AEC Pros

Insulated Siding: Part 2

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This second of our insulated siding articles focuses on the technical aspects of using this exterior cladding as an insulation product. We will also touch on some relevant details regarding its installation.

The industry definition of insulated siding, or IS, is an exterior cladding product with a significant thickness of insulation permanently adhered, so that both cladding and insulation are installed in one step and as one product. This is currently limited to some aluminum and many vinyl siding products. (There also exists a line of contoured foam insulation manufactured as either a universal backing, or a product-specific backing for several types and brands of solid plank siding, including fiber cement. We will discuss this material separately.)

Innovations in Flooring: Carpet and Tile Made from BioBased Materials

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Manufacturers are updating their product lines with renewable, plant-based materials.

Throughout the last decade, flooring manufacturers have embraced sustainability as a catalyst for reducing waste; improving manufacturing processes; and developing innovative, more environmentally friendly flooring options. As a result of these efforts to minimize environmental impact, the standard synthetic raw materials utilized in the flooring of years past are now being replaced (or used in conjunction) with unconventional, biobased plant materials, such as corn starch, soybean oil, and castor bean oil.

Case Study: Clinical and Translational Science Building, Part 3

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This final article in a three-part series on the University of Rochester’s Clinical and Translational Science Building provides an overview of the collaborative design process that led to the facility’s efficient mechanical and electrical infrastructure.

The University of Rochester’s Clinical and Translational Science Building was designed with one overarching vision: to create an environment that inherently fosters collaboration among the diverse departments of the Clinical and Translational Science Institute. From the initial project briefing all the way through the construction phase, the extensive and diverse project team embraced the inherent concept of collaboration in its design approach, working cohesively to successfully unite the Clinical and Translational Science Building's residents – administrative staff, researchers, and clinicians – in a LEED Gold certified facility.

Lean Construction: Management Practices That Have Moved from the Factory to the Jobsite

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Lean Construction, intended to maximize value and minimize waste, is not simply an add-on to business-as-usual, but a paradigm-shifting concept.

Although the term "Lean Construction" is often bandied about by those who want to discuss its merits in detail or by those who wish to dismiss it quickly as irrelevant, in truth very few construction professionals understand its potential and power. This latest in a series of articles (following Productivity and Cost Control) will define and dissect Lean Construction and its impact on a jobsite.

Am I a "Green" Hypocrite?

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In this re-post from, Bob Faulhaber confronts a tough question: “Am I a green hypocrite?” What answer do you get when you ask yourself this question?

Am I a green hypocrite? I might be... This is something that I struggle with quite regularly. I consider myself an environmentally responsible individual, and sustainability is a core tenet of the business that I founded. With just about every decision that I make, or at least the major ones, I try to consider the environmental consequences of that decision and action. However, I'd be lying if I said that I always made the environmental choice. Most of the time there is probably a good reason for that, but sometimes it’s really just a matter of preference. Does that make me a green hypocrite? I hope not, but I will leave that for someone else to decide. Here are some of my green and not-so-green decisions.

C.W. Driver Manages Multiple Priorities on Caltech Construction Projects

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Six simultaneous construction projects on the Caltech campus require a balancing act on the part of the construction team.

Managing a single construction or renovation project on a college campus can be difficult, due to the extra consideration given to possible disturbances of lectures and student activities. When construction takes place in multiple phases in various locations throughout campus, the situation naturally warrants additional preparation. Six simultaneous projects have been underway at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), a private research university located in Pasadena, California. Undertaking any major construction project at any learning institution necessitates taking such special considerations; the six projects at Caltech likewise needed to avoid disturbing campus life and to preserve the campus’s historic architecture.

Changing Contract Wording to Accommodate Weather Delays

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Welcome to the On Site channel’s Construction Administration Column. Here, David A. Todd gives his recommendation on the Engineers Joint Contract Documents Committee (EJCDC) General Conditions clause for weather.

In my last column, I dealt with an issue concerning delays for weather. The answer I gave had to do with the weather provisions in the 2002 edition of the EJCDC General Conditions. Those provisions are:

The Smith Center for the Performing Arts: Deco in Vegas

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DMSAS designs a new performing arts center that will outlast the $20 in your pocket.

Las Vegas is known for its over-the-top re-creations of period architecture and, in some cases, of entire cities. Where else can you view interpretations of Caesar’s Palace, an ancient Egyptian pyramid, and modern-day New York City? The newest addition to Vegas’s collection of notable architecture is an Art Deco behemoth inspired by the nearby Hoover Dam.

A Conversation with Beverly Willis of the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation

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The Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation has been addressing the needs of women in the AEC industry for the past decade.

The Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation (BWAF), a national research and educational non-profit 501(c) (3) organization, was founded in 2002 by Beverly Willis, after she had been in practice for 50 years. The initial goal of the BWAF was to document the historic work of female architects, and it has expanded to take on the role of educating the public and engaging with the professional community.

Case Study: Clinical and Translational Science Building, Part 2

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This second article in a three-part series on the University of Rochester’s Clinical and Translational Science Building addresses the strategies Francis Cauffman used to achieve LEED Gold certification.

When designing the Clinical and Translational Science Building (CTSB) in Rochester, NY, Francis Cauffman was challenged with a two-fold mission: achieve high standards of sustainable design while addressing the functional requirements of 11 user groups with distinctly different objectives, day-to-day tasks, and schedules.

Philip Johnson’s Crystal Cathedral

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The Crystal Cathedral, designed by architects Philip Johnson and John Burgee in 1980 (with adjacent buildings by Richard Neutra and Richard Meier), will continue to serve as a house of worship, having been purchased by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange in 2011.

“Oh, I’m mad for religious buildings. The only thing that really gives you a kick in the world is a religious building.” The inimitable Philip Johnson was quoted saying these words in the iconic book on the architect by Hilary Lewis and John O’Connor, Philip Johnson: The Architect in His Own Words.

Case Study: Clinical and Translational Science Building, Part 1

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Francis Cauffman designs a medical facility for the University of Rochester that unites research with practice.

This first article in a three-part series on the University of Rochester’s Clinical and Translational Science Building provides an overview of the workplace strategies Francis Cauffman used to integrate the 11 diverse departments of the Clinical and Translational Science Institute under one roof. Follow Buildipedia throughout the month of May to learn more about the engineering details of the building and how it achieved LEED Gold certification.

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