migrants, disruptive technology, and the other forces fueling right-leaning populist movements across Europe. Oodi, which was the product of a 10-year-long public consultation and design process, was conceived in part to resist these fears. “When people are afraid, they focus on short-term selfish solutions,” Laitio said. “They also start looking for scapegoats.”

The central library is built to serve as a kind of citizenship factory, a space for old and new residents to learn about the world, the city, and each other. It’s pointedly sited across from (and at the same level as) the Finnish Parliament House that it shares a public square with.

Its design reflects that lofty mission. The ground floor is an extension of the public square outside—a space for meetings, free events, and informal gatherings, with a cafe, theater, and various public amenities. On the second level, a series of flexible rooms provide a host of au courant attractions and borrowables—3-D printers and power tools, sewing machines and music rooms and makerspaces. Language classes are offered for migrants; gamers get VR-equipped computer rooms. Patrons can even borrow season tickets for the Helsinki’s popular professional basketball games. Only on the topmost level—in a soaring, light-filled space Laitio calls “book heaven”—will one find actual volumes for readers, a 100,000-book collection that’s in very high demand.

Inside and out, the facility is as handsome as Finnish Modernism fans might expect, and it has proved to be absurdly popular: About 10,000 patrons stop by every day, on average (it’s open until 10 p.m.), and Oodi just hit 3 million visitors this year—“a lot for a city of 650,000,” Laitio said. In its very first month, 420,000 Helsinki residents—almost two-thirds of the population—went to the library. Some may only have been skateboarders coming in to use the bathroom, but that’s fine: The library has a “commitment to openness and welcoming without judgement,” he said. “It’s probably the most diverse place in our city, in many ways.”



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.
Luke Hesketh via Philip M Dingemanse
Australia’s new mountain bike trails in northeast Tasmania are now more accessible than ever thanks to Dales of Derby, a contemporary, purpose-built group housing complex that is the perfect base for adventure. Local architecture and design studio Philip M Dingemanse designed the building, which won the 2019 Barry McNeill Award for Sustainable Architecture with its energy-efficient and low-maintenance features.

A former tin-mining center, the tiny Australian town of Derby was transformed in 2015 with the opening of Blue Derby, a network of mountain bike trails that traverses some of the island’s most stunning rainforest landscapes. Tapped to design lodgings to accommodate large groups of mountain bike enthusiasts, Philip M Dingemanse created a project that would double as an introductory building to the small village of Derby. Drawing inspiration from the town’s mining history, the architects created a simple gabled form and clad the exterior with Australian vernacular corrugated metal and timber in a nod to utilitarian tin miner homes. The architects also split the gabled building into seven pieces, with four sections pulled apart, to bring the outdoors in, while the interiors are lined with wood for a warm and inviting atmosphere.

Built to sleep a large group of up to 24 people, Dales of Derby includes bunk beds that accommodate 16 people as well as four rooms with queen-sized beds that are accessed via a red vaulted foyer inspired by a mining tunnel. At the heart of the building is a large common area with a wood heater and a full kitchen with a dining area oriented toward the forest. To reduce the project’s energy demands, the architects installed solar hot water heaters and followed passive design strategies for optimal solar orientation and thermal control.

“The built form is a singular functional object separated into pieces and strung out across the hill between road and river,” the architects noted. “Gaps become significant framing moments of eucalypt forest while nighttime gable lighting castes a permanent golden hue to graying timber walls; a memory of the raw timber cut, glowing on the outskirts of the township.”

An Rong Xu for The New York Times
In a federal complaint, a former chief of staff to Mr. Neumann said she was demoted twice after she became pregnant.

When the chief of staff to the WeWork co-founder Adam Neumann became pregnant in March 2016, she was reluctant to share the news with her boss right away.

But ultimately, the employee, Medina Bardhi, felt she had no choice. She had to explain that she could no longer accompany Mr. Neumann on business trips “due to his penchant for bringing marijuana on chartered flights and smoking it throughout the flight while in an enclosed cabin,” according to a complaint she filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in New York on Thursday.

What followed, the complaint said, was a pattern of discrimination, as Ms. Bardhi was repeatedly derided and marginalized by Mr. Neumann and other WeWork officials. Mr. Neumann referred to her maternity leave as a “vacation” or “retirement,” according to the complaint, and another high-level company official, Jennifer Berrent, commented, “Wow, you’re getting big,” in front of a WeWork executive.

Mr. Neumann, who had promised to champion women at WeWork, stepped down as the company’s chief executive in September as its attempted initial public offering collapsed in dramatic fashion. As part of a deal to turn over control of WeWork to its largest outside investor, SoftBank, he received $185 million to work as a consultant to the company for four years.

Over the last year, other women, including a senior executive, have filed lawsuits accusing WeWork of gender discrimination. Their complaints have added to the storm of criticism WeWork and Mr. Neumann have faced from bankers, analysts and current and former employees since the attempt to go public failed. Mr. Neumann’s leadership has come under particularly intense scrutiny: He has been criticized for maintaining a lavish lifestyle and giving outsize power to family members, including his wife, Rebekah.

A spokeswoman for Mr. Neumann declined to comment, referring questions to WeWork. In a statement, a WeWork spokeswoman, Gwen Rocco, said the company “intends to vigorously defend itself against” the complaint.

“We have zero tolerance for discrimination of any kind,” Ms. Rocco said. “We are committed to moving the company forward and building a company and culture that our employees can be proud of.”

During her five years at WeWork, Ms. Bardhi became pregnant twice and was demoted both times, the complaint said. She was fired in early October, shortly after Mr. Neumann left, according to the complaint. Company executives told her that “there was no longer a role for her after Mr. Neumann’s departure,” the complaint said.

“This assertion and supposed justification rings hollow, as Ms. Bardhi already had been pushed out of Mr. Neumann’s office,” the complaint said. “It is clear that Ms. Bardhi’s firing was motivated by the Company’s sustained discriminatory bias and retaliatory animus against her and other female employees who become pregnant, take maternity leave, and/or complain about gender-based discrimination.”

The complaint also said that WeWork had a broader culture of abuse and disrespect toward women — a work environment in which excessive alcohol consumption fueled “offensive sexual conduct” and women were routinely paid less than male colleagues with similar jobs.

Ms. Bardhi’s lawyer, Douglas Wigdor, said he hoped that the E.E.O.C. would view her experiences as part of a systemic problem at the company and bring class-action charges against WeWork.

The discrimination Ms. Bardhi faced began before she even started at WeWork, the complaint said. During a job interview in October 2013, Mr. Neumann “unlawfully and intrusively” asked Ms. Bardhi whether she planned to get married or become pregnant — a question that left her “stunned and uncomfortable,” according to the complaint.

When Ms. Bardhi became pregnant three years later, the complaint said, Mr. Neumann replaced her with a male employee who was paid more than twice as much.

Then, rather than restoring her to the job of chief of staff when she returned from maternity leave, the complaint said, the company gave her no clear direction on her day-to-day responsibilities.

Eventually, she got the job back, the complaint said. But when she became pregnant a second time in February 2018, the cycle repeated — a male employee was hired to replace her, and she found herself sidelined wh
Autodesk
Building on its launch last year of Autodesk BIM 360 Design, Autodesk announced Oct. 30 the addition of Civil 3D to the cloud solution platform. Users say the enhanced collaborative abilities with BIM 360 and Revit will streamline design of projects that include both civil and vertical components, such as airports and rail stations.

Collaboration for Civil 3D, now included with a BIM 360 Design subscription, allows subscribers of both to work collaboratively with project partners anytime and from anywhere, regardless of team locations and disciplines, says Theo Agelopoulos, senior director with Autodesk.

Customers can now collaborate using streamlined workflows on a unified platform and also perform their day-to-day data management activities in the same place, he says.

While Collaboration for Civil 3D on the BIM 360 Design platform does not yet offer the same worksharing capabilities as Revit, beta users say the ability to access, iterate, and mark up Civil 3D models in real-time in the cloud constitute a game-changer.

Stacey Morykin, design technology manager for Pennoni, says Autodesk gathered client feedback and brainstorming ideas before developing a beta for clients to test. “We’ve been waiting for this for a really long time,” she says. “We do have some projects that have a vertical infrastructure as well as horizontal. Before, when collaborating on a project, we felt like an outsider. Now we have a chance to be an insider.”

In the past, project partners had to export civil 3D files for Pennoni to import into its drawings. “By the time I hung up phone, there would be another change, so I’m still behind,” says Morykin. “If the architect changes a building footprint or door location, now with this integration we can see it.”

Russ Dalton, AECOM BIM director for the Americas, says the enhanced collaboration can improve production efficiency by 32%. “We work on surveying, preconstruction, predesign, all through turnover and operations. We needed a single data source. When we looked at the total picture of delivering a product that looks the same inside the computer screen and physically, it had to come into play,” he says. Historically, there would be a delay in coordination between architect, mechanical engineering and civil design, he says. “Layouts change all the time. The HVAC and architectural teams are working at a fast clip.”

The development also improves collaboration with other programs, such as ProjectWise from Bentley, he adds. “We’re using Civil 3D on top of ProjectWise and that had never worked well. With the new Civil3D collaboration tool, we can add BIM 360 to the workflow, as BIM360 and ProjectWise do collaborate well.”
Zero Hedge
How's this for trenchant financial analysis from Bill Ackman, one of the boldest bold-faced names in the hedge fund business: SoftBank might end up writing down the entirety of its WeWork investment (including the $6 billion it just shelled out to wrest control of the firm away from Adam Neumann and his family).

Of course, that's not exactly a cutting-edge call. WeWork's unmatched fall from grace in August and September, which culminated with the shelving of its IPO and the collapse of a $6 billion JPM-led syndicated loan lifeline that was contingent on the offering, the company's situation has gone from bad to worse. The company has been forced to put off a planned round of lease-signings and expansions, including possibly moving its headquarters to Manhattan's Lord & Taylor Building, where the company holds an overpriced lease despite its former CEO owning a piece of the building. On the operations end, its business in China is bleeding capital, and the company has nearly $60 billion in long-term lease commitments, a number that is looking more daunting by the day.

And exactly how confident is Ackman? Pretty confident, he say.

"I think WeWork has a pretty high probability of being a zero for the equity, as well as for the debt," the billionaire hedge fund manager said.

Ackman described Neumann as an amazing salesman (clearly, it takes a gifted charlatan to separate Masayoshi Son from his money), but that the company had become "enormously levered" too soon.

And speaking from experience, he warned SoftBank about continuing to throw good money after bad.
SHoP Architects
One doesn’t need to visit New York City in order to understand that the city’s skyline is undergoing drastic change, both within and—increasingly—outside of Manhattan.

In an attempt to better understand the micro- and macro-forces at play shaping the city’s skyline, we’re taking a look at three recent distinctive tower projects designed by SHoP Architects in partnership with JDS Development, Property Markets Group and Spruce Capital Partners, including: 111 West 57th, a spindly supertall under construction on Billionaire’s Row; the American Copper Buildings, two metallic skyscrapers overlooking the FDR expressway; and 9 DeKalb, a forthcoming supertall tower set to become Brooklyn’s tallest building.

Together, along with a forthcoming set of acrobatic high-rises slated for the Brooklyn waterfront that SHoP has also had a hand in crafting, the featured buildings highlight several of the dynamic conversations taking shape within the realm of skyscraper design, as issues of extreme height, massing, historic preservation, and environmental performance play out across the city’s (and the world’s) evolving skylines.

A Skyline in Flux

New York City’s constantly growing skyline has reached new and dazzling heights during the second decade of the 21st Century.

The steady stream of neck-straining renderings for the row of supertall towers on the southern edge of Central Park, for example, has created what some have called an “accidental skyline” shaped in part by tricky real estate maneuvers, the exploitation of zoning codes, and piles of cash that nearly rival the heights of the towers themselves. On Manhattan’s western edge, the Emerald City-like Hudson Yards development has sprung up over the last half-decade as an equally controversial set of sky-piercing buildings, their slanting, chiseled forms broadcasting ostentatious luxury, corporate retro-futurism, and America’s frothy economy all at once. The ever-multiplying clusters of residential and office towers taking shape in downtown and northern Brooklyn, in addition, have extended western outposts of the city’s world-famous skyline, while the relatively staid high-rises in Long Island City, Queens, as well as those located across the Hudson River in Jersey City and Hoboken, indicate that New York’s decade-long post-recession growth spurt is reshaping the entire region rather than merely a few choice neighborhoods.

As incredibly tall buildings have advanced and proliferated across the New York area, the conventions of skyscraper design have been somewhat upended. Monolithic glass curtain walls are becoming less common in new proposals, for example, as designers work to incorporate concerns over environmental performance and facade modulation into their work. At the same time, street-level design has grown more rich and people-friendly over the years, with landscaped plazas and pedestrian retail designs back en vogue, as well. Simultaneously, as land-use and zoning regulations have been massaged into submission via a proliferation of re-zoning initiatives and clever lot arrangements, and as a result, towers have sprung up that dive into existing historic structures, hang daintily over them, or land neatly right beside them, challenging the conventions of historic preservation thinking, both on the street and across the sky.

All told, New York City’s skyline, always shaped by the interlocking considerations of aesthetics, finance, and gravity, is alive and growing.

SHoP is Transforming the Skyscraper

Central to this transformation have been the efforts of SHoP Architects, an architecture firm founded in 1996 and based out of Manhattan’s Woolworth Building—a tower that itself stood as the tallest in the city for nearly two decades after being built. In recent years, the firm has undertaken an increasingly aggressive building spree across New York City (as well as regionally and across the globe) that is beginning to give form to a collection of unique and forward-looking skyscrapers. The office, headed by a multi-partner team with experience in design, real estate, and other building endeavors, works methodically to iterate its way toward convention-defying works of architecture, often partnering directly with developers and builders to craft these dramatic and provocative buildings. Such is the case for the collection of projects showcase
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
HSW Nominees
The winners of the 2019 Australian Urban Design Awards have been announced. From 52 shortlisted entries, 10 have received awards and commendations across categories for built projects as well as leadership, advocacy and research.

Announced in Melbourne on 30 October, the awards recognize contemporary Australian urban design of the highest quality and aim to encourage cities, towns and communities across the country.

“At a time when the ‘wicked problems’ confronting our urban environments and the communities they support are dramatically rising, this year’s award winners are proof-positive that Australia’s urban designers are equal to that challenge,” said Malcolm Snow, jury chair and CEO of the City Renewal Authority in Canberra.

“All of the winning projects unequivocally demonstrate that their designers and clients have both the insight and skills to make places that are beautiful, welcoming and sustainable. In their different contexts they all put people and the quality of the place experience at the centre of their design research or solutions. This is a hallmark of outstanding urban design ensuring that both current and future generations of Australians are the beneficiaries.”

The winners are:

Built projects – city and regional scale

Awards

Howard Smith Wharves (Qld) – HSW Nominees, Urbis and Woods Bagot

Maitland Levee and Riverlink Building (NSW) – McGregor Coxall and Chrofi

Commendation

Caulfield to Dandenong Level Crossing Removal Project (Vic) – Aspect Studios with Cox Architecture

Built projects – local and neighbourhood scale

Awards

Ferrars Street Education and Community Precinct (Vic) – Tract

Flour Mill of Summer Hill (NSW) – Hassell

Commendations

Bridge of Remembrance (Tas) – Denton Corker Marshall

Rosanna Station (Vic) – MGS Architects and Jacobs Architects

Leadership, advocacy and research – city and regional scale

Award

Building Height Standards Review project (Tas)
– Leigh Woolley Architect and Urban Design Consultant

Commendation

Automated and Zero Emission Vehicles – How They Might Reshape our Streets (Vic) – Ethos Urban and Urban Circus

Leadership, advocacy and research – local and neighbourhood scale

Commendation

Engaging the community in the principles of urban design: Serious Urban Play (Qld) – University of the Sunshine Coast

The Australian Urban Design Awards are organized by Architecture Media and convened by the Planning Institute of Australia, Australian Institute of Landscape Architects, and Australian Institute of Architects.

The awards are supported by Holcim, the Queensland Government, Stormtech and Tait.
Fraser Brown MacKenna Architects
UEA Institute of Productivity submitted for planning approval

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

Design: Fraser Brown MacKenna Architects

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tesla
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.”
Ossip van Duivenbode
Combining playful design with contemporary architecture, Dutch firm MVRDV has just completed WERK12, a mixed-use development near Munich’s East Station that catches the eye with its bold and expressive art facade. Lifting verbal expressions from German versions of Donald Duck comics, the facade is punctuated with 5-meter-tall lettering that spell out words like ‘WOW’ and ‘HMPH.’ Located at the heart of the Werksviertel-Mitte district, the project is part of an urban regeneration plan to transform a former industrial site.

Spanning an area of 7,700 square meters, WERK12 features five floors occupied by restaurants and bars on the ground floor, the offices of Audi Business Innovations on the top floor, and a three-story gym facility in between with one story dedicated to an indoor swimming pool. Floor-to-ceiling glass walls wrap around the building to bring natural light and views of the city in. The line between interior and exterior is further blurred with the addition of external staircases that curl around the building and connect to 3.25-meter-wide outdoor terraces on each floor.

The bold facade was created in collaboration with local artists Christian Engelmann and Beate Engl. The lettering and the colloquial expressions are a nod to the area’s graffiti culture and use of signage. At night, the letters light up to create a “vibrant lightshow.” The five-meter-tall letters also span the height of each floor, which have extra-tall ceilings that allow for mezzanines or other level changes for greater flexibility.

“The area of the Werksviertel-Mitte district has already undergone such interesting changes, transforming from a potato factory to a legendary entertainment district,” says founding partner of MVRDV Jacob van Rijs. “With our design, we wanted to respect and celebrate that history, while also creating a foundation for the next chapter. WERK12 is stylish and cool on one hand, but on the other it doesn’t take itself so seriously – it’s not afraid to say ‘PUH’ to passers-by!”


Michael Vi/iStock
A cryptic announcement from United hints that Apple is working on a project for the airline company.

It’s no secret that Apple spends a staggering $150 million a year on plane tickets from United. The technology company buys 50 business class seats every day to fly from San Francisco to Shanghai alone. No doubt, all these miles are necessary to coordinate the production of hardware that generates over $250 billion in revenue for Apple year but is actually produced 6,000 miles away from its headquarters. Now, the tech giant seems to have found a customer closer to home: Apple is in discussions with United about something to do with its SFO terminal.


“The Apple team in San Francisco has been in our baggage hold areas, customer service, and the lobbies,” said Linda Jojo, executive vice president at United Airlines Holdings Inc., at an event in Chicago last week, according to Bloomberg. Jojo admitted she was “being deliberately vague” on further details.

So what could those details be? One could easily imagine that Apple could be rethinking technologies to track and check bags, sure, or the way tickets are collected by customers. Apple could also be rethinking the architecture and interior design of the space. Heck, it could be developing the experience design—basically, the whole route of a consumer through a United terminal, down to details like how United employees engage with customers.

All these possibilities are feasible because Apple has executed pieces of them in the past.

Led by Jony Ive, the company’s design team worked closely with architects on their new circular headquarters, Apple Park, down to the furniture inside it. The company developed much of its impactful Apple retail store model, with its open spaces and friendly staff, in-house. And of course, the company has unparalleled expertise with all sorts of microelectronics that could address the logistical infrastructure of moving people and their belongings through the piping that is air travel. That’s all table stakes.

SFO could be a test bed for Apple to tap a new market. After all, built environments are getting smarter and more responsive. Airbnb is literally considering how future homes will reshape themselves to our will. Apple wouldn’t need to reinvent tech as we know it to develop customized iOS products built for travel environments and offices.

Of course, there could also be another motivator at play in Apple’s collaboration with the airline. SFO’s Terminal 3 (where United is located) is kind of shabby, especially by millionaire traveler standards. It’s devoid of the glitz and glam of SFO’s gleaming Terminal 2, which was redesigned by global architecture firm Gensler and won several awards when it opened in 2011. Perhaps money isn’t the primary motivator for Apple’s newest pet project. Perhaps it’s just that with so many Apple employees traveling for work so often, Terminal 3 is really an extension of their office.
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."