Archive for ‘GREEN’

February 6, 2012

Sustainable LEED Gold Office Tower | Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

Schmidt Hammer Lassen architects has recently won the international architectural competition to design a 188 meter office tower in the financial district of central Warsaw, . The 60,000 m2 high-rise building is to replace the existing ‘Ilmet’ building and will stand out as a modern landmark clearly identifiable in the Warsaw skyline by its unique elegant shape and appearance. The Jury was impressed by the high quality and innovation evident in the urban, architectural and technical concepts of the winning design. The future building will offer a number of attractive public areas and serve to complement the project’s prominent setting, as well as the entire neighborhood.

Sustainability was an important issue as the building is designed to reduce energy consumption with the goal of qualifying for the highest levels of sustainability certifications as BREEAM Excellent or LEED Gold status.

The building consists of three individually stepped rectangular volumes with increasing heights towards the east. The façades create a subtle rhythm in the cityscape by slightly shifting inwards and outwards, and the inclined roof lines preserve optimal light conditions for the adjacent buildings.The design of the building offers a spatial coherence between roof and street level. The lobby at street level, with its spectacular shaped ceiling, corresponds with the sloping shapes of the rooftops, making the building perceive as a sculptural object.The open lobby allows the people of Warsaw to pass into and through the building, connecting the plaza and park in front of the building with the courtyards of the historical tenement houses to the south.The building is designed to reduce energy consumption with the goal of qualifying for the highest levels of sustainability certifications as BREEAM Excellent or LEED Gold status. The modular façade system with floor to ceiling glass elements, provide high levels of transparency as well as full integration of sun shading and light reflection shutters. The sloped rooftops are equipped with photovoltaic cells and elements for harvesting rainwater. The total sustainability approach is a combination of intelligent building management and minimizing technical installations by using passive elements.

January 22, 2012

Buildings A, B and D | Pearce Brinkley Cease + Lee

Architects: Pearce Brinkley Cease + Lee
Location: , North Carolina, USA
Client: Wake Technical Community College, Northern Wake Campus
Project Team: Jeffrey Lee, Douglas Brinkley, Marni Rushing, David Hill, Matt Bitterman
Size: 209,570 SF
Photographs: JWest ProductionsTom Arban

 designed the master plan for Wake Technical Community College’s Northern Wake Campus, the first All-LEED campus in North Carolina and one of the first in the nation. PBC+L developed a planning strategy that layers the site from the outside in so that cars remain isolated along the perimeter, while campus pedestrian pathways engage open space and the lush wetlands of the site’s inner core.

PBC+L designed and built the first three buildings on campus. Building A is a LEED certified classroom and lab building. Building B is also LEED certified and houses a library, classrooms, and administrative offices. Building D is a LEED Gold certified building that includes classrooms, computer labs, offices and a coffee shop.

January 22, 2012

Pearce Street, Govan | Austin-Smith:Lord

Architects: Austin-Smith:Lord
Location: 10 Pearce Street, , Scotland
Client: Bield Housing Association
Contractors: CCG
Project Completed: 2010
Project Area: 2,500sqm
Photographs: Keith Hunter

Contribution to Regeneration of the Area
Govan Cross has benefitted from recent regeneration with environmental improvements to the floorscape, restoration of the Memorial Fountain, and the reintroduction of the Govan Ferry. Bield Housing Association’s project at 10 Pearce Street replaces an unattractive single storey derelict GPO building. The new flats respect the eaves line of the adjacent listed former YMCA building, rebuild and complete the street frontages and bring new life back into the formerly neglected historic Pearce Lane.

Lives of Local Residents
The lives of both existing and new residents have been improved. There was an overwhelming need for flats for the elderly in the area and the new residents are delighted with their new homes.The existing residents of neighbouring Govan Housing Association have also had their back court drying area upgraded. Said one Bield resident looking out from her living room over the Clyde to the ‘Glenlea’ and the Transport Museum, “I never thought I would ever have a flat as good as this” having just returned from a Sunday lunch get-together with other residents in the sun space on the top floor of her building!

Energy Efficiency and Sustainability
To overcome fenestration problems the boundary windows have been set back one metre to provide large areas of south-facing glass to give passive solar heat to the communal sitting areas. Heat loss from the boiler house contributes to the heat of the communal space. The external envelop is very highly insulated with thermal mass in concrete floors and block walls to retain passive solar heat gain.

Joinery for windows, doors, screens, facings, partitions etc are all specified from sustainable sources. Recycled aggregate is used for fill material and concrete block walls. Low energy lights are specified throughout and storm drainage filtered prior to connection to culverted burn into the Clyde.

With close proximity to public transport, shops, churches, banks, pub, Post Office etc, and with the new ability crossings to these facilities, the development will achieve BREEAM excellent status.

Design, features and specification
The design groups single aspect wide frontage narrow depth flats along Pearce Street and Pearce Lane giving the flats a panoramic view North to the Clyde, and views up and down the street with glimpses of Govan Old Parish Church.Consequently, access to the flats is along the southern boundary.

Asingle sided corridor means residents can always orientate themselves with the views to the outside, an important feature for the elderly who may find difficulty in orientating themselves in enclosed internal corridors.

The hollow brick piers at the front and rear express the structure and also accommodate vertical services. The fenestration of the seven storey flats is grouped 2:3:2 to relate to the fenestration and greater floor to floor height of the adjacent 19th century former YMCA.

The structural grid is expressed using a brick similar to the common brick of the back courts and Govan’s industrial heritage. The plain cubic brick volume and geometric simplicity provides a subtle counterpoint to the eclectic mix of styles of the surrounding 19th century architecture.

The apartments occupy the whole site footprint up to the boundary. Consequently the North and West elevations, which front the street, are the only elevations where habitable rooms could be located. The advantage of this arrangement is all rooms are afforded stunning views across the Clyde. The common areas, stairs, lifts and circulation spaces are on the South elevation where windows have been recessed back from the boundary to allow sunlight into sitting areas. A South facing loggia is positioned over the central boiler plant.

The flats have secure access from Pearce Street and have 24 hour security and emergency cover. Privacy is provided by setting the glazing back giving deep recess windows, a feature which also expresses the structural frame. The ground floor has three wheelchair liveable flats. The upper 6 floors have 2 ambulant 3-person flats and 2 ambulant 2-person flats per floor.

November 19, 2011

Centre d’Examen du Permis | a+ Samuel Delmas

Architects: a+ Samuel Delmas 
Client: Ministère de l’écologie
Project Year: 2011
Photographs: Julien Lanoo

Site, Brief and Project

The project takes place along the nearest boulevard. It is used as an acces filter for the tracks, thanks to its openwork envelope. The fence on the boulevard uses the facade system and improves its presence along the way, while developing a kinetic effect when driving by the building.

The building skin is constituted of vertical elements that are made with strips of timber or metalic slats, regularly spaced according to their function. The envelope was made to solve all the constraints based on the brief and the site: solar protection, modularity of the building, prefabrication, anti-intervention, anti-vandal, environmental approach, and more.

Building & Sustainable Development

Simple and rigorous volumes allow for the optimization of the way of building, and the rationalization of the structure, the envelope and the networks. The implementation of windbreak hedges is composed of local species with persistent foliage. Key interests in the design approach were preservation of the existing vegetation and the development of a biodiversity in relation with the site (humid environment). The drainage ditches filters the water of pollution thanks to a natural system using plants.

Text by a+ Samuel Delmas

July 3, 2011

Bay Adelaide Centre, Toronto | WZMH Architects

The Bay Adelaide Centre is a signature 51-storey tower in downtown Toronto. It is distinguished by its elemental, modernist form – a refined rectangular plan with notched corners – and a prism-like skin of clear vision and fritted glass that make it one of the downtown core’s most transparent towers.

At the top of the tower, the extension of the glass skin beyond the rooftop becomes a series of ‘sails’ that gives the building profile a distinctive identity. The highly transparent tower base seamlessly incorporates the historic façade of the National Building on Bay Street (Chapman and Oxley, 1926) and the lobby features a major integrated public art project by the world-renowned artist James Turrell.

The project is the first phase of a three tower complex featuring a half-acre landscaped urban plaza with Gingko trees and ornamental grasses framing benches and open seating area. This contributes a much-needed public open space to the central business district. The lobby floors and the plaza are clad in a ‘carpet’ of Brazilian Ipanema granite expressing a modernist sensibility for spatial continuity from inside to out.

Certified to a LEED Gold standard, the project is among Canada’s largest sustainable buildings and is estimated to have an energy cost savings of 47% as compared to and existing model building within the Canadian MNECB rating system. The tower contains over 100,840 sq m of rentable class-AAA office space, as well as over 3,700 sq m of below-grade retail space linked to the extensive underground concourse network.

Location Toronto, Ontario Client Brookfield Properties Completion 2010 Structural Halcrow Yolles Mechanical The Mitchell Partnership Inc. Electrical Mulvey & Banani International Inc. Landscape Dillon Consulting Limited.

June 28, 2011

PNC TOWER | Gensler


Tower at PNC Plaza from Market Square

Tower at PNC Plaza from Market Square

Tower at PNC Plaza from Mt. Washington

Aerial view of Tower at PNC Plaza and existing campus

Interior view of Tower at PNC Plaza


Location: Downtown Pittsburgh; Adjacent to PNC Plaza; at corner of Fifth and Wood Streets

Size: 35 to 40 story office tower; approximately 800,000 square feet

Parking Garage: Approximately 400 spaces (underground)

Construction Budget: Estimated $400 million

Women and minority owned businesses: approximately $40 million

Economic Impact:           Construction to employ 2,500 people with 500 at peak times

Owner: PNC Bank, National Association

Design Architect: Gensler Pittsburgh

Construction Manager: P.J. Dick

Engineer: Buro Happold

Green Building Consultant:           Paladino & Company

Tenant: PNC and street level retail

Developer: PNC Realty Services

Incorporating ground-breaking technology and design strategies, PNC aspires for its new headquarters to be the greenest skyscraper in the world and to exceed the requirements of LEED® Platinum, the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC®) highest certification rating.

To define what is beyond LEED Platinum, PNC’s project team has three aspirational goals:

  • Community Builder: Support Pittsburgh’s existing infrastructure, spur further development and business growth downtown and positively accentuate the skyline as a symbol of PNC’s commitment to the city’s sustainable future.
  • Workplace Innovator: Attract tomorrow’s leaders to Pittsburgh by utilizing innovative space planning and building systems that promote collaboration and productivity, and set the bar for a healthy indoor environment.
  • Climate Responder: Tuned to Pittsburgh’s climate by aggressively pursuing strategies and technologies that minimize resource use and maximize renewable energy opportunities.

PNC’s design team is currently considering the following technologies:

  • Fuel cells, solar panels, geothermal systems and other alternative power generation sources that will significantly reduce carbon emissions
  • Optimally oriented building facades, operable windows, occupancy-based heating and cooling systems and other state of the art energy reduction technologies.
  • Rain water collection, water reuse and retention systems that prevent wastewater release into Pittsburgh’s three rivers when sewers are at capacity
  • The Tower at PNC Plaza is expected to be PNC’s third major LEED-certified GREEN project in downtown Pittsburgh
  • PNC Firstside Center at 650,000 square feet opened in 2000 as the largest LEED-certified building in the world and the first certified under LEED 2.0
  • Three PNC Plaza, which is among the nation’s largest mixed-use green buildings and LEED gold certified
  • PNC Place is one of the largest LEED-Platinum certified buildings in Washington, D.C.
  • USGBC® has recognized PNC for constructing more new LEED® certified buildings than any other company in the world. PNC has more than 125 LEED certified projects nationwide, including 99 for new construction and 26 for commercial interiors (as of May 2011)
  • Green Wall: One of the largest in North America on exterior wall of One PNC
  • PNC has built two parks in downtown Pittsburgh for the enjoyment of employees and the community: Firstside Park and Triangle Park

Design Phase Began – April 2011

Construction Begins – Spring 2012

Open for Business – Summer 2015

From finding creative ways to use recycled materials to conserving energy at our branches to developing smarter ways to bank, PNC does more than provide our customers and employees greener choices. We provide them with greener banks. PNC now has more than 125 LEED-certified green buildings, with around 99 newly constructed certified buildings, more than any company on earth.

In 2002 PNC became the first major bank to apply green building standards to all newly constructed or renovated retail branch offices. In 2007 PNC Bank extended its leadership with the trademark of “Green Branch” term.

Opened in 2010, this high performing building in the heart of our nation’s capital, demonstrates PNC’s commitment to the Greater Washington Area and its ongoing leadership in sustainable building practices. The 350,000 square foot building, which received LEED Platinum certification, houses PNC’s regional headquarters, other office tenants, retail space and parking.

Opened in 2009, Three PNC plaza extended the company’s downtown Pittsburgh campus and expanded upon its award-winning commitment to green building practices. The 23 story building is one of the largest LEED certified mixed-use building in the United States, and includes a 4-star hotel, offices, condominiums and retail space. Adjacent to Three PNC Plaza, at the corner of 5th and Liberty Avenues, is PNC Triangle Park. Serving as a gateway to the city’s south entrance, the green space is and 8,000 square feet, pet-friendly park with bench seating and drought-resistant plantings.

At nearly 650,000 square feet, the equivalent of 12 football fields, Firstside Center opened in 2000 as the nation’s largest, corporate green building. Across the street is Firstside Park. Opened in 2007 it stands on the site of a deconstructed former public safety building for the City of Pittsburgh. The winding paths, benches and numerous trees stand atop 2,500 tons of recycled concrete from the deconstruction.

On the side of One PNC Plaza is one of the largest green walls in North America. About the size of a singles tennis court, not only does the 2,380 square foot soil-based space provide unique public art but it contributes to energy efficiency on PNC’s current headquarters building.

May 24, 2011



The Kansas City firm does not just advocate for building green, but has come to drive the sustainable-design movement—leading by example, always.







By:David R. Macaulay

rinciple for Kansas City, Mo.’s BNIM. Over its 40-year history, Berkebile Nelson Immenschuh McDowell has amassed a diverse portfolio of regional and national projects, winning more than 350 awards for design, planning, and leadership. Two national AIA presidents—as well as six local chapter presidents—have come from within its ranks. During the late 1980s and 1990s, members of the firm were catalysts in the formation of the AIA’s Committee on the Environment (COTE) and the U.S. Green Building Council, plus LEED and other sustainability standards.

With 17 LEED Platinum projects, one of the first-ever living buildings to its name, and its efforts to create the first carbon-neutral communities and campuses in the world, BNIM continues to innovate, pushing boundaries with a sustainable, integrated approach that embraces the concept of regenerative design. Here’s a look at some of the firm’s milestones of this century so far, and where it’s headed next.

David & Lucile Packard Foundation Sustainability Report and Matrix, Los Altos, Calif., 2001

“What if?” BNIM’s leaders asked their clients at the Packard Foundation this question. What if building performance could go well beyond LEED, with zero negative impact on the environment, while setting a completely new standard for energy efficiency?

Created during the goal-setting process for the foundation’s proposed new headquarters, the Sustainability Report and Matrix examines six levels of design—from Market Building to LEED Platinum and beyond—offering a more holistic understanding of land, water, and energy consumption. Equally important, this new tool outlined the broader implications of each design scenario, including the source of materials and environmental and societal costs, as well as the impact of a building over the next 100 years.

BNIM’s Packard Matrix presented a compelling case for new green building technologies and laid the groundwork for the Living Building concept (the Living Building Challenge was launched in 2006). “We wanted to move beyond energy efficiency, to look at biodiversity and human health and productivity and, ultimately, the idea of a living system that would restore the environment,” recalls Bob Berkebile, FAIA.

Bannister Federal Complex, Kansas City, Mo., 2004

BNIM’s dynamic renovation transformed two bays of this dark WWII-era warehouse into a colorful, light-filled work environment for the Federal Supply Service (FSS). A new atrium and skylights introduce daylight into the 18,000-square-foot regional office, and individual work areas benefit from an underfloor air-displacement system to improve comfort. Today, the FSS reports dramatic productivity gains among employees since opening the office, with an 80 percent reduction in back orders and 60 percent faster fulfillment of new orders.

BNIM’s long tradition of adaptive reuse extends from the St. Louis Old Post Office (1983) to Kansas City’s Folly Theater (1974–2000) and Union Station (1999) and the corporate offices of Kansas City Power & Light (2009), a LEED Gold interior renovation where energy performance improved by more than 40 percent. “We try to identify what’s really important: what represents the cultural memory of a building or group of buildings,” notes Steve McDowell, FAIA. “Only then do we look for ways to integrate high performance and contemporary sustainable thinking within that historic fabric.”

Lewis and Clark State Office Building, Jefferson City, Mo., 2005

Reminiscent of the limestone bluffs overlooking the Missouri River, this 120,000-square-foot headquarters for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources serves as a green building prototype for the state to showcase a wide array of affordable, replicable design strategies. Despite a restrictive state budget, already two years out of date when the project launched, extensive team collaboration elevated the building from LEED Gold to LEED Platinum.

At Lewis and Clark, BNIM used an integrated design process to achieve high building performance levels—a process that typically relies on input from all stakeholders, including consultants, contractors, clients, and even nontraditional participants such as botanists and artists, to guide design decisions. The firm reinforces this practice on every project.

“We know now that you can’t achieve true sustainable design without bringing everyone to the table, by listening to their voices early,” says Laura Lesniewski, AIA. “No one knows as much as everyone.”

Greensburg Sustainable Comprehensive Master Plan, Greensburg, Kan., 2008

In the aftermath of an F-5 tornado that leveled 90 percent of their rural Kansas town, the citizens of Greensburg rethought their streets, schools, homes, and businesses as a model green community. The BNIM-led sustainable comprehensive master plan and Main Street Streetscape draw on innovative stormwater management, material use, and energy-efficiency measures. The firm’s contributions also include a new LEED Platinum K–12 school for the city, an AIA COTE award winner this year.

Revitalizing communities affected by disaster is a fundamental tenet of BNIM’s planning work. After assisting with the relocation of two Mississippi River towns following the Great Flood of 1993, its sustainable disaster-response and recovery efforts extended from New Orleans (2005) to Haiti (2010), Nashville (2010), and now the flood-prone city of Fargo, N.D.

“By engaging the entire community in a collaborative dialogue, they were able to create their own vision, to generate unique opportunities for change they never knew were possible,” Berkebile says.

Omega Center for Sustainable Living, Rhinebeck, N.Y., 2009

As a design statement on water—understanding, reclaiming, treating, and using it wisely—the Omega Center succeeds powerfully. BNIM incorporated an Eco Machine for primary treatment of wastewater, as well as a water garden and constructed wetland. Housed within a 6,200-square-foot building, this biological system serves as a vital teaching tool to educate Omega visitors on water issues. The facility received both LEED Platinum and Living Building Challenge certification.

Beyond Omega, BNIM continues to press for next-generation practices within the profession—accelerating the adoption of net-zero architecture, whole systems and citywide planning, and regenerative design thinking.

“We need to take responsibility for figuring how to achieve these remarkable feats in energy and water performance, as well as considering economics, nature, and the overall well-being of the people who are going to use these buildings and places,” McDowell says. “As designers, we can redefine our practice and lead that change.”

here watch the video of interview with the boss:

May 24, 2011

KFW Westarkade | Sauerbruch Hutton

A new bank headquarters in Frankfurt may well be the world’s most energy-efficient office tower.

By Ulf Meyer

KFW Westarkade

The sawtooth-shaped outer skin of the new KfW building includes multicolored automated flaps that open, depending on the weather.
Photo © Jan Bitter
KFW Westarkade
When viewing the exterior facade from some locations, its colors are invisible.
Photo © Jan Bitter
KFW Westarkade
Operable windows line the inner face of the double-skin facade.
Photo © Jan Bitter
KFW Westarkade
When viewing the exterior facade from some locations, its colors are invisible.
Photo © Jan Bitter
KFW Westarkade
Fresh air is vented through the corridors and then supplied to the offices and to the building core.
Photo © Jan Bitter
KFW Westarkade
The tower’s airfoil shape and encircling cavity make the most of prevailing winds for natural ventilation. The cavity also provides protection from solar gain.
KFW Westarkade
KFW Westarkade
KEY PARAMETERSLocation Frankfurt, Germany(Main River watershed)

Gross area 420,000 ft2 (39,000 m2)

Completed May 2010

Annual purchased energy use (based on simulation)24 kBtu/ft2 (277 MJ/m2)

Annual carbon footprint (predicted) 9 lbs. CO2/ft2 (43 kg CO2/m2)

Program Subdivisible project rooms, adaptable workstations, laboratory, monitoring room, director’s office, and conference room

Shrouded in shades of many colors, it is a building that claims to be green. And so it is. It is not often that a midsize bank building has good reason to make that claim, but the new 400,000-square-foot, $85 million expansion of the headquarters for the KfW Bank in Frankfurt, designed by Sauerbruch Hutton Architects of Berlin, does. If it performs as intended, the building will consume about 7 kWh (24,000 Btu) per square foot per year, making it one of the world’s most energy-efficient office towers.

KfW, an abbreviation for Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau, or Credit Buro for Reconstruction, was founded in 1948, largely with money from the post-World War II European Recovery Program, also known as the Marshall Plan. Today, it is owned by the German government and is one of the 10 largest banks in the country, employing 3,500 people. Among its many initiatives is the funding of Germany’s ambitious energy-conservation programs, including existing building retrofits and photovoltaic panel installation. Since 2006, KfW has distributed $1.4 billion for CO2reduction programs that stem from the Kyoto Protocol. The bank also defined KfW-40 and KfW-60—two widely cited energy standards used as credit criteria.

Being at the forefront of Germany’s tough energy policies, it was only logical that the bank would want a green building when the need to expand its existing headquarters arose. The German-British architecture duo of Matthias Sauerbruch and Louisa Hutton, selected in 2004 as the result of a design competition, were no strangers to this task. Among their many ambitious green projects is Berlin’s GSW building, completed in 1999 and widely regarded as one of the world’s first environmentally friendly high-rise towers.

The recently completed KfW fits remarkably well into the context. Situated in Frankfurt’s affluent Westend neighborhood, the building, known as the Westarkade, provides office space for 700 employees and includes a conference center. At its base, the building has a curvy four-story podium that reinforces the street edge and defines a small green space to the rear. It also serves as a backdrop to the nearby Palmengarten or Palmtree Garden, a public botanical garden. The podium connects to the adjacent KfW buildings on several levels, so the building forms an extension to the KfW ensemble of buildings from the seventies, eighties, and nineties.

The 10-story tower that rises from the podium has a flowing form that responds to prevailing wind directions and the sun’s daily and yearly path. Yet it is also reminiscent of the jazzy architecture of the late forties and early fifties, the era when the bank was founded. According to Sauerbruch Hutton Project Architect Tom Geister, the tower is shaped like a wing in order to maintain access to daylight and the best possible views for the occupants of the neighboring KfW buildings.

Energy models predict that the new building’s primary or source energy consumption for building operations (excluding the data center and other process loads) will be only 9.1 kWh per square foot. Monitoring by researchers from the University of Karlsruhe, to be completed this summer, will determine if the model was accurate. The simulation was conducted according to the parameters of the German EnEV 2004, the country’s strict guidelines for building insulation and energy conservation.

A number of tightly coordinated strategies should help the building meet its ambitious targets. These include thermal activation of the slabs and a recovery system that captures heat from the data processing center and from exhaust air. A supplemental raised floor ventilation system, used only when outside temperatures are below 50°F or above 77°F, supplies fresh air drawn through a duct buried beneath a below-grade parking garage. The duct carries the air from an intake louver located at the site’s edge near the botanical garden, modulating it with the constant temperature of the earth.

The building’s most unusual feature is a specially devised double-skin facade, dubbed a “pressure ring” by the design team. “Originally we wanted to call it a ‘gauge-pressure ring,’ but we thought that would sound intimidating,” says Bjoern Roehle, a physicist in the Munich office of Transsolar KlimaEngineering, the firm responsible for the building’s climate-control concept.

The envelope consists of an encircling sawtooth-shaped cavity, 28 inches wide at its deepest point. It encloses automated blinds that help block solar gain and control glare. This “ring” is defined on the exterior by a skin made up of fixed, tempered-glass panels and colorful ventilation flaps, and on the interior by alternating operable and fixed argon-filled insulated glazing units incorporating a low-E coating. The dynamic system negates the effects of variable pressure around the building, enabling natural ventilation much of the year. It also allows occupants to open windows in the inner skin, regardless of the season, without drafts or heat loss. The system reduces detrimental cross ventilation—a typical problem in high-rise buildings with operable windows—to a “convenient minimum,” explains Geister.

The building has a roof-mounted weather station that monitors wind direction and speed, among other factors, and controls the outer skin’s ventilation flaps. Depending on conditions, the building management system opens or closes the flaps to introduce fresh air and create a zone of consistent pressure surrounding the curtain wall’s inner skin, while also producing a slight pressure differential between the cavity and the building’s interior. The air is then drawn into offices through floor vents near the perimeter, or through the occupant-controlled windows, and subsequently exhausted naturally to the negatively pressurized corridor, and ultimately through the building core.

Colorful facade panels, also deployed at GSW and by now a signature Sauerbruch Hutton device, animate the elevations. In the Frankfurt building, the architects combined red, blue, and green panels, with a different hue dominating each elevation. This colorful and innovative envelope, along with the building’s highly coordinated climate-control systems, should help KfW establish a new benchmark for red, blue—and, of course, green—design in Europe.

Ulf Meyer is an architectural writer and educator based in Berlin and the U.S. He was named the Hyde Chair of Excellence 2010 at the Univ. of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Owner KfW Bankengruppe
Architect Sauerbruch Hutton
Commissioning agent Green Building Services
Engineers Transsolar Energietechnik (energy concept); ZWP Ingenieur-AG, Köln (mechanical); Reuter Rührgartner (electrical); Werner Sobek (structural/facade)
Consultants Mosbacher & Roll (facade); Sommerlad Haase Kuhli (landscape); Licht Kunst Licht (lighting); Müller-BBM (acoustical)

Metal/glass curtainwall FKN/Wicona (glass facade) BGT, Bischoff Glasstechnik (colored glass)
Cabinetwork/custom woodwork Westermann (conference wall)
Doors Schörghuber; Hörmann; Blasi
Wallcoverings (corridors) Rehau; Thermopal; Kronospan
Paneling Federle Westermann (partition)
Special surfacing Pleyers. bau innovationen
(high grade plaster)
Floor and wall tile Jura Kalkstein (natural stone, ground floor); Villeroy & Boch (tiles)
Elevators/escalators Schindler
Interior ambient lighting Zumtobel

April 28, 2011

Campus Commons-SUNY NP | ikon.5

Campus Commons - SUNY NP                  (ikon.5 architects)

Evening view of Commons from plaza deck illustrating the structural tube stress skin
© Peter Mauss/Esto 

Campus Commons - SUNY NP                  (ikon.5 architects)

View of Campus Commons from main campus entry
© Peter Mauss/Esto 

Campus Commons - SUNY NP                  (ikon.5 architects)

View of Commons illustrating its transparency and internal scholar mezzanine
© Peter Mauss/Esto 

Campus Commons - SUNY NP                  (ikon.5 architects)

View of Commons illustrating the planar forms of the assembly
© Peter Mauss/Esto 

Campus Commons - SUNY NP                  (ikon.5 architects)

View of Commons from main campus pedestrian pathway
© Peter Mauss/Esto 

Campus Commons - SUNY NP                  (ikon.5 architects)

Illuminated interior allows structural tubes to be seen in silhouette and student activity during evening
© Peter Mauss/Esto 

Campus Commons - SUNY NP                  (ikon.5 architects)

Interior of informal gathering area
© Peter Mauss/Esto 

Campus Commons - SUNY NP                  (ikon.5 architects)

Interior of scholar mezzanine overlooking the Catskills
© Peter Mauss/Esto 

Campus Commons - SUNY NP                  (ikon.5 architects)

Interior of informal gathering area looking towards existing student union building
© Peter Mauss/Esto 

Campus Commons - SUNY NP                  (ikon.5 architects)

View of suspended mezzanine above informal gathering space
© Peter Mauss/Esto 

Campus Commons - SUNY NP                  (ikon.5 architects)

Dramatic up-lighting structural stress skin
© Peter Mauss/Esto 

Campus Commons - SUNY NP                  (ikon.5 architects)

View from existing student union building into Campus Commons
© Peter Mauss/Esto 

Campus Commons - SUNY NP                  (ikon.5 architects)

Site plan
© ikon.5 architects 

Campus Commons - SUNY NP                  (ikon.5 architects)

Floor plan
© ikon.5 architects 

Campus Commons - SUNY NP                  (ikon.5 architects)

Sustainability diagram
© ikon.5 architects 

Architect’s statement


The State University of New York at New Paltz needed to expand its 1970 Student Union building by providing informal gathering spaces for students. The existing Student Union building was designed as an isolated cellular office building and did not have space for student collaboration or congregation. In addition, the University wished to change the overall appearance and presentation of the existing building which conveyed an uninspired institutionally functional appearance at the gateway to the university.


The Campus Commons project at The State University of New York is a steel and glass ‘winter garden’ addition to an existing 1970 student union building. The Campus Commons in filled and spanned over an existing underutilized exterior courtyard, transforming the exterior space into a vibrant interior university living room. The Campus Commons houses a large space for informal gathering, multi-purpose meeting rooms, food court, student ID offices, bookstore, entertainment center and meeting rooms.

Inspired by the regional landscape of the Catskill Mountains, the form and shape of the Commons is abstracted from the Shawangunk ridge, a local internationally known rock climbing palisade that can be seen from the site and is a unique and special physical characteristic of the University’s location. In order to span over the existing courtyard with a column free enclosure for future flexibility, we designed a structural tube stress skin system that created the angular forms of the pavilion that metaphorically references the Shawangunk ridge. Uniform 4 inch square structural tubes shop fabricated in large planar sections were erected on site like a giant origami assembly and sprayed with intumescent paint to achieve the required fire rating. The erection of the entire enclosure was complete in less than two weeks. In order to resist the dead load and wind uplift on the roof, a 1” diameter stainless steel cable with 2” down rods were utilized to transform the stress skin on the horizontal roof plane into a truss. Ceramic fritted glass was placed on top of the stress skin to create the enclosure. The pattern of the ceramic frit is an abstracted digitized version of the tectonic plates of the Shawangunks. The final solution creates an exciting Campus Commons as a steel and glass ‘palisade’ set between two existing concrete brutalist buildings that transforms the entry gateway experience to the State University of New York at New Paltz with structural expressiveness.

The Commons is designed to achieve a LEED Silver certification by day light harvesting and views, radiant heating and cooling, recyclable materials and photo optic lighting controls.


  • Project name: Campus Commons – SUNY NP
  • Location: New Paltz, New York, United States
  • Program: University student center housing multi-purpose meeting rooms, student ID offices, TV/game lounge, food court, informal commons, email stations, information, scholar’s study mezzanine, group study rooms
  • Area: Cite area: 5,400 sf • Built-up area: 22,000 gsf • Addition: 12,000 sf • Renovation: 10,000 sf
  • Year: Completion: September 2010
  • More details: Cost of Construction: $10 million
  • Client: State University of New York at New Paltz
  • Project by: ikon.5 architects
  • Team: Principal designer: Joseph g. Tattoni, AIA • Design Team: Ben Petrick, Joseph G. Tattoni, Shawn Daniels
  • Others: Contractor: Niram Construction
  • Text: Courtesy of ikon.5 architects
  • Images: Courtesy of ikon.5 architects
April 9, 2011

Oxbow Field Station | Eduard Epp & University of Manitoba Student

Architects: , Matt Cibinel, Michael Chan, Taren Wan, Elaine Pang, Thilini Samarasekera, Richard Chiang, Jen Rac, Scott Dean, Alex Needham
Cost: $5,300.00 CDN
Project year: 2010

Oxbow Field Station / Eduard Epp © Eduard Epp

Oxbow Field Station / Eduard Epp © Eduard Epp

Oxbow Field Station / Eduard Epp © Eduard Epp

Oxbow Field Station / Eduard Epp © Eduard Epp

Oxbow Field Station / Eduard Epp © Eduard Epp

Oxbow Field Station / Eduard Epp © Eduard Epp

Oxbow Field Station / Eduard Epp © Eduard Epp

Oxbow Field Station / Eduard Epp © Eduard Epp

Oxbow Field Station / Eduard Epp © Eduard Epp

Oxbow Field Station / Eduard Epp © Eduard Epp

Oxbow Field Station / Eduard Epp © Eduard Epp

Oxbow Field Station / Eduard Epp © Eduard Epp

Oxbow Field Station / Eduard Epp © Eduard Epp

Oxbow Field Station / Eduard Epp © Eduard Epp

Oxbow Field Station / Eduard Epp © Eduard Epp

Oxbow Field Station / Eduard Epp © Eduard Epp

Oxbow Field Station / Eduard Epp © Eduard Epp

Oxbow Field Station / Eduard Epp © Eduard Epp

Oxbow Field Station / Eduard Epp © Eduard Epp

Oxbow Field Station / Eduard Epp © Eduard Epp

Oxbow Field Station / Eduard Epp © Eduard Epp

Oxbow Field Station / Eduard Epp © Eduard Epp

Oxbow Field Station / Eduard Epp © Eduard Epp

drawing 01 drawing 01

drawing 02 drawing 02

drawing 03 section

The Oxbow Field Station was realized in the context of a Sustainable Design Studio offered by the Department of Architecture, under the direction of Professor , together with a group of 9 under / graduate design students. The project was conceived to: provide a studio space for site meetings and fieldwork; serve as ‘an instrument’ to measure on-site habitability, and; establish a compelling sense of place for the future artist’s colony. The initial survey work and design began in September and its construction was completed by mid-December 2010.

The field station site is located on the Uiniversity of  (UM), Faculty of Agriculture Point Lands. The 130 acre landscape is distinctly agricultural, surrounded by a pastoral river bottom forest along the banks of the Red River. The field station site is subject to seasonal on-site flooding and from the Red River should it crest the site’s perimeter levee.

The building site and building floor plate were determined after finding an abandoned structure on the Point Lands. Only the  base remained and it was partially reconstructed as the ‘foundation’. It also provided some 8 feet between the flood prone land and the field station studio. A canoe will be used to access the field station should significant flooding occur.

Project building materials were sourced according to salvaged, reclaimed (repurposed), or new. These include concrete, , steel, plastic and glass: 80% salvaged and / or reclaimed and; 20% new materials. Approximately 90% of the materials were produced locally or regionally.

With a clear idea of the building materials available, a collaborative studio design process followed to yield the final design. The on-site  trellis frames were disassembled and milled. These were used on the approach, the ladder wall, and the building envelope. A salvaged cottage deck provided the interior floor and the rooftop observation deck. Some 200 salvaged fluorescent light covers provided exterior cladding on the south and west elevations to provide diffuse light to the field station interior. Cottage windows, dating from circa 1910, were reclaimed to provide clear fenestration along the east and north elevations.

The Oxbow Field Station studio measures approximately 14 ft. x 14 ft. Together with a rooftop viewing deck the building stands some 20 ft. above grade. A ladder wall connects the on-grade platform, studio and rooftop deck. The building is comprised of new  frame construction built upon a post and beam structure. The building skin, the floor surfaces, the deck railing, and so on are constructed with salvaged and reclaimed materials.

The project cost totaled $5,300.00 CDN (average cost of $9.00 / sq. ft. gross). All of the labor was provided by the students with some assistance from members in the Faculty of Agriculture, the Faculty of Architecture, and the UM Physical Plant.

This project was made possible with the support of:

University of 

  • Administration, Ass.VP., Mr. Alan Simms
  • Physical Plant: Mr. Werner Volke

Faculty of Architecture: Dean Ralph Stern

  • Department of Architecture: Prof. Frank Fantauzzi
  • Workshop and CAST: Mr. Keith Millan, Mr. Rick Finney

Faculty of Agriculture

  • Department of Plant Science: Dr. Peter McVetty, Ms. Martha Blouw, Mr. Ian Brown, Mr. Bob Terhorst

External Financial Support

  • Raymond SC Wan Architect Inc.
  • Cibinel Architects Ltd