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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CELS Earns Honorable Mention Among @USGBCNJ Gala Award Winners – 2019

NEWS – The U.S. Green Building Council New Jersey Chapter (USGBC NJ) celebrated nine New Jersey-based projects at its Annual Awards Gala. The Gala took place on Wednesday, May 22, 2019 at the LEED registered Hyatt Regency, New Brunswick, NJ.

Each year, USGBC NJ recognizes and presents these distinguished awards to companies and individuals that have demonstrated outstanding achievement and best practices in green building and sustainability.

“The Annual Awards Gala is a stellar event,” said USGBC NJ Board Chair Daniel Topping, Principal with NK Architects. “It is our opportunity to celebrate innovative green New Jersey projects, while networking and financially supporting the mission of USGBC NJ. This year’s winners are exciting and inspiring. They range from corporate campuses, higher education facilities, sustainably built residential projects, a comprehensive green cleaning initiative and an urban resiliency park.”

This year, USGBC NJ’s Gala celebrated the following Award Winners (click for list of winners).

Honorable Mention

Included as an honorable mention was the Center for Environmental and Life Sciences (CELS) facility, a 107,500 square foot, LEED® Gold–certified science facility devoted to environmental and pharmaceutical life sciences research.  CELS enables Montclair State University’s College of Science and Mathematics (CSAM) to build on its collaborative culture combining strengths across disciplines and building research programs of exceptional power. In the process, Montclair State University demonstrates that it can make a large impact on the advancement of science and technology, especially in the sustainable use of natural resources and improved human health. The building comprises of a comprehensive array of laboratories, seminar rooms, classrooms, and other facilities that enable collaborative transdisciplinary research in the pharmaceutical life sciences and environmental sciences. It joins three existing science buildings around a “learning and discovery landscape” to give science research a high-visibility position on the campus.

The Project Team

  • Montclair State University Project Manager: Frank Cunha III, AIA
  • Architect of Record: The S/L/A/M Collaborative, Inc.
  • Engineer of Record: Vanderweil Engineers
  • Contractor: Terminal Construction Corporation
  • LEED Consultant: Green Building Center – New Jersey
  • Commissioning Agent: NORESCO

Some of the LEED-specific features include:

  • Both bus and rail transportation options within a half-mile walking distance.
  • The building is situated on an area that was previously developed.
  • The site is near to basic services such as places of worship, a convenience store, day care center, library, park, police department, school, restaurants, theaters, community center, fitness center, and museums.
  • A green roof with sedum mats is located above the second floor. This absorbs stormwater, restores habitat, adds insulation to the building roof, and provides a scenic study site and retreat for building occupants.
  • Exterior landscaping includes water efficient plantings and two rain gardens in front of the building.
  • A 35 percent reduction of water use in flush & flow fixtures.
  • Separate collection of refuse and recyclables with color-coded storage containers to avoid contamination of the waste stream.
  • Smoking is prohibited in the building and within 25 feet of entries, outdoor intakes and operable windows.
  • The building is mechanically ventilated with CO2 sensors programmed to generate an alarm when the conditions vary by 10 percent or more from the design value.
  • The design outdoor air intake flow for all zones is 30 percent greater than the minimum outdoor air ventilation rate required by ASHRAE Standard 62.1-2007, Ventilation Rate Procedure.
  • Lighting controls include scene controllers and occupancy sensors for classrooms, conference rooms and open plan workstations, with task lighting provided.

Further reading about the facility:

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


Benefits of Using Digital Twins for Construction

Technologies like augmented reality in construction are emerging to digitalize the construction industry, making it significantly more effective.

What if we could have instant access to all the information about a construction site, down to smallest details about every person, tool, and bolt? What if we could always be sure about the final measurements of a beam or that soil volumes in the cuts are close to those of the fills? What if we could always track how fast the supply of materials runs out, and re-order supplies automatically?

All this is achievable with a digital twin — a concept of having a real-time digital representation of a physical object.

The following are some real-time digital twins applications on construction sites.

3d-model

Automated Progress Monitoring

Progress monitoring verifies that the completed work is consistent with plans and specifications. A physical site observation is needed in order to verify the reported percentage of work done and determine the stage of the project.

By reconstructing an as-built state of a building or structure we can compare it with an as-planned execution in BIM and take corresponding actions to correct any deviations. This is usually done by reconstructing geometry of a building and registering it to the model coordinate systems, which is later compared to an as-planned model on a shape and object level.

Often data for progress monitoring is collected through the field personnel and can be hugely subjective. For example, the reported percentage of work done can be faster in the beginning and much slower close to the end of the project. People are often initially more optimistic about their progress and the time needed to finish the job.

Hence, having automated means of data collection and comparison means that the resulting model to as-designed BIM models is less liable to human error. Digital twins solve the common construction process problems.

As-Built vs As-Designed Models

With a real-time digital twins, it is possible to track changes in an as-built model — daily and hourly. Early detection of any discrepancies can lead to a detailed analysis of historical modeling data, which adds an additional layer of information for any further decision-making processes.

The project manager can then reconstruct the steps that led to the error and make changes in the future work schedule in order to prevent any similar mistakes from occurring. They can also detect under-performers and try to fix the cause of the problem earlier in the project or plan the necessary changes to the budget and timescale of the whole project.

Resource Planning and Logistics

According to the Construction Industry Institute, about 25% of productive time is wasted on unnecessary movement and handling of materials.

Digital twin technology provides automatic resource allocation monitoring and waste tracking, allowing for a predictive and lean approach to resource management. With digital twin technology companies would avoid over-allocation and dynamically predict resource requirements on construction sites, thus avoiding the need to move resources over long distances and improving time management.

Safety Monitoring

The construction industry is one of the most dangerous sectors in the world. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the United States, more than four thousand construction workers died on-site between 2008 and 2012.

The real-time site reconstruction feature digital twins allows the industry’s companies to track people and hazardous places on a site, so as to prevent inappropriate behavior, usage of unsafe materials, and activity in hazardous zones. A company can develop a system of early notification, letting a construction manager know when a field worker is located in dangerous proximity to working equipment and sending a notification about nearby danger to a worker’s wearable device.

Microsoft recently shared a great vision of how AI combined with video cameras and mobile devices can be used to build an extensive safety net for the workplace.

Quality Assessment

Image-processing algorithms make it possible to check the condition of concrete through a video or photographic image. It is also possible to check for cracks on columns or any material displacement at a construction site. This would trigger additional inspections and thus help to detect possible problems early on.

See an example of how 2D images using 3D scene reconstruction can be used for concrete crack assessments.

Optimization of Equipment Usage

Equipment utilization is an important metric that construction firms always want to maximize. Unused machines should be released earlier to the pool so others can use them on other sites where they are needed. With advanced imaging and automatic tracking, it is possible to know how many times each piece of machinery has been used, at what part of the construction site, and on what type of the job.

Monitoring and Tracking of Workers

Some countries impose tough regulations on how to monitor people presence on a construction site. This includes having a digital record of all personnel and their location within the site, so that this information could be used by rescue teams in case of emergency. This monitoring is another digital twins application. Still, it is better to integrate digital twin-based monitoring with an automatic entry and exit registration system, to have a multi-modal data fused into a single analytics system.

Getting Data for Digital Twins

Some ways to gather data to be used for digital twins includes the following:

  1. Smartphone Cameras
  2. Time-Lapse Cameras
  3. Autonomous UAV and Robots
  4. Video Surveillance Cameras
  5. Head-mounted Cameras and Body Cameras

Image data processing algorithms for digital twins can be created with the following methods:

  1. 3D Reconstruction: Conventional Photogrammetry
  2. 3D Reconstruction: Structure from Motion
  3. Object Detection and Recognition
  4. Localization
  5. Object Tracking

(Source: https://www.intellectsoft.net/blog/advanced-imaging-algorithms-for-digital-twin-reconstruction)

From an Investor’s Viewpoint

On projects to date, this approach has proven to save time, reduce waste and increase efficiencies.

From a Standardization Proponent’s Viewpoint

Open, sharable information unlocks more efficient, transparent and collaborative ways of working throughout the entire life-cycle of buildings and infrastructure.

From a Solution Provider’s Viewpoint 

While the digital twin is needed initially for planning and construction, it’s also intended to provide the basis for building operations moving forward.

(Source: https://www.siemens.com/customer-magazine/en/home/buildings/three-perspectives-on-digital-twins.html)

The vision of “construction 4.0” refers to the 4th industrial revolution and is a fundamental challenge for the construction industry. In terms of automated production and level of digitalization, the construction industry is still significantly behind other industries. Nevertheless, the mega-trends like Big Data or the Internet of Things offer great opportunities for the future development of the construction sector. Prerequisite for the successful Construction 4.0 is the creation of a digital twin of a building. Building Information Modeling (BIM) with a consistent and structured data management is the key to generate such a digital building whose dynamic performance can be studied by building simulation tools for a variety of different boundary conditions.

Along the total life cycle from design to construction, operation and maintenance towards remodeling or demolition, the digital twin follows all modifications of the real building and dynamically readjusts itself in case of recorded performance differences.

Thus, for the whole life span of the real building, performance predictions generated with the virtual twin represent an accurate basis for well-informed decisions. This helps to develop cost-effective operation modes, e.g. by introducing new cyber-controlled HVAC systems. The digital twin may also analyze the building’s dynamic response to changes in occupation or energy supply; it also indicates the need for building maintenance or upgrades.

The digital twin follows all modifications of the real building and dynamically readjusts itself in case of recorded performance differences.

(Source: https://www.bau.fraunhofer.de/en/fieldsofresearch/smartbuilding/digital-twin.html)

Gartner-digital-twin-best-practices-to-tackle-challenges

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


New Computer Science Facility for College of Science & Mathematics

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Higher-Ed-Comp-Sci-000-DHigher-Ed-Comp-Sci-000-CHigher-Ed-Comp-Sci-000-BHigher-Ed-Comp-Sci-000-AHigher-Ed-Comp-Sci-007Higher-Ed-Comp-Sci-005Higher-Ed-Comp-Sci-008Higher-Ed-Comp-Sci-014Higher-Ed-Comp-Sci-009Higher-Ed-Comp-Sci-013Higher-Ed-Comp-Sci-010Higher-Ed-Comp-Sci-006Higher-Ed-Comp-Sci-012Higher-Ed-Comp-Sci-003Higher-Ed-Comp-Sci-011Higher-Ed-Comp-Sci-015Higher-Ed-Comp-Sci-016

Mallory Hall, a 52-year-old, three-story, 34,400 GSF facility, is being renovated primarily for Computer Science instructional and research programs. The renovation will include a new addition to the building in the form of an additional floor resulting in a four-story 43,800 GSF facility. This renovation include space for offices, meeting rooms, classrooms, teaching and research labs and two specialized centers (Cyber Security/Forensics and Data Science) for public events and teaching forums. The building will also be life cycle renovated to include a new heating and cooling system, plumbing and electrical upgrades, life safety systems replacement, environmental systems remediation, new flooring, ceilings, and walls, and a new exterior façade and roof system. The building has been designed to implement sustainable features including very energy efficient lighting, lighting controls, low-flow plumbing fixtures and state of the art mechanical systems. Mallory Hall is currently under construction.

Project Team:
Client: Montclair State University, College of Science & Mathematics
Project Manager: Chris Danish
Owner’s Representative: Frank Cunha III, AIA, University Architect
Architect of Record: Clarke Caton Hintz
Contractor: Delric Construction
AV Integrator: Sony Corporation
Telecommunication: Commercial Technology Contractors, Inc.
Photographer: Mike Peters


Our Exclusive ILMA Interview with Daniel D’Agostino, AIA of Plan Architecture

Who is Daniel D’Agostino, AIA?

Dan D’Agostino is an architect with over 15 years of experience as an architectural designer and project manager.  

Mr. D’Agostino has extensive experience working on projects of varying scales.  His portfolio of work ranges from new and renovations to single-family dwellings  to high-rise mixed-use buildings in dense urban areas.  Mr. D’Agostino’s work has been recognized for achievement on multiple levels.  Winning an AIA Gold Medal for a mixed-use structure designed for Lower Manhattan, recurring appearances on NBC’s George to the Rescue and achieving the coveted “Best Of” award on Houzz.

Daniel received his Bachelor of Architecture Degree from the New Jersey School of Architecture at NJIT where he continues to serve as a visiting critic.  He is a member of the American Institute of Architects, the Little Falls Planning and Zoning Board and Little Falls Economic Development Committee.  He is a licensed Architect practicing in Northern New Jersey.  In his free time he enjoys being the best father and husband he can be, golfing and playing music.

About Daniel’s firm:

planarchitecturellc is a full-service design firm which specializes in producing innovative client-driven program-based architectural design and budget appropriate problem solving. 

Founded by Daniel D’Agostino, AIA, planarchitecture’s mission is to arrive at client and site specific architectural solutions to unique client demands.  The firm produces work for public, commercial and residential clients. 

You can find Daniel Online by clicking on the following links:

ILMA INTERVIEW

When and why did you decide to become an Architect?     

I found drawing to be a great pastime as a kid.  I also enjoyed building with my father.  Inspired by curiosity, I always wanted to find ways to make things better.  Design happens to be a way of making things better.  Architecture seemed like a natural fit for me. 

What were some of the challenges of achieving your dream?     

Becoming an architect in general is a challenging process.  While I’m patient with people, I’m not always so patient when it comes to progress.  I like to see things getting done, movement and motion.  Five years of schooling, 3 years of internship, 7 months of licensing, in the middle of a recession was challenging.

Any memorable clients or project highlights?  

Each project has a stand out moment.  The best moments occur when we are a part of the building process and able to walk a project with a client and discuss additional opportunities.   

How does your family support what you do?   

I am lucky to have a very supportive family.  Architecture is a big part of our lives.  We just had the amazing opportunity to design and build our own home so design is very much a part of our daily conversation.  Prior to that, we would travel to see buildings, stop on a walk to discuss a building material.  Dining experiences are typically accompanied by a short analysis of how things might have been better.

How do Architects measure success?     

I think Architects are an odd bunch if I may say so myself.   As such, it’s hard to generalize.  For me, if I’m happy – I am successful.  Some of the things that make me happy related to the profession are having the time to do something creative or inventive.  Having a staff meeting where everything gels.  Client meetings that end in laughter, hugs and an optimistic plan for advancing a project.  Discussion with a contractor where we walk away saying – this is going to be amazing!

What matters most to you in design?      

Function, daylight and views.  Each of our projects start and end with how the plan works, how we experience daylight and what we see both internally and externally along a view corridor.

What do you hope to achieve over the next 2 years? 5 years?  

I enjoy single family design and construction.  Over the last two or three years, we have designed a number of medium density residential developments.  I discovered that we were able to bring a neat little twist to this market that isn’t commonly found in these developments.  Our attention to detail and space making is needed in these larger projects.  I hope that in 5 years, we are doing a lot more of this.   

Who is your favorite Architect? Why?     

It’s a toss up – Frank Lloyd Wright or Louis Kahn

As an architect, saying you like FLW is like saying you like the Beatles.  I mean, the Beatles are mainstream, have a ton of hits, and reinvented themselves multiple times over the years.  FLW did the same thing.  His work is accessible and always delivers.  If you dig deep and learn about why his buildings look the way they do (sustainability, economics, desire to build cheaply, wartime rationing, etc.) they are amazing.  

Louis Kahn, on the other hand, not so mainstream and certainly not so accessible.  His buildings manage to be incredibly complex yet simple.  Having traveled the world looking at architecture, the Salk Institute was my greatest experience.  When you walk that plaza, it’s an actual experience.    

Do you have a coach or mentor?     

Not really.  I’m a pretty good listener and observer.  If you keep your antennas up, you are going to learn a lot.

What is your favorite historic and modern (contemporary) project? Why?  

The Pantheon in Rome is my favorite historic work.  It is structurally significant.  The sun is used as a light fixture in the building charting messages.  It’s all encompassing.  The Salk Institute is my favorite contemporary project due to its connection to site.  A strong axis of symmetry and orientation with the horizon.  It’s breathtaking.

Where do you see the profession going over the next few decades?  

I see the profession going more toward design-build.  There’s a lot of waste in the profession.  It’s impossible to get every single detail included in a set of plans if you are trying to adhere to an architectural budget and short timeline.  In New Jersey, the cost of land and taxes are so high, there is hardly ever an opportunity to draw every single detail and review it with your client.  The industry has therefore come to accept (through demanding) a set of plans for base building, and finer elements being decided by the builder.  As this process has evolved, we have come to see many features lost because original design intent isn’t considered.  It will also help to minimize the number of projects that come in “over budget”.

What type of technology do you see in the design and construction industries?  

I think modular still has a chance.  When I was leaving college, modular was the new thing because it was faster and cheaper.  Over time, it turned out, modular wasn’t exactly faster, or cheaper.  We should pay attention to modular building with an emphasis on trying to work aesthetic into it.

Who / what has been your greatest influence in design?      

Walt Disney.  We need to make sure our buildings work functionally but we also want to be entertained while being part of an experience.  Disney was great at this.

Which building or project type would you like to work on that you haven’t been part of yet?    

I’d like to do a New York City high rise on the West Side.  Growing up in Hudson County, New Jersey, the New York skyline was a big part of my childhood.  I drive down a street and see projects I designed going up or completed and you feel a sense of pride and permanence.  I’d like to have that feeling looking at the skyline.

How do you hope to inspire / mentor the next generation of Architects?   

Our office consists of 10 people, 9 of which are designers.  I constantly put forward that our job is to help our clients and serve them.  Listen to them and find the best way to deliver that which they are requesting.

What advice would you give aspiring architects (K-12)? College students? Graduates?  

I started working as a Sophomore in High School at an architecture firm.  I would recommend it.  It gives you an opportunity through college to understand “how” you might use what you are learning.  I would recommend college students get involved in outreach.  Get involved in your local community and start planting seeds for future networking opportunities.  Can you join the planning board? Is there a historical society you can join? 

For Graduates, it’s going to sound funny but go work at a restaurant as a server.  You are going to learn how to interact with people, understand how a person asks for something they need either verbally or with body language.  You’ll learn how people feel comfortable by studying where they ask to sit, the way they face, how they talk to one another.  You’ll learn about working in a tight space in the Kitchen and the importance of efficiency and flow. 

I was lucky – I learned how to speak Spanish working a restaurant while working with the Kitchen staff.  This has proven to be invaluable as the two predominate languages spoken on a job site are Spanish and English.  I am able to converse in both languages.  While sad, it’s worth noting that when I graduated from college, I made more money as a weekend waiter than I did as a full time draftsman.  It helps to have money.

What does Architecture mean to you?     

Simple, a place to be comfortably protected from natural elements.

What is your design process?     

My design process starts with the site.  From there, I sit with my clients and I start designing with them.  I’m not the type that comes to my single family residential clients with plans for how they should live.  With my larger development work, we analyze the site to maximize efficiency and density.

 If you could not be an Architect, what would you be?     

I couldn’t imagine myself being anything else.

What is your dream project?     

I’d love to work on a stage set.  Loose some of the parameters of gravity, building code, weather resistance to create an environment.

What advice do you have for a future Executive leader?     

Surround yourself with great people in all aspects of your life and consistently invest in yourself.

What are three key challenges you face as a leader in business today and one trend you see in your industry?     

As a business leader, I find staffing challenging because we are a service industry – not just design and construction so personnel is the most important.  You can get anyone that meet’s your qualifications.  You can also get anyone with a good personality.  Getting them both isn’t always the easiest.  When you do you, do everything you can to keep them.  Balancing the administrative elements of the business while maintaining your service qualities is a challenge.  I was only able to find success here after hiring administrative personnel.  When I started the business five years ago at 29, fresh out of a recession, no portfolio of work and competing against other architects more than double my age was a challenge.  We’ve now developed an impressive resume to support my interview process, however being the “young” architect seems to rear its head.  I try to convince people, it’s not the number of years you’ve been doing it, rather the number of years you’ve been doing it right.  The trend now is the integration of internet design.

What one thing must an executive leader be able to do to be successful in the next 3 years? 

Develop patience and resilience which has no regard for timeline.  Patience, as I stated earlier, wasn’t one of my virtues.  Everything takes time.  Resilience is important because the highs are way up there and the lows – we don’t talk about them.

What are some executive insights you have gained since you have been sitting in the executive leadership seat – or what is one surprise you have encountered as the world of business continues to morph as we speak?     

As the world of business continues to morph, our industry has stayed the same in principal.  We have to be flexible in how we deliver information.  A BIM model isn’t always the answer, sometimes a sketch to be texted out in 20 minutes is more important.  We also have to remember, architecture is a business.  The more successful firms know this.

Final Thoughts on How to Be Successful?           

Surround yourself with great people.  It starts with family and follows through staff, clients, contractors.  Work as hard as possible.  While it’s important to get your sleep and rest, you still have to write that extra email or do that extra sketch.  Go that extra mile, especially when it may not be needed or no one may be watching.

For more exclusive ILMA interviews click here.

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

Gift Ideas from ILMA


Our Exclusive ILMA Interview with Tim Witzig of @PKSBArchitects

This week we have a great interview with Tim Witzig.  I had the pleasure of meeting Tim this year and we had a lengthy conversation.  I think you will be impressed with his take on the world of architecture and design.

About Tim Witzig

Tim Witzig, AIA, Principal at PKSB Architects, is known for his breadth of understanding.  He has played an instrumental role in the success of PKSB for almost two decades.

Mr. Witzig has overseen teams for numerous projects. His experience includes, public and private schools, religious spaces, residential interiors, personalized homes, commercial interiors and a history of projects with civic importance. He served as a designer and Project Manager for the interior renovations of the AIA award-winning Franklin, Mansfield and Shoreham Hotels in New York City.

He was responsible for directing fabrication for guest area upgrades, interior elements and furnishings for all three hotels. Mr. Witzig has also participated in the design and construction administration of the Physics Building Addition and Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology Research Building at the University of Virginia, refurbishments for the Joseph E. Seagram Company in New York, and customized hotel resort interiors for the Walt Disney World Company. Prior to joining PKSB in 1990, Mr. Witzig was a designer at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill with a team developing the first designs for Worldwide Plaza at Columbus Circle. His participation in designing and managing projects with various scales, local code requirements, and unique technical requirements has brought Mr. Witzig a broad understanding of the challenges our client’s face in realizing a project.

About the Firm

PKSB Architects was established in 1964 by Giovanni Pasanella. Celebrating over 50 years in practice, PKSB is recognized as an award-winning full-service firm with a long history of completing projects of every scale and scope. Our practice areas include academic, preservation, institutional, residential, hospitality, public housing, infrastructure, public art, civic memorials, and houses of worship. PKSB’s efforts have been recognized with numerous design awards, including the prestigious P/A Award and AIA honors on the local, state and national levels.

While PKSB’s practice has evolved since its first years as Pasanella + Klein Stolzman + Berg, a commitment to architecture that blends artistry, craft, and pragmatism has always defined its work. The firm has a modernist foundation, but does not rely on a set “PKSB style.” Rather, the needs of the client come first, and PKSB’s strength lies in its ability to create solutions that respond to the unique aspects of each client, program, and location.

“Since its founding in 1964, PKSB has distinguished itself as an innovative practice whose projects combine artistry, craft and pragmatism. A spirit of collaboration and a willingness to explore have been the hallmarks of the firm since its inception.”

When and why did you decide to become an Architect?     

High School age. Seemed to encompass all my interests when I listed them. Before those years I wanted to be a Disney Imagineer.

What were some of the challenges of achieving your dream?  

Math. Undergraduate math, calculus, trig were such failures. Cost of school, lived in a marginal neighborhood in St. Louis to keep my living costs low for a couple of undergraduate years. During grad school working during breaks, working in the library for a little cash in my pocket when I should have been in studio probably. The library that I worked in up at Columbia was the library devoted to library sciences…only… could not have been more boring.

Any memorable clients or project highlights?    

Bess Myerson, Miss America 1945. She made me laugh… not right away. You got the joke on the way home in the re-telling. She wanted a beautiful new modern sculptural stair in her NY apartment renovation. I did not get to design the stair but I watched the process and helped do the drawings for the shell of the apartment. I learned a lot working with her, and helping make presentations and seeing how all talented  people involved worked.

How does your family support what you do?   

They listen to my ranting. Patiently.

How do Architects measure success?  

I think, gladly, that measure is made on very large field. I think if one helps, no matter how small, to make a piece of the world a more beautiful or usable place with our buildings, cities, infrastructure… one is a success. If you enjoy it as well? Huge success.

What matters most to you in design? 

Constructability, utility, timelessness, passing on inspiration to the users in some way.

What do you hope to achieve over the next 2 years? 5 years? 

Focus and allow others to run with the balls.

Who is your favorite Architect? Why? 

I do not really have a favorite, but if pressed on just the Architect part and not the human being part, then Frank Lloyd Wright. He achieved a very warm and approachable transcendence with his own style. If you look up Architect in the dictionary, it would not be wrong to see his picture there I think.

Do you have a coach or mentor? 

A few. The founders of the Architecture firm I am a part of now, Henry Stolzman, and Wayne Berg would go day-by-day explaining the practice and business of Architecture. My current business partner Sherida Paulsen brings reality to my day dreams. Going way back to school days there was William B. Bricken and Leslie Laskey. The latter should me how you could live like a designer and get interested in everything.

What is your favorite historic and modern (contemporary) project? Why? 

That’s so hard there are so many on both ends. Villa Malaparte in Capri. and almost anything Louis Kahn did, Yale British Art, currently I keep looking at Tod Williams and Billie Tsien and their Kim & Tritton Residence Hall. Over and over I stare at that simple building. 2 story residential dorm building with no stairs or elevators inside. Genius.

Where do you see the profession going over the next few decades?  

I think it’s very exciting, and I think Architects or folks who know a thing or two about making buildings will be in high demand. I think the firms will get larger and folks within the firms will be specialized a bit more. I think Architecture as a defined terms will blur and blend into other things we use.

What type of technology do you see in the design and construction industries? 

The 3D modeling and Building Information Modeling and ability to bring that up zoom in to look at all of the “guts” anytime and anywhere,, well it is already happening now and it should just get better and more fun. I would like to see a dose of A.I. in some of the mundane and complex tasks we do, like crosschecking current rules, zoning, codes, that come into play. I would like a computer programmer take a crack at developing a “ArchAI” program that will compile a basic building envelope and create a set of drawings just off say 10 basic inputs or dimensions you give it.

Who / what has been your greatest influence in design? 

Failure.

Which building or project type would you like to work on that you haven’t been part of yet? 

I would love to work on a large community center or cultural icon like the 92Y (92nd Street Y)

How do you hope to inspire / mentor the next generation of Architects?  

You sit with them see what they are doing and ask questions? If there is something good there, progress or talent in a particular direction you help develop that and point them to something that they might find helpful or interesting based on the direction they are already heading in. You might point them in a direction where they might get un-stuck (if they share their sticking point). Then they come back and ask again.  Then the mentoring kind of begins.

What advice would you give aspiring architects (K-12)? College students? Graduates? 

Just keep swimming. Do not be afraid to ask questions. Do not be afraid to fail.

What does Architecture mean to you? 

Every time I get mad at it and curse it for being hard, or impossible it comes back, I see a beautiful building and I just think it’s great and there are so many talented people to watch and buildings to visit. I guess it’s just ingrained in there and I hope I can enjoy it as long as possible.

What is your design process? 

That is a hard question. It really depends. But Testing and Tossing is such a big part. I used to say do not draw more in the first half of the day that you cannot erase in the second half. Of course we don’t have to spend time erasing anymore, so we have more time for flipping stuff on its head and seeing what can be gained. One tries to list, develop or articulate the restraints, constraints and guiderails first so you can get to the design phase. Then the Testing and Tossing begins. I still believe in the old fashioned pin-up in a room and let the criticism flow.

If you could not be an Architect, what would you be? 

The animation thing I guess. It’s never too late to go to Hollywood. Yes it is I think.

What is your dream project?  

The Museum of the Tour de France. It must have views and a fantastic café. And banks of Zwifting set-up’s with a huge High Def screens floating in front of real glazed views.

What advice do you have for a future Executive leader? 

Help others succeed and then encourage and praise, daily if you can. Sit right across or next to someone at their desk for bit, avoid constant big meetings. Smaller ones. You do the leg work the big meeting might have made easier.

What are three key challenges you face as a leader in business today and one trend you see in your industry? 

Technology costs, Marketing. Managing cash flow. I see a trend in larger firms as an umbrella with smaller brands below     

What one thing must an executive leader be able to do to be successful in the next 3 years? 

Listen, stay positive, learn how people do what they do.

What are some executive insights you have gained since you have been sitting in the executive leadership seat – or what is one surprise you have encountered as the world of business continues to morph as we speak?  

Younger people are very creative in the way they work and use software. I think it’s important to “give in” and “give up” the ways one might have done something in the past. Even if those ways worked well before. Be willing to re-prioritize what you thought was important in how projects are realized and mananged.

Final Thoughts on How to Be Successful?   

Keep a sense of humor, laugh and value irony along the way. Take some time to enjoy the journey and not just the finish line. Realize everyone one else is trying to do the same thing, and help whenever you can. Each client is a chance to learn something new.

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

Gift Ideas from ILMA


Design Development

Unfortunately, the Delaware Welcome Center was a project I was not able to see through construction.  I was grateful at the opportunity to work with my previous firm (Cubellis Ecoplan) on the programming, schematic design and design development, while I was with them.  Because the boss was away for the summer we were able to pull off some pretty amazing things with this project utilizing interns from across the firm in various states.  We used a 3-D environment to conceptualize the project and utilized web-ex to sell the concept to the client throughout the design process.  It was fun being the project manager on a project that brought people together from all over the east coast, both from the design team as well as the client team.

We would love to hear from you on what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments.

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, AIA
Registered Architect
Licensed in CT, DC, DE, FL, MD, NJ, NY, PA, VA
I Love My Architect – Facebook
FC3 ARCHITECTURE+DESIGN, LLC
e-mail: fcunha@fc3arch.com
mobile: 201.681.3551
web: http://fc3arch.com


Better Than a Selfie

cels-004-selfiecels-003-have-funEveryone likes to take a selfie (these days).  Only thing better is when someone else takes a selfie some place you helped design and build.

What: Center for Environmental Life Sciences

Where: Montclair State University

Who: Architect ; Photographer ; Builder ; Project Manager

Happy New Year!

Sincerely,
Frank Cunha III
I Love My Architect – Facebook
FC3 ARCHITECTURE+DESIGN, LLC
e-mail: fcunha@fc3arch.com
mobile: 201.681.3551
direct: 973.970.3551
web: Business / Personal
Licensed in CT, DC, DE, FL, MD, NJ, NY, PA, VA


New Center for Environmental Life Sciences

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My Role: Project Manager – Involved in the project from concept design through construction.

Owner: Montclair State University

Architect: The SLAM Collaborative

Contractor: Terminal Construction

About the Project:

The new “Center for Environmental & Life Sciences” (CELS) project will include construction of 107,500 gross square feet of new academic and research space and associated site development on the site of McEachern Hall, located along the eastern ridgeline of MSU’s upper campus.

PROJECT OVERVIEW

The Architect for this project is S/L/A/M Architects & Engineers P.C. The building was designed to achieve LEED Silver Enhanced Commissioning Certification based on the latest version of LEED New Construction.  Enhanced Commissioning is one of the LEED points to be achieved.

The new CELS facility is a four-story Spanish-Mission style building (with a mechanical penthouse) with a gross area of 107,500 SF with roughly 58,000 SF of teaching laboratories, research laboratories, classrooms and office space.

The building superstructure is comprised of steel framing on concrete footings and foundations. The exterior finishes include the University’s signature white stucco and clay tile roof.

A 2-Story atrium consists of three over-sized arched windows opens to a new patio facing the east-ridge with views of New York City. There is an East-facing green roof located on the third level.

 

Building Program:

The CELS program identifies approximately 57,000 Net Square Feet of new space and is organized into four specific functional space categories:

Office:  departmental hub, private offices for all FT faculty offices, open offices for graduate students, adjuncts, visiting professors and technical staff.

Instructional:  departmental and CSAM assigned teaching labs, classrooms and support (i.e. prep / storage).

Research:  shared and dedicated research space, including both traditional “wet” and dry labs, to support computational and equipment-intensive activities.

Other:  includes common spaces such as multipurpose rooms, lobbies, lounges and support.

The CELS building will be focused on trans-disciplinary research.  Key components of the proposed CELS program include:

  • Trans-disciplinary research lab group suites (accommodating as many as 148 faculty and students)
  • 6 core research labs, accommodating as many as 44 faculty and students
  • 150-seat lecture hall
  • Earth & Environmental Studies Department
  • 4 institutes & centers office suites (+ 1 lab group)
  • College of Science and Mathematics Dean’s Suite
  • Lounges and study/breakout areas for students
  • Vivarium research laboratories

Planning/Design Objectives:

  • Create a new identity for the Sciences thru the building and landscape design (Formation of a Science Quad).
  • Consolidate the Sciences and promote better adjacencies.
  • Utilize program density to create a building with activity and a sense of place for the sciences.
  • Design the building to compliment the campus context with the Quad to the west and the distant views to the east.
  • Reinforce with campus mission-style architecture.
  • Design to LEED certification level of Silver.
  • Design to accommodate trans-disciplinary research thru flexible/adaptable lab configurations.
  • Plan to allow for future expansion of the Sciences with a possible connection to the existing buildings.

 

 


What sets one construction company apart from another?

Guest post by Sarah Grey

ILMA

What sets one construction company apart from another?

With so many builders competing for your construction contract, finding the right one for your job

can be a real challenge, especially if you don’t have any direct experience in construction. From

the perspective of a professional Architect, here are some things to look out for when comparing

partners for your next big project.

A strong commitment to budget

Budget overruns are so frequent in the construction industry that they’ve almost become

a standard expectation, particularly when it comes to large commercial and civil projects.

Whilst there will always be unpredictable factors that can blow out your construction time, it’s

not unreasonable to expect that the final cost will be within 5-10% of your original contract.

Reputable construction companies will provide guaranteed fixed price contracts so you can rest

assured that your project will stay on budget.

Awards, but not just any awards…

Every industry has their own respected body that recognises and rewards industry leaders. By

the same token, there are also plenty of less knowledgeable bodies who are only in the awards

business to promote their own business instead of the industry as a whole. In the Australian

building industry, HIA is the premier industry representative. If the builder you’re considering

can show off recent awards related to your specific project, you can be quite confident that they

know what they’re doing.

After care

The law can only go so far to protect you from dodgy workmanship. It’s worth spending more

of your budget to secure a builder that offers a more extensive warranty. Be sure to check the

details thoroughly, it’s not just about the length of time, it’s also about their process for arranging

repairs or replacement of material.

Local project management

A dedicated Project Manager who regularly visits your site and is always on call is an absolute

must. Don’t settle for anything less.

Favorable Reviews

The most reputable home builders are equally liked by their mum and dad clients as they are

by architect clients. Whilst industry colleagues can provide valuable recommendations, it’s

easy to forget that many home-owner/builders are eagerly sharing their own reviews of building

companies online. Browse building company reviews on product review websites to see if there

are any client horror stories waiting to be discovered.

Specialist knowledge

An increasing number of builders are now offering ‘design and build’ services to their direct

clients. While there’s no doubt that this service offering is an inferior substitute for a professional

architect, this doesn’t mean that you should avoid working with them. The greater the

understanding your builder has of the design process and of the latest developments, the easier

they will be to work with.

Sarah Grey is a Writer and Marketer who works for a home building company.


New Research Facility, Montclair State University

CELS Montclair_2011

Slide07 Slide12

My Role: Senior Project Manager for the Owner during the Programming, Design, Bidding/Procurement & Construction Phases of the Project

Owner: Montclair State University

Architect: SLAM

Contractor: T.B.D.

Construction Manger: T.B.D.

About the Project:

The new Center for Environmental & Life Sciences (CELS) project will include construction of 100,000 (plus mechanical penthouse) gross square feet of new academic and research space and associated site development on the site of McEachern Hall, located along the eastern ridgeline of MSU’s upper campus.

The CELS program identifies approximately 57,000 Net Square Feet of new space and is organized into four specific functional space categories:

Office:  departmental hub, private offices for all FT faculty offices, open offices for graduate students, adjuncts, visiting professors and technical staff.

Instructional:  departmental and CSAM assigned teaching labs, classrooms and support (i.e. prep / storage).

Research:  shared and dedicated research space, including both traditional “wet” and dry labs, to support computational and equipment-intensive activities.

Other:  includes common spaces such as multipurpose rooms, lobbies, lounges and support.

The CELS building will be focused on trans-disciplinary research.  Key components of the proposed CELS program include:

  • 7 trans-disciplinary research lab group suites (accommodating as many as 148 faculty and students)
  • 6 core research labs, accommodating as many as 44 faculty and students
  • 150-seat lecture hall
  • Earth & Environmental Studies Department
  • 4 institutes & centers office suites (+ 1 lab group)
  • College of Science and Mathematics Dean’s Suite
  • Lounges and study/breakout areas for students

Planning/Design Objectives:

  • Create a new identity for the Sciences thru the building and landscape design (Formation of a Science Quad).
  • Consolidate the Sciences and promote better adjacencies.
  • Utilize program density to create a building with activity and a sense of place for the sciences.
  • Design the building to compliment the campus context with the Quad to the west and the distant views to the east (New York City skyline).
  • Reinforce with campus mission-style architecture.
  • Design to LEED certification level of Silver.
  • Design to accommodate trans-disciplinary research thru flexible/adaptable lab configurations.
  • Plan to allow for future expansion of the Sciences with a possible connection to the existing Buildings.

Also Check Out:

We would love to hear from you on what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments.

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

FC3 ARCHITECTURE+DESIGN, LLC
P.O. Box 335, Hamburg, NJ 07419
e-mail: fcunha@fc3arch.com
mobile: 201.681.3551
direct: 973.970.3551
fax: 973.718.4641
web: http://fc3arch.com
Licensed in NJ, NY, PA, DE, CT.


Our Exclusive ILMA Interview with ADA Specialist, Marcela Abadi Rhoads @Abadi_Access

Marcela Abadi Rhoads, AIA RAS, whom I had the pleasure of meeting on Twitter, is the owner of Abadi Accessibility, an accessibility consulting firm that is dedicated to educating the building industry about the laws of accessibility. She  received her Bachelor of Architecture  in 1991 from  the University of Texas in Austin and became a Registered architect in 1999 in Texas and a registered accessibility specialist in 2001.  Marcela  is sought after by owners and architects across the country who look to her for guidance to understand the accessibility standards throughout the design and construction process.  She assists the building industry, in part, by performing plan reviews and inspection for TAS, producing  a monthly newsletter to educate on the best way to apply the standards to their architectural projects,  and wrote The ADA Companion Guide published  John Wiley and Sons which explains the 2004 ADAAG.

Marcela Abadi Rhoads 01

“The ADA Companion Guide: Understanding the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) and the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA)” by Marcela A. Rhoads

When and why did you decide to become an Architect?

Ever since I was a little girl, about seven years old, I wanted to be an architect.  My uncle was a Civil engineer, my cousin is an architect and my grandmother studied interior design.  I was very influenced by them and what I would see. When I was a teenager, my other uncle went to the University of Texas to study engineering also, and told me that when I became an architect we could work together.  What a great incentive.  So the seed was planted.

What were some of the challenges of achieving your dream?

At the time I attended architecture school, male professors did not respect women.  So I had to work extra hard to be respected.  Another challenge was that I had NO idea how much art and drawing I was going to need.  I thought it would be more mathematical.  So although I loved to draw, I focused on physics and calculus in high school in preparation when I probably should have been taking more art and drawing.  So my colleagues that came from that background did much better than me at first.  But I slowly but surely caught up to them.

Later in life I was also challenged by the fact that I was a woman.  Being a woman living in the South, looking young and being short did not elicit much confidence and respect.  But I worked hard and proved myself.  I am also not a great test taker (I get very nervous) so when I was ready to sit for my boards (ARE) I forgot everything I knew.  It took me a couple of years to pass all my nine exams!  But I did it! yay!

Any memorable clients or project highlights?

My very first solo project was the Dallas headquarters for Univision.  I started out as the intern, but then the project manager quit in the middle and they put me in charge!  Wow!  I loved it.  I became very close to the client (and we are still friends today) and saw the project go from design all the way to CA.  It was amazing!

Another awesome highlight is when I was asked to write a book about the ADA (which is my passion!).  John Wiley and Sons approached me after seeing my group on LinkedIn (Abadi Accessibility News Group) and asking me to write a book explaining the ADA.  We called it “The ADA companion Guide: Understanding the ADA”.  It was the most exciting thing ever!  And then they liked working with me so they asked me for a second book that just came out in March called “Applying the ADA”.  I collaborated with three other architects friends of mine to develop a case study book on the ADA.  I think it came out really nicely.

How do you balance design with your family life?

That is one of my biggest challenges.  I decided to start my own firm when I became pregnant with my first child for that very reason.  I have my work at home, so my kids always see me here (unless I am in meetings). I try to schedule all my meetings and travels during the day while they are at school, so I can be home with them in the evening.  Lucky for me I am an observant Jewish woman who keeps the Sabbath.  That makes me take one day off every week (no matter what).  That day I spend with my family.  But during the week, I may not sleep as much when I have deadlines.  I work after the kids go to bed, or after my husband goes to bed.  I really try to give them my priority.  That is really difficult and I am so busy.

How does your family support what you do?

They are great!  They really never complain.  I do hear them when they say they want me to do something with them.  I make time for them so they allow me time for my work.  They are really awesome!  I remember when I was writing my two books and all the number of hours that I would spend on it, and my family was very supportive and understanding.  It also helps to have my husband also be an architect….but that is a different question

How do Architects measure success?

I think happy clients which then either return or give me referrals are my gauge.  If I have a project, even if it was not perfect, but after I work with my clients they are happy at the end, I think that is success!

What matters most to you in design?

For me if a design is thoughtful to its users that is the most important thing.  We can all design what we want, but if it does not work with what the end user needs it to do, then it is an exercise in ego boosting.  It is very important to me to have a project that is designed so that everyone can use it and is universally thoughtful.

What are the challenges you face realizing your vision?

Time.  There is never enough time in a day to do all I want to do.  So I have to learn how to prioritize and not do everything.

How do you translate the client’s vision to meet your own design expectations?

I try to put my ego aside, but also be a guide for my clients.  I hear what they are ultimately interested in seeing, and then I try to find them solutions that would be good design and also meet their expectations.  Most of the time they are looking for my input anyway, so that is not so hard.  When they have an idea in mind that doesn’t meet mine, I try and listen and adapt my ideas to theirs, but still guide them in a path that I will be happy to see.

Marcela Abadi Rhoads 02

“Applying the ADA: Designing for The 2010 Americans with Disabilities Act Standards for Accessible Design in Multiple Building Types” by Marcela A. Rhoads

What do you hope to achieve over the next 20-30 years?

I would love to have more people working for me so I can devote my time to marketing and relationship building.  I would love to be the person who meets the clients, come up with a great design for them and then comes back to the office and delegates the work to my other architects.  I am hoping that will happen by then.  I don’t ever think I will retire, though.  Being an architect is in my DNA.  It is who I am, not what I do.  So in 30 years when I am in retiring age, I still hope to be designing.

Where do you see the profession going over the next few decades?

Our profession is ever evolving.  The involvement that design professionals have on projects is always a big issue.  I would hope that through education and advocacy we can have architects be the leaders we once were.  That is what I’m hoping to contribute.

How do you hope to inspire / mentor the next generation of Architects?

I hope to instill the passion for architecture to the young architects by attending AIA events, volunteering to lecture and educate about universal design, ADA and how we can design environments that are usable and inclusive for all.  I have a strong passion about that, and I hope to bring that passion to the younger generation and try to teach them about how a great architect influences our profession and our society.

Marcela’s Contact Information 

You can get in touch with Marcela via her website www.abadiaccess.com or email her at marhoads@abadiaccess.com

You can also purchase her books by clicking here.

Marcela Abadi Rhoads

Also Check Out:

We would love to hear from you on what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments.

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!

Have a great weekend!

Sincerely,
Frank Cunha III
I Love My Architect – Facebook

FC3 ARCHITECTURE+DESIGN, LLC
P.O. Box 335, Hamburg, NJ 07419
e-mail: fcunha@fc3arch.com
mobile: 201.681.3551
direct: 973.970.3551
fax: 973.718.4641
web: http://fc3arch.com
Licensed in NJ, NY, PA, DE, CT.


10 STEPS TO GETTING THINGS DONE: WHAT MY KIDS TAUGHT ME ABOUT LEADERSHIP AND TEAM BUILDING

I often compare working with adults to working with children. Here is a list of suggestions to getting something done, whether it is other colleagues at work or your kids at home.

Please share your comments and feedback below this post.

1. SHARE THE VISION
It’s never easy getting someone else to just “buy in” and do something — at least not unless there is some big reward at the end. So share your vision and get “buy in” from your team. If it is possible, allow the team to shape the vision of the project, task, or event.

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2. MOTIVATION
Find out what motivates your team. My wife and I have been procrastinating about swapping out the kids play room with my office. By engaging my team (my kids) while my wife was out, I was able to have them help us jump start the small but arduous task ahead of us (since the two rooms are separated by two flights of stairs).

3. BREAKING DOWN A BIG TASK INTO SMALLER TASKS
Looking at all that needs to be completed is daunting, but when you break down the overall tasks into smaller, manageable tasks it appears doable. As things get done it is easy to keep the momentum going to complete the project and move on to the next one. Do not overwhelm the team — break down the activities into manageable tasks. Be realistic with the schedule to keep them motivated and on track.

4. FEEDBACK
Asking for and receiving continuous feedback helps the team see that their ideas matter. Integrating the team’s ideas into your overall project makes them feel vested in the project. It is easier to get things done when your entire team is on board with where things are headed. In my case, I asked my kids where they wanted to relocate some of the toy “stations” so they could be involved in the decision making process.

5. TAKE A BREAK
OK, playing “Rock, Paper, Scissors” and “Mickey Mouse Built a House, How Many Bricks Did He Use?” (throwbacks from when I was a kid), might not go over well at work. However, taking a break from a task will help recharge and refocus the team. Take this opportunity to encourage and bond with the team. Remind them of the vision.

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6. TEAM BUILDING
Use the break to bond. Whether or not this project is as successful as you envisioned it to be it is a learning opportunity (try to “break the eggs” and learn on the smaller or less important tasks, if you have to). Having a solid team will help with the success of future projects. We can grow from our challenges and experience and learn to work with our strengths (and the strengths of our team).

7. ENCOURAGEMENT
Keep giving the team positive reinforcement (and yourself too). Telling the kids that mommy was going to be “so happy” when she saw what we had undertaken, kept the little troops motivated walking up and down those stairs carrying office supplies and toys on those countless trips up and down stairs.

8. OFFER REWARD
Ice cream after dinner worked in my case. Again, see what motivates the team and offer a reward. It doesn’t necessarily need to be money or a promotion. Something small like a gas card or tickets to the movie or ball game would be a nice token of appreciation for having your tea, finish the job. It makes them feel appreciated and keeps them focused on completing the tasks expeditiously.

9. NEXT PROJECT
Go back to the team and see what ideas they have for the next project. Also remember to ask what the best and worse parts of the project were so that the next project is even more successful. Make a list of “Lessons Learned” so you don’t forget!

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10. MANAGEMENT & PASSING THE TORCH
If you can, avoid being a micro-manager; Next time be part of the team instead of being the leader. Let the others take the role of the committee chair, project managers, etc. What better way to teach leadership then to give someone else a turn to manage a project, task, or event? You can mentor each other (if you are willing to be reversed-mentored). They get a seasoned team member with a wealth of knowledge and experience. It’s a win-win for both and a fantastic way to build a strong, versatile team. It’s also humbling and a great way to see the project from the eyes of the guys in the trenches, which in turn, will make you a better leader for the next big thing.

We would love to hear from you on what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments.

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!

Have a great weekend!

Sincerely,
Frank Cunha III
I Love My Architect – Facebook

FC3 ARCHITECTURE+DESIGN, LLC
P.O. Box 335, Hamburg, NJ 07419
e-mail: fcunha@fc3arch.com
mobile: 201.681.3551
direct: 973.970.3551
fax: 973.718.4641
web: http://fc3arch.com
Licensed in NJ, NY, PA, DE, CT.


Significant Architecture : 2012

Significant Architecture : 2012
By Frank Cunha III, AIA

There is so much going on in the world of Architecture around us today and so many interesting projects that to only select 10 significant projects proves difficult if not impossible.  I hope that the following offers a glimpse to what I have been exposed to recently. I also want to apologize in advance for the scores of projects I missed but I hope are immortalized here with their counterparts.

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Architectural Revival – United Nations Headquarters

Whenever we as Architects think of our projects we seldom think of them as “temporary.”  Afterall, one of the things we strive for as Architects is immortality.  Our desire is that our souls live on in the buildings and spaces that we create.  That is why I wanted to select recent project that incorporated the revitalization of a masterful work of architecture.  Here is an example of what is possible when a project is revisited and enhanced to meet the needs of its occupants.  I also wanted to show case this building because of what is stands for and as an example of how far Architecture is able to reach people across the globe and able to unite us as a family of human beings.

International Style – Revival of an Icon: The United Nations renovation team brings back the long-faded luster of the Secretariat while satisfying ambitious performance goals.

The following was originally published in an Observer article “U.N. Architects Back to the Drawing Board; Pritzker Winner Still on Board” by Matt Chaban:

“The United Nations has a long tradition of employing the world’s finest architects.

The original Secretariat complex was the work of Le Corbusier and Oscar Niemeyer, two of the most revered designers ever to pick up a T-square. DC-1 and DC-2, the 1976 expansion of the campus better known as U.N. Plaza, was designed by Kevin Roche, builder of many New York towers and heir to the throne of Eero Saarinen.

In 2002, when it came time to plan for a new tower to house this globetrotting workforce, the United Nations Development Corporation, the city agency that handles all U.N. property, held a competition. It was open only to Pritzker Prize winners, and Japanese architect Fumihiko Maki was selected in 2004. Not long after, the project ran into political hurdles and was put on hold, but earlier this month Albany, the city and the U.N. reached a deal so the project can move forward. Almost as soon as the ink had dried on the land swap, Mr. Maki and his local partners, FXFowle, unrolled their blueprints and got back to work.”

The following was originally published in the September 2012 issue of the Architectural Record:

“The original design-team members were not oblivious to the problems associated with their orientation choice, however, Le Corbusier argued for an envelope solution that included external shading devices, such as the brise-soleil that had been installed on his 1933 Salvation Army project in Paris several years after its completion. Harrison, meanwhile, advocated the use of insulated glazing, a new technology consisting of two layers of glass with a sealed air space in between. The U.N. originally chose insulated glazing based on a cost study by the mechanical-engineering firm Syska Hennessy (which, coincidentally, is also the mechanical engineer for the U.N. renovation). The study showed that the new glazing technology would be less expensive and easier to maintain than the combination of conventional glazing and an external shading system. However, the insulated glass was also eventually eliminated from the specifications, not only due to its cost premium over single glazing but also because the layered glass was too heavy for the double-hung sashes. Its international design team notwithstanding, the Secretariat “fell victim to that uniquely American practice affectionately known as ‘value engineering,’ ” says Heintges.

Architecture Under Construction – One World Trade Center

Probably one of the most significant projects currently under construction is the new tower located at One WTC.  Apart from exemplifying that un-built Architecture (as one of my college professor put it) is merely masturbation which is part of the reason it was selected.  More importantly One WTC was picked because it shows how the forces of a people come together to construct a symbolic structure that radiates meaning to everyone who sees it.  Both as an object and as a place to be occupied One WTC, once completed, will serve as a symbol of the city it inhabits.

Gross square footage: 3,500,000 square feet
Total construction cost: $3.19 billion
Architect: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP

The following was originally published in the September 2011 issue of the Architectural Record:

There is no denying that One World Trade Center (WTC), the 104-story tower now rising at the northern end of the Ground Zero site, is a tremendously ambitious commercial real estate venture. The building, owned by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey with the developer Durst Organization holding a 10 percent stake, will contain 3.1 million square feet of office space when completed in late 2013. Below grade, connected to the WTC site’s vast underground transportation infrastructure, there will be 55,000 square feet of retail, and near the top, the tower will include a two-level observation deck and a restaurant. But when the designers of the $3.19 billion project describe the building, they generally focus first on its potential as a symbol: “It will serve as the marker of the 9/11 memorial on the skyline,” says David Childs, consulting design partner to Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM).

A Return to “Modern” – The Barnes Foundation

This “Retro” project is an example of how Architects study the Architecture that came before them and build on it accumulated knowledge.  All Architecture, no matter how innovating, stands on the shoulders of the ones who came before it.  In this example, the Architects draw clues from a few of the greats: Louis Kahn, Carlo Scarpa, and Edward Larrabee Barnes—masters of the late-Modern museum to create their very own masterpiece.

Completion Date: May 2012
Gross square footage: 93,000 GSF
Total Project cost: $150M
Architect: Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects

The following was originally published in the June 2012 issue of the Architectural Record:

“Taking cues from the designs of Louis Kahn, Carlo Scarpa, and Edward Larrabee Barnes—masters of the late-Modern museum—the new Barnes shows its architects (who are best known for their modestly sized, now closed American Folk Art Museum in New York City) working at a high level. Most impressive of all is the thoughtful sense of procession that carries visitors through the $150 million complex, first from the outside in and then from the museum’s airy common spaces almost inexorably toward the smaller-scaled galleries.”

Curvalicious Architecture – Heydar Aliyev Cultural Center

Love or hate ‘em—the Starkitects also define the direction of Architecture.  Ever since I first laid my eyes on Zaha’s sketches back in Architecture School I have been a sucker of her work.  The trends of post-modernism culled with a dash of the post-PM millennium design prevalent in Rem Koolhaus, Morphosis, Peter Eisenman, and Zaha Hadid’s work is one that will shape our landscape forever. This kind of design shows how Architects are able to reshape nature, albeit on a temporary basis, to alter the surfaces, forms, and materials that we are able to enjoy as we move through the spaces – inside and outside.

From Wiki:

The Heydar Aliyev Cultural Center is a cultural complex in BakuAzerbaijan, named after former president of Azerbaijan, Heydar Aliyev. The complex is designed by Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid

The Cultural Center houses a conference hall with three auditoriums, a library and a museum. The project is intended to play an integral role in the intellectual life of the city. Located close to the city center, the site plays a pivotal role in the redevelopment of Baku. The site neighbouring the Heydar Aliyev Cultural Center is designated for residential, offices, a hotel and commercial center, whilst the land between the Cultural Center and the city’s main thoroughfare will become the Cultural Plaza – an outdoor piazza for the Cultural Center as well as a welcoming space for the visitors.

The Heydar Aliyev Cultural Center represents a fluid form which emerges by the folding of the landscape’s natural topography and by the wrapping of individual functions of the Center. All functions of the Center, together with entrances, are represented by folds in a single continuous surface. This fluid form gives an opportunity to connect the various cultural spaces whilst, at the same time, providing each element of the Center with its own identity and privacy. As it folds inside, the skin erodes away to become an element of the interior landscape of the Cultural Center.

Heydar Aliyev Cultural Center had an official soft-opening ceremony on 10 May 2012 held by current president of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev. As of today, works on the interiors are still ongoing and the building is not open to the public yet.

Religious –   St. Nicholas Eastern Orthodox Church

Architecture, for me, is spiritual.  It is a divine connection between the creator, the occupant, and the spiritual world.  This simple church demonstrates how function can follow form.  It is simple and economically feasible for the patrons.  It is sleek and modern and addresses the needs of the client and the occupants.  The bright red cross offers a clear symbol indicating the use of the building.

Gross square footage: 3,600 sq.ft.
Cost: $405,000
Completion date: December 2009
Architect Marlon Blackwell Architect

The following was originally published in the November 2011 issue of the Architectural Record:

“The congregation couldn’t afford to build a brand new church. They may in about seven years, when the current mortgage is paid off and membership grows from 120 to a projected 200 parishioners. In the meantime, Jonathan Boelkins, project manager, says he and his team thought about tearing down the shed. “But it had structure and it had a roof, and so we thought, well, we’ll see what we can do with it,” he says. Boelkins and Blackwell wanted to give the building a presence from the road and, as Blackwell says, “give spirit form in the present.” They studied the history of Orthodox churches and found that their designs vary widely in the world: Each takes on a regional identity, rooted in its time, and St. Nicholas would be no different.

Blackwell and his team kept the roof, the structure, and the original skin on all but the western elevation and other, select areas. But they wrapped the building in new box-ribbed metal panels, keeping the western elevation white and the rest a dark bronze. “The panels are just exquisite,” says Blackwell. “They turn the building into corduroy.”

The shed’s long axis ran north-south, but the Orthodox like to pray facing east. The architects added a narrow addition to the western elevation to create the narthex. They moved the front entrance to the western elevation and marked the interior entry to the sanctuary with a steeple. Focus in the sanctuary is on the iconostasis in front of the altar, where Father John Atchison, parish priest, performs the rituals of the service under a slot window that allows morning light to filter in.”

Architecture as Sculpture – Wendy at MoMA PS1

All Architecture has the ability to function as art in some capacity.  In this case Architecture can be displayed, looked at, and occupied.  It is also important to think about Architecture as something that can transform, be put up, taken down, and reinstalled someplace else.  Various applications and variations on this theme exist. What is also exciting about this project is that the Architects gave this object a name, which makes the Architecture itself a personified character with it’s own personality.

The following was originally published on MoMA PS1’s website:

“The Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1 announce HWKN (Matthias Hollwich and Marc Kushner, New York) as the winner of th annual Young Architects Program (YAP) in New York. Now in its 13th edition, the Young Architects Program at MoMA and MoMA PS1 has been committed to offering emerging architectural talent the opportunity to design and present innovative projects, challenging each year’s winners to develop creative designs for a temporary, outdoor installation at MoMA PS1 that provides shade, seating, and water. The architects must also work within guidelines that address environmental issues, including sustainability and recycling. HWKN, drawn from among five finalists, will design a temporary urban landscape for the 2012 Warm Up summer music series in MoMA PS1’s outdoor courtyard.”

Architecture Fun – Playing with Barcodes

Architecture can be playful.  There are many examples of this throughout history.  This project incorporates emerging technology with playfulness.

The following was originally published by the Curators of the Russian Pavilion by Sergei Tchoban and Sergey Kuznetsov of SPEECH Tchoban & Kuznetsov

“Every surface inside the top floor of the Russian Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale is covered in QR codes, which visitors decode using tablet computers to explore ideas for a new Russian city dedicated to science.

In our pavilion we have tried to find an architecture metaphor for connecting the real and the virtual. People today live at the intersection of on- and off-line; ‘our common ground’ is becoming a cipher for infinite mental spaces.”

Transportation Architecture – Kaohsiung Port and Cruise Service Center

Architecture plays an important role as a connector.  One example where Architecture engages a site and its occupants is this waterfront terminal. The building’s occupants are surrounded by fluid forms, shapes and materials.

The following was originally published on ArchDaily’s website on December 14, 2010:

“Check out Reiser + Umemoto’s latest win for the Kaohsiung Port and Cruise Service Center in southern Taiwan. Working with Taipei-based Fei and Cheng and Associates, New York-based Ysrael A. Seinuk, PC and Hong-Kong based Arup, the new development exploits its waterfront placement as tumbling organic wave-like volumes cascade out toward the waves.

The port terminal is an experiment of “dynamic 3-dimensional urbanism” which amplifies the flow of pedestrian traffic through an elevated and activated boardwalk which runs continuously along the water. Meanwhile, beneath this level of public promenade, cruise and ferry functions are located just below. In this way, the layers create a dense range of programs, yet separating the cruises and ferries help maintain secure areas for departing/arriving passengers.

Structurally, the building’s skin is a system of nested, long-span shells.  The shells are composed of an underlying steel pipe space frame which is sandwiched by cladding panels to create a useable cavity space. “Overall an experience of directed yet funactionally separated flows will lend an aura of energy to the point terminal space,” explained the architects.

The project is scheduled for construction in 2012 and expected to be in operation by 2014, with a construction budget of approximately $85,000,000 USD. The competition is sponsored by the Kaohsiung Harbor Bureau, Ministry of Transportation and Communications, Taiwan, ROC.”

Architecture as Public Space

We look to Architecture for meaning.  On this project an Artist and Architect team up to create this fantastic object in the landscape.  Architecture can exist without a roof or walls.

Completion Date: June 2012

Artist: James Turrell

Technical Architect:
Thomas Phifer and Partners
180 Varick Street, 11th Floor
New York, NY 10014

The following was originally published in the July 2012 issue of the Architectural Record:

Anchoring the western end of Rice University’s main quad in Houston, James Turrell’s new 118-foot-square Skyspace emerges from the earth (or lands from the heavens, depending on how you see it) in front of the monolithic Shepherd School of Music. “This is architecture that light and space makes,” explains the artist. When the sun illuminates the atmosphere, you can’t see through it to view the stars that are there, he points out. “Light not only reveals, it also obscures—so you can actually build a space with it. I use light and architecture in that way: to limit space and to reveal it, either way.”

Turrell started his series of Skyspaces—enclosed rooms with an aperture open to the sky—in the 1970s, and to date he has created 73 across the world. In the early days, he would often make his works by cutting through existing buildings, such as his Meeting at New York’s MoMA PS1. But, to avoid irritating architects, as he says (and perhaps being irritated by them as well), he graduated to creating autonomous structures: buildings with holes designed in them, and no real function, much like a folly or gazebo.

Dubbed Twilight Epiphany, Turrell’s piece at Rice is composed of a 12-foot-8-inch-high grass berm that rises against the backdrop of the campus’s neo-Byzantine brick academic quads. The truncated pyramid form, which employs a concrete structure below and steel columns above, is topped with a 72-foot-square conventional membrane roof with a steel-plate knife-edge and a 14-foot-square aperture at its center. A lower-level seating area accommodates 44 people and features the artist’s trademark benches, made of Texas pink granite. Precast-concrete seating for 76 occupies the upper viewing area, where LEDs are installed for the two daily light shows programmed to correspond with sunrise and sunset. Made possible by a gift from Rice trustee and alumna Suzanne Deal Booth, who suggested the university work with Turrell, the Skyspace is the artist’s first engineered for sound (he worked with the music school to develop the concept), and it will host a variety of performances, some specially created for the space.

“We took James’s drawings and we turned them into something,” says Phifer, who has worked with numerous artists over the years and was happy to add Turrell to the roster. Not surprisingly, Turrell was very particular about the dimensions and scale of the room, the height the roof rose above the berm, the exact size of the opening, and the precision of the knife-edge, says the architect. “All of those details he’s been doing for most of his life—it’s a huge part of this work. The result is hypnotic. You’re taken to another place.”

“Though my work may not inform architecture, it can inform an architect about how we perceive,” says Turrell. “My interest is working in this space that we inhabit, which is not always the physical space that we have built.”

During the day, Twilight Epiphany gleams, a beautiful object offering an intriguing pause against the columned facade of the aggressively Postmodern Ricardo Bofill music school. As night falls, the colors projected on the levitating white canopy shift in juxtaposition to those in the sky. The frame brings passing objects into surreal focus—a cloud, a plane, a bug—and the walls dissipate, leaving you to consider the multitude of possibilities beyond.

The Architecture of Giving – Designing With a Purpose

Last but not least is this place holder for the Architecture of giving.  There are so many exciting and interesting projects taking place around the world around us.  Architects (like Doctors Without Borders) give back to the communities they serve and the global community.  After disasters Architects and their counterparts (Engineers, designers, contractors, etc), help in the cleanup and rebuilding process.  It is important to remember that all these projects make a difference in the lives of the people that they impact.  Although they do not always wind up in a book or magazine, these projects are still examples of what it means to be a great Architect by providing design expertise in adverse conditions.

We would love to hear from you on what you think about this post.  We sincerely appreciate all your comments.

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


FC3 ARCHITECTURE+DESIGN, LLC
P.O. Box 335, Hamburg, NJ 07419
e-mail: fcunha@fc3arch.com
mobile: 201.681.3551
direct: 973.970.3551
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Licensed in NJ, NY, PA, DE, CT.


Conrad J. Schmitt Hall Renovation, Montclair State University



MSU Finley - 07.26.2007_OLD_Page_1 MSU Finley - 07.26.2007_OLD_Page_2 MSU Finley - 07.26.2007_OLD_Page_3 MSU Finley - 07.26.2007_OLD_Page_4 MSU Finley - 07.26.2007_OLD_Page_5

Role:                     Senior Project Manager – Concept through design development.

Owner:                  Montclair State University

Architect:              Cubellis Ecoplan

About the Project:

Formerly named Finley Hall, Conrad J. Schmitt Hall has been renovated and now houses several departments within the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

The project consisted of a complete renovation of 37,000 S.F. of an existing two story building down to existing structural elements and the addition of a third floor. The total area of the building has been increased to 52,700 square feet. There are new classrooms on the first floor, faculty offices on the second floor, and general purpose classrooms and additional office space on the third floor. The project also included construction of a new entrance tower, a new elevator on the south side of the building and a new exterior wall system. The cost of this project was $18M.

For more information about tis project click here.

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We would love to hear from you on what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments.

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

FC3 ARCHITECTURE+DESIGN, LLC
P.O. Box 335, Hamburg, NJ 07419
e-mail: fcunha@fc3arch.com
mobile: 201.681.3551
direct: 973.970.3551
fax: 973.718.4641
web: http://fc3arch.com
Licensed in NJ, NY, PA, DE, CT.