Architecture of the People for the People: Part 3/12 of the 12 P’s–– A Guideline of Design for Architects and Other People Who Want to Save the World and Design Like an Architect #ilmaBlog #Architecture

A 12 part series on the 12 P’s Doctrine: A Guideline of Design for Architects & Other People Who Want to Save the World and Design Like an Architect; developed by Frank Cunha III, AIA, NCARB, MBA.

PART THREE

Architecture of the People for the People

Culture of Stakeholders: When project stakeholders do not share a common culture, project management must adapt its organizations and work processes to cope with cultural differences.

The following are three major aspects of cultural difference that can affect a project:

  • Communications
  • Negotiations
  • Decision making

Communication is perhaps the most visible manifestation of culture. Architects, owner representatives, project managers, and contractors often confront cultural differences in communication in language, context, and candor. Language is clearly the greatest barrier to communication. When project stakeholders do not share the same language, communication slows down and is often filtered to share only information that is deemed critical.

The barrier to communication can influence project execution where quick and accurate exchange of ideas and information is critical. The interpretation of information reflects the extent that context and candor influence cultural expressions of ideas and understanding of information. In some cultures, an affirmative answer to a question does not always mean yes. The cultural influence can create confusion on a project where project stakeholders represent more than one culture.

Some tips for effective communication

(based on the 10 Tips for Effective Communication by Liz Kingsnorth):

  1. An intention for connection.
  2. Listen more than you speak.
  3. Understand the other person first.
  4. Understand needs, wishes and values.
  5. Begin with empathy.
  6. Take responsibility for your feelings.
  7. Make requests that are practical, specific and positive.
  8. Use accurate, neutral descriptions.
  9. Be willing to hear “No”.
  10. Ways we communicate other than words.

Without the people on a project a great building will never be built.  We need to empathize with all the workers and consultants that help make a project a reality and see things from their perspective and find common ground to develop solutions that work for the overall good of the project. 

If you are dealing with toxic individuals consider the following advice:

  1. Set limits. Take it from me, toxic people do not do well with boundaries.
  2. Pick your battles wisely. It’s tricky to balance being cordial with not wanting to normalize someone’s emotionally abusive behavior.
  3. Recognize and distance yourself from their behavior.
  4. Focus on the positive.
  5. Utilize your support system.

More advice on tackling problematic individuals is available by clicking here.

The skills which are needed to take on task-focused team roles include:

  1. Organizing and Planning Skills. Being organized is essential to getting tasks done.
  2. Decision-Making.
  3. Problem-Solving.
  4. Communication Skills.
  5. Persuasion and Influencing Skills.
  6. Feedback Skills.
  7. Skills in Chairing Meetings.
  8. Conflict resolution.

Who is Going to Use the Architecture You Create?

Finally, and most importantly it is important to consider the occupants who will be using the space.  As most of the work I do is in the public realm, I always consider how best to create spaces that are accessible and inclusive to everyone.  It is important to always focus on the people who will be using the spaces that you design and create.

Hopefully, the analysis provided in this post will help you start to think about ways that working with others can help you build a strong team to help you accomplish your project goals.  Without people, architecture cannot be designed or constructed on a large scale.

Subscribe to our blog for updates on each of the 12 doctrines established by Frank CunhaIII, AIA, NCARB, MBA.

We would love to hear from you on what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments – and – if you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

Sincerely,
FRANK CUNHA III
I Love My Architect – Facebook

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Purpose of Architecture: Part 2/12 of the 12 P’s–– A Guideline of Design for Architects and Other People Who Want to Save the World and Design Like an Architect #ilmaBlog #Architecture

A 12 part series on the 12 P’s Doctrine: A Guideline of Design for Architects & Other People Who Want to Save the World and Design Like an Architect; developed by Frank Cunha III, AIA, NCARB, MBA.

PART TWO

Purpose of Architecture

The purpose of Architecture is to improve human life. Create timeless, free, joyous spaces for all activities in life. The infinite variety of these spaces can be as varied as life itself and they must be as sensible as nature in deriving from a main idea and flowering into a beautiful entity. The overriding essence is found in the intangibles, life–heart–soul–spirit–freedom–enduring within the structure. The basic needs of the human being and the subtle variations of the individual are the source for Real Architecture as well as, of course, the natural environment and the natural use of materials. Thus creating – new- changing- to infinity yet timeless Architecture.

–John Lautner, Architect F.A.I.A.

The quote above from Lautner captures the essence of what Architects try to achieve. You can learn more about Lautner by clicking here for his biography. Great design is all about great purpose. Without a purpose Architecture is just a sculpture. Learn more about “Sculpture Architects” by clicking here.

To design with a purpose is the ability to find a special meaning and correlation (and co-relationship) with the occupant and the built work itself. The space transcends the normal reality and lifts the spirits in a way that is difficult to describe in words, but offers us a special feeling. (You can read about design that transcends by clicking here.)

Architecture that is purposeful can lift the soul – take for example, Notre Dame Cathedral, the design of the space helps lift the occupant in mind, body and spirit through the use of architectural elements: sacredness, sublime, spaces that reach for the sky, ornamental detail, colorful fenestrations, light, beauty, rhythm, patterns and repetition, to name a few.

Not only can sacred spaces serve a purpose and transcend the mind and soul, but so can other great works of Architecture, like museums, train stations, office towers, civic structures, homes and schools. Purpose when combined with architectural beauty and refinement offers people something special that has meaning. That is what our souls crave, people, places and things that can fill our lives with meaning.

Subscribe to our blog for updates on each of the 12 doctrines.

We would love to hear from you on what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments – and – if you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

Sincerely,
FRANK CUNHA III
I Love My Architect – Facebook

Inspirational Photo Sources:

Hedjuk Wall House https://i.pinimg.com/originals/4e/41/e0/4e41e019b44ff5475e74a1c2cb78b6e6.jpg

Residential Architecture Example: http://nestpearls.blogspot.com/2013/03/sublime-architecture-chisels-ideal.html

Libeskind Jewish Museum in Berlin: https://www.world-architects.com/it/studio-libeskind-new-york/project/jewish-museum-berlin

São Bento Railway Station, Porto, Portugal: https://mostlytrue.blog/2019/02/16/sao-bento-railway-station-porto/

Thomas Heatherwick’s 2010 Seed Cathedral pavilion: https://archinect.com/news/article/150032966/paul-goldberger-on-the-science-behind-sublime-architecture

Guggenheim Museum in NYC by FLW: https://www.guggenheim.org/the-frank-lloyd-wright-building


The Principles of Architecture: Part 1/12 of the 12 P’s–– A Guideline of Design for Architects and Other People Who Want to Save the World and Design Like an Architect #ilmaBlog #Architecture

A 12 part series on the 12 P’s Doctrine: A Guideline of Design for Architects & Other People Who Want to Save the World and Design Like an Architect; developed by Frank Cunha III, AIA, NCARB, MBA.

PART ONE

First, we start with the solid foundation and the importance of “Principles” in the practice of Architecture.

Marcus Vitruvius Pollio, commonly known as Vitruvius, was a Roman author, architect, civil engineer and military engineer during the 1st century BC, known for his multi-volume work entitled “De Architectura.” The principles described in his book were later adopted by the Romans.

The Principles of Architecture

For someone to begin to think like an Architect or become an Architect there must be some knowledge of the principles of Architecture.  The knowledge gained is not something that can be grasped in a course or in one year, but it is something that requires a life time.  That is why an Architecture office is called a practice because the architects are practicing a craft.  There is so much to learn about so many different things.  Alas, we must start someplace and start building a solid foundation of knowledge about the topic we love.  As we learn, make (small) mistakes and adjustments we are able to hone our craft and get better with time and experience.  Having a solid foundation of knowledge and precedents will help you become a better designer.

Vitruvius’ discussion of perfect proportion in architecture and the human body led to the famous Renaissance drawing by Leonardo da Vinci of Vitruvian Man.

It has been generally assumed that a complete theory of architecture is always concerned essentially in some way or another with these three interrelated terms, which, in Marcus Vitruvius Pollio’s Latin text (De Architectura (On Architecture), a handbook for Roman architects), are given as: 

  • Firmatis (Durability) – It should stand up robustly and remain in good condition.
  • Utilitas (Utility) – It should be useful and function well for the people using it.
  • Venustatis (Beauty) – It should delight people and raise their spirits.

Nevertheless, a number of influential theorists after 1750 sought to make modifications to this traditional triad.  Architects will always tend to argue, evolve, adapt and create more concepts and principles, however,  these fundamental themes are a great starting point to start to build knowledge.

Other concepts to consider as guiding principles of good architectural design:

  • BALANCE – Balance in design is similar to balance in physics. A large shape close to the center can be balanced by a small shape close to the edge. Balance provides stability and structure to a design. It’s the weight distributed in the design by the placement of your elements.
  • PROXIMITY – Proximity creates relationship between elements. It provides a focal point. Proximity doesn’t mean that elements have to be placed together, it means they should be visually connected in some way.
  • ALIGNMENT – Allows us to create order and organization. Aligning elements allows them to create a visual connection with each other.
  • REPETITION – Repetition strengthens a design by tying together individual elements. It helps to create association and consistency. Repetition can create rhythm (a feeling of organized movement).
  • CONTRAST – Contrast is the juxtaposition of opposing elements (opposite colors on the color wheel, or value light / dark, or direction – horizontal / vertical). Contrast allows us to emphasize or highlight key elements in your design.
  • SPACE – Space in art refers to the distance or area between, around, above, below, or within elements. Both positive and negative space are important factors to be considered in every design.

Subscribe to our blog for updates on each of the 12 doctrines.

We would love to hear from you on what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments – and – if you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

Sincerely,
FRANK CUNHA III
I Love My Architect – Facebook


Architecture of Hope #ilmaBlog

Everyone loves when new project is conceived.  The designs that are imagined in collaboration with an Architect and an Owner is magical – it is one of the rare opportunities in life when we have some control about creating something meaningful.  An architecture project offers hope and meaning to a world filled with complexity, anxiety and chaos. 

When a project is developed there is a sense of hope that the world will be a better place.  Great architecture allows people’s lives to change for the better addressing the programmatic needs of the client while offering beautiful, harmonic spaces for the occupants.

When an Architect envisions a space for a client, they are taking a wish and making it a reality.  The new spaces that make up the built work will become treasured by those who are able to experience it.  The building itself will shape the lives of the occupants and allow them to do the things they could not before.  Great architecture is more than just a shelter or a place that addresses the client’s need.  Great architecture transcends time and space and connects us in various ways: literally connects us in real time when using the space but also interacts with the occupants as experiences are etched into the memory of the building.  There is a feeling you get when you are in a great building.  It is difficult to describe but the space itself is more than the sum of its parts.  It is a spiritual experience.  An example of such a building for me is the Guggenheim Museum by Frank Lloyd Wright or the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts by Frank Furness.

Experiencing these buildings on various occasions exemplifies how Architects can design buildings in a way that epitomizes hope.  There are two definitions for hope: (1) a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen and (2) a feeling of trust.  Indeed, experiencing these spaces and many others the occupant does have a strong desire for something to happen and there is a feeling of trust that something will happen.  When visiting these special places, it is easy to see that designing architecture of hope allows the visitor a chance to experience a space that otherwise would be unexciting and humdrum.

When starting out on a project it is important to address this inherent desire to create someplace distinctive and extraordinary by thinking about how we as great Architects can live up to the desires and hope of our clients, even when they may not clearly see or sense the hope in the vision they are trying to construct.  Our jobs as Architects is to offer hope to our clients through our exceptional and distractive skills, blending art and science and craft when practicing Architecture.   If we can do this then we can create an Architecture filled with hope.

We would love to hear from you on what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments – and – if you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

Sincerely,
FRANK CUNHA III
I Love My Architect – Facebook

Suggested Reading:

My Architecture Manifesto: “Architecture Shall Live On” by Architect @FrankCunhaIII #Architect #Design #Theory #AvantGarde #ilmaBlog #DesignTheory #Architecture

Architects Vs. “Sculptor” Architects based on a conversation btw @WJMArchitect and @FrankCunhaIII

Ophiuchus: The Serpent Bearer (Playing With Numbers)


Ask the Architect: What Are Some Questions College Administrators Should Ask Themselves Before They Start Planning for the Future? #Architect #UniversityArchitect #Ideas #Design #Planning

Sometimes Architects Design and Sometimes They Ask Questions – Here are 50 Questions for College Administrators to Consider as They Prepare to Plan For Their Future:

  1. As an institution what are we good at? What are we not so good at?
  2. Where do we want to go – What is our vision for where we are headed – academically and as a family of diverse individuals?
  3. How will people of all ages (continue to) learn in the future?
  4. How will students live, communicate, develop, work, play, share?
  5. What is the hierarchical structure of education (Provost, students, Student-Life; Administration vs Educators)?
  6. How can we address “Exclusivity Vs Inclusivity” within education (i.e., white, blue, green collars all working together)?
  7. What traditions do we want to keep?
  8. What traditions do we want to eliminate?
  9. How can we offer more value?  How can we offer more by spending less?
  10. How can we accelerate/decelerate the process – what needs to speed up and what needs to slow down?
  11. How can we attract more students from in-state and from out-of-state?
  12. How can we offer more online/hybrid and flip classroom learning?  What other educational methods should we explore?
  13. Who are our clients? Can we identify the student of the future (identity, celebrate, identity)?
  14. How can we establish a “network” of future business/professional relationships?
  15. How can we enable a positive transformation of self-awareness and development into early adulthood?
  16. The “College Experience,” what does this mean?  What will it mean in the future?
  17. How can we become more sustainable?  Are we creating a culture that values the planet?
  18. What are some sustainable strategies that we do well, what are some we need to work on?
  19. How can we utilize our spaces more efficiently during off-hours?
  20. How can we provide better connections to the outdoors, nightlife, theater, arts, dining, sports and other events?
  21. How can we offer more opportunities for community engagement?
  22. How can we consider the college campus as a living laboratory?
  23. What is the changing role of the professor/instructors?
  24. How can we form better interdisciplinary relationships from different colleges to inter-pollinate ideas with one another?
  25. How can we focus and capitalize on our strengths instead of our weakness?
  26. Is the “Tiny house” concept viable for student housing?
  27. Instead of student housing should we follow a “hotel” model?
  28. What does a student center of the future look like? What is a library of the future look like? 
  29. Can we create a new model for (higher) education so our students never stop learning/growing?
  30. Is it viable to transform from a singularly “degree” approach to a “tool box” approach where students gain the building blocks they need for that stage of their career?
  31. What are some public/private partnership opportunities?
  32. How can we promote health and wellness on our campus?
  33. How can we create a walkable campus for all our students and guests?
  34. How can we support our professors and researchers?
  35. How can we develop programs that engage the residents of the state?
  36. How can we develop a culture of caring and giving that shares the same positive values?
  37. How can we capitalize on our close relationship with local parks?
  38. How can we create a better connection with urban areas – Jersey City, Patterson, New York City, etc.?
  39. How can we become an “Innovation” district in our state?
  40. How can we start recruiting students at an earlier age?
  41. How can we better retain our students?
  42. How can we better support our students educational goals?
  43. How can we offer the best college experience for our students?
  44. How can our built facilities improve lives of the people we serve?
  45. How can our grounds improve lives of the people we serve?
  46. How can our people (bus drivers, gardeners, housekeepers, librarians, etc.) improve lives of the people we serve?
  47. How can we become an institution that others want to emulate?
  48. Is there a way that we can work with industry/business partners to leverage our role as an academic research facility?
  49. How can we make learning fun and enjoyable?
  50. How can we offer more meaning to people’s lives?

We would love to hear from you on what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments – and – if you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

Sincerely,
FRANK CUNHA III
I Love My Architect – Facebook


The 12 P’s: A Guideline of Design for Architects & Other People Who Want to Save the World and Design Like an Architect #ilmaBlog

  1. Principles
  2. Purpose
  3. People
  4. Production
  5. Planet
  6. Projects
  7. Programming
  8. Process
  9. Passion
  10. Perks
  11. Profits
  12. Practicality

Subscribe to our blog for updates on each of the 12 doctrines.

We would love to hear from you on what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments – and – if you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

Sincerely,
FRANK CUNHA III
I Love My Architect – Facebook


Some Ideas to Help Aruba Become the Greenest and Happiest Island #Sustainability #Planning #Architect #Island #Eco #Green #ilmaBlog

Having recently visited Aruba earlier this year, and have fallen in love with the island, I would like to take this moment to reflect on ways that the little island nation can achieve its sustainability goals over the next several years.  Over the past few years it has come a long way but there are still many things left to be addressed if it is to be the greenest happiest little island in the Caribbean as it has set out to do.

One Happy Island

Some background information before we begin — Aruba contains 70 square miles (178.91 square kilometers) of happiness and a population of 116,600 (as of July 2018).

The tiny island gem is nestled in the warm southern Caribbean with nearly 100 different nationalities happily living together. We welcome all visitors with sunny smiles and a warm embrace.

Aruba is an island and a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the southern Caribbean Sea, located about 990 miles (1,600 kilometers) west of the main part of the Lesser Antilles and 18 miles (29 kilometers) north of the coast of Venezuela. It measures 20 miles (32 kilometers) long from its northwestern to its southeastern end and 6 miles (10 kilometers) across at its widest point.

Together with Bonaire and Curaçao, Aruba forms a group referred to as the ABC islands. Collectively, Aruba and the other Dutch islands in the Caribbean are often called the Dutch Caribbean. Aruba is one of the four countries that form the Kingdom of the Netherlands, along with the Netherlands, Curaçao, and Saint Maarten; the citizens of these countries are all Dutch nationals. Aruba has no administrative subdivisions, but, for census purposes, is divided into eight regions. Its capital is Oranjestad. Unlike much of the Caribbean region, Aruba has a dry climate and an arid, cactus-strewn landscape. This climate has helped tourism as visitors to the island can reliably expect warm, sunny weather. Fortunately, it lies outside Hurricane Alley.

Aruba’s economy is based largely on tourism with nearly 1.5 million visitors per year, which has contributed to Aruba’s high population density.

Despite having one of the world’s smallest populations, Aruba does have a high population density at 1,490 per square mile (575 people per square kilometer), which is more than New York state.

During the Rio +20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in 2012, the island announced it aim to cover its electricity demand by 100% renewable sources by 2020. In the same year, Aruba together with other Caribbean islands became member of the Carbon War Room’s Ten Island Challenge, an initiative launched at the Rio +20 Conference aiming for islands to shift towards 100% renewable energy. The benefits of becoming 100% renewable for Aruba include: reducing its heavy dependency on fossil fuel, thus making it less vulnerable to global oil price fluctuations, drastically reducing CO2 emissions, and preserving its natural environment.

(Sources: https://www.100-percent.org/aruba/; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aruba; http://worldpopulationreview.com/countries/aruba-population)

Some of the areas where Aruba seems to be excelling includes their recent ramp up of wind power – capitalizing on the constant wind that keep the tiny island habitable.

Other areas that they can improve on include the following:

Electric Vehicles

A whopping 87 percent of the entire power generation in the Caribbean comes from imported fossil fuels, and because so much of the region’s fuel comes from faraway sources, electricity costs are four times higher than they are in the United States. The economies of these islands are basically at the whim of global oil prices

The Caribbean has some other reasons to be enthusiastic about electric cars powered by a solar electric grid. The islands, on the whole, are small and low in elevation. The vast majority of islands in the Caribbean are smaller than 250 square miles and are fairly flat, with isolated peaks at most. 

This combination makes them ideal for electric vehicles in ways that, just for example, the U.S. is not. Most electric vehicles have limited ranges, with some only offering a hundred miles or less per charge. The higher-end vehicles can go further; the Nissan Leaf boasts 151 miles per charge, the Chevy Bolt 238 miles, and the Tesla Model S 315, but with still-long waiting times for a full charge, that’s about all you’re getting in an individual trip. That’s not great for hour-plus-long commutes from American suburbs, but for smaller islands with fewer hills to climb, that sort of range is just fine.

Customers who drive electric experience common benefits.

  • Charging up with electricity will cost you less than filling your tank with gas. Clients are experiencing savings of up to 50 percent on fuel costs and very low cost of maintenance.
  • Produce no-to-low tailpipe emissions. Even when upstream power plant emissions are considered, electric vehicles are 70 percent cleaner than gas-powered vehicles.
  • “Fuel” up with clean, Aruban-produced electricity and help our island achieve more energy diversity.
  • Drivers enjoy electric vehicles’ silent motor, powerful torque and smooth acceleration.

Although “solar” vehicles would be even better for this region, the ability for the island to “leap frog” ahead of other counties by building in an electric fueling infrastructure would help set it apart from other island nations.

(Sources: http://nymag.com/developing/2018/10/more-like-electric-car-ibbean.html; https://www.elmar.aw/about-elmar/sustainable-energy-and-electric-cars)

Solar Power

Although solar has come down over the past decade I was surprised that not more individuals capitalize on the sunny region with solar roof panels.

The recently constructed government building, Cocolishi, is one of the first buildings on Aruba with a solar roof. The solar panels provide 30 kW of renewable energy.

On the rooftops of the Multifunctional Accommodation Offices (MFA) in Noord and Paradera solar panels are installed. The MFA in Noord is an energy neutral building, this means it produces the same amount of energy as it consumes. The surplus during sunny days will be added to the grid.

Previously, solar panels were installed on the Kudawecha elementary school. These panels produce 175.5 kW solar energy.

The largest school solar rooftop project is installed on the Abramham de Veer School elementary school. This rooftop project produces 976 kW renewable energy.

The Caribbean’s first solar park opened in 2015 over the parking lot of the airport in Aruba. This solar park provide 3.5 MW solar energy and is one of the first renewable energy projects making use of the Free Zone of Aruba.

In Juana Morto, a residential area complex, solar panels are installed on the rooftops of different houses. Together the solar panels generate 13 kW of green energy.

Elmar, the electricity provider of Aruba, installed solar panels on the roofs of their offices. These buildings together provide 9.8 kW solar energy.

There are different decentralized solar projects on Aruba. Together they consist of 5 MW solar PV part and 3 MW rooftop schools & public buildings PV systems. Once built per the 2017 plan, the installation will provide an additional 13.5 MW providing power for approximately 3,000 households.

Given the amount of sunshine this island receives, expanding their solar portfolio seems prudent.

(Source: https://www.freezonearuba.com/business-opportunities/solar-projects-aruba/)

Wind Power

Wind Park ‘Vader Piet’ is located on Aruba’s east coast in the Dutch Caribbean, this wind farm consists of 10 turbines with an actual capacity of 30 megawatts (MW). Aruba’s current wind power production represents about 15-20 percent of its total consumption, which places it fourth globally and still some way behind Denmark, the current global leader, which produces 26 percent of its power from wind. But today, with a second wind farm about to be deployed, Aruba is set to double its wind energy output, placing it firmly in first place.

It’s hard to believe that just a few windmills are able to produce an output of 30 megawatts of energy, suppling 126,000 MWh of electricity to the national grid each year, displacing fossil fuel-generated energy and supporting the island’s transition towards renewable energy sources.

Given that the wind is a constant, exploiting this resource seems like a profitable and intelligent thing to do.

(Source: https://www.utilitiesarubanv.com/main/embracing-the-winds-of-change/)

Off-Roading

I love that the island has embraced off-road vehicles (ORV); it is a great way to experience the beauty around us in a challenging and fun way adding to the experience.  However, it would be very wise to develop designated areas for off-road vehicles to eliminate (or at least minimize) the human impact on the beauty of this island.  Because it’s greatest commodity is the natural beauty – Sun, ocean, nature and wildlife; Aruba (and other island nations) need to consider how to balance the fun aspect with some regulations that will preserve the beauty of the natural world for future generations.

As you may already know, the use ORV’s on coastal beaches is an activity that attracts considerable controversy amongst beach users.

ORV driving is considered as main contributor to land degradation in arid regions.

The most obvious physical impacts of ORV on vegetation include plant crushing, shearing, and uprooting. Such destruction of vegetation in arid ecosystems can lead to land degradation and desertification. Desert plant species exhibit varying degrees of vulnerability to vehicle use intensity, which results in changes in vegetation composition, height, biomass, reproductive structures, cover and seedbank.

(Sources: https://serc.carleton.edu/vignettes/collection/35397.html; https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1319562X18301153)

I also notice that many locals and tourists park their vehicles on the shorelines which are inhabited by indigenous plants and animals of all varieties.  This too should be lightly regulated through education or ordinances so that leaky old (or new) vehicles do not stain the natural shorelines that not only belong to us but to our grandchildren’s grandchildren as well.  We need to educate people to be more responsible and not disrupt the natural world with our cars , especially when it can be easily avoided with very little cost impact to the planning of the island.

Stormwater

Following up on vehicle management along the shorelines, another thing I noticed was stormwater runoff; which is not much but should be managed now to avoid a small accumulation over time.  It is still early enough to employ best practices and manage any future problems by building a robust infrastructure now before things get worse.  Because the island is so small it looks like much of the run off drains directly into the ocean.  Following best practices will ensure that the clear waters stay that way long into the future for the benefit and enjoyment of future generations.

Circumstances alone should prompt islanders to manage stormwater runoff:

  • Traditional community boundaries often centered on natural drainages (e.g., Hawaiian ahupua’a and Samoan village structure), so residents are aware of how land use changes can affect watershed hydrology.
  • Local economies rely on clear waters, healthy reefs, and robust fisheries; thus, BMPs designed to eliminate sediment plumes offer immediate, visible results to resource users.
  • In some locations, rainfall is the primary source of freshwater, so using BMPs like cisterns or storage chambers to collect runoff for potable and non-potable reuse makes water supply sense.
  • Tropical vegetation is fast-growing and plays a huge part in the water cycle, so stormwater management approaches that take advantage of canopy interception and evapotranspiration to reduce runoff have a high chance of success.
  • Island infrastructure is subject to big storms, rising seas, and tsunamis; therefore redundancy within the stormwater system improves resiliency.

Things that should be considered as the island faces increased development includes the engagement of “low impact development” which is an approach to land development that meets the following conditions:

  1. Avoids disturbance of existing vegetation, valuable soils, and wetlands to the maximum extent possible (e.g., minimizing site disturbance and maintaining vegetated buffers along waterways);
  2. Reduces the amount of impervious cover and, thus, stormwater runoff generated on a site through careful site planning and design techniques; and
  3. Manages runoff that is generated through structural and non-structural practices that filter, recharge, reuse, or otherwise reduce runoff from the site.

(Source: https://horsleywitten.com/pdf/Feb2014_IslandBMPGuide_wAppendix.pdf)

Desalinization

Tasked with providing water for a population which more than quadruples with tourists throughout the year, the Caribbean island of Aruba is building a new 24,000 m3/day (6,340,130 gallons) desalination facility to process seawater from beach wells. Paul Choules & Ron Sebek discuss technical details of the installation, set to replace older thermal desalination units.

This is so awesome and could become a really great way for Aruba to expand its market into other emerging countries that are facing water issues.  Abruba could use its extensive knowledge to help other arid climates deal with lack of drinking water, taking Aruba to the next level as a global leader in this realm.

(Source: https://www.waterworld.com/international/desalination/article/16201943/desalination-plant-profile-aruba-the-pearl-of-the-caribbean)

Cogeneration of Power

Justin Locke is director of the island energy program at the Carbon War Room, an international nonprofit. He said it makes sense for islands to switch to clean power.

“Islands currently pay some of the highest electricity prices in the world. At the same time, they also have some of the best renewable energy resources,” added Locke. Aruba’s plan includes building new solar and wind farms, converting waste to energy, and working to increase energy efficiency.

Aruba has set the ambitious goal of becoming the first green economy by transitioning to 100% renewable energy use. Currently, Aruba is at 20% renewable energy use.

Aruba is known for being sunny all year long and its cooling trade winds. By capitalizing on these natural resources, the island can generate renewable energy. The island is lowering its dependence on heavy fuel oil, lowering CO2 emissions, and reducing environmental pollution.

By steadily continuing its momentum with its green movement and implementing cogeneration of power production it will help the island become sustainable and resilient.

(Source: https://www.netherlandsandyou.nl/your-country-and-the-netherlands/united-states/about-us/aruba-and-you/sustainability-in-aruba)

Conclusion

Although Aruba has promised to become green it is not absolutely clear that it will be able to achieve its aggressive 2020 goals.  However, the future is bright if Aruba is able to continue on its path and starts to take these issues into greater consideration making it a premier destination for people to enjoy.  Becoming the world’s greenest island will ensure that tourism continues to flourish and that the country will continue to thrive in an environmentally-friendly way that will help restore and maintain the attributes that has made it what it has become famous for – a place for people from all over the world to come and enjoy the natural world away from the hustle and bustle of city life and experience the world in a way that seems to be reminiscent of a simpler time and offers us a chance to connect with something much larger than ourselves.  As temporary stewards for the environment it is up to us to protect that which does not belong to us so that future generations can also appreciate these valuable experiences.

We would love to hear from you on what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments – and – if you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

Sincerely,
FRANK CUNHA III
I Love My Architect – Facebook


@FrankCunhaIII Speaking at EAST COAST GREEN on June 21, 2019 About Sustainability at College Campuses #UniversityArchitect #Campus #GreenArchitect #Eco #ilmaBlog

Network, Learn, & be Inspired by the Living Building Challenge certified Willow School, hosting AIA-NJ’s 9th annual East Coast Green conference 6/21.

Want to see a rainwater catchment system that flushes all toilets, solar energy that provides 100% of a building’s power, healthy materials, design for optimal daylight and fresh air and a sustainable managed site that includes a man-made wetland to treat all waste onsite and a lush variety of gardens instead of lawn?

4 Education tracks in Energy, Human Experience, Materials, and Certifications provide continuing education credits throughout the day. Join us and mingle with Architects, Interior Designers, Engineers, Building Owners, Contractors and related industry professionals.

Local/organic breakfast, lunch and evening reception with open bar (beer/wine) included! www.eastcoast-green.com Sponsorship and registration available!

Click on the links below for more information about East Coast Green

Speakers: https://eastcoast-green.com/speakers 

Schedule of Events: https://eastcoast-green.com/schedule/


Ask the Architect: What is Sustainability? #Green #Architect #ilmaBlog

What is sustainability?

Sustainability has become a “buzz” word which has been used to describe conservation and protection of the environment we live in. 

Due to the fact that the general public (through old and new media platforms) has become increasing knowledgeable about climate change and pollution (from print news articles, online websites, documentaries and films that focus on the wrongdoings of companies), they are holding companies accountable and voting amongst industry competitors with the dollars they spend on goods and services.  An Inconvenient Truth is a 2006 American concert film/documentary film directed by Davis Guggenheim about former United States Vice President Al Gore’s campaign to educate people about global warming. The film features a comprehensive slide show that, by Gore’s own estimate, he has presented over a thousand times to audiences worldwide.  Films like “An Inconvenient Truth” can shed light on the way that people and companies play a part in the world we live in.  Because we live in a world of limited resources it is important that we focus not only on ourselves, but the earth and all its eco-systems (plants and animals included, not just human beings).  Human beings have the greatest impact on the planet and need to be accountable for how we live our lives.  Companies and organizations need to do the same.

How can we make sustainable development a reality?

This response focuses on a world driven by economics: Impact from “Corporations” & “Organizations” are two of many ways to help materialize sustainability because they shape the lives we live through community, what we buy, where we learn, where we work and how we choose to spend our income.

The European Commission (2010) defines corporate social responsibility (CSR) as ‘‘a concept whereby companies integrate social and environmental concerns in their business operations and in their interaction with their stakeholders on a voluntary basis.’’ A common definition in the management literature comes from Davis (1973, p. 312), who defines CSR as ‘‘the firm’s considerations of, and response to, issues beyond the narrow economic, technical, and legal requirements of the firm to accomplish social [and environmental] benefits along with the traditional economic gains which the firm seeks (Source: The benefits and costs of corporate social Responsibility” by Geoffrey B. Sprinkle, Laureen A. Maines) .”

In creating and distributing CSR Reports, companies not only share their reports with their customers and their employees, but in the process, they are able to reflect on what they are doing and how they can make improvements.  In the words of W. Edwards Deming, “Measure of productivity does not lead to improvement in productivity.”  However, by recognizing attributes that make the organization unique help move it forward.  By identifying key metrics that impact the business the organization will be able to better address the financial, social, and environmental benefits, commonly referred to as the Triple Bottom Line.

Customers need to be aware of companies that may be using “greenwashing.”  There are times when organization may not want to directly promote their activities through advertisements because it may appear like “pinkwashing” or “greenwashing.”  Savy customers may be turned away by marketing tactics.  More important is to do the right thing, keep employees motivated and focused on the organization’s values, and report in their annual CSR report (Source: Marquis, Christopher, Pooja Mehta Shah, Amanda Elizabeth Tolleson, and Bobbi Thomason. “The Dannon Company: Marketing and Corporate Social Responsibility (A).” Harvard Business School Case 410-121, April 2010. (Revised September 2011)).

How sustainability can be measured?

Because I have focused the past 20 years of my career primarily in the higher education industry I will focus my response on what I know, instead of tackling this problem from a larger more global perspective like I have in the responses above.  However, it is with much thought and consideration that I share these insights because I strongly believe that other industry sectors can prosper from this information.  This is by no means an end to all measurements of sustainability but it certainly is a good start to put a dent in this massive undertaking!

For the past few years APPA/NACUBO has compiled a survey of institutions of higher education.

The National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) is a membership organization representing more than 1,900 colleges and universities across the country. (https://www.nacubo.org) APPA is the gathering place for educational facilities professionals, dedicated to the ongoing evolution of the profession.  Although their name has changed over the past 100 years their mission remains: “To support educational excellence with quality leadership and professional management through education, research and recognition (https://www.appa.org).”

APPA/NACUBO provides an annual survey on the self-reported information submitted by their constituents which is comprised of: (1) Community Colleges; (2) Small Institutions; (3) Comprehensive/Doctoral; and (4) Research Institutions (High and Very High Research Institutions). 

The following key performance indicators are measured, compiled and reported by APPA/NACUBO based on the one of 4 categories listed above:

  • Energy Use Intensity (measured KBTU per square foot)
  • Electrical (measured kW per square foot)
  • Water daily (measured average gallons per FTE student enrolled)
  • Recycled waste (measured in pounds annually per FTE student enrolled)
  • Garbage waste (measured in pounds annually per FTE student enrolled)
  • Carbon footprint (measured in metric tons CO2 per FTE student enrolled)

The report illustrates the year-over-year comparison of results from the survey, as well as comparisons by type of institution. APPA/NACUBO encourages the academic institutions of higher education to explore these findings as a starting point to better inform their campus decisions.

It is vital that each institution look at similar organizations (community colleges, small institutions, comprehensive/doctoral, and research universities). The survey reports raw data by gross square feet (GSF) and by student full-time equivalent (SFTE). The raw data can be used to evaluate and reduce consumption.

Further Reading:

https://www.nacubo.org/Topics/Facilities-and-Environmental-Compliance/Key-Facilities-Metrics-Survey

https://ilovemyarchitect.com/category/green/

https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Frank_Cunha/answers

We would love to hear from you on what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments – and – if you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

Sincerely,
FRANK CUNHA III
I Love My Architect – Facebook


Latest @FC3Architect Project Under Construction Helps Serve “Community Supported Agriculture” in New Jersey

As someone who can never say no to a new challenge Frank Cunha III, AIA, worked with Greater Greens, LLC to help figure out some building details to design and construct a new head house for their new greenhouse. Since the greenhouse was designed off-site and shipped as a kit of parts, I worked with the agricultural company and the local building department to work out the details to meet the code requirements for this agricultural project. Although the entire process was new to me it helped me stretch my current design skills and helped me learn about a whole new industry that promotes sustainable farming practices while serving the local community with healthy ingredients.


Greater Greens, LLC uses two organic farming practices on their farm and they are extremely committed to sustainably producing clean nutrient rich food. They utilize aquaponics which creates a symbiotic relationship between fish and plants, where each can mutually grow and thrive. They also use their bio-intensive farming practices to mimic nature and promote healthy soil which means nutrient packed produce for their customers.

We would love to hear from you on what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments – and – if you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

Sincerely,
FRANK CUNHA III
I Love My Architect – Facebook


University Architect @FrankCunhaIII Earns #ExecutiveMBA from @BizFeliciano at @MontclairStateU

On May 21, 2019, Frank Cunha III, graduated from the Executive Masters in Business Administration program at Montclair State University, where he has served the students as an outside consultant from 2001-2007 and as an employee in the Facilities department since 2007. Most recently Frank has served as the University Architect at the institution which is the second largest public university in the state.

Frank Cunha III, University Architect, has been with the University Facilities team since 2007. Since graduating from the New Jersey Institute of Technology School of Architecture in 1998, he has obtained licenses to practice architecture in 9 states. 

Frank is passionate about strategic planning, architectural design and constructing of complex projects in a challenging and ever changing environment. He considers the environment, energy, and the health and wellness of the occupants during all phases of the project while addressing the programming needs to ensure the stakeholder’s program requirements are met and align with the organization’s mission, vision and values. 

Frank has led various teams over the past 20-years, both with the American Institute of Architects, serving on local, state and national level committees; he has worked on various charity projects over the years; Through collaboration and enhancement of his expertise as a Registered Architect through practice, research and innovation he has dedicated his life to serving others. 

With the assistance of his design and construction teams, Frank has been responsible for many projects of various size and scope around campus. Some project highlights include: Student Recreation Center, Center for Environmental Life Sciences, Cali School of Music, School of Nursing, the Center for Computing and Information Science, Sinatra Hall, School of Business, Schmitt Hall and historic renovation and addition to College Hall, to name a few.  Click Here for more information.


University Architect @FrankCunhaIII Leads Architectural Walking Tour of @MontclairStateU’s Campus for Architect Guests, @AIANJ AIA Newark Suburban #AIA #University #Architect

On May 18th, AIA Newark Suburban held a campus walking tour of Montclair State University led by fellow member, Architect Frank Cunha III, AIA.  The tour addressed the history of the campus and the way it has been designed and constructed to protect and promote the health, safety, and welfare of the occupants of the buildings and grounds.

Building on a distinguished history dating back to 1908, Montclair State University is a leading institution of higher education in New Jersey.  Designated a Research Doctoral University by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, the University’s 11 colleges and schools serve more than 21,000 undergraduate and graduate students with more than 300 doctoral, master’s and baccalaureate programs. Situated on a beautiful, 252-acre suburban campus just 12 miles from New York City, Montclair State delivers the instructional and research resources of a large public university in a supportive, sophisticated and diverse academic environment. University Facilities currently manages 70 buildings and approximately 5 million gross square feet of space on our campus. More information available: https://www.montclair.edu/about-montclair

Frank Cunha III, AIA, University Architect, has been with the University Facilities team since 2007.  Since graduating from the New Jersey Institute of Technology School of Architecture in 1998, he has obtained licenses to practice architecture in 9 states.  Frank is currently completing his Masters in Business Administration at Montclair State University and expects to graduate in May 2019.

Frank is passionate about strategic planning, architectural design and constructing of complex projects in a challenging and ever-changing environment.  He considers the environment, energy, and the health and wellness of the occupants during all phases of the project while addressing the programming needs to ensure the stakeholder’s program requirements are met and align with the organization’s mission, vision and values.

With the assistance of his design and construction teams, Frank has been responsible for many projects of various size and scope around campus. Some project highlights include: Student Recreation Center, Center for Environmental Life Sciences, Cali School of Music, School of Nursing, the Center for Computing and Information Science, Sinatra Hall, School of Business, Schmitt Hall and historic renovation and addition to College Hall, to name a few.

We would love to hear from you about what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments – and – if you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

Sincerely,

FRANK CUNHA III
I Love My Architect – Facebook


New Project by @FC3Architect is Almost 100% Completed (Teaneck, NJ) #BeforeAndAfter #CustomResidential #Home

One of the things we enjoy doing is: Helping People Make Their Dreams Come True!!! Here is another example of a successful transformation we helped imagine for the homeowners.

One of our projects is nearly completed. We more than doubled the size of the existing residence by creating a dynamic link that opens up the garden into the home with a connecting link. This “knuckle” becomes a link from the old home (which serves as the existing den and existing kitchen on the lower level) to the new home which includes a new dining area and family room. Upstairs, the addition boasts a master suite allowing us to increase the size of the existing bedrooms. Click here to read the original post about this project.

We would love to hear from you about what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments – and – if you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

To see more projects by FC3 Architecture + Design, please click here.

Sincerely,

FRANK CUNHA III
I Love My Architect – Facebook


Ask the Architect: Why Does Indoor Air Quality Matter?#LEED #WELL #Health #Wellness #Safety #Architect #ilmaBlog

Simply put, indoor air quality matters because human beings are spending more and more time indoors. It is becoming more important than ever to make sure that the buildings that we design, construct and occupy are suitable and safe for the occupants. The following article will draw on both research and experience in the design and construction of high performance buildings to help elaborate on this simple response.

Interesting Facts To Consider About Indoor Air Quality:

  • Indoor air often contains 4X to 10X the amount of pollutants of outdoor air.
  • Many studies have linked exposure to small particles (PM 2.5—defined as airborne particles smaller than 2.5 microns) with heart attacks, cardiac arrhythmias, strokes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, worsened symptoms of asthma, and an increased risk of respiratory illness.
  • The World Health Organization says that particulate matter contributes to about 800,000 premature deaths each year, making it the 13th leading cause of death worldwide.

The built environment around us plays a fundamental role in our overall well-being, particularly the indoor spaces that we inhabit to live, work, learn, play and pray, since most of us spend about 90% of our time indoors.  The buildings that we as Architects design and construct have a distinctive capability to positively or negatively impact our health and wellbeing. The air that we breathe inside a building can have a greater consequence on our health.  Unfortunately, many contaminants are not visible in the air, so we might not know that they are there.  Inhaling air or poor quality can lead to a number of health conditions, including but not limited to:  allergies, respiratory disorders, headaches, sore throat, lethargy and nausea.

Sick Building Syndrome

According to the EPA, sick building syndrome (SBS) is used to describe a situation in which the occupants of a building experience acute health- or comfort-related effects that seem to be linked directly to the time spent in the building. No specific illness or cause can be identified. The complainants may be localized in a particular room or zone or may be widespread throughout the building.

LEED Requirements

As more buildings are LEED certified, here are some things to consider about your next project:

To contribute to the comfort and well-being of building occupants by establishing minimum standards for indoor air quality (IAQ) after construction and during occupancy, USGBC LEED v4 requires that the project meet one of the following:

  • Minimum indoor air quality performance: Option 1. ASHRAE Standard 62.1–2010 or Option 2. CEN Standards EN 15251–2007 and EN 13779–2007.
  • Indoor air quality assessment: Path 1 Option 1. Flush-out, or Path 2. Option 1. During occupancy, or Path 2. Option 2. Air testing – Note: these cannot be combined.

Occupants are increasingly paying more attention to the conditions of their work environment as it relates to health and wellness. This is especially the case for researchers and their lab environments. We see surging growth in universities adopting lab design programs such as Smart Labs which places an emphasis in the indoor environment quality of the lab and through certification programs as:

We need to have a real-time measurement of the all contaminants of inside air and match that with real time control of the outside air coming into the environment. Ideally, we need to design and build facilities that:

  • Bring in lots of outside air—but only exactly where and when we need it.
  • Measures and controls more than just temperature and CO2.
  • Displays the ventilation performance for the building’s occupants.

Health and Cognitive FunctionPerformance Enhancements

Cognitive functions encompass reasoning, memory, attention, and language and lead directly to the attainment of information and, thus, knowledge. United Technologies and The Harvard School of Public Health prepared a study that was designed to simulate indoor environmental quality conditions in green and conventional buildings and evaluate the impacts on an objective measure of human performance—cognitive function.  The findings of the report concluded that the impact of the indoor air quality on the productivity of the occupants which revealed the following benefits:

  • Lowering the levels of CO2 and VOCs resulted in their participants scoring 61% higher on cognitive function tests compared with those in conventional offices.
  • There was a 101% improvement on their cognitive function tests when the ventilation levels were doubled above the standard ASHRAE prescribed levels.
  • Information usage scores were 299% higher than conventional offices when the ventilation rates were doubled.

The conclusion of this study is very clear: verified ventilation performance will increase employee and student performance.

Sources & References:

Is Your Building Ventilated Like It’s 1978? By Tom Kolsun

USGBC V4 Requirements for indoor environmental quality

Further Reading:

EPA – An Office Building Occupants Guide to Indoor Air Quality

#IAQmatters

EPA – Indoor Air Quality

We would love to hear from you about what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments – and – if you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

For More Questions and Answers please check out:
Architects @WJMArchitect And @FrankCunhaIII Respond to ILMA Fan’s Questions “ASK THE ARCHITECT”

Sincerely,

FRANK CUNHA III
I Love My Architect – Facebook


21 Improvements in Technology Architects Can Expect by 2030 #Innovation #Technology #ilmaBlog

  1. 90% of the population will have unlimited and free data storage.
  2. The first robotic pharmacist will arrive in the US.
  3. 1 trillion sensors will be connected to the internet.
  4. 10% of the world’s population will be wearing clothes connected to the internet.
  5. The first 3D printed car will be in production.
  6. The first implantable mobile phone will become commercially available.
  7. It is likely we will see more widespread adoption of implantable technologies emerge.
  8. The first government to replace its census with big-data technologies.
  9. 10% of reading glasses will be connected to the internet.
  10. 80% of people on earth will have a digital presence online.
  11. A government will collect taxes for the first time via blockchain. 10% of global gross domestic product will be stored using blockchain technology.
  12. 90% of the global population will have a supercomputer in their pocket.
  13. Access to the Internet will become a basic right.
  14. The first transplant of a 3D printed liver will occur.
  15. More than 50% of Internet traffic to homes will be from appliances and device.
  16. 5% of consumer products will be 3D printed.
  17. 30% of corporate audits will be performed by artificial intelligence.
  18. AI will increasingly replace a range of jobs performed by people today, including white collar jobs.
  19. Globally, more trips will be made using car sharing programs than privately owned cars. Driverless cars will account for 10% of all cars in the US.
  20. The first AI machine will join a corporate board of directors.
  21. The first city with more than 50,000 people and no traffic lights will come into existence.

Sources:

We would love to hear from you about what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments – and – if you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

Sincerely,

FRANK CUNHA III
I Love My Architect – Facebook