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BD+C's 2017 Design Innovation Report

Façades that would make Dr. Seuss smile, living walls, and exterior wall space that doubles as gallery space are all represented in this year's BD+C Design Innovation Report.

April 17, 2017 |

The plant wall is by CASE and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Courtesy SOM/©Albert Vecerka|Esto. 

BD+C's 2017 Design Innovation report is represented by the following people, projects, and innovations that push the boundaries of design. Click on the title or image of each story to view the full article.


Masters of Geometry

Three firms that specialize in façades that curve, twist, and turn see themselves as artisans of the unthinkable.

Bill Kreysler doesn’t pursue projects that are “flat.” His company, Kreysler & Associates, is one of a small band of curtain wall designers, engineers, and fabricators that provides AEC clients the wherewithal to execute complex—some previously unthinkable—façade geometries.


Energizing the neighborhood

The Denny Substation in Seattle is designed to give local residents a reason to visit.

Five years ago, it was apparent that Seattle’s urban redevelopment was expanding at a pace that would require more electrical output. Adding urgency to the city’s growth plans was the fact that its aging Broad Street substation was reaching its load limits, and part of that substation’s feeder system would be de-energized over time to accommodate the construction of the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement tunnel.


The rise of human performance facilities

A new medical facility in Chicago focuses on sustaining its customers’ human performance.

The latest trend in integrated healthcare and wellness is the emergence of facilities that track and enhance human performance at the intersection of medicine, fitness, nutrition, and recovery.


How to make a concrete bunker livable

SOM’s design for New York’s second Public Safety Answering Center leans on strategically placed windows and the outdoor environment.

With security and sustainability becoming critical factors in nonresidential construction, design sometimes takes a back seat on projects. Case in point: New York City's second Public Safety Answering Center, known as PSAC II, which opened last June in the Bronx. The 450,000-sf facility, sitting on 8.75 acres along the Hutchinson River and Pelham Parkways, supplements PSAC I, located at the MetroTech Center in Brooklyn. The newer facility is set up to handle more than 11 million emergency 911 calls annually to the city’s police and fire departments. 


Activating exteriors as gallery space

Owners would like to get more value from their exterior spaces. One architecture firm details how it made that happen for the new Whitney museum.

Developers and building owners are constantly searching for pathways to extend their buildings to the great outdoors. Take the case of the iconic Willis Tower in Chicago, whose owners recently announced a $500 million facelift of the nation’s second-tallest building. That renovation will include a 30,000-sf outdoor deck and garden and a new three-story, all-glass structure that will sit on top of the skyscraper’s existing street-level stone plaza. The new design will break the barrier that currently separates the building from the urban streetscape.


Nature as therapy

A famed rehab center is reconfigured to make room for more outdoor gardens, parks, and open space. 

The connection between the outdoors, health, and wellness has been gaining validity and acceptance within the design and medical communities. One of the fullest expressions of this nexus is occurring at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center, in Downey, Calif., the renowned recovery and rehab facility for patients with spinal cord and brain injuries, orthopedic disabilities, strokes, neurological disorders, and physical and developmental disorders.

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