Friday, December 06, 2013

Training to Tackle Emergent Problems in Buildings and the Built Environment

Los Angeles Skyline © 2009 Al Bee

Information on USC's Master of Building Science program is available here.

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” 
― Nelson Mandela

The world is indeed in need of change, perhaps now more than ever before. Industrialized civilization has managed to unsettle the planetary climate balance. Population growth and fossil fuel consumption have combined to produce dangerous levels of atmospheric greenhouse gasses. The global concentration of carbon dioxide has exceeded 400 parts per million (ppm) for the first time in millions of years, and the rate of increase shows no signs of slowing, representing a threat to the ongoing evolutionary advancement of world culture and survival of life on earth.* The building sector — buildings and the built environment — are responsible for a significant percentage of this problem, and present a unique challenge to the emerging framework of sustainable development vital to the future of humankind.

There is an urgent need to address these issues, and little in the way of consensus on how to do so. It is clear that solutions are not at hand; there is no alternative but to innovate our way to a sustainable future. Optimistically, we are in the beginning stages of a transformation towards a sustainable global civilization that will necessarily shift the focus on buildings from a design aesthetic of arbitrary form, to one of exacting performance-driven forms yielded from deep applications of building science and technology.

So what are the academic possibilities for preparing a career trajectory that fully engages this opportunity?

The Chase L. Leavitt Graduate Building Science program at the University of Southern California School of Architecture is a global leader in architectural technology education. The program offers an outstanding faculty, dedicated students, an exceptional foundational curriculum, excellent facilities, and a long history of scholarly achievement. The curricular structure is designed to provide the breadth and depth required of the increasingly holistic pursuits of building science. The program’s courses offer broad coverage of the critical aspects of building science: structures, environmental controls, sustainability, materials and methods, and computing. If you are an architecture or engineering student, post-career professional in a related field interested in the experience of graduate educational pursuits, consider this multi-faceted area of building science.

Find out more about USC’s Master of Building Science program here.

* Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii


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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Enclos to present at Autodesk University’s 2013 Design Computation Forum

To schedule a presentation of Vaglio's AIA:CES registered course "Concept to Reality" (1 LU/HSW), please send your request to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or call 888.234.2966.

Jeffrey Vaglio, associate director of the Advanced Technology Studio of Enclos in Los Angeles, will present “Concept to Reality: Leveraging a Parametric Model for Constructability” at Autodesk University’s 2013 Design Computation Forum. The forum will take place on Wednesday, December 4th in Las Vegas.

The assembly's theme is “Computational BIM.” Through case studies of built projects, Vaglio will discuss how parametric design comes full circle: the transition from design to the role of specialty subcontractors and fabricators responsible for bringing projects to realization.

We hope you’ll join us at AU 2013.

The program for AU’s 2013 Design Computation Symposium is available here.



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Monday, November 25, 2013

Facade Retrofit Research published by USC

The iconic Jacob K. Javits Convention Center operated 10% below energy codes prior to its 2013 curtainwall and skylight re-cladding. It is expected to exceed codes by 25% post-retrofit.

USC's Existing Buildings Retrofit Survey Report can be found here.
The Facade Retrofit LinkedIn group can be found here.

Researchers from the University of Southern California School of Architecture have released the results of a preliminary survey on building facade retrofit. The Existing Buildings Retrofit Survey Report is part of a long-term commitment to study the challenging problem of existing buildings: their impact on the built environment, and strategies for retrofitting to improve efficiency and meet future sustainability goals for the built environment. Andrea Martinez and Mic Patterson are Ph.D. candidates at USC’s School of Architecture, and are spearheading the research effort.

"At this point, we are primarily trying to identify past facade retrofit projects as candidates for case study research,” Martinez says. “There have been very few building energy retrofit projects to date that have involved the facade because of cost, but there is an immense looming need. Many of these facade systems are 40 to 50 years old and more, and were not particularly good performers to begin with."

The first round survey identified over 300 retrofit buildings from over 30 countries as potential candidates. "One of the things we intend to do is develop an online database of these retrofit projects, capturing key project data that may reveal patterns and trends in facade retrofit applications," Patterson says. "One of the things we have already discovered is that buildings being constructed today — and well into the future — will require retrofit in order to meet currently established energy performance goals for the commercial building sector. Yet, no consideration is given to facilitating the retrofit in the design of the facade system. Retrofitting old curtainwall buildings can often only be accomplished by completely removing the original curtainwall and replacing it with a new, higher performance system, a practice that challenges sustainable construction practices.

The retrofit buildings identified in the survey were primarily office buildings (72%). The majority facade type was highly-glazed curtainwall. New curtainwall systems used to over-clad existing masonry facades was another retrofit strategy common amongst the survey results.

Martinez and Patterson intend to publish the results of this ongoing investigation and open a public database as a resource to the AEC industry to help facilitate the facade retrofit process. The researchers are also soliciting the participation of retrofit practitioners to share their experience by participating in ongoing surveys and case study research. "We can only accomplish our goals with the support of the building community," Martinez says.

To facilitate this outreach, the researchers have launched a Facade Retrofit LinkedIn group to establish a forum that can share in this investigation effort, and where future findings and case studies can be posted. The Facade Retrofit LinkedIn group can be found here.


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Friday, October 11, 2013

Architectural Record examines 680 Folsom Street’s facade retrofit

© Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, 2013. All rights reserved.

Architectural Record examines 680 Folsom Street’s renovation this week in Facade Retrofits: Wrap it Up.”

The 1960s office tower in San Francisco recently underwent a redesign courtesy of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill that includes the removal of its original pre-cast concrete shell, and the installation of new high-performance glass curtainwall systems. Enclos provided comprehensive design/build services for the renovation’s 190,000 square feet of building facade.

The Architectural Record write-up digs deep into the project’s cladding and structural improvements. You can read the article in its entirety here.


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Tuesday, October 08, 2013

The New York Times release “A Short History of the Highrise” documentary

The New York Times’ documentary, “A Short History of the Highrise,” was released this week. The four-part, interactive documentary draws from the publication’s photograph archives to tell the world’s 2,500-year history of vertical living.

The documentary is available here.


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