Tag: Architect (10)

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 […]

Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd | Preserving Character

LUTHERAN CHURCH OF THE GOOD SHEPHERD | PRESERVING CHARACTER The Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in Minneapolis had begun to turn the page into a new chapter, which called for an adaptation to their sacred space to meet contemporary needs. Originally built over 65 years ago, the renovation aimed to uphold the historic integrity and respectfully adapting the Vic Gilbertson, FAIA mid-century modern church to meet current programmatic needs. The Kodet Team understood the importance of this historic restoration and through carefully studying sketches and the building’s artwork we were able to develop a better understanding for the back-story and connection to the details. Integral to the renovation was the idea of strengthening the bond between the church and the congregation, which reflects the celebration of their faith and community. The ever-present theme was preservation + improving functionality to serve current and future generations. ARCHITECTURAL SOLUTION The renovation and restoration looked how to make the best use of the buildings great art and architecture. A key element was to connect the existing sanctuary to the existing courtyard originally separated by brick wall with stained glass windows. By removing the south wall of the nave, we were able to expand the space by creating large custom wood sliding doors. These grand doors open the worship space to the new catwalk, which features a balcony overlooking the updated exterior courtyard. The worship expansion and inclusion of these custom doors incorporated the relocated original stained glass and allows a full view over the courtyard and introduces natural light into the sanctuary. Most importantly, we were able to creatively save and utilize the existing stained glass panels. By using materials original to the building and combining this with the glass, the changes transformed the church from an introverted interior focused space to a […]

Drones in Architecture

ELK RIVER WATER TOWER Problem: How do you field measure a water tower in the middle of a Minnesota winter? A.     Risk your life to climb an icy freezing slippery ladder and use a tape measure and laser pointer to get an approximation of size. B.    Fly a drone and take pictures and use these images to create a point cloud and Revit family with exact dimensions. Answer:   B: Fly a drone.   Working with the City of Elk River and CAD Technology Center (CTC), an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV aka Drone) was flown the morning of February 8, 2018.  The drone set-up and flight only took a few hours and the flight created a photo scan of the water tower by taking hundreds of digital photos.  CTC processes the data and created a point cloud file in Revit.  From this file, a Revit family component was created that is a full sized three-dimensional digital representation of the water tower After Kodet received the Revit model, some detail had to be added to the model, but the basic dimensions, size, shape, and heights were a part of the model created from the photo scan. Kodet used this model to create drawings for contractors to estimate renovation costs to repaint the historical water tower. Countless hours were saved in field time and modeling time. In the end, a much more accurate set of drawings were created because of the use of the drone. The documentation process to get contractors to be able to bid the project became very simple and cost effective. The client was also pleased with the results and accuracy of the drawings that were created by the UAV Scan. Our office looks forward to using this highly advanced technology, which is constantly changing on future projects. Flying […]

Designing Safe + Secure Schools

PART 1 | School Security Practices Whether or not your building a new school, retrofitting, or renovating, it is always the right time to review your school’s security infrastructure to ensure your students, staff, and school personnel are as safe as possible. As important as cameras, scanners, lighting, and alarms are within a school’s security system, the must be supported by training, policies, and most importantly collaboration with the other systems creating a holistic approach to your school’s security design. In this 3-part series we will look at the process for developing a school security assessment to develop specific actions and discuss response and recovery options. PART 1 | We will dive into a process of ASSESSING your current facility with an honest look at the security and threats. PART 2 | We will develop specific action steps to the school district’s PREPAREDNESS. PART 3 | We will discuss RESPONSE + RECOVERY. FACILITY SECURITY ASSESSMENT A complete and holistic facility assessment is a combined team effort that involves steps to develop a comprehensive program that is used to review how our current facilities are built, how they function, and how current school policies affect security within school buildings. SECURITY ASSESSMENT TEAM The Security Assessment Team should be made up of a diverse team of: Students + Teachers + Administrators Parents + Community + Local Law Enforcement Architect + Security Professionals Superintendent The assessment team should provide a comprehensive district-wide analysis of current facility infrastructure, design, maintenance, policies, and procedures. The assessment team will compile all findings and research into a document that can be reviewed and updated on a regular basis. At minimum the Team will review the following items for your School Security Assessment: Building Exterior Conditions and relationship to such factors and environmental design + site configuration for vehicle and […]

Twin Cities Academy | Architectural Solution

The 9.2-acre site for Twin Cities Academy was the original location of the Cemstone Products Company, which was used as a concrete batch plant and nestled into St. Paul neighborhood. For many years the site was used for mining soils, storage, and concrete production. Environmental testing discovered hazardous materials and buried debris, which required extensive clean up. Chemicals used in the production of cement had also leached into the soils and increased PH levels on the entire site making it difficult to grow vegetation. However, through effective collaboration between the civil engineer, contractor, school, architect, and the MPCA, the difficult site was remediated into a healthy site for new school construction, the aerial site plans below illustrates this transformation. Through careful listening, the design team collaborated with Twin Cities Academy staff and stakeholders to develop a better understanding for the programmatic needs for each space. This resulted in an efficient floor plan that is smaller than the space they were previously renting. The student population is comprised of both middle and high school students and the school expressed a need for creating a separation of these two age groups but also developing a sense of unity within the school. In designing a large classroom wing that is comprised of middle school on one floor and high school on another floor it creates the separation desired by TCA staff. Housed in a different wing were shared programmatic spaces for gym, band, art, etc., and the two wings are connected by a grand atrium punctuated by a welcoming fireplace which promotes small group gathering and a delivers a wealth of natural light. Vital to the vision of the new Twin Cities Academy was to create a warm welcoming space for students, staff, and the community to gather. The open entryway achieves this, as students enter their […]

Search for Shelter

SEARCH FOR SHELTER Last weekend, Kyle and I enjoyed participating in the Search for Shelter Charrette.  Search for Shelter is an AIA sponsored even for non-profit organizations in need of ideas to help further their missions and goals. Design professional volunteer for a single weekend charrette, using design to solve a problem. This particular design weekend has been active for 31 years. Non-profits across the state of Minnesota submit projects for 7 or so volunteer teams to take on. We drove over to the University of Minnesota after work to join one of 7 teams for collaborative design.  Saturday morning we each visited our non-profit’s site and immersed ourselves in the challenges we had been asked to address.  We spent the rest of Saturday and Sunday morning creating what you see below: This year my team explored potential projects for the Midtown Greenway. This 5.5 mile bike path sits in a former railroad trench. We were asked to look at one of the 46 bridges and create a transit and affordable housing connection along the Greenway.  17 neighborhoods participate in the Greenway Coalition.  They desire people and developments to see the Greenway as the “front porch” and orient their businesses to this unique bike trail.  This adds a level of perceived security and safety. We presented renderings of our design to the Midtown Greenway Coalition on Sunday. The affordable housing included a sub-level that opened up to a patio at the Greenway level. Paths and patios were designed to activate the space below one of the 46 bridges along this well known bike path. Kyle’s team explored options to develop affordable housing near a vacant industrial space, part of the Upper Harbor Terminal revitalization by the City of Minneapolis. The non-profit asked the team to seamlessly integrate sustainability into the […]

Little Free Library

LITTLE FREE LIBRARY Recently, the City of Lakes Rotary Club collaborated with the team here at Kodet to create a unique Little Free Library for a Project for Pride in Living site. The Little Free Library has gained worldwide attention as it aims to promote literacy and the love of reading by building free book exchanges worldwide. Members of the Project for Pride in Living collected and delivered hundreds of books to start off their two new Little Free Library Sites.  Their goal to build a sense of community rang true as the Kodet team and Rotary Group put their heads to create their own Little Free Library. The team was comprised of Sean Leintz, Mandi Tauferner, Kelly Martinez, and Ken Stone. Early on in the process, each member of the team created sketches as to each would approach the project. After reviewing the creative sketches the team decided on a colorful library with a unique roof. Originally the design sought to have 2-levels, with sliding shelves moved with a “rotary” wheel incorporating the City of Lakes Rotary Club. In the end, the team collaborated to create a library which features a creative curved roof with pops of acrylic colored panels for windows. As you open the colored panels to grab a book the user is able to move the shelf back and forth to grab the book of his or her choice. Below are some images which depict the process the team went through in sketching and creating detailed plans for the project. Sketch by Sean Figuring out the specs! Materials + Details created by Mandi Rendering of the Final Product by Mandi! The team constructing the Little Free Library We would like to thank the Little Free Library organization and Project for Pride in Living the opportunity to work […]