Architect — November 2012
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OGASSIAN TILES

With expertise in glazing technology, artist and designer Daniel Ogassian created a collection of ceramic and concrete tiles for Ann Sacks that features bold geometries, deep relief, and glazed finishes. Available in many patterns, colors, and sizes (12" Japanese Geo in metallic antique gold shown), the tiles are suitable for vertical installation indoors. Flat designs may be used for flooring. Annsacks.com Circle 100

SUPER PERVIOUS PAVERS

Managing storm water can be problematic in areas with expansive paving. The natural stone pavers from Xeripave allow a flow rate of more than 1 gallon per second per square foot, and provide a nonslip surface for pedestrians, bicycles, and cars. The 50mm-thick tile comes in two standard sizes: 300mm square and 400mm square. Xeripave.com Circle 101

POLYWHEY

Vermont Natural Coatings uses recycled whey protein in this wood finish to eliminate the need for heavy metal driers. Available in several tints, the nontoxic, nonflammable waterborne finish dries in under two hours, seals and protects against water and chemicals, and contains no VOCs. Vermontnaturalcoatings.com Circle 102

DOUGLAS FIR TABLETOPS

Decommissioned decades- and centuriesold warehouses, docks, and gymnasiums are just some of the buildings from which Viridian Reclaimed Wood recovers beams for these tabletops. The structural beams' long lengths, tight grain patterns, and occasional nail holes make for sturdy and interesting surfaces. Offered in three varieties (mixed grain shown), the tabletops are up to 48" wide, 12' long, and at least 11/2" thick. Viridianwood.com Circle 103

HEXAGON ACOUSTIC TILE

When looking for a material to dampen its workspace acoustics, Stockholm design studio Form Us With Love found Träullit, a Swedish manufacturer of wood-wool cement board. The mixture of wood slivers, water, and cement is dried into shape in a mold. Hexagon comes in eight colors. Formuswithlove.se Circle 104

DESIGN CATALOG

Perennials With a View

BY NOW, MANY ARCHITECTS CAN TOUT THE BENEFITS OF GREEN ROOFS, BUT FEW KNOW WHICH PLANTS ARE ACTUALLY SUITABLE FOR TOPPING BUILDINGS. A GREEN-ROOF DESIGNER, HORTICULTURIST, OR LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT WILL TYPICALLY DO THE HEAVY LIFTING OF CHOOSING THE CULTIVARS BASED ON FACTORS SUCH AS CLIMATE, ROOF HEIGHT, SUN AND WIND EXPOSURE, AND AESTHETICS. BUT KNOWING YOUR OPTIONS MAY HELP ENSURE THE ENDURANCE OF YOUR GREEN ROOF, AND ALSO UNCOVER CREATIVE WAYS TO ENHANCE YOUR BUILDING DESIGN AND PROGRAM.

WHITE STONECROP (SEDUM ALBUM)

Good for: Year-round color Zone: 5 to 8 Height: 2 to 6 inches Sun: Full Blooms: Varies

Tolerant of shallow planting media and intense sunlight, sedums are frequently used on green roofs. The hardy, low-growing plants come in many varieties, says Jennifer Bousselot, a former researcher at Iowa State and Colorado State universities. "Depending on the cultivar, the winter colors are endless- ranging from orange to pink to yellow."

PRICKLY PEAR (OPUNTIA HUMIFUSA)

Good for: Color and low maintenance Zone: 2 to 10 Height: 8 inches Sun: Full Blooms: May to July

No "plant it and forget it" species exists, Bousselot says, but the prickly pear comes close. Its drawbacks include pedestrianun friendly spines and slow growth, but it can endure frigid climates. Native and widespread in the eastern U.S., it produces waxy yellow flowers that are followed by edible fruit.

NODDING ONION (ALLIUM CERNUUM)

Good for: Year-round color Zone: 4 to 8 Height: 1 to 3 feet Sun: Full Blooms: June to August

For use in milder climates, this evergreen plant adds height and interest to roof gardens, Bousselot says. "It has grasslike but thick leaves with a beautiful flower. Its flower head dries and creates excellent winter interest." Once abundant on the Chicago River banks, the plant features edible leaves, bulbs, and bulblets.

HARDY ICE PLANT (DELOSPERMA COOPERI) Good for: Year-round color Zone: 7 to 10 Height: 3 to 6 inches Sun: Full Blooms: June to September

Though it requires a well-drained substrate, this fast-growing plant has succulent foliage that turns purple in the winter, Bousselot says. Suitable as a ground cover, it produces fuchsia flowers from late spring until the first frost. However, as a native of Southern Africa, it is not reliably winter hardy north of zone 7.

HENS AND CHICKS (SEMPERVIVUM SPP.) Good for: Low-maintenance Zone: 3 to 8 Height: 3 to 6 inches Sun: Full

This plant lives up to its Latin name sempervivum, which means to live forever. Though hens and chicks can take longer to establish than sedums, the payoff is worth it once the plants take root. Not only are the evergreen succulents drought resistant and low-maintenance, but they also provide color, producing purple-red flowers in midsummer.

MIDDENDORF STONECROP (SEDUM MIDDENDORFFIANUM) Good for: Roofs without irrigation Zone: 3 to 9 Height: 8 to 10 inches Sun: Full Blooms: Summer

Well suited for roofs with limited additional load capacity, this colorful sedum tolerates soil depths as shallow as 1 to 3 inches, says Kristin Getter, a floriculture outreach specialist at Michigan State University (MSU). White Stonecrop is another option, but it does not withstand hot summers, Getter says.

$10–$24

The estimated cost per square foot for an installed, extensive green roof. Because the cost depends on several factors, project teams should consult a green roof professional.

SOURCE: GREEN ROOFS FOR HEALTHY CITIES

PRAIRIE DROPSEED (SPOROBOLUS HETEROLEPIS) Good for: Kid-friendly, high traffic areas Zone: 3 to 9 Height: 2 to 3 feet Sun: Full Blooms: August to October

This plant, native to Chicago, produces pink flowers with brown tints in the late summer. Its foliage turns gold and orange in the fall and fades to light bronze in the winter. "The grass … has a strong fragrance in late summer into early fall that has been likened to popcorn," says Chicago Botanic Garden horticulturist Emily Shelton.

CREEPING PHLOX (PHLOX SUBULATA) Good for: Kid-friendly, high-traffic areas Zone: 3 to 9 Height: 6 feet Sun: Full sun to partial shade

The Chicago Botanic Garden is examining the durability of this semi-evergreen ground cover, which grows into a dense mat, Shelton says. "It can handle some foot traffic and is a carpet of blooms in the spring"-good news for a plant that must withstand frigid winters, frequent handling by students, and up to 1 million annual visitors to the garden's Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Plant Conservation Science Center.

STONECROP (SEDUM KAMTSCHATICUM) Good for: Storing carbon Zone: 4 to 9 Height: 6 to 12 inches Sun: Full sun to partial shade Blooms: Early summer

All plants store carbon, but some are more effective than others, says MSU horticulture professor Brad Rowe. Carbon storage potential is directly related to biomass-for example, a tree will store more than a perennial. Stonecrop, Rowe says, is a larger rooftop plant that can be planted in shallow soil. It produces long-lasting, half-inch yellow flowers.

ORNAMENTAL ONION (ALLIUM SENESCENS) Good for: High-salinity environments Zone: 4 to 8 Height: 6 to 8 inches Sun: Full sun to partial shade Blooms: Mid to late summer

In coastal applications and on roofs in which deicers are used, plants that can tolerate high salinity are a must. In his research, Rowe has found ornamental onions to be very salt tolerant. With blue-green leaves that smell like onion when bruised, the plant grows in clumps and produces lilac-pink flowers.

MINT (MENTHA) Good for: Bulk food source Zone: 3 to 10 Height: 1 to 4 feet Sun: Full sun to partial shade

For the Ledge Kitchen & Drinks restaurant in Dorchester, Mass., Recover Green Roofs worked with Green City Growers to create a rooftop kitchen garden, whose abundance of produce includes mint-traditional, chocolate, pineapple, spearmint, and peppermint. The fast-growing, continually harvestable plant is "easy to apply to a menu," said Recover project manager Brendan Shea.

TWO-ROW STONECROP (SEDUM SPURIUM) Good for: Storing carbon Zone: 4 to 9 Height: 2 to 6 inches Sun: Full sun to partial shade Blooms: Summer

Rowe also pointed to this sedum variety as another excellent carbon-storage plant that can grow in shallow planting soils. The semiever green sedum produces white or purplish star-shaped flowers in the summer. Its foliage turns burgundy in the fall. Like Stonecrop, the plant also provides good ground cover.

IN THE ZONE

Plant selection depends on a few factors. First, a project team should determine what type of green roof is best suited to its project: intensive or extensive. Intensive green roofs have deeper planting media depths and are similar to traditional landscaping. Extensive green roofs, designed to boost building performance and environmental sustainability, use shallower depths and require less maintenance.

Next, teams should consider their roof's microclimate, which is determined by several factors, including average temperatures, wind levels, sun intensity, and rainfall. The U.S. Department of Agriculture publishes its Plant Hardiness Zone Map (planthardiness.ars.usda.gov) based on the average annual minimum winter temperatures, divided into 10-degree zones; lower numbered zones are colder.

However, depending on roof height, the conditions on top of buildings may be very different from conditions on grade. Rooftops may require plants suited to a different zone than the landscaping planted several stories below on ground level does. Green Roofs for Healthy Cities offers a database of green-roof professionals (greenroofs.org/index.php/ find-green roof professional), who can help sort out the technicalities of selecting plants for rooftops.

ENGUARD INSULATION

Manufactured by Vita Nonwovens, EnGuard is a hypoallergenic alternative to glass fiber insulation made entirely from polyester-namely, recycled plastic bottles and fibers from preconsumer content. The hydrophobic material will not absorb moisture and can be handled without protective gear. Enguardinsulation.com Circle 105

TREMOLO

For this vinyl wallcovering in his eponymous collection for Maya Roman off , interior designer Roger Thomas was inspired by a scrap of industrial material covered in 18-karat gold. Layers of metallic pigment are hand applied to the embossed base. Custom colors and lengths are offered. Mayaroman off.com Circle 106

BENCHMARK FAÇADES

Kingspan Insulated Panels recently released this high performance, universal barrier wall system, which features multiple cladding options, including glass, ceramics, wood, cementitious boards, and metals. The wall assembly comprises a rail substructure, insulated panels, and a rainscreen. Kingspan plans to add other materials and finishes. Kingspanpanels. Us Circle 107

PLAY OF LIGHT

The Mohawk Group combined light and dark motifs with geometric patterns in this modular collection, inspired by the "rurban" trend in which urban cultures are embracing rural values. It is manufactured with Smart Strand Contract with DuPont Sorona, a recyclable, rapidly renewable, bio based fiber that requires 30% less energy to manufacture than does nylon. Nine color ways and three patterns are available. Mohawkgroup.com Circle 108

INDUSTRY NOTES

Green Cleansing

EVERY PRODUCT SEEMS TO HAVE A SUSTAINABLE STORY THESE DAYS. ENVIRONMENTAL PRODUCT DECLARATIONS WERE CREATED TO VET MANUFACTURERS' CLAIMS. HAVE THEY BEEN SUCCESSFUL?

IN A MARKET WHERE manufacturers tout all kinds of environmental claims, it's hard to decipher what's really green. In 2006, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) published standards for Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs)-scientific, third-party validated reports that disclose a product's life cycle assessment (LCA); carbon footprint; land, water, and air impacts; and ozone depletion potential. Now fairly l common in Europe and parts of Asia, EPDs are relatively new in the U.S., but a groundswell toward certification is underway.

Certification alone does not make a product eco-friendly. Rather, EPDs track and report a product's progression from cradle to grave (or back to cradle). EPDs are based on the product's LCA, which is guided by specific Product Category Rules (PCRs) that describe the LCA parameters for scope, data collection, methodology, and presentation format. Independent agencies, or program operators, help manufacturers navigate the certification process and comply with ISO standards. Because standardization is critical for comparing products worldwide, EPD program operators should first look for existing PCRs specific to the industry sector; if none exist, they can develop and publish new PCRs.

To date, approximately 45 EPDs have been issued in the U.S.-and the number is rising. Architects and specifies want objective and accessible product information that doesn't green wash. The Architecture 2030 Challenge for Products encourages manufacturers to file EPDs, and the latest draft of LEED v4 rewards the use of products that have EPDs.

UL Environment, a business unit of Underwriters Laboratories based in Marietta, Ga., and one of the few program operators in the U.S., has registered approximately 30 EPDs in four industries to date. Strategic development and innovation group lead Heather Gadonniex has seen a surge of interest and growth in the programin the past two years."Although the U.S. is just getting started, we are working with a large number of manufacturers and industry associations to address demand for EPDs," she says.

Cost and complexity are among the reasons why U.S. manufacturers have been slow to report EPDs. Certification costs vary depending on the program operator's role, but the real cost lies in conducting the LCA. EPD education remains a challenge. No single entity oversees EPDs or their approval process, so it's important to delve into which PCRs were followed to ensure consistencywhen comparing products.

Carpet manufacturer Interface has attained EPDs for 90 percent of its product lines globally. Director of sustainable strategy MelissaVernon notes two program short comings: an absence of both performance thresholds and of benchmarks for many products. "But there's a lot of excitement about the concept and we are working through these ideas," she says. Meanwhile, EPDs do provide "environmental indicators across multiple categories, so you can … find products that address your values."

PIECES OF FLAIR

Labels, seals, and certifications may offer at-a-glance environmental approval, but they track varying criteria, and some are only single-attribute claims. Here is a sample of the ecolabel programs and sustainability standards that are offered today.

The International Living Future Institute's Declare database-and label- lists a building product's composition, source, and manufacturing locations and color codes potential hazards.

The Pharos database identifies a product's VOCs, toxicity, renewable material content, energy sources, and reflectance.

Greenguard certifies low-emissions materials and interior products to promote indoor air quality (IAQ) and reduce chemical exposure.

Scientific Certification Systems independently verifies items such as life cycle assessment, forestry management, and furniture and flooring emissions.

Green Seal develops life cycle-based sustainability standards and offers thirdparty certification.

To receive the Energy Star label, products must meet specific energy efficiency requirements and be certified by an EPA-recognized certification body.

MBDC Cradle to Cradle Certification evaluates products based on their use of materials with closed-loop life cycles. It assesses products in five categories: material health, material reutilization, renewable energy use, water stewardship, and social responsibility.

Developed in Germany, the Passivhaus or Passive House Institute requires buildings to meet stringent energy and IAQ standards.

DETAIL

Kilden Curved Façade

IN SOUTHERN NORWAY, A PERFORMING ARTS CENTER BY HELSINKI FIRM ALA ARCHITECTS EMBRACES AND AMAZES VISITORS WITH A WOODEN WALL THAT CANTILEVERS TO THE HARBOR'S EDGE.

The geometric, darkgray aluminum panels cladding the building's rear and side elevations juxtapose the warmth and curves of the Kilden Performing Arts Center's main façade, which emulates a rippling stage curtain or the wooden hulls of ships pulling into harbor.

TURNING A BUILDING TYPOLOGY on its heels can take a lot of conviction. Luckily, an unincorporated team of architecture students and recent graduates had no shortage of conviction when they entered an international competition to design a performance hall for a symphony orchestra, regional theater group, and opera in Kristiansand, Norway. As it turns out, the group's idea to manifest the diverse program for the Kilden Performing Arts Center on the building façadewas selected, leading to the foundation of ALA Architects in Helsinki.

Theaters often emphasize a "blank tower on the building that nobody will recognize," says Samuli Woolston, a partner at ALA. "We wanted to bring out … the bellies of the actual shapes of the auditoriums, and how the seats rise and become visible on the surface."

Designed in collaboration with local firm SMS Arkitekter, the 24,600-square-meter (265,000-square-feet) structure hosts a 1,200- seat concert hall, a 700-seat theater and opera hall, a 150-seat experimental theater hall, and a 235-seat multipurpose hall. The suite of spaces, which align in a row behind the lobby, is delineated by the undulating 3,500-squaremeter (37,700-square-feet) wooden façade, which spans from the lobby floor to the 22- meter-tall cantilevered roof. The curves draw visitors into the performance halls, as if they were being "sucked into a cave,"Woolston says.

The dynamic surface is derived from two lines: the curved one that outlines the auditoriums at its base and the austere, 95-meterlong straight edge of the roof. Creating the double-curved form between the lines-with the curved line nearly l twice the length of the straight one-tested the limits of modeling, fabrication, and construction.

The challenge fell to Zurich-based architectural and technology consultant Designtoproduction, which Norwegian timber contractor Trebyggeriet brought onboard, along with a Norwegian shipbuilder, Risør Trebåtbyggeri.

Steel framing, hung from the building's concrete structure, supports the curved wood Wall structurally. To create the furring system between the steel framing and the finished oak planks, Design to production proposed using 10-meter-long glue-laminated spruce beams, which could be milled by CNC fabrication machines to within a 1/2-millimeter tolerance, says partner Fabian Scheurer.

Digitally fabricating the 1,803 glulam beams and 12,248 oak finished boards, which together comprise the wooden façade, required the consultants to model every aspect of the wall "down to the last screw hole," Scheurer says. The team divided the furring system into 126 decklike elements, each comprising two straight header beams with nine to 13 curved beams in between. Seat cuts to align the oak planks were milled into the glulam beams, which average 120- millimeters-by-280-millimeters in section. Fabricated in Switzerland by timber consultant Blumer-Lehmann, the curved beams were transported to a shipyard in Norway, where they joined the Trebyggeriet-fabricated header beams and the Risør Trebåtbyggeri-fabricated oak planks.

The 21-millimeter-thick, 3-meter-long planks made from Norwegian oak-a reference to Kristiansand's founding in the 17th century as a harbor to export wood to Europe for shipbuilding-were milled in sets of four on a five-axis CNC machine. To compensate for the differences in length between the wall's defining curved and straight lines, the planks taper in width between 120 millimeters and 55 millimeters, but maintain the 10-millimeter gap between boards. "At some point, the boards would become too small," Scheurer says. Once the planks taper to 55 millimeters, a new 120-millimeter board picks up where two planks left off .

The long edges of the oak planks were also angled to accommodate the surface's inward and outward curves. As many as 180 planks fit on each furring element. Each plank was slightly bleached and then re-dyed to help preserve its rich, uniform color from fading due to exposure to the sun and Norwegian winters, Woolston says.

Risør Trebåtbyggeri then preassembled the elements in its shipyard, where the prefabricated assemblies could be easily transported on barges to Kilden's water front site 100 kilometers away. If all went as planned, the assemblies would "snap into place, just like an Ikea building kit for 126 façade elements," Scheurer says.

To mitigate the difference between the 15-millimeter tolerance in the steel-frame construction and the 2-millimeter tolerance allowed in the finished ceiling gaps, Design to production fabricated each furring element with eight connection points that allowed for some play during the wall installation. "Unfortunately, the human eye is pretty good at seeing non-straight lines," Scheurer says. In the end, the team's meticulous planning and assembly paid off : Only one of the 126 elements required a slight modification.

While the wooden façade appears to run continuously from the building interior to exterior, the glass curtain wall actually truncates the oak planks, creating a clean break between inside and outside members. The curtain wall stops shortly once it disappears above the finished wood surface to avoid interfering with the steel framing. The curtain wall is supported on grade, allowing the wooden façade to move freely, not only to accommodate thermal loads but also loads from "heavy winds blowing down from the ford," Woolston says.

The intersection of the glazed and wooden façades at the outside corners of the building also proved to be one of the design's greatest fabrication challenges. The return of the curtain wall into the cantilevered wooden façade creates a diagonal intersection that runs the height of the glazing. "In those corners, you have double-curved elements" where the furring elements are no longer planar curves, but spatial curves that bend in two directions, Scheurer says.

The graceful movement and materiality of the wave wall, which took about 18 months to complete, belies its complexity. Downplaying the wall as a "huge eaves structure," Woolston says that "the most interesting part was the collaboration with Design to production and the way of using two very simple lines to create a big surface."

55,438

The number of seat cuts made in the glulam beams to ensure the continuity of the gaps between the finished oak planks

MIND & MATTER

Virtual Design

Using a mobile device's camera feature, Urbasee Project superimposes virtual models-in this case, HWKN's Wendy- onto the camera image.

REMEMBER THE HYPE around virtual reality? The movement to create digitally l constructed environments that stand in for real experiences took off in the 1990s with the development of computing technologies and gaming software. For architects looking to communicate their designs with greater realism, an immersive, stereoscopic visualization technique holds much appeal. However, virtual reality (VR) has been cumbersome to implement; VR labs often rely on the Cave Automatic Virtual Environment model-a small enclosure that limits the experience to one person at a time. Consequently, not many people have been seen wearing VR headsets lately.

But VR is far from extinct-in fact, it's finally l gaining traction, garnering increased interest from Hollywood as well as the military, aerospace, medical, and gaming industries. The proliferation of mobile computing, wireless, and GPS technologies has enabled VR to escape the lab. Now, architects can use VR as a productive, on-the-go tool, untethered from the cumbersome hardware of the past.

GPS-enabled mobile electronic platforms on tablet computers or smart phones can simulate a live, digital "slice" of another environment- like a mobile aperture depicting an alternate world. The most compelling VR applications augment reality, layering invisible or simulated data onto the visible world.

The French company Urbasee has released two such architectural applications. Urbasee Project brings 2D drawings to life, tethering virtual models to tabletop plans for enhanced design meetings. Meanwhile, Urbasee Future superimposes virtual building models to scale onto their proposed sites. Both programs require KMZ-format georeferenced files, such as those produced by Sketch Up. Otherwise, the tools are ready to go-no headset or cables required.

These aperture-style VR tools do not provide stereoscopic immersion, but the development of wireless technologies that can deliver large amounts of real-time data has enabled the first generation of full-immersion VR systems in a semi-mobile format. At the University of Minnesota, where I teach, faculty in the College of Design and the Digital Design Consortium have developed such a tool (see "For Real," at right).

Despite their capabilities, the tablet and wireless VR-based tools have their limitations, including seamless tracking. In my experience, the smoothness of Urbasee's operation varies with the strength of the GPS signal. The University of Minnesota VR tool also has time-delays in its delivery of wireless data-a problem that the team is currently troubleshooting.

Economics is another challenge. While the visualization of one project is free, Urbasee charges more than $1,000 per year for additional projects. Although the Minnesota system is free for university faculty, staff, and students for educational purposes, non-university entities must pay a resource fee.

Nevertheless, these approaches demonstrate the extent to which VR-now freed from the dark recesses of the cave-is becoming significantly l more accessible and publicly visible. Soon, we may all be stepping into our designs.

FOR REAL

The University of Minnesota Virtual Reality Design Lab (VRDL) recently installed a VR system in Rapson Hall, where the schools of architecture and landscape architecture reside. The brainchild of architecture associate professor Lee Anderson, the VRDL platform allows multiple users to experience immersive, stereoscopic VR while roaming about Rapson Courtyard with wireless headsets. The platform offers more than 900 square feet of tracked area with room to grow. "We're pushing the boundaries in several areas, including the size of the space that we're using, which is really big for a virtual reality system," Anderson told the Minnesota Daily.

1968

The year in which Ivan Sutherland created the "headmounted three dimensional display." The heavy forerunner of virtual reality headsets had to be suspended from the ceiling.

SOURCE: INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION FOR INFORMATION PROCESSING
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