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myriad green features like open office partitions that combine
low solid portions for daylighting with high glass sections for
acoustical separation, the USGBC headquarters in Washington,
D.C. are Platinum certified under the LEED v3 system. Photo:
Interview: USGBC Founder Rick Fedrizzi
by Holley Henderson
Rick, what does sustainability mean to you personally?
To me, the definition of "sustainable" is simple: It
means living my life today in a way that ensures my
children, their children, and their children will be
able to live as well as I did.
It means laying the groundwork for a future that is more
prosperous, more healthful, and more equitable than our
present. It means that our habits - at a personal level
as well as at a global level - don't lead to an inevitable
depletion of resources that would disrupt our quality of
Living sustainably means exactly what it says: that our
lifestyles can be sustained, and that we don't prove to
be our own worst enemies.
Why did you enter the field of green building, and how
did you make the transition?
I was fortunate enough to have worked for 25 years at
United Technologies Corporation (UTC), an early pioneer
in what was then a fairly esoteric idea: that the
unprecedented technological progress of our era could
actually be harnessed for good.
In other words, UTC recognized that true progress isn't
about a decision between technological expansion or
environmental quality; it is about embracing them both,
and especially the places where they intersect and
complement each other.
It was the beginning of our understanding of the triple
bottom line, and I knew I wanted to be part of it.
We hear so much about the negative impacts of human
activity on the environment; tell us how, in your view,
green building acts as an "antidote" to alleviate these
negative impacts and/or creates positive impacts on the
Green building isn't about a laundry list of negative
human behaviors that we shouldn't do. It's about all the
innovative, exciting, and life-affirming things we can
and should do that lead to an economy, an environment,
and a social landscape in harmony with each other. It's
about solutions, and the businessman in me knew that
this was the key to making real change.
Ray Kappe, FAIA designed this LEED Platinum-certified model prefabricated house for developer LivingHomes.
Photo: Tom Bonner
A Brief History of Prefab
by Peter Gössel, Arnt Cobbers, Oliver Jahn
After the Second World War there was a regular
prefabricated housing boom in the United States. Some 70
companies were active in this market segment in the
post-war era, ultimately leading to the construction of
roughly 200,000 prefabricated houses.
However, companies such as Vultee, Lustron, and the Spartan Aircraft Company, which offered buildings built on the basis of steel frames or clad in sheet metal, were still not able to survive.
Companies that limited themselves to more conventional forms and materials were more successful, and correspondingly, most of the prefabricated houses were clad in shingles and had pitched roofs.
When Gropius's student Carl Koch developed his first prefabricated house in 1948, he equipped it in the best Bauhaus tradition with a flat roof. When it failed to sell, he developed his Techbuilt House, this time of course with a pitched roof — and he was soon successful.
Prefab in Postwar Europe
The situation in Europe was more difficult: although millions of people had no place to live on the Old Continent due to the destruction of the Second World War, people were reluctant to accept prefabricated construction.
PreFab Houses by Peter Gössel, Arnt Cobbers, and Oliver Jahn is an outstanding new collection of both rare and well-known examples.
In Germany, which had not only lost 25 percent of its entire housing stock to bombing, but also had to integrate 12 million refugees from former German territories in Eastern Europe, one form of prefabricated housing was used extensively: the Nissen Hut (similar to the Quonset hut).
An attempt was also made in post-war France to combat housing shortages with the help of prefabricated houses. In 1944, Jean Prouvé was already commissioned by the Ministry of Reconstruction and Urban Planning to build 800 houses as emergency shelters that could be easily disassembled.
However, only 400 of these "Maisons àportique", which were equipped with an axial steel frame, were ever erected. Again commissioned by the government, Prouvé developed a series of aluminum-clad lightweight steel houses based on the same principle, but only a few were ever erected because they were more expensive than expected. Prouvé's Alba houses, developed for the Abbey Pierre's homeless organization in 1956, were also not a success.
The Prefabulous 60s
The 1960s were a period of social transition in which attitudes towards prefabricated housing also changed. During this era — which was marked by space travel, the moon landing, and even children's books that predicted weekend trips to distant galaxies — prefabricated construction was discovered both as a form of artistic expression and as a technical means of creating houses to provide a basis for new lifestyles, which seemed to be imminent in a society characterized by an extremely optimistic view of progress.
NBBJ designed the 535,000-square-foot (50,000-square-meter) Lunder Building, on the campus of Massachusetts General Hospital, with this five-story atrium. Photo: Courtesy AIA
People and Places
AIA Healthcare Awards - Boston, Bethesda, Nairobi, Georgia —
Canopea by Team Rhone Alpes Wins Solar Decathlon Europe 2012
RIBA Gold Medal to Peter Zumthor
AIA Healthcare Awards - Boston, Bethesda, Nairobi, Georgia
Four buildings have been named recipients of this year's AIA/ AAH Healthcare Design Awards, one in each of four awards categories. The projects include a hospice facility in Albany, Georgia, a major new building for Massachusetts General Hospital, a Bethesda, Maryland facility for researching and treating traumatic brain injury, and a planned medical center for Nairobi, Kenya.
The Lunder Building is a high-tech, flexible structure designed to advance Massachusetts General Hospital, in Boston, Massachusetts, into a third century of care. The 535,000-square-foot (50,000-square-meter) building houses procedural programs, 150 inpatient beds, progressive technologies, and new emergency and radiation oncology departments.
Located on a compact urban site in downtown Boston, the building, split into a procedural program base and an upper bed tower, is also linked to five adjacent facilities. A key design element was connections to natural light and gardens; a five-story atrium garden connects all patient floors. ...
It's fast, easy, private, and secure.
Vectorworks Architect 2012
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Software for Sizing Wood Framing Members
Forte(TM) software from Weyerhaeuser is a powerful tool for
sizing wood framing members, including joists, headers, beams,
wall studs, and columns. Users can size dimension lumber and
engineered wood products, even accounting for seismic and wind
loads. Size for a specific spacing or member depth, or just the
best economical fit. The software is now used by more than
10,000 engineers, architects, home designers, and other building
professionals. Easy to use, it offers the ability to quickly
compare alternatives, and provides exporting capabilities that
facilitate information sharing.
Chief Architect X5 Released - Chief Architect Press Release, 2012.1009
3D Systems Acquires Rapidform - 3D Systems Press Release, 2012.1009
Wall Footing Relationship Revisited - Autodesk Building Coder Blog, 2012.1008
HP and Autodesk Move AEC Workflows to the Cloud - Cadalyst, 2012.1004
Siemens Acquires Belgium's VRcontext for 3D Visualization - Siemens Press Release, 2012.1004
Hard Drives for CAD Workstations - CAD Speed, 2012.1003
Creo View Mobile App Released for iPad and iPhone - Creo Press Release, 2012.1002
Review: Nvidia GeForce GTX 660 and GTX 650 - Graphic Speak, 2012.1001
Physical Testing Is Still Vitally Important - Desktop Engineering, 2012.1001
Product News - Glass Wall Solutions for Interior Design
The SCHOTT Wall System provides a complete package of
quality glass solutions with installations to suit
interior applications, such as illuminated walls and
stylish partitions. Utilizing extruded aluminum
profiles, the Wall System is both strong and durable,
while light and attractive in appearance. The modular
construction offers diverse design and set-up options,
ranging from free-standing individual display modules to
more extensive connected walls.
See our comprehensive visual catalog of architectural products, powered by DesignGuide!
"Researching buildings that incorporated sustainability, loved the
amount of information and images provided by the site."
— DTK, Morris, Pennsylvania
The main spans of the longest suspension bridges tend to
be how many times longer than the main spans of the
longest steel arch bridges?
Match these stones with the descriptions below: slate,
marble, granite, travertine, and limestone
a. Once a limestone, this stone achieved metamorphosis
from intense pressures and high temperatures within the
b. A variety of limestone formed in pools by the
precipitation of hot mineral-rich spring water. The
characteristic holes were created when carbon dioxide
bubbles were trapped as the stone was being formed.
c. A fine-grained, metamorphic stone derived from
sedimentary rock shale.
d. A sedimentary stone, formed from prehistoric
skeletons and shells.
e. An igneous rock, once molten, which formed as it
cooled deep within the earth.
f. Commercially, any stone capable of taking a polish
(with the exception of granite).
Classic Home 057 — William Beard House, by Richard Neutra
"This steel-built house of 1200 square feet (110 square meters), was built for William Beard in Altadena, California. Full-height, sliding glass and steel partitions communicate with a side and a rear patio and to the breakfast nook and kitchen, both of which have a broad view to the Sierra Madre mountains.
"Built-in furniture saves considerable floor area and keeps much of the livable area free from obstruction. In spite of the apparently large window area, the amount of direct radiation permitted to enter the interior is limited by roof projections, other overhangs, and curtains that move in a continuous track. A steel stairway leads up to a roof garden. ...
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