ELEVATIONS

DLR Group is a design firm providing architecture, engineering, planning, and interior design from offices coast-to-coast and in China. Our promise is to elevate the human experience through design.

This is where we articulate and illustrate how we realize that promise.

USC selects DLR Group for Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum planning study

(Los Angeles) December 10, 2013 ― The University of Southern California (USC) has selected DLR Group to conduct a Master Facilities Renovation and Development Feasibility Planning Study for the historic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

The study will commence immediately. The USC Trojans have been a continuous tenant of the Coliseum since its opening in 1923. USC recently signed a long-term lease to operate the Coliseum and be the home field for Trojan football. DLR Group’s Feasibility Study will develop a plan to guide capital improvements and ongoing fundraising support for the project.

"DLR Group believes the Los Angeles Coliseum is the most iconic sporting venue in the United States," said DLR Group Sports Designer Don Barnum, AIA. “Our aim is a strategic modernization of the Coliseum to elevate the game day experience for USC fans and create the most dominant home field advantage in college football for the Trojans.”

The aim of the study is to transform the Coliseum into a modern home for USC football while maintaining the program’s traditions and the historical significance of the venue. DLR Group will collaborate with USC to identify new revenue streams to finance and sustain operations to assist the university in meeting the capital improvement obligations of its Master Lease.

“It’s an honor to be selected by USC for this assignment,” said DLR Group Principal Andrea Cohen Gehring, FAIA, and USC graduate. “The Coliseum is a Los Angeles and USC treasure. DLR Group looks forward to creating an enhanced family friendly experience to ensure that the Coliseum remains an important university and community asset for the next 100 years.”

The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum has been the home for the USC Trojan football program since 1923. It has hosted two Olympic Games, Super Bowl I and VI, a World Series, a multitude of professional and amateur sporting events, and will host the 2015 Special Olympics.

Built in 1923, the Coliseum was upgraded in 1932 and 1984 prior to hosting the Olympic Games, and it was designated a National Historic Registered Landmark in 1984. A series of improvements were made from 1993-1995, including structural repairs following the 1994 Northridge Earthquake.

About DLR Group
DLR Group is an interdisciplinary design firm providing architecture, engineering, planning, and interior design from offices coast-to-coast and in China. Our promise is to elevate the human experience through design. This promise inspires sustainable design for a diverse group of public and private sector clients; local communities; and our planet. DLR Group fully supports the initiatives and goals of the 2030 Challenge and is an initial signatory to the AIA 2030 Commitment. Visit dlrgroup.com and follow us at Twitter.

Mike Kros is USGBC Nebraska Flatwater Chapter Volunteer of the Year

Mike Kros, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, was recently recognized as the USGBC Nebraska Flatwater Chapter Volunteer of the Year for 2013! Mike has contributed to the chapter continuously for many years now and his ongoing efforts have been acknowledged and appreciated by Chapter Members and Leadership alike. Great work Mike!

DLR Group adds practice leaders in Chicago

Designer Jason Lembke, AIA, to lead K-12 design in Chicago; Public safety expert Jake Davis, AIA, will lead Justice+Civic practice.

K-12 education designer Jason Lembke, AIA, LEED AP, and public safety expert Jake Davis, AIA, LEED AP, have joined DLR Group. The pair adds experienced design leadership for the firm in Chicago. Each is charged with leading and growing the firm’s K-12 Education and Justice+Civic practices in Illinois and throughout the upper Midwest.

A proven client leader, Lembke brings 14 years of experience in planning, programming, and design of new construction and facility modernizations/ renovations for a variety of school districts. During his career, Lembke has led successful referendum campaigns and authored winning grant applications to secure funding.

“Jason Lembke brings a bold vision for innovative learning environments and is an expert in 21st Century school design,” said DLR Group Senior Principal Tom Gerster, AIA, North Central Regional Leader. “His relationships, portfolio, and commitment to sustainable design elevates DLR Group’s presence in Chicago and the state of Illinois.

“Schools are examining creative ways to develop their students into future leaders through instruction and curriculum,” said Lembke. “Thoughtful design is the best response to foster those vital, yet sometimes subtle, nuances in local educational needs.”

In the roles of business development leader, client leader, and project manager, Davis has led project teams to program and design a variety of public safety and justice building types. He will collaborate with clients to design sustainable, flexible facilities to meet the needs of communities in Illinois, Indiana Minnesota, Ohio, Michigan, North Dakota, and Wisconsin.

“Jake Davis understands that communities must receive a return on the investment made in public facilities,” said Gerster. “He understands how to build consensus and get large, multi-functional justice center projects moving forward for clients.”

“The Justice and Public Safety sector has pent up demand,” said Davis. “DLR Group has the resources and expertise to deliver highly functional, yet flexible law enforcement facilities that clients can operate more efficiently than existing facilities.”

About DLR Group
DLR Group is an integrated design firm providing architecture, engineering, planning, interior design, and sustainable consulting from offices coast-to-coast and in China. Core areas of design expertise include Civic, Courts, Energy Services, Higher Education, Hospitality, Justice, K-12 Education, Retail, Sports, and Workplace. Our promise is to elevate the human experience through design. This promise inspires sustainable design for a diverse group of public and private sector clients; local communities; and our planet. DLR Group fully supports the initiatives and goals of the 2030 Challenge and is an initial signatory to the AIA 2030 Commitment. Visit dlrgroup.com and follow us at LinkedIn and Twitter.

United Launch Alliance
Centennial, Colorado

The Boeing Company and Lockheed Martin combined their Delta and Atlas rocket programs in 2006 to form United Launch Alliance (ULA). Management, engineering, test and mission-support functions for this new enterprise were scattered in multiple buildings in Denver, with some locations being as much as 40 minutes apart.

When ULA decided to unify this dispersed network of 2,100 employees together onto a single campus, it turned to DLR Group.

“ULA is a relatively young company and this was a unique opportunity for DLR Group to help them lay the groundwork for a brand new culture,” said DLR Group Principal Angela Castleton.

Three buildings were identified in a Centennial, Colo., commercial property. A fourth building on a separate property but within easy walking distance completed the new ULA campus.

“The challenge was to create a campus feeling across four different buildings,” said Castleton. “Except for the lobbies, the majority of spaces required a full demo and renovation. Our challenge was to move 2,100 employees into 478,000 square feet of office space in four different buildings across 15 floors over the course of 24 months.”

To begin, DLR Group conducted a workplace discovery process, which included immersion workshops; visioning and goal setting; workplace assessment surveys; interactive workshops; benchmarking; workspace standards development; and an image study.

The design team visited existing locations to observe people at work and how space was utilized. To ensure everyone, from executives to administration, had a stake in the final result, they developed a decision-making structure consisting of an executive review committee, a ULA project manager, a core team of 20 (facilities, finance and procurement), and an extended team of approximately 50 that included at least one representative from each ULA department.

“These teams provided a very effective way of communicating to all employees about what was going on and making them feel a part of the design process,” Castleton said.

The design team ultimately developed an organizational concept dubbed Neighborhood Fringey. This scheme was applied to each building to fulfill ULA’s vision for a unified workspace. This concept allowed for smaller neighborhoods within each spaces that promote the sense of team they valued. The sea of workstations often seen in highly open office environments was diminished by strategically placed, high-walled support areas.

The DLR Group team also learned a little something about the process of building and launching rockets. “It’s a very exact science that requires a lot of coordination between various departments,” said Castleton. “Every project requires ERBs—engineering review boards. These are meetings where the different disciplines present where they are in the launch process. Everyone else has to pay close attention as this information affects their own area of expertise. These meetings occur frequently with a large number of people and can be very time consuming. To enhance the experience, we placed large conference rooms in the center of each the floor in every building. Meeting rooms are adjacent to elevators so attendees don’t distract other employees as they move through the space for the ERBs.” 

Once its go-time for a launch, everyone involved gathers in the Denver Operations Support Center – mission control – to communicate with the launch pad. ULA’s core client list included the Department of Defense, NASA, the U.S. Air Force and the National Reconnaissance Office. Security and access control was a priority. There are four different Sensitive Compartmental Information Facilities) totaling 10,000 square feet on the campus, each with its own set of security specs.

Once the planning and design were completed and build-out underway, phased approach was used to move ULA staff into their new facility. Phase One comprised three floors of one of the buildings and a total of 110,000 square feet. This included general office space and a 40,000-square-foot avionics lab. The design team solicited feedback from this first group of employees in terms of workspace and finish standards, and made tweaks as needed during later phases.

During the first 18 months that we were moving people in there were probably 14 launches,” said Castleton. “When we started moving the Operations Support Center, which has a launch-critical function, there were two launches during the first months of trying out the new space, one being to Mars. That was intense. But, from the start of design to the end of construction, as we moved 2,100 people in six moves into the four buildings, ULA never missed a launch.”

Google
Kirkland, Washington

The scope of work for this project encompassed 30,000 SF of improvements at Building A on Google’s Kirkland (Wash.) Campus. Google sought to quickly effect a paint-and-carpet refresh of workplace spaces to accommodate expanding teams.
DLR Group’s design capitalizes on additional opportunities to make spatial impacts within the original schedule and budget parameters.

By removing a significant number of existing interior walls, the design dramatically opens spaces and creates a fluid connection across the open office environment, both around and through the secure building core. While the scope of work included preserving existing workstations, perimeter offices and conference spaces using DIRTT wall systems, the design team took opportunities to re-plan collaboration areas, social spaces and privacy rooms for improved accessibility, visibility and experience of space.

New FF&E in these shared areas not only provide wayfinding cues, but also create a fun, funky, energetic workplace atmosphere relating to Google’s region-based building theme of “Northwest Music Scene.”

DLR Group teams with Colorado State for K-12 research study

DLR Group and the Institute for the Built Environment (IBE) at Colorado State University have released the findings of a research project that evaluated the effect of green school design on occupants and long-term building performance.

The overwhelming perception of school staff is the learning environments within DLR Group schools have a positive impact on health, achievement, and behavior. The findings also show schools designed by DLR Group are more energy efficient, provide more space per student, and are constructed for less cost compared to regional averages for schools constructed during the same year.

“Design does not stop when the school opens. The design process must include coming back to a project to measure building performance,” said DLR Group Senior Principal Jim French, AIA, the firm’s national K-12 practice leader. “If both the tangible metrics of energy efficiency and the intangible metrics of student and occupant satisfaction are not being evaluated, then as design professionals we are not truly meeting the needs of our K-12 clients.”

The complete report, titled, Linking Performance & Experience – An Analysis of Green Schools, can be downloaded here.

DLR Group’s First LEED Platinum Project
College of St. Benedict achieves LEED platinum certification

The new resident townhome project at the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph, Minn., is more than a place for students to live; it is a place that will prepare them for their futures. Developed specifically for college seniors, the townhomes are designed to foster independence and increase understanding of the responsibilities of ‘real-world’ living. Students are responsible for maintaining the homes, monitoring utility use and helping with everyday tasks such as snow removal.

The complex is designed to reflect a typical residential environment and blend in with the growing neighborhood while providing a direct connection to the main campus. The townhomes are organized around a courtyard to help foster a community attitude and provide a neighborhood identity. Outdoor porches, fire pit and outdoor kitchen also contribute to community sensibilities. The commons building, located between the main campus and the new neighborhood, is designed as an iconic transition point between the two entities.

This project is DLR Group’s first LEED-certified building using LEED for Homes. DLR Group’s integrated design approach was key to achieving LEED points, along with designing to a commercial-level standard of materials and systems, rather than a residential-level standard, which is typically less rigorous. High points were earned for a solid envelope/insulation, high-efficiency water, heating and cooling systems, building location and linkages to surrounding buildings, landscape and site work, and Energy Star light fixtures and appliances.

dwmurray247:

Day Five – Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Today began with an early morning flight to Eldoret. Eldoret is a small city located about 200 miles northwest of Nairobi. 

Upon Arrival, we headed into the slums surrounding the city. Our destination was the Jamii School. Started 5 years ago by Basilus and his wife Esther, the school now serves over 400 students in the surrounding area.  The school itself looks a lot like the homes in the surrounding neighborhood: simple wood posts and limbs for the structure, and corrugated metal for the walls and roof.  Despite the conditions, the school is a haven for its students.  It’s a safe place for them to come together, and learn, and for some, it’s a guarantee for a daily meal they might not otherwise get. The school is crowed, though. In some of their classrooms, there are nearly 60 students, and they’ve a projected need for at least 3 more full classes of 45 students.

Despite the conditions, it’s clear both the students and teachers are extremely dedicated to being there and learning and teaching. In fact, on national exams, the students at Jamii are outperforming the students at the elementary school serving Eldoret town.

To address the pressing need for more space, the school has purchased a site a few blocks away, twice as big as their existing property. Though they ultimately plan to build a permanent two or three story structure on the new site, the immediate need is for enough semi-permanent structures on their new site to allow them to transfer all their classes to the new site, so they can stop paying rent and begin work on the permanent building. We spent the next few hours going over options for how best to phase their work, and how best to invest the time and resources for the semi-permanent construction.

As we were preparing to leave, the teachers and students at the school had a special treat for us.  All 400 students gathered in the central courtyard, greeted us, and then proceeded to sing for us. Though I’d had a couple days to get used to the welcomes we were receiving from the communities we were visiting, this was by far the most endearing.  

dwmurray247:

Days Three and Four

January 28-29, 2013

Our primary meeting for Day 3 was with David Gatende, Deputy CEO at Davis & Shirtliff.  D&S is one of the largest manufacturers and distributors of solar panels, wind generators (domestic scale), and solar hot-water panels, and bore-hole (well) equipment in Eastern and Central Africa.

David, and members of his staff explained to us the state of the solar industry in Kenya (note: all new homes are required to have solar hot water), and shared what the most appropriate systems for our project would be. It was interesting seeing such a forward thinking policy applied in a developing country, when it is such a challenge to get similar policies considered at home.

Day Four.

We began the day by heading south to Langata.  There is a large government housing project here, that houses almost 10,000 people. This project, called NHC Langata court, is located directly adjacent to Kibera, the second largest urban slum in Africa (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kibera). Estimates, widely varied, put the population of Kibera anywhere from 107,000 (2009 census) to 2 million.

From here we continued on to our first appointment, a meeting with Patrick, a retired pastor who now runs Oikos-Kenya (part of the Hope Teams International group). Patrick’s group is working to address the many issues facing the displaced youth in the area, abandoned or orphaned as a result of the ongoing AIDS Epidemic.

Though the original purpose of our meeting was to see if our housing concept could be adapted to Patrick’s site, it became clear during the meeting that they would need a different solution.  Though we didn’t end up providing a new solution for Patrick, we were able to sit and review the design they used for their existing building, and make some recommendations on how it could be easily modified to meet their evolving needs.

In the late afternoon, we returned to the heart of Nairobi, where we met with Joseph Njoroge.  Joseph was the contractor for the New Dawn project (See Day 1). Joseph is a wealth of information and was able to provide a lot of insight regarding building techniques appropriate to our project in Kangundo.  It was really great to sit and discuss the design and the project goals with someone that could provide a knowledgeable, local perspective. I’ve much to share with the rest of the team when I return to the office!

Dan Murray in Kenya to finalize pro-bono design of vocational campus.
Architect Dan Murray and several employees in DLR Group’s Seattle office have launched a pro-bono design project with Kizimani, a grass roots organization established by Kenya natives that is based in Portland, Ore.
Kizimani provides assistance to impoverished areas of Kenya. Murray and the Seattle team are designing a vocational school campus to support the impoverished Kangundo community in Kenya.
The concept for the vocational school campus responds to trades and industries prevalent in central Kenya. The overarching goal is to help people in Kangundo become self-sufficient and end the cycle of poverty that today defines the community.
The campus plan includes two classroom buildings, a clinic, and a retail space to sell items made on site. Phase I will establish a scalable prototype for classroom buildings and provide an overall site design for outdoor programs as well as future campus development.
Murray will be in Kangundo from January 24-31 to complete the pro-bono design efforts. His trip was funded through a grant program administered by Senior Associates in the Seattle DLR Group office. His trip is model for future international pro-bono projects. As the work continues, the project team will track their time and effort, and also catalog how design can have a positive impact on a global environment.
“This project has shown many of the next generation staff in our office, myself included, the value our profession and education truly provides. We’re not one of a half dozen architects clamoring to get a fee to do this work, where the value of our skillset is clouded by the need to compete for fee. In our pro-bono effort, the value we bring to Kangundo and Kizimani is seen in stark relief, and it is powerful,” said Murray.
Murray will be posting his experiences and impression from Kenya at this site. Please check back to follow his progress.

Dan Murray in Kenya to finalize pro-bono design of vocational campus.

Architect Dan Murray and several employees in DLR Group’s Seattle office have launched a pro-bono design project with Kizimani, a grass roots organization established by Kenya natives that is based in Portland, Ore.

Kizimani provides assistance to impoverished areas of Kenya. Murray and the Seattle team are designing a vocational school campus to support the impoverished Kangundo community in Kenya.

The concept for the vocational school campus responds to trades and industries prevalent in central Kenya. The overarching goal is to help people in Kangundo become self-sufficient and end the cycle of poverty that today defines the community.

The campus plan includes two classroom buildings, a clinic, and a retail space to sell items made on site. Phase I will establish a scalable prototype for classroom buildings and provide an overall site design for outdoor programs as well as future campus development.

Murray will be in Kangundo from January 24-31 to complete the pro-bono design efforts. His trip was funded through a grant program administered by Senior Associates in the Seattle DLR Group office. His trip is model for future international pro-bono projects. As the work continues, the project team will track their time and effort, and also catalog how design can have a positive impact on a global environment.

“This project has shown many of the next generation staff in our office, myself included, the value our profession and education truly provides. We’re not one of a half dozen architects clamoring to get a fee to do this work, where the value of our skillset is clouded by the need to compete for fee. In our pro-bono effort, the value we bring to Kangundo and Kizimani is seen in stark relief, and it is powerful,” said Murray.

Murray will be posting his experiences and impression from Kenya at this site. Please check back to follow his progress.