1 to 40 of 185
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Higher Education, Historic Preservation, Renovation
Leaders of the Harris School of Public Policy sought preservation and restoration of a midcentury masterpiece for their new home on the University of Chicago’s south campus. The Commission on Chicago Landmarks identified the Edward Durell Stone design in 1963 as contributing to the historic district of the Midway Plaisance—the spine of the 1893 Columbian Exposition. The transformational redesign integrates policy-inspired solutions to better connect with the community, place policy on display, and serve as an exemplar in sustainable design with LEED Platinum and Living Building Challenge Petal certifications.

The decorative limestone building with a five-foot tall imposing plinth was in need of full restoration; social repair to the adjacent underserved neighborhood, which the original building turned its back to, was also needed. One north-facing entry was replaced with new welcoming paths that erode the plinth, inviting passage on all sides. Encircling rain gardens soften pedestrian experience with sculptures, seating, and other architecturally significant pieces salvaged from the original building. Patterned bird-safe glazing wraps the rooftop addition and opens the façade at key locations, inviting passage through the building.

The expansive concrete structure had restrictive floor heights and offered little connection to the exterior. Extensive daylight analyses helped balance perimeter windows with daylighting in the east and west two-story atria. A larger central four-story atrium was carved into the building and serves multiple programmatic functions.

Educational in function and composition, the Keller Center serves as a learning laboratory in which policy students and impactful research can witness real-world challenges and solutions through design. Thoughtful material selections led to healthy modifications of global manufacturers’ material ingredients. Partnerships and specification of salvaged ash wood during the design process catalyzed positive economic and social impacts in adjacent neighborhoods, directly showcasing full-circle sustainability and the mission of the Harris School of Public Policy.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
Education, office, Public Assembly
The Frick Environmental Center, which opened in September 2016, has welcomed more than 200,000 people, exceeding expectations as a teaching tool and outperforming its models as a net-positive Living Building. The project team, in its commitment to continuing education, has shared lessons learned on the building’s performance with a variety of national and regional publications. Presentations on the center have occurred at the Living Future Conference, AIA National Convention, and other regional platforms, with audiences including educators, industry professionals, policy makers, and the community. This outreach has been both holistic and granular in depth, ranging from concept design to focused analysis of energy and water metrics. The project team has also participated in a leadership training seminar for Washington state’s King County GreenTools group, providing guidance in their pursuit of future Living Building Challenge municipal projects in Seattle and larger King County. Now fully certified as a Living Building through the International Living Future Institute, the Frick Environmental Center’s continued success is ensured by an engaged team that continues to actively collaborate. Overwhelmingly positive results from building users in post-occupancy surveys, online reviews, and local reporting are further testament to the comprehensive philosophy behind the Living Building Challenge.

Austin, Texas, USA
Public Library, Dining, Bookstore, Art Gallery
Located in downtown Austin, Texas, and overlooking Shoal Creek and Lady Bird Lake, the new Austin Central Library is a building shaped by light and designed to respond to the context of its place. Before design began, the project team set aspirational sustainability and design metrics for the project. Two primary sustainability goals for the library were determined: It would be the most daylit library in the country, and it would serve as a water conservation model for buildings in the region.

The heart of the building is the six-story atrium, which provides daylight for more than 80 percent of regularly occupied spaces. The client envisioned an iconic, civic hub where locals could connect with their community by pursuing a variety of interests. The facility is based on flexible, blended spaces, including indoor collections and reading rooms, outdoor reading porches, maker spaces, outdoor dining, a technology center, café, bookstore, 350-seat event center, art gallery, demonstration kitchen, and 200-car parking garage. Integrated artworks, interspersed throughout the library, enhance this technology-focused environment by showcasing local and national artists. The unique rooftop pollinator garden and reading porches draw visitors to connect with nature. The library is a technology-rich innovation hub that promotes scholarly inquiry and cultural intelligence. Serving as the new western portal to downtown, the library establishes a major civic presence and community gathering space in the heart of Austin.

A 373,000-gallon rainwater harvesting system, reused from existing infrastructure, provides water for landscape irrigation, restroom plumbing fixtures, and the landscaped rooftop pollinator garden. The Austin Central Library is the first city of Austin public project to achieve LEED Platinum certification. It is a model for sustainable resource use and library efficiency while promoting visceral connections to collections, history, culture, and place.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
Education, Research and Office Building
The Center for Sustainable Landscapes (CSL) is conceived as a world class building that provides both a home for administrative and classroom functions and a tool to further the institution’s stated mission 'to advance sustainability and promote human and environmental well-being through action and research.' This project affords an extraordinary opportunity to demonstrate the positive impact that buildings can have on our environments. The design of the CSL applies traditional best practice strategies to the unique context and requirements of this project. High goals were set for the project, which included a commitment to meet five building evaluation systems:
  • Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum Certification - Achieved
  • Net Zero Energy Building Certification - Achieved
  • Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) Four-Star Certification - Achieved
  • Living Building Challenge Achieved
  • WELL Building Platinum Pilot Certification - Achieved
The use of these rating systems help the project track and achieve objectives that are broadly articulated in the requirements of the Living Building Challenge. Highlights include:
  • Achieving a net zero energy facility that generates as much energy with on-site renewable sources as it uses in a year;
  • Achieving net zero water management that ensures that rainwater and sanitary discharge are handled on site with no discharge to the municipal system and all non-potable water is from on site sources;
  • Restricting the use of any 'red-listed' materials that are harmful to people and the environment.
San Francisco, California, USA
Headquarters, Office Building
Salesforce Tower is the tallest building in San Francisco, joining the Golden Gate Bridge and the Transamerica Building as one of the skyline’s defining elements. Pelli Clarke Pelli won an international competition in 2007 to design the tower and the Salesforce Transit Center at its base. Together, the two buildings represent a novel approach to public-​private collaboration and sustainability in an urban setting.

The competition was sponsored by the Transbay Joint Powers Authority, a public entity created by the City of San Francisco to develop the new transit center. To help fund that building, part of the site was offered for sale to teams of developers and architects in an invited competition. Pelli Clarke Pelli and its development partner submitted a design that focuses on sustainability, neighborhood development, and financial feasibility.

Standing 326 meters (1,070 feet) tall, the tower has the simple, timeless form of the obelisk, giving the 61-​story tower a slender, tapering silhouette. The walls are composed of clear glass with pearlescent metal accents. These horizontal and vertical accents gradually taper in depth to accentuate the curved glass corners. The walls rise past the top floor to form a transparent crown that appears to dissolve into the sky. Carved into the tower top is a vertical facet that will be lit at night.

At its base, Salesforce Tower connects directly to the transit center, which will house 11 Bay Area transit systems. On top of the Transit Center and linked directly to the tower is a 5.4-acre public park, which will offer recreational, educational, and nature activities. The park has two roles: the future anchor of the neighborhood and a key element of the project’s sustainable design strategy.

Each floor of the tower will have integrated metal sunshades, calibrated to maximize light and views while reducing solar gain. High performance, low-​emissivity glass will also help to reduce the building’s cooling load. Cooling may be provided in part by heat-​exchanging coils wrapped around the tower’s foundations. The tower and transit center also include comprehensive water recycling systems. In addition, high efficiency air-​handlers will take in fresh air on every floor.
Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Research Laboratory, Office, Meeting Rooms
Georgia Tech's Engineered Biosystems Building (EBB) provides nearly 200,000 sq ft to serve as a core bio-technological research building for Georgia Tech, as well as a model for further development of that section of the campus. The six-story design reevaluates laboratory design, merging the College of Sciences and College of Engineering to create an interdisciplinary environment that supports the acceleration of advanced research development. EBB was conceptualized as a research facility that would coerce interdisciplinary collaboration by reinforcing physical integration between researchers focused on chemical biology, cell biology, or systems biology. EBB challenges the silos of traditional laboratory design by creating a system of open lab neighborhoods that foster engagement. A departure from traditional lab structure, which typically prescribes adjoining rows of partitioned lab space throughout a building, the 'cross-cutting lab' implements a program with continuous unobstructed working lab space running down the spine of the building with offices, meeting rooms and break and restrooms in the wings. Daylight, views to the outdoors, and other biophilic elements are used throughout the program to encourage interaction. The first building in what will become Georgia Tech's Research Quad, EBB was envisioned to anchor the northern edge of campus. As an institution known for its advanced research, Georgia Tech required a high-performance facility and anticipated LEED certification at a high level. Integrative design process was used to bring together all project stakeholders at the beginning of design to set performance goals and metrics for the building. To achieve the passive design goals that were set for daylighting, energy, site ecology, and water, the project team created a vertically-scaled, narrow research building with a light footprint. EBB fits and functions within the Eco-Commons, a permanent and multi-purpose open space with high levels of ecological performance that lays over the entire campus master plan.
New York, New York, USA
Office, Renovation, Interior, Atrium, Public Assembly
The historic Ford Foundation headquarters, completed by Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates in 1968, was hailed as a modernist architectural icon. The new overhaul, a landmark in modernist preservation, transforms a 50-year-old building into a 21st century workplace and public amenity.

The redesign maintains and enhances the building’s original character while significantly improving functionality, transparency, and accessibility. Many spaces, finishes, and furnishings were redesigned to be seamless with what already existed. The LEED Platinum renewal also modernizes the structure with New York City safety code and New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission requirements.

In 2018, after a two-year renovation, the landmark building reopened as the Ford Foundation Center for Social Justice. More than a headquarters, the center is a vibrant, accessible hub for champions of social justice. The design approach reflects the foundation’s core values of transparency, collaboration, inclusion, and empowerment. Previously, private offices lined the atrium perimeter, giving a select group the most privileged views. Today, the few remaining private offices and enclosed spaces line the outer edge of the building, making the atrium visually accessible to everyone and providing a clear view from 42nd to 43rd streets. With the Ford Foundation’s desire to include like-minded tenants and also increase convening space, the design team developed a more efficient floorplan for the workplace, thus allowing over 50 percent of the building to be dedicated to both public and grantee programs.

The reborn building restores a significant landmark while creating a high-performance interior embodying the foundation’s mission "to promote the inherent dignity of all people.”The historic Ford Foundation headquarters, completed by Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates in 1968, was hailed as a modernist architectural icon. The new overhaul, a landmark in modernist preservation, transforms a 50-year-old building into a 21st century workplace and public amenity.

The redesign maintains and enhances the building’s original character while significantly improving functionality, transparency, and accessibility. Many spaces, finishes, and furnishings were redesigned to be seamless with what already existed. The LEED Platinum renewal also modernizes the structure with New York City safety code and New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission requirements.

In 2018, after a two-year renovation, the landmark building reopened as the Ford Foundation Center for Social Justice. More than a headquarters, the center is a vibrant, accessible hub for champions of social justice. The design approach reflects the foundation’s core values of transparency, collaboration, inclusion, and empowerment. Previously, private offices lined the atrium perimeter, giving a select group the most privileged views. Today, the few remaining private offices and enclosed spaces line the outer edge of the building, making the atrium visually accessible to everyone and providing a clear view from 42nd to 43rd streets. With the Ford Foundation’s desire to include like-minded tenants and also increase convening space, the design team developed a more efficient floorplan for the workplace, thus allowing over 50 percent of the building to be dedicated to both public and grantee programs.

The reborn building restores a significant landmark while creating a high-performance interior embodying the foundation’s mission "to promote the inherent dignity of all people.”
Amherst, Massachusetts, USA
Higher Education, Laboratory
The Amherst College New Science Center provides state-of-the-art facilities and a flexible space to support the college’s science programs and students through the next century while reducing energy usage by 76 percent compared with a typical research building. The New Science Center is sited at the east edge of the new Greenway landscape, connecting the sciences to the rest of the Massachusetts campus. The building is organized around “the Commons,” a dramatic multistory atrium. The Commons creates a community of science through the five forms that make up the building: two four-story energy-intensive laboratory wings tucked into the east edge of the sloping site and three two- to three-story pavilions of low-intensity programming set in the landscape to the west, facing campus. A roof that floats above the Commons unifies the building while also providing a quiet visual datum for the undulating Pelham Hills beyond. An array of skylight monitors animate the roof, further signifying the building’s scientific purpose and its commitment to sustainable performance. The Commons’ roof monitors integrate architectural and mechanical elements that provide an overall comfort conditioning solution: chilled beams, radiant slabs, acoustic baffles, and a photovoltaic array. A central gap between the laboratory wings at one end of the Commons offers views to the east, drawing nature into the building. It also serves as a circulation nexus with an interior stormwater feature, fostering strong biophilic connections. The Greenway’s new surrounding landscape, when met with the transparent, west-facing glass façade, provides the Commons with remarkable views of native ecology, blurring the edges of the central living room and the outdoors. In turn, the gathering space feel like an extension of the outdoors.

Chicago, Illinois, USA
Interior Design, Corporate Office
It’s not often one walks into an office and feels a sense of calm and utter tranquility. An uncommon workplace in the center of downtown Chicago is serious in tone, as well as serene, designed as much for receiving visitors as for providing its 25-person staff the best environment in which to work.

The space, with its zen atmosphere, is, not surprisingly, anchored by a strong Eastern influence, reflecting a desire of the client, who has traveled extensively in Asia and amassed an impressive collection of art from the continent. What may be surprising, however, is that its design comes via Italy.

The Rome-based architecture firm Alvisi Kirimoto, headed by Massimo Alvisi and Japanese-born partner Junko Kirimoto, was tapped to tailor the space—its first project in the U.S.—working with the local office of CannonDesign, which had been brought on earlier to organize the layout of the rectangular floor plate. The straightforward arrangement has private offices and conference rooms lining the window walls around a central core containing the elevator banks and bathrooms.

“It was very clear from the beginning that the client wanted something special,” recalls Alvisi. Working with CannonDesign, the client had already selected two consecutive midlevel floors in a new tower being built along the Chicago River, after deciding to relocate from just a few blocks away. The office for one enterprise would occupy the full lower floor, nearly 30,000 square feet, taking advantage of its 12-foot ceiling height and carving out a piece of the floor above—which houses another of the client’s businesses—to create a large double-height room that has come to be known as the Winter Garden. “We had an unusual amount of flexibility with the building, which was just beginning construction,” says CannonDesign principal Mark Hirons. “We were even offered the possibility of balconies, but we opted for a light-filled interior space at one end of the floor that could be enjoyed year-round.”

Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Addition, Renovation, Historic Structure, Higher Education
The renovation and expansion of One Spadina Crescent for the University of Toronto’s John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design (DFALD) embodies a holistic approach to sustainable design. The project focused on the context of the city and dynamic use patterns over time as opposed to focusing exclusively on static accreditation frameworks. The project strove to distinguish itself in utilization efficiency, energy/water/material efficiency, properly insulated building fabric, indoor environmental quality, landscape, and urbanity. Most important, the project anticipated the dynamic nature of design education and technology through its flexibility and resilience. The project objectives were twofold: (1) rehabilitate the landscape, historic Knox College architecture, and urban significance of Spadina Crescent (2) demonstrate DFALD’s objective of overt sustainability through the deployment of materials and systems to accommodate a program for studio space, workshops, classrooms, offices, a library, a cafe, a gallery, an auditorium, a Living Lab, a Fab Lab, a public amphitheater, and an event terrace. Design strategies were multifaceted to address environmental, economic, and social values. One example of this is the new, dynamic ceiling on the third floor of the new addition. Using the cantilevered structural logic of the Firth of Forth Bridge, the ceiling of the studio is shaped to integrate daylighting, hydrological control, and structural optimization, creating a desirable space that engages the senses while simultaneously saving energy and water and serving as a pedagogical tool. For years, many initiatives have attempted to preserve, reuse, and repurpose One Spadina Crescent. This project has revived the site and offers a north face for the first time in its history. The preservation of the north addition will have value in how it establishes a dialogue with the urban and campus context and serves as a critical piece of infrastructure for the city of Toronto.

Amherst, Massachusetts, USA
Higher Education
Bringing together the previously dispersed Departments of Architecture, Building Construction Technology, and Landscape Architecture & Regional Planning, the John W. Olver Design Building fosters multidisciplinary collaboration and expressively integrates construction, landscape architecture, and building technology. It exemplifies the University of Massachusetts’ commitment to sustainable and innovative design with its LEED Gold certification and demonstration of emerging wood construction technologies.

An integrated approach to sustainability maximizes the impact of passive design, while incorporating strategic engineering solutions to minimize energy use. Addressing not only operational energy use, but also reducing the embodied energy of the building itself, the Olver building features an innovative use of engineered timber structure. The largest cross-laminated timber (CLT) academic building in the United States, the Olver building demonstrates the sustainability, economy, and beauty of mass timber as a building material and renewable resource.

The Olver building occupies a pivotal site on the Amherst campus and brings the community into "the commons" where students and faculty gather for organized and informal activity. The well-lit space offers visual connection to studios and maker spaces, embracing the university's collaborative goals. The surrounding landscape and roof garden restore a visibly functioning ecosystem, creating an outdoor classroom for detailing, site engineering, plant ecology, soil science, and stormwater management.

For students using the spaces, the building itself is both a learning environment and a teaching tool, demonstrating the simplicity, power, and beauty of design that expressively integrates structure, landscape, and architecture.
Portland, Oregon, USA
Interior Design, Corporate Office, Renovation
The Oregon Pioneer Savings Landmark Building in downtown Portland seems an unlikely home for Expensify. The online expense-management service was created 10 years ago by CEO David Barrett, who describes its mission as “making expense reports that don’t suck.” The company was founded in San Francisco (and now has offices in London and Melbourne), but it outgrew its original space. Portland, with its laid-back ambience and cheaper real estate, was an attractive alternative for another West Coast office. The stately neoclassical monument, designed by Boston-based Coolidge and Shattuck, was the first building Barrett saw. It has graced a corner site since 1916, with a pedimented Doric colonnade distinguishing its marble-clad front facade and a richly decorated skylit atrium dominating its interior.

“It was the perfect blank canvas,” Barrett recalls, “with a classy core that we could build on to create a unique space for our team to grow and our culture to thrive.”

ZGF’s principal in charge, Alan Gerencer, and his team, Gabriella Caldwell and Franco Rosete, shared Barrett’s enthusiasm for the venerable landmark. The client asked them to remain true to its original aesthetic while adapting it to his company’s offbeat working model. “Expensify hires people who thrive in a fast-paced, collaborative environment with lots of personal freedom,” Barrett explained. “We have only two rules: get shit done, and don’t ruin it for everyone else.” Here, Gerencer realized, was an opportunity to balance respect for history with edgy design.

Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
Research, Health Care
Located alongside the new Royal Adelaide Hospital, this project reinforces South Australia as a major center for medical research. The state-of-the-art facility accommodates approximately 700 researchers from around the world while the iconic architecture is meant to symbolize, inspire and promote the building’s function.

A uniquely shaped site and the need to create an entry adjacent to the hospital led to an elevated diamond-shaped plan that allows the parklands to extend below. The lifted building and integrated landscape act to liberate the ground plane, inviting greater activation and porosity throughout the site. Developed out of the basic program of the floor plates, the sculpted envelope reflects the functional symmetry of the space. A transparent façade showcases the two atriums within the building: the west atrium expresses the entry and bridge links between the laboratories and the east one articulates the active workplace environment.

The building’s form is accentuated by the triangulated diagrid façade that functions environmentally as well as aesthetically. Inspired by a pinecone, the skin simulates a living organism with sunshades that adapt and respond to the sun’s orientation to mitigate daylight, heat load, glare and wind noise, while enhancing views and natural lighting and reducing energy use. This external treatment was selected early on to optimize the building’s conflicting requirements of large spans, curved envelope and the stringent vibration conditions needed for sensitive laboratory equipment. To meet the various environmental, programmatic and formal stipulations for this initiative, technical experts utilized parametric modeling tools RHINO and Grasshopper.

The key driver of the building design is to foster collaboration between researchers. This is achieved by atria and bridges, visual connection between floors and the interconnecting spiral stair. The facility provides nine fully flexible wet and dry laboratory modules. Each module—comprising open lab space with benches, lab support rooms and write-up space—are connected by the lobby and bridge via the atria and arranged adjacently to encourage interaction and transparency.

This is the first LEED Gold laboratory building in Australia, attained by moves such as the passive design of the floor plates and the use of a diagrid façade, both of which optimize natural light and minimize energy use. Other sustainable initiatives include collection and recycling of water, reduction in energy loads and intelligent mechanical systems that draw air in from the cooler lower levels. Providing a resource to both the public and its users, the facility showcases sustainable urban design strategies and successfully interact with the city’s public transport, cycling and walking networks.
Los Angeles, California, USA
Government Courthouse, Courtrooms, Judicial Chambers
The Los Angeles Federal Courthouse is a 633,000 Sq Ft facility for the General Services Administration located in downtown Los Angeles. The program includes 24 courtrooms, 32 judicial chambers and offices for the US Central District Courts of California, US Marshals Service, US Attorneys, Federal Protective Services, Federal Public Defender and the GSA. The project goals were established during the competition phase and included architectural excellence, timeless design, high sustainability, beautiful durable finishes, highly functional reliable systems, efficient layout of spaces, and bringing best value to the taxpayer. The client requirements mandated meeting the GSA 2020 energy target of 35 EUI to be verified through actual performance during the first year of operations. Decisions made by the project team addressed these objectives throughout the design process. To achieve an iconic civic identity, the building uses traditional architectural elements such as processional steps, grand public spaces and enduring natural materials. The cubic massing provides a clear identifiable form that strengthens the Civic Center core. The compact volume provides an efficient exterior wall to floor area ratio with the interior central light court acting as an organizational feature for optimizing circulation and wayfinding for the project’s complex program. Both passive and active sustainable strategies informed the design from the inception. Features include site orientation, massing optimization, responsive façade design, onsite photovoltaic power generation, displacement air delivery systems, radiant hydronic systems, dimming controls, demand control ventilation systems, water harvesting and extensive use of daylighting systems. Raising the cubic volume above the street level created a civic entry plaza allowing both visual and physical connections to the broader context of the Los Angeles Civic Center including the art deco inspired 1928 LA City Hall at its core. The ground plane design reinforces both pedestrian and public transportation networks while addressing the site topography.
Santa Rosa, California, USA
Education, K-12, Classrooms, Offices
A place to be loud and not heard, a nook to reflect, a place that explains, expresses and transforms. Sonoma Academy created guiding principles that spoke to equity, community and exploration. The building and site attempts to stretch out and reflect the site and community. Sited at the base of Taylor Mountains, the landscape rushes down the hill and over the building. It integrates into the land and contributes back in native plantings that invite pollinators. The dining rooms open to the hill and city, with deep overhangs providing shading and intimate in-between spaces. The dining room is for gathering and meeting and one-on-one connecting. Big farm tables made locally provide collaboration space while bar height counters provide an option for much needed focus. The teaching kitchen doubles as classroom, meeting room and event spaces – with views to the west. Maker spaces open out to the productive garden for extended classroom space. The garden acts as classroom, park and gallery. Making with tools, making with food, and making with technology blend at the garden. The beauty of the site inspired the organization of two sweeping floors that stretch to views, grab onto the hillside and work to blend this campus with many levels. With the open sliding doors, students are encouraged to wander in and through, making this building a part of everyday pathways. Exposing the materials, the radiant manifolds, the structure and the systems, invites the user into the daily functions of the building. Biophilic principles providing guidance for planning and material selection – everything was thought of as a critical piece of the story. The resultant design strengthens the strong sense of place apparent in the school and tells the story of the region’s architecture, landscape, people, sustainability, and everyday life.
Ocean Springs, Mississippi, USA
Heeding this advice, the team began to conceptualize the design for the Marine Education Center (MEC) in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. The MEC is the education and outreach arm of The University of Southern Mississippi’s Gulf Coast Research Laboratory. In 2005, the previous center was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. A second storm impacted the site during schematic design, and a third, Hurricane Nate, hit during construction. It was clear—the new facility would need to be resilient, sustainable, and durable.

The center exemplifies sustainable coastal building techniques in harmony with the marine environment. The education facility includes outdoor classrooms, laboratories, administration offices, assembly spaces, exhibition areas, and a pedestrian suspension bridge where researchers have an unparalleled opportunity to learn about the ecologically critical bayou and tidal wetlands of Mississippi.

The team consulted with biologists and coastal ecologists to assess flora and fauna in three pre-determined zones, ultimately choosing the building zone with the least sensitive ecosystem, access to open water, and suitable building elevation to protect the buildings in the event of a natural disaster. The buildings were sited within the existing tree canopy, allowing the trees to serve as a natural wind buffer. Considering natural disasters and durability, the design focused on using and maintaining the land to serve as the first line of defense.

The team worked with the Resilient Design Institute to select low-impact materials for the health of occupants and to avoid ocean contamination in the event of a natural disaster. White oak was used primarily on the interiors for millwork and accent paneling, and southern yellow pine was chosen for primary structures. Given the center’s prevalence as a local Mississippi commodity, any future repairs can be quickly and easily accommodated.

Portland, Oregon, USA
Inspiring visitors to engage in sustainable actions is the mission of the design and exhibits at the Oregon Zoo’s Education Center. The center—the fifth project funded by the zoo bond—provides a home base for thousands of children who participate in camps and classes annually and serves as a regional hub, expanding the zoo's youth programs through collaborations with U.S. Fish and Wildlife and other partners. The center includes classrooms, meeting spaces, gardens, and a Nature Exploration Station (NESt), inspiring visitors to get outside, learn about nature, and take action on behalf of nature. Illustrating that “Small Things Matter,” the zoo provides its 1.7 million annual visitors with interactive exhibits that demonstrate how actions can help maintain a healthy planet. The center creates dialogue between the built and natural environment, with each interior space offering a corresponding visible and connected outdoor space. The wood and steel woven structure of the NESt is inspired by the nests of animals creating shelter and order in the environment. The NESt is the center of activity that visitors access through large sliding doors. They learn the stories of local conservation heroes and access the turtle conservation lab and the Insect Zoo—where the smallest of animals can have the largest ecosystem impacts. Within a plaza at the west end of the zoo, the tight, irregular site has curving boundaries of exhibits, the zoo railway, a pedestrian path, and a steep south hillside. The building hugs the central plaza, and learning landscapes exist throughout. Inspired by the unique spiral patterns prevalent in natural systems, two curved roofs welcome visitors to the plaza. Sustainable elements, including solar panels, native plants, bird-safe windows, and rain gardens, are designed to educate the public. The center recently earned LEED Platinum certification with 82 points and Portland AIA’s 2030 COTE award.

Los Angeles, California, USA
The Broad is a museum and storage facility for the Broad family collection of contemporary art and a key component of downtown Los Angeles’ revitalization. Dubbed “the veil and the vault,” the museum’s design merges the two key programs of the building: public exhibition space and the archive/storage that supports The Broad Art Foundation’s lending activities. Rather than relegate the archive/storage to secondary status, “the vault” plays a key role in shaping the museum experience from entry to exit. Its heavy opaque mass is always in view, hovering midway in the building. Its carved underside shapes the lobby below and public circulation routes. Its top surface is the floor of the exhibition space. The vault is enveloped on all sides by the “veil,” an airy, cellular exoskeleton structure that spans across the block–long gallery and provides filtered natural daylight. The museum’s “veil” lifts at the corners, welcoming visitors into an active lobby with a bookshop and espresso bar. The public is then drawn upwards via escalator, tunneling through the archive, arriving onto an acre of column–free exhibition space bathed in diffuse light. This 24’ high space is fully flexible to be shaped into galleries according to curatorial needs. Departure from the exhibition space is a return trip through the vault via a winding stair that offers glimpses into the vast holdings of the collection. Urbanistically, The Broad occupies a key component in the downtown revitalization plan for Los Angeles. Sited next to Frank Gehry’s Walt Disney Concert Hall, The Broad responds to the architectural hegemony of its context; the building’s fabric is porous and absorptive, its rectilinear form poised and calculated.
Pound Ridge, New York, USA
Single Family Home, Housing, Rural,
Most architects would be pleased to design a weekend house for loyal clients in a picturesque country setting. But when Calvin Tsao and Zack McKown heard that Josie and Ken Natori wanted a Japanese-style modernist retreat, it gave them pause. The partners in the New York–based Tsao & McKown Architects, feared creating something that looked like a set from Teahouse of the August Moon, especially in the village of Pound Ridge, an hour north of New York City, known for its charming old fieldstone and clapboard houses. “We didn’t want to do Disney,” says Tsao. Additional Content: Jump to credits & specifications Of course, the Natoris didn’t want that either. But Josie, the Filipino-born lingerie designer, and Ken, a third-generation Japanese American and her company’s chairman, did have an affinity for the wood framing, delicate details, and flowing spaces of traditional Japanese architecture, along with a wish for easy connections to the outdoors. While neither Tsao (born in Hong Kong and schooled in the U.S.) nor McKown (raised in South Carolina) claimed to have personal experience with Japanese architecture, they are both familiar with Asian cultures through their travels and tastes. In the end, they came up with a discreet and elegant solution. “We sought to create the feeling of Japanese architecture, but not replicate a style,” says Tsao. The evolution of the design was immeasurably aided by the close relationship of the architects to the clients: they had designed residences for the couple in New York and Palm Beach, as well as show rooms and boutiques for the Natori fashion business. “It is a real joy to work with architects who understand what you have in mind,” says Josie. “Calvin can finish my sentences.” The 29-acre property, studded with rocky outcroppings as well as pines, birches, and hemlocks, came with a pre-Revolutionary house near the road where the Natoris had spent weekends since buying the place in 1984. While the cottage had been remodeled over time, it stayed true to the town’s historic character. When the couple finally decided that small windows and separate rooms, however quaint, were too claustrophobic, they turned it over to their son and his family, and contacted their architects. After closely studying the grounds, Tsao and McKown decided the house should be set on a ledge of glacial rock, looking down a slope toward the original house, a pond, and the road. “The actual siting was the exc
Newport Beach, California, USA
Education, Preschool
In 2008, LPA designed the 8,535-square-foot Environmental Nature Center (ENC), which focuses on providing quality education through hands-on experience with nature. Through simple and cost-effective design strategies, the center was certified as the first LEED Platinum building in Orange County, California, and has operated at net zero since it opened, serving the community as an educational tool for sustainability.

In 2019, the 10,380-square-foot preschool was added, supporting the ENC’s mission to deliver quality, nature-based education for children ages 2 ½ to 5. Developed in conjunctions with educators, the community, and ENC leaders, the preschool complements the existing facility while seamlessly blending indoor and outdoor spaces, providing children with an intuitive understanding of nature and the natural world.

Developed through a holistic design approach, using the firm’s integrated team of architects, engineers, landscape architects, and interior designers, the projects create over four acres of dedicated open space within a suburban community. Taking advantage of the coastal climate, the buildings are oriented to allow for natural ventilation, significantly reducing initial and long-term costs. Neither building uses a mechanical cooling system. Low-energy ceiling fans and the building form enhance air movement when needed. Radiant floor heating provides low-energy, mild heating as required. Active and passive sustainable approaches were key in minimizing the energy demand for the preschool. The south-facing roof of the preschool accommodates a 32 kW array of photovoltaic panels, which are designed to provide 105 percent of the net energy for the preschool’s electrical needs.

ENC Nature Preschool is pursuing LEED NC Platinum certification and the Living Building Challenge’s Petal Certification, which will make it one of the first projects in the region to achieve this level of sustainability and healthy environments. With a focus on passive, efficient design, the ENC campus is serving as a living laboratory and educational tool for smart green design and conservation.
Oakland, California, USA
Senior Housing, Multi-Family Housing, Affordable Housing
The building provides 92 permanently affordable homes for low-income and special-needs, formerly homeless seniors, many of whom had been displaced by rising Bay Area housing costs. This site previously served as the underused parking lot for adjacent senior housing. The new building accommodates lost parking and adds capacity in a below-grade garage topped by five levels of housing and community spaces. The design underwent early variations as the developer acquired and incorporated small, irregular adjacent sites. The final assembled site offered additional capacity and a regular shape, which streamlined design. The goals were to add comprehensive affordable housing and supportive services, activate sidewalks to increase safety and enjoyment, and create a sense of place. This building brings focus to an area with an existing senior community, good transit, and vital neighborhood resources. A central courtyard lined with a transparent glass fence provides a protected space with a visual connection to the larger neighborhood. The top-floor community suite—garden, event kitchen, and wellness room— provides sweeping lake views for all residents. Care was taken to step the building massing down toward the lake, emphasizing the proximity to this wonderful urban resource and protecting neighbors’ light and views. The developer had a LEED goal from the outset. Shared by the design team, this goal informed all decisions about materials and systems, inspiring a range of complementary strategies that resulted in Platinum status. The building design begins with a tight envelope and massing articulation that responds to orientation. Strategies focus on reducing energy and water demand first, followed by efficient, cost-effective equipment that needs minimal maintenance and takes advantage of heat recovery and solar energy to reduce loads and offer multiplying benefits. For example, heat recovery ventilators in units provide balanced ventilation, improve comfort, and increase building durability while limiting cost burdens for low-income residents.