Submission Deadline: January 17, 2018

2018 COTE Competition

COTE Top Ten for Students


January 17, 2018

Submission Deadline

Spring 2018

Jury Convenes

April 22, 2018

Winners Announced on Earth Day

2018 COTE Competition Winners

The American Institute of Architects Committee on the Environment (AIA COTE), in partnership with the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) and in collaboration with Architecture 2030, have selected the recipients of the 2018 AIA COTE Top Ten for Students: INNOVATION 2030 Competition. The competition recognizes ten exceptional studio projects that demonstrate designs moving towards carbon-neutral operation through creative and innovative integration of design strategies such as daylighting, passive heating and cooling, materials, water, energy generation, and sustainable systems. The program challenged students to submit projects that use a thoroughly integrated approach to architecture, natural systems, and technology to provide architectural solutions that protect and enhance the environment.

The jury for the 2018 AIA COTE Top Ten for Students Competition includes:

Karin Bjorkman
Nola | Van Peursem Architects
2016-2017 COTE Student Winner

Justin Brown 
MASS Design Group

Thomas Fisher
University of Minnesota

Chris Flint Chatto 
ZGF Architects

Jeanne Gang
Studio Gang

Energy Commons: A Hypothetical Replacement for Gas Stations

Student: Buddy Burkhalter, University of Washington
Faculty Sponsors: David Strauss & Louisa Iarocci, University of Washington

Project Description

While surviving as a monument to the power of car culture in the 20th century, today the gas station has become increasing obsolete in the face of growing cities and increasing environmental awareness. Alternative energy sources and different modes of transit such as walking, biking, car sharing, and public transit have grown in popularity. As a result, the number of gas stations nationally has decreased since the 1970s, especially in urban contexts. While the redevelopment of gas station sites aims to increase density by filling the voids in the fabric once dedicated to the car, they typically fail to address the history of the site as an urban node in the circulation of people, vehicles, and energy. With their prime urban locations and past associations, the sites of former gas stations have the potential to become new nodes of distribution and communication in the city.

This obsolesce of the urban gas station offers the potential for a new building type that will better serve today’s changing needs for transportation and distribution of energy. The proposal consists of the design for a small-scale urban amenity node, or “Energy Commons” in Seattle in climate zone 4C. At 36,000 square feet, The “Energy Commons” will combine utilitarian functions with a contextual neighborhood-based program through personal vehicle recharging, neighborhood co-working offices, cyclist and pedestrian amenities, and solar energy and water harvesting and storage. The goal is to transform the former car-centered and consumptive structure into a new public urban asset that is human focused and energy-resource resilient. Looking forward to 2030, the proposal demonstrates innovative design thinking within in an urban context that can be replicated at multiple scales to support human activity and minimize the effects of climate change and resource deficiencies.

Project Response - COTE Ten Measures

Measure 1: Design for Integration
Gas stations reflect the hugely negative impact of fossil fuels on people and the environment through airborne emissions and soil contamination. A goal of the project is to make the Energy Commons a place of production of energy and water rather than of consumption. Additionally, Seattle is quickly increasing in population and building density. While the need for affordable housing has been a concern of city officials and developers, the importance of urban amenities to support the growing population has typically been overlooked. The project fills a lack of amenities and optimizes itself through a contextual and mixed program specific to the neighborhood it is located. Because the project is located in a temperate marine climate, building occupants are comfortable using passive systems for 61% of the year. South facing facades have glazing to allow the low winter sun to warm the building. Furthermore, ground level and below grade program is unconditioned, while internal loads from technology on the co-working floors contribute as a heat source in the winter for those respective levels in the winter.

Measure 2: Design for Community
The program is a response to contemporary shifts in energy distribution and urban mobility. The hierarchy of use is reflective of the emphasis on the human and bicycle rather than the gasoline automobile. This reimagined building type is a spatial means to serve a range of personal transportation options (walking, cycling, and electric vehicles) and address renewable resource distribution deficiencies in growing cities. In better serving the neighborhood through a flexible use, the contextual program will allow the project to ground itself within its unique and immediate surroundings. The physical and demographic characteristics of the neighborhood reinforce the analytical site selection process within a walkable, bicycle-friendly, urban growth neighborhood that is well-connected to transit. Ground level program spills out to public space on the east and west edges of the site and engages the side walk. The temporal and open nature of the coworking levels allows the mixing of local entrepreneurs and community non-profit organizations.

Measure 3: Design for Ecology
Planters along the street-sidewalk edge contain fauna that can thrive with minimal watering and withstand heat to be resilient for future increase in inclement weather. Additionally, constructed wetlands and bioswales run the site edges. These gardens contain horsetail, which is extremely hardy and flourish in Seattle. With 22% of the urban site supporting vegetation, the project provides substantially more plant life than the surrounding greyfields and sidewalks that are devoid of trees and plantings. The site sits on a watershed that leads to the Puget Sound. Hard surface storm water gathers from adjacent sites and greyfields and is treated onsite before entering groundwater. Furthermore, the project is not built at full height to provide a relief from suffocating density and provide a landmark for neighborhood legibility.

Measure 4: Design for Water
Unlike typical gas stations that have extensive asphalt surfaces which contribute to pollute groundwater by contaminating runoff, the Energy Commons collects and reuses rainwater onsite and within the building. 174% of water needs are provided by captured rain. Water is harvested from the PV array and a hanging gutter under the roof structure. A cistern is located below grade for rainwater storage before being treated for use in sinks and showers. Waterless urinals and composting toilets are present in all restrooms. All plumbing fixtures are high efficiency. All water treatment is located below grade for easily accessible maintenance. Onsite swales and constructed wetlands filter building graywater and neighborhood storm water through multiple cycles for groundwater recharge. 269% of stormwater is managed onsite from direct rainfall or runoff from surrounding sites. Water storage and treatment are oversized to handle extreme rain or drought events. All vegetation on-site can thrive with minimal watering and withstand heat to be resilient for future increase in inclement weather.

Measure 5:  Design for Economy
The top two floors are entirely co-working space with flexible small to large group working environments for multi-use. Resources such as kitchens, lobby, meeting rooms, storage, and restrooms are shared rather than in a more typical office environment and therefore brings operating costs of the building down. Annual energy cost ($3.35/m2/yr) is brought below Architecture 2030 baseline ($4.16 m2/yr) though a high performance envelope built at Passive House standards, roof overhang, triple-glazed windows, window-to-wall ratio and orientation, automated shading, ground source heat, in-floor radiant heating, water harvesting and reuse, and PV payback. A standardized CLT panel construction system allows for a lower construction cost. Because the Energy Commons is a public-private amenity with longevity in mind, the project proposes varied uses to supply the community with needed resources.

Measure 6:  Design for Energy
Energy use from a typical office building is reduced through strategies that incorporate a high performance envelope built at Passive House standards, natural ventilation, triple glazed windows, automated shading, ground source heat, making use of unconditioned program, smart lighting, and encouraging conservation through shared human activitiesCovering the full site canopy in a photovoltaic array allows maximum solar collection. This can be seen in section as power switches from unrenewable ground sources to the sky. Renewable energy is harvested from the sun to satisfy plug loads. The photovoltaic energy array pushes the proposal to carbon neutral and is able to power electric vehicle kiosks and car share.

Measure 7:  Design for Wellness
Users of the Energy Commons avoid the harmful fumes of typical petrol stations and do not encounter the toxic soil of the former site. The massing strategy of the western portion of the building uses passive ventilation in the summer when prevailing winds from south will remove heat through stack effect. To maximize ventilation operable windows move straight out, drawing in air from all sides. In the summer, exterior shades deploy to scatter direct rays before they hit the glass. In the winter, the shades maximize daylight in the office spaces and protect against direct glare on the workstations.

Measure 8:  Design for Resources
The primary structural system of the enclosed building is cross laminated timber (CLT) panels. Exterior cladding is a metal panelized rainscreen system for ease of maintenance and durability. These structural components and material choices have standardized fabrication practices and come in dimensional sizes making construction and assembly inexpensive and quick. CLT was chosen over concrete, steel, and timber framing to reduce material waste, maximize potential carbon offset benefit through avoided greenhouse gas emissions and carbon sequestration, and a lowered net embodied carbon in predicted construction. Furthermore, with the site in Seattle, CLT is a local material with manufacturing less than 300 miles away. Also, the interior wood finish provides a biophilic connection for occupants. All surface concrete is permeable to allow for groundwater recharge.

Measure 9:  Design for Change
In line with the utilitarian nature of the gas station and to promote long-term functionality, the massing of the building uses a rectangular volume and open floor plan for a flexible, contextual program. Additionally the simple form allows for versatility or adaptive reuse potential. If needed to be disassembled, CLT panel connections allow for an easy process. Because average spring snowpack will decrease in the next fifty years due to climate change, Seattle’s potable water supply will diminish. The project addresses this by already storing more water than it uses and can store more with expandable storage. Technology for electric vehicles can be easily interchanged and upgraded. The project is designed with enough flexibility to adapt for other human-scaled automobiles powered by renewable energy, including autonomous vehicles.

Measure 10: Design for Discovery
Many formal iterations were tested for architectural legibility and the efficient movement of people, bicycles, and vehicles across the site. More formal daylight studies effects would strengthen the project going forward. To further test the ideas of this project, multiple sites within Seattle could be examined for similar physical characteristics from which a prototype or structural module could be developed for an entire network of Energy Commons. The idea could also be expanded regionally to the Pacific Northwest (Washington State, Idaho, Oregon, and Northern California) or the whole country by locating Energy Commons on sites of leaking underground storage tanks near major arterials or along nationally designated land revitalization corridors.

The Fourth Place: Sharing Sustainability

Student: Mary Demro, Montana State University
Faculty Sponsors: Steven P. Juroszek, Thomas McNab, & Jaya Mukhopadhyay, Montana State University

Project Description

Home prices in the Gallatin Valley have risen dramatically leading to a growing range of the population that can no longer afford a home in the area where they work.  Young professionals, and young families especially, struggle to plant long-term roots in the community whose growing popularity is pricing and pushing them out.

Mixed-use development – the close physical integration of places for work, living, recreation, and relaxation – is an essential component for building a sustainable community and in this case, provides a rare opportunity to address Bozeman’s housing crisis.

After researching how successful urban developments create ‘Third Places’ – a neutral zone outside of home (1st) and work (2nd), the ‘host of the regular, voluntary, informal, and happily anticipated gatherings’ (3rd) – this project proposes that a new ‘Fourth Place’, a confluence of the first three presented as a mixed-use development can further tap into the universal qualities of pride, identity, and economy that ultimately create ‘home.’

Each ‘Fourth Place’ is characterized by a signature sustainable building strategy and becomes an intersectional, shared space serving different user groups.  This approach attains net zero energy goals while simultaneously educating its users regarding those strategies.  It generates interaction between occupants and eliminates traditional, formulaic boundaries typical of mixed-use projects.

With a total building area of 53,000 square-feet, the program includes a local grocery store, a transit center, seventeen housing units of varying sizes, co-working spaces, a daycare, shared storage, green roofs, and an indoor community garden.  The exterior boasts a public park, wetlands, retention pond, dog park, playground, connective trail system, and car parking.

This project develops a sustainable approach to the essential components of our lives – food, shelter, and transportation – through thoughtful integration and connection of programmatic elements, sustainable strategies, and surrounding site conditions. More importantly however, it demonstrates how a symbiotic relationship can exist between building and community where people understand how to learn from, depend on, and adapt to each other and their resources in order to live productively.

Project Response - COTE Ten Measures

Measure 1: Design for Integration
The primary goal of this design was to use defining sustainable building characteristics to create shared spaces for diverse user groups to interact.  Stacking the market, transit center, housing, and daycare ‘right-sizes’ the project and creates active engagement between occupants while allowing for passive heating, cooling, and deep daylight penetration.  Elongating the form on the east-west axis takes advantage of southern sun, reduces overall footprint, and facilitates unique circulation paths inside and out.  Stepping the building along the low-slope topography and following existing drainage paths reduces site impact and creates eddies where people can enjoy their surroundings.

Measure 2: Design for Community
As a rural town, Bozeman is desirable for its relative remoteness and connection to the outdoors but it comes at a cost, lack of public transportation and community events, items more easily found in urban locations.  The transit center on this site provides both local and interstate travel routes giving residents and visitors alike greater access to the town.  Connecting the existing biking and walking trail system to this site while also offering a playground, a diversity of parks, and outdoor café seating improves the site’s transportation score, increases interaction between surrounding community members, and encourages diverse modes of transportation.

Measure 3: Design for Ecology
The primary ecological strategy was connecting to and expanding the adjacent wetlands.  This 5,800 square-feet of new wetland fosters local bird habitat and improves air quality.  Its placement aligns with the existing watershed and the prominent location aided with signage educates residents regarding its value within the ecosystem.  Consolidating the building to one mass and having tiered green roofs allows a greater percentage of the site to support vegetation, increasing site density.  All landscaping selections are both native and local.  Additionally, the solar gain space inside serves as a year-round community garden for residents, encouraging local food networks.

Measure 4:  Design for Water
By integrating both site and building water requirements, this dry climate design accommodates 172% of a 2-year, 24-hour storm event.  While the site is already designed primarily for vegetation, groundwater recharge is supplemented by appropriately placed bioswales and permeable pavers.  Rainfall collected from the roof is stored in five sub-surface cisterns which travel directly into the building for reuse.  Treatment equipment, potable water tanks, and graywater tanks are all displayed demonstrating real-time usage to residents.  The eastern retention pond creates a desirable outdoor environment for café users while also serving as overflow storage for additional water reclamation.

Measure 5: Design for Economy
Through early programming decisions this project addresses long-term and short-term costs.  Bozeman struggles with providing attainable housing so the primary goal was finding ways to reduce household costs.  For one, a new bus route creates affordable transportation to further parts of the city.   The addition of a daycare provides jobs while creating convenience and reduced costs for working parents.  Reducing standard apartment sizes and offering a 1-½ bedroom creates additional offerings.  The combined active and passive energy strategies between programmatic elements eliminates resident utility costs.  Finally, co-work spaces and shared circulation reduces square footage resulting in less overall building cost.

Measure 6: Design for Energy
The design’s reduction in energy consumption relies on its well-designed passive systems and a tight envelope.  Early massing and orientation studies produced a curved form optimizing southern exposure and wind patterns.  To address this heating-dominated climate, an indirect solar gain space uses brick for thermal mass, storing heat during the winter and acting as a solar chimney in the summer.  Operable windows provide natural ventilation and night flushing.  With residences located above the market, active heat recovery occurs between floors from day to night reducing peak energy demands.  Active systems, GSHP’s and PV’s, further enable an EUI of -8.7 kBTU.

Measure 7: Design for Wellness
To the north, residents have private views of the Bridger Mountains and to the south, the solar gain space provides both ample daylight and views to the southern range.  Additionally, this shared community garden improves indoor air quality.  The alluring nature of the space encourages use of the stairs.  Shades and deep overhangs prevent glare.

The market’s evenly distributed punched openings provide diffuse daylight; light shelves allow it to penetrate deeper into the room.  Furthermore, the market employs a nutritionist who curates recipe stations – prepared and organized ingredients with instructions encouraging fresh, home-made meals for residents.

Measure 8: Design for Resources
Material and construction decisions were primarily based on location proximity in an effort to reduce embodied energy.  Heavy timber, the only renewable structural resource, became the primary structure for its connection to the local language, its sourcing within 200 miles, and its ability to naturally sequester carbon.  The primary exterior finish, brick, was ideal as it’s locally sourced, durable in the harsh Montana climate, and has reduced amounts of construction waste due to its modularity.  Construction methods included the use of mechanical fasteners instead of sealants whenever possible to reduce the amount of VOC’s.

Measure 9: Design for Change
Due to its site location as an extension of downtown, this project’s ability to adapt both socially and structurally is critical.  On the first front, the tiered roofs leave room for additional units when housing demands increase.  Long spans on all floors and sensible floor-to-floor heights enable interior programmatic flexibility.

On a larger scale, the unique, partial A-frame created by the 60˚ angled glazing wall is well suited for earthquake resiliency, the largest concern of an area adjacent to Yellowstone National Park.  A ground floor generator and oversized retention pond aid site occupants to adapt and survive during an emergency.

Measure 10: Design for Discovery
The success of a design is not dependent on how well it is presented but its ability to perform as intended.  By modeling and testing each decision, evaluating multiple options, and collaborating with experienced professionals, this design progressed further and it more effectively addressed project concerns.  This process combined with rigorous analysis of site conditions and cultural trends gave assurance that the design appropriately addressed project needs and more.  Best practice applies this to the construction process and post occupancy evaluations.  It is openness to feedback and assistance that creates a project of which an entire team can be proud.

Studio M: A Template for Sustainability and Wellness in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania

Student: Austen Goodman, Savannah College of Art and Design
Faculty Sponsor: Alice Guess, Savannah College of Art and Design

Project Description

While many people still associate Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with the steel industry, todays Pittsburgh is a center for technological innovation. As one of the first cities to sign on to the Paris Climate Accord, Pittsburgh has become a leader in sustainable development. Historically, Pittsburgh has been a cultural center with renowned art institutions including the Warhol Museum and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. At the intersection of science and the arts is a burgeoning maker community producing hand and machine-made goods and small batch products. Studio M will provide a creative focal point for this community with retail outlets, production spaces and housing in a new riverfront neighborhood emerging from a former industrial site. The purpose of Studio M was to design a building to promote sustainability and wellness and be a template for future sustainable projects in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Once a coal and steel city, it is now a center of technology and sustainable industry. Studio M seeks to exemplify this in its design. The Shou Sugi Ban facade of the building speaks to the coal industry’s past and the buildings that were coated with ash and soot in the 80’s.  The interior contrasts this with high ceilings and a light wooden interior. As a representation of Pittsburgh’s new role as a leader in sustainable urbanism and to symbolize a break with the steel industry of the city’s past, cross laminated timber (CLT) is used as the primary building system. CLT is relatively new to North America, but is emerging as an efficient, sustainable building system – particularly for mid-rise structures.

While the CLT structure was essential for creating a more sustainable building, and sequestering carbon – other sustainable measures were also implemented. Pittsburgh’s mild climate provides multiple opportunities to integrate different sustainable solutions. The roofscape and constructed wetland are equipped with a network of Photovoltaic (PV) panels responsible for generating 292, 599 KWH of energy per year. The roof also contains a system of greenroofs, which act as water purifiers as well as insulators for the building and PV panels. The greenroof cools the PV panels and building in the summer and insulates during the winter. The building’s form was rotated to maximize southern exposure and to create programmatic green spaces. The long and narrow central volume has been maximized to allow cross ventilation breezes to cool the space. The top service floor has a solar greenhouse that uses building HVAC heat and a glazed roof to passively sustain inside plants. The exterior walls, have been clad with an innovative double skinned facade system as well as triple pane Zola windows allowing the building to both breathe as well as maximize heat retention and durability.

Project Response - COTE Ten Measures

Measure 1: Design for Integration
The buildings ground footprint has been reduced to mitigate flooding by lifting the main building volume off the ground. The building’s form was rotated to maximize southern exposure and create programmatic green spaces. The long and narrow central volume has been maximized to allow cross ventilation breezes to cool the space. Because Pittsburgh’s climate demands both heating and cooling systems to achieve thermal comfort. As a homage to the coal industry, and buildings that were coated with ash and soot in the 80’s, the building exterior is clad with fire blackened cedar Shou Sugi Bahn. The interior contrasts this with large ceilings and bright CLT wood walls, beams and columns. The top service floor has a solar greenhouse that uses building HVAC heat and a glazed roof to passively sustain inside plants. The roofscape, and constructed wetland, is equipped with a network of Photovoltaics. The roof also contains a system of greenroofs, which act as water purifiers as well as insulators for the building and PV panels. The greenroof cools the panels and the building in the summer and insulates it during the window. The exterior walls, have been clad with an innovative double skinned facade system as well as triple pane Zola windows. This allows the building to both breathe as well as maximizes heat retention and durability.

Measure 2: Design for Community
Much of the industrial infrastructure from the 1820’s onward still exists today and the result is a very strong heat island effect and a scarcity of greenspace. A constructed wetland has been proposed, along the constructed wetland is a boardwalk with different learning stations to educate locals showcasing the sustainable design precedents. The City of Pittsburgh, has proposed a tramline along the length of Smallman Street providing added mobility to the residents and shoppers. The strip district has become a diverse cultural destination. To promote international foods, a third of the maker space has been portioned into culinary space. Rather than competing with culinary businesses in the area, there is an exciting opportunity to work with local businesses to market their products more effectively in an accessible and inviting area.

Measure 3: Design for Ecology
The current site is an impermeable slab of concrete, the new proposal allows for 72% of the site to be greenscaped. It is also proposed that within vacant areas of the strip district, 450 trees and 34 acres of greenspace be planted.  This will have significant benefits of reducing flood damage as well as offsetting more than 29,000 tonnes of carbon and reducing the heat island effect.

Measure 4: Design for Water
Pittsburgh’s current stormwater and sewage system operate using the same pipe system. During periods of severe rainfall, untreated sewage and stormwater can run directly into local rivers. A three phase system has been designed to manage the building and site’s waste water. Multiple bioswales will filter rain runoff and excess water to be collected in a large containment tank under the site that contains black water. Filtered wastewater will be pumped to a constructed wetland treatment system across the street; and, the purified water will be reintroduced into the Allegheny River. A secondary system has been implemented to deal with grey water. The rooftop is equipped with a greenroof that filters rainwater to be collected in a grey water cistern. The grey water is then redistributed to plants and toilets as needed. Excess cleaned grey water is sent offsite with treated black water and reintroduced to the river in the case of an oversupply of water.

Measure 5: Design for Economy
The buildings unique program, with three main components – maker space, culinary and grocery space, and residential space creates a unique market that is designed to cater to the needs of locals within the area. Selling local culinary arts and crafts also supports the opportunity to promote the local economy within the space. Using sustainable resources and building practices also allows for a reduced budget.  Recycled timber is suggested for the interior finishings and boardwalk along the constructed wetland.

Measure 6: Design for Energy
Pittsburgh’s mild climate provides multiple opportunities to integrate different sustainable solutions. The buildings rooftop and constructed PV array are responsible for generating over 292,599 KWH of energy per year.  A ground-source geothermal HVAC system to generates heating and cooling is located sub building. This system works in conjunction with the rooftop energy unit to provide heating, cooling, ventilation, and dehumidification. In the summer the heat removed from the refrigeration cycle is absorbed by the water circulated in the wells and the cool ground.

Measure 7: Design for Wellness
Using Insight, and Ladybug the building was reoriented to maximize lighting in residential, mixed-use and other spaces. Passive ventilation straggles are also important to the health of the residents and breathability of the building. Most of the buildings surface area is equipped with a double facade – fresh air enters the building through the buildings outer facade and circulates through the interior.  In narrow areas, the building has also been designed to support cross ventilation cooling and circulating air in central zones.

Measure 8: Design for Resources
Studio M’s primary building material is Mass Timber, implementing a Post and Beam Glulam system with CLT flooring and walls. The building’s mass timber construction technique, is able to sequester over 980 Metric Tonnes of Carbon.  Due to Pittsburgh’s unique location, most of the wood is harvested in state reducing transport cost and carbon footprint.

Measure 9: Design for Change
Since the site is located in the range of the Allegheny flood zone, the building footprint has been reduced to mitigate flood damage. The high ceilings on the first floor also allow expensive machinery from the maker space to be lifted away from damaging flood water. The middle volume of the building, where the makers, public, and residents all coexist has also been lifted entirely off the ground to avoid any sort of flooding. The open plan of the building is designed with long life loose fit in mind.

Measure 10: Design for Discovery
In order to create a building that successfully integrates design, the planning phase is critical. Learning how tools like Ladybug, Insight, and Honeybee inform the design have been invaluable learning opportunities which can now be utilized in future design processes.


Students: Nicholas Scribner & Clare Hacko, California College of the Arts
Faculty Sponsors: Evan Jones & Margaret Ikeda, California College of the Arts

Project Description

The 2017 fall architectural studio focused on the Maldives, a nation averaging only 1.5 meters above the current sea level. The Maldives consist of over 1100 islands arranged in 26 atolls famous for their pristine coral reefs and resorts. Less photographed are their more populated islands where many smaller villages subsist on fishing and tourism, both of which are in danger of devastation from erosion, warming oceans and rising seas. The studio recognized this mutual dependence of ecology and economy and speculated on an adaptive architectural prototype capable of providing the Maldivians with a way to live independently of the land and self sufficiently on the ocean. Building upon previous research work testing digitally fabricated marine substrates in ocean water, the architectural studio scales up this research to investigate the formation of a floating community built upon a symbiotic relationship between housing, tourism, and research. Informed by established collaborators including marine biologists at Benthic Lab at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories and fiberglass fabricators at Kreysler and Associates, the studio sought to synthesize ideas about making and performance at a variety of scales. The conservation of resources as it pertains to ecology, energy and materials was of central interest in a place historically dependent on imported resources. The studio was able to consult with local Maldivian residents to gain insight and understanding of their daily rituals, culture and environmental landscape. Relevance of the work in the studio was further informed by engaging with an additional collaborator, The Hydrous, a local non-profit organization whose mission is to create “open access oceans”. Providing years of local monitoring and research into coral reef ecology in the Maldives with a network of scientists, divers, designers, filmmakers, and technologists, their documentation work provided a critical resource for understanding the local context and visualizing new forms and spaces for living on the water. As an integrated building design studio, the students met with naval, mechanical and structural engineers at regular intervals to develop their projects into realizable propositions whose narrative included the process of assembly, adaptability and resilience. The process of the studio moved quickly and was driven by an iterative process of physical and digital modeling, integrating research and culminating in a set of comprehensive drawings rich in both technical specificity and inspired speculation.

Project Response - COTE Ten Measures

Measure 1: Design for Integration
Dis/Placement constructs a terrain upon which its inhabitants explore a life in the act of translation from ground to water. Climate change poses an imminent threat not only to the low lying and quickly eroding land of the Maldives, but also to its drinking water supply. The existing water supply has become precarious due to saltwater contamination, rising sea levels, the increasing unpredictability of the monsoon seasons, and the lack of redundancy in the systems which often results in the expensive and wasteful import of bottled water. Through the construction of an offshore community, designed to leverage water catchment and storage, this water farm will provide clean drinking water not only to its inhabitants but also to the entire adjacent island of Dhangethi.

Measure 2: Design for Community
While each module is scaled to the individual family, public and private space within the units is divided to privilege the collective. Sleeping quarters are bunks in the lowest volume of the module, leaving the entire first floor for the collective and the second floor as an elevated kitchen. The adjustable panel walls allow for the boundaries between the public space of the unit and the public space of the site, the “grounds”, to be completely dissolved at will in order to cultivate larger collectives and invite the blurring of traditional ownership boundaries. Terraced roofs extended the collective space of the units to the site, creating opportunities for the construction of a collective at the scale of several families.

Measure 3: Design for Ecology
Unlike traditional sea crafts, Dis/Placement invites the growth of sea life through its geometry and surface rugosity. These precursor species are the foundations for healthy ocean ecologies, and will ultimately support human life at sea by maintaining a healthy and diverse ecosystem. Dis/Placement constructs a closed loop, self-sustaining system which protects and fosters the surrounding ecology through the onsite filtration and reuse of greywater and the onsite composting and reuse of both solid and liquid waste from composting toilets. The underside of each module constructs a terrain of curvature which creates maximum substrate surface area to encourage the development of biodiverse microecosystems.

Measure 4: Design for Water
Rainwater is collected at each rooftop and stored in the hull below, where water storage bladders are suspended in saltwater chambers. As the bladders fill with freshwater, saltwater is displaced from the chamber, maintaining an equilibrium for ballasting the module. Clean drinking water is pumped above for use in the module’s kitchen and bathroom. After its initial use, the water is sent to a “Greywater ground module” for filtration through a wetland column. At each greywater ground, used water can be filtered, stored, and reused for agriculture.

Measure 5: Design for Economy
Dis/Placement is constructed entirely from Fiber-Reinforced Polymer. What this innovative and developing material lacks in initial construction affordability, it makes up for in material longevity. The FRP modules are durable at sea and can be constructed on site at Dhangethi from a series of reusable molds. The site blurs traditional ownership boundaries, in order to extend the personal domain into the public, privileging collective over private ownership. This site strategy allows the individual to gain access to larger, flexible public spaces which can accomodate a much larger variety of programming than any individual unit.

Measure 6: Design for Energy
Each module is designed for maximum airflow in order to combat the warm and humid climate. The section draws air from the lower areas up through the highest volume. Adjustable wall panels allow maximum cross ventilation for passive cooling. When opened, the rotated panels perform as a shading device to reduce solar heat gain. A photovoltaic array provides energy to the site which is constructed as a micro-grid which allows for maximum efficiency in energy production and eliminates the need for fossil fuel run generators.

Measure 7: Design for Wellness
The mental and physical wellness of the inhabitants of our community depends on thoughtful integration of thermal, visual, and acoustic demands. The module’s minimal cross sectional dimension allows for maximum passive airflow, the most effective strategy for passive cooling in the hot, humid Maldivian climate. Daylighting is moderated by the panel infill walls which can be completely rotated and retracted to maximize the occupant’s connection to the outside. The translucent panels can be easily adjusted to provide ample passive ventilation, natural daylighting, while blocking direct solar heat gain, keeping the interior comfortable and well lit.

Measure 8: Design for Resources
FRP composites have been recognized by LEED as cost effective, energy efficient, and environmentally friendly construction material for their extreme durability and lifespan. This makes them ideally suited to marine environments. Minimal material is required by leveraging a form-active structural design. Each panel is produced from reusable molds which can be shipped to the Maldives for fabrication at the island’s existing boat building facilities. Curved stoppers and inserts are used to construct 13 different columns from a single mold.

Measure 9: Design for Change
The residents of the Maldives must preserve their national identity as they lose the physical land which defines its borders. Maldivians must become independent from the ground.. Each module in our project is designed to tile together, allowing for future expansion and aggregation at the scale of the site. As more land is lost to the rising sea, more floating housing and ground modules can be permanently joined or temporarily connected to strengthen the collective. Since each aggregation functions as a micro-grid, and power and drinking water are generated on site, the community is insulated from possible failures of larger-scale land-based infrastructures.

Measure 10: Design for Discovery
Dis/Placement developed out of the expertise of a unique set of consultants, from structural engineers to marine biologists, naval architects, and fabricators. This unconventional grouping of experts allowed us to discover unlikely methods for addressing the needs of the community. The form of Dis/Placements allow for stability, especially through aggregation, in the water. This form however, required significant ballasting in order to maintain that stability. Dis/Placements was able to leverage that space for fresh water storage through the design of its water chamber system. Diverse expertise has proved an invaluable part of our creative process.

City Centre Glassworks: An Adaptive Reuse Workshop and Experimentation Facility

Student: Justin Yan, Carleton University
Faculty Sponsors: Sheryl Boyle & Claudio Sgarbi, Carleton University

Project Description

The City of Ottawa’s Community Design Planfor Bayview Station District allows for considerable up-zoning to transform a community scale neighbourhood into an area of many 12- to 30-storey condominium towers by the year 2030.  This new influx of high residential density will sit at the intersection of Ottawa’s past industrial district and several residential neighbourhoods.  Located between Hintonburg and Centretown West near Bayview transit station, the 1908 Ottawa Stairworks factory building sits beside a modernist warehouse complex with a rich history of design, fabrication, and material innovation. The Stairworks building serves as the site for this adaptive reuse project to house City Centre Glassworks, an experimental fabrication facility promoting recycling, up-cycling, and transformation of everyday glass items into new building materials and handcrafted pieces of art. The project provides new workshop and testing facilities for new types of glass block masonry and structural glass products, while simultaneously providing demonstration and craft studios for local glassblowing artists.

The entirety of both the north- and south-facing walls of the existing building have been reconstructed with new, UV bonded glass masonry technology, while maintaining the rhythm and character of the existing building facade. The existing parking lot has been redesigned as a public plaza with reflecting pools, a fire pit, and a seating area to invite public gathering and a curiosity-driven sense of community.  The new semi-permeable landscaping pavers and green roofs reintroduce a variety of grasses and other vegetation to a site which has sat under asphalt for over a century.

The concept of the window has been expanded to include new horizontal apertures that reveal and celebrate the history of the existing building. The new glazed atrium attaches itself to the north facade of the building and “hinges” an imprinted memory of the original factory’s facade into the ground. The two reflective pools tiled with glass blocks and glass aggregate concrete panels recall the location of the old windows & doors. The residual heat from the building will cause the water in the pools to condense into a cloud of mist, enveloping the building and rising up as a beacon above the Somerset Street bridge. This visual, vertical extension of the building will help temper the contrast between the existing low density housing and the new condo towers, while creating social gathering spaces to engage the community in the activities of ‘making’ inside the workshops.

In the winter months, the exhausted heat from the three glass-melting furnaces in the basement will be recirculated into radiant floor heating coils and piped out as hot water for reuse by the surrounding buildings. Storm water is collected on-site, drained from the plaza and stored in an underground cistern directly below the fire pit. When needed, some of this water is chilled and piped through radiant cooling panels suspended from the ceilings.

City Centre Glassworks echoes the alchemic states of glass as ‘fire’ and ‘water’ throughout its creation, and organizes itself to maximize the community’s engagement with this beautiful craft of transformation.

Project Response - COTE Ten Measures

Measure 1: Design for Integration
In response to the foreseen densification and construction of condo towers, City Centre Glassworks attempts to counter the increased levels of resource consumption by the surrounding buildings.  As an adaptive reuse project retaining over 90% of its existing structure and materials, its initial environmental impact is greatly minimized in the design and construction phases.  Through extensive storm water collection and heat redistribution efforts, this project takes full advantage of passive strategies for its interior environmental control.  It will be able to share excess heat and water to provide ‘free’ resources to its neighbours.  The added incorporation of green roof vegetation will also help regulate ambient CO2 levels and provide precious greenspace to the new, built, residential complex.
Metric: 90% annual comfort using passive systems

Measure 2: Design for Community
The project’s close proximity to a large transit hub and integration within a residential complex guarantees a strong and steady flow of foot and bicycle traffic.  The act of “opening” two of the old concrete walls aims to create more inviting and permeable social spaces, such as a cafe and galleries. The existing parking lot has been redesigned as a public plaza with reflecting pools, a fire pit, and a seating area to invite public gathering and a curiosity-driven sense of community.  When the community gathers in and around this social hub of activity and innovation, they will be fully immersed in the creative spirit of making, discovery, and learning.
Metric: Walk Score 74, Transit Score 90, Bicycle Score 99

Measure 3: Design for Ecology
The project site currently sits in an industrial node adjacent to a major arterial street and several large warehouses.  The new semi-permeable landscaping pavers and green roofs will reintroduce a variety of grasses and other vegetation to a plot of land which has sat under an asphalt parking lot for over a century.  In addition to providing a green roof terrace open to the public, the overall ‘green cap’ on all of the building’s horizontal surfaces will bring a refreshing view of nature, growth, and regeneration to the condo residents looking down at the building from their units in the sky.
Metric: 72% site area designed to support vegetation

Measure 4: Design for Water
Storm water is drained into a large underground cistern from the sloped plaza under the fire pit and a trough of glass aggregate gravel along the western wall’s exterior benches.  All of this collected water is filtered and used within the building, ranging from fire suppression (9%) to radiant cooling and workshop supply (73%) to greywater (18%).  In the event that local rain and snow levels surpass the storage capacity of the cistern and the building’s water usage, any excess storm water can be supplied for use by the neighbouring buildings.  Subsequently, water is used as a design feature in the reflecting pools. The residual heat from the building’s workshops will cause the water in the pools to condense into a cloud of mist, enveloping the building and rising up as a beacon above the Somerset Street bridge.
Metric: 94% On-Site Storm Water Management

Measure 5: Design For Economy
Significant cost reduction is achieved in both the construction and material sourcing phases of this project due to its extensive adaptive reuse of the existing timber-structured and concrete shell building. Over 90% of the existing building has been repurposed or remained intact throughout the design process, and any new glass elements have been fabricated in the workshops within.  Additionally, operating costs will be brought down by the abundance of passive environmental control systems, and there is a potential for revenue through the trade of excess services (heat/water) to adjacent buildings.

Measure 6: Design for Energy
Through its introduction of glazed masonry, skylights and ample amount of existing windows, City Centre Glassworks optimizes its use of natural daylighting to reduce energy loads for artificial lighting.  Most of the electricity costs consumed by the workshops and furnaces are offset by the free environmental control strategies embodied in the radiant heating recovered and recirculated from the furnace output.

Measure 7: Design for Wellness
Main social spaces (café, store, and galleries) in the building have been positioned to receive the highest levels of natural daylight through both the north-facing glass walls and large east- and west-façade windows.  Noisy HVAC equipment is kept to a minimum, instead relying more on the passive heating and cooling technologies integrated into the building.  All of these public gathering spaces have direct lateral and overhead views of the two glass workshops to encourage and inspire the observers’ creativity and educate the public about both glass art and new innovations in building technology.
Metric: 83% Day-lit spaces, 86% Views to Outdoors, 64% within 15’ of Operable Windows

Measure 8: Design for Resources
In addition to retaining all of the original wooden columns and beams, all demolished concrete walls and wood floorboards have been repurposed into new structural elements, cladding, and millwork finish materials.  The existing building’s slip-form concrete walls have been retrofitted with an interior layer of mineral fibre insulation and all necessary environmental barriers to bring the wall assembly up to code and ensure adequate moisture and vapour protection.  In an effort to further reduce operation costs, LED light fixtures have been used throughout for task lighting, and high efficiency appliances have been installed in the café. These methods and materials, combined with the passive environmental control strategies, help to dramatically reduce the building’s material consumption and carbon footprint.
Metric: [21 lbs CO2 / sqft] from construction

Measure 9: Design for Change
The glass workshops, gallery, and glassworks store have all been flexibly designed as large open spaces with a freeform potential for rearrangement. If the building needs to adapt to any new programming in the future, this also facilitates more streamlined and less destructive renovations. Because the architectural glass workshop functions primarily as an experimental laboratory, it is intended that the two glass facades and the atrium be constantly dismantled and rebuilt with the newest and most advanced form of glass masonry technology.  The existing building’s heavy timber structure and concrete shell is very strong, stable, and resilient – having been built in the early 1900s.  With proper surface treatments and any structural bracing added to the structural elements when necessary, the new building has the potential to double its existing lifespan.

Measure 10: Design for Discovery
As more sustainable design practices and techniques are developed through research and testing, the HVAC and fabrication equipment can adapt accordingly. Ideally, by 2030 and beyond, a better heat recovery and air filtration system will be added to the large industrial furnaces to recycle even cleaner indoor air throughout the building. Hopefully, the sustainable practices implemented throughout this project – combined with new material knowledge and applications developed within the workshop facilities – will lead to even more advances in sustainable and environmentally beneficial design.  Through this design process, I have discovered the power of design subtlety.  The broad topics of design, energy, and environmental sensibility can truly be addressed by creative and subtle interventions to existing architectural fabric. Not only is subtlety a design practice, it is also a philosophy of the environment.

Pier 55: South Philadelphia Community Center

Students: Caleb Freeze & Michelle Kleva, Marywood University
Faculty Sponsors: Miguel Calvo Salve & Russell B. Roberts, Marywood University

Project Description

Pier 55 | S. Philadelphia Community Center is situated on a pier along the Delaware River Trail in the Pennsport neighborhood of Philadelphia. This Community Center intends to evoke common attitudes and interests generating a locus for a flourishing community through support, creativity, and activity. In a context where social values and emphasis on stability are undermined, the architecture focuses on human and environmental function and prosperity through its program(s) and design features. This 30,930-square foot Center offers two main classifications of program- Craft & Activity facilities and Wellness & Care facilities. The Craft & Activity facilities respond to the community’s interests at a public level with art and recreation spaces, while the Wellness & Care facilities support the needs of community members on a more individual level with holistic health and youth-care spaces. With a spectrum of public and private programs, all the spaces offered on Pier 55 are positioned along and ultimately connected by a main circulatory spine. Being one of the main architectural features, the spine operates as an extension of the existing Delaware River Trail that sustains circulation and structure, as well as passive and active building systems. Overall, the objective of this project is to link the natural and social environments of the site, while supporting the neighboring communities through programming.

Project Response - COTE Ten Measures

Measure 1Design for Integration
Pier 55 is a project that establishes connectivity among the community as well as connectivity to the natural environment. Fusion of user, environment, and building systems allow for seamless integration. This is accomplished through prioritizing environmental issues such as climate change, ecosystem preservation and development. For example, to be prepared for the rising of sea levels or flooding, the building is raised off the existing pier. Raising programmatic spaces and circulation also assists in immediate ecosystem preservation while allowing for wetland construction zones and high-performance landscapes for optimal water irrigation. Additionally, all passive and active building systems are integrated with the structural design of the building.

Measure 2Design for Community
Located in South Philadelphia in the Pennsport neighborhood, this Community Center intends to facilitate connectivity through support, creativity, and activity in a context where social values and stability are currently undermined. The site is directly perpendicular to route 95, a major highway, allowing access to the farthest extents of the city. The public transit system is readily available for users, creating many options for direct access to our site from many community scales. Along the pier itself, lies the Delaware River Trail, promoting walkability and bike-ability. A small, yet influential, design feature implemented within this center are bike share stations on the west and east ends of the pier. Overall, through a spectrum of program amenities and environmental ties, Pier 55 will generate a locus for a flourishing community.

Measure 3Design for Ecology
Site development takes the immediate ecosystems into close consideration. Proper integration with building and landscape design brings users to understand and experience the natural habitats the site has to offer. The building’s main circulatory spine connects to an exterior elevated path that connects users to the aquatic habitats surrounding the pier while preserving them as well. The constructed lagoon system at the end of the pier assists in landscape irrigation during the warmer seasons, and during cold seasons doubles as an ice skating rink for a recreational attraction. On the northern side of the pier visitors will find an elevated pathway and constructed wetlands for aquatic habitat preservation as well as natural water filtration systems. Overall, the design works to support and improve the future of this ecological context and creates a synthesis of environmental systems to contribute to a higher environmental quality.

Measure 4Design for Water
All rainwater is collected and reused through roof catchment strategies using properly angled roof slopes for optimal retention of run-off. This process is applied along The “Wall” of the building’s spine, and collected water is sent down The Wall to on-site cisterns for storage. The collected rainfall, which is estimated to reach up to 2,632 gallons per day, services a grey water system and provides irrigation water for immediate green-scapes. In addition to these passive design features, any excess water that naturally occurs in the lagoon, will also be filtered into and stored in cisterns.

Measure 5Design for Economy
Sustainable strategies are implemented throughout the building to positively impact the environment and contribute to the economic value of the project. Thermally activated surfaces and spaces are designed to address thermal comfort of inhabitants without needing active systems. Natural ventilation is implemented through designed operable façade systems based on spatial location and programmatic characteristics. On the south elevation, operable facades for natural ventilation are paired with shading devices for daylight regulation. Photovoltaic energy is used to power all operable facades, shading devices and lighting for optimal comfort, cost efficiency, and positive environmental impact.

Measure 6Design for Energy
Through photovoltaic energy, water retention, a geothermal energy system, operable shading devices and facades, this building will produce clean energy, store it, and regulate it. Strategic zoning of programs based on sun orientation, time of use, and access helps better regulate energy consumption. More to that point, creating a main circulation spine as an organizing and structuring tool, and equipping it with active and passive building systems helps distribute energy use throughout the building.

Measure 7Design for Wellness
This project, as understood through our program, focuses on the wellness of its occupants as well as the greater community of Philadelphia. Wellness is addressed by what the building has to offer the community and how the architecture itself influences the health of its occupants. This city node will be a place in which people can gather to better their individual growth and health through activity or assisted care. In addition to the program amenities, design strategies such as optimal southern exposure for daylighting, operable shading devices for comfort, natural ventilation inner-connected with circulation to guide users to the natural context, while healthy building materials work together to provide a high-quality environment. Overall, 74% of the project provides views to the exterior, organized around a 240-foot sky-lit corridor, while offering a 72% open space ratio to guarantee wellness.

Measure 8Design for Resources
This project emphasizes minimizing the impact that construction has on the current habitat as well as its long-term effect on the natural environment. In order to reduce material use, the building has a limited material palette that responds to its environment and ultimately the spaces it creates. The list of materials used in the design include concrete, slate, wood, and glass. A material constraint plan has been established that stipulates that all materials must have been or have the potential of being repurposed, and must be acquired within a 200-mile radius from the site to reduce its embodied energy. More specifically, 2,496 lbs. of reclaimed lumber will be used for structural elements, decking, interior finishes and shading devices, intending to reduce the projects anticipated carbon footprint.

Measure 9Design for Change
In order to allow for optimal flexibility over time, most of the spaces within the building are designed to have multi-purpose functions. The distribution of the spaces along a main circulation spine provides a clear, concise program layout, which allows for adaptive reuse potential. The design uses materials that accommodate weathering and aging. Overall, the substantial design is adequately structured to support itself over a deteriorating pier and adapt to the forces that our changing climate may exert on its dynamic riverfront environment. The structural design anticipates natural growth, rising waters, weathering and aging.

Measure 10Design for Discovery
Pier 55 will be transformed from a deteriorating pier along the Delaware River to a community hub for interaction, activity, and environmental connectivity. The project stimulates life along the Delaware River Trail, while positively influencing ecological development. The direct micro-habitat around the site (environmentally and socially) is designed to allow it to prosper, and will both benefit and educate its users.

INTERCONNECT: Connecting Paths, Connecting Programs, Connecting People

Students: Harrison Polk & Madison Polk, Clemson University
Faculty Sponsors: Ulrike Heine, Ufuk Ersoy, & David Franco, Clemson University

Project Description

Interconnect is a refugee integration center located in Plaza de las Descalzas, designed to aid the process of integration for a growing refugee population in the city of Madrid, Spain. The building occupies the site of an abandoned bank building and shares public plaza space with a historic convent, gallery/event space, contemporary shopping center, and a collection of other mixed-use programs. Interconnect is a contemporary project that responds to its immediate urban context to provide connectivity to an existing network of pedestrian paths in the city center, echoing the belief that refugees should feel like they can belong in Madrid. Currently, Plaza de las Descalzas is an under-activated site in the middle of the pedestrian network that connects a total of 8 streets and 5 public plazas. The footprint of the integration center aims to achieve a strong urban fit by extending a pedestrian path through the site and framing additional public space that will encourage healthy physical and social interactions between local and refugee user groups.

The 55,360 square foot integration center provides the city with much needed space for program necessary to help acclimate refugees to a new society; these include a refugee service center, a community media center, and a gallery. The refugee service center provides legal, professional, financial, and childcare services to the refugee population. The community media center brings locals and refugees together in one space by providing access to information and technology; a coffee bar and café provide flexible space where users are invited to spend their time. Dedicated to culture and art exhibitions, the gallery space is designed to provide physical connection for the building programs, as well as social connection for people by educating them about the refugee experience, and providing space where Madrid and refugee cultures can come together.

Practicality and cost efficiency characterize the relationships designed between structure, material assemblies, and sustainable strategies for the project. A series of terraces and large window openings are carved out of the building’s monumental form to provide views of the city, further connecting users to the surrounding urban context. While solid, rough textured Berroquena granite distinguishes the building’s exterior; the interior spaces are open and flexible, defined by indirect natural daylight and grand circulation around a central atrium. Locally sourced materials benefit the control of daylight and thermal comfort in Madrid’s hot, arid climate. Even in its smallest details, the integration center is designed to communicate connectivity to the city of Madrid: it is space designed to help refugees connect to their new home.

Project Response - COTE Ten Measures

Measure 1: Design for Integration
Incorporating sustainable strategies
The path of the sun informed the footprint and form of the building in order to maximize the amount of shaded area within the public plaza, which is ideal in the hot, dry climate of Madrid. The plaza between the refugee service center and media center masses captures the wind that moves through the site, while pulling it into the building to create natural ventilation. Natural day lighting, operable windows, views to outdoors, terraces, and range of interior space work together to create a healthy and comfortable environment for locals and refugees that occupy the space.

Measure 2: Design for Community
Extending the pedestrian web
As a move towards urban sustainability the project proposes to replace several vehicular traffic lanes with pedestrian-only paths, reducing the city’s carbon emissions and increasing walkability of the city center. Additionally, the proposal creates a pedestrian web that spans 0.30 miles, and connects continuous pedestrian paths between five plazas and eight streets. The project site is located in the center of the pedestrian web, just a six-minute walk from a major public transportation hub. The split building footprint preserves continuous foot-traffic through the site, encouraging social and physical interaction between locals and refugees.

Measure 3: Design for Ecology
Urban-adaptive flora
Native, low-maintenance flora transforms the urban ecosystem by providing natural shade and airflow in the public plaza. A mixture of Kermes and Holm Oak trees provides the plaza shade from Madrid’s hot and arid climate. Both small-tree species are heat tolerant, drought tolerant, and evergreen. Large stone planters are populated with ornamental Blue Fescue grass, which is heat tolerant, pollution tolerant, and urban adaptive. Pest-resistant Blue Plumbago shrubs, with their light-blue blooms, attract native butterfly species throughout the year. Small Blue Hill Meadow Sage plants bloom purple-blue in the summer and also attract native butterfly species.

Measure 4: Design for Water
Collect + Recycle
Madrid only receives an average of 17.8 inches of rainfall per year, therefore, it is important to collect and filter rainwater onsite so it can be recycled and used to irrigate the native flora during severe droughts. The refugee integration center is designed to capture rain runoff from the roof as well as through the pervious surface that covers the plaza. The water is then filtered and stored in the available 3,000cf of underground cistern space until it is needed for irrigation. For a 2 year, 24-hour event, 100% of storm water will be managed onsite.

Measure 5: Design for Economy
Local Materials + Local Labor
The building envelope is pre-cast concrete construction dressed by a no-maintenance granite veneer. Pre-cast concrete was chosen to reduce both time and cost required for onsite construction. Locally sourced granite was chosen because of its proximity to the site—just 42.7 miles away—and its ability to increase the performance of the envelope as a thermal mass, thus reducing long-term building operations cost, while maintaining appropriate thermal comfort levels. Local miners and craftsmen would be employed to harvest the granite and apply it to the pre-cast structure using a ‘dry installation’ method.

Measure 6: Design for Energy
Renewable sources
The building reduces its carbon footprint by utilizing a solar photovoltaic array to produce energy for heating, lighting, and technology. There are 500 PV panels divided between the roofs of the media center and the refugee service center that produce approximately 270,000 KWh on average annually. Skylights are designed to diffuse natural daylight into the building throughout the day, reducing the amount of energy required for artificial lighting. Additionally, exterior louvers block 90% of glazed surfaces from direct sunlight, which largely reduces solar heat gain to the interior of the building.

Measure 7: Design for Wellness
Creating openness and views
Operable windows, terraces, and the open floor plan allow for natural cross ventilation to passively cool the building. Small terraces are carved out of the building’s monumental form to increase the variety of exterior spaces users can enjoy; each one highlights a particular view of the surrounding public space as a way to further connect refugees to the city of Madrid. Interior spaces and circulation are organized around open atriums, which act as light wells and provide physical and visual access to the community plaza. Openness and fluidity of interior space encourage social interaction between occupants.

Measure 8: Design for Resources
Local Materials + Local Labor
Currently, Eucalyptus trees are over populating Spanish forests, preventing the growth of native, deciduous tree species. Local Spanish forestry companies are currently making efforts to harvest eucalyptus wood to sell to the construction industry. According to a study by Grupo Empresarial Ence, eucalyptus trees are an incredibly sustainable resource because they grow fast, require little water, and capture greater quantities of carbon dioxide than other trees. While the building design takes advantage of natural daylight, the eucalyptus louvers protect the interior space from direct sunlight. Eucalyptus is also used as an interior finish material.

Measure 9: Design for Change
Addressing the European Refugee Crisis
War, persecution, and famine are a few reasons that approximately 4.8 million Syrians left their homes in 2016, seeking refuge in various European countries. ‘Interconnect’ provides Madrid with additional space for government infrastructure needed to manage the growing population of refugees seeking integration into Spanish society. Additionally, the media center and gallery programs extend services to refugees and locals, allowing the project to remain relevant beyond the refugee crisis. The granite façade will weather well and ensure a long life for the building, and the flexible and open floor plan provides adaptive reuse potential.

Measure 10: Design for Discovery
Uncovering new perspectives
Designing a project within the context of a politically charged issue required an abundance of research to understand the identity and experience of a refugee. Investigation beyond the popular media informed fresh perceptions of the issue, and invited exploration into the notion of empathetic architecture. As a response to new understanding, the gallery program in ‘Interconnect’ is incorporated to accurately inform locals about the refugee experience, the function of the integration center, and the building’s efforts towards sustainability. Additionally, designing with sustainable measures provided new insights into ways architecture can improve physical, mental, social, and environmental health.

Prescriptive Hydrologies

Student: Brie Jones, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
Faculty Sponsor: Pablo La Roche, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

Project Description

73,278 gallons per day are syphoned from the Los Angeles River, accounting for only 0.18% of the River’s daily discharge. Water is held in two central holding tanks, hoisted just above the River, anchoring both sides of the housing complex. The water is then incrementally released into the rooftop living machines for treatment. By the end of the treatment cycle, the water has reached a tertiary treatment level and is now safe for human contact. The roof’s water systems are animated and programmed as an amenity for residents, containing community gardens, swimming ponds, lounging spaces, and meandering paths. The treated water is then deposited into holding tanks that pierce the housing mass at specific points to provide courtyard space and circulation. The water is then distributed from the tanks to various destinations throughout the site including: irrigation systems for LASHP, Albion Riverside Park, car washing stations, grey water holding tanks, a public fill station, and disbursed site irrigation. After the recycled water has reached both parks, the remaining surface water is left to percolate back into drying ground aquifers.

Project Response - COTE Ten Measures

Measure 1: Design for Integration
The concept for this project was derived from looking at ways in which architecture could play a roll in watershed management. The idea was to allow infrastructure to become architectural and habitable. It is about engaging the public in the discourse of climate change and what the future of infrastructure can look and feel like. The systems of the building are exposed much like the hydrological systems of the Los Angeles River. The water filtration is a rooftop amenity, the holding tanks are points of circulation, and product of the entire system is the clean water that provides irrigation to the two anchoring parks.

Measure 2: Design for Community
The massing of the building in relation to the River was derived from choosing two anchoring sites on either side of the Los Angeles River. The first site, Albion Riverside Park, serves as a public amenity to the Lincoln Heights district which is a low-income neighborhood with little pedestrian access to downtown L.A. The second site, Los Angeles State Historic Park, serves as a social gathering and concert venue for the downtown community. Connecting both of these parks through a housing community was seen as on opportune way to activate the riverfront while restitching its fragmented neighborhoods.

Measure 3: Design for Ecology
The downtown reach of the Los Angeles River is hydrologically engineered so precisely through a tightly bound urban space that hopes of restoring its banks is somewhat unrealistic —perhaps even unsafe. This project, instead, glorifies the act of flood control by preserving its channelization and designing a layer of spaces and systems that create a certain synergy. The building’s filtration system is responsible for processing 73,278 gallons per day of LA River water, which creates a rooftop wetland habitat for migrating species as well as lush park space on either sides of the River’s banks.

Measure 4: Design for Water
Water was the driving force for this project. After enduring one of the worst droughts in California’s recent history and learning that Southern California still imports 86% of its fresh water, it became apparent how fragile and un-resilient this system has become in the face of climate change. This project was based on a series of calculations starting with a basic supply and demand exercise. In a worst case scenario, the LA River only supplies 39,425,329 gpd. The combined irrigation demand for LASHP and Albion Park is 72,636 gpd which is only 0.18% of the River’s daily discharge. The architectural concept was centered around ways in which locally recycled water could serve as a learning experience, social space, and practical amenity to the surrounding community.

Measure 5: Design for Economy
The City of Los Angeles has documented that every mile of a recycled water distribution system costs $4 million. The nearest reclamation facility to this project’s site is approximately 6 miles away which means that it would cost $24 million to provide recycled water irrigation to both LASHP and Albion Park. This project demonstrates localized reclamation by building the infrastructure into a housing community and using the presence of water as both a public and private amenity. In addition to recycled water, the Atmospheric Water Generators are also providing potable water which allows the building to operate off-grid.

Measure 6: Design for Energy
The site’s annual EUI was calculated using a Sefaira energy model, which resulted in 9.6 kBTU/ft2/yr. This results in an annual energy consumption of 780,690kWh which is 100% offset by the rooftop photovoltaic array that produces approximately 781,540 kWh. In order to achieve net zero energy and carbon, strategies such as high performance windows, operative shading, passive solar gains, and natural ventilation are used in each housing unit.

Measure 7: Design for Wellness
The building site was carefully chosen to act as a public connector between two major Los Angeles parks that have been fragmented by the River. Essentially every unit of this housing community has a view of either the parks or river. In addition, the elongated massing of the building allows for optimum daylighting and cross ventilation, which not only improves psychological health but increases unit value. The rooftop living machines serve as a private park where naturalized swimming ponds and vegetable gardens are fed from recycled river water. This not only promotes a healthy outdoor lifestyle, but also allows residents to partake in the sustainable practice of localized water and food production.

Measure 8: Design for Resources
This building is unique because of its location and the demand for it to operate under hydrological pressure. The entire building is essentially operating as a bridge with the first floor dedicated to steel structure. This steel structure spans between steel box truss columns that meet a concrete pier which are able to come into contact with the River. The Army Corps of Engineers dictates the bridge construction portion, but the next three floors of housing are treated as Type V (wood construction) over a concrete podium.

Measure 9: Design for Change
This project was developed under the idea that its systems could be replicated and integrated into new or existing buildings along River. It could serve as a new typology for the increasing housing demand in Los Angeles. The site is disaster resilient in the sense that loss of city power or water does not effect its systems. It can act as a disaster relief center by providing recycled water to the community through the public fill station or biofuel and electricity for cars through the algae tanks. It also provides food to the community through the rooftop vegetable gardens, which are irrigated by the locally recycled water.

Measure 10: Design for Discovery
The complexity and interrelationship of the systems in this building would require extensive post-occupancy evaluation. It is important that water treatment levels are evaluated on a continual basis, especially with changing weather conditions as the River tends to be more contaminated in storm events. The passivity of these systems allows natural forces such as gravity and bioremediation to do the work; it would just be essential that they are never compromised through human intervention or lack of maintenance.

Known Unknowns: Dead Ends Aren’t Dead

Students: Bianca Lin, Joshua Park, & Wilson Fung, California College of the Arts
Faculty Sponsor: Janette Kim, California College of the Arts

Project Description

“Small lots will support resilience because they allow many people to attend directly to their needs by designing, building and maintaining their own environment.” – Stewart Brand, How Buildings Learn

This project transforms cul de sacs in East Palo Alto into a network of interconnected structures that promote collaboration among residents and build resilience against sea level rise.

East Palo Alto is vulnerable not only to sea level rise pressures—even today, the city is frequently flooded by groundwater, storm water and the San Francisquito Creek—but also to risks we call ‘infrastructural disjunction’ and ‘selective sacrifice.’ EPA has been sliced apart by infrastructure such as roads and levees, leaving both newcomers and locals disconnected from natural and cultural resources. Though there are many ways to flood-proof houses, income inequities make such approach impossible and thus sacrifice the well-being of the city’s most vulnerable.

Instead, we want to recognize what EPA residents have established throughout the city’s strong history of activism. Our project builds on Stewart Brand’s ‘shearing layers’ concept, which suggests that change can take place incrementally by retrofitting buildings layer by layer. We propose to retrofit existing houses and add in three new architectural typologies: a ‘nucleus’ that houses residential and commercial spaces in freestanding buildings, a ‘chromosone’ that houses shared public functions in smaller pavilions, and a ‘membrane’ that serves as a flexible surface, or scaffold, to link buildings to each other and provide seismic stability across them. These create elevated spaces that can serve as an emergency response center during a flood, or house expanding family-owned businesses, such as an after school program or a rental apartment, that can support long-term economic stability.

Fabricating Wellness

Students: Amy Santimauro, Katelynn Smith, & Joel Bohlmeyer, University of Oregon
Faculty Sponsor: Brook W. Muller, University of Oregon

Project Description

The project is located in Portland, Oregon, which is 60 miles east of the Pacific Ocean, placing it within the climate zone 4C. This zone is characterized by a mean temperature for cold season between 27 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit and a mean temperature for warm season over 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Portland sees an average annual precipitation of approximately 44 inches with very little rainfall occurring during summer months. During the cold season, Portland experiences cloud cover for nearly 80% of the time, but only 25% during the warm season.

Within the context of the city, the project is located to the east of the Willamette River, in the Central Eastside, Industrial District. The block the project occupies is bound by SE Ankeny and Ash Street to the north and south and SE 7th and 6th Avenue to the east and west. The block is subdivided into four quadrants, with our specific development occurring in the southwest quadrant. Therefore, the developed site is 100’ by 100’, but the second level garden plan is a prototype design that covers the entire 200’ by 200’ site.

The design proposal is for a mixed-use, multi-unit residential development containing production space, commercial, and dwelling units. The net square footage of the project is 40,500 sf. However, the build-out of the second level garden encompasses a total of 40,000 sf. Production is housed on the ground level and accounts for 3,820 sf. Commercial space exists on two levels with approximately 1,400 sf of retail on the ground floor and 800sf of services on the second level. Three levels of residential lie above the community garden and account for 50% (20,250 sf) of the project’s total square footage.

Project Response - COTE Ten Measures

Measure 1: Design for Integration
The goal of the project was to place a building’s water system at the forefront of design and rethink how water can be integrated into a community. At a large scale the building could become a catalyst to spur change within the city. At a smaller scale by creating a prototype that contains a regenerative looped system of resources and thinking about how to integrate water and energy into a building, changes how buildings are designed and built.

Measure 2: Design for Community
This design seeks to foster the well being of the district and the people living there. Bamboo serves as the catalyst to improving the existing community and the creation of a wellness node within the industrial sanctuary. The building is located adjacent to the proposed Portland green loop and only a few blocks from the riverfront. The integration of bamboo along the green loop, in the building, and along the highway creates a cycle of growth and production that improves the air and water quality in the surrounding area, as well as, enhancing the aesthetics through biophilia in the city.

Measure 3: Design for Ecology
The regenerative looped system of resources creates an ecological system that benefits the environment, economy, and people. The bamboo is harvested for production and wastes from that process are then used to feed the bamboo growth. The building’s light-greywater is utilized by the bamboo planters located throughout the building. The excess light-greywater that isn’t used in the production shop is released and filtered through a series of bioswales finally arriving at the river. This slow release of filtered greywater and storm runoff help the river’s ecosystems to thrive in clean water and improves the health of the overall water system.

Measure 4: Design for Water
Utilization of composting toilets, shared laundry services, and efficient fixtures aid in a 70% water usage reduction. 60% of the building’s needs are offset through the use of on-site rainwater catchment and treatment. Greywater is UV treated and step-filtered through an interior, planter staircase before arriving at the second level for storage in the bamboo garden. After filtering, the light-greywater is utilized in the building’s radiant floor system and in the ground level woodshop’s water jet. Once filtered, excess greywater is released into a series of bioswales to be step filtered before returning to the Willamette River.

Measure 5: Design for Economy
Using the constraints of the industrial sanctuary in Portland’s central eastside as a way to create a relationship between production and ecology allowed the building and its program to beneficially serve the district and local economy. The production space uses the locally grown bamboo to produce goods within the woodshop that are sold through a small business, which supports the local economy. Additionally, the 2nd level wellness space brings in health and wellness businesses to the community and promotes a healthy lifestyle.

Measure 6: Design for Energy
This building employs both active and passive strategies to maximize the use of energy. Orienting the building on an east/west axis maximizes day lighting and direct solar gain. The use of natural ventilation through operable windows and stack effect that pulls air up through the atrium reduce the energy load. The solar array generates power for the building on site and is net positive creating 109% of the energy that the building needs to operate. Furthermore, the building uses wood waste from production to power a biomass system, heating water for radiant floors in the residences.

Measure 7: Design for Wellness
The design of this building is intended to flip the negative connotation of production to something that improves and benefits the lives of the people in and around the building. The 2nd level wellness space and bamboo garden benefit from improved air quality. In addition it creating a nexus of health and wellness services including a gym, spa, Juice bar and yoga studio. The emphasis on renewable energy sources, natural ventilation and sustainable materials create a healthy living environment for residents.

Measure 8: Design for Resources
In order to reduce its environmental impact, the building is designed to utilize a podium-style, cross-laminated timber system. A CLT system holds less embodied energy than other conventional metal and concrete systems, and wood can be harvested and milled locally. Furthermore, the CLT system is thermally superior to most other systems, and is fabricated off-site, increasing precision and efficiency, thus reducing job site waste. The building is cladded in locally harvested, charred, larch wood. This ensures the longevity of the material, while maintaining a low embodied energy. Furthermore, the charred exterior filters external water as it moves down the building.

Measure 9: Design for Change
Resiliency is a key characteristic of the building design. A net positive energy rating paired with a decentralized water system ensures safety and comfort in case of natural disaster. Furthermore, the design of passive systems, such as stack ventilation, and stepped-filtration lower the building’s reliance on mechanical systems for operation. Lastly, while the prescribed use of the second level is that of a bamboo garden, the project can be easily modified for the production of food in response to a crisis.

Measure 10: Design for Discovery
Transparency and highlighting of systems plays an integral role in the design. Housed within a six-story atrium, the staircase is a series of cascading planters, designed to filter residents’ greywater while providing lush greenery that serves as a source of wayfinding throughout the building. Metal grates protect residents from contact with greywater, but affords them connection and understanding of the system’s environmental benefits. At the second level, water transfers to an open-air bamboo garden for storage. The garden is open to the public and encourages users to meander its series of elevated walkways and decks to explore public services.

Participating Schools

The competition had over 1000 participants from the following schools:

Academy of Art University, Appalachian State University, Auburn University, Ball State University, California Baptist University, California College of the Arts, California Polytechnic State University, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, Carleton University, Carnegie Mellon University, Clemson University, Diablo Valley College, Florida Atlantic University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Harvard University, Illinois Institute of Technology, Iowa State University, Kennesaw State University, Lawrence Technological University, Louisiana State University, Marywood University, Mississippi State University, Montana State University, North Dakota State University, Prairie View A&M University, Pratt Institute, Rhode Island School of Design, Savannah College of Art and Design, Southern Illinois University, Temple University, Universidad Anahuac, Université Laval, University of Arkansas, University of British Columbia, University of Cincinnati, University of Colorado Denver, University of Florida, University of Idaho, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, University of Kentucky, University of Miami, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of New Mexico, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, University of Oklahoma, University of Oregon, University of Pennsylvania, University of Pittsburgh, University of Southern California, University of Tennessee-Knoxville, University of Texas at Austin, University of Texas At San Antonio, University of Washington, Virginia Tech, Washington University in St. Louis, and Woodbury University

Allison Smith
Programs Manager

Eric W. Ellis
Senior Director of Operations and Programs

Competition Organizers & Sponsors