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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
6D 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.
7D (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.
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!
Ask the Architect
An Exclusive Interview with Architect Frank Cunha III
Frank Cunha III, AIA, NCARB is a Registered Architect licensed in CT, DC, DE, FL, MD, NJ, NY, PA and is currently seeking reciprocity in VA as well. Mr. Cunha is the founder of FC3 Architecture + Design, established in 2005 to serve its clients in various markets, including commercial and residential projects. He writes / blogs for I Love My Architect and Just Architecture.
You can find him online at:
What was it about Architecture that helped you decide it was the field for you?
I always loved to draw as a child and I always loved to build. Give me scraps of cardboards and leftover bricks and sticks in the backyard and my imagination would take over. I was always fascinated with churches and castles. They have a very obvious Archetype, and from a very early age I always imagined that I too would be able to one day shape the design of our cities and how people inhabit them. Even when I travel, it is the Architecture that defines the people and the place (unless you are in the wilderness, where nature rules supreme). In the city, man (men and women) are able to shape the world we live in. With this ability comes great responsibility not just freedom to do whatever we want. The industrial and post-industrial eras have taught us that!
How long have you been in the profession?
After 5 years of Architecture school and after 3 years of internship and after passing my NCARB IDP Architecture Exam I “officially” became a Registered Architect in January 2004. It was not easy but it was worth it. Going through the arduous process allowed me to learn the different aspects of being an Architect.
It appears that Architecture incorporates many fields of study, for example; astronomy, meteorology, geography and I am sure there is much more. Could you explain?
Throughout history, especially before technology and social media distractions, civilizations, would honor the heavens by building monuments. Examples of this can be seen all over the world and there are plenty of interesting websites that address this.
Astronomy is one of the oldest sciences so it is no wonder that early civilizations would use the mathematics from the heavens to orient their buildings and monuments. Many pre-historic cultures left behind astronomical artifacts such as the Egyptian and Nubian monuments, and early civilizations such as Babylonians, Greeks, Chinese, Indians, and Maya performed methodical observations of the night sky. Climatology, the study of atmospheric science, is another extension coming out from Astronomy. In Architecture both the disciplines that is astrology and climatology, leads to a concept known as Vastu.
If you want to learn more about these interdisciplinary studies, you can click here or click here.
Today, Architects still consider orientation when placing a building and the building components on the site. The building’s orientation can even help Architects obtain LEED credits from the US Green Building Council, an organization that promotes sustainable design and construction around the world.
Is there a deciding factor for you when agreeing to take part in projects?
One thing I have learned over the past 15 years in the field of Architecture is that there are many components to accepting and working on a project. While we all need to make money to eat and survive, here are a few things that should be considered before agreeing to take on a project:
- Is there a chemistry between the client and the designer, i.e., do you like each other? Can you work well together?
- Is the project exciting and challenging?
- Can I assemble the right team to complete the project effectively? And do we have the right fee to allow our design team to perform the project effectively?
If the answer to any of these is “no” then I keep looking for another opportunity. Every time an opportunity passes, two or more new ones appear. Don’t be hasty just for the sake of getting a project!
The projects you are sharing today are they based on specific concepts?
As a young Architect my aesthetic and design concepts are still evolving.
Although we do not force my designs on my clients, we do have some underlying principals we like to maintain on our projects whenever feasible.
FC3 Architecture takes a Holistic approach to each individual project to meet the client’s specific needs. We work with our team of expert consultants to bring the most value to the client through rigorous, integrated design practices. It is our mission to explore and develop the “Architectural Design Aesthetics” & “Building Tectonics Systems” to engage the following issues on a project-by-project basis, where applicable, to discover and address the project requirements established by the client and the Architect during the Pre-Design phase:
- Program / Livability / Functional
- Provide efficient space planning to maximize client’s programmatic needs (don’t over build)
- Determination of most effective use of a given site
- Optimize access to the site
- Maximize land, views, lighting, wind, water elements, other natural features, etc.
- Provide guidance for best use of materials, structure, and form
- Properly integrate new design into existing contextual surroundings
- Sustainable / Environmental
- Coordinate with client’s abatement team when required
- Coordinate with client’s commissioning team when required
- Provide guidance and integration on current sustainable trends
- Sustainable Design
- Energy Use & Conservation
- Waste Management
- Selection of Materials – Reuse, Recycling, Renewable sources, etc.
- Water Use & Conservation
- Structural / Tectonic
- Coordinate with structural team to develop integrated structural design
- Coordinate with MEP team to develop integrated MEP design
- Coordinate with other industry experts as needed to meet project goals
- Historic / Preservation
- When required, document and research preservation of historic elements
- Provide design details that are sensitive to preexisting building/site elements
- Engage our expert consultant team as may be required
- Economic / Legalization
- Provide assistance in developing a feasibility study
- Assist client’s legal counsel with Planning/Zoning Board approvals
- Constructability / Management
- Assist client with project schedules and budgets throughout the project
- Engage our expert construction/project management team as may be required
Click here to see some of Frank’s recent featured projects.
Click here to read more “Ask the Architect” articles.
Copyright © 2010 Frank Cunha III.
Frank Cunha III – Architect & Visual Artist
Registered Architect, NJ, NY, PA, CT, DE
PO Box 335, Hamburg, NJ 07419
E-mail: fc3arch @me.com
Copyright © 2010 Frank Cunha III.
Frank Cunha III – Architect & Visual Artist
Registered Architect, NJ, NY, PA, CT, DE
PO Box 335, Hamburg, NJ 07419
E-mail: fc3arch @me.com
Fax: 973.718.4641Web | FC3 Architecture | FC3 Photography | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Zenfolio