Skyscraper Sunday: Dallas Condo Tower, Azure, Going Green

Azure_dallas_image Absolute Architectural Splendor.  There’s a little bit of green development in Dallas, but we can do more to catch up to other progressive cities such as Portland + Austin.  Azure, a 375-foot condo in Dallas being developed by the innovative Gabriel Barbier-Mueller of Harwood International (+ Westback Projects Corporation), is Dallas’ first foray into LEED, green living, as far as residential condo development is concerned.  Azure is on track to receive the LEED gold certification from the USGBC, but it is trying to get platinum.  Really, all that matters is that this place will be green + modern. 

Architectural design is by James KM Cheng Architects Inc., interior design by Gensler and Lauren Rottet, FAIA, and external landscaping by SWA Group.  As far as sustainable building is concerned, here’s what I know so far:  high-performance engineered window system with clear anodized aluminum framing and insulated clear double glazing with Low-E coating; energy efficient lighting meeting National Energy Code; LEED certified building envelope and heating/air conditioning; and high-quality roller/motorized shading system made of sun control fabric. 

Azure_rendering Azure_interior Azure_side_rendering

Some amenities include Miele and Sub-Zero appliances and professionally designed interiors.  Owners will also have access to the spa, his/her sauna, state-of-the-art exercise facilities, private garage (refered to as "G2"), 17 seat theater, garden terrace and pool, boardroom, and library with a fireplace.  What this means is that Azure will be a 31 story, 202 unit, $400,000 – $4.2 M per-unit superstar.  Seriously.  And I know it’s well over 65% pre-sold, so those that are interested will need to jump on it quick.  It should be complete in Spring 2007. 

Extra Links:
Azure Website [www.azureliving.com]
The Allure of Azure [Jim Schutze - Observor]
Azure Live Construction Camera
Harwood International Website
Westbank Projects Corporation Website

Texas-OU Weekend: Cup City Installation by Austin Green Art

Cup_city_birds_eye Being Texas-OU weekend, I thought I would bring it back to Austin for a little environmental action.  Back in late September, an environmental organization called Austin Green Art created "Cup City" for the Austin City Limits Music Festival.  The enormous temporary art installation was sponsored by Starbucks.  Cup City should be noticed not for what it is, but what it illustrates. 

The project was designed by architect Legge Lewis Legge and incorporated 41 fence panels (6 x 15 foot), zip ties, and approximately 25,000 pieces of recyclable garbage.  Rent-a-fence provided the fencing.  And from what I understand, the project included solar powered lighting to illuminate the temporary behemoth at night. 

Cup_city_actual Cup_city_profile

The project became a temporary, shaded lounge area where people gathered and interacted during the festival.  But even more importantly, the project illustrates how people need to change the way they consume.  Where talking about massive amounts of water bottles, plastic, paper, coffee cups, etc., that just gets thrown away everyday.  In recycled form, this stuff can be put to use.  Oh, and as a side note, Starbucks donated $1 for every beverage sold at the festival to Austin Green Art, so it’s certain that more of these types of projects are in store for the future. 

Extra Links:
Austin Green Art Commissioned by Starbucks to Create "Cup City" [PR Newswire]
Texas Architect 2006 Design Award
Austin Green Art Website

Green Office: Steelcase Think Chair–"the Chair with a Brain + a Conscience"

Think_green_office My first installment to the "Green Office" segment is about the office chair.  I walked into a friend’s downtown office (a lawyer) and he had some beat up, patchy furniture inside.  I asked him what the deal was and he responded that it was all the firm provided.  That gets me, big-time.  For all you professionals out there, especially young professionals, your job is your domain and if the bossman isn’t providing it, do it yourself.  My credo, dress and office like the person who’s job you want to have.  So I prefer CEO-style all the way.  If clients come in my office, they’ll see CEO-style.  Compare that to the cubicle next door and they’ll form an impression about your position in the firm.  You’ve got to be a rainmaker, so this is all about looking the part. 

As far as office chairs go, there seems to be a race to ergonomics–"Ooh, nice, is that so and so’s chair?"  "Did corporate get that for ya?"  "How much does one of those run?"  You get the drift.  Steelcase, Inc. makes this entire process very easy, actually, modern + green easy.  They have two chairs that are Cradle to Cradle™ Certified Silver:  Think™ + Leap®.  I’m going to focus on Think.  Think also received the BusinessWeek 2006 Gold IDEA award, IIDEX Sustainable Design Gold award, NeoCon Editor’s Choice Award, and the Red Dot Award for Product Design (Germany).  But forget accolades, here’s where sustainability meets the chair. 

Think_white Think_downward Think_white_office

First, cradle to cradle for this chair means the company considered what goes into the chair, how it is made, and what happens to the chair when it is no longer a chair.  The chair is designed to be highly recyclable + safe for environmental health.  Second, the chair is up to 99% recyclable by weight + up to 44% recycled content.  Third, disassembly takes about 5 minutes and Steelcase has set up the structure for customers to participate in recycling of their used chair.  Fourth, the chair is Greenguard Indoor Air Quality Certified.  But if this is too green for you, there’s more. 

Think is comfortable too.  It has the adjustable arms, pneumatic seat height, and innovative back "flexors" that track and respond fluidly to your natural weight and movements.  So not only is this chair environmentally conscious, it’s smart, too.  I think an added benefit to the chair is that one can order the thing online and have it shipped FedEx ground-style for free.  So, if you’re tired of that standard office stuff and want to make a change, I’d get one of these Steelcase chairs shipped straight to the office. 

Extra Links:
Think Chair Mini-site [Steelcase]
Steelcase Online Store
MBDC Cradle to Cradle Certification

The 505 Townhomes: Urban Experiment with Modern + Sustainable Design (Houston)

The_505_night

The instant I saw The 505, I knew there was something about it that needed blogging.  This Houston, Texas four-unit townhouse development is extremely striking and innovative–it has that modern swagger that many of us would like to call home.  The goal of this project was to "be financially successful and to make responsible use of land, incorporate sustainable design principles, enhance community sensibilities, and possess an architectural identity." 

Like a lot of green-built projects, The 505 incorporates Terrazzo granite floors and Interface carpet.  The windows were carefully designed and placed to provide views and natural light and still provide a modicum of privacy.  Lots of modern + green homes seem like nothing more than glass houses with metal roofs, but this place manages to negotiate the importance of natural light/shading and privacy. 

Extra Links:
The 505 [Texas Architect]
Collaborative Designworks
Texas Society of Architects 2006 Design Award Winner

The_505_living_room_1_2 The_505_dining_2

Michael Jantzen + Environmental, Architectural Eye Candy

Wind_shaped_pavilion Well, I’ve decided to hit my readers with a little environmental, architectural eye candy.  I like to get political every now and then, but I really like to throw in some skyscrapers, prefabs, or dream houses here at Jetson Green (check the category cloud on the left).  Of course, everything has a sustainable approach to it.  Today’s post is a little different, if not impractical, but it’s deceptively time consuming–when you go to this website, you’ll find yourself gazing at all the different projects and fighting within as to whether such structures can actually work.  I did for about 45 minutes and the only thing that stopped me was the sound of Colbert’s voice.  Here it goes::  enter Michael Jantzen and his Portfolio

He’s really into wind, if you can’t tell:  wind shaped pavilion, wind shade roof, wind turbine observation tower, + wind tunnel footbridge.  That’s good, though, because buildings that integrate environmental design into the structure can be effective.  If you haven’t heard, such a building was designed to be zero energy by SOM called the Pearl River Tower (China).  So these Jantzen renderings should, at a minimum, get us thinking about design, sustainability, and the endless possibilities. 

Wind_shade_roof_1 Wind_tunnel_footbridge

The wind shaped pavilion, pictured top, is a large fabric structure with six slowly rotating segments that can be used as a public or private pavilion.  <I’m thinking wedding bells, maybe?>  Each segment’s rotation generates electricity for nighttime illumination.  And logically, the shape and design lends itself to natural light and ventilation.  Having the ability to rotate segments provides the convenience of optimizing shade when the sun starts to beat down.  I think this type of creative design is necessary so people can have living and working spaces that are nimble, comfortable, healthy, and effective. 

Intellicenter USA + Koll Development: "Developing for the [Green] Future"

Intel_4story_large

Now this is what I’m talking about.  Sexy green skyscrapers and platinum green prefabs are cool, but now we’re moving into a new realm of green real estate development.  Dallas-based Koll Development Company (KDC) is speculating on a new generation of buildings.  Actually, they’re going to be LEED CS (Core + Shell) certified, but they’re also going to be modern and tech-savvy.  I noticed the construction of one on the way back from DFW airport in Irving, at the southwest corner of Beltline and LBJ.  KDC’s new product will be called the "Intellicenter" and they’re "Developing for the Future."

Here’s the thing that will really knock your socks off:  click here to go see a webcam view of the progress.  Keep watching because in about December 2006, this thing will be complete. 

Intellicenters will feature raised floor design and energy efficiency all around.  Individual workstations will have HVAC controls.  The lobby will feature Terrazzo recycled glass and natural stone flooring. The green features list could go on and on.  But KDC is also thinking of the bottom line and the necessary benefits to companies; their buildings aim for the following:  (1)  higher performance systems, (2) reduced operating expenses, (3) maximum design efficiencies, (4) increased flexibility for technological advances, and (5) environmental stewardship.  For LEED design, these buildings command a premium of $2-3 more per square foot (on construction cost), which comes out to around 25 cents per square foot on a lease rate.  Not bad.  Customers will get that back in energy savings, increased employee productivity, and other intangibles.

In addition to this Dallas Intellicenter, KDC has Intellicenter’s under construction in Houston, Atlanta, Riverside (CA), and Charlotte.  They’ve teamed up with Prudential Real Estate Investors to offer 2 million square feet of office space valued at around $200-250 million (each building will be about 150,000-200,000 sq. ft).  Interestingly, each building will be almost entirely the same, which allows the developer to minimize costs (as opposed to reinventing the wheel at each location).  KDC enlisted Forum Studio Inc. and Gensler for the design aspects.

Jetson Green prediction: 
Not only will these office buildings be green but going forward, medical facilities, mixed-use condo developments, office condo parks, trailer home parks, educational facilities, government buildings, skyscrapers, houses, etc., will be green.  You name it, it’s all going dark green. 

Extra Links:
Going Green Saves Green for Corporate Clients [Texas Construction]
KDC’s Informative Video on the Intellicenter-USA [.wmv]
Koll Development Company Website

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