Perkins + Will overhauls a boring concrete warehouse into beautiful LEED Gold offices

August 23, 2017 by  
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At first glance, it’s hard to imagine that this gorgeous light-filled building was once an uninspiring concrete monolith. It’s a testament to the architectural might of Perkins + Will , which transformed the 1940s military warehouse in San Francisco into the LEED Gold -certified Bay Area Metro Center. Constructed with recycled materials, this eight-story adaptive reuse project features soaring ceilings with state-of-the-art offices, community hearing spaces, a boardroom, and ground floor retail. Located at 375 Beale Street, this massive 525,000-square-foot building once served as a navy supply warehouse during World War II and exuded an air of impenetrability with its fortress-like facade. Perkins + Will and interior design firm TEF did away with the monolith’s bleak appearance with the addition of ample glazing and an seven-story-tall atrium that floods the building with natural light . The transformation created a welcoming and collaborative environment that consolidates four government agencies and offers diverse amenities including retail, workspaces, open coffee bars, and even bike storage. Reclaimed timber is used throughout the interior to lend a sense of warmth to the concrete structure. Wood rails were repurposed from the building and nearby sites as was the timber used for stair treads, countertops, and wall finishes. Splashes of greenery enliven the building including a tree well on the sixth floor, garden patio on the eighth floor, and a landscaped garden outside the main public hearing room. Related: Form follows function at Shanghai’s new bioclimatic Natural History Museum Perkins + Will wrote: “As part of a required seismic retrofit, shear walls were introduced at all perimeter walls to reinforce the structure without compromising the opportunity for open offices. Addressing both seismic and daylighting issues, a seven-story atrium was carved out the of the center of the building, both reducing the structural mass of the building and bringing much needed daylight to the building’s interior, decreasing energy use while creating a welcoming atmosphere. The atrium and interconnecting stairs also provide the opportunity for informal encounters between the various agency employees.” + Perkins + Will

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Perkins + Will overhauls a boring concrete warehouse into beautiful LEED Gold offices

Worlds newest mega-skyscraper opens in Seoul

April 6, 2017 by  
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The world’s newest super-tall building has opened in Seoul , Korea. Clocking in at fifth tallest in the world, the Lotte World Tower is a 554.5-meter (1,819 feet) tall skyscraper that knocks the 1WTC, the tallest U.S. building, out of the top five. Designed by Kohn Pederson Fox Associates , the solar-powered building will seek a LEED Gold accreditation and boasts additional record-breaking features including the world’s highest glass-bottomed observation deck, fastest elevator, and the highest swimming pool in a building. Set on the banks of the River Han in southern Seoul, the Lotte World Tower is a multibillion-dollar mixed-use tower that houses retail, offices, luxury residences, and a seven-star hotel. The sleek and tapered form of the 123-story building draws inspiration from the curves of Korean artistry and contrasts with Seoul’s craggy mountainous landscape. The building shape and interior combine a modern aesthetic with elements inspired by the Korean arts of ceramics, porcelain, and calligraphy. Related: World’s largest shipping container shopping mall pops up in Seoul The building’s top ten stories are allocated for public use and entertainment facilities. The glass-floor observation deck on the 118th floor allows visitors to experience a busy Seoul intersection from a bird’s eye view. The skyscraper also includes a massive 2,000-seat concert hall, aquarium, movie theater, and food hall. Designed for the LEED Gold , Lotte World Tower is equipped with solar panels, wind turbines, external shading devices, and water harvesting systems. + Kohn Pederson Fox Associates Via Bloomberg Images via Kohn Pederson Fox Associates

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Worlds newest mega-skyscraper opens in Seoul

Light-filled Compass House prioritizes low maintenance and energy savings

March 23, 2017 by  
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Toronto-based superkül architects designed a vacation home for a family of six transitioning back to Canada after living abroad. Set on the grassy plains of Mulmur, Ontario, the 4,300-square-foot dwelling is a striking all-white building that prioritizes low maintenance, natural light, and energy savings. The energy-efficient home was built in two phases, the first of which was certified LEED Gold . Created as a spacious weekend home, the Compass House comprises two volumes arranged in an L-shaped plan with multiple bedrooms and an open-plan kitchen, dining area, and living room at the heart. The dwelling was constructed with locally sourced fieldstone and other low-maintenance materials such as the white cement-board siding, aluminum windows, and steel roof. In contrast to the hardy, weatherproof exterior, the interior emanates warmth with white oak and knotty white cedar floors and walls. Related: Superkül Designs Canada’s First Active House Skylights and large windows fill the home with natural light and ventilation. The ample glazing also frames views of the varied landscape, from the forests to the west to the 100 acres of fields in the north and east. An outdoor courtyard extends the indoor spaces out. “Through its siting, tectonics and materiality, it balances intimacy and expansiveness, light and dark, land and sky — orienting and heightening one’s experience of the surrounding environment,” wrote the architects. Use of geothermal -powered heating and cooling, natural daylighting, passive ventilation, and high insulation values help keep energy demands low despite the building’s large size. Construction waste was also kept to a minimum. + Superkül Images by Ben Rahn / A-Frame Studio

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Zaha Hadid Architects designs Beijing tower with worlds tallest atrium

February 17, 2017 by  
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Beijing is one step closer to completing the world’s tallest atrium. The 190-meter-tall atrium is part of the Leeza Soho, a 46-story mixed-use tower currently under construction that recently reached level 20. Zaha Hadid Architects designed the striking light-filled building integrated with energy-efficient systems and engineered to meet LEED Gold standards. Shaped like a slim barrel, the 172,800-square-meter Leeza Soho is set within the Lize Financial District and will be well connected with the city thanks to its position above a subway interchange station and proximity to the city’s bus routes. Zaha Hadid Architects used the subway lines that run beneath the site as the basis for a diagonal axis that splits the tower into two halves connected via the central atrium . The architects write: “As the tower rises, the diagonal axis through the site defined by the subway tunnel is re-aligned by ‘twisting’ the atrium through 45 degrees to orientate the atrium’s higher floors with the east-west axis of Lize Road, one of west Beijing’s primary avenues.” Related: Zaha Hadid’s Guangzhou Infinitus Plaza focuses on environmental sustainability The twist in the atrium allows natural light to penetrate into the center of all the floors and allows for a diversity of views into the city from all directions. To maximize energy efficiency, the glass curtainwall system is constructed with double-insulated low-e glazing units. High-tech insulation, self-shading and use of an advanced 3D BIM energy management system with real-time monitoring will help create a comfortable indoor environment year-round. The tower will target LEED Gold certification and also includes heat-recovery from exhaust air, high-efficiency pumps and fans, chillers and boilers, low-flow rate fixtures, gray water flushing, high-efficient air purifiers, and low VOC materials. Leeza Soho will reach its full height of 207 meters in September this year. The tower is slated for completion in late 2018. + Zaha Hadid Architects

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Zaha Hadid Architects designs Beijing tower with worlds tallest atrium

Georgetown Universitys LEED Gold living room will make you wish you were a student

December 5, 2016 by  
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Georgetown University recently added a LEED Gold “living room” for undergraduates that’s so beautiful it’ll make you wish you were a student again—at least one who can afford the posh Washington, D.C. private school. Designed by ikon.5 architects , the Healey Family Student Center is an activity hub filled with cozy study rooms, meeting spaces, cafes, and other programmatic spaces. Renovated from a former mid-century residence hall, the multipurpose adaptive reuse building is filled with natural light, living green walls, and other sustainable and energy efficient systems. The 45,000-square-foot Healey Family Student Center is a renovation and expansion of the former New South Residence Hall into a living room for undergraduates. The interior spaces are carved out of interior and exterior stone edifices in a nod to the university’s official cheer “Hoya Saxa,” a phrase that roughly translates into “what rocks.” The most eye-catching area is the “Great Room,” a large rectangular student lounge centered on a cylindrical hearth with a variety of seating options naturally illuminated from above and backed by living green walls . Full-height windows and glazed doors extend the Great Room’s footprint to the outdoors, where the landscaped Riverside Terrace overlooks the Potomac River. Related: Schmidt Hammer Lassen’s university center is inspired by local mountains in Wenzhou, China In addition to the Great Room’s open-plan lounge and the twelve adjacent study alcoves, the student center includes a smoothie cafe, TV lounge, meeting rooms, art gallery, music practice rooms, stage, pub, dance studios, and even a dividable 350-seat ballroom. A natural materials palette of timber and stone is used throughout the interior. The Healey Family Student Center achieved LEED Gold certification this year thanks to eco-friendly features including recycled materials , certified timber, and systems for optimizing energy performance. + ikon.5 architects Via ArchDaily Images by Brad Feinknopf Photographer

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Twisting carbon-absorbing skyscraper nears completion in Taipei

November 29, 2016 by  
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Vincent Callebaut Architectures’ extraordinary Agora Garden —a DNA-inspired carbon-absorbing eco-tower—just topped out in Taipei, Taiwan. Set in Xinyi District just blocks from the LEED Platinum Taipei 101 skyscraper, Callebaut’s twisting tower will be filled with plants, vegetable gardens, and trees on every floor, as well as the grounds; the new greenery will be capable of absorbing 130 tons of carbon dioxide annually. The eye-catching building is expected to house the city’s most expensive luxury apartments on one of the city’s largest designated residential sites. Built mostly from concrete for seismic stability, the twenty two-story skyscraper comprises luxury apartments, rooftop clubhouses, a swimming pool, gym facilities, and car parking. The energy efficient tower’s unusual shape draws inspiration from DNA’s double helix structure and the Chinese Taiji philosophy of yin and yang. By twisting the building’s form, the architect also creates a beautiful cascade of open-air gardens that offer inhabitants panoramic and transversal views of the city. Landscape architecture firm SWA created a landscape design with 23,000 trees planted on the grounds and on every balcony. Related: Agora Tower: Twisting Skyscraper Wrapped With Vertical Gardens Breaks Ground in Taipei “The tower is eco-designed to represent the perfect fusion between Climate, Landscape and Architecture,” said the architects. “The project is eco-conceived by the integration of bioclimatic passive systems (as natural lighting and ventilation for the core and the basement, rain water recycle, low-e glass, double curtain wall) but also by the renewable energies (as the big photovoltaic solar roof and canopies, the automation for the energy saving, and lifts utilizing energy-saving regenerative drives).” The Agora Garden tower is expected for completion in September 2017. + Vincent Callebaut Architectures Images via Vincent Callebaut Architectures

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Twisting carbon-absorbing skyscraper nears completion in Taipei

BIGs battleship-inspired LEED Gold office opens in Philadelphia

November 4, 2016 by  
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Located at the Navy Yard Corporate Center, the four-story office building design was shaped by Robert Stern’s 1,200-acre Navy Yard master plan of rectangular city blocks and James Corner Field Operations’ award-winning circular Central Green Park . The building’s double-curved facade bows inward on two sides in reference to the docked battleships nearby and to respond to the “shock wave” of the park’s circular running track. In addition to the maritime-inspired facade, a functioning periscope is inserted in the heart of the building to project views of the Navy Yard basin into the center of the elevator lobby and to bring in additional natural light. Related: James Corner Field Operations designs an iconic circular park for the Philadelphia Navy Yard “In many cases, architects design big, boxy buildings that could be placed anywhere and don’t connect directly to the site,” said Kai-Uwe Bergmann, AIA, RIBA, Partner, BIG. “You would really be hard-pressed to place 1200 Intrepid anywhere else, due to how it connects with its surroundings. Our commission involved creating a speculative office building, for which no tenants were committed. The key challenge here was to create a reason for tenants to be here with the constraint of a stringent budget.” Liberty Property Trust developed the 92,000-square-foot LEED Gold building. Precast concrete panels of varying sizes clad the exterior in a basket-weave pattern. The panels were locally manufactured using locally sourced materials that include recycled and recyclable content to reduce construction waste. + Bjarke Ingel Group Images via Bjarke Ingel Group

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LEED Gold Hankook Tire R+D Centre harvests rainwater for cooling in Asias Silicon Valley

October 20, 2016 by  
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Developed to attract the industry’s top talent, the 96,328-square-meter research and development center aspires to be an inspirational place to work and one that encourages collaboration and social interaction. The contemporary glazed building is housed beneath a floating silver roof with long overhangs that shield the interior from unwanted solar gain and gives the structure a mysterious quality. The interior is organized along a top-lit central spine flanked by research spaces and bookended by the entrance on one end and a restaurant on the other. The spatial layout is flexible to allow for future changes and steps up from four to six stories. Related: Foster + Partners breaks ground on Ferring Pharamceuticals’ headquarters in Copenhagen “The key design objectives for, the Hankook Technodome were two-fold – to reinvent the Hankook Tire’s image and to create an integrated working environment for the office and laboratory staff,” says Iwan Jones, Partner at Foster + Partners. “The spatial arrangement encourages visual connectivity and physical interaction. Testing facilities are on display and circulation and meeting spaces are shared to enhance interaction.” The LEED Gold facility captures waste heat and reuses it for heating the adjacent dormitory that accommodates visitors and staff. Harvested rainwater is stored at the lake at the southern entrance and used for cooling. + Foster + Partners Images via Foster + Partners , © Nigel Young

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LEED Gold Hankook Tire R+D Centre harvests rainwater for cooling in Asias Silicon Valley

BIG completes LEED Gold-seeking luxury condos in Miami

August 16, 2016 by  
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Located on South Bayshore Drive, the 98-unit Grove at Grand Bay condominium overlooks views of Biscayne Bay to downtown Miami. Despite Miami’s reputation as a car-centric city, the Grove at Grand Bay’s surrounding area is highly walkable and close to some of the city’s most popular cafes, lounges, bookstores, and boutiques. The pedestrian-friendly luxury condominium also includes two rooftop pools, a five-star spa and fitness center, full-time concierge and butler service, and even a pet spa. Residences range between 1,300 square feet in size to a 10,000-square-foot full-floor penthouse. All units come with 12-foot-high ceilings and glass doors. The design of the twisting glass buildings draws inspiration from the organic shapes found in nearby bodies of water and dense tropical foliage. The buildings are complemented with a stunning and lush landscape design created by acclaimed Miami landscape architect Raymond Jungles . The planting plan includes nearly 500 trees, over 15,000 plants, and many water features, and will help the project achieve LEED Gold status. Related: Brickell Flatiron takes Miami one step closer to a denser and more pedestrian-friendly downtown “Coconut Grove is one of Miami’s most storied neighborhoods and Grove at Grand Bay represents another chapter in that story,” says Terra President David Martin, who co-developed the project alongside his father Terra CEO Pedro Martin. “A sanctuary for artists, writers and unconventional thinkers, the Grove has a long history of challenging the status quo – much the same way Grove at Grand Bay is changing the way Miami thinks about design. We planned and developed this building with the goal of adding value to our neighborhood, so we’re proud that Coconut Grove is enjoying a resurgence while remaining mindful of its colorful past.” + Bjarke Ingels Group + Raymond Jungles Images via Grove at Grand Bay

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Amazon’s biosphere domes are slowly taking shape in Seattle

July 5, 2016 by  
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In 2013, architecture firm NBBJ unveiled plans for an amazing addition to Amazon’s Seattle campus: three biosphere domes filled with plants . Construction on the biospheres started last year , and recent pictures reveal the domes are slow starting to take shape. In April, workers painted the westernmost biosphere white and began to install glass panes on the domes. When finished, the 100-foot-tall biospheres will comprise part of Amazon’s new 3.3 million square foot complex . The crystal spheres are located in front of the new headquarters also under construction. Related: NBBJ Unveils Striking Biosphere Greenhouses for Amazon’s Seattle HQ The biospheres will bring the outdoors indoors with over 300 species of plants from 30 countries . Suspension bridges inside the domes will allow employees to enjoy the greenery, and there will even be ” meeting spaces resembling bird nests perched in mature trees ” where employees will gather to brainstorm. Worldwide Consumer CEO Jeff Wilke described the biospheres as ” a place where new possibilities are explored and ideas are formed .” Amazon will employ a full-time horticulturalist to care for the biosphere plants. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has eschewed free food and other perks that tech companies like Google and Facebook offer employees. Such Silicon Valley giants often require employees to travel long commutes. Instead, Bezos has focused his efforts on keeping his offices in urban locations. Employees at the new Seattle offices will be able to walk to nearby apartments, food trucks, and plenty of restaurants. Bloomberg reports that when the new campus is finished, Amazon will have ” 10 million square feet of office space in Seattle .” The green biospheres will likely open in 2018 . NBBJ hopes to achieve LEED Gold certification for the campus. Via Bloomberg and GeekWire Images via Peter Alfred Hess on Flickr and © NBBJ

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Amazon’s biosphere domes are slowly taking shape in Seattle

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