While we have observed ways in which structural engineers achieve sustainability, it remains important that we holistically understand the purpose of sustainability. More importantly, we must understand how our surrounding environment is affected by the structures we design. The general message remains just about the same despite the language being spoken, but the influencing factors behind sustainability will ultimately vary based on the global region.
While the green building movement continues to rapidly gain steam, building owners, architects, engineers and contractors have adapted their best practices to the ever-evolving sustainable design standards. A large part of this movement has been the LEED Green Building Rating System, introduced by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The program recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices, and certifies buildings that save money and resources, have a positive impact on the health of occupants, and promotes renewable, clean energy. The approach of the sustainable structural engineer starts with the materials selected for construction, namely concrete, masonry, steel and wood.
DeSimone fully promotes sustainability within our built environment. We strive to minimize our impact on the environment by endorsing sustainable and conservation ideals throughout all of our operations. We are proud to be a U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) National Member organization and to have worked on numerous projects which have gained LEED Certification.
Here some of our best sustainable projects, which have gone above and beyond in delivering environmentally-conscious features in residential towers, offices, government buildings, and more.
The Visionaire is Battery Park City’s most environmentally responsive residential building. The 35-story tower is a mixed-use development including 250 condominiums, a local organic market, and headquarters for the Parks Conservancy.
Designed by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), Grove at Grand Bay, the first truly twisting buildings in the United States, will be an iconic residential project located at the former site of the Grand Bay Hotel in Miami. Grove at Grand Bay features two towers rising 20 stories above a lush landscaped two-story podium. The two towers are low density with 98 spacious custom homes featuring 12-foot high ceilings and 14-foot deep balconies. In order to capture the full panoramic views of Biscayne Bay and the Miami skyline, the architect rotated the towers incrementally along the height for a total rotation of 38 degrees.
Site constraints required a square footprint for the base of the south tower. The floor plate increases in length as the building twists maximizing the sellable area. The north tower footprint remains a constant rectangle throughout its height. When completed, these towers will be the first LEED Gold-certified residential buildings in Miami-Dade County.
Located at the busy corner of 5th Avenue and 14th Street in Manhattan, The New School University Center is a vertically-stacked academic and student housing structure that will be the focal point for campus life at The New School.
The 18-story complex contains two below-grade levels and provides space for all aspects of campus life. Housing 10,000 square feet of retail space on the first floor, 230,000 square feet of academic space on the first seven floors, and 135,000 square feet of 600-bed student apartments on the remaining nine floors, the structure totals approximately 375,000 gross square feet.
Structural Challenges & Solutions
Several unique architectural features called for creative and integrated structural solutions in this LEED Gold facility. Due to the inherent dissimilarities between the mixed-use dormitory and academic space planning, multiple building zoning set-backs, and a multi-story 700 seat auditorium, a complex series of structural transfers were necessary to accommodate the interface between various programs. Continue reading “The New School University Center: Structural Challenges and Solutions”→