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Friday, April 22, 2011

World Tour of Heavy “Masonry” Construction Projects

Look at the countless architectural examples from history, and then study the truly riveting examples of heavy masonry construction from today. It’s this simple: Designing with brick can save energy and reduce fluctuating interior temperatures. 1st Image: The Queens Building @ De Montfort University)

Professor Alan Short MA DipArch RIBA FRSA (Professor of Architecture at the University of Cambridge and Chairman Short & Associates Architecture) delivered a fantastic keynote address at the 2nd Annual BrickStainable Awards Ceremony. An inspiring talk about the historical influences and styles of architecture, bio-climatic design strategies and building performance, and basic design concepts including: thermal mass, stack effect, and orientation were also discussed.

Brick allows you an unbelievable amount of design flexibility in color, size, pattern, shape, detail, and adaptability. It not only promises hundreds of years of durability, but it is manufactured from abundant, organic materials that are typically locally sourced.

Final thought from Professor Short:
“…to return to this chart (Image 2), there is an order of magnitude saving in energy and cost available through careful design. Only at this point should renewable energy technologies be introduced to deliver the residual and potentially much reduced energy requirement for comfort. Don’t apply gadgets to the top bar!”

Click here to download the entire keynote address.

Drawing and advice from Georgia Short, Age 7.

Friday, March 25, 2011

BrickStainable Offsets Carbon From Its Awards Program

BrickStainable will be offsetting the carbon emissions from its awards program this year. On March 31st, 2011, Potomac Valley Brick will host its Second Annual BrickStainable Awards Program. As in the first awards celebration, winners are being flown to Washington, DC, from their home cities and countries to participate in the awards celebration.

For the purpose of estimating the carbon impact, PVB has calculated the carbon consequences of all flights for winners and guests, hotel stays based upon the block reservation, preparation of the awards dinner and use of the National Building Museum for the evening. Transportation of local guests to and from the awards venue has been estimated at twenty-five miles per attendee. This estimate is averaged from those who will walk or take transit from locations within the City and those who may be driving from distances farther away. Based upon an estimated attendance of 200, the carbon consequence of the Second Annual BrickStainable Awards program is 24 tons of carbon.

As a supporter of BrickStainable, Doo Consulting LLC is purchasing the carbon offsets for the awards program. These are being purchased from the Enterprise Green Communities Carbon Offset Fund. Enterprise’s Green Communities Offset Fund offers the opportunity to offset carbon emissions caused by your conference or meeting by helping low-income families live in green affordable homes. As a building industry competition, BrickStainable sought to find an industry related offset fund. Supporting the creation of green communities and the construction of green affordable housing is consistent with the mission of BrickStainable and its sponsors.

Individuals can offset carbon emissions caused by your corporation or organization, or you and your family's daily activities through this fund as well. To check out the Carbon Calculator, click here.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Top Ten Reasons to Attend the BrickStainable Awards Ceremony!

Get an upclose look at inspiring designs and advancements in sustainable design!

Best networking opportunity of 2011 with the A/E/C community!

Keynote speaker, Cambridge University Professor Alan Short will travel from the UK to speak at the program!

Meet the winning teams from across the globe!

Talk to the esteemed panel of jurors!

Mingle with the BrickStainable visionaries Alan Richardson, Peter Doo & Rob Busler!

Enjoy the National Building Museum (one of the most magnificent masonry structures in the world – 15 million bricks – 124 years old)!

Fantastic cocktail reception, delicious dinner & drinks!

Meet our incredible partners who helped us make BrickStainable possible!

Spend an evening in Washington, DC and enjoy all the city has to offer!

Due to the nature of this event, limited tickets will be sold. We hope you will join us!
Click here for ticket info.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Winners Announced!

The jury deliberation was truly an exciting day for the entire BrickStainable team. We met at the National Building Museum in the Pension Commissioner’s Suite to review entries in the Integrated Building Design and Technical Design categories.

The 2nd Annual BrickStainable Design Competition captured the attention of a total of 356 registrants! That number represented 62 different countries. When registration closed in December of 2010, we had 60 submissions from 21 countries.

Vivian Loftness, Bill Browning, Anna Dyson and Martin Vachon decided on seven winners this year. We will honor all of our winners at the Awards Ceremony on March 31, 2011.

We welcome all followers of the competition to preview the winning entries on our website.

We also invite you to join us for the grand evening at the National Building Museum on March 31st where you will have the opportunity to meet and celebrate with our winners!


Monday, February 14, 2011

Students Can Find Sustainability in Materials Science

Juror, Vivian Loftness’s work at Carnegie Mellon University, prepares the next generation of architects. Today’s architecture students are learning to think about design, function and building performance differently than past students. Vivian pointed out that people don’t jump right to materials science when thinking about sustainability, but there are many environmental benefits of brick.

There’s an attitude in society that light construction (using glass or other lightweight materials) is more sustainable than heavy construction (using concrete or brick). She notes that architecture students should consider heavy construction when deciding how to mitigate high temperatures or day-to-night temperature swings.

Vivian believes that architecture schools need to illustrate the value of brick in a carbon-neutral society and provide opportunities on a consistent basis for students to design with masonry. Time will tell if architecture students pick up on that concept and create beautiful, long lasting brick structures. “Brick is expressive. It is a product that is not only exciting because of the aesthetic and amazing detail opportunities, but also because of how this material can perform,” said Loftness.

Photo: The structural spiral brick staircase at the top of Baker Hall at Carnegie Mellon.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

USGBC-MD Leadership in Green Building Award Won by BrickStainable!

Our team was ecstatic when we heard BrickStainable was the recipient of a leadership award given by the USGBC-MD Chapter.

Potomac Valley Brick (PVB) was truly honored to accept this Market Transformation Leadership Award at the 6th Annual Wintergreen Awards Celebration for Excellence in Green Building. Many of the members of the Competition design team were present to accept the award, including PVB’s president, Alan Richardson, competition consultant, Peter Doo, AIA, LEED AP, and PVB’s very own Green Team.

Everyone celebrated the evening at Baltimore’s Thames Street Wharf (not too far from the BrickStainable project site). Nearly 500 people from the architecture, engineering and construction industries attended the Awards Celebration, which was headlined by keynote speaker, Scott Plank, Executive Vice President of Under Armour. (See Scott in this posts photo, third from the left!)

PVB’s president was quoted saying, “It’s an honor to be recognized alongside so many of our peers in this industry. We hope BrickStainable continues to spark innovative solutions for sustainable design in both in the U.S. and international architecture communities.”

Monday, February 7, 2011

Connection with the Natural World

Bill Browning, Founder of Terrapin Bright Green, was the keynote speaker at the 1st Annual BrickStainable Design Competition, and is a juror for the 2nd Competition.

Bill is one of the green building and real estate industry’s foremost thinkers and strategists. His areas of research and expertise include: biophilic design, the physiological and psychological benefits of building with nature and living systems; biomimicry, how nature evokes these benefits and inspires design; and, deep ecological history and metrics of various locations.

Browning’s most recent interest includes the Mannahatta project. This study focuses on the reconstruction and remapping of how Manhattan looked in 1609. Bill is interested in the carbon balance, original topography, and natural ecosystems prior to development.

It is truly fascinating to check out Manhattan on Google Earth and use the historical time tool to see the development of this New York City borough over just the past few decades.

- To see it for yourself, visit