NYC's WTC: A beacon among America's skyscrapers | A celebration of concrete architecture | Multifamily construction projects see progress in Florida, Philadelphia
April 26, 2012
Buildings Industry SmartBrief
Buildings industry news for architects

Architecture Update
NYC's WTC: A beacon among America's skyscrapers
As One World Trade Center rises into the Manhattan skyline to become the city's tallest building, Ted Shaffrey, an Associated Press video journalist, includes interesting bits about the "Freedom Tower" against the backdrop of information about several other American skyscrapers. The video also includes an interview with Carol Willis of The Skyscraper Museum. Meanwhile, the skyscraper is set to become taller than the Empire State Building as soon as Monday. The Canberra Times (Australia) (free registration)/The Associated Press (4/23), Reuters (4/24)
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A celebration of concrete architecture
Some may not find concrete buildings aesthetically pleasing, but that should be blamed on the design, not the material, writes John Bentley Mays. In this piece, he looks at the myriad uses and types of concrete and explains historical facts and technological advances in concrete architecture that are set out in a few publications dedicated to the ubiquitous material. The Globe and Mail (Toronto) (tiered subscription model) (4/19)
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Multifamily construction projects see progress in Florida, Philadelphia
Two large-scale construction plans for luxury multifamily buildings in Florida and Philadelphia are moving ahead. Alliance Residential Company recently acquired 24 acres in Coconut Creek, Fla., on which it plans to build a 396-unit luxury apartment complex, while Pearl Properties secured a three-year, $66.25 million loan for the 227-room Granary apartment project in Philadelphia. "The market fundamentals are very strong, and there is a pent-up demand for new product," said Michael Ging, Alliance Residential managing director of development for Florida. (4/23), The Business Journals (tiered subscription model)/Philadelphia (4/24), The Philadelphia Inquirer (4/23)
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Other News
Sustainable Design
Green building features stand out at NASA's Sustainability Base
Energy-efficient building features are numerous at NASA's $25 million Sustainability Base at the Ames Research Center in California. The building sports solar panels, fuel cells, a water-recovery system and building controls that respond to weather changes. The facility earned LEED Platinum from the U.S. Green Building Council and has been recognized as the most environmentally friendly federal building. AECOM was the lead architect and engineering firm. San Jose Mercury News (Calif.) (free registration) (4/23)
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Technology, Trends and Research
Technology improves BIM platform interoperability
A technology designed to improve interoperability among BIM platforms has been launched by Assemble Systems. It's intended "to bring design and construction software together, addressing a big need for interoperability in the AEC industry," this article notes. Constructech (free registration) (4/19)
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Project Spotlight
Precast concrete gives Toronto condos a dynamic, distinct appeal
Precast concrete was used for the elevated portion of a 450-suite Context King West condominium in Toronto. Designed by Hairiri Pontarini Architects, the use of precast gives "the building a dynamic and distinct character with balconies and full-height windows that punch in and out of the exterior," according to this article. Some say the structure, which looks as if it is comprised of several buildings, could be a new way to create housing density when high towers can't be built. The Toronto Star (4/20)
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Business Tips and Advice
Sponsored Content from American Express
News from PCI
Now accepting entries for the 50th Annual PCI Design Awards
The PCI Design Awards program recognizes design excellence and construction quality using precast concrete. Be a part of the search for excellence and submit your project today! All winning projects will be showcased at the PCI Convention and National Bridge Conference and be included in a summary article that appears in the PCI Journal, Aspire and Ascent magazines. Together, these publications reach over 65,000 industry stakeholders. We encourage you to take advantage of this great opportunity to showcase your project! The deadline for entries is May 21. Get more details.
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Earn CE credit with free webinar on the International Green Construction Code
Join PCI for our next FREE webinar, "The International Green Construction Code: The Next Chapter in Design," taking place on May 22 at noon in the Central and Pacific time zones, and May 24 at noon in the Eastern and Mountain time zones. This webinar will cover the basic organization and operation of the IgCC and review how this revolutionary new code will shift the sustainability discussion from manufacturing and construction to life-cycle performance and durability. For registration information and our complete webinar schedule, visit
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One person with a belief is equal to a force of 99 who have only interests."
-- John Stuart Mill,
British philosopher and political economist
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