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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
DSNY-Parking Garage and Salt Shead: New York NY, Architect: Dattner Architects with WXY Architects
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 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, 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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!
Frank Lloyd Wright (born Frank Lincoln Wright, June 8, 1867 – April 9, 1959) was an American Architect, interior designer, writer and educator, who designed more than 1,000 structures and completed 532 works. Wright believed in designing structures which were in harmony with humanity and its environment, a philosophy he called organic architecture. This philosophy was best exemplified by his design for Fallingwater (1935) featured in the photo above, which has been called “the best all-time work of American Architecture“. Wright was a leader of the Prairie School movement of architecture and developed the concept of the Usonian home, his unique vision for urban planning in the United States.
Wright’s portfolio includes original and innovative examples of many different building types, including offices, churches, schools, skyscrapers, hotels, and museums. Wright also designed many of the interior elements of his buildings, such as the furniture and stained glass. Wright authored 20 books and many articles and was a popular lecturer in the United States and in Europe. His colorful personal life often made headlines, most notably for the 1914 fire and murders at his Taliesin studio. Already well known during his lifetime, Wright was recognized in 1991 by the American Institute of Architects as “the greatest American architect of all time.”
Wright’s most famous private residences —Fallingwater— was built from 1934 to 1937 for Mr. and Mrs. Edgar J. Kaufmann Sr., at Mill Run, Pennsylvania, not too far from Pittsburgh. It was designed according to Wright’s desire to place the occupants close to the natural surroundings, with a stream and waterfall running under part of the building. Wright wanted the new residences to live with the waterfalls, to make them part of their everyday lives. He didn’t want them to just look at them every now and again. Constructed over a 30-foot waterfall, the house may look very big on the outside but on the inside it is quite small, which surprises some visitors. It was made with three bedrooms, a massive living room and a dining room. The house was more of a design for a family getaway not for a live-in family. The construction is a series of cantilevered balconies and terraces, using limestone for all verticals and concrete for the horizontals. The house cost $155,000, including the architect’s fee of $8,000. It was one of Wright’s most expensive pieces. Kaufmann’s own engineers argued that the design was not sound. They were overruled by Wright, but the contractor secretly added extra steel to the horizontal concrete elements. In 1994, Robert Silman and Associates examined the building and developed a plan to restore the structure. In the late 1990s, steel supports were added under the lowest cantilever until a detailed structural analysis could be done. In March 2002, post-tensioning of the lowest terrace was completed.
The iconic “Guggenheim Museum” (also featured in the photo above) is located in New York City. This project kept Wright occupied for 16 years (1943–1959) and is probably his most recognized masterpiece. The building rises as a warm beige spiral from its site on Fifth Avenue; its interior is similar to the inside of a seashell. Its unique central geometry was meant to allow visitors to easily experience Guggenheim’s collection of nonobjective geometric paintings by taking an elevator to the top level and then viewing artworks by walking down the slowly descending, central spiral ramp, the floor of which is embedded with circular shapes and triangular light fixtures to complement the geometric nature of the structure. However, when the museum was completed, a number of details of Wright’s design were ignored, such as his desire for the interior to be painted off-white. Further, the Museum currently designs exhibits to be viewed by walking up the curved walkway rather than walking down from the top level.
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!
The Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1 announce HWKN (Matthias Hollwich and Marc Kushner, New York) as the winner of the 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. Buy Wendy (Click Here).
Wendy sits far enough away from the stage used for the annual Warm Up events to let the concerts go on unimpeded, but close enough to the entrance to create a filter and initial impact to visitors. It bridges over the walls into the large and small courtyards of MoMA PS1.
Wendy features a simple, inexpensive construction system: the scaffold is deployed efficiently to create a 70’ x 70’ x 45’ volume to form the largest surface area possible.
We are always pleased when our online friends agree to an interview on our blog. Our latest Expose features my colleague and friend, Karen Glosser, who creates mixed metal and stone jewelry with a modern edge in Chautauqua NY.
“We cannot hold a torch to light another’s path without brightening our own.” -Ben Sweetland (Photo by Karen Glosser)
KG Portrait (Artwork by Frank Cunha III)
Seeing your new photo art each day is inspiring. Can you tell us about your latest artwork?
Thank you so much! My photographs are something that I use as inspiration in my life and as a tool to help me design and create as a jewelry artist. I carry my camera with me always, everywhere. It’s amazing how my perception of everyday life has changed since I’ve started to look through the lens of a camera. There is so much beauty everywhere- all around us!
Can you explain your artistic process? Which artists/photographers are you influenced by?
Because I always have my camera ready, I take a lot of pictures. I usually don’t go out looking for certain subjects or topics. When I see something that strikes me, I take a few shots. Then, periodically, or when I am designing a new collection, I go back through and I often notice themes running through my photos. I use this as a jumping off point for design inspiration.
Can you explain your artistic process? Which artists/photographers are you influenced by?
I am greatly influenced by art. Color is a huge inspiration for me, so I love to spend time in galleries and museums, online, or reading books. My favorite artists are Mark Rothko and Clyfford Still. Their use of color is masterful. I also find great design and life inspiration from Simon Alcantara, a genius jewelry designer. As far as photography?
I find great inspiration from the photos of the amazing Frank Cunha III !!!
Have you ever considered publishing an ebook of your work?
Diller Scofidio + Renfro in collaboration with FXFOWLE Written by Linda C. Lentz
Built up on a plinth, and clad in relentless swaths of travertine, Lincoln Center was once considered by many to be a remote acropolis of culture. A half century after it was built, the iconic mid-20th-century performing arts compound is coming down to earth, or at least to the surrounding streets of New York City’s Upper West Side.
The podium and stone remain. But a whimsical glass pavilion — the latest phase in the eight-year redevelopment of the 16-acre campus by collaborating firms Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DSR) and FXFOWLE — is engaging theatergoers, tourists, and the neighboring community with a first-rate restaurant, state-of-the-art film center, and a rare patch of urban green on its roof.
Indeed, this populist intervention in many ways culminates the team’s efforts to revitalize the complex and its intersecting thoroughfare, West Sixty-Fifth Street, a master plan initiative responsible for the previously completed Alice Tully Hall renovation[RECORD, June 2009], and the Juilliard School extension [RECORD, February 2011]. This is largely due to the comprehensive 40,000-square-foot project’s strategic location on the site, as well as the critical programmatic elements the architects were required to incorporate into it: cultural, public, and private.
I had another terrific opportunity to shoot with the SWEET FIX group, this time at a New York City subway station for their upcoming single “FM Radio” (appropriately the F and M lines in mid-town). To lend a hand was Dee Portera who helped me photograph the boys: Tommy Walker (Lead Vocals), Ivan Anderson (Guitar, Back Up Vocals), Bill Sapanaro (Bass), Marco Santini (Drums). And tonight (May 14, 2011) they are playing at the Crash Mansion (199 Bowery, New York, NY) if you want to come out and support them (RSVP here). Also check them out on Facebook, MySpace, ReverbNation and Twitter. More Sweet Fix by FC3 here.