Tag: AIA-Minnesota (4)

Virtual Reality in Architecture

VIRTUAL REALITY IN ARCHITECTURE Even if you are not a computer techy person, you have probably seen those strange headset things people put on to be in a virtual environment.  Usually these are part of a gaming system that can create a very realistic digital environment called Virtual Reality (VR).  The gaming industry is pushing computer manufacturers to improve computer processing speeds that make it affordable for the general public, including smaller architecture firms, to purchase computers that can handle the VR demands. EVOLUTION Virtual reality is not new for architects though.  Drawings and models have been tools architects have used to develop their designs for centuries.  Perspectives, isometrics, and three-dimensional (3D) models are the traditional techniques architects have used to visualize a space and relay that vision to a client or community.  As technology has evolved, these visual representations have gone from hand drawings and physical models to three-dimensional computer-generated images and 3D printed models to fully digital immersive experiences (Virtual Reality) where one can almost feel like they are walking through a space. The evolution of 3D representation allows designers more tools to help clients understand the design of a future space.  Each space and client are different and should be evaluated on the best use of technology to satisfy the owner’s needs.  Architects strive to design spaces that are functional for their clients, and the more the client understands the space and can understand the design intent the higher probability the space will perform as the client envisions. VISUALIZATION A fully interactive virtual reality experience through a headset can be an unsettling or uncomfortable experience for some and designers must know the best approach for each client or community.  Depending on the building type and location, many people can see a 3D image and understand how it […]

Debunking Preservation Myths

Historic properties enrich our cities and capture our history. Don’t let myths about extra costs and over-regulation outweigh the benefits of undertaking your historic project! Historic buildings can’t be sustainable. FALSE. Several well-known historic buildings have been renovated to meet LEED standards. The U.S. Green Building Council recognizes historic buildings “represent significant embodied energy and cultural value”. LEED offers credits for the preservation or adaptive reuse of historic materials and features. New technologies and products make it possible to integrate sustainable solutions that improve the performance of a historic property. The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation include special Guidelines on Sustainability. Work with a historic architect to determine if any of the following modifications could improve building performance without permanently damaging historic materials: Windows | Restore windows by replacing putty or weather-stripping to create an air-tight window opening. Interior Storm Window | Installing interior storm windows can nearly double the window’s insulating value. A compression fit assembly can be installed without any additional hardware or holes in the historic frame. Insulation | Historic buildings may not have any insulation. Blown-In insulation products can be installed into walls through small holes or attic access to improve energy performance. HVAC | After testing the existing system for efficiency, a new HVAC system can be installed as necessary within the replacement cycle. High velocity air ducts have a slim profile and can be retrofit into existing walls to avoid visible ductwork or additional soffits. Restoration | Inherently sustainable features, like skylights and operable windows, naturally improve occupant comfort since they predate electricity. A designated historic building can’t be altered for ADA accessibility. FALSE. With the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, access to properties open to the public is a civil right. This doesn’t mean every property is required to install an […]

Emerging Professionals Firm Tour

Have you ever been to an architecture firm? When I decided to become an architect, I had met exactly 2 architects and only visited one of their firms. Call it love at first sight. Call it a leap of faith. I was 14 and knew I wanted to be an architect. Over the next 8 years, I didn’t meet another architect until graduate school. A career path into architecture does not require this blind leap of faith. This year, the AIA Emerging Professional’s Committee (EPC) is coordinating Firm Tours at 6 different architecture firms in the Twin Cities. These firms open their doors for students and early career professionals to experience their work space and unique culture. You get a guided tour of the office, hear about projects, and ask questions about daily tasks and challenges. The 2018 Firm Tours are a revamp of the EPC’s Draughting Club. At Draughting Club, emerging professionals and students in the Twin Cities could meet, enjoy a local brewery or distillery, and chat about challenges we face in our early architectural career. The new Firm Tours still foster a relaxed atmosphere for networking but with several upgrades: Meeting experienced professionals from the host firm Seeing architecturally designed offices Tours guided by firm leadership Free food! In April, Kodet Architectural Group is hosting the EPC Firm Tour in collaboration with the AIA Architecture in Schools Committee. We invite emerging professionals of all ages (high schoolers, undergraduates, graduate students, and early professionals) to see our office by the Walker Art Center. It’s a free tour with snacks and beverages but space is limited. Register today at this link  We work in a remodeled mansion complete with fireplaces, beautiful woodwork, and “bridge” addition off the back. It’s a fun place to see, but the character of our […]

Envisioning the Firm of the Future

Kyle Palzer is the AIA North Central States Region Associate Director (RAD) for 2018 & 2019.  As such he serves on the AIA National Associates Committee (NAC) which is comprised of 29 non-licensed AIA members from across the country.  The NAC and the YAF (Young Architects Forum – 29 recently licensed AIA members) come together once a year for a Joint Annual Meeting, which took place in Phoenix, AZ February 8-10th 2018. It was a pleasure to join fellow Emerging Professionals from across the country to envision what the future of the architecture profession might look like.  However, the meeting went beyond just planning, by beginning to develop concepts and ways in which to implement and effect change. The National Associates Committee is focused on making new headways in four areas over the next year; Future Practice, Advocacy, Mentorship, and Research.  For the upcoming year I will be a part of the Future Practice Workgroup, which seeks to develop a Firm Culture Document similar to the Studio Culture Document created by the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) in December 2000. In order to implement such a document, my workgroup will first draft an Emerging Professional Position Statement, which seeks to envision what the future associate member will want and need to be successful in the profession 15 years down the road.  As firm environments continue to change, and the ways in which we interact, and work evolve, there is a need to adapt to these changes.  This is beneficial not just for firms to retain talent, but to remain competitive with other fields.  If architecture fails to adapt to these changing working styles, many may see a profession that remains rooted in the past, when in fact quite the opposite needs to happen, as it is the role of […]