Passive House Laboratory by GO Logic

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The University of Chicago's Warren Woods Ecology Field Station is the first Passive House-certified laboratory in North America. (Trent Bell Photography)

The University of Chicago’s Warren Woods Ecology Field Station is the first Passive House-certified laboratory in North America. (Trent Bell Photography)

Architects deliver a North American first with Warren Woods Ecology Field Station.

When Belfast, Maine–based architecture firm GO Logic presented the University of Chicago‘s Department of Ecology and Evolution with three schematic designs for the new Warren Woods Ecology Field Station, the academics decided to go for broke. Despite being new to Passive House building, the university was attracted to the sustainability standard given the laboratory’s remote location in Berrien County, Michigan. “We presented them with three design options: one more compact, one more aggressive formally,” recalled project architect Timothy Lock. The third option had an even more complicated form, one that would make Passive House certification difficult. “They said: ‘We want the third one—and we want you to get it certified,'” said Lock. “We had our work cut out for us.” Thanks in no small part to an envelope comprising a cedar rain screen, fully integrated insulation system, and high performance glazing, GO Logic succeeded in meeting the aesthetic and environmental goals set down by the university, with the result that the Warren Woods facility is the first Passive House–certified laboratory in North America.

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Unveiled> 41-story office and hotel tower in Chicago’s West Loop

590 W. Madison, an office and hotel tower planned for Chicago's West Loop. (Goettsch Partners)

590 W. Madison, an office and hotel tower planned for Chicago’s West Loop. (Goettsch Partners)

This week an already roiling real estate market in Chicago’s West Loop got hotter still. The latest entrant is a $400 million mixed-use tower designed by Goettsch Partners—a 350-room, four-star hotel beneath about 600,000 square feet of offices that will surely stoke the continued evolution of the area from post-industrial grittiness into a sleek, high-rent hub for technology companies and haute cuisine.

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Sturgess and RJC Soar with Glass Skywalk

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Sturgess Architecture, RJC, and PCL Construction Management crafted a gravity-defying walkway for Jasper National Park. (Courtesy Sturgess Architecture)

Sturgess Architecture, RJC, and PCL Construction Management crafted a gravity-defying walkway for Jasper National Park. (Robert Lemermeyer)

Parabola cantilever walkway delivers park visitors to the brink.

Concerned that visitors to Canada‘s national parks were becoming increasingly disengaged from both the experience of the outdoors and the reality of climate change, Parks Canada launched a search for private-sector initiatives to reverse the trend toward drive-through tourism. Brewster Travel Canada answered the call with a limited design competition for a walkable structure in Jasper National Park‘s Sunwapta Valley. “One of the bus drivers suggested that we do something over this particular gorge, Trickle Creek Canyon—something that could be suspended off the side of the mountain that brought visitors into a more intimate relationship with the Athabasca Glacier and its melting,” explained Sturgess Architecture principal Jeremy Sturgess. With design-build team lead PCL Construction Management and structural engineer Read Jones Christoffersen (RJC), Sturgess’ firm crafted a cantilevered walkway that, clad in weathering steel and glass, defers to its natural surroundings while providing breathtaking views of the glacier and valley floor. Though not a facade itself, Glacier Skywalk warrants discussion within the context of high-performance building envelopes for its innovative structure and streamlined approach to materials—the “+” in Facades+.

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Product> Design Diagnosis: 12 of the best new healthcare furnishings

Interiors, National, Product, Spec Sheet
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
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Spec Sheet  
regard-by-steelcase

(Courtesy Steelcase)

With the rise of evidence-based design, comfortable spaces are eclipsing clinical environments in healthcare facilities. These new products satisfy both the aesthetic and performance demands of the medical community.

Regard
Nurture by Steelcase

This system of waiting-area furniture is designed to adapt to a wide variety of spaces, and has features—flexible power locations, integrated tables, privacy booths—that allow people to connect or retreat.

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Overland Unclogs Historic Plumbing Warehouse

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Through adaptive re-use, Overland found a new home in an abandoned warehouse near San Antonio's arts district. (Courtesy Overland)

Through adaptive re-use, Overland created a new home in an abandoned warehouse near San Antonio’s arts district. (Courtesy Overland)

San Antonio firm transforms vacant industrial building into sunlit workspace.

Dissatisfied with their two-story office, San Antonio architecture practice Overland Partners recently went looking for a new home. They found it in an unexpected place: a long-vacant plumbing supply warehouse within the city’s burgeoning arts district. The 1918 Hughes Plumbing Warehouse offered the firm exactly what they wanted—a large open floor plan—in an architecturally refined package. The timber-framed, brick-clad building “is simple,” said project architect Patrick Winn, “but it’s really elegant and beautiful when you’re able to look at it.” The problem was that years of disuse had left their mark. “When we first viewed it, it was really far gone,” recalled Winn. The original windows had been broken up, and the roof had flooded. Undaunted, the architects took on an extensive renovation project, with the result that today the former plumbing distribution center is a boon not just to Overland, but to the neighborhood as a whole.
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Grappling with Glare in High-Performance Facade Design

Portions of Frank Gehry's Walt Disney Concert Hall were sandblasted after construction to reduce glare. (Pedro Szekely / Flickr)

Portions of Frank Gehry’s Walt Disney Concert Hall were sandblasted after construction to reduce glare. (Pedro Szekely / Flickr)

Frank Gehry‘s Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, Scott Johnson‘s Museum Tower in Dallas, and Rafael Viñoly‘s Vrada Hotel & Spa in Las Vegas have at least one thing in common. All three provoked the ire of their neighbors when glare from their reflective facades raised sidewalk temperatures, blinded drivers, or—as in the Museum Tower case—jeopardized the nearby Nasher Sculpture Center’s collections. Glare is increasingly a problem in facade design, says Curtainwall Design Consulting president Charles Clift, in part because of the tools contemporary architects have at their disposal. “The conclusion I came to is that the digital age of architecture has allowed designers to create anything they can imagine, but with that comes some unintended consequences.”

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GLUCK+ Screens a Modern Great Camp

Architecture, East, Envelope
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
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The two main buildings at GLUCK+'s Lakeside Retreat feature sliding wooden screens over massive glass curtain walls. (Courtesy GLUCK+)

The two main buildings at GLUCK+’s Lakeside Retreat feature sliding wooden screens over massive glass curtain walls. (Courtesy GLUCK+)

Custom sliding wood shades maximize privacy and views in Adirondack Mountains retreat.

Architect-led design build firm GLUCK+ designed the Lakeside Retreat in the Adirondack Mountains on an historic blueprint: the Great Camps, sprawling summer compounds built by vacationing families during the second half of the nineteenth century. “The clients wanted to hold events there, and to make a place where their kids—who were in college at the time—would want to spend time,” said project manager Kathy Chang. “They wanted to create different ways of occupying the space.” GLUCK+ carved the hilly wooded site into a series of semi-subterranean buildings, of which the two principal structures are the family house and the recreation building. These buildings are, in turn, distinguished by massive lake-facing glass facades, camouflaged by wooden screens designed to maximize both privacy and views. Read More

Antoine Predock’s Canadian Museum for Human Rights Opens In Winnipeg

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights, designed by Antoine Predock Architect, opened last Saturday. (Jessica Sigurdson/CMHR-MCDP)

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights, designed by Antoine Predock Architect, opened last Saturday. (Jessica Sigurdson/CMHR-MCDP)

The Antoine Predock–designed Canadian Museum for Human Rights opened in Winnipeg last Friday with a ceremony featuring an indigenous blessing, performances by Ginette Reno, The Tenors, Maria Aragon, and Sierra Noble, plus remarks by several Canadian government officials as well as representatives of the museum. Read More

Product> Exterior Glass: Eight options with special functions built in

National, Newsletter, Product
Friday, September 12, 2014
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view_Conner_Exterior

(Courtesy View Glass)

The role of glass continues to expand in architecture as new performance properties and aesthetic qualities come to market in a steady flow. From photovoltaic glazing to printing technologies that address the issue of avian impacts, the material has become an active, dynamic force in buildings.

More after the jump.

Marlon Blackwell Puts on a Clinic with Vol Walker Hall

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Marlon Blackwell Architect's Steven L. Anderson Design Center embodies the recent history of architectural technology in its massing and materials. (Timothy Hursley)

Marlon Blackwell Architect’s Steven L. Anderson Design Center embodies the recent history of architectural technology in its massing and materials. (Timothy Hursley)

University of Arkansas  addition celebrates the future with a contemporary rewrite of Neoclassicism.

As head of the architecture department and distinguished professor at the University of Arkansas Fay Jones School of Architecture, Marlon Blackwell was uniquely qualified to oversee the renovation and expansion of the school’s home, Vol Walker Hall. To unite the school’s landscape architecture, architecture, and interior design departments under one roof for the first time, Blackwell’s eponymous firm designed a contemporary west wing to mirror the east bar on the existing Beaux-Arts style building, constructed in the 1930s as the university library. But the Steven L. Anderson Design Center—which tied for Building of the Year in AN‘s 2014 Best of Design Awards—is more than a container for 37,000 square feet of new studio, seminar, and office space. It is also a teaching tool, a lesson in the evolution of architectural technology writ in concrete, limestone, glass, steel, and zinc.
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Vintage Glass Blocks For Sale For a Good Cause

Art, Design, National
Thursday, August 21, 2014
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The glass blocks. (Courtesy unearthedgallery)

The glass blocks. (Courtesy unearthedgallery)

AN recently got word of 1,500 vintage glass art blocks that are up for sale over on Etsy. These slabs won’t just add color to your home or garden, they will represent a donation to a great cause as the seller, the Unearthed Gallery in Madison, Wisconsin, is donating 15 percent of its proceeds to Heifer International.

More info after the jump.

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Product> Transparent Thinking: Five New Glazing Options

Architecture, National, Product
Thursday, August 14, 2014
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lasvit

(Courtesy Lasvit)

The dual role glass plays in architectural design—a material integral to both a building’s appearance and its performance—makes selecting a specific product a tricky process. From energy-efficient glazing to decorative dichroic panels, here are a few new items to spur the imagination.

Liquidkrystal
Lasvit 

Designed by Ross Lovegrove, these glass panels can be fixed into construction profiles or into building construction-assembly grooves. Specialty colors and finishes are available; panels range in size from 80 by 8 centimeters to 270 by 370 centimeters.

More after the jump.

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