Blog: Tagged 'Materials'
Being partial to our canine friends, BRS was honored to be selected to participate in the Sustainable BARKitecture Dog House Competition held by Denver International Airport in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon. The competition tasked local architecture firms with designing a sustainable dog house for a current member of the Canine Animal Therapy Squad, or CATS program.
The volunteer dogs in CATS interact with passengers at the airport to help relieve the anxiety of travel, and teams were tasked with tailoring the design of the dog house to a specific CATS member’s size, personality and preferences. BRS was paired with Butler, an adorable Shepherd mix who doesn’t like baths - perfect for reducing water consumption.
We challenged ourselves to build a sustainable dog house on half of the allowed budget that incorporated a solar panel donated by Panasonic and also catered to Butler’s needs and interests. Following a kick-off meeting and design charrette, our team developed 3 defining guidelines for the design:
- Reduce environmental impact with a smaller building footprint with reduced energy consumption and water usage
- Reuse materials to lower embodied carbon usage to help prolong our current resources and protect future canine generations
- And to create a retreat for Butler by incorporating stimulating yet tranquil design features that allow him to recharge and continue to help others
After some quick sketching and modeling, the team settled on a simple solution that offered indoor/outdoor space to protect Butler from the elements, and a high contrast façade to create visual interest and provide some privacy. Our schematic design was approved by our own in-house quality assurance and control team.
Led by our BARKitecture committee leader, Christine Harwood, the team volunteered some late nights to gather the reclaimed materials and construct Butler’s retreat.
The completed dog house stores energy captured from the solar panel to charge a battery that can power up to 10 hours of automatic ball retrieval for Butler, and just happens to be right-sized for our team leader.
The dog houses will be on display at DIA through October 9th, and will be auctioned off to benefit the Dumb Friends League and their mission to end pet homelessness and animal suffering. Cast your vote for People’s Choice Award (13 and older) or Kid’s Choice Award (12 and under) today or put in your bid in the online auction to take home one of these amazing dog houses!Hide Full Post
Posted on September 21, 2017 at 01:31pm
Color and graphics are compelling design elements which establish character and identity by developing a story unique to each facility. Whether you’re designing a new facility from the ground up or looking to renovate or update an existing one, attention to interior details of your facility will help ensure success.Continue
Customizing spaces through the use of color and interpretive imagery specific to the location establishes a connection between patrons and the facility. Not only do these elements create a visual connection, but they evoke particular feelings and emotions, establishing a visceral connection as well. When patrons feel a connection to the building, they will choose to return time and time again. Following are six ways in which simple color and graphic concepts can be used to define and enhance the design of your facility:
NUMBER 1: COLOR
Color shapes environments and creates specific feelings or attitudes. Highly-saturated and brilliant colors are successfully applied in the high-energy, high-activity fitness areas at Kroc Suisun.
Color is also a communication device. The brightly-colored walls at Olathe Community Center serve as an effective wayfinding tool, guiding people through the building by marking circulation and identifying destinations.
The graphic application of color on large wall areas of gyms and natatoriums is a striking and economical way to visually enliven and energize large-volume spaces and expansive walls. The application of painted sound absorption panels on walls of the gymnasium at Kroc Salem creates colorful, simple graphic patterning.
NUMBER 2: ICONIC ELEMENTS
In almost every facility location, there are easily recognizable and identifiable natural or cultural elements. This kind of connection is important because it bolsters the idea of a facility belonging to a particular location and creates a place in which the community comes together to socialize and recreate. For example at Kroc Coeur d’Alene, the tamarack larch is an indigenous tree to the region, and the branch structure of this tree became the inspiration for the all of the detailing in the facility.
NUMBER 3: PHOTOGRAPHIC IMAGES
The use of large format digital prints is another method to add color and graphic imagery to facility spaces. At the Paul Derda Recreation Center in Broomfield, Colorado, the design concept for the project was where the mountains meet the plains. A local photographer’s images of the mountains and the plains reinforces this design concept in large images on the wall in the natatorium and the lobby.
NUMBER 4: THEMES
Theming in a facility, and particularly in those areas focused toward children, is a method for successfully engaging different age groups. The child watch area at Gypsum Recreation Center is airplane themed.
NUMBER 5: ACTIVITY GRAPHICS
Recreation Centers are hubs of activity and the actions and movements created as a result make perfect design features within a facility. Kroc Augusta is an example of using large images of water elements and swimmers to enhance the interiors of the natatorium.
NUMBER 6: HISTORICAL ELEMENTS
Incorporating a community’s history is a simple and direct way to link the past and the present by highlighting locations, events and people that have shaped them. These graphics can be informative, educational, emotional and decorative but are appreciated by visitors and locals alike. Kroc Green Bay features a history wall to connect the building back to the community.
Color and graphics are great design tools to help shape spaces and create unique and expressive facilities that truly represent their location. It’s never too early or too late in the process to consider the interior design elements of your facility as an imperative part of its success. Whether you have a large budget or are looking for an economical solution, some simple graphics and strategically placed color will not only help to draw patrons into your facility and navigate them throughout, but also serve to establish a connection between them, encouraging their likely return.Hide Full Post
Posted by Marcia Hocevar on July 2, 2015 at 02:35pm
What is the perfect flooring material for locker rooms and pool decks? As designers of community recreation centers, we get asked this question all the time—and we have yet to find the perfect blanket solution for every situation and set of conditions. There are myriad product options on the market and each has its own set of strengths and weaknesses. Fortunately, we can help you determine the best solution for your specific project.Continue
As architects and advisers, we must balance our clients’ requirements for safety, economy, durability, ease of maintenance, water tolerance and attractiveness. These are just a handful of the considerations we assess to guide you in the right direction.
Slip-and-fall accidents can be a common occurrence—and a huge liability—for owners of community centers with swimming facilities and locker rooms if the right product isn’t specified. It is imperative that the floor material selection not only be safe, but also defensible in a court of law. Testing standards are now being used by the ceramic tile industry to determine the “Dynamic Coefficient of Friction.” This new test has been developed by ANSI (American National Standard Institute) and adopted by the TCNA (Tile Council of North America). It is called “ANSI standard A137.1-2012 DCOF AcuTest” and replaces the old “Static Coefficient of Friction” test, which has been determined to be somewhat inconsistent and inaccurate. For level floors that are susceptible to wetting, a test score of at least 0.42 is recommended.
Recommended Locker Room Floor Finishes
- Porcelain Mosaic Tile – This is our traditional go-to material. Its small size allows it to be molded to the sloping floors of a locker room without the need to cut tile. The tiles typically come in either 2”x2” or 1”x1” sizes. Because of their high density of grout joints, they provide a relatively nonslip finish. Our biggest complaint with this floor finish is the difficulty in keeping it looking clean and new. Tile joints may become discolored, particularly if the grout chosen is light in tone. We usually recommend a medium- to dark-colored grout so that soiling is not as easily apparent. Color selection and patterning are among the great characteristics of tile floors. They can work into almost any color palette and allow for a high level of creativity, as seen in the below example from the Cortez Recreation Center in Cortez, Colorado.
- Nonslip Porcelain Tile Paver – These materials come in larger sizes than the mosaics (typically 6”x6” and larger); however, some manufacturers offer a 3”x3” version. These tiles are characterized by a textured surface that produces varying non-slip qualities. Some pavers feature a diamond pattern while others have raised-dot or stone textures. Our two main challenges with these pavers are their size (they need to be cut to conform to sloping floor conditions) and their limited color options. Maintenance levels are generally low, but keep in mind that the greater the amount of texture, the more difficult the tile will be to keep clean. Products we recommend in this category include the Cross Tread and Cross Dot tiles from Crossville Ceramic, and the GlobalGrip tile from Royal Mosa.
- Textured Sheet Vinyl Flooring – Although we’ve rarely specified this material in our projects, it does have the potential to be a good solution. Most of these products are imported from Europe, where they are used extensively. There are several products on the market that are rated for use in locker rooms and on pool decks. These products come in sheets and can be heat-welded at the seams for a seamless installation. Color selection seems to be pretty limited, unfortunately. Some of the options boast excellent slip-resistance qualities and include an anti-bacterial treatment. One recommended product is Marine 20 from Altro Flooring.
- Sheet Rubber Flooring – One of our clients recently requested this type of floor in their locker room. The material is typically used in weights and fitness areas, but is suitable for limited use in a locker room. Rubber flooring slip-resistance testing is limited to dry conditions and rates very high on the slip resistance scale. That being said, when the surface is wet, it may not rate nearly as high. We can find no testing of this material in wet conditions, so we would be cautious about its use in high-traffic wet areas.
- Poured Quartz Epoxy Flooring – We have used these materials in the past with varying levels of success. Although economical, the product is highly dependent on the craftsmanship of the installer. It is seamless and can be installed with good slip resistance; however, the slip-resistant texture tends to be variable across the room. Some areas may be quite safe while others are too smooth. Repairing the seamless floor is also problematic in that patches are very obvious.
Recommended Pool Deck Floor Finishes
- Acid-Etched Colored Concrete – This is an economical concrete material that can be finished as rough or smooth as desired. We generally take a conservative approach and specify a fairly rough surface since it will wear down over time. Be sure to request a mockup of the finish with different levels of roughness. Test out each sample with bare feet and water to determine the best combination of texture and slip resistance. We like this surface because it is available in custom colors and has a sophisticated look. Below is an example from the Douglas H. Buck Community Center in Littleton, Colorado.
- Broom-Finished Colored Concrete with Swirl Pattern – This is another highly economical concrete finish that can be as rough or smooth as desired. Much like the acid-etched finish above, slip resistance is of utmost importance. Ask for a mockup of several different textures to show a range of roughness and test them before making your selection. We like this surface because it comes in custom colors, but like all concrete, it is susceptible to hairline cracking. Below is an example of the finish at the Brighton Oasis Family Aquatics Park in Brighton, Colorado.
- “Cool Deck” Coating on Concrete – This is a traditional exterior deck coating that has been used for years, particularly in the desert Southwest, where Fahrenheit temperatures regularly reach into the 100’s. It is usually installed in a very reflective white color or an earth-toned pastel. The color reflects the heat and thus stays a little cooler than regular broom-finished concrete. Since it is a coating, it won’t last forever and will require some maintenance or recoating over the duration of its life. This is best used in warm climates for outdoor pools that do not experience freeze-thaw cycling in the winter.
- Other Pool Deck Finishes – Most all of the locker room materials discussed earlier can be used on the pool deck as well; however, our typical community center clients opt for one of the more economical concrete finishes discussed above.
Posted by Dave Hammel, AIA, LEED AP on March 25, 2014 at 05:58pm
LED's always seem to sit highest on the list of hot topics in the world of architectural lighting design—and the conversation changes as quickly as the technology. One has much to consider when specifying LED's: cost, efficiency, color temperature, color rendering and lamp life, to name a few...Continue
In this article, we focus on efficiency (the ratio of lumen output per watt consumed by a fixture) and other benefits and drawbacks of LED use. For a quick glance at the overall efficiency comparison, consider the chart below:
You'll notice some fixture types are still very efficient in their fluorescent form, such as the 2' x 4' and 2' x 2'. (Side note: Fluorescent troffers still typically cost less than the LED version, unless dimming is desired. LED fixtures usually come standard with dim-ability and fluorescent dimming ballasts can add up to $100 to the cost of a fixture.) When it comes to downlights, it makes sense to specify LED over the sibling downlight that uses a CFL (compact fluorescent lamp). And the downlight technology is rapidly changing. The chart above is for a typical LED downlight, but some manufacturers are currently approaching the 90-to 100-lumen-per-watt mark. Another great place for LED's: high-bay luminaires. This is an area where LED technology has greatly improved recently.
Not only can LED sources be utilized in standard fixture types such as 2’ x 4’, high-bay, downlights, etc., but their smaller sizes and unique performance options also allow for quite a variety of installations. Large and small coves, cabinet details and display shelving can all take advantage of the smaller sizes and ease of installation in spaces that simply cannot accommodate other lamp sources. LED sources can also be used in exterior/wet locations within small concealed spaces, which most other lamp types cannot. These can be used for signage lighting, façade lighting and general architectural detail lighting. Below are some examples of current fixture trends in LED lighting.
Increase in number of options within the LED downlight family (aperture sizes, beam spreads, color temperatures, outputs, square trims, adjustability, wall wash):
Outdoor, low-profile linear grazers:
Linear pendants (great optics with LED, providing better distribution than fluorescent):
2’ x 2’ and 2’ x 4’ troffers (catching fluorescent in cost, especially when dimming is desired):
Decorative (small pendants or unique pieces requiring low-profile sources):
Task lighting (low profile, sleek pieces):
Another benefit to LED’s can be their color temperature and color rendering. Incandescent lamping has a color temperature around the 2500K mark, creating a nice warm yellow tone. It also has a color rendering index of 100, which means it renders colors exactly correct. Fluorescent and metal halide have relatively high color rendering (around 85) and come in a variety of lamp color temperatures for the application; however, metal halide is more limited in what it can provide for the warmer colors. LED sources vary widely in both color temperature and color rendering based on the manufacturer. It is very important to pay attention to these values or you could end up with a very blue space (blue is a much easier color for LED lamps, whereas white and the warmer oranges utilize more complex, more costly technologies). Reputable LED manufactures can produce 2500K (warm) and 85+ CRI lamps, which stand the test of a residential kitchen or retail environment—both among the most demanding environments when it comes to color rendering.
It is also important to consider that LED’s require the use of a driver. Drivers are usually small and can be located in a remote location from the LED lamping, however, given the small sizes of the LED lamps themselves, sometimes these drivers can be difficult to conceal when locating the LED lamps within a small, confined space. Consideration must be given for the installation of the entire fixture, including the power source.
The life of an LED lamp source can be a huge advantage, especially in difficult-to-access locations. However, despite some industry claims, LED lamp sources do not last forever. They are tested for their “lamp life” just like any other lamp and they do fail over time. Their failure is generally characterized by reduced light output versus the abrupt popping sound you hear in traditional bulbs, in which the mechanism actually breaks and is rendered useless. LED lamps do typically last much longer than their fluorescent and metal halide counterparts, however. Fluorescent and metal halide can last up to 20,000 hours, whereas typical LED lamp life is in the 100,000-hour range. To put that in perspective, a typical fixture in a facility operating 16 hours per day and utilizing fluorescent lighting would last for three and a half years, while an LED lamp source in the same facility would last for 17 years.
Overall, efficiency of LED's continues to increase, while efficiency of fluorescent and metal halide fixtures have somewhat plateaued. As the technology continues to develop, it is important to know what to consider when specifying new products. LED's are beginning to take the place of fluorescent and metal halide lighting more and more, and it does in fact appear that LED’s will live up to their hype as time progresses.
This blog entry was guest written by Jon Brooks, P.E., LEED® AP BD+C, Principal at Architectural Engineering Design Group, Inc. Jon helped found AEDG, Inc. in 2004. He provides the expertise and coordination commitment required for lighting, power systems and sustainable systems. Jon has had the opportunity to work on a number of LEED® certified facilities, which has increased his awareness of energy-saving strategies, even when projects are not seeking LEED® certification. He is dedicated to maintaining an up-to-date knowledge base on ever-changing electrical technologies and standards in order to provide the most appropriate solutions for the specific project and owner.Hide Full Post
Posted by Jon Brooks, P.E., LEED® AP BD+C, Principal, Architectural Engineering Design Group, Inc. on October 28, 2013 at 04:11pm
We recently had the opportunity to work as volunteer staff at the BRS-designed Erie Community Center in nearby Erie, Colorado for an afternoon. It gave us a unique opportunity to discover the day-to-day challenges experienced by building operators a few years after one of our facilities has been open.Continue
My colleague, Angelo, and I accompanied Erie Community Center staff members Ed and Scott, who head up the maintenance crew, about their daily routines. We observed the daily checks they perform when opening the building, ensuring all systems are operating properly. We learned about one particular challenge they encountered with their solar hot water system that heats the pool: The system is so efficient that, when doing pool maintenance during the first few years, there was nowhere to reroute the excess heat when the volume of water was reduced. Now, that excess heat is routed to the outdoor splash pad area, which is sees lots of activity during the summer months, when the most substantial pool maintenance takes place.
In addition to gleaning some insights into the MEP systems, we learned about how various materials are holding up over time and the challenges of cleaning and maintaining some of those materials. For instance, the composite wood beams in the lobby space have a rough texture, presenting a challenge when dusting their hard-to-reach surfaces. Like many of our other facilities, Erie is slowly changing out carpet in the public corridors and replacing it with more durable tile.
All in all, it was a great chance to learn some lessons that we can now incorporate into future community centers.Hide Full Post
Posted on February 26, 2013 at 06:33pm
Growing up in the 1960’s and 70’s, a locker room was a cavernous,...
BRS has trademarked our client-centric process that builds consensus across...
Virtual reality as a tool for design and client engagement.
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