Thursday, December 10, 2020

PA Architects Recognized In First Awards For Commitment To The Environment, Fighting Climate Change By PA Chapter American Institute Of Architects

Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Institute of Architects recently announced their 2020 Architectural Excellence Awards, including the inaugural COTE Awards to recognize projects that protect the environment and fight climate change.

In total, more than 80 awards and recognitions were presented to firms and individuals across Pennsylvania for excellence in design, contributions to the profession of architecture, and commitment to the quality of the built environment. Read more here.

Environmental Awards

In step with the AIA Pennsylvania strategic plan and AIA National’s dedication to fighting climate change and inequities in the built environment, a joint Taskforce of the Committee on the Environment and Committee on Design established the COTE Awards program with two core objectives.

The inaugural COTE Awards jury was made up of a panel of AIA Seattle COTE members independent of the design awards jury. Brad Benke, Shannon Bunsen, and Zachary Stevens gathered virtually to review 34 submissions to the inaugural Architectural Excellence COTE Awards. 

They reviewed the projects through the lens of the following AIA Framework for Design Excellence measures indicating how buildings perform for the health and wellness of the occupants, communities, and the environments they serve.

Those projects recognized include--

-- COTE Award Of Excellence: Murray Associates Architects, P.C. [Harrisburg] - PA Housing Finance Agency Harrisburg: The PA Housing Finance Agency needed to expand their urban headquarters but were landlocked by deteriorating historic buildings and a small parking lot. The dilapidated historic (C.1904) Hickok House, adjacent to PHFA was purchased, its rear non-historical addition was razed, and its exterior was restored. The interiors were retrofitted for a training center and conference rooms. 

The new eight-story glass, precast concrete and brick tower blends old and new within the neighborhood’s context. Its footprint overlays a small parking lot and the former 1970’s non-historical Hickok House addition. 

For more usable space, the top four floors cantilever over the historical building. 

Office functions utilize massive amounts of energy. To meet USGBC and PHIUS criteria, an electrochromic curtain wall system, VRF mechanical systems, 77 solar panels, and a living roof were integrated. Since its completion in January, the building uses 49 percent less energy than similar code compliant office buildings.  Read more here.

-- COTE Citation: CICADA Architecture [Philadelphia] - Casa Indiana, Philadelphia: Casa Indiana rises from the site of a former yarn mill in the Fairhill neighborhood of Philadelphia. 

Standing among old Philadelphia rowhomes and a new art walk, the 50 senior apartments in Casa Indiana provides much needed affordable housing for the aging Puerto Rican community. 

It is the continuation of decades of work by the Hispanic Association of Contractors and Enterprises (HACE) to build an equitable future for Fairhill and uplift the cultural identity of the neighborhood. 

Sited along the busy thoroughfare of N 2nd Street, Casa Indiana peels back at the corner to reveal a plaza and a sculpture by a local artist. In the back, the building embraces a Secret Garden that provides areas for senior activities of all kinds; a paved plaza for larger gatherings, a lawn for smaller gatherings and recreation and raised planters for ease of access for the seniors.  Read more here.

-- COTE Citation: Pfaffman + Associates [Pittsburgh] - Forest Hills Municipal Building, Pittsburgh: The new zero energy Forest Hills Municipal Building began as many as many projects due when faced with obsolete facilities and high energy bills. 

The resulting community driven design features SIPS roof and walls, 175Kw solar array, geothermal well system, onsite stormwater management, timber structure and rain screen siding. 

The Parti or organizing principle of the design is a linear hall that connects the primary program elements: Police, Borough Offices, Council Chambers, Community Room, and Library. 

Each can be operated independently while maintaining security. The engineered timber frame provides a rich framework for the design and is expressed on the exterior at the main entrance portico and extended roof for solar control. 

The residents of Forest Hills passion for their forested landscape is expressed both in timber detailing and the recognition of their commitment to global sustainability in an efficient and long lived model civic home.

-- COTE Citation: Richard Pedranti Architect [Milford, Pike County] - Lang St. Marie Net Zero Resident, Spring Lake Heights, NJ: The Lang/St. Marie Residence is a prefabricated, Net Zero home in the New Jersey shore town of Spring Lake Heights. 

The front of the modern residence blends into its well-established beach neighborhood. The rear features a stunning 16-foot cantilever creating a large covered outdoor space. A retractable glass wall allows the indoor, covered and backyard garden spaces to flow together enabling the desired indoor/outdoor beach lifestyle. 

Passive House design principles resulted in low energy consumption for heating and cooling and a cozy, healthy indoor environment. The addition of a roof mounted PV solar system achieved Net-Zero Building (NZB). 

The architect’s BIM software was translated into machine language which off-site robotic manufacturing machines used to create panelized wall assemblies. These were transported to New Jersey where the home was assembled in two weeks. 

The design aesthetic, application of building science and off-site fabrication make this residence the epitome of modern design.  Read more here.

-- COTE Citation: HOK [Philadelphia] - LG North American Headquarters, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: The new $300 million North American headquarters enables LG to consolidate up to 1,200 people from six divisions across New Jersey into one location. 

The LEED-Platinum certified development is the newest state-of-the-art office facility in the tristate area, and the campus has become a post-COVID-19 model for companies looking for flexible office space outside of major urban centers. 

Rejecting the deep floor plates common to suburban office buildings, the competition-winning design offered slimmer proportions, with two narrow ‘wings’ linked by a public atrium, and a landscape inclusive of outdoor amenities and significant areas of ecological restoration. 

The design preserved the site’s natural woodlands and wetlands while restoring much of the land to its natural habitat. None of the structures rise above the surrounding tree canopy in order to protect sensitive viewsheds along the serene Hudson River.  Read more here.

-- COTE Citation: GBBN [Pittsburgh] - Tree Pittsburgh Headquarters, Pittsburgh: Dedicated to growing the urban forest, Tree Pittsburgh wanted a sustainable headquarters that gives employees and volunteers easy access to the 100,000 trees they nurture and plant each year. 

Sited on a former steel mill above the Allegheny River, the simple, open building is comprised of nine double height modules. 

Using prefabricated modules reduces on-site construction waste and creates a tight thermal seal for the building. The modules sit lightly on the land, anchored by foundation piles that compress, rather than displace existing soil. 

Strategically placed doors and windows capture views and bring in light. A long, linear porch serves as an outdoor space for staff to relax and for guests to gather at an event. 

Photovoltaic solar panels on the south-facing roof help Tree Pittsburgh achieve net zero energy. A 3,000-gallon temperature-controlled water tank provides the campus with its potable water; sensors alert staff when supply is low.  Read more here.

The 2020 COTE awards and made possible by Atlantic Engineering Services: A structural engineering firm with net-zero experience and 450+ LEED projects.f

Click Here for more on the COTE Awards.

Excellence In Design Awards

Among the 2020 AIA Pennsylvania Architectural Excellence Design Awards were these projects were these environment-friendly projects in Pennsylvania--

-- Honor Award - Bohlin Cywinski Jackson [Pittsburgh] - ANSYS Hall, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh: Targeting LEED Gold, the design centers on innovation with flexible high-bay, laboratories, and collaboration areas that open onto an outdoor maker court.

ANSYS Hall is the final link to the College of Engineering “Maker Ecosystem” that includes nano-, micro-, and macro- fabrication, bringing together undergraduate and graduate students from multiple disciplines in a hands-on environment that encourages and displays the cross-pollination of ideas and innovation.  Read more here.

-- Merit Award - evolveEA [Pittsburgh] - Etna EcoDistrict Plan, Allegheny County: The Borough of Etna has long held a vulnerable position - environmentally, economically, and in terms of social equity. 

The community faces food scarcity, underinvestment, and serious environmental challenges, such as increasingly frequent flooding and air quality, that limit positive outcomes. 

In response, the community came together to increase their resiliency with actions and architecture. 

The Etna EcoDistrict focuses on six quality of life areas that are manifest in place: water, mobility, air, energy, food, and equity and through a series of catalytic projects, Etna has demonstrated their commitment to carbon neutrality by the year 2050. 

The plan has already resulted in community cohesion that has proven durable during covid. The effort also yielded: a new non-profit to steward the plan; initiation of a Community Library in a historic building; and achievement of the world’s first EcoDistricts Certified Community.  Read more here.

Click Here for more on the Excellence Design Award winners.

Visit the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Institute of Architects website for more information on programs, initiatives and upcoming events.

(Photos: Top- PA Housing Finance Agency; Casa Indiana; Forest Hills Municipal Building. 2nd Row-  Lang St. Marie Net Zero Residence; LG North American Headquarters; Tree Pittsburgh.)

Related Articles - Climate - Energy:

-- PA Energy Development Authority Provides $1.7 Million In Grants To 11 Clean Energy, Energy Efficiency Projects 

-- Highlights Publishing Foundation Receives $116,000 Grant To Support Boyds Mills Net Positive Energy Project In Wayne County

-- Penn State Extension: Climate Change And Water Resources In PA Webinar Dec. 30 

-- PPL Utilities Posts Winners Of Change A Little, Save A Lot Energy Efficiency Video Contest

Profiles In Leadership This Week:

-- Bart & Vivian Bartolacci Make Woods & Water Conservation Gift To The Future In Monroe County

-- The Miller Family's Farm, Stream Restoration Adventure - 4 Years Later In Berks County

-- The Tenacity Of Tree Planters Like Ann Wain Of Paxton Creek Watershed Assn. And PA Student Leader Lenka Platt Work To Improve Environment

-- Greg Wilson, Donegal Trout Unlimited - Another DCNR Good Natured Pennsylvanian Improving Water Quality, Fish Habitat

-- The Witmer Family & Manada Conservancy Permanently Protect 89 Acres Of Woodland Along Kittatinny Ridge In Dauphin County

-- Farm Families & PA Farmland Preservation Program Permanently Protect 14,727 Acres Of Farmland In 2020

-- Farmers, Scientists In 15 Organizations Partner In New PA Soil Health Coalition To Achieve Water Quality, Farm Production Goals

-- 2 Chester County Townships Join Brandywine-Christina Watershed Pay-For-Success Water Quality Cleanup Initiative By i2 Capital, The Nature Conservancy

-- Volunteers, Landowners & Staff Of Lebanon Valley Conservancy Highlight 2020 Accomplishments & Goals

-- Volunteers In Darby Creek Valley Assn., Partners Cleanup Darby Creek Watershed In 4 Southeast Counties

-- Students, Adults Recognized By PA Resources Council As Winners Of 2020 Gene Capaldi Lens On Litter Photo Contest

-- Grateful For Our Volunteers - The Department Of Conservation & Natural Resources

-- Students Recognized At Westminster College Symposium On The Environment

-- Custodians Of Our Ecosystems - Women, Raptors And Unsettling Words Virtual Program Dec. 17, Lehigh Gap Nature Center

[Posted: December 10, 2020]  PA Environment Digest

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