How University Construction Projects Offer Opportunities to Reform Architecture Education

09:30 - 28 January, 2016
University of Kansas, The Forum at Marvin Hall, 2014. Image © James Ewing Photography
University of Kansas, The Forum at Marvin Hall, 2014. Image © James Ewing Photography

There is a dichotomy to the business of educating architects. While the real world profession is a collaborative field, one in which projects of even the largest and most publicly-acclaimed offices are team-led initiatives, the study of architecture is often insular, myopic, and devoid of such partnerships. Certainly there is a benefit to this style of teaching - it builds confidence for one thing - but it is troubling to think that in a socially-oriented and practically-minded field like architecture, there can be such major disconnects between the process of designing and the act of building. As many critics of current architectural education have pointed out, incorporating design-build projects into school curriculums is a pragmatic solution oriented towards correcting such imbalances.

The fact that more schools don't have programs for students to both design and build their projects is especially perplexing when most universities, particularly those located in the United States, are in such a prolonged period of institutional and budgetary expansion. With many schools now governed like corporate entities, it’s surprising that architecture programs and students are not treated like in-house resources. Why aren’t architecture students treated like assets, the same way that student doctors and nurses are brought into university led medical facilities or scientists into campus research labs?

Munroe Meyer Institute, Exterior Rendering, Design: Brett Virgl, Ruth Barankevich. Image Courtesy of College of Architecture University of Nebraska–Lincoln Munroe Meyer Institute, Exterior Rendering, Design: Lily Cai & Phuong Nguyen. Image Courtesy of College of Architecture University of Nebraska–Lincoln University of Kansas, Ecohawks Research Facility, 2013. Image Courtesy of Studio 804 University of Kansas, Center for Design Research, 2011. Image Courtesy of Studio 804 +32

Leonardo DiCaprio, Eco-Tourism, and Blackadore Caye: Has Green Building Jumped the Shark?

09:30 - 12 January, 2016
Blackadore Caye, a luxury eco-tourism resort proposed for Leonardo DiCaprio's island off of the coast of Belize. Image © McLennan Design via The New York Times
Blackadore Caye, a luxury eco-tourism resort proposed for Leonardo DiCaprio's island off of the coast of Belize. Image © McLennan Design via The New York Times

In early April 2015, the New York Times reported on Leonardo DiCaprio’s recent purchase of Blackadore Caye, a small island off the coast of Belize that has faced significant environmental degradation and erosion. A patron of several environmental projects, DiCaprio is partnering with Paul Scialla, CEO of the Delos real estate and wellness platform, to create an eco-resort intended to serve as the latest model of cutting-edge, environmentally-responsible tourism development. The development plans include a row of floating guest suites built over the water, 48 private villas (ringing in at $5-15 million), human health and anti-aging wellness programs, and a conservation area. The project is advertised as meeting the ambitious green building standards of the Living Building Challenge and the WELL Building Standard®.

Many Times readers in the comments section sardonically noted that the private jets and the shipment of building materials and daily resources for island development come with large environmental and social price tags that far outweigh the conservation efforts associated with the resort. On the other hand, a few commentators pointed out that the development will employ local labor and save the island from complete degradation. The discussion surrounding the pros and cons of “eco-tourism” development is not a new one, and not one that is easily settled.

But beyond the (important) discussion of the impacts of eco-tourism, the development raises questions about the emergence of alternative green building market standards, which ostensibly aim to transform the building industry by setting measurable targets for the environmental and social effects of the places we live and work.

Steven Holl Architects Unveil Proposal for Shenzhen Art Museum and Library

06:00 - 21 December, 2015
© Steven Holl Architects
© Steven Holl Architects

Steven Holl Architects has unveiled their design for a new public library and museum in a developing area of Shenzhen, China. With the goal of creating a public space with two buildings connected below the plaza level, the massing concept is based on a three-part removal. While the design did win the most votes from the jury in the overall competition, city officials chose a different scheme to continue with.

© Steven Holl Architects © Steven Holl Architects © Steven Holl Architects © Steven Holl Architects +22

Construction Well Underway on Santiago Calatrava’s Museum of Tomorrow in Rio de Janeiro

08:00 - 21 July, 2015
© Paul Clemence
© Paul Clemence

Construction of Santiago Calatrava’s Museu do Amanhã (Museum of Tomorrow) in Rio de Janeiro is underway and on-track to be completed in the second half of 2015. Located on the Pier Mauá, the museum will encompass a 15,000m2 built area and include gardens, leisure areas, bike paths, and a reflective pool, totaling over 30,000m2. The ground floor of the museum will include a store, auditorium, temporary exhibit rooms, a restaurant, administrative offices and space for research and educational activities. The upper floor, connected to the ground floor with ramps, will include long-term exhibits, a café and a panoramic lookout. 

© Paul Clemence © Paul Clemence © Paul Clemence © Paul Clemence +11

Design Needs a Social Conscience

09:30 - 17 June, 2015
ELEMENTAL's Quinta Monroy Housing. Image Courtesy of ELEMENTAL
ELEMENTAL's Quinta Monroy Housing. Image Courtesy of ELEMENTAL

In recent years, the architecture world has seen a significant surge of interest in socially-conscious design; from sustainability to social housing, and from public space to disaster relief, architecture is beginning to take on some of the biggest humanitarian challenges of our era. But despite its popularity, public-interest design is still only a fringe activity in architecture, either bolted on to existing design or only practiced by a select group of people. In this short article originally published by Metropolis Magazine, Metropolis Editor-in-Chief Susan Szenasy makes the case that rather than working on the periphery, "the drive to improve living conditions for all life should be at the center of contemporary architecture and design."

On a bright April weekend, a group of committed, passionate, accomplished designers and their collaborators from the Americas and elsewhere gathered in downtown Detroit to speak about socially responsible design. It was the 15th annual Structures for Inclusion conference. The convener, Bryan Bell, is the architect behind the nonprofit organization Design Corps, and the spirit behind the SEED (Social Economic Environmental Design) rating program.

Living Building Challenge Now Fulfills LEED Energy and Water Requirements

19:00 - 17 April, 2015
Living Building Challenge certified: Hawaii Preparatory Academy Energy Laboratory. Image © Flansburgh Architects
Living Building Challenge certified: Hawaii Preparatory Academy Energy Laboratory. Image © Flansburgh Architects

The Living Building Challenge will now fulfill the energy and water requirements for LEED. As the U.S. Green Building Council announced, this marks an important step in the USGBC's mission to make LEED an accessible platform that complements other construction rating systems.

The USGBC's decision essentially equates the two systems in the fields of water and energy efficiency, recognizing projects that meet the Living Building Challenge's standards within these areas as equivalent to LEED standards. By doing so, it encourages a spirit of collaboration toward sustainable goals across competing rating systems.

Utopia Arkitekter's "Jewel" Selected in Uppsala Travel Centre Contest

01:00 - 30 November, 2014
Courtesy of Utopia Arkitekter
Courtesy of Utopia Arkitekter

Stockholm-based practice Utopia Arkitekter has been selected to design a new travel centre in Uppsala after their "sculptural, eye-catching jewel of a building" won the municipal design contest. Featuring a travel centre, fitness centre and restaurant on the lower floors and offices in the floors above, the building aims for LEED Platinum certification. The design revolves around the incorporation of bicycles, providing commuters with extensive bicycle parking facilities as well as changing room and shower facilities for a convenient transfer from bicycle to train.

More on the design after the break

Courtesy of Utopia Arkitekter Courtesy of Utopia Arkitekter Section. Image Courtesy of Utopia Arkitekter Courtesy of Utopia Arkitekter +12

Is It Time For the Anti-LEED?

00:00 - 15 October, 2014
LEED seems to prioritize "Gizmo Green solutions" such as the photovoltaic panels on Ronald Lu and Partners' Zero Carbon Building. Image © Ronald Lu and Partners
LEED seems to prioritize "Gizmo Green solutions" such as the photovoltaic panels on Ronald Lu and Partners' Zero Carbon Building. Image © Ronald Lu and Partners

Steve Mouzon, a principal of Studio Sky and Mouzon Design, is an architect, urbanist, author, and photographer from Miami. He founded the New Urban Guild, which hosts Project:SmartDwelling. The Guild’s non-profit affiliate is the Guild Foundation, which hosts the Original Green initiative

The LEED rating systems were a great idea in the beginning, but they have become a symbol of all that is wrong with green building today. Getting a LEED rating is slow, difficult, and expensive, and the rating is skewed heavily to Gizmo Green solutions that are completely ignorant of where the building is being built, and for whom. We need the opposite sort of system today: one that is intelligent about where a building is built and who it’s being built for, and that is fast, friendly, and free so that anyone can use it.

The Green Building Wars

01:00 - 17 September, 2014
The Clinton Presidential Center by Polshek Partnership and Hargreaves Associates received a rating of Two Green Globes from the GBI. But would LEED have rated it the same?. Image © Timothy Hursley
The Clinton Presidential Center by Polshek Partnership and Hargreaves Associates received a rating of Two Green Globes from the GBI. But would LEED have rated it the same?. Image © Timothy Hursley

Originally published by Metropolis Magazine, this comprehensive analysis by sustainability expert Lance Hosey examines the current disputes within the green building industry, where market leader LEED currently finds competition from the Living Building Challenge, aiming for the "leading edge" of the market, and the Green Globes at the other end of the scale. Arguing for a more holistic understanding of what makes materials sustainable, Hosey examines the role that materials, and material industries such as the timber and chemical industries, can have in directing the aims and principles of these three sustainability rating systems - for better or for worse.

Arthur Andersson on Timeless Materials & Building "Ruins"

01:00 - 18 June, 2014
Tower House . Image © Art Gray
Tower House . Image © Art Gray

Material Minds, presented by ArchDaily Materials, is our new series of short interviews with architects, designers, scientists, and others who use architectural  in innovative ways. Enjoy!

Arthur Andersson of Andersson-Wise Architects wants to build ruins. He wants things to be timeless - to look good now and 2000 years from now. He wants buildings to fit within a place and time. To do that he has a various set of philosophies, processes and some great influences. Read our full in-depth interview with Mr. Andersson, another revolutionary "Material Mind," after the break. 

Tower House . Image © Art Gray Tower House . Image © Art Gray Tower House . Image © Art Gray Stone Creek Camp. Image © Art Gray +15

Competition for LEED: GBI's Green Globes Shakes Up Building Certification

00:00 - 26 May, 2014
The Clinton Presidential Center, in Little Rock, Arkansas, designed by Polshek Partnership and Hargreaves Associates received a rating of Two Green Globes from the GBI. Image © Timothy Hursley
The Clinton Presidential Center, in Little Rock, Arkansas, designed by Polshek Partnership and Hargreaves Associates received a rating of Two Green Globes from the GBI. Image © Timothy Hursley

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), with its advantages and disadvantages, has dominated the green building certification market for a long time. But now alternatives - like the GBI's Green Globes, the Living Building Challenge, and Build It Green – are beginning to emerge. So how does a competitor like Green Globes shape up in comparison to LEED? And what does this developing competition mean for green rating systems in general? To learn more, keep reading after the break.

Study Shows Green Office Buildings Don't Make Happier Workers

00:00 - 14 May, 2014
Graphic from our LEED infographic. © Megan Jett. . Image
Graphic from our LEED infographic. © Megan Jett. . Image

Have you ever wondered if you would be happier working in a LEED building? Wonder no more - a new study says no. Although the findings indicate employees are generally satisfied with working in green-certified buildings, they are no happier than they would be in a non-LEED building. The study, which contradicts previous findings, was conducted by Sergio Altomonte from the Department for Architecture and Built Environment at the University of Nottingham and Stefano Schiavon from the Center for the Built Environment at the University of California Berkeley. 

To arrive at this conclusion, data was collected through a web-based survey tool by the Center for the Built Environment (CBE) at the University of California Berkeley. In total, 65 LEED and 79 non-LEED buildings were selected to participate in the study. Building occupants were surveyed and asked to rate their satisfaction on a 7-point scale of 17 indoor environmental quality parameters, including amount of light, furniture adjustability, air quality, temperature, and sound privacy. 

LEED v4: Better than the LEEDs that Came Before?

00:00 - 2 December, 2013
Las Vegas CityCentre, a LEED Gold complex. Image
Las Vegas CityCentre, a LEED Gold complex. Image

At the annual Greenbuild International Conference in Philadelphia last week, the US Green Building Council (USGBC) finally announced the latest version of LEED. Aiming to make a larger forward step than previous versions, LEED v4 is described by Rick Fedrizzi, the CEO and president of USGBC as a "quantum leap". But what are the key changes in the new LEED criteria, and what effect will they have? Furthermore, what problems have they yet to address? Read on to find out.

Horvitz Hall / GUND Partnership

01:00 - 20 November, 2013
© Brad Feinknopf
© Brad Feinknopf

© Brad Feinknopf © Brad Feinknopf © Brad Feinknopf © Brad Feinknopf +12

Reviving Brooklyn's Waterfront, 19th Century Warehouses Evolve Into 21st Century Hubs

01:00 - 14 September, 2013
Courtesy of Studio V Architecture
Courtesy of Studio V Architecture

After fifty years of neglect the Empire Stores, located next to the Brooklyn Bridge, are now the most coveted waterfront property in New York. Midtown Equity has partnered with Studio V Architecture to adaptively reuse the 19th-century coffee warehouse into 380,000 square-feet of office, restaurant and commercial space, highlighted by a Brooklyn-centric cultural museum. "After the Brooklyn Bridge," says Joe Cayre, Chairman of Midtown Equities, "the Civil War era Empire Stores are the most iconic structures on the Brooklyn waterfront. As a Brooklyn native who raised my family in the borough, it is an honor for my firm to be chosen for the redevelopment of the Empire Stores."

Learn more after the break...

What Does Being 'Green' Really Mean?

00:00 - 11 September, 2013
Rendering © Herzog & de Meuron. Image Courtesy of Perez Art Museum Miami
Rendering © Herzog & de Meuron. Image Courtesy of Perez Art Museum Miami

The term 'green' is notoriously difficult to define, and even more so when it comes to architecture. An often overused and fashionable way of describing (or selling) new projects, 'green' design seems to have permeated into every strand of the design and construction industries. Kaid Benfield (The Atlantic City) has put together a fascinating case study of a 1,700 dwelling housing estate near San Diego, challenging what is meant by a 'green' development in an attempt to understand the importance of location and transport (among other factors) in making a project truly environmentally sustainable. In a similar vein, Philip Nobel (The New York Times) explores how 'green' architecture is less about isolated structures and far more about "the larger systems in which they function". Read the full article from Kaid Benfield here, and Philip Nobel's full article here.

Southern States Outlaw LEED Building Standards

00:00 - 30 August, 2013
1315 Peachtree, in Atlanta, achieved LEED Platinum Certification. However, will newer buildings in Georgia be held to the same standards? . Image Courtesy of Perkins + Will
1315 Peachtree, in Atlanta, achieved LEED Platinum Certification. However, will newer buildings in Georgia be held to the same standards? . Image Courtesy of Perkins + Will

The US Green Building Council’s federally adopted LEED certification system has come under legislative siege with lobbyists from the timber, plastics and chemical industries crying out, “monopoly!” Mississippi, Georgia and Alabama have lead efforts to ban LEED, claiming the USGBC’s closed-door approach and narrow-minded material interests have shut out stakeholders in various industries that could otherwise aid in the sustainable construction of environmentally-sensitive buildings.

Most recently, Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi, slipped in a last minute amendment to both the Housing and Urban Development and Department of Transportation appropriation bills stating no tax money may be used to require implementation of any green building certification system other than a system that:

Are LEED Skyscrapers Our Biggest Energy Hogs?

00:00 - 1 August, 2013
The Bank of America Building, by Cook + Fox, is LEED Platinum. However, due to its use, it is one of the buildings that consumes the most energy in NYC. Image courtesy of Bank of America, via The New Republic.
The Bank of America Building, by Cook + Fox, is LEED Platinum. However, due to its use, it is one of the buildings that consumes the most energy in NYC. Image courtesy of Bank of America, via The New Republic.

In an excellent article for The New Republic, Sam Roudman brilliantly tackles many of the same, timely issues as Michael Mehaffy and Nikos Salingaros in "Why Green Architecture Hardly Ever Deserves the Name." Roudman unpacks the loop-holes of LEED, most notably how it ignores a building's intended use, which often make a building anything but sustainable at all. Read the whole article at The New Republic.