Originally published in Interiors & Sources

06/01/2013

Rebuilding the Foundations

By Robert Nieminen

 

Robert Nieminen | Editor
robert.nieminen@interiorsandsources.com

“Education is an ornament in prosperity and a refuge in adversity.”
—Aristotle

We here at Interiors & Sources are no strangers to misfortune. In 2008, when our home office in Cedar Rapids was hit by a devastating flood and our headquarters was beneath 5 feet of water, the question wasn’t whether or not we would rebuild—it was “how will we do it better?”

Armed with the knowledge of the numerous benefits inherent in sustainable design, our parent company, Stamats, decided to pursue LEED Silver certification for our revitalized, 30,000-square-foot facility last year. It is now a distinction that we wear as a badge of honor.

So when we were in the process of selecting the projects to feature in this issue, two of them immediately stood out to us because we understand all too well the heartache of loss and the resiliency it takes to rebuild after tragedies, such as those that struck the towns of Joplin, Mo., and Vernonia, Ore.—or most recently, Moore, Oka., which occurred just as this issue was headed to press.

In the aftermath of the F-5 tornado that devastated Joplin in May 2011, the school district, faculty, administration and parents moved quickly to find a temporary home for students for the coming school year. As contributing writer David Macaulay reports in our feature article, that process happened in just 55 days, with designers and community members transforming an old department store at the north end of the city’s biggest mall into a comfortable, flexible new space for 11th and 12th graders.

A new high school for Joplin, which the district and design team at CGA Architects/DLR Group are calling a “21st century school environment,” is now under construction and will be completed in 2014. Not only is the interim school a feat in planning and design, but it serves as the template for the permanent high school.

Perhaps lesser known by media standards but no less tragic was a devastating flood in 2007 that severely damaged all of the schools in the small town of Vernonia. The new Vernonia K-12 campus is a complete replacement of the previous school, situated on higher ground and designed to function as a hub and civic center, with over 50,000 square feet available for community use. Because of the town’s strong connection to the natural environment, a high priority was placed on sustainable design, and the project is expected to achieve LEED Platinum certification. Read our story on this amazing project here

In stories like these, we rediscover that education—the focus of this issue—isn’t just about well-designed spaces or even curriculum, for that matter (although they are indeed critical). As most people who have endured the effects of a natural disaster can attest, it’s a sense of community that often buoys our spirits and inspires us to rebuild what was lost—to reinvest in our future, which is ultimately what education is all about.

Of course, these days, any discussion about the future can’t be had without mention of sustainability, and rightfully so. What is sustainability if not ensuring that future generations have something to inherit? Part of that insurance policy involves making sure we aren’t contaminating the very basic element that gives us all life: the air we breathe. In one of two Green Notes articles in this issue, Dr. Melinda Burn explores the topic of indoor air quality in our schools and argues that formaldehyde-emitting adhesives can have a big impact on IAQ. The good news is that new options promise to help clear the air and make life a lot easier for architects and designers.

In the second Green Notes article (and in the spirit of our focus on learning), sustainability expert Holley Henderson, founder of H2 Ecodesign, shares some insights from her 2012 book, Becoming a Green Professional (Wiley), offering those of you who are interested in becoming a sustainability expert some tips for navigating the sometimes murky waters of sustainability consulting.

Lastly, be sure to turn to our profile of the second-annual I Like Design student internship contest winner and finalists. This year’s crop of finalists developed some standout concepts in response to the challenge issued by Gresham, Smith and Partners, where our winner will be spending this summer working as a paid intern.

I don’t know if Aristotle was right as far as prosperity is concerned, but when faced with hardship, I think the halls of education are a great place in which to take shelter.

 


Visit our website today to learn about the design flexibility of a Morton building and the endless possibilities of partnering with our designBUILD team.


Wood construction is both cost and energy efficient. Check out Morton Buildings and our designBUILD team online today to discover all the benefits of post-frame construction.


When choosing a metal-clad building for your next construction project, consider Morton Buildings, Inc., and their designBUILD team, we’ll make your dream a reality.

We Can Help You Reduce Energy by 30%

Our mission is to help our customers manage their buildings' energy costs, improve reliability, and enhance performance while having a positive impact on the environment.
CLICK HERE to find out how.

Add highly responsive multi-zone comfort to any building project, in any climate. Our CITY MULTI H2i R2- and Y-Series VRF systems give you flexibility to fit the needs of any building. Enjoy 100% heating capacity at 0°F outdoor ambient, and 85% heating capacity at -13°F outdoor ambient.  For more information, log on to www.mitsubishipro.com


Tennant Company is a recognized leader in designing, manufacturing and marketing solutions that help create a cleaner, safer, healthier world. With thousands of satisfied customers already using award winning ec-H2O technology, why not see what you're missing? Test ec-H2O on your soils in your facility. Get a free demo.


Tennant Company is a recognized leader in designing, manufacturing and marketing solutions that help create a cleaner, safer, healthier world. With thousands of satisfied customers already using award winning ec-H2O technology, why not see what you're missing? Test ec-H2O on your soils in your facility. Get a free demo.

 

Replace core drilling with Connectrac In-Carpet and On-Floor Wireways, the proven connectivity solution in open interior spaces of all kinds. These elegant low-profile wireways are great for AV / telecom connectivity wherever it’s needed.

Bluebeam® Revu® simplifies digital facilities document management from design review to leveraging as-builts, maintenance manuals and O&Ms submittals.


Visit our website today to learn about the design flexibility of a Morton building and the endless possibilities of partnering with our designBUILD team.


Wood construction is both cost and energy efficient. Check out Morton Buildings and our designBUILD team online today to discover all the benefits of post-frame construction.


When choosing a metal-clad building for your next construction project, consider Morton Buildings, Inc., and their designBUILD team, we’ll make your dream a reality.

We Can Help You Reduce Energy by 30%

Our mission is to help our customers manage their buildings' energy costs, improve reliability, and enhance performance while having a positive impact on the environment.
CLICK HERE to find out how.

Add highly responsive multi-zone comfort to any building project, in any climate. Our CITY MULTI H2i R2- and Y-Series VRF systems give you flexibility to fit the needs of any building. Enjoy 100% heating capacity at 0°F outdoor ambient, and 85% heating capacity at -13°F outdoor ambient.  For more information, log on to www.mitsubishipro.com


Tennant Company is a recognized leader in designing, manufacturing and marketing solutions that help create a cleaner, safer, healthier world. With thousands of satisfied customers already using award winning ec-H2O technology, why not see what you're missing? Test ec-H2O on your soils in your facility. Get a free demo.


Tennant Company is a recognized leader in designing, manufacturing and marketing solutions that help create a cleaner, safer, healthier world. With thousands of satisfied customers already using award winning ec-H2O technology, why not see what you're missing? Test ec-H2O on your soils in your facility. Get a free demo.

 

Replace core drilling with Connectrac In-Carpet and On-Floor Wireways, the proven connectivity solution in open interior spaces of all kinds. These elegant low-profile wireways are great for AV / telecom connectivity wherever it’s needed.

Bluebeam® Revu® simplifies digital facilities document management from design review to leveraging as-builts, maintenance manuals and O&Ms submittals.


 
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