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"Recessions can be cleansing". Ã‚Â Yes, they can be. Ã‚Â But what is left after the storm? Ã‚Â Do we have the talent necessary to sustain our growth? Ã‚Â Whether you are a Jacksonville Architect, or a Miami Architect, Ã‚Â the issues within our industry have shifted from not having work, to not having the talent to complete the work.
Perhaps a first world problem, but an issue none the less. Ã‚Â One thing is certain, Florida
Architecture firms will gladly deal with the current problems of finding talent over the challenges of finding projects from years past.
To place a perspective on that, it would amount to a professional degree (B. Architecture or M. Architecture) from a NAAB accredited program, approximately 5,800 hours of internship under supervision of a licensed architect, and 7 exams that make the LSAT or GRE look like an elementary school spelling test. Those requirements certainly put a damper on the parade of thought that comes from the architecture studentÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s hopes. Instead though, this provides an opportunity for success. In school, we learn the ideas of building codes, what it means to build a building, but with school if there is a miscalculation, we receive a B+. In the office, if the same were to happen, a buildingÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s structure could be compromised and the name of the architect tarnished. We force ourselves to pay attention to the small details that once we glanced and if only for a second.
We not only begin to shift our view on the micro-scale, but on the larger picture. In school we study and focus all our attention on world class cities such as New York or Shanghai, which in our minds are the only places of culture and architectural significance. However, when we enter an office, the local scale starts to reiterate the same ideas that are proposed in their larger counterparts. Our dreams and aspirations donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t take us automatically to cities such as Hong Kong or London, but instead we begin to see the relevance of good design techniques that can be utilized on second-tier cities. Our imagination and creativity can be used for cities such as Orlando, Tampa, or Jacksonville, so that they too can solve the numerous urban problems any city faces.
The process of becoming an architect, with its numerous qualifications and hours spent working are meant as preparation that those small details become a second nature, that off the cuff we can list the building setbacks, or judge the structural quality of a building from one look at its section. The hours spent in Revit or AutoCAD act as a task that is part of a bigger picture for a project, regardless of size. As architecture students, we still utilize the very characteristics of design that we learned our first day of college, and our hopes of building crazy towers in New York may or may not be out of reach, but that doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t stop us from reaching our potential. Yes, the road is long and hard for preparing ourselves, but if we can survive the numerous critiques, Ã¢â‚¬Å“all-nightersÃ¢â‚¬Â, and model-making disasters of studio, the office life can be successful. What it comes down to is how we work as designers, and the relationships we build through clients and colleagues, and the open mind required for this field.]]>
ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the house under construction in South Jacksonville Beach everyone is watching.
The future residence of Architect Mark Macco and partner Sam Hall is part of a modern design trend sweeping the beaches community. But modern isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t just about design, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s about technology, green rooftop spaces and sustainability. Macco has incorporated both his design philosophy and the hottest trends into his houses of today. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Have you ever wondered why when you walk into a nice hotel and you feel like you are on vacation,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Macco. Ã¢â‚¬Å“ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not by accident. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the lighting, layout and flow of the space, whether itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s residential or commercial. I believe in taking all the things you love about a space and bringing them into your home.Ã¢â‚¬Â
An accomplished architect and visionary, Macco brings his creative and innovative design solutions to Mark Macco Architects. The firm specializes in incorporating a clientÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s concept for their desired space while marrying it with an inspiring design that has function and style. Macco designs recently earned a Ã¢â‚¬Å“Best Of HouzzÃ¢â‚¬Â award by Houzz, the leading platform for home remodeling and design. Houzz provides an online view of home building, remodeling and design professionals. Ã¢â‚¬Å“WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re delighted to recognize Mark Macco Architects among our Ã¢â‚¬Å“Best OfÃ¢â‚¬Â professionals for customer satisfaction as judged by our community of homeowners and design enthusiasts who are actively remodeling and decorating their homes,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Liza Hausman, vice president of community for Houzz. Mark Macco Architects has also been featured in the Florida Times Union, and Macco is one of only two Florida Architects featured in the book Ã¢â‚¬Å“21st Century HomesÃ¢â‚¬Â by Panache Publishing, available worldwide. Macco is currently the chapter director of the Northeast Florida American Institute of Architects.
MaccoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s designs are capturing the attention of more than the 16 million monthly users on Houzz, not just because of his graceful and modern designs, but also his use of cool trends like rooftop green spaces. Dark surfaces on traditional rooftops collect and release heat into the atmosphere. Known as the heat island effect, it can drive up temperatures of a community or city. Ã¢â‚¬Å“A green roof offsets that heat or a lighter color roof can help bring down the temperature of an entire neighborhood,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Macco. Ã¢â‚¬Å“ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s important in a densely populated area like the beaches. They are also more energy efficient.Ã¢â‚¬Â
MaccoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s experience in commercial design has afforded him the capability of transitioning traditional commercial construction materials to residential use. ICF, insulated concrete forms, for example, is now within reach of homebuilders. It provides added insulation and increased resistance to the elements along with a substantial savings for heating and cooling. Ã¢â‚¬Å“It is more than a style shift, it is a desire to add value, decrease the overall cost of living, while being minimal in your carbon footprint,Ã¢â‚¬Â adds Macco, whose personal home is projected to be complete this spring.
Macco is looking forward to the completion of his new home, located a block from the beach, so he can take his Golden Retrievers for runs and let them work off their energy. Ã¢â‚¬Å“They are full of life and keep me and Sam moving,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Macco. MaccoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s love of his dogs resulted in his involvement with plans for the new Jacksonville Humane Society building. Macco provided the schematic design for the new state-of-the-art facility. The previous building burned down in 2007, and fund raising efforts are underway to rebuild it. In February, Macco held the official launch of his Architecture Firm at the J. Johnson Gallery and used it as an opportunity to showcase fundraising efforts and his synergistic approach to the design. Ã¢â‚¬Å“We want to reclaim the word Ã¢â‚¬Å“shelterÃ¢â‚¬Â and make it a good thing,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Macco. Ã¢â‚¬Å“We want to showcase the animals in a way that doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t make people feel like theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re visiting a jail.Ã¢â‚¬Â The layout in MaccoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s design creates a community center to provide education on animals and an inviting space that celebrates adopting that new family member.
Macco is constantly inspired by the world around him, the sights and even the sounds. Macco is a classic tenor who approaches his architecture and design as he does his music. Ã¢â‚¬Å“When you listen to a great piece of music, it starts with an impressive opening just like the entry way of your home,Ã¢â‚¬Â describes Macco. Ã¢â‚¬Å“The music has an ebb and flow, just like a home or building should have an interesting movement that makes you want to keep going through the space. Finally, it has a crescendo, a strong powerful ending that is exciting to hear.Ã¢â‚¬Â His love of music also gives him a great appreciation for smarter entertaining spaces. MaccoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s designs include updated use of traditional entertainment areas. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Everyone tends to gather in the kitchen when youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re entertaining,Ã¢â‚¬Â notes Macco, Ã¢â‚¬Å“so creating a kitchen area that flows into the living space is important so people feel connected to the party, but not crowd the cook.Ã¢â‚¬Â Macco also appreciates the desire for clients who may sing or play an instrument to have a Ã¢â‚¬Å“trueÃ¢â‚¬Â entertaining space to showcase their talents during a festive event. Macco believes a great space should be exciting and excite the senses, whether itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s commercial or residential. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s all about getting that emotional response.
To contact Mark Macco Architects and view more of his commercial projects and residential designs go to www.MaccoArchitects.com.]]>
Every Florida Architect in the last ten years has encountered a scenario that plays out something like this:
In one of the initial meetings with a client, the subject ofÃ‚Â incorporating solar panels into their project inevitably surfaces.Ã‚Â The Architect gets excited because they realize they have a client that is environmentally aware, forward thinking and looking to create a sustainable solution to their particular project.Ã‚Â As the design process unfolds, the notion of the solar panels become fainter, until the drawings are issued for construction and the client is caught in a whirlwind of decision making and distractions. Other issues take the front burner in the mind of the client, and the solar idea seems to be put to the back burner.
Enter the moment when the solar panel discussion re surfaces.Ã‚Â A mad dash is made to find a subcontractor that can do the entire package, wire the project, supply and install the panels, figure out the tax credits and make it all work.Ã‚Â This is where it all seems to fall apart.Ã‚Â Finding a reliable Ã¢â‚¬Å“one stop shopÃ¢â‚¬Â for this demand was nearly impossible in the past.Ã‚Â The dreams of a net zero energy project soon start to fade until the idea is scrapped all together.
This scenario has played out repeatedly for Florida architects and their clients for the last ten years.Ã‚Â Clients want it, but all of the moving parts that have to come together to specify it are difficult to have come to fruition.
Within the last year or so, the market has caught up with the louder and louder drum beat of the consumer to demand solar systems for their projects.Ã‚Â The one stop shop notion of the solar supplier, installer, tax credit assessor, energy consultant rolled into one has finally arrived.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Americans want American made solar panels installed or nothing at all.Ã‚Â It is exciting to see the market finally catch up with the demands, by making the specifying of this technology efficient and painless for both the Architect and the client.
To solar or not to solar?Ã‚Â It's time for everyone to "solar".Ã‚Â Particularly in the sunshine state, it could not be easier.Ã‚Â Go for it!]]>
The great recession hit on 2007, and as we pull out of the recession and go full steam into a growth phase, the city of Jacksonville Beach finds itself strapped with an unrealistic, reactionary ill-conceived law on its books.Ã‚Â The 35 foot height restriction across the entire Beach area has created negative economic hardships for our city.Ã‚Â When we should be looking to build a vibrant community in harmony with each other, this height restriction law makes it nearly impossible for would be developers to create mixed use and multifamily projects.Ã‚Â Seems the only type of projects that fit into this constrained law are gas stations, fast food joints and pharmacies.Ã‚Â What we need to resolve this problem is a feasibility study that goes block by block and determines the most appropriate height restriction for each neighborhood and zoning use.Ã‚Â Because this never happened we now we now find ourselves in a growth phase that could pass us by.
This complex issue should never have been brought to a city wide popular vote.Ã‚Â It is too complex and too critical to our city's future.
As an Architect it is our responsibility to create environments that address the street level, above the street and at an urban planning level.Ã‚Â This law is so restrictive we as Architects are unable to even consider a positive long term plan for Jacksonville Beach.
We can have it all, great architecture, quality of life and economic prosperity.Ã‚Â Sadly, this may completely pass us by this time around.
Yes, zoning is key to our quality of life.Ã‚Â But we need strategic, focused study on these laws to help best add to our quality of life both economically, and socially.]]>
Another positive affect of this choice is it reduces what is called the overall "heat island affect".Ã‚Â This is the contribution of your project to the overall microclimate.Ã‚Â This overall heating up of your neighborhood can increase dramatically if all of the roofs, yards and streets are darker, or black in color.Ã‚Â The heat is stored in these materials, then released thus increasing the overall temperature of your neighborhood and as a result will increase your cooling bill.
Not only is color choice an important aesthetic choice, it is a critical component to mitigating the adverse effect on the climate.Ã‚Â Good for the environment, and good for your pocket book, now that is smart design!]]>
Its rooftop garden will help mitigate the heat island. Solar panels will help offset energy costs. Low-impact landscaping with native plants will require minimal water or pesticides. Organic spray foam insulation will increase energy efficiency, light paint colors will help reduce heat absorption, and American-made products will be used whenever possible. Interior spaces are designed for livability, and a finely tuned ensemble of technology will help maximize efficiency and comfort.
Indoors and out, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a plan meant to work with its owners, not against. When complete in May, the home will be durable and will save time, money and resources for years to come.
By 2013Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s homebuilding standards, some of these features and components may be uncommon but the status quo is quickly shifting. Technologies and sustainable design practices have made great strides in recent years, and prices fall lower with each generation of goods. By 2023, a typical starter home could include many of these next-gen features as standard and highly affordable practicalities.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Technologies that were once relegated to large commercial buildings and multi-million-dollar custom homes are now far more affordable, even if your budget is not huge.Ã¢â‚¬Â - Irina Johnson, Aria Homes
Spreading the word of whatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s possible with todayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s home construction and planning is part of the thinking behind the houseÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s construction. Designed by Mark Macco, director of the Jacksonville chapter of the American Institute of Architects, the contemporary home will also serve as MaccoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s personal residence and a showcase for whatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s possible to his future clients.
Irina Johnson, founder and head of Aria Homes and the projectÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s general contractor, said products with the aim of increased durability and efficiency are far more plentiful and affordable now than in the recent past, a trend she fully expects to see continue as awareness increases.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Technologies that were once relegated to large commercial buildings and multi-million-dollar custom homes are now far more affordable, even if your budget is not huge,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Johnson.
She cites ICFs Ã¢â‚¬â€ insulated concrete forms Ã¢â‚¬â€ as an example of a building product that is less cost-prohibitive than in the recent past. Adding to its appeal is the number of benefits for a homeowner.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“ICFs provide added insulation plus the strength of a poured concrete wall,Ã¢â‚¬Â she said, adding that ICF systems are also a smart choice for hot and humid climates.
As far as a homeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s design, Johnson said more of her clients are planning to stay in their houses longer and are preparing for future needs.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve seen a strong trend toward flex spaces,Ã¢â‚¬Â she said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“We plan for future mother-in-law suites, for example. Or, even though a master bedroom may initially be a space on the second floor, we might plan a space on the first floor that can be used as they age.Ã¢â‚¬Â
As reflected in the Macco project, smart use of space Ã¢â‚¬â€ and a smaller house Ã¢â‚¬â€ is another element thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s expected to gain popularity as owners increasingly consider efficiency and salability above overblown square footage.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I think the days of building grandiose mansions are gone,Ã¢â‚¬Â she said, Ã¢â‚¬Å“the houses that require giant water bills and gas bills and electricity bills. People now want a house thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s efficient, thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s livable, that allows them to stay in it as they age. You want to have spaces you live in. Fewer people are interested in two-story foyers where nobody spends time, yet still cost money to heat and cool and light.Ã¢â‚¬Â
In fact, building standards with an aim at efficiency have already entered the mainstream. The Environmental Protection AgencyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Energy Star program has a rating system in place for home construction and a number of national builders are offering homes compliant with the program. In Jacksonville, for example, KB Home has already built 713 Energy Star-rated homes while Providence Homes has built another 441. Many other Jacksonville builders are also rated as Energy Star Builder Partners (see a full list at http://1.usa.gov/1elqhlj).
A well-built house with sensible design is appealing on its own, but a system aimed at whole house automation can enhance efficiency, savings and comfort.
Imagine waking up and starting your day by pushing a Ã¢â‚¬Å“MorningÃ¢â‚¬Â setting on your iPad. All at once, soft lights start to rise slowly in the master bedroom and bathroom and down the hallway that leads to the now illuminated kitchen. The thermostat adjusts to a preferred temperature. Music begins to play from surround speakers, audible from each of the rooms as you ready yourself for work. As you depart the master suite for the kitchen, the roomÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s lights and music power down. Every setting is tuned to your routine.
Jason Moore, vice president and project manager at Moore Electrical Contractors, said the trend toward whole house automation has really gained steam in the last 2-3 years and accounts for upwards of 30 percent of his companyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s business.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We started to expand our product offerings to include more tech within the last 10 years,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Moore. Ã¢â‚¬Å“It started with structured wiring for cable TV, computer networks and telephones, then some basic audio packages and home theater. As things progressed, we brought on whole-home lighting control systems, motorized shade systems, then ultimately full-blown home automation systems.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Moore, who designed the automation system for HGTVÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 2013 Smart Home and will also oversee the Macco system, said the automation technology is also far more affordable and accessible now than in the recent past thanks to innovations such as the iPad.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Tablets have been a huge game changer,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Moore. Ã¢â‚¬Å“It used to be that a home automation system required a touch panel, costing from $3,000 up to $10,000 or more depending on the size of the panel. Now weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve got iPads that cost $600 to perform the same role.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Another advancement, WiFi, has allowed existing houses to adopt automation without additional wiring and other complications.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Wireless technology has gotten so good and so dependable that now we can go into a [retrofitting] project and, with confidence, convert it over,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Moore. Ã¢â‚¬Å“ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not that hard to do.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Moore said the aim of the systems is always three-fold: aesthetics, convenience and energy awareness. And these types of technologies could also be very common, very soon.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Look at the push from alarm companies offering more than home security monitoring,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Moore, Ã¢â‚¬Å“but also other aspects of home automation: lock control, light control, thermostat, etc.Ã¢â‚¬Â
ThereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s also the option of picking up automation systems individually, but Moore said this isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t really truly whole house automation.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“You can take a bunch of app-based technology and put it in your house and create some convenience of being able to jump on your tablet and control your environment from app to app to app,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“The apps donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t communicate and allow the type of interoperability [thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s available from a whole home automation system].
Ã¢â‚¬Å“An important distinction that I try to make between that approach and a whole-house automation system is that a whole house automation system basicly ties those apps together, so when you press the Ã¢â‚¬ËœEntertainÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ on your lighting control system you can have that not only effect the lighting but also the lights and the fountains in the swimming pool, the audio system, the thermostat. It can take an event on one system and relate it to what you want to happen in the other systems, as well.Ã¢â‚¬Â]]>
So where are we now?Ã‚Â Is there a new paradigm in the structure of Architecture firms and by extension the process of architecture? An interesting marriage of this new paradigm coupled with BIM (Building Information Software)Ã‚Â Have changed the face of the traditional firm.Ã‚Â Gone are the sea of drafting tables and personnel that were focused on one element of a project.Ã‚Â Enter a new era.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â You can no longer hire someone who's expertise is building envelope knowledge for example.Ã‚Â Everyone in the firm must be good at all aspects of the process equally.Ã‚Â The technology allows and informs that, as do the economic realities of the world we live in.Ã‚Â The challenge in this paradigm shift is to maintain a collaborative environment within the Architecture firm.
The difficulty as an owner of a firm is finding the talent who posses a comprehensive approach to the process of architecture.Ã‚Â Not only must we be creative, we must be tech savvy, personable and able to work with smaller and smaller teams.Ã‚Â For better or worse, this has been the outcome of the past four years, coupled with the changing face of technology.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â The technology allows us to use less people, and the economy demands it.Ã‚Â If firms are using old software with large teams to facilitate that outdated process, you as a client are spending too much in fees to pay for this system.Ã‚Â Something to consider as you search for that "perfect" architecture firm, be it in Jacksonville Florida or anywhere in the United States.]]>
Let's focus on your custom residential project.Ã‚Â Time and weather are two components that work in tandem.Ã‚Â Weather can delay a project, and it can also compromise some of the structural elements of your project during the construction process.
Without getting into the weeds about the coefficient of thermal expansion of wood and steel, suffice it to say that the moisture content of wood for example is key in the ultimate strength of the wood.Ã‚Â Imagine a construction process taking much longer than normal.Ã‚Â Your project is sitting out in the elements, unprotected in the framing stage for months.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â This can cause mold to form on your unprotected wood framing material, and at worse, weaken the nails holding the frame together.Ã‚Â The nails themselves begin to loosen as the wood expands and contracts going from being wet to dry.Ã‚Â If this happens over and over enough, you may have a problem.
The choice of a contractor is a critical component to the success of your project.Ã‚Â When selecting a builder remember this weather tip and how it relates to time.Ã‚Â Be sure your contractor is organized and on time.Ã‚Â The weather will cause the most delays during any use of concrete.Ã‚Â (Concrete Masonry Walls, or slab)Ã‚Â This is due to the delicate balance of having just the right amount of water in the concrete.Ã‚Â Be sureÃ‚Â your contractor is aware of "time" and can deliver and not delay your project during the framing process specifically. Ã‚Â The bottom line:Ã‚Â Don't let your project remain in the elements for months on end exposed.Ã‚Â It needs to be wrapped in a moisture retarding material, both the walls, and the roof without excessive delay.]]>