We’d like to congratulate Santa Monica architecture firm Koning Eizenberg on their recent win at the 2013 World Architecture Festival! They received the prestigious Housing Award for their 28th Street Apartments project in Los Angeles, California.

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The World Architecture Festival, held in Singapore earlier this month, gathered over 1,750 architects from around the world to exchange ideas and inspiration for design. This year, only 15 of the 260 shortlisted projects were from the USA, and Koning Eizenberg was the only American firm to receive an award.

Referring to the 28th Street Apartments, the judges noted: “This project demonstrates architecture as an agent for social transformation. The architect was able to knit together historical continuity and something very new, something of high architectural value.”

Koning Eizenberg’s website describes the project this way: “The restoration and expansion of a landmark YMCA built in 1926 restores principal spaces, reconfigures original housing, and innovatively adds replacement units. The design re-establishes this building’s role as an important community focus and brings living quarters in compliance with contemporary standards.” Read more on their website.

It’s so exciting to see our members’ clients set themselves apart on the world stage this way. Well done, Koning Eizenberg!

Shout-Out Credit:

Alicia K. Igram, AAI, VP & Branch Rep
Design & Consulting Liability Specialist
IOA Insurance Services – Aliso Viejo, CA
Email: Alicia.Igram@ioausa.com / Phone: 949-680-1789

We wanted our 100th post here at The ProNet Blog to be something special! So, we decided to use it to give a much deserved shout-out to the a/e ProNet clients who were recently recognized by the AIA Committee on the Environment (COTE).

According to the ArchDaily blog:

“The COTE Top Ten Green Projects program, now in its 17th year, is the profession’s best known recognition program for sustainable design excellence. The program celebrates projects that are the result of a thoroughly integrated approach to architecture, natural systems and technology. They make a positive contribution to their communities, improve comfort for building occupants and reduce environmental impacts through strategies such as reuse of existing structures, connection to transit systems, low-impact and regenerative site development, energy and water conservation, use of sustainable or renewable construction materials, and design that improves indoor air quality.”

While we, of course, congratulate all the winners of this important distinction, we are especially excited for the clients of our members, including Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects of San Francisco and Brooks + Scarpa of Los Angeles!

lmsarchitects_merrittcrossingLeddy Maytum Stacy Architects / Merritt Crossing Senior Apartments

“Located at the edge of Oakland’s Chinatown, this new affordable senior housing transforms an abandoned site near a busy freeway into a community asset for disadvantaged or formerly homeless seniors while setting a high standard for sustainable and universal design. The high-density, transit-oriented project is one of the first new developments planned near the Lake Merritt BART regional transit station. The upper floor apartments respond to the character of the eclectic Pan-Asian neighborhood with colorful and varied porous facades that reflect their orientation. The south façade features an independent screen that provides shading, privacy and acoustical modulation while enlivening the view of passing freeway drivers.”

brooksscarpa_yinyanghouseBrooks + Scarpa / Yin Yang House

“This nearly net-zero energy live/work home and office was designed to function not only as a home and commercial office for both parents, but also as a private home for a large and growing family with several children. We sought to create a calm, relaxed and organized environment that emphasizes public space and changes the stereotype of a live/work home for a large family with young kids. Part private home and part business, the house is meant to serve as a place to entertain and a welcoming space for clients and teenagers. It was designed to incorporate sustainable design as a way of teaching a green lifestyle and the offices are purposefully integrated with the home, making both the house and office feel large despite their small combined area. Passive measures, such as a very tight building envelope, reduce energy demand by more than 50 percent. The 12-kW solar system produces 100% of it’s electricity needs.” Continue reading “2013 AIA Top Ten Green Projects List: a/e ProNet Clients Among the Winners!”

“My big question for Architecture is, Why do humans have to adapt to buildings? And why can’t Architecture adapt to humans?”

Doris Kim Sung

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=-Ms5qoMO3gQ]

It is in the very nature of a trend to move on past its point of highest enthusiasm and fizzle out in favor of something else. Architecture, like everything else, goes through these periods of interest and inclination. For a long time, Sustainable Architecture–environmentally conscious design–was considered the latest trend. Now that trend is evolving.

Resilient Architecture takes the ideas behind sustainable design a step further. Metal That Breathes is one of the latest evolutionary byproducts of the new trend, and is best evidenced by the work of Architect Doris Kim Sung of the University of Southern California.

Inspired by her original interest and education in Biology, Sung used so-called “smart metal” to design and build her Bloom installation in Los Angeles. As Sung pointed out in her recent TED talk, “[Skin is] the first line of defense for the [human] body… Our building skins should be more similar to human skin.”

One author on the Core77 design blog explained Sung’s work this way:

Sung has been experimenting with thermo-bimetals, two thin layers of metal that expand and contract, in response to temperature, at different rates. Laminating two like-sized sheets of different material together and subjecting them to a temperature change causes the sheet to curl up—and this phenomenon can be exploited to create a building that ingeniously shades itself as needed, requiring no external power.

Sounds crazy, no? And it’s possible that the American market is not yet ready to explore the possibilities of this breathing metal in its regular buildings. But as Sung mentioned in her recent TED talk, at least one Chinese developer is already including the thermo-bimetal screens in its design for a house. The screens “can actually open and close as the sun moves around on that surface,” said Sung. “[This implies] that we don’t need shutters, or drapes, or blinds anymore… we can control the amount of air conditioning you need inside that building.”

Watch Sung’s Metal That Breathes TED Talk (and hear about how the breathing capabilities of grasshoppers factor into her research!) here:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=wvIyVZf3qZU#!]

And in case you’re wondering about the deeper implications of this kind of beyond-the-basic-sustainability philosophy, I’ll leave you with this quote from a recent Treehugger.com blog post entitled Building Green Is No Longer Enough, It is Time To Build Resilient:

It turns out that many of the strategies needed to achieve resilience–such as really well-insulated homes that will keep their occupants safe if the power goes out or interruptions in heating fuel occur–are exactly the same strategies we have been promoting for years in the green building movement. The solutions are largely the same, but the motivation is one of life-safety, rather than simply doing the right thing. We need to practice green building, because it will keep us safe–a powerful motivation–and this may be the way to finally achieve widespread adoption of such measures. — Alex Wilson, founder of BuildingGreen

a/e ProNet clients Hank Koning, FAIA, FRAIA, LEED AP and Julie Eizenberg, AIA have been honored by AIA|LA with the gold medal for their significant body of work and lasting influence on the theory and practice of architecture. The Gold Medal is the highest honor the AIA|LA can bestow, and it will be presented at the AIA|LA Design Awards, gala on October 22nd 2012 at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica.

It’s been a good year for Koning Eizenberg Architecture.

Above Photo: “Pico Branch Library broke ground last week at Virginia Avenue Park, Santa Monica… The Pico Branch is slated to be the first LEED Platinum library in Los Angeles when it opens in November 2013. View renderings of the library here.”

Below Photo: “28th Street Apartments historic restoration and addition for Clifford Beers Housing is just about finished! The original YMCA, designed by noted African American architect, Paul Williams in 1926, is being carefully restored and will offer  community services and supportive housing.”

We wish them a very fun time at the gala this evening. Well deserved!

Follow Koning Eizenberg Architecture on Twitter for future announcements. Remember, “Architecture isn’t only for special occasions!”

Item contributed by Alicia Igram of a/e ProNet Member firm IOA Insurance Services in Aliso Viejo, California.

We’d like to congratulate a/e ProNet client Klawiter and Associates on their design for the new ADK America offices in Los Angeles, California.

See the full press release here.

“Klawiter and Associates, Inc. has provided commercial interior planning and design services to an ever-growing list of clients for nearly twenty-five years. Jim Klawiter founded Klawiter and Associates in 1985 to fill a void in the marketplace by starting a firm that understands smart business practices could be enhanced by innovative design solutions… Klawiter and Associates is an active member of the U.S. Green Building Council with a large percentage of their staff LEED Accredited.” Read more about Klawiter and Associates at their website.

CCM+S Newsletter: A Dangerous Precedent

After a year-long investigation, the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office charged German architect Gerhard Albert Becker last Wednesday with involuntary manslaughter in the death of L.A. firefighter Glenn Allen.

On February 16, 2011, more than 80 Los Angeles firefighters responded to a blaze at a 13,500-square-foot mansion in the Hollywood Hills; the home, valued at $11M, was slated to be the backdrop of reality TV show Germany’s Next Top Model later that same month. As the fire spread, the second and third floors partially collapsed, burying veteran firefighter Glenn Allen under hundreds of pounds of lumber and plaster debris.

Though Allen’s colleagues were able to dig him out with chainsaws, the firefighter ultimately succumbed to his injuries; he died two days after the fire.

As reported by the L.A. Times, “Building inspectors said Becker had told them there were no plans to build fireplaces in the home, and none were spotted during a final inspection. After the fire, investigators discovered that he had installed four outdoor fireplaces inside the home, a violation of city building codes.”

This is a case worth watching for design professionals as it is, according to Southern California attorneys Brian Stewart and Ryan Harley (both of Collins Collins Muir + Stewart LLP), “the first time in memory that a designer (or contractor for that matter) has been charged criminally with manslaughter in connection with design or construction of a building.”

The following is an excerpt from a short article released by CCM+S which provides a brief explanation of the allegations:

“After a year-long investigation, Mr. Becker was recently charged by the District Attorney with one count of involuntary manslaughter in connection with the death of Mr. Allen. As used here, involuntary manslaughter is defined as an ‘unlawful killing which takes place during the commission of a lawful act, which involves a high risk of death or great bodily harm, that is committed without due caution or circumspection.’ See California Penal Code section 192(b)(2). Acting ‘without due caution or circumspection’ is akin to criminal negligence, and basically amounts to reckless behavior which a normal prudent person would not have engaged in under the circumstances. For comparison, this is the same statute which was recently used to convict Michael Jackson’s doctor Conrad Murray.”

You may download the full PDF at the a/e ProNet website.