Montana State University Celebrates LEED Gold Certification

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For client Montana State University, this spring marked the one-year anniversary of the opening of the MSU Jake Jabs College of Business and Entrepreneurship, and coincided with the College’s celebration and unveiling of its LEED Gold Certification and plaque. Click through to see video of the space, and read this article to learn about its energy-efficient design features and how it’s used as a living laboratory for student research. Congratulations to MSU!

Grand Reopening for OSU Strand Ag Hall

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We celebrated the completion of the Strand Agriculture Hall Rehabilitation along with 100 others at the grand reopening yesterday on OSU’s campus.

Excerpt from an article in the Corvallis Gazette-Times covering the event:

“In a speech in front of the building’s reopening Tuesday, Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, said the improvements to Strand were an investment in the state’s past and its future.

‘Strand was built eight decades before we knew just how vulnerable Oregon was to the mighty quake — which is coming,’ Courtney said, adding that Oregon is ‘long overdue’ for a major earthquake event. ‘(OSU) is an example to others who must take action to make their own buildings safer.’

The seismic upgrades to the building, which were made possible due to the $24.9 million in bonds and State Energy Loan Program funding, include brick masonry walls reinforced with steel bars and shortcrete — a construction technique designed to stabilize the building’s exterior. The improvements could provide people inside the building with valuable seconds in the event of an earthquake, said architect Doug Reimer, who designed the improvements to Strand.”

Read the full article on the Corvallis Gazette-Times website.

Hundreds gather at MSU to celebrate opening of Jabs Hall

Jabs Hall dedication at Montana State University. MSU photo by Sepp Jannotta
Jabs Hall dedication at Montana State University. MSU photo by Sepp Jannotta

Excerpt from Montana State Univeristy’s press release:

“Hundreds of people gathered Thursday at Montana State University’s Jabs Hall, home of the Jake Jabs College of Business and Entrepreneurship, to celebrate the newly constructed building with a ceremony and ribbon cutting.

‘This building is a great addition to Montana State University and to the state of Montana,’ said Kregg Aytes, dean of the Jake Jabs College of Business and Entrepreneurship. ‘…It will help us become known as the most collaborative, creative and entrepreneurial business school in the region.’

With record enrollments at MSU and in the business college, Jabs Hall will also help the university begin to address a much-needed backlog of classroom space, Aytes said. He noted that the building’s 11 classrooms can simultaneously accommodate approximately 440 students, while informal study spaces scattered throughout the building provide room for another 220 students.”

From LEED to Living

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Can Certifications make Better Buildings?

Over the last decade LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) has become perhaps the most widely known environmental third-party certification for buildings, helping to bridge the technical barrier of sustainable design between owners and architects. While LEED promotes many positive things within the built environment, it is limited to a prescriptive manner of certification, which can result in theoretically “better” buildings that may not actually perform better than a typical baseline building.

A little less than a decade ago, the International Living Future Institute (ILFI) unveiled a new building certification – The Living Building Challenge (LBC) which focuses on a standard of performance.  Branded as “a philosophy, advocacy platform and certification tool” it has established itself as perhaps the most advanced and inspirational environmental third-party certification for buildings. Organized around seven petals – Place, Water, Energy, Health & Happiness, Materials, Equity, and Beauty – the LBC pushes projects towards regenerative solutions. These efforts are then proven through a 12-month post occupancy verification period required for certification. Less than 10 projects worldwide have achieved full Living Building certification while dozens of others are in various stages, perhaps most notably the Bullitt Center in Seattle, Washington (which hasn’t yet completed its 12-month verification). As a firm we have not yet completed a Living Building, however, we recently proposed LBC certification for the early concept of a project. Time will tell if the project ends up pursuing and achieving the LBC, but we thought we’d share a bit of what we learned in the initial process.

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Cascades Academy of Central Oregon

Since its completion in fall 2013, Cascades Academy of Central Oregon has been recognized with local and national design awards.  Watch this video to learn more about this preK-12 school located just outside of Bend, Oregon and how we worked with them to develop their new campus.

Resolving Design Dilemmas

The work of most architects is known only by the end result. Whether brick and mortar or steel and glass, designers don’t typically stand at the main entry explaining to passersby the concept, diagram, or the many painful decisions that were involved. However, most buildings have a story to tell, of last minute changes and dozens of tough decisions. For this post we decided to look at a recently completed project and highlight a few of these critical crossroads, the final decisions, and our take away lessons.

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