April 2016

Converse Global Headquarters, Lovejoy Wharf, Boston

The Lovejoy Wharf

For years the privately-owned Lovejoy Wharf was a missing link in the HarborWalk that extends 46 miles around Boston’s waterfront. Revived in 2015, Lovejoy Wharf is now home to a new pedestrian walkway and a reinvented 200,000-sq.-ft., circa 1904 office building—the new global headquarters for iconic footwear company Converse. A unique mix of retail, entertainment and commercial office space, Lovejoy Wharf hosts 600 corporate employees; Converse’s non-profit sound studio, RubberTracks, that helps non-mainstream artists record an album; a yoga studio; fitness center; café/commons and materials library. Embracing multiple old and new exposed hard surfaces, building materials

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Developer Earns $1.5M Grant for Timber Tower Design

The USDA Softwood Lumber Board and Binational Softwood Lumber Council U.S. Tall Wood Building Prize competition is helping uncover and fund the best new technologies relating to mass timber construction. One of the two winning entries, dubbed Framework (right), reflects the ethos of farm-to-frame, a way to create a symbiosis between urban development and the region’s agricultural industry. “Being in a wood building is a great experience,” says Thomas Robin, LEVER Architecture and leader of the winning team. “People love to live and work in wood buildings and if we can find a way to create product that’s sustainable, less impactful and a great experience—especially in places where we have res

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Casey Mahon, digital technologies manager at Carrier Johnson CULTURE, experiments with sensors and software to achieve the integration of architectural design and virtual reality.

Gestural Modeling

It sounds like something out of science fiction, but in a reality version of movie, Inception—in which Leonardo DiCaprio’s character constructs imaginary immersive worlds in which others interact—architect Casey Mahon brings DiCaprio’s role to life by donning a pair of virtual reality goggles integral to software and sensors. His hands trigger computational processes in architectural software—what he refers to as gestural modeling. The ability to manipulate immersive environments is impacting the way firms practice, says Mahon, digital technologies manager at Carrier Johnson CULTURE and contributing faculty member at NewSchool of Architecture & Design’s School of Architecture. Carrier Jo

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An Argument Against Precast Preconceptions

Often specified for its more utilitarian advantages, precast concrete might not be the exterior material of choice that first comes to mind for a signature high rise or cutting-edge boutique. However, Washington, D.C., architect Barry Habib, AIA, says the material offers numerous advantages for more workaday assignments, along with opportunities for creative expression for those willing to see a beauty that’s more than skin deep. “It is tough, it lasts a long time, it doesn’t leak if it’s installed correctly—and we’re getting a very good price for it,” says this principal with D.C.-based Shalom Baranes Assocs. Plus, the speed with which precast exteriors can be assembled can be a boon for pr

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LED Rail System Brings Murals to Life

Colorful murals at the Georgia Aquarium are getting noticed with bright track lighting. Precision aiming capability and high color rendering restore the expansive gallery. The Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, largest in the Western Hemisphere, attracts millions of visitors each year with exhibits showcasing ivory Beluga whales, bottlenose dolphins, 12-ft. manta rays and the only collection of giant whale sharks outside of Asia. Lighting was needed to illuminate the main entry hall with hand-painted murals of sea life overhead and the Aquanaut Discovery Zone, an interactive hallway for young visitors. The entry enthralls marine enthusiasts with its lifelike depictions of smiling Belugas, dolphins

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Baggage Claim

Milwaukee’s General Mitchell International Airport greets visitors with a new baggage claim area. Passengers flying at General Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee are now greeted by a new baggage claim area. The high-traffic area needed a durable interior and exterior material that also improved the aesthetics to enhance passengers’ experiences. “There are various infill, wall and column cover conditions where metal panels could achieve that level of durability, provide a long-lasting color and finish, and be easy to maintain,” says Debra Sider, principal with Engberg Anderson Architects, Milwaukee. “In addition, the panels were installed in both existing and new construction locatio

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Raise the Roof

The recently commissioned Pavilion at Ole Miss selects roofing clad in metal panels, coated with earth-tone hues. The University of Mississippi, founded in 1848 and known for its athletic programs, recently commissioned a $96.5 million basketball arena—The Pavilion at Ole Miss. The multi-purpose facility is home to the men and women’s basketball program and also hosts graduation ceremonies, concerts and other university-wide events. The finishing touches included a roof clad in metal paneling and coated with a rich earth-tone hue. Also, a coating was needed for dirt and stain resistance, and durability in all weather conditions. At 225,000 sq.-ft., the state-of-the-art arena seats 9500 fans,

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Ambience Met

LED lighting and controls provide architectural intuition at Marriott Hotel. The nFuse restaurant and bar in the Anaheim Marriott were recently re-modeled with new LED lighting and an updated ambience. Management was looking for an interface for staff to easily control the various scenes required throughout the day—for example: clean, daytime, nighttime and all off. Management wanted a simple and intuitive way to integrate timers with scene programming, managing the restaurant ambience.

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Medical Center Picks Lane

The seven-story Kaiser Permanente in Anaheim, Calif. was challenged with siting a fire lane that could support the weight of emergency vehicles—without looking like a fire lane. Kaiser Permanente is all about promoting healthy living on and off campus from every one of its medical facilities across the country. The Anaheim, Calif. medical center built in 2012 is no different. “Since this was a medical facility, we wanted to create a healing garden for patients and guests to enjoy,” says Michael Wilkes a project manager and construction administrator at WHITIN DESIGN WORKS, landscape architect. “But in the 125 ft. × 600 ft. space we had to work with, we now had to also incorporate a fire lane

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Design Firm Goes for ‘Tactical Aesthetic’

Surface materials rich in texture and color helped Appel Design Group create a visually interesting and textural rich space while being ritualistic in form and fashion. When the award-winning firm, Appel Design Group, outgrew their office, their new space was not only an opportunity to showcase their creative problem solving skills, it was a must to convey the innovation and creativity that had become the hallmark of the firm. Appel decided on a new space located in an office campus environment. With that, they were presented with a tight budget, short timeline, limited allowance for interior construction, and a space surrounded by “pony walls.” Appel’s desire to create a visually interestin

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