Green Week 2017: The Carrot Awards

April 17, 2017
Share

Ayers Saint Gross strives to make every project as energy efficient as possible. We’re signatories of the AIA2030 Commitment, and each year we report on the predicted energy use intensity of our whole building projects and the lighting power density of our interiors projects. Reducing both advances us toward our goal of designing net-zero projects across our design portfolio by 2030.

To keep our eyes on the prize and recognize Green Week 2017, we’re celebrating two projects – one whole building and one interior – with the Carrot Awards. Too often designers think of sustainability goals as a “stick,” something they have to do that’s at odds with good design. But for us, sustainability is a carrot. It’s something we reach for, something that inspires great design. The projects recognized by this year’s Green Week are examples for design teams across our firm to emulate in pursuit of sustainable design excellence.

This year’s whole building Carrot Award goes to Washington University in St. Louis’s Bryan Hall.

Bryan Hall is the renovation of approximately 49,000 GSF of existing 1968 laboratories for Washington University’s chemistry department. The project reuses more than 60% of the existing structural components while bringing in new building systems, infrastructure, and a vibration-sensitive design to support instrument-based chemistry. Laboratories are an energy-intensive program, but modeling predicts this project will use 55% less energy than the baseline laboratory.

To achieve these energy savings, KJWW Engineering (now IMEG) designed HVAC systems to serve laboratory, public, and restroom spaces separately so systems could be tailored to each type of space’s unique needs. Most of the laboratories require six air changes per hour to maintain high indoor air quality, but heating or cooling that air for once-through use would be very expensive and energy-intensive. To minimize that demand, laboratory exhaust air is routed through a sensible-only heat recovery system which pre-conditions outdoor air before it enters air handling units. Public spaces have different HVAC demands and are provided supply air as required to meet heating and cooling needs.

The building’s two laser research areas require constant temperature and maximum relative humidity conditions. These spaces are served by separate constant-volume air handling units that can optimally meet those conditions. Electrical and IT rooms on each floor are served by a variable refrigerant flow (VRF) system for local space conditioning.

This year’s interiors Carrot Award goes to our tenant improvement work for Tishman Speyer at Park Place, floors six and nine. This commercial office space in Arlington, Virginia includes multiple office suites and decreases lighting power density by 57%, more than double the current AIA2030 reduction target, through LED lighting.

We announced these awards today to kick off Green Week 2017, our firm’s annual celebration of high-performance design and sustainability. The week’s activities include internal and external luncheon speakers, trivia questions on our internal knowledge-sharing platform, and the Carrot Awards to get us inspired to create ever-more energy efficient design solutions.

For more on how Ayers Saint Gross approaches sustainable design, see our firm’s sustainability strategy, Take Action.

Eating the Whale: Equity in Architecture

February 15, 2017
Share
To illustrate the very serious task of fighting for equity, AIA San Francisco’s Equity by Design Committee uses the poem “Melinda Mae” by children’s author Shel Silverstein:
Have you heard of Melinda Mae, Who ate a monstrous whale? She thought she could, She said she would, So she started in right at the tail. And everyone said, “You’re much too small,” But that didn’t bother Melinda at all. She took little bites and she chewed very slow, Just like a good girl should… …And in eighty-nine years she ate that whale Because she said she would!
We in the architecture profession have slowly been “eating the whale” for more than 100 years, regarding the task of getting more women and minorities into the profession. There have been some great milestones along the way, including:
  • In 1881, Louise Bethune became the first professional female architect. (Like me, Bethune was from the great city of Buffalo, New York.)
  • In 1923, Paul Revere Williams became the first African American AIA member. He was also the first black architect elected into the College of Fellows and is this year’s AIA Gold Medal winner. He is the first black architect to be honored the AIA’s highest award.
  • Lou Weller said to be the first Native American architect* and was the first Native American awarded the AIA Whitney M. Young Jr. Award in 2000. Today, Native Americans represent less than 1% of licensed architects.
Despite these achievements, architecture still lacks diversity. As of 2014, 22% of licensed architects are female, 2% are African American, and 3% are Latino. That’s not great for a 136 year timespan. More than 50% of students enrolled in architecture schools are non-white, meaning that in five to 10 years, we should see this diversity reflected in our workplaces. But relying on diversity to happen over time only is not enough. The Equity in Architecture Commission is the vehicle that creates a greater urgency within the profession (and AEC community at large). The percentages will continue to grow at a snail's pace until the profession allows all of its members to flourish. We must create equitable and inclusive practices to encourage individuals from underrepresented groups to get licensed, remain in the profession, and ultimately thrive. Pushing for equitable practice will create the surge needed to make the diversity of our firms reflect the diversity of the clients and communities we serve. Hopefully, it will take less than another 136 years. The Equity in Architecture Commission was approved in May 2015, as a result of the Resolution 15-1, approved in May 2015. The commission is a call to action for both women and men to realize the goal of equitable practice in order to retain talent, advance the architecture profession, and communicate the value of design to society. With increasingly greater numbers of women and minorities in architecture schools, it is vital that AIA addresses this opportunity to foster and support a more inclusive workforce across the profession. The commission serves as the framework for developing a well-conceived and thoughtful action plan and set of recommendations. The initial charge of the 22-person commission, of which I was proud to be a member, was to:
  • Develop specific recommendations that will lead to equitable practices
  • Create measurable goals and develop mechanisms for assessing ongoing process
  • Present a plan of action based on the commission’s recommendations
Dr. Shirley Davis who specializes in organization transformation, diversity and inclusion, implicit bias, and strategic development, facilitated the commission. We started by asking, “When we achieve equity in architecture, what does it look it?” The question prompted hundreds of responses, which were then categorized into five topic areas:
  1. Education and Career Development
  2. Leadership Excellence (within AIA and the profession)
  3. Firm/Workplace/Studio Culture
  4. Marketing, Branding, Public Awareness, and Outreach
  5. Better Architecture
We then focused on these five areas for the remainder of the year, creating actionable items that could create change in both the short and long terms. All of the recommendations and initiatives are being compiled into a final report which will act as a road map for equitable practice. For the next three years, the commission has recommended the following eleven initiatives which were approved by the AIA National Board of Directors in December 2015:
  1. Equity, diversity and inclusion as a core value for the board of directors
  2. Measure and report how equity, diversity and inclusion permeates within the AIA
  3. Equity, diversity and inclusion training for AIA volunteers and components
  4. Guides for equitable, diverse and inclusionary practice
  5. Create a firm self-assessment tool
  6. Position paper on equity, diversity and inclusion and the profession
  7. Collect equity, diversity and inclusion data of project teams, firms and clients on work submitted for AIA Awards
  8. Advocate for equity in higher education
  9. Engage and expose kids to architecture through K-12 programs
  10. Tell our stories
  11. Ensure media reflects diverse range of architects
To download the entire Equity in Architecture report, click here. My experience on the Equity Commission was one of the most fulfilling things I have done professionally. The Equity Commission was charged with taking action and making real change. As a Millennial, this was music to my ears. I’m encouraged that the eleven initiatives will make real, long-lasting change in the profession. There are so many great resources out there to read (architecture and non-architecture related) and get involved in the conversation. Here are five to you get started: I’d like to end this post with a challenge for everyone: imagine if Melinda Mae had help eating the whale. She could have accomplished her task faster, and had more fun doing it! If everyone takes a bite out of the whale, we can achieve equitable practice much more rapidly. This is a conversation must be inclusive of everyone that everyone must join. For anyone who is more interested in hearing more about the eleven initiatives, please do not hesitate to reach out! You can reach me at LGraff@asg-architects.com. Let’s eat that whale together. * AIA did not begin collecting data on race and ethnicity until 2000.

Top 10 Blog Posts of 2016

December 16, 2016
Share
It’s been an eventful year for Ayers Saint Gross. As we turn the calendar page, here’s a look at our most popular blog posts of 2016. We’re proud of what we accomplished with our clients, and are excited about what’s to come in 2017. 1. Luanne Greene is Ayers Saint Gross’ New President. Having distinguished herself as head of our Planning studio and as an acknowledged industry leader, Luanne rose to become the President of Ayers Saint Gross. She is the first woman to lead the firm in its 100-year history. 2. Anne Hicks Harney Elevated to AIA College of Fellows. Our Sustainability Director is now one of four FAIAs at Ayers Saint Gross, alongside Glenn Birx, Luanne Greene, and Adam Gross. Anne was also named a LEED Fellow this year. 3. Placemaking for People: How Stormwater Management Can Be a Design Asset. The unglamorous necessity of stormwater management can be a starting point for truly great design in landscape architecture. 4. Place Matters: Cortex Innovation Community Wins SCUP Award. Recognition from the Society of College and University Planning was a huge honor. Innovation Districts like Cortex provide a new paradigm for research, business, and job creation. 5. National Aquarium Waterfront Campus Plan Wins AIA Maryland Award. The National Aquarium is a world-renowned conservation organization, and we are excited to be a part of the revitalization of its campus. 6. 2016 Comparing Campuses Innovation Districts. We did a deep dive on Innovation Districts in our 18th annual Comparing Campuses poster. (We also have an online archive of all the Comparing Campuses posters.) 7. A Brief History of the Ayers Saint Gross ACUHO-I Housing Book. We’ve been creating these tiny but informative books since 2005 for the annual ACUHO-I conference. We’ll see you in Providence in June with the 2017 edition. 8. Telling a Story with Data. Lisa Keith, head of our Space Analytics studio, wowed the KA Connect Conference with her data visualization expertise. 9. Ayers Saint Gross Reaches $1B in LEED Construction. With the LEED Silver certification of Georgetown University’s Ryan and Isaac Halls, our firm crossed the billion-dollar mark in LEED certified construction. To celebrate, we created an infographic that illustrates exactly what $1,000,000,000 in LEED construction looks like. 10. Going Green, Staying Green: How to Create and Enduring, Sustainable Landscape. Align your sustainability goals with available resources, and consider the life cycle costs of your choices.

National Library for the Study of George Washington Wins AIA Design Awards

December 6, 2016
Share

Ayers Saint Gross is pleased to announce that the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington at Mount Vernon recently received two awards: an Excellence in Design honor from AIA Baltimore and a Merit Award for Institutional Architecture from AIA Maryland.

The 45,000 square-foot library, located on 15 acres within walking distance of George Washington’s Mount Vernon home, serves as a national archive for his books and letters and as a center for education and scholarly retreat. The AIA Baltimore jury praised the design as “both traditional and crisp, pared down, and abstracted. It is grand, but also shows humility, appropriately reflecting George Washington.”

Additionally, the AIA Maryland jury called it “a well-conceived project that honors the Washington legacy with a timeless, well-scaled building.”

The design complements the Mount Vernon estate by incorporating qualities that are familiar and appropriate, but without literal form or material reference. It creates a timeless place that is elegant, ordered, and principled. These qualities allow the Library and grounds to be, in subtle ways, both reflective of Washington’s character and connected to the place.

Visitors approach the Library via a gently winding drive through the woodland site. The drive leads to an arrival court inspired by the geometry of the mansion’s gardens and defined by low stone walls. Native deciduous and evergreen plantings supplement the existing forest and drifts of George Washington’s favorite trees, including dogwoods and redbuds, adding spring and fall interest. Visual and physical connections to the land were key design priorities. Preserving open spaces and trees, and generally creating a sustainable site, reflects Washington’s legacy as a landowner and a farmer. The project achieved LEED Gold certification.

The U-shaped building fulfills the dual goals of scholarly study and educational outreach. A sunny, south-facing courtyard is defined on the east by an education wing that provides spaces for seminars, lectures, and training programs on George Washington’s life, times, and leadership. The west wing provides two floors of office space for visiting scholars and staff.

At its core, and the heart of the design, is the light-filled, two-story reading room with paneled walls of American Sycamore, a tree that grows at Mount Vernon.

The Washington family’s collection of books and papers are kept safe in the rare books and manuscripts room, a sequence of three increasingly secure spaces that culminate in an oval vault.

The project’s materials express permanence and dignity. The central portion of the building is clad in sandstone and limestone, and the wings are finished in stucco. Zinc-clad eaves, soffits, and porches accent slate roofs. Windows and doors are made of mahogany and the terraces and porches are paved with sandstone.

From a 1797 letter to his friend James McHenry, we know that George Washington hoped to build a library on his estate for his papers, but that dream was never realized until now. Ayers Saint Gross is proud that we were able to play a role in preserving the legacy of America’s first president, and are honored that AIA Baltimore and AIA Maryland both recognized our efforts.

Vertex Student Apartments Wins AIA Arizona and ENR Southwest Awards

October 19, 2016
Share
Vertex Student Apartments, a mixed-use student housing development in Tempe, AZ adjacent to Arizona State University, recently won two awards, the 2016 AIA Arizona Distinguished Building Merit Award and Best Residential/Hospitality Project from ENR Southwest. The goal for this project was to develop a vibrant community built within a tight budget that still provides iconic identity and exceptional efficiency. Our team was able to complete a really complex and tightly scheduled project on schedule, and the result gives the student residents both independence and community. aia-arizona-vertex-award Vertex’s triangular parcel, bordered by a light rail on one side, inspired its striking design with a prominent prow that became central to the project’s identity and branding. The development features 16 different unit plans and generous shared amenities for residents, as well as 6,000 GSF of ground floor civic, retail, and restaurant space. The inclusion of the latter increases visibility and connection to the street and neighborhood. Sun-shading also influenced the design, including a light-colored shell and roof to reflect the sun and large graphic brise-soleil. A statement band of native desert plants fronts the dark shaded understory, creating an inviting and cool zone in the desert. We created view corridors that allow access-controlled pedestrian ways into the courtyard from the two street frontages. The new design is a welcome change from the fortress-like building on the site before Vertex’s construction. Vertex was a continuous collaboration among the design team, construction manager, and developer. The project delivers a high-impact design through a minimalist design strategy, thus reducing its environmental impact. We decided to use wood on top of a concrete podium to give the project flexibility, increased construction speed, and greater sustainability. The wood structure was prefabricated off site and brought in by truck and erected via crane, thus minimizing the area needed for a saw yard on site. Vertex provides 323,000 GSF mixed-use space and 600 beds. The project’s sensitivity to scale and experience emphasizes the owner’s commitment to develop the premier student housing community in the marketplace that incorporates and integrates unique building design, extraordinary amenities, and exceptional unit plans. The project was developed by Peak Campus and Titan Investments and constructed by hardison/downey construction, inc. For more on Ayers Saint Gross’ award-winning designs, visit our Awards page. Save Save Save Save

Ayers Saint Gross Reaches $1B in LEED Construction

October 19, 2016
Share
Last month, Ayers Saint Gross reached an important and exciting milestone in our sustainable journey. With the LEED Silver certification of Georgetown University's Ryan and Isaac Halls, our firm crossed the billion-dollar mark, having produced $1 billion in LEED certified construction. To celebrate, we've created an infographic that illustrates exactly what $1,000,000,000 in LEED construction looks like. Congratulations to everyoneclients, designers, partners, and of course the USGBCwho made this tremendous achievement possible. I’m particularly grateful to Emory University, the University of Maryland system, and the University of Virginia, which collectively make up 14 of our 34 LEED projects. It’s wonderful to see clients build with sustainability in mind, and then come back for more when they see its many benefits. Great clients make for great buildings. Here's to the next billion. We're already on our way with the pending certification of the Earl G. Graves School of Business and Management at Morgan State University. leed_infographic_v6

LEEDv4 vs. LEED 2009: Design Implications

August 8, 2016
Share
In 85 days, sustainable design will go through a big change. On October 31, 2016, LEED 2009 will sunset. All projects registered thereafter will be required to meet the more stringent requirements of LEEDv4. Ayers Saint Gross has long been a standard bearer for sustainable design. This year, that means investing significant resources in educating ourselves about how LEEDv4 will impact the way we build. Understanding the new standards in this depth allows us to be excited about how certifying projects under this system will advance the caliber of high-performance buildings. At this point, most people in the AEC industry are familiar with the key differences between LEED 2009 and LEEDv4. Major changes in LEEDv4 include:
  • Energy modeling baseline updated from ASHRAE90.1-2007 to ASHRAE 90.1-2010;
  • Increased scope of fixtures addressed by water efficiency credits, including lab equipment among other process fixtures;
  • Restructured Materials and Resources credits that push for transparency in manufacturing;
  • New metrics in daylighting to more accurately account for daily and annual variations.
But the time for general understanding is winding down. Starting soon, designers will need to know specifics. You have to get in the weeds about LEEDv4 to have confidence in certifying a building under the new standards and to deliver on a promise to certify a project to a certain level. Later this month, I will address the AIA Austin Summer Conference and dive into the nitty-gritty of what designing under this new rating system will mean, including:
  • Transportation Access. LEEDv4’s public transportation access credit counts the number of trips made by public transit infrastructure, whereas LEED 2009 counted the number of public transit lines. Projects that previously may not have qualified for any public transit points under LEED 2009 may be able to access a point under LEEDv4.
  • Covered Bicycle Parking. Under LEEDv4, both institutional and residential buildings require covered bicycle parking. Under the old system, only residential buildings had to meet this requirement.
  • Regional Materials. LEEDv4 does not offer points especially for sourcing materials from within 500 miles of a project as LEED 2009 did. Sourcing materials locally now allows project teams to double the value of local materials when performing building material optimization calculations.
LEED 2009 is the most widely adopted green building rating system on the planet, and it follows that LEEDv4 is likely to command a similar percentage of market share for green building certifications. However, since LEED 2009 debuted, a number of other rating systems, standards, and codes have been established, including the Living Building Challenge, IgCC, and ASHRAE189.1. LEEDv4 is walking into a much more crowded certification marketplace than LEED 2009 did. Early and mid-range adopters to the sustainability movement are likely to stay with LEED because it carries significant brand recognition. However, LEEDv4 is progressive enough a standard that later adopters to sustainability may be intimidated to attempt it, especially with a whole suite of other rating systems and standards in the marketplace with lower barriers to entry. As professionals, we will be prepared to serve clients at all levels of sustainability, whether new to the party or well-versed and ready to be on the cutting edge. We are excited to see how the specifics of LEEDv4 will influence design and sustainability, and believe this and other competitive green building rating systems, standards, and codes will push us all to create more efficient high-performance buildings that serve the community and the world. See you in Austin!

A Brief History of the Ayers Saint Gross ACUHO-I Student Housing Book

July 8, 2016
Share
The ACUHO-I Annual Conference and Exposition is an exceptional gathering, in large part due to how open residence life and design professionals are about sharing their experiences, and what they’ve learned about creating living environments for students. We put together our annual ACUHO-I student housing book as a way to contribute to that spirit of sharing by providing current, relevant housing project data. We want to give you information you can use. We produced our first ACUHO-I student housing book in 2005, and strive to make it interesting and accessible every year. Last year’s pop-up edition even won a promotions and marketing design award from HOW magazine. 5_pop-up-book The 2016 edition, entitled “Mission Driven,” focuses on four current residential life themes: recalibrating unit mix, mixed-use, increasing students living on campus, and town gown. Stop by and see us at ACUHO-I at Booth 327 to get your copy. Embedded_Book_image

Microhouses with Macro Impact: Volunteering with ACE in Austin

April 28, 2016
Share
When I began investigating volunteer opportunities in my new hometown of Austin, Texas, I happily stumbled across the ACE (Architecture Construction Engineering) Mentor Program. I had heard of ACE before, as a number of my colleagues in Baltimore have volunteered with their local affiliate. But the Austin chapter was just starting up and I was interested in the opportunities the program provided for both students and mentors. ACE provides a free 12-week program for high school students to explore careers with industry professionals. The program includes guest speakers, construction site tours, and visits to local schools of architecture. It culminates with a final design project that allows students to collaborate with their mentors and peers and put their design skills to use. The final project selected by the ACE Austin affiliate was particularly exciting to me: a 200 square foot microhome to address the challenges faced by the chronically homeless in Austin. Inspired by a recent AIA Austin design competition that asked professionals to perform the same task, the designs would use Community First Village, a 27-acre parcel in east Austin as their site. Run by a local organization, Mobile Loaves & Fishes, Community First Village is building dozens of microhomes. Our work as student-led, mentor-supported design teams fits right into the current events of the city. Microhomes seem far from the large-scale residence halls that constitute much of Ayers Saint Gross’ portfolio. But our skills as designers let us serve everyone in need of a place to live, work, and play. I was excited to share my interest in design and sustainability with the high schoolers in our group, and eager to see how they’d respond to their first design problem. When teaching budding designers, the first teaching challenge is figuring out where to start. To get our students going, we worked together to describe a client. Envisioning someone their building was to serve helped guide our students’ decision-making. Through the process we challenged them to measure their decisions against a budget as well, helping them learn about the real-world constraints that go with working in architecture. It’s been an incredible process, from their first day figuring out where to start to their final presentation hosted at the University of Texas at Austin’s AT&T Conference Center. Our students have come so far, and like every volunteer and teaching experience I’ve had, it’s hard to say who got more out of it – the students or the mentors. Beyond the educational program, ACE also provides scholarships to as many deserving students in the program as it can. At the conclusion of the final design presentation, two of my team’s students were recognized with scholarships and I’m immensely proud of the work they did to earn those funds to support their college educations. Mentors are also recognized, and I’m humbled to say I was named the 2016 Exemplary Mentor of the Year. I’ll definitely be back next year and I can only imagine it’ll be just as rewarding an experience.

12 Rules for Better, Healthier, Greener Building Products

March 30, 2016
Share
As Sustainability Director and Specification Writer at Ayers Saint Gross, one of my main focus areas is assuring that we select building products carefully, to meet the requirements of our clients and the building users. I recently presented a session entitled “Product Rules” at Greenbuild, USGBC’s annual conference. Drawing inspiration from Michael Pollan's book "Food Rules," these Product Rules provide 12 basic guidelines for selecting better, healthier, more environmentally responsible products and materials. I developed them in close collaboration with Paula Melton, Senior Editor at BuildingGreen; Jennifer Atlee, Sustainable Material Consultant at PROSOCO; and Kirsten Ritchie, Director of Sustainable Design at Gensler. The session received such great feedback that BuildingGreen is re-running the session as a webinar (available soon). BuildingGreen also developed an easy-to-read and educational infographic, available here for download. 12_Rules_Infographic Americans tend to believe that if a product is on the market, someone makes sure that it is safe. We increasingly understand that this is not necessarily true. We are on a mission to encourage all product manufacturers to disclose information about the environmental life-cycle impacts, sourcing information, and clear direction on exactly what material ingredients are incorporated into their products. These rules reflect these concerns. By merging a deep knowledge of building materials with a passion for critical environmental issues, we can drastically improve our buildings, providing better environments for all.

Anne Hicks Harney elevated to AIA College of Fellows

February 12, 2016
Share
“Great architecture requires superior design ideas supported by technically proficient and sustainably minded detailing and execution. We need to create a culture of sustainability to assure consistently high performing design is all that we are presenting to the world.” - Anne Hicks Harney, FAIA, LEED AP BD+C Ayers Saint Gross is proud to announce Anne Hicks Harney, Director of Sustainability, has been elevated to the College of Fellows by the American Institute of Architects (AIA). This is one of the highest honors the AIA can bestow, and it recognizes the achievements of the architect as an individual who has made significant contributions to architecture and society. Only approximately 3% of architects ever achieve this honor. By merging a deep knowledge of building materials with a passion for critical environmental issues, Anne Hicks Harney leads the sustainable material transparency movement both within the architectural profession and the industry at large. Anne tirelessly pursues the highest level of integrated sustainable design. Through her practice, she has become one of the nation’s leading experts on high performance design. Through her research and activism, she has become an influential nationwide advocate for greater understanding of the environmental and health effects of building materials. She educates firm employees as well as the architectural community on material transparency, sustainable architecture, and high performance design, with a focus on re-shaping the profession’s environmental impact. As the firm’s first Director of Sustainability, she works with all teams on sustainability issues, pushing the firm to achieve higher performance across their portfolio of projects. Under her leadership, Ayers Saint Gross became one of the nation’s leaders in sustainable architecture, planning, and design. In 2015, ARCHITECT Magazine ranked Ayers Saint Gross at 19 in sustainability among the nation’s architecture firms. Seventy percent of the firm’s professionals are LEED-accredited and all projects meet the minimum equivalency of a LEED Silver rating through resource-efficient design strategies. Anne's knowledge of building materials and environmental issues is evident in her role as Ayers Saint Gross’ lead technical writer where she executes the firm’s entire portfolio of projects. Anne uses her extensive knowledge of building products to work with project teams to improve selections. Her main focus is on material selection and deployment, supporting teams in articulating design ideas, turning them into durable, efficient, and environmentally sound structures. Additionally, Anne is co-chair of the National AIA Materials Knowledge Working Group. This group creates tools to assist architects with material selection, and oversees the corresponding education. She is a member of the USGBC Materials and Resources Technical Advisory Group (MR TAG), and is the co-founder of the Building Enclosure Council - Baltimore. Many organizations have recognized her excellence in sustainability, including USGBC Maryland which awarded her its 2013 Green Building Leader Award. Anne’s leadership in sustainability and technical initiatives within the firm elevate the caliber of our design dialogue about high performance buildings. Her efforts also ensure that energy efficiency, water efficiency, and material health are integral to every Ayers Saint Gross project. Anne was the sustainability lead for the John and Frances Angelos Law Center at the University of Baltimore. This project, a 2014 AIA COTE top ten winner, exemplifies the firm’s integrated approach to sustainable design. Glenn Birx, principal at Ayers Saint Gross said, “For our clients and peers, Anne's elevation makes a statement that Ayers Saint Gross is at the forefront of the profession for sustainability issues. We care deeply about real sustainability from conception through years of building management, and are leading the nationwide effort to encourage the material transparency movement.” Anne Hicks Harney, FAIA, LEED AP BD+C shares her expertise nationwide with speaking engagements at notable conferences including AIA National Convention, USGBC’s Greenbuild, and the Living Future Institute’s unConference. Her work at Ayers Saint Gross includes work on 33 LEED Certified projects, totaling over $1 billion in environmentally improved construction across the nation. Anne joins other Fellows in the firm including Luanne Greene, Adam Gross, Glenn Birx, and Ed Kohls.

Over-Cladding for Thermal Performance and Building Resiliency

November 29, 2015
Share
While Ayers Saint Gross dominantly works on college and university campuses, we’ve also had opportunities to serve institutional clients such as Johns Hopkins Hospital, most recently in re-skinning Nelson Harvey Building on their downtown, urban hospital campus. This 1970s era, nine-story, in-patient tower maintained a sound structural frame, but was suffering from a poorly insulated, failing building enclosure. The project offered a unique opportunity to improve building performance and resiliency by over-cladding the existing envelope. This design strategy allowed the team to address the project’s four major challenges:
  • Renovation required compliance with Baltimore City’s Green Building Standards (BCGBS).
  • Complete demolition of the existing building enclosure was cost-prohibitively expensive.
  • Hospital operations needed to be continuously operational on the first and second floors of the project through construction.
  • The design and construction schedule for the building enclosure was tied to an existing project designed by Wilmot Sanz to renovate the tower’s patient rooms that had already reached the end of Design Development. The enclosure design and documentation would need to catch up with that project’s schedule so the interior and exterior renovations could occur concurrently.
While Ayers Saint Gross’s over-cladding strategy addressed the major issues of sustainability, project cost, continuous operations, and project schedule, the strategy also needed to address technical and aesthetic concerns:
  • Ayers Saint Gross needed to provide relief to the existing brick envelope and stabilize it against future failure.
  • Improvements in thermal performance and infiltration were critical.
  • The solution would need to be constructed primarily from the exterior of the building to minimize impediments to hospital operations.
  • In consultation with our structural engineer, Columbia Engineering, we were advised that we could add only 5% to the dead load of the building without overburdening the existing structure.
  • The design aesthetic of the envelope needed to align with the hospital’s dominant red brick palette.
To address these technical challenges, the over-cladding material palette included curtainwall to introduce greater access to daylight and views to patient rooms, thin-set brick on insulated precast concrete panels to maintain the campus’s brick aesthetic, and insulated metal panel to improve thermal performance while keeping the new envelope’s dead weight down. The existing masonry envelope was largely left intact within the new envelope with selective demolition allowing for the new envelope to be tied back to the existing structure. The application of the new envelope provides superior thermal performance that the existing envelope could not achieve. Leaving most of the existing masonry envelope in place allowed the design to capitalize on the potential of the existing building’s infrastructure by providing resiliency in terms of fire and air-borne noise resistance and additional thermal mass for improved internal climate control and moderation. The retention of a significant portion of the existing envelope also provided an enclosure for the building during the construction process that shortened construction schedules and improved budgets by limiting the time allotted for demolition, hauling of debris, erection of temporary walls and barriers, and limiting the exposure of the building materials to the exterior environment of moisture and dust. Limiting demolition also decreased the wasteful hauling of debris, thus reducing the project’s carbon footprint. We term the comprehensive approach used at Nelson Harvey to develop a high-performance enclosure for an aging structure “recycling in place.” This strategy provided a hybrid solution that took best advantage of the new to achieve thermal over-cladding while simultaneously celebrating the old to enable passive cooling, natural ventilation, and increased thermal mass. Over-cladding with a new thermal high-performance envelope improved energy performance and energy conservation through improved insulation and moisture mitigation strategies in addition to providing an aesthetic improvement that successfully positioned the aging building as a viable part of the master plan for decades to come.