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K-12 Schools

Average age of U.S. school buildings is just under 50 years

The average age of a main instructional school building in the United States is 49 years, according to a survey by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). About 38% of schools were built before 1970. Roughly half of the schools surveyed have undergone a major building renovation or addition.


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Aug 11, 2010

AIA course: MEP Technologies For Eco-Effective Buildings

Sustainable building trends are gaining steam, even in the current economic downturn. More than five billion square feet of commercial space has either been certified by the U.S. Green Building Council under its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program or is registered with LEED. It is projected that the green building market's dollar value could more than double by 2013, to as muc...
Aug 11, 2010

Robert F. Kennedy Main Justice Building

The Robert F. Kennedy Main Justice Building houses the U.S. Attorney General's office, the Justice Department headquarters, and the largest historic art collection of any GSA-built facility, so its renovation had to be performed with the utmost care. Offices housing hundreds of lawyers and staff had to remain operational during the construction of a brand new $3.
Aug 11, 2010

Thrown For a Loop in China

While the Bird's Nest and Water Cube captured all the TV coverage during the Beijing Olympics in August, the Rem Koolhaas-designed CCTV Headquarters in Beijing—known as the “Drunken Towers” or “Big Shorts,” for its unusual shape—is certain to steal the show when it opens next year.
Aug 11, 2010

Silver Award: Please Touch Museum at Memorial Hall Philadelphia, Pa.

Built in 1875 to serve as the art gallery for the Centennial International Exhibition in Fairmount Park, Memorial Hall stands as one of the great civic structures in Philadelphia. The neoclassical building, designed by Fairmount Park Commission engineer Hermann J. Schwarzmann, was one of the first buildings in America to be designed according to the principles of the Beaux Arts movement.
Aug 11, 2010

Bronze Award: Garfield High School, Seattle, Wash.

Renovations to Seattle's historic Garfield High School focused mainly on restoring the 85-year-old building's faded beauty and creating a more usable and modern interior. The 243,000-sf school (whose alumni include the impresario Quincy Jones) was so functionally inadequate that officials briefly considered razing it.
Aug 11, 2010

Managing the K-12 Portfolio

In 1995, the city of New Haven, Conn., launched a program to build five new schools and renovate and upgrade seven others. At the time, city officials could not have envisioned their program morphing into a 17-year, 44-school, $1.5 billion project to completely overhaul its entire portfolio of K-12 facilities for nearly 23,000 students.
Aug 11, 2010

Tall ICF Walls: 9 Building Tips from the Experts

Insulating concrete forms have a long history of success in low-rise buildings, but now Building Teams are specifying ICFs for mid- and high-rise structures—more than 100 feet. ICF walls can be used for tall unsupported walls (for, say, movie theaters and big-box stores) and for multistory, load-bearing walls (for hotels, multifamily residential buildings, and student residence halls).

Aug 11, 2010

Financial Wizardry Builds a Community

At 69 square miles, Vineland is New Jersey's largest city, at least in geographic area, and it has a rich history. It was established in 1861 as a planned community (well before there were such things) by the utopian Charles Landis. It was in Vineland that Dr. Thomas Welch found a way to preserve grape juice without fermenting it, creating a wine substitute for church use (the town was dry).
Aug 11, 2010

Team Tames Impossible Site

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the nation's oldest technology university, has long prided itself on its state-of-the-art design and engineering curriculum. Several years ago, to call attention to its equally estimable media and performing arts programs, RPI commissioned British architect Sir Nicholas Grimshaw to design the Curtis R.

Aug 11, 2010

Silver Award: Hanna Theatre, Cleveland, Ohio

Between February 1921 and November 1922 five theaters opened along a short stretch of Euclid Avenue in downtown Cleveland, all of them presenting silent movies, legitimate theater, and vaudeville. During the Great Depression, several of the theaters in the unofficial “Playhouse Square” converted to movie theaters, but they all fell into a death spiral after World War II.
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