The @FelicianoCenter’s @MIXLabDesign Design Charrette for “B.E.L.A.” Summer High School Program Entailing the Redevelopment of a Significant Urban Historic Site #UrbanPlanning #Redevelopment #Business #Entrepreneur #Education #HighSchool #DesignThink #Innovation #NJEd @MontclairStateU

On July 9, 2019, in the capacity of University Architect at Montclair State University (and Alumni of the Feliciano School of Business). I had the privilege of participating in a design charrette with a local high school. The project consists of an urban redevelopment site with a precious historical building at the site. I was invited by the people who run the Montclair State University MIX Lab (Feliciano Center for Entrepreneurship), an interdisciplinary hub for transformative innovation, and digitally mediated making.

M.I.X. stands for Making and Innovating for X, where X is the unknown, that which exceeds our grasp, the future, and the open-ended nature of creativity, good design and big problems. The co-directors of MIX Lab are Iain Kerr, associate professor of Innovation Design, and Jason Frasca, entrepreneurship instructor.

I graciously accepted Jason and Ian’s invitation to participate as a guest critic along with another fellow professional, Frank Gerard Godlewski of Fellsbridge Studio LLC, who specializes in historic preservation in the area where the redevelopment project is located.  The format for the design charrette, hosted by the MIX Lab for the high school program led by high school teacher, Kevin Richburg, included: (1) The students, in groups of 4-5, presented their concepts for the redevelopment of the site (there were 5 teams); (2) the guest critics gave suggestions and further thoughts on how to further explore and develop the student’s ideas; (3) the guest critics summed up their thoughts for all the students with key take-aways.  The following is a recap of what I learned from the students (in so far as what is the most significant to them) and the key take-aways I offered the students (in no particular order of importance) from my perspective as an Architect who has been involved in the planning, design and construction of projects over the past 20-years.

What the Student Teams Focused on as Key Ideas for their Projects:

  • Historic preservation of the existing building
  • Connecting with local community
  • Local and state pride
  • Affordability
  • Sustainability
  • Celebration of diversity and inclusion
  • Love of the arts
  • Focus on the user “experience”
  • Spaces for families to enjoy
  • Entertainment
  • Accessibility to quality food and goods
  • Mixing of “Bright and Bold” historic and modern elements
  • Transformative
  • “Modern” vibe

Proposed Amenities of the Re-Development Site:

  • Supermarkets (one group proposed a two-story whole sale supermarket)
  • Open-air markets (farmer markets, etc.)
  • Retail, restaurants, food trucks
  • Open space, a square or plaza
  • Parking for visitors (possible tunnel or bridge)
  • Parking at perimeter

Types of Buildings (Programmed Spaces)

  • Main historic building’s exterior appearance
  • Main historic building’s exterior appearance
  • Explore modernization of existing historic building interior to suite new uses
  • Mixed use buildings with green roofs and roof top patios
  • Modern, light and transparent
  • Restaurants and sports bars
  • Entertainment – bowling alley, arcade, movie theater
  • Arts – Museum showcasing tradition and innovation
  • Grocery stores
  • Food trucks
  • Retail
  • Technology/electronics-based retail
  • Main historic building’s exterior appearance
  • Explore modernization of existing historic building interior to suite new uses
  • Mixed use buildings with green roofs and roof top patios
  • Modern, light and transparent
  • Restaurants and sports bars
  • Entertainment – bowling alley, arcade, movie theater
  • Arts – Museum showcasing tradition and innovation
  • Grocery stores
  • Food trucks
  • Retail
  • Technology/electronics-based retail

Types of Exterior Spaces

  • Open spaces with green lawns and fountains
  • Places to reflect and remember
  • ·Field with stage and seating
  • Outdoor seating for restaurants
  • Areas to relax

Key Take-Aways & Ideas for Further Exploration:

  • Site plans – Delineate site elements separately from building elements (so easier to comprehend) using color or graphics (Example)
  • Floor plans – Delineate building areas/rooms with designated color so it is easier to understand program of spaces (i.e., circulation vs apartments vs retail vs support spaces, etc.) (Example)
  • Work together as a team – commemorate each other’s strengths but give everyone credit even those whose work may be behind the scenes
  • Focus on one main idea (let other ideas support the one main theme)
  • Context and Scale – Observe and learn from the surrounding community; apply those elements to the proposed project so that it complements the adjoining communities
  • Materials – Understand how the new materials can complement the historic ones (let the original historic building stand on its own and celebrate its historical significance)
  • Consider “big box” retail versus the Local “pop ups” (gentrification good and bad)
  • Parking/Transportation – As mass transportation has changed from ships to locomotives to buses and cars; look to the future as the world heads to autonomous vehicles (particularly China).  If parking is required think about how a parking lot or parking garage can be transformed in the future.  Example
  • Sustainability is important but do not forget to consider W.E.L.L. as well.  LEED/Sustainability concepts Resource 1 ; Resource 2 also check out the following link for ides about other program types for the redevelopment project Resource 3
  • Consider more technology in your projects, for instance: Smart CitiesAR/VR, and other innovate concepts, like: Immersive Experience and Virtual reality in theme park attractions. Also consider utilizing QR Codes as a teaching tool.
  • Consider developing a pedestrian mall by converting an existing street into a pedestrian friendly zone like they have done in Jersey City, NJ or Times Square, New York City, NY or Fremont Street Experience in Downtown Las Vegas, NV, the taking cars, trucks and buses off the street and giving the spaces back to the pedestrians who can enjoy it (also it would make the entire site one big site instead of two separate parcels dived by thru traffic).
  • Lastly, and not least important, when considering injecting modern elements with historic architecture, it must be considered whether the original is to remain intact or be altered.  There are interesting examples of tasteful alterations, however, the older I get the less comfortable I am with injecting new with old for the sake of “shock” value (where as a student of architecture 20 years ago the concept was more appealing).  I reminded the students of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France, and the ensuing debate that is going on whether or not the renovations/upgrades should be true to the original or whether the new design should be bold and innovating and perhaps less true to the original.  Whether the designers choose to go in one direction or another much thought should be given to preserving the historical elements of our precious structures because they are irreplaceable (think Grand Central Station in New York City, NY, which acted as a catalyst for the preservation movement).  Click here to read about the history of the Preservation Battle of Grand Central Station.

Overall, I was impressed by the talent and creativity of all the students and I was pleased with the quality of their presentations. I hope I was able to contribute in some small way to the success of their respective projects.  The high school student participants’ contributions to the build environment would be welcomed by the design and construction industry, since the students are willing to understand and develop their skills in the area of deep thought, innovation, design, construction and socio-economic concepts at an early age.  I gladly encouraged each and every one of them by letting them know that if they choose a career in architecture, engineering, real-estate development, construction or related field that they would certainly all be able to achieve their goals based on their willingness and eagerness to learn and present their visions and concepts.   I hope my involvement was as rewarding for the students as it was for me.

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


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

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

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

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

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

Honorable Mention

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

The Project Team

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

Some of the LEED-specific features include:

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

Further reading about the facility:

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

Sincerely,
FRANK CUNHA III
I Love My Architect – Facebook


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

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

Interesting Facts To Consider About Indoor Air Quality:

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

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

Sick Building Syndrome

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

LEED Requirements

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

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

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

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

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

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

Health and Cognitive FunctionPerformance Enhancements

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

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

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

Sources & References:

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

USGBC V4 Requirements for indoor environmental quality

Further Reading:

EPA – An Office Building Occupants Guide to Indoor Air Quality

#IAQmatters

EPA – Indoor Air Quality

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

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

Sincerely,

FRANK CUNHA III
I Love My Architect – Facebook


NEWS FLASH – @FrankCunhaIII Update

Dear friends, clients, and colleagues,

We are happy to report that Frank Cunha III, founder of FC3Architecture and I Love My Architect, is currently seeking reciprocity as a Registered Architect in the following states:

  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
  • Maryland
  • Virginia

Once processed and finalized, Frank will be able to legally practice Architecture in the states listed above, along with the the states he is currently licensed:

  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania

Additionally, Frank Cunha III, has become a USGBC Green Associate (click here for more information).

FC3USGBC

Join us in congratulating Frank on his new accreditation and wishing him luck on his future licenses!

I.L.M.A. Team
I Love My Architect – Facebook

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