Archive for ‘LEED’

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.

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.

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
March 14, 2011

Towering Green Ambitions: A Manhattan skyscraper wraps a package of tightly coordinated technologies inside a faceted glass skin.

November 2010
Cook+Fox Architects

By Joann Gonchar, AIA

Bank of America Tower

The Bank of America Tower sits diagonally across from Bryant Park and next to 4 Times Square (bottom right-hand corner), the country’s first green commercial highrise.
Photo © David Sundberg/Esto

This past spring, the owners of the 55-story Bank of America Tower, which sits catty-corner from New York City’s Bryant Park, celebrated the building’s opening with a reception in the lobby—almost two years after the first occupants moved in. If the “opening” party seemed a bit anticlimactic, the event did mark an important milestone. It coincided with an announcement that the $1 billion, 2.2 million-square-foot tower had achieved Platinum certification under the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Core & Shell rating system—making it the first U.S. skyscraper to achieve this designation.

Designed by Cook+Fox Architects and jointly owned by the developer, the Durst Organization, and the bank (which is also the lead tenant), the 1,200-foot-tall, glass-clad, steel-framed building rises from a 7-story podium that conforms to Manhattan’s street grid. It then tapers and seemingly twists to achieve a sleek, crystalline form. A host of integrated strategies helped the tower earn Platinum, including rainwater and graywater recycling, an advanced air filtration system, a concrete mix that replaces about 45 percent of the Portland cement in the foundations and core with blast furnace slag, and a cogeneration plant that produces both electricity and steam for on-site use.

The building has many green bells and whistles, to be sure. But these features were chosen on the basis of operational and economic criteria, as well as sustainability goals, say project team members. “The clients weren’t interested in demonstration technologies that wouldn’t work,” says Serge Appel, AIA, Cook+Fox project architect.

The developer was willing to consider unusual strategies, but not without thorough evaluation. Before settling on cogeneration for example, consultants vetted several other on-site energy generation technologies. They monitored wind velocities with an anemometer mounted on the roof of 4 Times Square (an adjacent Durst tower completed in 1999 and widely considered the first green commercial highrise in the U.S.). But the results showed that conditions were too gusty for wind turbines. They explored incorporating photovoltaics into the skin and the podium roof, and determined that both would be in shadow too much of the time. They investigated geothermal energy, but decided the site was too tight for the number of required wells. They even discussed generating methane from tenants’ paper waste in an anaerobic digester. However, the bank was worried about the security of its discarded documents.

They eventually implemented a 4.6 MW natural gas-fired cogeneration plant which went on-line this summer. It is expected to satisfy about 65 percent of the building’s annual electricity demand. The strategy, also known as combined heat and power (CHP), derives its efficiencies from making use of the heat that is a byproduct of the generation process. At the Bank of America, the heat is used to make steam, which in turn heats the building and its domestic water supply. It also is used to operate an absorption chiller for cooling.

As with most office buildings, the tower’s demand for electricity is lower during off hours. However, “the economics of the CHP would only make sense if it could run pedal to the metal 24-7,” says Scott Frank, PE, a partner at Jaros Baum & Bolles, the project’s mechanical engineer. So, in order to even out the load profile, designers included a 44-tank thermal energy storage system. It makes ice at night with excess electricity. During the day, the melting ice supplements building cooling. The team estimates that the CHP plant, working in concert with the energy storage system, will reduce daytime peak electricity demand by 30 percent.

The CHP plant, which designers say is the first large-scale installation of its type in a New York City office tower, was the building’s most logistically challenging feature to realize. The team needed to route natural gas lines through the densely occupied structure and isolate the equipment for noise and vibration. There was also a maze of permitting hurdles, including approvals from the fire department and the local utility.

Although the CHP plant was the most effort-intensive building system, other features also involved careful coordination. For instance, the project’s construction manager, Tishman, oversaw subcontractors installing base-building components of the underfloor air system, such as core wall cladding, corridor curbs, and perimeter fin-tube enclosures. Meanwhile, the tenants’ individual fitout contractors were responsible for installation of elements within the office spaces, including the raised floor panels. In order for the system to function properly, all needed to follow strict installation guidelines and maintain the air-tightness of the floor plenum.

For Gensler, the architect that designed the bank’s LEED Gold office space and trading floors, a key challenge was the limited availability of green materials when the firm started its work seven years ago. For example, principal Ej Lee wanted all of the wood in the millwork to be certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). But Lee and her team could not find suitable veneers and decided that only the substrate would be FSC-certified.

Another difficulty was devising a layout compatible with the client’s corporate culture that would also allow access to daylight and views for a majority of occupants. Gensler pushed for private offices positioned next to the building core and surrounded by open workstations. But the bank maintained that it would need perimeter offices to attract and retain executives. The realized scheme does have perimeter offices, but with all-glass fronts facing the rest of the interior floor area in order to limit obstruction of views and allow daylight penetration.

The tower’s exterior curtain wall is made up of floor-to-ceiling, double-lite insulated units of low-iron glass. To help control heat gain and glare, the units include a low-e coating as well as a ceramic frit that covers 60 percent of the glass where the curtain wall meets the floor and ceiling. The pattern gradually decreases in density toward the vision portion of each panel. Non-metallic spacers in the aluminum mullion system and extra mineral wool insulation at the floor slabs help achieve a U value for the assembly of 0.38—a thermal resistance that is better than most glass towers built in New York City over the last decade, but still below prescriptive code requirements.

Although a more solid facade would have likely provided greater thermal resistance, the team maintains that the all-glass skin was crucial to the building’s architectural expression and its economic model: The transparency “allowed us to get market-rate rents and invest in other [high-performance] systems,” explains Don Winston, PE, director of technical services at Durst.

Even with its crystalline curtain wall, the building’s energy model shows a 20.97 percent cost savings over a building designed to meet the 2004 version of ASHRAE 90.1, Appendix G, according to the project team. If only core and shell energy are considered (i.e., if the tenant spaces are excluded), the model indicates performance that is 54 percent better than the standard.

Winston has been monitoring the tower’s performance, and preliminary results indicate that it is operating more efficiently than the energy model. But without more data, he says, “I’m not confident to say just how much better.” Winston is committed to releasing the actual performance information, but not until the CHP plant has been up and running for at least a year. We hope he will share that data with us for publication in GreenSource.

Owner A joint venture between the Durst Organization and Bank of America
Project developer The Durst Organization
Design architect Cook+Fox Architects
Executive architect Adamson Associates Architects
Interior architect Gensler
Engineers Jaros, Baum & Bolles (mechanical); Severud Associates (structural); Mueser Rutledge Consulting (geotechnical)
Construction manager Tishman Construction Corporation
Code consultant JAM Consultants
Cogeneration design Waldron Engineering & Construction
Commissioning agent The Fulcrum Group
Exterior wall consultant Israel Berger & Associates
Energy/environmental consultant Viridian Energy & Environmental
LEED consultant e4 inc.
Lighting consultant Cline Bettridge Bernstein Lighting Design
Roofing and waterproofing Darius Toraby Architects
Solar design/photovoltaic consultant Solar Design Associates
Wind consultant altPower
Base building acoustician Shen Milsom & Wilke
Exterior maintenance consultant Entek Engineering

Structural system Owen Steel Corp.
Thermal storage Calmac Manufacturing Corp. Icebank
Cogeneration plant Solar Turbines Mercury 50
Underfloor air distribution Tate Access Floors
LED lighting IO Lighting

Bank of America Tower

The expansive Jerusalem stone-clad lobby helps tie the 1,200-foot-tall tower to the Earth and Manhattan’s street grid.
Photo © Cook+Fox Architects

Bank of America Tower

An open-tread stair connects the Bank of America’s trading floors on levels 3 through 6. The stair, and an illuminated red glass box, are visible from the street.
Photo © Paul Rivera/Archphoto

Bank of America Tower

Floor-to-ceiling glass in offices and the associated views were key selling points for the tower’s developer.
Photo © David Sundberg/Esto
Bank of America Tower
The bank occupies more than 75 percent of the tower, or about 1.6 million square feet. Its spaces include private perimeter offices, which have all-glass fronts to ensure access to daylight and views for employees occupying open office areas.
Bank of America Tower
Through the 20th floor, the Bank of America is square in plan with two small pieces of floor plate that cantilever to the east and west. The perimeter walls enclosing the floors above slope and cant. The resulting angular facets and irregularly shaped floor plates create a tapered effect and open up views to the diagonally adjacent Bryant Park and to surrounding buildings.
Bank of America Tower
Bank of America Tower

February 27, 2011

Center for Urban Waters | Perkins + Will

Center For Urban Waters / Perkins+Will © Benjamin Benschneider

Center For Urban Waters / Perkins+Will © Benjamin Benschneider

Center For Urban Waters / Perkins+Will © Benjamin Benschneider

Center For Urban Waters / Perkins+Will © Benjamin Benschneider

Center For Urban Waters / Perkins+Will © Benjamin Benschneider

Center For Urban Waters / Perkins+Will © Benjamin Benschneider

Center For Urban Waters / Perkins+Will © Benjamin Benschneider

Center For Urban Waters / Perkins+Will © Benjamin Benschneider

Center For Urban Waters / Perkins+Will © Benjamin Benschneider

Center For Urban Waters / Perkins+Will © Benjamin Benschneider

Center For Urban Waters / Perkins+Will © Benjamin Benschneider

drawings 01 drawings 01

drawings 02 drawings 02

drawings 03 drawings 03

Architects: Perkins + Will
Location: , WA, 
Client: National Development Council and the City of Tacoma
Structural/Civil Engineer: AHBL, Inc.
Mechanical/Electrical Engineer: WSP Flack + Kurtz
Lighting: WSP Flack + Kurtz
Landscape Architect: Swift & Company
Commissioning Agent: Rushing
Acoustical: Yantis
Cost Estimator: Davis Langdon Associates
Developer: Loring
Contractor: Turner Construction
Project area: 51,000 sq. ft.
Project year: 2010
Photographs: Benjamin Benschneider

The Center for Urban Waters was envisioned by the City of  to be a beacon on the water and an example of using building and site sustainable strategies for all future projects in the City. The 51,000 sf, three-story building functions as a shared research facility for City of  and University of  to receive and analyze water samples from the waterways of and surrounding areas. The building program is comprised of laboratories, offices, conference rooms, a lunch room, an exhibit center, a customer service center at the lobby entrance, and related building services including a mooring facility on the Thea Foss Waterway. The building is sited to optimize views across the waterway toward the city and views toward Mt. Rainier, to maximize public open space, and to provide access to the shoreline esplanade and to on-site parking.

Sustainable Strategies

The building is designed to achieve LEED Platinum certification, and some of the sustainability strategies include natural ventilation of the office environments, sun-shading of the south and west facades, vegetated roofs, storm water collection, and water reuse. Materials selected for the building’s interior and exterior were selected based on quantity of recycled content, where the product was manufactured, amount of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) in the product, and whether the product was certified (as in the case of wood products).

A highly recycled aluminum plate rainscreen and corrugated metal siding are used on 3 sides, and a glazed curtain wall with fixed horizontal shades on the south. The design capitalizes on the City of ’s desire to reuse materials from the local landfill by recycling granite curbs into benches on site.

Heavy timbers were milled and reused for the ceiling and wall panels in the lobby and main conference room. Tree snags along the waterway and public esplanade provide staging, feeding, and perching for birds of prey, such as osprey, bald eagles and hawks. Responsible waste management before and during construction was also a factor in achieving this certification.

The water testing planned for the building labs required a detailed understanding of the material content for finishes used in these spaces. Interior finishes and building materials in the Metals Analysis and Metals Clean Rooms (trace metals testing labs) were designed to avoid any exposed metal surfaces. The Organics Clean room and City of  labs tested for phthalates and other elements commonly found in fire protection products and building finishes. The city rigorously tested each of the materials selected for floors, ceilings and counters in these labs.

Water Reduction

The majority of the site’s surfaces are permeable to reduce storm water runoff. These include rain gardens, 2 green roof areas, porous paving and plantings. A portion of the green roof area and the site rain gardens absorbs and treats rain water to reduce the quantity of site water runoff.

In addition to the storm water collected from the green roofs that has seasonal peaks, the clean reject water from the lab’s production of reverse osmosis water provides a constant year-round water supply for the building and site needs. This water is collected and stored on the site’s two 36,000 gallon water storage tanks. The site collects and stores excess reverse osmosis water from the labs and annual precipitation from a portion of the green roof. This water is then reused for toilet flushing and all of the landscape irrigation. Based on the potable water consumption per year, this system in conjunction with water conserving fixtures saves 400,000 gallons of water each year.

Energy strategies

The Center for Urban Waters utilizes several strategies to reduce its energy needs. Exterior sunshades and high performance glazing reduce unwanted heat gain. Natural ventilation cooling and a ground source heat pump that charges radiant floor slabs reduce the energy required for heating and cooling. The lighting controls and a narrow floor plate provide a well daylit space that requires minimal energy for lighting.

Utilizing a field of 72 closed loop ground source wells, a system of heat pumps serving radiant floor slabs provides heating and cooling for the entire building. Low flow Variable air volume fume hoods boost the energy efficiency of the fume hood intensive labs.

Through these strategies, the building overall energy usage is 38% more efficient than ASHRA 90.1 2004 standards for energy efficiency.






February 27, 2011

City Green Court | Richard Meier & Partners

In Progress: City Green Court / Richard Meier & Partners Courtesy of Richard Meier & Partners Architects, ©

In Progress: City Green Court / Richard Meier & Partners Courtesy of Richard Meier & Partners Architects, ©

In Progress: City Green Court / Richard Meier & Partners Courtesy of Richard Meier & Partners Architects, ©

In Progress: City Green Court / Richard Meier & Partners Courtesy of Richard Meier & Partners Architects, ©

In Progress: City Green Court / Richard Meier & Partners Courtesy of Richard Meier & Partners Architects, ©

In Progress: City Green Court / Richard Meier & Partners Courtesy of Richard Meier & Partners Architects, ©

In Progress: City Green Court / Richard Meier & Partners Courtesy of Richard Meier & Partners Architects, ©

site plan site plan

floor plan floor plan

floor plan floor plan

floor plan floor plan

elevation elevation

elevation elevation

section section

elevation elevation

Construction for the City Green Court,  third building within the 4-Pankrác Master Plan, is underway.  Receiving a pre-certification of , the building’s design is inspired by the language of Czech Cubism simultaneously responding to issues of conservation and sustainability.  A completion date of early 2012 is anticipated.  The video,

<p><a href=”″>City Green Court / Richard Meier & Partners</a> from <a href=””>ArchDaily</a&gt; on <a href=””>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

“We are working together to make City Green Court a benchmark for green building design in the ,” shared Richard Meier. “This assignment has been particularly challenging as it also meant addressing the historic beauty of  and at the same time creating a modern image of the City for its future.”

More renderings and drawings of City Green Court following the break.

Architects: Richard Meier & Partners
Renderings: Courtesy of  Architects,

From :

Architects is pleased to announce the construction of City Green Court which has recently started last September 2010. This is RM&P’s third building within the Master Plan of  4- Pankrác that began almost a decade ago with a local Czech developer and named the CITY Project. Based on RM&P’s Master Plan of the superblock on the Pankrác Plains, this once neglected area of  has now been transformed into a multi-functional, vibrant and revitalized business, commercial, and residential district filled with green public spaces and amenities. City Green Court has been modified and re-designed to the new owner Skanska’s sustainability goals and high standards to achieve the highest level of LEED certification. The project has recently received a  Pre-certification.

With City Green Court,  completes the northwestern corner of the superblock along M. Pujmanové and Hvĕzdova Streets with a cluster of three buildings. Conceived as a geometric volume in dialogue with the near context, City Green Court also offers respected contrast to the surrounding buildings. Like its earlier siblings City Tower and City Point, it is inspired by the language of Czech Cubism with an expressive façade that responds to issues of conservation and sustainability articulated with forms reminiscent of this avant-garde movement. When completed in early 2012, it will be a welcomed and key addition to the Pankrác superblock.

Distinctive vertical solid panels with fins angled according to the sun’s orientation are integrated into the design of the curtain wall, emerging from both the south and west facades to minimize solar heat gain and to provide balanced shading and comfort within the interiors while maximizing daylight and views. In contrast, the north and east facades do not need solar protection: shading is unnecessary to the north, and City Tower, the adjacent high rise standing on the neighboring site shields the building to the east. White spandrel glass replaces the fin panels producing facades which are calm, sleek and uniform. The four facades when juxtaposed create a harmonious and dynamic envelope that can be perceived differently from close and distant vantage points. The eight-story building is organized around a central sky-lit atrium surrounded by highly efficient office floor spaces. To the south, a grand canopy marks the formal entrance to the building that leads into a single height lobby which then opens into the multi-story atrium. Atop the seven office floor plates, the partial mechanical penthouse level is covered with an extensive green roof and a skylight. Nestled in the atrium is a singular black olive tree and green ivy wall, with bridges spanning above from one side of the space to the other while a free standing stair connects the first four floors promoting movement and interaction, and encouraging less use of elevators. The exterior and interior of City Green Court are intertwined visually and physically with landscape elements spilling into and reappearing in the atrium.

“Skanska Property , our Associate Architect CUBOID and our local consultants in are fast becoming experts in green building design,” said Partner in Charge Dukho Yeon. “With its tautly composed form and elements, City Green Court embodies a certain discipline and restraint; designed within the framework of Skanska’s green initiative. We hope that we continue to educate each other and influence future development with a critical outlook on architecture and social responsibility.”

City Green Court is expected to achieve  certification in the  by drastically reducing energy consumption. In addition to the very efficient building envelop, some of the most important measures towards LEED certification include natural ventilation of the atrium during the summer, state-of-the-art mechanical systems, reduction of water runoffs and storm water collection, green roof, indoor air quality control and the use of local and recycled materials.
“We are proud to cooperate with  Architects on the redesign of City Green Court to meet the growing interest in green, modern and flexible office space that offers a stimulating work environment,” said Britta Cesar, Managing Director of Skanska Property , and continued: ”Together with the enthusiasm and commitment from  Architects we managed to achieve  Pre-certification.”

“Above all we hoped this Master Plan for the Pankrác Plains would be a catalyst for growth, said Richard Meier. “After 10 years of hard work and dedication we are now seeing the result – which is an incredibly robust neighborhood, a new urban fabric rich with activity, and an optimistic view of urbanism for .”

February 27, 2011

US Census Bureau Headquarters | SOM

1253047710-cse-0101 1253047710-cse-0101

Architects: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP
Location: Suitland, Maryland, 
Project team: David Childs, FAIA / Gary Haney, AIA / Peter Magill, AIA / Elias Moubayed / Anthony Fieldman, AIA / Rod Garrett, AIA / Mark Igou, AIA / Aybars Asci, AIA / Kim Van Holsbeke / Takuya Yamauchi / Magd Fahmy / Noppon Psjutharnon / Devawongs Devakul Na Ayudhya / Joyce Ip / Michael Carline
Interior Design Team: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP: Stephen Apking, AIA / Peter Magill, AIA / Nazila Shabestari Duran, AIA / Nestor Santa-Cruz / Donald Holt / Dale Greenwald / Nicholas Cotton / Mary Broaddus / Catherine Haley / Cynthia Mirbach / Elizabeth Marr, AIA / Amber Giacometti / Ya Ching Hsueh / Celine Jeanne / Jennifer Lee / Ashley O’Neill / Michele Pate / Jeremy Singer
Total Building Area: 2.5 million gross square feet
Project Cost: $331 million (total of two phases)
Project year: 2004-2007
Photographs: Eduard Hueber/Arch Photo, Inc. / Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP

Client/Owner: U.S. General Services Administration (GSA)
Tenant: U.S. Census Bureau
Structural Engineers: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP
Design Civil Engineer: Wiles Mensch Corporation
M/E/P Engineer: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP
Design/Build Contractor: Skanska  Building Inc.
Design/Build Architect: HKS Architects, Inc. (Architect of Record)
Design/Build Structural Engineer: Walter P. Moore & Associates
Design/Build M/E/P Engineer: Soutland Industries / GHT Limited
Design/Build Civil Engineer: A. Morton Thomas and Associates
Associate Interior Architect: Metropolitan Architects & Planners (Programming and Space Planning)
Construction Manager: DMJM/Heery a Joint Venture
Planning/Landscape & Environmental Analysis: EDAW, Inc.
Fire Protection: Rolf Jenson & Associates
Cost Estimating: Project Management Services, Inc.
Vertical Transportation: Lerch, Bates & Associates, Inc.
Curtain Wall Consultant: CDC, Inc.
Security: Sako & Associates
Parking: Carl Walker, Inc.
Blast: Hinman Consulting Engineers
Food Services: Hopkins Food Specialist, Inc.
Lighting Design: Domingo Gonzalez Associates (base building) / Cline, Bettridge, Bernstein Lighting Design (interiors)
Telecommunications: Shen Milsom & Wilke
Audio, Visual & Acoustical: Polysonics, Inc.

1253047619-auditorium-pod-and-facade 1253047619-auditorium-pod-and-facade

1253047633-cb-bladesfront 1253047633-cb-bladesfront

1253047642-cb-cafeteriadiningarea 1253047642-cb-cafeteriadiningarea

1253047654-census-view-from-metro-roadway 1253047654-census-view-from-metro-roadway

1253047665-census-i0202 1253047665-census-i0202

1253047679-census-i0801 1253047679-census-i0801

1253047688-courtyard-view 1253047688-courtyard-view

1253047702-cs-0404 1253047702-cs-0404


1253047716-csi-0102-small 1253047716-csi-0102-small

1253047726-csi-0903-mod 1253047726-csi-0903-mod

1253047739-cb-ground-nocolor ground floor plan

1253047748-cb-typfloor-nocolor typical floor plan

section A with legend section A

section B with legend section B

Background & Overview

Situated on 80 wooded acres of the Suitland Federal Center near downtown Washington, D.C., the new 2.5-million-square-foot headquarters for the U.S. Census Bureau houses all the Bureau’s 6,000 employees. The Bureau’s previous workplace model was a 1930s ideal with offices arranged along long corridors – a model so highly codified for government workplaces that entire building typologies (finger buildings, etc) were created to accommodate the idea. ’s goal in designing this new headquarters for Census was to bring the very best and latest thinking on architecture and the corporate workplace from the business world and apply it to a government agency.

To minimize this necessarily large building’s presence in its natural setting, the design team limited the office program to eight stories of height and used a variety of other architectural and sustainable-design strategies to reduce the real and perceived impact on the site. In the end, the large corporate campus explores an architectural expression that celebrates and heightens its relationship to the landscape.

Given the size of the building and the need to update the Bureau’s organizational system,  had to develop a series of innovative techniques for the architecture, space planning and way finding. Also included in the program is an assortment of amenities, such as medical facilities, library, an auditorium, dining area, a credit union, and a gymnasium.

Architecture and Sustainability

Due to the shear size of the project and the sensitivity of the site, a unique, holistic architectural language was developed. Sustainability was interpreted in formal as well as mechanical terms. Two separate buildings grow from one single mass, cleaved apart to create a central garden that integrates the building with its landscape, while maintaining one cohesive vision.

By eroding the mass, and developing materials to camouflage the edges of the enclosure, developed a concept that breaks down the enormous scale of this building, makes it permeable and blurs the boundaries between building and landscape. The curved office buildings have two enclosures. The outside edges that face the woods are covered in a brise soleil of laminated, wooden pieces that create dappled patterns of shadow and warm light inside the offices, suggesting a forest interior. Their size and frequency is determined by the scale of the human body; occupants can view the exterior clearly while being shielded from the sun. The FSC-certified  – marine-grade, white oak – is harvested according to sustainable guidelines.

Underlying this “ veil” is a system of green tinted precast spandrels and glazed vision panels that match the cast of the landscape. The inside edges that face the courtyard are bare and fully glazed to maximize daylight. A finely fritted veil of curving lines echoes the wooden sunshades.

The façade of the building that faces the central courtyard has large windows strategically placed at intervals which protrude from or are recessed into the building. Clad in Brazilian Ipe, these windows indicate the location of support nodes, containing office-related spaces such as lounges, conference meeting areas, etc. – program elements that support the work areas. Sunlight and views to the landscaped courtyard penetrate the building at these locations.

The adjacent parking garages are sheathed in a green, wire armature for ivy. When fully grown, this “ivy veil” will comprise a ‘skin’ of leaves that filter light, increase oxygen content within the garages, and allow for natural ventilation.

To achieve a silver rating from LEED, the designers incorporated many other sustainable techniques, including water reclamation, recycled building materials, minimal energy consumption and natural daylighting into the design. In addition to these prescribed sustainability measures, the building’s shape, massing, and cladding create a new language for sustainable architecture.

With its -clad offices and ivy-draped parking structures, the Census Bureau blurs the distinction between the building and landscape by camouflaging both the structures and their scales.


The interiors team worked very closely with the architectural team to create one fluid space, despite the fact that the structures are divided both in plan and in terms of phasing. First, the client’s program requirements were analyzed to develop criteria for the interior architecture and base-building design. At a macro level, the anticipated sizes for user groups determined the logical break points in the massing between the two buildings. At the floor scale, a scheme was developed to determine the lease span depth and the location of support areas, as well as a concept for the shared nodes, located in the window boxes. Other criteria developed during this analysis include ceiling heights, loading requirements, long-span construction and environmental criteria. As the base building design developed, the interiors group rigorously tested each proposed scenario for compliance with the established standards.

Not only did the building need to comply with the area requirements, it had to be carefully planned to provide a functional and efficient workplace for the Bureau’s employees. After researching international best practices in office spaces, the interior team selected an open office plan that brings in optimum natural light – a fairly major change for a government agency. Throughout the entire building, open workspaces with low partitions surround the perimeter to allow for natural light exposure and easy communication. Offices with glass fronts and internal support rooms are located in the core, easily accessible to each work group.

For maximum flexibility, the work areas can be organized either horizontally or vertically. However, most directorates are organized in a series of two story units, each with similar components, but adaptable to the mission-specific requirements of each directorate. The units are connected vertically by an internal stairway linked to support nodes. These nodes provide pantries, lounges, copy centers and gathering spaces, where employees can have chance meetings with their colleagues.

Lastly, the team developed and employed three major unifying and wayfinding concepts: the Street, the Boxes and the Color Spectrum. The Street is the main passageway to access the amenities, such as the café, the fitness center, the auditorium, etc. – in effect making it the public highway through the campus. Special attention was paid to drawing the maximum amount of natural light into this underground area – by providing views of the outside through portals. Reiterating the subterranean level of the Street, it is lined with a tectonic rockwall, which hides service stations and activates this public space, and is illuminated by spectrum lighting from one end to the other. . The amenities off the Street are housed in individual Boxes, branching off the core of the building and engaging the surrounding landscape.

The Color Spectrum is the final element that pulls the campus together. Based on the Bureau’s desire to incorporate nature into the building, the color scheme was designed to resonate from natural hues and sun lighting into vibrant, energetic colors. Color tones in the areas near the curtain wall are calm and natural, since the exterior acts as a natural way finding mechanism. However, when one travels towards the core of the building, the support nodes and the Street, bright, vibrant colors are used as a graphic, spatial tool. Further, the color schemes differ both horizontally and vertically. As one passes from one end of the building to the other, the color spectrum is revealed horizontally. In addition, as one passes from the ground floor to the top floor, the patterns in elevator corridors become darker and increasingly prominent.







February 11, 2011

Yountville Town Center Siegel + Strain Architects

Yountville Town Center / Siegel + Strain Architects © David Wakely Photography

Yountville Town Center / Siegel + Strain Architects © David Wakely Photography

Yountville Town Center / Siegel + Strain Architects © David Wakely Photography

Yountville Town Center / Siegel + Strain Architects © David Wakely Photography

Yountville Town Center / Siegel + Strain Architects © David Wakely Photography

Yountville Town Center / Siegel + Strain Architects © David Wakely Photography

Yountville Town Center / Siegel + Strain Architects © David Wakely Photography

site plan site plan

site section site section

Yountville Town Center / Siegel + Strain Architects © David Wakely Photography

For decades, the residents of , a rural town in Napa County, relied on a small 1920s-era community hall and a hodgepodge of spaces rented from others to host community events. The hall was in need of renovation, ill-equipped to support art classes, and lacking in outdoor recreation spaces. In addition, the town had outgrown its library. In 1998, after surveying residents’ needs, the municipality embarked on a planning process for an expanded town center at the heart of town.

The  Town Center weaves new and existing buildings and outdoor rooms into a place designed to enrich community life. Located on a 2.5-acre site on ’s main street, the town center consists of a new 10,000-square-foot community center, the renovated 4,800-square-foot community hall, and the addition of a sheriff’s substation to the adjacent post office. The new community center houses a branch library, multipurpose room, teen center, and meeting and program spaces. It opens onto a new town square framed by the existing community hall and the post office.

Architects: Siegel + Strain Architects
Civil Engineer: Coastland Engineering
MEPFP and Energy Consultant: Timmons Design Engineers
Structural: EndresWare
Landscape: John Northmore Roberts
Lighting Designer: Alice Prussin Lighting Design
Geotechnical Engineer: Miller Pacific Engineering Group
Rehbein Environmental Solutions: Glenn Rehbein Companies
Photographs: David Wakely Photography

Building exteriors blend with the rural character, while inside the spaces are light and airy. The large multipurpose room, 80 feet long by 50 feet wide, is day-lit along the roof’s spine by a ridge skylight, which has splayed walls that soften the light as it enters the room. A unique combination of Douglas fir trusses and cables enables the roof’s structural support system to have a minimal presence in the room and avoids blocking daylight from above. A large, covered porch of red cedar on two sides of the town square connects the community hall and community center, providing shade in the summer. Barn doors extend the multipurpose room onto the adjacent barbecue patio.

Targeted to achieve a  rating from the U.S. Green Building Council and to achieve energy savings of 44% over Title 24, the design integrates a range of green features. Walkways and bike paths connect the center to surrounding neighborhoods and main street activities. Exterior sunshades, a highly insulated building envelope, and “cool” standing seam metal roofs reduce energy use.

Energy-efficient mechanical systems are integrated with ground-source heat pumps for heating and cooling. A building integrated management system takes advantage of the temperate climate by opening skylights and windows on days with mild temperatures. Operable skylights, controlled by CO2 and rain sensors, and operable windows provide natural ventilation and balanced natural illumination.

Roof-mounted photovoltaic laminates on the new and existing buildings supply energy. Water-conserving plumbing fixtures, harvested rainwater, drip irrigation, subsurface irrigation, and drought-tolerant native plants further reduce water use. The existing parking lot was regraded to slope naturally so that rainwater could be harvested in a bioswale. Overall, site design reduces storm runoff by 40% over preconstruction conditions.

Building materials were selected to minimize life-cycle impacts and provide light and airy interiors free of formaldehyde and volatile organic compounds. Buildings feature durable, recycled content cement-fiber shingles and metal roofs. The new building’s red cedar cladding and Alaskan yellow cedar sunscreens and entrances are regionally harvested. Slatted wood ceilings are locally sourced white pine. The existing community hall’s oak floor was reused. Over 75% of the wood is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.



January 30, 2011

ASU Polytechnic Campus / Lake|Flato Architects and RSP Architects

ASU Polytechnic Campus / Lake|Flato Architects and RSP Architects © Bill TimmermanASU Polytechnic Campus / Lake|Flato Architects and RSP Architects © Bill TimmermanASU Polytechnic Campus / Lake|Flato Architects and RSP Architects © Bill TimmermanASU Polytechnic Campus / Lake|Flato Architects and RSP Architects © Bill TimmermanASU Polytechnic Campus / Lake|Flato Architects and RSP Architects © Bill TimmermanASU Polytechnic Campus / Lake|Flato Architects and RSP Architects © Bill TimmermanASU Polytechnic Campus / Lake|Flato Architects and RSP Architects © Bill TimmermanASU Polytechnic Campus / Lake|Flato Architects and RSP Architects © Bill TimmermanASU Polytechnic Campus / Lake|Flato Architects and RSP Architects © Bill TimmermanASU Polytechnic Campus / Lake|Flato Architects and RSP Architects © Bill Timmerman

The design for the ASU Polytechnic Campus transformed a decommissioned airbase into an inviting pedestrian campus that celebrates the desert landscape and created a new identity for the program. Fourteen acres of asphalt and concrete were removed to transform the site into a desert landscaped mall. Storm water is slowed, captured in detention basins throughout the mall, and used to nourish the landscape. The strategy minimized the load on the existing detention basin and established an indigenous landscape as the heart of the new campus.

Architects: Lake|Flato Architects and RSP Architects
Project Team: Ted Flato, FAIA, Andrew Herdeg, AIA, Chris Krajcer, Matt Wallace (), Joe Tyndall, Beau Dromiack, John Williams, Chris Doran, John Grosskopf ()
General Contractor: DPR
Landscape Architect: Ten Eyck
MEP Engineer: Energy Systems Design
Structural Engineer: Paragon
LEED Consultant: Green Ideas
Civil Engineer: Wood Patel & Associates
Acoustics: McKay Conant Brook
AV: Jeremiah & Associates
Cost Estimating: Rider Hunt Levett & Bailey
Fire & Life Safety: Rolf Jensen & Associates
Geotechnical: Speedie & Associates
Lab Consultant: RFD
ADA Consultant: Robert Lynch
Client: Arizona State University
Photographs: Bill Timmerman

By segmenting the program into five buildings, the architects formed four shady courtyards linked by portals and arcades, creating a cohesive pedestrian campus. The three largest buildings turn their sides to the east and west protecting the courtyards and atria from the seasonal monsoons. These shady, open-air atria provide environmentally sensitive social spaces that maximize visibility, daylighting, and the sense of community while minimizing energy usage by significantly eliminating interior conditioned circulation space.Purposeful environmental strategies such as narrow building sections, shading devices and solar orientation allow 90% of the spaces to be effectively daylit, reduce thermal loads and contribute to a LEED Gold rating. Exposed building systems and regional material palette such as locally sourced ground faced block and perforated corrugated weathered steel reinforce the straightforward philosophy of the campus.