The continuous discovery and implementation of innovation is a powerful motivator that keeps most of us regularly engaged with the design industry. Not only is it what keeps our clients coming back to us, innovations that deal with how we think about design and architecture move our entire industry forward, regardless of whether those innovations happen inside or outside the build environment. Architectural Record magazine held their annual Innovation Conference in earlier this month. The theme for the two-day event was Big and Super-Green: from Buildings to Cityscapes. Presenters at the conference were on the cutting edge of innovation, and the talks ranged from subjects like carbon reduction for an entire city to the world’s tallest building and much more. Each speaker was an expert in their field; engaging concepts and overviews of technological advances were in abundance.
The conference began with a presentation by Robert Forest, partner at Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture and Roger Frechette, founder of PositivEnergy Practice, a consulting firm that specializes in energy services and engineering projects. Their presentation covered a new plan to drastically reduce carbon emissions in Chicago, using the downtown Loop area as a test-fit subject for their sustainability scenario. Underscoring opportunities that exist between buildings in a dense urban environment, the presenters explained what happens when concentrated built areas share energy, water and infrastructure. Part of the plan focuses on existing building stock; Mr. Frechette pointed out that 90% of the building square footage in the Chicago Loop was built before 1975.
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