AIARVA: Front Porch 2018

AIARVA 2018 - Front Porch

Virginia Code Changes Scheduled for September

by Kenney Payne, AIA

Every three years or so, Virginia goes through a new code change cycle – and the time is nigh when the 2015 USBC edition will go into effect – currently scheduled for Sept. 4, 2018.  AIA Virginia was instrumental in shepherding a number of proposed code changes that we authored or supported – that were approved – and a number of proposed changes that we did not support – that were disapproved.

Below is a summary of the more significant code changes that AIA Virginia submitted and were approved

Virginia Construction Code (VCC) which utilizes the International Building Code (IBC) as its model:

  • Streamlined provisions related to existing buildings:  One section replaces five sections and ALL existing buildings and structures shall start in the VEBC, including R-5 (but the option to use the IBC/IRC remains).
  • Small buildings and spaces are now “permitted” to be classified as the main occupancy rather than be required to classify them as a ‘B’: This may help with avoiding mixed occupancies and/or reduce the amount of required plumbing fixtures.
  • There’s a new option for addressing higher education laboratories: If you wanted to avoid an ‘H’ occupancy, you were required to utilize “control areas.”  However, they were very limiting (especially for higher stories).  Now, there is an option to use “lab suites” to achieve a greater number of labs as well as greater quantities on higher stories.
  • Roof-supporting structural penetrations are now allowed into stairway and exit passageway enclosures if they meet certain criteria (no more than 2-stories, fully sprinkled, other than Group H).
  • Moved all reroofing and roof repairs to the VEBC.
  • All one-story buildings are exempt from the NFPA 285 test requirements if the exterior wall covering is noncombustible.

Virginia Existing Building Code (VEBC) which utilizes the International Existing Building Code (IEBC) as its model:

  • The entire VEBC was reformatted to accomplish a code that hopefully will be easier to: understand, apply, interpret, review, and enforce.  The major changes include:
    1. Deleted the “compliance methods.”
    2. Simplified the “work area” definition by deleting the term “reconfigured spaces” and essentially involves walls – removing, moving, or adding – walls would be a work area.  We also expanded what is not included in a work area.
    3. Consolidated a lot of provisions.  Did you know “accessibility” was in eight chapters and sixteen sections?  It is now in one chapter (new Chapter 4) and four sections.
    4. We simplified the old Chapter 10 – Change of Occupancy (is now Chapter 7) and allows an alternative to compliance with Chapter 7 – which was the old “Performance Compliance Method.”
    5. Deleted unenforceable provisions throughout, including those involving: IFC, unsafe or dangerous conditions, and “subject to the approval of the code official.”
    6. As a result, we deleted three chapters (14 in lieu of 17).
    7. Any reference to the iCodes in the VEBC mean the iCodes with the Virginia amendments.
    8. All classifications of work must now be identified on the construction documents (not just the work area) – there is an exception.
    9. Revised the definition of “Change of occupancy” and “existing building.”
    10. Consolidated the following into Chapter 3 – which applies to all work (rather than having multiple locations for the same provision): building materials and elements, fire escapes, seismic forces, glass replacement, and new provisions for higher education labs and reroofing.
    11. All “repair” requirements were consolidated into one chapter (in lieu of three).
    12. All “alteration” requirements were consolidated into one chapter(in lieu of five).  We still have three levels, but rather than each being there own chapter, they are now each their own section.
    13. An exception was added to the IECC requirements allowing “like” materials and thicknesses when replacing existing materials in the building’s exterior building envelope (e.g., walls and roofs).
    14. Group R-5 was added to the hazard category tables in the Change of Occupancy chapter.
    15. All “addition” requirements were consolidated into one chapter (in lieu of three).
    16. All “historic building” requirements were consolidated into one chapter (in lieu of three).
    17. All “moved building” requirements were consolidated into one chapter (in lieu of three).
  • Remember the VEBC mantras – “incentivize, don’t penalize” and “it is as safe or safer today than it was yesterday.”

Learn more about the entire 2015 VEBC and the 2015 VEBC significant changes at Architecture Exchange East this Nov. 7-9.

Virginia Code Changes Scheduled for September

by Kenney Payne, AIA

Every three years or so, Virginia goes through a new code change cycle – and the time is nigh when the 2015 USBC edition will go into effect – currently scheduled for Sept. 4, 2018.  AIA Virginia was instrumental in shepherding a number of proposed code changes that we authored or supported – that were approved – and a number of proposed changes that we did not support – that were disapproved.

Below is a summary of the more significant code changes that AIA Virginia submitted and were approved

Virginia Construction Code (VCC) which utilizes the International Building Code (IBC) as its model:

  • Streamlined provisions related to existing buildings:  One section replaces five sections and ALL existing buildings and structures shall start in the VEBC, including R-5 (but the option to use the IBC/IRC remains).
  • Small buildings and spaces are now “permitted” to be classified as the main occupancy rather than be required to classify them as a ‘B’: This may help with avoiding mixed occupancies and/or reduce the amount of required plumbing fixtures.
  • There’s a new option for addressing higher education laboratories: If you wanted to avoid an ‘H’ occupancy, you were required to utilize “control areas.”  However, they were very limiting (especially for higher stories).  Now, there is an option to use “lab suites” to achieve a greater number of labs as well as greater quantities on higher stories.
  • Roof-supporting structural penetrations are now allowed into stairway and exit passageway enclosures if they meet certain criteria (no more than 2-stories, fully sprinkled, other than Group H).
  • Moved all reroofing and roof repairs to the VEBC.
  • All one-story buildings are exempt from the NFPA 285 test requirements if the exterior wall covering is noncombustible.

Virginia Existing Building Code (VEBC) which utilizes the International Existing Building Code (IEBC) as its model:

  • The entire VEBC was reformatted to accomplish a code that hopefully will be easier to: understand, apply, interpret, review, and enforce.  The major changes include:
    1. Deleted the “compliance methods.”
    2. Simplified the “work area” definition by deleting the term “reconfigured spaces” and essentially involves walls – removing, moving, or adding – walls would be a work area.  We also expanded what is not included in a work area.
    3. Consolidated a lot of provisions.  Did you know “accessibility” was in eight chapters and sixteen sections?  It is now in one chapter (new Chapter 4) and four sections.
    4. We simplified the old Chapter 10 – Change of Occupancy (is now Chapter 7) and allows an alternative to compliance with Chapter 7 – which was the old “Performance Compliance Method.”
    5. Deleted unenforceable provisions throughout, including those involving: IFC, unsafe or dangerous conditions, and “subject to the approval of the code official.”
    6. As a result, we deleted three chapters (14 in lieu of 17).
    7. Any reference to the iCodes in the VEBC mean the iCodes with the Virginia amendments.
    8. All classifications of work must now be identified on the construction documents (not just the work area) – there is an exception.
    9. Revised the definition of “Change of occupancy” and “existing building.”
    10. Consolidated the following into Chapter 3 – which applies to all work (rather than having multiple locations for the same provision): building materials and elements, fire escapes, seismic forces, glass replacement, and new provisions for higher education labs and reroofing.
    11. All “repair” requirements were consolidated into one chapter (in lieu of three).
    12. All “alteration” requirements were consolidated into one chapter(in lieu of five).  We still have three levels, but rather than each being there own chapter, they are now each their own section.
    13. An exception was added to the IECC requirements allowing “like” materials and thicknesses when replacing existing materials in the building’s exterior building envelope (e.g., walls and roofs).
    14. Group R-5 was added to the hazard category tables in the Change of Occupancy chapter.
    15. All “addition” requirements were consolidated into one chapter (in lieu of three).
    16. All “historic building” requirements were consolidated into one chapter (in lieu of three).
    17. All “moved building” requirements were consolidated into one chapter (in lieu of three).
  • Remember the VEBC mantras – “incentivize, don’t penalize” and “it is as safe or safer today than it was yesterday.”

Learn more about the entire 2015 VEBC and the 2015 VEBC significant changes at Architecture Exchange East this Nov. 7-9.

Glenn and Towers Renovation + Addition at Georgia Institute of Technology

VMDO‘s Glenn and Towers Renovation + Addition at Georgia Institute of Technology transforms a rather staid existing dormitory quadrangle into a dynamic student nexus. While serving to boost student community, collaboration, and well-being, the scheme also enhances the street edge and enriches its broader context. The project’s sustainable objectives are commendable, not only for attaining LEED Gold Certification, but also for the effective way in which existing buildings are optimized and newly connected.

Glenn and Towers Residence Halls are home to over 600 freshmen. By hosting Georgia Tech’s Freshman Experience, the buildings help incoming residents build a personal and academic foundation within the context of a diverse and inclusive community. The LEED Gold revitalization of the halls included the retrofit of existing attics into student rooms, the addition and reconfiguration of floor study rooms and lounges, and the construction of a connector building that serves as a social and academic hub shared by the residents.

The design of Glenn and Towers improves connectivity and removes barriers to the way students interact – with one another and with the larger campus. A top engineering and science university, Georgia Tech needed a design that would allow students to experience the kinds of spaces they will one day live and work in – specifically, flexible spaces that dissolve boundaries between work and play, study and socialization.

The design of the glass-wrapped connector building, situated between the two residence halls, supports and showcases a nearly endless combination of activities while creating a graceful strategy for surmounting a topographically challenging site from the street up into a renewed quad for Glenn and Towers residents.

Project Name: Glenn and Towers Renovation + Addition, Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta, Ga.)
Owner: Georgia Institute of Technology
Architecture Firm: VMDO Architects
Associate Firm: Stevens & Wilkinson
Contractor: New South Construction Company
Photographer: Jonathan Hillyer

Maggie Schubert, AIA

A native of a small town in the Virginia Piedmont, S. Maggie Schubert, AIA, received her Bachelor of Architecture from Virginia Tech in 2008. During her collegiate studies, Maggie received the Lucy and Olivia Ferrari scholarship and was awarded the opportunity to study at the Center for European Studies in Architecture in Riva San Vitale, Switzerland. Also while at Virginia Tech, Maggie studied for and successfully completed the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional (LEED AP) exam. Virginia Tech’s missions of learning, discovery, and engagement through its motto Ut Prosim (That I May Serve) guides Maggie to strive to serve others to promote positive change and to build a better community through the work of the profession. She’s a graduate of AIA Virginia’s Emerging Leaders in Architecture program, the recipient of AIA Richmond’s Richard L. Ford Award and the AIA Virginia Emerging Professional Award.

In 2014, as AIA Virginia celebrated 100 years at it’s Centennial Luncheon at the Jefferson Hotel,  Maggie was asked to Toast the Future of the profession which she used as a call to action:

“We must redefine architecture’s place in the community and continue
to evolve in the way we present ourselves to the public. We must have
courage to face vulnerability and imbalance, and strive for diversity in our profession to better reflect the demographics of our society.

I ask that each one of us continue to be the visionary, so that we may
create a common language and a common goal … may we as leaders
and emerging professionals continue to have the passion and courage to create design that inspires to make our vision for resiliency a reality.”

Maggie has championed the evolution of the architecture profession through leadership, education, mentorship, and her service as the voice of emerging professionals in the Commonwealth. Her work will help to define the trajectory of the profession for years to come.

She has served on the AIA Richmond Board of Directors, as co-chair of the Young Architects and Interns Forum, and as chair for Richmond Women in Design. Schubert’s leadership and passion for the profession continue beyond her local chapter as well. She has served as Associate Director on the AIA Virginia Board and chaired AIA Virginia’s inaugural Art of Practice conference.

Call for Volunteers: ArchEx 2018

Photo by Jay Paul.

We’re seeking a limited number of individuals to serve as volunteers at Architecture Exchange East 2018. In gratitude for their service, volunteers are invited to attend ArchEx for free on the day(s) you help out.

We are looking for volunteers who are capable of completing a number of different tasks throughout the conference. Volunteers are expected to commit to a minimum of one full day in order to receive the complimentary conference registration. Volunteer positions are open to all AIA Virginia members or students at Virginia’s accredited schools of architecture.

While we try to accommodate all requests, volunteers are assigned to positions where we have the need. (Volunteers must fulfill their entire commitment to receive complimentary conference registration.)

If you are interested, please complete the Volunteer Interest Form. We’ll be in touch later to confirm the details of your participation.

Reflections: Design Forum XIII

BLUR: The Shifting Boundaries between Art, Technology, and Architecture… and why they matter for the practice of the future.

Virginia Design Forum XIII | April 6-7, 2018 | Taubman Museum of Art

By Ed Ford, AIA

It was, as Michael Gibson reminded us, the thirteenth such occasion since the first Design Forum held in Hot Springs in 1994, a series of events that has brought us a widely diverse group of presenters in its 24-year history. This year’s theme was BLUR, in this case the blurring of boundaries between disciplines. At a time when art’s traditional connection to architecture seems to be waning in some quarters, it gratifying to see it was very much alive in the work presented in Roanoke. Jack Davis’s Introduction elaborated on the theme by reminding us of an old argument — Richards Serra’s contention that architecture can never be art and Harry Seidler’s belief that it cannot be anything else. All of this year’s presenters are involved in redefining, erasing and transgressing the definitions of and boundaries of architecture, art, design and science — of those things which we call disciplines, which as Jack defined them, are those things that require craft, skill, and philosophy.

An important connection was made later in the program by Doris Kim Sung who reminded us that as Maurice Merleau-Ponty said, we learn through experience and not intellect, and the interplay of the perceptual and the “real” was a repeating theme over the course of the Forum. Much of the work dealt with creative tensions between real space and perceived space or the idea of space at all. But while much of the work both in ideological origin and execution is both driven and inspired by the current acceleration of technological change, many saw their work growing out of longstanding art traditions that they were extending into the digital realm. Many presenters began their careers in other disciplines, often traditional ones, whose outlook had informed their architectural work. Space and form defined by light was a common theme, but at the same time, some of the most compelling projects were made from traditional materials and the work presented ranged from forms of pure light to meticulously joined wood to apparently jointless masonry structures.

 

Eric Howeler

Eric Höweler, AIA, of Höweler + Yoon Architecture, Harvard GSD

Eric Höweler in his keynote explained that he sees his firm as working across media — trespassing and bootlegging — defining architecture in the broadest of media. Much of their work deals with public space but Eric notes, “the notion of public and private has been fundamentally altered by a technologically expanded sense of commons that extends across media formats and channels,” Times Square being an obvious example.

Their most interactive project and least conventional in terms of the traditional tools of architecture is probably “Swing Time,” an interactive playscape in a park near the Boston Convention Center that takes the classic park swing into new territory. It is composed of twenty illuminated ring-shaped swings, large circular halos made of welded polypropylene with internal LED lighting controllers that change the illumination depending on the frequency and intensity of their movement. When stationary they emit a soft constant light. When the swings are moving the colors change from color and increase in intensity.

At the same time, some of their most compelling projects proved to be the least digital, such as a reinterpretation of the Chinese courtyard typology-the Skycourts housing and office complex in Chengdu, China, and the beautifully contrasting Corten and stone walls of the exterior.

The Collier Memorial is also executed in more conventional architecture materials but used in a technologiacally innovative way. The Memorial marks the site on MIT’s campus where a police officer was killed in the aftermath of the 2013 Marathon bombing. The Memorial, formed by a series of interlocking walls, takes the form of both a star and an open hand embodying the concept of “strength through unity.” It is composed of thirty-two blocks of granite that form a five-way stone vault. Each block supports the other to create a covered space.  A mortarless, zero-tolerance stone structure, it requires the perfect joinery of thirty-two stone blocks to transfer loads in pure compression from stone to stone.

 

Doris Kim Sung

Doris Kim Sung, dO|Su Studio Architecture, University of Southern California, 

While Doris is very much an artist, her education began with the study of biology and her process is based on her understanding of the biological world, such as the ways termite mounds accommodate themselves to thermal changes. Her work is very much focused on materials, what she calls “Metal that Breathes” or more broadly “Taming Smart Materials to Behave.” Her current focus is on thermal bimetals, a material that expands and contracts with temperature swings — the basic principle of a thermostat. Her work includes multiple iterations of these small units in multiple types of assemblies that can be used as sun shades, privacy screens and ventilation systems that change automatically with temperature, light and other climate variations without the use of electricity. Despite the mechanical characteristics of these devices, she sees them in an organic way — what she calls the skin of architecture. This typically takes the form of various curtain wall configurations in combination with glass, but other projects go beyond the building skin to become free standing structures-crustaceans. “Bloom,” an installation at the Materials and Application Gallery in Los Angeles is a large freestanding vortex composed of hyperbolic paraboloids. It is also constructed of smart thermobimetal and as the sun heats the surface it opens to ventilates that areas of the shell.

 

Nathan King

Nathan King, Lead Research Strategist at the Autodesk BUILD Space

 Nathan King is well known to many of us from his pioneering robotics work during his time at Virginia Tech in projects such as the “Breathe Wall.” Nathan’s primary focus at present is his work as lead Research Strategist at the Autodesk BUILD Space. He began his career as a painter and his work, however technologically driven, still informed by a painter’s sensibility. To him, a brush and a robot are both tools. Much of his work employs traditional materials — wood and steel — but with radical fabrication techniques, particularly robotics. The Lo-Fab (locally fabricated), Pavilion on the Rose Kennedy Greenway in Boston, Massachusetts was created by Virginia Tech faculty and students working with the MASS Design Group. It is a robotically fabricated structure something like a dome that requires a variety of tapered wood struts and multi-flanged steel connectors. It is a project that demonstrates not just the technical sophistication of robotics, but that it is a technology that can be used not just to hide joints but to beautifully articulate them.

 

David Freeland

David Freeland, FreelandBuck, Los Angeles, Sci Arc 

Like Nathan and Rafik, David sees his firm’s work grounded in certain traditional art forms, an extension of the trompe-l’oeil spaces of history such as the ceiling of the church of St. Ignatius in Rome. This however is only one aspect of the blurring of the real and the representational in their work. Also like Rafik and Eric, they work with light and illusion but in a far more literal way, exploring the boundaries of the two-dimensional and three-dimensional as well as blurring scales and types of representation in the process.  David notes that, “The Renaissance tradition of Trompe l’oeil ceilings uses the illusionary depth of perspective to project what is not there; a dome that was never built or an attic filled with angels.” All of their work is representative, but with varying levels of representation.

Their offices for Hungry Man Productions is a project closer to traditional architecture — a series of cubicles that creates an environment and flexible working configurations. Some of the cubicles are functional. Some are purely representational. They are filled with furniture, some of which is also real and some of which that is not.

Out of the Picture” is their proposed installation for the MoMA 2018 PS 1, Young Architects Program Competition. The streets and facades of Long Island City surrounding the PS1 courtyard are both literally and scenographically projected on to a series of vertical surfaces in the courtyard.

Parallax Gap” is their competition-winning installation at the Smithsonian and makes the strongest connection to the great illusionist ceilings of historyThe installation is a “ceiling” hung in the Grand Salon of the Renwick Gallery.  It is a collage of domed, coffered and beamed roofs of familiar American buildings-from Federal Hall in New York to the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco-in greatly reduced size, are color printed onto plastic but are also given real three-dimensional configurations.

 

Refik Anadol

Refik Anadol, Director UCLA Department of Design Media Arts

Refik Anadol is a media artist and a recipient of a Microsoft Research’s Best Vision Award. Refik brings his boundless energy and enthusiasm to a self-invented profession that defies categorization. It is architecture but it is architecture of light and images. But Refik is, in his own way, a traditionalist. Like others he sees his work connected to the traditions of art, in this case modernist ones — to James Turrell, Dan Flavin, and the Light + Space movement of the 1970s — and the influence of Turrell is apparent in his “Cube” project.

Much of Rafik’s current work involves what he calls “Making data visible” by means of parametric data sculptures. The lobby of an SOM office building in San Francisco is the location of his “SF data” project a 40-foot-wide screen with constantly changing images-a series of “data sculptures” based on a publicly-available data. He explains, “Through sensors, databases, information is collect on the city: sound, light, air quality, acoustics, human movement, ecological dimensions, social preferences. The installation uses the public dataset, as well as social network data, which are translated into images. Often, this materializes as trompe-l’œil illusions that play with the depth of the screen.” Some images architecture-specific. Some are quite concrete. Others are nebulous.

His most conspicuous and most ambitious work is his sound light/video/installation at Frank Gehry’s Walt Disney Concert Hall. Music is converted into digital imagery, breaking the art/ architecture boundaries in a number of ways. “The dynamic visual program uses custom-built algorithmic sound analysis to listen and respond to the music in real time, using architecture as a canvas and light as a material. Additionally, the movements of the conductor, are captured by Microsoft Kinect hardware and 3-D depth camera analysis to inform the visuals displayed.”

Doris Kim Sung, David Freeland, Refik Anadol, Nathan King

We closed with a Panel Discussion speculating on the variety of ways designers can cross these boundaries whether in theoretical or practical realms.

 

CALL for NOMINATIONS: Honors Awards

Braden Field, AIA, Nathan Harper, AIA, and Maggie Schubert, AIA, were recognized with the Virginia Emerging Professional Award at the Visions for Architecture gala on Friday, Nov. 3, 2017

The AIA Virginia Honors Committee is asking you to take a look at the Honors categories, review the selection criteria, and then ask yourself a few questions:

1. Do you think you might be a candidate for one of these honors?
2. Do you have a colleague who deserves one?

If the answer to either of these questions is yes, we encourage you to submit your nomination for AIA Virginia’s Honors Awards.

 

AIA Virginia’s honors program recognizes the best efforts of Virginians who, by profession or avocation, have made creating, preserving, and enhancing Virginia’s communities an important life commitment.

Submit your nominations online. The deadline is 5 p.m., July 13, 2018.

Nominations must be submitted electronically. Nominations should be submitted as one PDF document up to 20 pages (not including letters of support) and no larger than 30 MB.

Eligibility criteria and submission requirements vary by award. Click on the awards listed below for additional details and to review past recipients.

Nominations for all AIA Virginia honors may be made by individual members, by chapter honors committees, by Society committees, or by the Board of Directors itself. Current AIA Virginia Board members and Honors Committee members are not eligible for any award. No member of the Honors Committee may be used as a reference or advisor or be solicited by the candidate or the candidate’s advisor.  See the 2018 Honors Committee members.

Award Categories

The William C. Noland Medal, as the highest award bestowed on a member architect, is intended to honor a distinguished body of accomplishments, sustained over time, that spans a broad spectrum of the profession and that transcends the scope of normal professional activities. Only one medal may be bestowed each year.

The Architecture Medal for Virginia Service is AIA Virginia’s most prestigious public award, honoring an individual or organization that has made an unusually significant contribution to Virginia’s built environment or to the public’s understanding and awareness of the built environment. Only one medal may be bestowed each year but may be given simultaneously to more than one person.

The T. David Fitz-Gibbon Virginia Architecture Firm Award, as the highest honor bestowed by AIA Virginia to a Virginia-based architecture firm, recognizes a firm that has consistently produced distinguished architecture for at least ten years.

The Virginia Emerging Professional Award is intended to recognize the accomplishments of emerging leaders in Virginia for their contributions to the profession in one or more of the following categories: design, research, education, or discourse; service to the profession; mentorship; or service to the community.

The Award for Distinguished Achievement signals distinguished achievement by an architect in any one of the following categories: design, practice, education, service as “citizen architect”, and service to the profession; and thus may serve as an accolade for the work of an entire career or recognize the current accomplishments of a younger leader. Up to three awards may be bestowed each year.

Honorary Membership is bestowed upon a person of esteemed character who is not eligible for membership in the AIA Virginia but who has rendered distinguished and exemplary service, over a sustained period of time, to architecture and the built environment within the domain of AIA Virginia.