Shelter Subterfuge by ASK Studio

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Giovanettii Community Shelter's glass and cedar facade belies its function as a FEMA safe room. (Cameron Campbell, Integrated Studio)

Giovanettii Community Shelter’s glass and cedar facade belies its function as a FEMA safe room. (Cameron Campbell, Integrated Studio)

Architectural sleight of hand transforms a FEMA safe room from bunker to glass box.

Tasked with designing a community center on a shoestring budget, Des Moines–based ASK Studio was unsure how to fit the program to the project’s finances. Then an attendee at a community feedback session suggested applying for FEMA funds to build a combination community room and storm shelter. The FEMA tie-in solved the money problem, but it created an aesthetic challenge. The architects had originally diagrammed the community center, sited atop a central knoll in a large park in Urbandale, Iowa, as a connection point that would orient visitors without obstructing views. When the project was redefined as a safe room, said ASK’s Brent Schipper, “I just cringed, because how do you have a transparent node that’s also a tornado shelter? I thought, ‘We’re going to make a bunker, and pretend it works as the node of the centerpiece of the park.'” Luckily, Schipper’s gut reaction proved wrong. A triumph of architectural sleight of hand, ASK’s Giovannetti Community Shelter is built evidence that “welcoming safe room” is not an oxymoron.

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Product> Finds from the Floor at Greenbuild 2013

East, Product
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
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Green Roofing by XeroFlor America

Green Roofing by Xero Flor America

In the midst of Greenbuild’s International Conference & Expo, held from November 18–22 in Philadelphia, AN sought out the newest and most innovative sustainable building products. We found attractive new finishes and furnishings, including a new chair derived from carbon polymers, and a plethora of building components that aim to harness the Earth’s energy for optimal building performance.

Green Roofing
Xero Flor America
This vegetated green roofing solution (above) rolls out in a mat system for easy application, as well as rapid access for repairs. Each 40-inch wide panel is comprised of a root barrier, drain mat, water retention fleece, growing medium, and pre-vegetated layer of sedum. Also known as stonecrop, each order is grown in one of Xero Flor’s six regional fields, so living roofs are acclimated to the installation environment and contribute to local LEED credits. Read More

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