The Architect’s Role in Sustainable Design (and How to Use Technology & Innovation to Advance Our Green Agenda) #ilmaBlog #green #design #architecture

Background

In the design and construction field, there are two major categories of resources: renewable and non-renewable. As opposed to non-renewable resources, which are depleted with their constant use, renewable resources are not. If not managed properly Non-renewable resources might become non-existent when the rate at which they are used is much higher than the rate at which they are replaced. Renewable resources include water, geothermal energy and wind energy. Non-renewable resources include coal, natural gas and oil.  The demand for new construction is on the rise as the world’s population increases and the demand for newer, more efficient modern buildings also increase.

Architect’s Role

Because buildings account for so much energy to build and maintain, architects and designers have become very conscious about our role in minimizing our environmental footprint when we design buildings.  The American Institute of Architects, the largest organization of architects world-wide has a committee called the Committee on the Environment (COTE), which works to advance, disseminate, and advocate—to the profession, the building industry, the academy, and the public—design practices that integrate built and natural systems and enhance both the design quality and environmental performance of the built environment. COTE serves as the community and voice on behalf of AIA architects regarding sustainable design and building science and performance.

Bamboo

Renewable Resources

In green construction processes, there is an emphasis on the use of renewable resources. In many cases, this natural source becomes depleted much faster than it is able to replenish itself, therefore, it has become important that buildings make use of alternative water sources for heating, hot water and sewerage disposal throughout their life cycles, to reduce use and conserve water supplies.

Architects and designers specify rapidly renewable materials are those that regenerate more quickly than their level of demand. Our goal is to reduce the use and depletion of finite raw materials and long-cycle renewable materials by replacing them with rapidly renewable ones.  Some commonly specified rapidly renewable materials include cork, bamboo, cotton batt insulation, linoleum flooring, sunflower seed board panels, wheat-board cabinetry, wool carpeting, cork flooring, bio-based paints, geotextile fabrics such as coir and jute, soy-based insulation and form-release agent and straw bales. Some green building materials products are made of a merger of rapidly renewable materials and recycled content such as newsprint, cotton, soy-based materials, seed husks, etc.

Check out this ILMA article about “Materiality and Green Architecture: The Effect of Building Materials on Sustainability and Design” for more information on this topic.

Responsibility of Architects

Architects and designers who align with AIA’s COTE objectives, (1) recognize the value of their role in environmental leadership to advance the importance of sustainable design to the general public while incorporating sustainable design into their daily practice, (2) influence the direction of architectural education to place more emphasis on ecological literacy, sustainable design and building science, (3) communicate the AIA’s environmental and energy-related concerns to the public and private sectors and influence the decisions of the public, professionals, clients, and public officials on the impact of their environmental and energy-related decisions, (4) educate other architects on regulatory, performance, technical and building science issues and how those issues influence architecture, (5) educate the architectural profession on programming, designing, and managing building performance, (6) investigate and disseminate information regarding building performance best practices, criteria, measurement methods, planning tools, occupant-comfort, heat/air/moisture interfaces between the interior and exterior of buildings, (7) promote a more integrated practice in order to achieve environmentally and economically efficient buildings. One of the tools we will plan to promote to achieve this integration is Building Information Technology (BIM).

Smart-Building

The Role of Technology & Innovation – A Case Study (“The Edge”)

PLP Architecture and the Developer OVG Real Estate, built “The Edge” is a 430,556 SF (40,000m²) office building in the Zuidas business district in Amsterdam. It was designed for the global financial firm and main tenant, Deloitte. The project aimed to consolidate Deloitte’s employees from multiple buildings throughout the city into a single environment, and to create a ‘smart building’ to act as a catalyst for Deloitte’s transition into the digital age.

They key features of this building include the following innovations which address the environmental impact of building such a large edifice:

  • Each facade is uniquely detailed according to its orientation and purpose.
    • Load bearing walls to the south, east and west have smaller openings to provide thermal mass and shading, and solid openable panels for ventilation.
    • Louvers on the south facades are designed according to sun angles and provide additional shading for the office spaces, reducing solar heat gain.
    • Solar panels on the south facade provide enough sustainable electricity to power all smartphones, laptops and electric cars.
    • The North facades are highly transparent and use thicker glass to dampen noise from the motorway.
    • The Atrium façade is totally transparent, allowing views out over the dyke, and steady north light in.
  • The building’s Ethernet-powered LED lighting system is integrated with 30,000 sensors to continuously measure occupancy, movement, lighting levels, humidity and temperature, allowing it to automatically adjust energy use.
  • 65,000 SF of solar panels are located on the facades and roof, and remotely on the roofs of buildings of the University of Amsterdam – thereby making use of neighborhood level energy sourcing.
  • The atrium acts as a buffer between the workspace and the external environment. Excess ventilation air from the offices is used again to air condition the atrium space. The air is then ventilated back out through the top of the atrium where it passes through a heat exchanger to make use of any warmth.
  • Rain water is collected on the roof and used to flush toilets and irrigate the green terraces in the atrium and other garden areas surrounding the building.
  • Two thermal energy wells reach down to an aquifer, allowing thermal energy differentials to be stored deep underground.
  • In The Edge a new LED-lighting system has been co-developed with Philips. The Light over Ethernet (LoE) LED system is powered by Ethernet and 100% IP based. This makes the system (i.e. each luminaire individually) computer controllable, so that changes can be implemented quickly and easily without opening suspended ceilings. The luminaires are furthermore equipped with Philips’ ‘coded-light’ system allowing for a highly precise localization via smartphone down to 8 inches (20 cm) accuracy, much more precise than known WiFi or beacon systems.
  • Around 6,000 of these luminaires were placed in The Edge with every second luminaire being equipped with an additional multi-sensor to detect movement, light, infrared and temperature.
  • The Philips LoE LED system was used in all office spaces to reduce the energy requirement by around 50% compared to conventional TL-5 Lighting. Via the LoE system daily building use can be monitored. This data is fed to facility managers via the BMS allowing:
    • Remote insight into the presence of people in the building (anonymous). Heating, cooling, fresh air and lighting are fully IoT (Internet of Things) integrated and BMS controlled per 200 sqft based on occupancy – with zero occupancy there is next-to-zero energy use.
    • Predictions of occupancy at lunchtime based on real time historical data and traffic and weather information to avoid food-waste.
    • Unused rooms to be skipped for cleaning.
    • Managers to be alerted to lights that need replacing.
    • Notification of printers needing paper.
  • Every employee is connected to the building via an app on their smartphone. Using the app they can find parking spaces, free desks or other colleagues, report issues to the facilities team, or even navigate within the building.
  • Employees can customize the temperature and light levels anywhere they choose to work in the building via the mobile app. The app remembers how they like their coffee, and tracks their energy use so they’re aware of it.
  • The vast amount of data generated by the building’s digital systems and the mobile app on everything from energy use to working patterns, has huge potential for informing not only Deloitte’s own operations, but also our understanding of working environments as a whole. Discussions are currently ongoing regarding the future of this data and its use for research and knowledge transfer.
  • The green space that separates the building from the nearby motorway acts as an ecological corridor, allowing animals and insects cross the site safely.

Conclusion

Because buildings account for nearly 40 percent of global energy consumption, architects and designers have been working to impact the built environment in a positive way.  Although not every project can be as green as The Edge, by selecting materials that are renewable while reducing energy are two big contributions we can make to help ease the increasing demand for construction.

Technology can play a big part in our role to design more sustainable buildings through the use of building information modeling, energy management software, building management software, online sustainability calculators, energy modeling software, new lighting innovations, new techniques to capture and deliver energy and clean water while reducing waste, and mobile applications utilizing IoT.

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.

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

 


13 Examples of Green Architecture

The Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation Environmental Center

The nickname for the Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation Environmental Center is the Grass Building, and it perfectly captures its spirit. It’s a structure so thoughtfully designed it’s almost as energy-efficient and low impact as the greenery that surrounds it.

The Maryland building is part of an educational farm on the Potomac River Watershed that the Alice Ferguson Foundation used to teach people about the natural world. This new building—which became the 13th in the world to receive full Living Building Challenge certification in June 2017—is an educational facility designed to blur the lines between indoors and out, while still providing shelter as needed. “Part of the intent of the building is to be in the landscape and still have a bathroom to use,” says Scott Kelly, principal-in-charge at Re:Vision, a Philadelphia-based architecture and design studio.

Further Reading:
https://gbdmagazine.com/2017/grass-building
https://www.aia.org/showcases/92581-the-morris–gwendolyn-cafritz-foundation-env
https://living-future.org/lbc/case-studies/morris-gwendolyn-cafritz-foundation-environmental-center
http://hughloftingtimberframe.com/gallery/commercial/cafritz-foundation-environmental-center
http://www.cafritzfoundation.org/

Brock Environmental Center

Drawing thousands of students, the Brock Environmental Center is a regional hub for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, in Virginia Beach, Virginia, supporting its education and wetlands restoration initiatives. A connection to nature defines the building’s siting, which provides sweeping views of the marsh and also anticipates sea-level rise and storm surges with its raised design. Parts were sourced from salvage: Its maple floors once belonged to a local gymnasium while school bleachers, complete with graffiti, were used for interior wood trim. The center was recognized for its positive footprint: It has composting toilets, captures and treats rainfall for use as drinking water, and produces 80 percent more energy than it uses, selling the excess to the grid.

Further Reading:
http://www.cbf.org/about-cbf/locations/virginia/facilities/brock-environmental-center
https://living-future.org/lbc/case-studies/the-chesapeake-bay-brock-environmental-center
https://www.visitvirginiabeach.com/listing/chesapeake-bay-foundations-brock-environmental-center/979
https://www.aia.org/showcases/76311-brock-environmental-center

Discovery Elementary School

Students have three distinct, age-appropriate playgrounds—with natural elements such as rocks and fallen trees—at Arlington, Virginia’s Discovery Elementary School. The name honors astronaut John Glenn, who returned to space on the Discovery shuttle and once lived in the neighborhood. Exploration is a theme at the school, whose interior focuses on forests, oceans, atmosphere, and the solar system. The largest zero-energy school in the country, it offers “hands-on learning around energy efficiency and generation,” jurors noted. The school maximizes natural light and provides views to the outside in all classrooms.

Further Reading:
https://www.aia.org/showcases/71481-discovery-elementary-school-
https://www.aiadc.com/sites/default/files/031%20-%20DiscoveryElementarySchool.pdf
https://www.google.com/search?q=Discovery+Elementary+School+AIA&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjS-pnHo6LcAhUMON8KHSlUDlYQsAQIdA&biw=1583&bih=1187

Bristol Community College

A laboratory is an energy-intensive enterprise, with specialized lighting and ventilation needs. That’s why jurors praised the airy health and science building at Bristol Community College, in Fall River, Massachusetts, for its net-zero energy achievement, “a difficult feat,” they noted, “in a cold climate like New England’s.” The move saves $103,000 in annual operating costs and allows the college, which offers a suite of courses in sustainability and energy, to practice what it teaches. Part of a holistic campus redesign, the new building’s location increases the density—and thus walkability—of campus for students.

Further Reading:
https://www.aia.org/showcases/71576-bristol-community-college-john-j-sbrega-heal
https://www.mass.gov/service-details/bristol-community-college-john-j-sbrega-health-and-science-building
http://www.architectmagazine.com/project-gallery/bristol-community-college-john-j-sbrega-health-and-science-building_o

Central Energy Facility

Orange and red pipes flaunt their role in “heat recovery” at Stanford University’s Central Energy Facility. The center for powering the California campus—more than a thousand buildings—the facility was transformed from an aging gas-fired plant to one fueled mostly by an off-site solar farm, fulfilling a goal of carbon neutrality and reducing energy use by a third. With large health care and research buildings, the campus needs as much heating as cooling; now a unique recovery system taps heat created in cooling processes to supply 93 percent of the heating and hot water required for campus buildings. The plant reduces Stanford emissions by 68 percent and potable water usage by 18 percent, potentially saving millions of dollars and one of the state’s scarce resources.

Further Reading:
https://www.aia.org/showcases/25976-stanford-university-central-energy-facility
https://sustainable.stanford.edu/new-system
https://www.archdaily.com/786168/stanford-university-central-energy-facility-zgf-architects
https://www.zgf.com/project/stanford-university-central-energy-facility

Ng Teng Fong General Hospital

Like other buildings in Singapore, Ng Teng Fong General Hospital incorporates parks, green roofs, and vertical plantings throughout its campus. But the city-state’s hospitals haven’t traditionally offered direct access to fresh air, light, and outdoor views. This hospital marks a dramatic change, optimizing each for patients. About 70 percent of the facility is naturally ventilated and cooled by fans, cross-ventilation, and exterior shading, saving on precious water resources. The building uses 38 percent less energy than a typical hospital in the area.

Further Reading:
https://www.aia.org/showcases/76821-ng-teng-fong-general-hospital–jurong-commun
http://www.hok.com/about/news/2017/07/25/ng_teng_fong_general_international_academy_for_design_and_health_awards
https://www.archdaily.com/869556/aia-selects-top-10-most-sustainable-projects-of-2017/58f7c23ce58eceac31000615-aia-selects-top-10-most-sustainable-projects-of-2017-photo
http://www.topicarchitecture.com/articles/154396-how-modern-hospitals-recognize-the-impact-o

Eden Hall Farm, Chatham University

After receiving the donation of 388-acre Eden Hall Farm, 20 miles north, Pittsburgh’s Chatham University created a satellite campus centered around a sustainable living experiment. The university views the landscape—an agricultural area adjacent to an urban center—as critical to supporting cities of the future. The original buildings are complemented by new facilities for 250 residential students (and eventually 1,200), including a dormitory, greenhouse, dining commons, and classrooms. Students get hands-on experience in renewable energy systems—the campus generates more than it uses—sustainable agriculture and aquaculture, waste treatment, and water management. Now home to the Falk School of Sustainability, the farm is producing the next generation of environmental stewards, who follow in the footsteps of alum Rachel Carson.

Further Reading:
https://www.aia.org/showcases/76481-chatham-university-eden-hall-campus
http://www.chatham.edu/news/index.php/2018/01/chatham-views/from-eden-hall-pioneer-to-farm-manager
https://www.archdaily.com/869556/aia-selects-top-10-most-sustainable-projects-of-2017
https://falk.chatham.edu/masterplan.cfm

Milken Institute School of Public Health, George Washington University

At George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health, located in the nation’s capital, design embodies well-being. Built around an atrium that admits light and air, the structure encourages physical activity with a staircase that spans its eight levels. A green roof reduces storm runoff; rainwater is collected and stored for plumbing, resulting in a 41 percent reduction in toilet fixtures’ water use. Limestone panels (left) were salvaged from the previous building on the site. Materials used throughout the building contain recycled content.

Further Reading:
https://www.aia.org/showcases/71306-milken-institute-school-of-public-health
https://publichealth.gwu.edu/content/milken-institute-school-public-health-wins-excellence-architecture-new-building-merit-award
http://designawards.architects.org/projects/honor-awards-for-design-excellence/milken-institute-school-of-public-health-george-washington-university/

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Inouye Regional Center

Located at the heart of Pearl Harbor, on Oahu’s Ford Island, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Inouye Regional Center repurposed two airplane hangars—which narrowly escaped destruction in the 1941 attack—linking them with a new steel and glass building (right). The research and office facility for 800 employees was raised to guard it from rising sea levels. Given the size of the hangars, daylight illuminated only a small fraction of the space, so specially crafted lanterns reflect sunlight further into their interiors. Necessity required invention: Due to anti-terrorism regulations, no operable windows were allowed in the space. Through a passive downdraft system that taps prevailing sea breezes, the building is completely naturally ventilated. The adjacent waterfront was returned to a more natural state with native vegetation.

Further Reading:
https://www.aia.org/showcases/76911-noaa-daniel-k-inouye-regional-center
http://www.hpbmagazine.org/NOAA-Daniel-K-Inouye-Regional-Center-Honolulu-Hawaii/
http://www.architectmagazine.com/project-gallery/noaa-daniel-k-inouye-regional-center_o
http://www.hok.com/design/type/government/national-oceanic-and-atmospheric-administration-noaa/

R.W. Kern Center

Serving as the gateway to Hampshire College, in Amherst, Massachusetts, the multipurpose R.W. Kern Center holds classrooms, offices, a café, and gallery space—and is the place where prospective students are introduced to campus. The school converted what was once an oval driveway into a wildflower meadow, now encouraging a pedestrian approach (seen above). The center is self-sustaining, generating its own energy through a rooftop solar array, harvesting its water from rainfall, and processing its own waste. Its gray water treatment system is in a pilot program for the state, and may pave the way for others.

Further Reading:
https://www.aia.org/showcases/76921-rw-kern-center
https://architizer.com/projects/rw-kern-center
https://www.hampshire.edu/discover-hampshire/rw-kern-center

Manhattan 1/2/5 Garage & Salt Shed

Two buildings belonging to New York City’s sanitation department redefine municipal architecture. Resembling a grain of salt, the cubist form of the Spring Street Salt Shed holds 5,000 tons for clearing icy streets. The Manhattan 1/2/5 Garage (background), whose floors are color-coded for each of the three districts, is home to 150 vehicles, wash and repair facilities, and space for 250 workers. The garage is wrapped in 2,600 aluminum “fins,” shading devices that pivot with the sun’s rays, reducing heat gain and glare through the glazed walls while still allowing views to the outside. Municipal steam heats and cools the building, so no fuels are burned. A 1.5-acre green roof reduces heat-island effect and filters rainwater. A condensate by-product of the steam is also captured, and, along with the rainwater, used for toilets and the truck wash. Combined with low-flow fixtures, the process reduced water consumption by 77 percent.

Further Reading:
https://www.dattner.com/portfolio/manhattan-districts-125-garage/
https://www.ohny.org/site-programs/weekend/sites/dsny-manhattan-125-sanitation-garage-salt-shed
https://www.aia.org/showcases/76671-manhattan-districts-125-garage–spring-stree
http://www.architectmagazine.com/project-gallery/manhattan-districts-1-2-5-garage-spring-street-salt-shed_o
https://www.burns-group.com/project/manhattan-125-garage-and-spring-street-salt-shed/

Starbucks Hillsboro, Oregon

Starbucks has been a leader in the development and implementation of a scalable green building program for over a decade .Starbucks joined the U.S. Green Building Council® (USGBC) in 2001 and collaborated with them to develop the LEED® for Retail program, an effort to adapt LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) to new construction and commercial interior strategies for retail businesses. In 2008,Starbucks challenged themselves to use LEED certification not just for flagship stores and larger buildings, but for all new, company-operated stores. Many people, even internally, were skeptical, especially with Starbucks growth across the globe. But by collaborating with USGBC and other like-minded organizations, we have been able to integrate green building design not only into new stores but also into our existing store portfolio. Starbucks has also succeeded in providing a practical certification option for retailers of all sizes.

Further Reading:
https://www.starbucks.com/responsibility/environment/leed-certified-stores

The Edge, Deloitte

The Edge, located in Amsterdam, is a model of sustainability.is billed as the world’s most sustainable office building and has the certification to prove it. But, it’s more than that. The place is, well, fun. And interesting. And inviting. So much so that professionals are actually applying for employment with Deloitte Netherlands because they want to work in the building. That it has become a recruiting tool is a satisfying side effect of a project designed to both redefine efficiency and change the way people work. “We wanted to ensure that our building not only had the right sustainability credentials, but was also a real innovative and inspiring place for our employees,” says Deloitte Netherlands CEO Peter Bommel.

Read the rest of this entry »


X Factor of Design

Better design, better experience

The design of physical space proves to have a significant, quantifiable impact on the quality of people’s experience.

Experience FrameworkEveryone is doing everything, everywhere

The traditional uses of space are blurring. People are working, eating, socializing, exercising, having fun, taking classes, and shopping everywhere.

Single-use spaces are becoming obsolete

People who do more than one activity in a place rate their experiences significantly higher and are more likely to report it as their “favorite place.”

Gensler-Hyundai-HQ

Gensler’s Hyundai HQ

Ignore social space at your peril

Places that support community and social connection perform better—from higher job satisfaction in the workplace, to a greater likelihood of recommendation for retail stores and public spaces.

In-between time isn’t wasted time

People who take time to reflect and unplug have better experiences, with direct business benefits: employees are more satisfied, and customers frequently end up making purchases despite not originally intending to do so. College campuses have a way of encouraging intellectual pursuits in different places by making better use of real estate by equipping in-between spaces. Adding wireless connectivity, comfortable seating, and room to spread out your work and almost any space becomes useful work space.

Technology matters, but not in the way you think

Technology may be more about impression than direct engagement— people see it as a powerful symbol of innovation.Gensler's Experience Framework Wheel

The multipurpose space should be able to handle several forms of technology, just like any large lecture hall or classroom. Video, data, and electrical outlets should be spaced along the perimeter of the space, as well as at the edge of the stage. A sound system, video projection system, and cable and satellite capability also should be available. Also, operationally, users will need to know how to use the equipment properly.

Every place and space today is ultimately competing on the experience it delivers. As a new generation of consumers shifts spending and attention toward experience-based consumption, the need to deliver a differentiated experience has never been stronger. The human experience must be the driving force behind every element of a space—from the design of physical space to the qualities of interaction, expectation, and intention.

(Source: https://www.gensler.com/uploads/document/552/file/Gensler-Experience-Index-2017.pdf)

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 7 Dimensions of Building Information Modeling

It has increasingly become crystal clear that BIM represents the opening of the architectural design community and construction industry to interoperability. There is no doubt that it’s a long and tedious way to being fully developed, however, important steps have been made during the last decades and the future of construction looks brighter day by day.

What is BIM?
3D-House

Building Information Modeling (BIM) is the process of creating information models containing both graphical and non-graphical information in a Common Data Environment (CDE) (a shared repository for digital project information). The information that is created becomes ever more detailed as a project progresses with the complete dataset then handed to a client at completion to use in the building’s In Use phase and potentially on into a decommissioning phase.

When we talk about BIM maturity we are essentially talking about the supply chain’s ability to exchange information digitally. The maturity levels from Level 0, through Levels 1, 2, 3 and beyond are often visualized via the maturity ‘wedge’ diagram conceived by Mark Bew and Mervyn Richards. Our article on BIM Levels Explained is a good place to start if you’re looking for more information.

BIM dimensions are different to BIM maturity levels. They refer to the particular way in which particular kinds of data are linked to an information model. By adding additional dimensions of data you can start to get a fuller understanding of your construction project – how it will be delivered, what it will cost and how it should be maintained etc. These dimensions – 4D, 5D and 6D BIM – can all feasibly (but not necessarily) occur within a BIM Level 2 workflow.

In this blog post we explore what it means to add different dimensions of information to a BIM process and explore what this looks like in practice and what benefits might be expected.

7D BIM

3D (The Shared Information Model)

3D BIM is perhaps the BIM we are most familiar with – the process of creating graphical and non-graphical information and sharing this information in a Common Data Environment (CDE).

As the project lifecycle progresses this information becomes ever more rich in detail until the point at which the project data is handed over to a client at completion.
4D (Construction sequencing)

4D BIM adds an extra dimension of information to a project information model in the form of scheduling data. This data is added to components which will build in detail as the project progresses. This information can be used to obtain accurate programme information and visualisations showing how your project will develop sequentially.

Time-related information for a particular element might include information on lead time, how long it takes to install/construct, the time needed to become operational/harden/cure, the sequence in which components should be installed, and dependencies on other areas of the project.

With time information federated in the shared information model planners should be able to develop an accurate project programme. With the data linked to the graphical representation of components/systems it becomes easy to understand and query project information and it is also possible to show how construction will develop, sequentially, over time showing how a structure will visually appear at each stage.

Working in this way is enormously helpful when it comes to planning work to ensure it is safely, logically and efficiently sequenced. Being able to prototype how assets come together before ground is broken on site allows for feedback at an early stage and avoids wasteful and costly on-site design co-ordination and rework. Showing how projects will be constructed visually is also handy when engaging with stakeholders, giving everyone a clear visual understanding of planned works and what the finished construction will look like with no surprises.

Adding sequencing information can be extremely useful, not just in the design phase, but earlier too, allowing for the feasibility of schemes to be assessed from the off. At tender stage this kind of information can allow initial concepts to be explored and communicated to inspire confidence in the team’s ability to meet the brief.

It’s important to note that working with 4D information doesn’t negate the need for planners who remain an integral part of the project team. Rather than creating programs as proposals develop, as is the case in traditional workflows, in a digital workflow planners can now influence and shape proposals from a much earlier stage in a project. Indeed, by being closer to the wider project team and providing feedback earlier in the process, there is the potential for planners to add significantly more value to a construction project.

3D-Guggenheim-Model5D (Cost)

Drawing on the components of the information model being able to extract accurate cost information is what’s at the heart of 5D BIM.

Considerations might include capital costs (the costs of purchasing and installing a component), its associated running costs and the cost of renewal/replacement down the line. These calculations can be made on the basis of the data and associated information linked to particular components within the graphical model. This information allows cost managers to easily extrapolate the quantities of a given component on a project, applying rates to those quantities, thereby reaching an overall cost for the development.

The benefits of a costing approach linked to a model include the ability to easily see costs in 3D form, get notifications when changes are made, and the automatic counting of components/systems attached to a project. However, it’s not just cost managers who stand to benefit from considering cost as part of your BIM process. Assuming the presence of 4D program data and a clear understanding of the value of a contract, you can easily track predicted and actual spend over the course of a project. This allows for regular cost reporting and budgeting to ensure efficiencies are realized and the project itself stays within budget tolerances.

The accuracy of any cost calculations is, of course, reliant on the data produced by multiple teams and shared within the Common Data Environment. If that information is inaccurate, so too will be any calculations that rely upon it. In this respect using BIM to consider cost is no different to more traditional ways of working. It is for this reason that quantity surveyors and estimators still have an important role to play, not only in checking the accuracy of information but also in helping to interpret and fill information ‘gaps’. Many elements of a project will still be modelled in 2D or not at all. There’s also likely to be differences between models in how things are classified and the cost manager will need to clarify and understand the commonality between what at first feel like disparate things.

An information model is likely to contain three types of quantity. Quantities based on actual model components (with visible details) which you can explore through the model are the most obvious. Quantities may also be derived from model components (such as moldings around windows) that aren’t always visible. The third kind of quantity is non-modeled quantities (these include temporary works, construction joints etc.). Unless the construction phase is modeled then the design model will show, graphically, design quantities but not the construction quantities. A cost manager is likely to be skilled in picking up the quantities that aren’t solely based on model components.

One of the advantages of extrapolating cost from the information model is the fact that the data can be queried at any time during a project and the information that feeds cost reports is regularly updated. This ‘living’ cost plan helps teams design to budget and because cost managers are engaged from the start of a project this allows for faster, more accurate reporting of costs at the early stages of a project. Compare this to a traditional approach where a cost manager’s report may be updated a few times during the early stages of a project with completed designs only fully costed at the end of the project team’s design process.

The cost manager may have to get used to working earlier and more iteratively than in a traditional process but has just as important a role to play in overall project delivery.

3d-perspective-section-cardigan-street6D BIM (Project Lifecycle Information; Sustainability)

The construction industry has traditionally been focussed on the upfront capital costs of construction. Shifting this focus to better understand the whole-life cost of assets, where most money is proportionately spent, should make for better decisions upfront in terms of both cost and sustainability. This is where 6D BIM comes in.

Sometimes referred to as integrated BIM or iBIM, 6D BIM involves the inclusion of information to support facilities management and operation to drive better business outcomes. This data might include information on the manufacturer of a component, its installation date, required maintenance and details of how the item should be configured and operated for optimal performance, energy performance, along with lifespan and decommissioning data.

Adding this kind of detail to your information model allows decisions to be made during the design process – a boiler with a lifespan of 5 years could be substituted with one expected to last 10, for example, if it makes economic or operational sense to do so. In effect, designers can explore a whole range of permutations across the lifecycle of a built assets and quickly get an understanding of impacts including costs. However, it is at handover, that this kind of information really adds value as it is passed on to the end-user.

A model offers an easily-accessible and understood way of extrapolating information. Details that would have been hidden in paper files are now easily interrogated graphically. Where this approach really comes into its own is in allowing facilities managers to pre-plan maintenance activities potentially years in advance and develop spending profiles over the lifetime of a built asset, working out when repairs become uneconomical or existing systems inefficient. This planned and pro-active approach offers significant benefits over a more reactive one – not least in terms of costs.

Ideally the information model should continue to develop during the In Use phase with updates on repairs and replacements added in. Better yet, a myriad of operational data and diagnostics can also be fed in to inform decision making still further.

3D-Sydney-Opera-House7D (Operations and Facilities Management)

Studies indicate that over 90% of total building lifecycle costs are related to facility maintenance and operations. Real estate and facility managers are increasingly showing interest in using BIM in facility management.

Some of the highlights of effectiveness of utilizing BIM 7D include:

  • Preventative Maintenance Scheduling: BIM can be used to plan and track maintenance activities proactively and appropriately by using the information about the building structure and equipment used in the facility. This type of preventative maintenance activities will help improve building performance, reduce corrective maintenance and emergency maintenance repairs and increase productivity of maintenance staff.
  • Sustainability Analysis: BIM integrated with other analysis & evaluation tools are used to track building performance data, which can be compared with specified sustainable standards to identify the flaws in the building systems. Facility’s sustainability program can be improved to better match the sustainability goals.
  • Asset Management: Assets of a building consist of the physical building, its systems, equipment and surrounding environment. Asset management is essential in short-term and long-term planning for proper upkeep of building assets. The bi-directional Building Information Modeling (BIM) integration into asset management software can help in better visualization of assets and aid in the maintenance and operation of a facility.
  • Space Utilization Management: Facility professionals and department liaisons can utilize BIM to effectively manage, track and distribute appropriate spaces and related resources within a facility. BIM space management application turns out to be beneficial in planning renovation projects and future needs, allocating space for proper usage of each corner of the building and tracking the impact of proposed changes.
  • Disaster & Emergency Planning: BIM can provide critical building information to improve the efficiency of disaster response plans and minimize any risk. BIM can be integrated with building automation system (BAS) to display where the emergency is located within a building, to find possible routes to the affected area and to locate other dangerous areas within the building during such emergencies.

Sources & References:
https://www.autodesk.com/solutions/bim
https://geniebelt.com/blog/bim-maturity-levels

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

 


Our Exclusive ILMA Interview with Matthew B. Jarmel, AIA, MBA of @JarmelKizel

Mr. Jarmel is an Architect, Real Estate Developer, Renewable Energy Enthusiast, Entrepreneur and Owner of Jarmel Kizel Architects and Engineers Inc.

He received a Bachelors of Architecture from NJIT in 1990 and an MBA from Rutgers University in 1994. He can be found online at the following social media sites: LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

About the Firm

Since the firm’s founding in 1975, Jarmel Kizel has worked its way from the inside out; originally concentrating on the interior design of corporate offices and since has grown into a full-service Architectural, Engineering, and Interior Design firm that provides a single point of accountability for all aspects of design services. The firm’s size and abilities enable it to handle a broad spectrum of projects while allowing the principals to put their seal on every one. With in-house Civil, Structural, Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing and Fire Protection Engineering, clients can look to Jarmel Kizel to have all aspects of their projects designed and managed by one firm.

Today the firm provides a unique service platform that provides a single point of accountability for architectural and engineering services formatted to assist clients with managing their project’s design needs from site design and land entitlements to building design through construction oversight.

ILMA INTERVIEW

When and why did you decide to become an Architect?     

I knew when I was in Junior High School that I wanted to become an architect.  I grew up in the industry in that my father is a commercial interior designer, he actually founded our firm in 1975, and I was exposed to design and construction at a very early age.  My dad totally remodeled our home and he had my brother Richard, who is a civil engineer and partner in our firm, and myself helping and working with tools. 

What were some of the challenges of achieving your dream?  

The architectural and engineering industry can be very rewarding.  There is tremendous emotional fulfillment to see your ideas first take shape on paper and then through construction.  I take great pride driving by a building our firm has designed and saying we did that.  Despite the rewards the business of architecture can be very difficult.  Our industry is first hit by a recession, hardest hit and usually the last to recover.   One of the greatest challenges of working in the profession is learning how to batten down the hatches and weather the economic storms when they come. 

Any memorable clients or project highlights?  

I have many projects I am proud of many clients that I respect and that have become good friends and even partners over the years.  Some of the more notable projects I have worked on include designing the Bear Stearns Campus in Whippany, NJ.  This project was developed over years and ultimately included approximately 700,000 sf of office and data center space in five buildings, two of which we designed and the rest we designed major renovations to.  Unfortunately Bear Stearns does not exist anymore but the campus is still there.  We also were fortunate to design the first major redevelopment project in Plainfield, NJ where we designed four buildings for the Union County Improvement Authority that included a 100,000 sf office building, two retail buildings totaling 40,000 sf and a parking structure.   This project acted as a catalyst for new development in the city.   Over the last several years the firm has been very active in NYC designing many mixed use large scale projects, we have a 17 story building under construction in Queens right now.   One of my most memorable clients is The Learning Experience.   The Learning Experience is a national and soon to be international brand of child development centers.  We designed their first center 16 years ago and have since completed over 200 projects throughout the country for them.  Because of the volume of projects we have completed for them, about 70 in NJ alone, I gained tremendous experience in land entitlements and have become an expert in land entitlement strategy.

How does your family support what you do?    

The creative process can be very time consuming, running a business and being creative magnifies the time required to be an architect.  Some days I leave the house at 7 and if I have a hearing don’t get home until midnight.   Other times I am hopping on an airplane and away overnight.   My family is supportive in that they understand the taxing requirements of the job.   With that said everything I do is for my family.  So I make sure my wife and children get the attention they need from me and we plan as much quality time as possible.

How do Architects measure success?     

Some might say you measure the success of an architect by the quality and aesthetic of the buildings he or she designs, or by how much wealth and fame they have obtained.  To me a successful architect you have to be a strong leader, a strong communicator and be able to balance the aesthetic and technical issues of a building’s design all while understanding the functional and economical goals of your client.  The architect that can achieve this can become successful.  Ultimately success is measured by obtaining the respect of your peers, clients and even contractors in the industry.  

What matters most to you in design?      

Achieving my clients goals of function and budget while creating a building that is safe and attractive.   

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

Our firm has developed strong skills in real estate development which include land entitlements and real estate economics.   Many times we set the strategy for how to present a project to planning and zoning boards, explain the process to our clients and even their attorneys, advise on PILOT and other incentives, building valuation and assist in making introduction to equity investors and lenders.   These skills make us stand out from our competitors but not necessarily obtain higher fees.  Our goal for the next 2 to 5 years is to expand our Real Estate Advisory services to create additional revenue as a “Fee Developer” and on our own development account.

Who is your favorite Architect? Why?     

I respect the design styles of many current and historic architects.  I am a big fan of the Chicago School and of those architects Louis Sullivan is probably my favorite.  I like this style for the buildings of the time were the first commercial buildings and first to break away from using ancient detailing by employing and emphasizing technology in design.

Do you have a coach or mentor?

I do not have a specific coach or mentor but I like to bounce ideas off of my team, clients and friends.  

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

My favorite historic building is the Roman Pantheon.  It was built around 113 AD and has the largest unreinforced concrete dome ever made which has a giant hole in the center that allows the sun and the moon to shine in along with the rain.  It still stands 2000 years later.  The Romans were great builders, they invented concrete, experimented with reinforcing concrete with brass chains and even developed zoning rules and regulations.   As far as contemporary buildings there are so many that I love.   I lean towards high rise sky scrapers

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

Although new technologies are implemented in the profession and we go through these stages where we preach design build vs a separation between design and construction professionals the industry has not changed much in my career.  I find it interesting that Ayn Rand’s “The Fountainhead” which was written in the 40’s and takes place in the 20’s and uses the architectural industry as a back story to promoting her political views speaks to many of the same type of players and issues in the industry today.  There are developers, contractors, politicians and architects.  There are residential, public and commercial buildings and she even tackles issues such as affordable housing.  All the same issues we deal with today.   I do not see major changes in the business of the profession.  Although I do see major technical influences which will affect the way we design and build buildings.  There is a robot that lays brick now.  I think as the world gets smaller through technology building codes and licensing laws will become more standardized.

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

The use of BIM is becoming the most prevalent tool used in the design of buildings.  It allows architects and engineers to work in 3 dimensions, quickly and efficiently to improve coordination and actually see the building take shape on the screen.  Despite my comment about the brick laying robot above most construction is still done with heavy machinery and by hand.  However, technology has taken over the management of projects from creating schedules, to tracking financing and creating a database of information.  

Who / what has been your greatest influence in design?      

This answer may seem odd to most architects but my great influence in design arrives from an understanding of real estate economics tied to a building’s function and economics.   When a student at NJIT I took an elective in real estate development.  It was taught by a gentleman who ran the development arm of a now defunct savings and loan so we will allow him to remain nameless.  However, he was very influential in that he said he hated architects and found them to be a necessary evil in the process because the law forced them on him to use.  Obviously, this got most of the students in the class upset but I wanted to know why he felt that way.  He thought that architects only cared about what the building looked like and had no understanding or really care for what it might cost to build, what’s its function was to be or how it generated revenue for its owners.  He introduced me to the business side of why clients build in the first place.  This motivated me to go on and obtain an MBA with a concentration in real estate development and urban land use after architectural school.  I feel that the business education in conjunction with my architectural education make me a stronger architect and have been the most influential on my design.

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

I have been fortunate to work on almost any type of commercial project.  I would like to be exposed to more hospitality projects.

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

I hope to mentor the next generation of architects in a way that they can understand the business goals of the client and why they are building so that they can better respond to the client’s needs I also want to mentor them to be strong leaders and great communicators.

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

I would advise them to not only pursue their dream of designing buildings but to learn about the profession as a whole, to learn about the process of becoming an architect and career choices in the industry.  When I was in school no one told me how to become a licensed architect I had to figure it out on my own.

What does Architecture mean to you?     

It is my profession, it is my life!

What is your design process?     

First understand the client’s program goals and budget, then study the site and zoning constraints, roll up my sleeves and dive in.

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

A civil engineer and or real estate developer.

What is your dream project?     

A really tall building in a major city that becomes a landmark for years to come.  If I can be a partner in its ownership even better.

What advice do you have for a future Executive leader?     

Respect and care about the people you are leading, be kind but stern.

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

All challenges revolve around people.  First finding qualified people, there is a tremendous shortage of qualified architects and engineers, second finding people that can see the big picture first before the crawl into the details and finally finding people that can communicate effectively.   As far as trends see my answer to where I see the industry going above

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

I am optimistic that we are at the beginning of a sustainable economic growth period.  This will provide many of us with significant projects to choose from and an even more challenging labor shortage.  An executive leader will need to be able to recruit talent and keep them motivated to stay.

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?     

I do not know if I am any smarter today at 50 then I was when I got out of school in my early 20’s what I have gained is life experience.  The most important lesson is that people will surprise you. Some will impress you, some will disappoint you, some will be loyal and others not.  I have seen some crazy things happen some good and some bad.   Just when I think I have seen everything someone surprises me. 

Final Thoughts on How to Be Successful?      

Learn your trade, be good at and then learn to be a good communication and leader and business person.

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


Wall Street Journal Headlines – October 6, 2017 by @FrankCunhaIII

  1. Russian Hackers Steal NSA Spy Secrets
  2. US Shale Companies Ease Up on Drilling
  3. End year at 9.69 million barrels a day, down from 9.82
  4. Amazon.com
    • Hiring 50,000 office workers, mostly software developers
  5. Illegal Entry to US Gets Rarer, Riskier
    • President’s harder line, longer-term trends make SW border tougher to sneak across
  6. Price Pressures for Renters Begins to Ease Down
    • Those that spend more than 30% of incomes on rent
    • Fell from 48.9% to 47.7% between 2012 and 2015
  7. Iraq Drives ISIS From Stronghold
  8. Turkey Arrests US Consulate Worker
  9. Saudis, Russia Get Closer
  10. NATO to Increase Funding for Counterterror Programs
  11. Catalan Parliament Session Blocked
  12. Prospects for a Gun – Measure Deal Grow
  13. Legislation restricting rifle accessory used in L.V. gunman draws GOP support
  14. Columbia Sets $100M to Diversify Faculty
  15. Ishiguro’s Quiet Power Claims the Nobel Prize
  16. Opinion – Why America Needs Tax Reform
  17. Trump needs to stress the growth payoff and rebut falsehoods from critics at the Tax Policy Center.
  18. Finge Clips Rank High on YouTube
    • Google looking to promote more reliable content
  19. Uber Steers Steadier Course
  20. Forget bitcoin, IMFcoin could be the digital future of SDRs
    • IMF – International Monetary Fund
    • SDR – Special Drawing Rights (ISO 4217currency code XDR, also abbreviated SDR) are supplementary foreign-exchange reserve assets defined and maintained by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The XDR is the unit of account for the IMF, and is not a currency per se.
  21. Ship Building Alliance to Target Asia
  22. SpaceX Aims to Launch at Fast Pace
    • Planning 30 launches next year (50% of total)
    • There are about 60 launches each year
  23. Netflix Raises Prices as Content Tab Balloons
  24. Honeywell Pursues Purchase of Evoqua
    • Honeywell International Inc. is an American multinational conglomerate company that produces a variety of commercial and consumer products, engineering services and aerospace systems for a wide variety of customers, from private consumers to major corporations and governments. The company operates four business units, known as Strategic Business Units – Honeywell Aerospace, Home and Building Technologies (HBT), Safety and Productivity Solutions (SPS), and Honeywell Performance Materials and Technologies.
    • Evoqua is the global leader in helping municipalities and industrial customers protect and improve the world’s most fundamental natural resource: water. We have a more than 100-year heritage of innovation and industry firsts, market-leading expertise, and unmatched customer service. Our cost-effective and reliable treatment systems and services ensure uninterrupted quantity and quality of water, enable regulatory and environmental compliance, increase efficiency through water reuse, and prepare customers for next-generation demands.
  25. Nostalgic Beef Slogan Makes Cut
    • “It’s What’s For Dinner” Slogan
    • Beef consumption in the US declined 15% in the decade through 2015
  26. Facebook Cut Russia from Report on Election
    • FB under fire for playing down role of influence campaigns
  27. Equifax timeline Criticized
  28. New Federal Rule Clamps Down on Payday Loans
  29. OPEC Pushes Russia to Stick to Plan
    • The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries is a group consisting of 12 of the world’s major oil-exporting nations.
    • OPEC was founded in 1960 to coordinate the petroleum policies of its members, and to provide member states with technical and economic aid.
  30. Treasury Yields Climb to 3-Month High
  31. Financial, Tech Stocks Fuel Rally
  32. Data Center Firm “Switch” Prices IPO Above Range, Raises $531 Million
    • Switch Inc.
    • Pricing is latest sign of strengthening in tech initial public offering space.
    • The data-center company that powers businesses of Amazon.com Inc., eBay Inc. and other tech companies is the latest to cash in on a renewed interest among investors in technology IPOs.
    • After pricing above the $14-to-$16 range it initially outlined to investors, Las Vegas-based Switch Inc.’s initial public offering raised roughly $531 million Thursday, excluding shares allotted to underwriters.
    • Shares sold at $17 apiece, valuing the company at roughly $4.2 billion.
    • NASDAQ
    • IPO Price
  33. Gold Loses Luster as Global Angst Eases
  34. Bad Timing for Monte Dei Paschi
    • Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena
    • Known as BMPS or just MPS is the oldest surviving bank in the world and the third largest Italian commercial and retail bank by total assets.
    • BMPS and Banco BPM, Banco BPM overtook BMPS as the third largest bank in terms of total assets on 31 December 2016. Since the end of 2016, BMPS has been struggling to avoid a collapse.
    • Founded in 1472 (545 years ago) by the magistrates of the city state of Siena, Italy, as a “mount of piety”, it has been operating ever since. In 1995 the bank, then known as Monte dei Paschi di Siena, was transformed from a statutory corporation to a limited company called Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena (Banca MPS).
    • The Fondazione Monte dei Paschi di Siena was created to continue the charitable functions of the bank and to be, until the bailout in 2013, its largest single shareholder.
    • Today Banca MPS has approximately 2,000 branches, 26,000 employees and 5.1 million customers in Italy, as well as branches and businesses abroad. A subsidiary, MPS Capital Services, handles corporate and investment banking.
  35. This Market Bubble Isn’t Everything It Appears to Be

Ways to Acquire “Modern Homes” for Less than $150K

by Guest Blogger, Tina Madsen
bio

Tina is a design enthusiast who brings her passion for modern décor and writing to her role as the NowModern.com blogger. She also specializes in turning small living areas into spacious social hubs with bar stools and counter stools

Everybody dreams of having his or her own house, not just couples who are planning to raise families. For most single people, owning a house is an investment which they may be able to reclaim in the future—with interest—through selling. No matter what those reasons are, it stands to reason that aspiring homeowners would want to purchase a house at a minimum price.

That is where the problem usually lies. Considering today’s economy and the way real estate works, it won’t be easy to find a house for sale at a maximum price of $150,000. There’s also the fact that price is not going to be the only consideration for buying a house. Location is a primary concern. Your house has to be on a safe neighborhood where you won’t be afraid to step out of the house at eight in the evening. Speaking of neighborhood, you’ll also have to check out your potential neighbors. If you have young children, you’ll probably want to move in a neighborhood where they can find friends their age. You should also be able to have easy access to various services and establishments.

So, how do you find a house that’s worth under $150,000 and also meets your requirements for an ideal home?

Go to the Bank.

Remember when the real estate market crashed and marked the beginning of the financial crisis in the United States a few years back? So many people lost their homes because of overdue mortgage payments. It was a very depressing period seeing that so many families got foreclosed and had to seek rooms from friends and family with secure residences.

On the other end of the spectrum are people who were looking for houses and could afford to buy them. They pounced on the opportunity to purchase properties at prices way lower than they expected. You see, foreclosed houses tend to be very affordable, at least when compared to brand-new houses or refurbished properties. There is therefore a good chance that you’ll find a good deal if you inquire about properties foreclosed by the bank.

Affordable House Listings

It may seem like $150,000 is too low a price for a good house, but you’ll be surprised to find that there are actually many houses for sale under that price. Many of them are located in metro areas with high foreclosure rates, like Atlanta, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Kansas city, Phoenix, and even in Rochester and Buffalo in New York.

HOME

A 4-bedroom house on sale for $150,000 in Atlanta, Georgia (2013).

It is understandable if you have doubts about the condition of the house, but then that’s what a house visit is for. Search your local real estate listings and take note of the addresses of the houses you want to check out. Schedule a visit together with your real estate agent. To be on the safe side of things, do an impromptu visit to see what it really is like without any prepping by the agent.

Trailer Houses

A trailer house is probably the most affordable abode you can buy today. In fact, a really good double-wide trailer can cost around $75,000. Single wide trailers average at a lower rate of $37,000. With these prices, you will have plenty of money left for custom-made furniture and trailer-friendly appliances.

Design and Build Your Own House.

If you cannot find a house within the $150,000 maximum limit—and assuming that you already have the $150,000 sitting in your bank account—you can always design and build one. The prospect of financing the construction of a house from the ground up may sound daunting, but it should be fine if you have an architect or engineer who is knowledgeable about affordable housing construction.

Work closely with your architect and interior designer in drafting the blueprints of your house. Prioritize important rooms like living area and dining areas, kitchen, bathrooms, and bedrooms. You may want to consider having studio-type, single-floor house or a stacked-box house. Keep the floor area as compact as possible. Go higher up is better than constructing sideways because the wider your house is, the more you will spend for its foundation.

 MODERN HOME

A $150,000 house designed by architect Borath Ross in 2010.

Be very wise in choosing the building materials. Find the middle point between affordable and high-quality. It will be foolish to be stingy on the materials and later spend a fortune on repairs.

Finally, help out where you can. Even if you only take over painting the interior walls, you can already save money on labor. You can save even more—not to mention learn more about building and construction—if you offer a hand in the other jobs as well.

Even though times are difficult and good houses tend to be expensive, it is still very possible to have one without spending more than $150,000. There are several options for you, as demonstrated in this article. Just find the right agent and the right timing to finalize a purchase or green-light a building project.

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
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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
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The End of a Fantasy: A Study on the Decay of Gingerbread Castle and Wheatsworth Mills

The first part of my study on the state of decay of the Wheatsworth Mills focuses on the beautiful mosaic tiles, reminiscent of the European “Azulejos.”  It’s sad to see that one of the piers has lost it’s beautiful, irreplaceable tiles to the weather and/or vandals.  I wanted to share a brief piece of the history of Sussex County, New Jersey before the structure and site are no longer recognizable.  The following slideshow was taken using my iPhone4S and edited using Instagram photo editor.

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The Following is an excerpt from the Gingerbread Castle website:

Urban, Joseph (1872–1933), designer and architect. One of the greatest of all scenic artists, he was born in Vienna, where he later studied at the Art Academy under Baron Carl Hassauer and at the Polytechnicum. Urban first came to America to create the Austrian Pavilion for the 1904 St. Louis Fair. The Boston Opera Company brought him back in 1911 to design its sets, but it was his work on The Garden of Paradise (1914) that brought him to the attention of Florenz Ziegfeld and launched his Broadway career.  Away from the theatre he served as architect for numerous homes and buildings and also earned a reputation as an illustrator of children’s books. Biography: Joseph Urban, Randolph Carter, Robert Reed Cole, 1992

Excerpt from Flickr with great HDR photos by Ninoignacio:

After operating as a children’s fairy tale theme park for nearly 50 years, Gingerbread Castle finally closed in the late 1970s. It reopened for a few years as a haunted Halloween venue before a fire closed it permanently in 1993 [RA: It was still running a seasonal haunted attraction on the property in 1997]. Attempts to restore the castle as a children’s theme park hadn’t gotten far. NJ resident Frank Hinger and his wife Lou purchased the property in 2003 with plans to revitalize it, even securing a grant from Hampton Hotel’s Save-a-Landmark program in 2004, which was used to repaint the castle exterior. But raising additional funds proved difficult. After unsuccessfully offering the castle on eBay, it was auctioned off by sheriff’s sale in January 2007 for approximately $680,000.

As of fall 2008, local real estate developers Gene Mulvihill and Pat Barton were the Gingerbread Castle’s current owners. Mulvihill, who owns the neighboring former Plastoid building and a share in nearby Ballyowen, the state’s highest-rated public golf course, seemed interested in preserving the castle. In a January 2007 article in the New Jersey Herald, Mulvihill states, “It’s in (Hamburg’s) blood. We’re not going to rip the place down, that’s not going to happen. Not going to happen.” [Laura K., 08/17/2009]

Here are some photos from above: Aerial Photos to enjoy.


Join My Friends on Facebook

This is my list of top 10 pages to like on Facebook.

If you wish to be added please contact me.

AIA New Jersey

Billybadbird Seagull Foundation   

FC3 Architecture+Design 

Gina Zavalis  

I Love My Architect   

Life of an Architect   

SC Real Estate

Sports & More 

The Outlet (Newark)

WJM Architect   

Previous lists

If you like this post please share it.

Sincerely,
Frank Cunha III 
I Love My Architect – Facebook


Ideas about SOCIAL MEDIA (for Architects and Other Professionals) by @FrankCunhaIII

Unfortunately, Architecture is not the Football star of the social media world.

Here are a few suggestions if you want to obtain more followers and reach a wider audience using social media:

1) There are no key words that I know of to find potential/future clients, developers, and builders so I consider everyone I meet a potential contact – present or future – so I follow most people back.  So don’t just follow the professional organizations, other Architects, and allied professionals, instead broaden your fan/follower base.

2) Become the Go-To Guy / Gal for Architecture (or your profession) within your own social network (be it LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Tumblr, etc).  I get all sorts of emails related to the profession which leads me to believe that the people I associate with and see me tweet about Architecture associate me as an “expert” in the field.

3) Expand. Don’t just tweet / post about Architecture.  My father tweets about Sports and gets 10 times more hits on his blog than I get.  This means that some professions like Architecture have less appeal, so tweet / post about other things you enjoy, be it art, music, culture, etc.

4) Change your tone – I like to post about hanging out with my children or visiting my family when I am on Facebook and Twitter.  LinkedIn I try to keep more professional.  I think it is fun and benefitical to show your personal side, but just be aware of what you are posting where.  Try to keep your posts on LinkedIn more professional (i.e., related to the industry or allied industries, like Real Estate, Energy Conservation, Codes, etc for Architects) and be more personable on Facebook and Twitter.

5) Don’t forget to recommend and connect people within your network.  I was very excited when I recently saw that a fellow Architect member of the Architects LEague connected a photographer to another Architect member in our group.  Everybody wins when you are able to connect two or more folks.  Make Social Media work for you by making these connections possible.

6) Don’t be scared to send a shout-out to your Followers on Twitter.  People want to be mentioned.  Whether you include others in a tweet about a story you saw or whether you include someone on a quotation you found people will want to interact with you more and be more engaging if you engage them.  So far the only people who have complained about me tweeting too much or not wanting to be mentioned (ironically) have been other Architects.  Everyone else I have encountered online has ben grateful when they are mentioned and 9 times out of 10 they will retweet my post so my message is reached even further to their followers.

7) Who do you want to emulate? Make sure you check out and follow other professionals who you see as your competition or colleagues so that you can learn from their success.  Retweet / repost what they send out and be sure to enage in a dialog with them even if it is just clicking the like button or posting a short message.  Trust me, as someone who knows, I absolutely appreciate and value those who interact with me.

Hope these help you make the most of your experience online and I hope you share your ideas with me as well.


George Vernon Russell’s Beach Bungalow

[Reposted] March 16th, 2011 | by Marilyn Kalfus, Real Estate Reporter

What does the Sunset Beach oceanfront home, right, have to do with the famous Las Vegas Hotel on the left?

The house, with an asking price of $3,995,000, was designed by the late architect George Vernon Russell, who also designed the Flamingo Hotel, in Vegas and the Samuel Goldwyn residence in Beverly Hills, according to the listing by Sean Stanfield of First Team Real Estate.

From the listing:

“California classic beachfront on rare 59 ft. wide lot. An open staircase suspended by steel cables and spanned by a huge skylight; 16-foot-high wood-paneled ceilings with recessed lighting; and walls of floor-to-ceiling windows facing Catalina plus corner windows with spectacular views emphasize the main living area’s open floor plan.

“Other highlights include a loft bedroom above the dining room and open to the living area, and high-quality wood flooring in the loft and other areas upstairs.

“A large side-yard, accessible both street-side and from the beach ideal for entertaining with its own beach showers, bathroom, and shuffleboard court. The master bedroom includes a sky-lit step-down sitting area and built-in bench, separate his-and-her bathrooms, and his-and-her walk-in closets.”

More details:

  • Address: 16461 S. Pacific Ave.
  • 3 beds, 3.25 baths
  • 3,195 square feet
  • Price per square foot: $1,250
  • Lot Size:  4,200 sq ft
  • Style: 2 level, contemporary
  • View: Ocean, mountain, city lights
  • Year built: 1975 (The year FC3 – Architectist was born.)
  • MLS#:  S649863

What’s interesting, too, is this home was on the market last Spring with another real estate firm at $5,500,000, or $1,721 a square foot. At that time, it had the highest asking price for a house on the market in Sunset Beach.

Here’s a shot of it I got from the beach back then, when I was doing a roundup of Sunset Beach homes. You really can’t tell that much from the outside.    Could that be by design?

If you like this post please share it.

Sincerely,
Frank Cunha III 
I Love My Architect – Facebook


Our Exclusive ILMA Interview with Reginald Thomas

New York, New Jersey Reginald L. Thomas, AIA has garnered over twenty years’ experience working with a diverse group of distinguished architectural/design firms in New York City.  Reginald L. Thomas Architect LLC specializes in historically based, high-end, residential projects. Recently, he has added commercial and institutional work to the firm’s diverse clientele. His work has been featured in several prestigious publications, notably The New York Times and Architectural Digest.

Web | Blog | Facebook | LinkedIn | Houzz

ILMA INTERVIEW

When and why did you decide to become an Architect? 

  • I’ve wanted to be an architect since I was 10 years old. During a weekend visit to the local art store to purchase paints, a how to book on architectural rendering caught my eye.   I remember thinking that the floor plans seemed magical.
  • We can thank Mike Brady, of the then popular Sitcom, the Brady Bunch, for that.  My first introduction to renderings and models came from watching the episodes after school and I was hooked.
  • Growing up in New York City, however, I visited the Museum of Natural History and MOMA regularly.  I was fascinated by the dioramas at the Museum of Natural History and the artwork at the MOMA and so at first, I dreamt of being an artist and being able to create this kind of beauty.

What were some of the challenges of achieving your dream?    

  • I grew up in the South Bronx, so the first challenge was of course, money.  I fretted about how I was going to pay for college or even how I was going to apply to college.  It was stressful to think that I would have to help my siblings after college and therefore not be able to realize my own dreams.

Any memorable clients or project highlights?   

  • I’ve had the pleasure of working with corporate giants, entertainment and sports celebrities as well as hard working people who are interested in living in beautiful spaces. All are special to me.  Each project has its own individual story However, I have had clients that allowed me to design and build every inch of their space including the furniture. That’s amazing in today’s climate.

How does your family support what you do?    

  • College was a priority in my household as both my parents attended college.  My dad for his Associates Degree and my mother for her Master’s in Education.  , Although I did not have money I had an abundance of support for what I wanted to accomplish and an expectation that I get there.

How do Architects measure success?   

  • I believe versatility is a skill we all value as designers. We build projects that are beautiful as well as functional. Being able to create an aesthetically pleasing space to satisfy each of my client’s specific   taste and at the same time ensuring that it functions is its own reward.

What matters most to you in design?

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

  • To grow my business using all of the experience I’ve garnered over the last 30 years in multiple jurisdictions.
  • Like most artists, I also wish to push the barriers of my creativity while remaining true to the traditional and timeless nature of my designs.

Who is your favorite Architect? Why?    

  • Paul Rudolph for salesmanship, talent, and cultural navigation skills which were beyond belief
  • Frank Lloyd for his skill, as well as his ability to convince his clients to be daring and tenacious.
  • Julia Morgan for her dedication and ability when she was the only one, and her clients who recognized and rewarded her abilities.

Do you have a coach or mentor?

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

  • The Great Pyramids of Giza. They are pure form, functional and beautiful.  It was once written by an early 19th century explorer who catalogued the proclivity for ornamentation throughout the known world that what we are able to see of Egyptian Architecture now is this architecture represents the last 2500 of this work in decline, what left of this 5000 year old architectural culture.
  • If that be the case, then how much more glorious the architectural vocabulary of this civilization must be. The elements of order including the concept of hyper style halls must be astounding. These are the elements that make an edifice “timeless.”
  • Notre Dame du Haut: The building teaches the intangibles of architecture as art. How does one use light as a design element?  Most people will never even notice how the intangible shapes made by light in their space let alone the effects on their psychological health.
  • The Mildred B Cooper Memorial Chapel: The boundaries that identify characteristics of nature and the difference from manmade structures are so blurred I this building that it is magical. I think in this design he did make his mentor proud. It is truly great work.

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

  • I think we are finally reaching the point where we are accepting the fact that we are part of a global community.  That means a true understanding, in real time, of the relationship and importance of urban design, architecture and interior design etc. to the human conditions.
  • Our use of technology will continue to grow at a rapid pace and architects will be required to leverage their expertise to benefit the world community especially in the areas of sustainability, and resilience.
  • I am most excited by the possibility of the profession as the lead, taking on the real-estate profession as developers

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

  • The digital drafting board and smart drafting solutions. The stylus is back, Instant 3d models and the expansion of BIM as a tool.
  • Wireless outlets
  • ASCII, GPS, LiDAR technology continue to advance. Assisting historic preservation giving a vision of what was formally unseen thereby assisting design and limiting errors.
  • 3d modeling, as a tool, will advance to the point that we will grow more independent of contractors and furniture designers

Who / what has been your greatest influence in design?  

  • The reading of a Pattern Language. The book continues to teach me to think in layers until I get to the optimum solution.
  • Jean Michele Frank: The comprehensive business model that he practiced was one to be envied and to be emulated.
  • My mentors Max Bond and Richard Dozier.
  • New York City designers that I’ve work for like Peter Marino and Juan Montoya

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

  • A Place of worship on an island site

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

  • I hope to inspire the next generation through visibility. African-American descent represents a very small part of the architectural demographics.
  • I hope to write treatise and guides thereby leaving a guide to others to build on.
  • My suggestion always is to be assiduous; to be relentless, recognizing that  this is a lifelong area of study, one that requires . “long distance runners.”

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

  • The best advice for K-12 is to engage with architects when they come in to your schools on career days.  It is important as this stage to really get a clear understanding of what an architect does and the value of architects’ play in their daily lives.
  • College students: Provide information and honest dialogue on expectations after graduation; how to set reasonable and attainable goals, and lastly the many ways to measure success.
  • Financial guidance on how to plan for a secure retirement.
  • Explain what it means to own one’s own firm.

What does Architecture mean to you? 

  • Architecture is life.  It is the culmination of the aspirations of the human condition at different time periods.
  • Architecture means being conscious of the places and spaces we occupy as humans.  It’s being in the unique position of being able to effect change in the communities welive in a way that is unique to no other profession

What is your design process? 

  • Client interview: Do more listening than writing.
  • Who or what community am I designing for.
  • Identify client particulars not just in program but culturally. How does the client perceive and use space. What is the corporate or family dynamic?
  • Where am I being asked to design?
  • What are the constraints of the site or space?
  • How do I make it function perfectly and at the same time be beautiful?

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

  • Apart from very early on when I wanted to be an artist I have never given thought to being anything else, however, if you were to ask my father, a surgeon would have been his preference.

What is your dream project?  

  • One that encompasses urban planning, landscape architecture, architecture as sculpture, interior design and furniture design; the complete package in the vernacular of the local culture.

What advice do you have for future Executive leaders?  

  • Seek out and work with like-minded people who share your vision and whom you can trust to honestly evaluate, and counsel you.  Also, do not be afraid to delegate or share responsibility giving you the time and space you need as the leader to imagine and create.

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

  • The challenge of finding curious and willing junior staff who are willing to put in the long hours needed to really learn the ins and outs of the profession.
  • Loyalty
  • Finding staff that is willing to learn how to build, even, by drawing the components rather than by cutting and pasting.
  • My hope is that with the advances in Wacom Tablet technology we will have monitors as drafting boards and stylus as pencils causing the young architect to unconsciously pay more attention to what and how the building is being created.

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

  • The executive leader must to be able to leverage the power of the internet and especially social media

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?    

  • I have been surprised at how much television, social media and the internet have impacted the decisions we now make as leaders.

Final Thoughts on How to Be Successful?   

  • Improving and adapting are keys to longevity and to success.   Be relentless in your desire to grow and learn recognizing that learning is a lifelong pursuit.

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


How Can Architects Generate More Work and Make More Money? by @FrankCunhaIII

Ask the Architect


by Frank Cunha III

Architects should be the leaders in the building industry, not just a consultant or a small part of a team. The simple truth is that taking on more work and taking greater risks is not for everyone. Owning a firm and taking on responsibilities beyond design is not an area you might want to dive into – or – it might be. Architects have the power to create their communities and shape their destiny. However, an Architect must be “proactive” instead of “reactive” and face larger risk in order to see larger rewards. The Architect is one of the first team members to have the ear of the client on a project and should not immediately hand the work over to other team members and lose a larger piece of the pie. Take a deep breath, understand the power you have at that moment and be creative about how you can become a stakeholder in the project. You can invest your fee in the project or go as far as become a stakeholder by financing the project or becoming one of the financiers of the project. Of course this philosophy is not for everyone. Not everyone is a risk taker so it is important to know yourself and the level of risks/rewards you are willing to accept.

Architects have the power to create their communities and shape their destiny. 

Architects should be”Builders” instead of reducing the scope of their work and being specialized players in the development of a project. One approach is to be the “Construction Manager” on the project. The beauty of this philosophy as that you can calculate and manage your risks and determine how to proceed by educating yourself and the client. Of course you must have the proper insurance for your venture. There is insurance available for almost anything for a price so it’s important to make sure that you speak to your insurance agent to make sure that you are properly covered before embarking on your venture.  As the Architect’s responsibilities shrink so does his/her control and his/her rewards. By simply taking on the role of a traditional Architect your fees are immediately reduced.  The Architect can even take on the role of cost estimator by creating a data base from recent schedule of values and contractor’s application for payments. Again, we have this knowledge and experience but are we using it to it’s fullest extent?

Another way to gain control of a project is to include a simple bar chart in the specifications and/or in the General Contractor’s contract.  Avoid submitting “builder sets” because complete drawings will help lower your risk dramatically. The developer’s/contractor’s vision of a project may not be the same as yours so make sure that all the important details are properly illustrated in the construction drawings regardless if it is a public bid or a developer’s builder set.

Another crucial step in becoming a larger stakeholder in the project is to know your Banker. You can do this by joining an advisory board for your local bank or having lunch with your banker. Bankers can be valuable in educating Architects on how the finances of a project work. Your Banker will probably tell you that he/she will need an appraisal, an estimate, sketches of the proposed project, and a history of your persona! assets to determine whether the project is even feasible. So take you Banker out to lunch and it will help you learn about current market information. Remember that Banker’s like to lend the bank’s money to professionals because they know that professionals are educated, responsible, and cautious, which means that the bank’s money will be safer.

It is important to understand OPM – other people’s money – and what it can do for you. So take your accountant out to lunch! It is important to learn how to use other people’s money to help you realize your project.  Investors and bankers allow the Architect to take on more risk thereby increasing their fees and cash flow. Architects have to start putting projects together so that they can have greater control over a project’s outcome. By making money and
by providing extra services for which the Architect is properly compensated it will grant the Architect access to creating and shaping a community.

There are 5 components to every Performa:
1. Buy (Acquisition and Closing Costs)
2. NE and Build
3. Soft Costs (Legal, accounting, contingency, surveys, insurance, utilities, operation and maintenance, etc.)
4. Marketing (Real-estate, lease broker, etc.)
5. Profit

Every Architect interested in generating more work, making more money, and having more control over his/her projects should learn to put a Performa together in addition to pretty sketches which can enhance one’s communities.  Since every situation is different it is important to have a good staff of consultants – lawyers, accountants, bankers, tax consultants, insurance representatives, etc. working with you. Get to know your key advisors (“Mastermind Group”) and pay them well because their work can greatly impact the success of your ventures. Having a great team of experts whom you trust is important to assure that you are minimizing your risks.

Harness your power as an Architect to become a Builder.

Unfortunately, these lessons are not taught in school, however, I do encourage you the reader to educate yourself about the possibilities of becoming more involved in a project. Harness your power as an Architect to become a Builder. As Architects take on more responsibility and start to make more money in their practices Architecture as a whole will prosper because with money comes power. With power comes the potential to focus on rebuilding communities and time to sculpt meaningful Architecture.
Do not stop learning how the Architect can take on more responsibility and attain larger rewards, remember RISK = REWARD and having control over a project is the key to success.

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
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