Adapting Together: How the GSA is thinking about adaptation (for its vast real estate portfolio) (1/12/2022) - AIA Committee on the Environment Newsletter, January/February 2022 By Allison H. Anderson FAIA  Architects are working on the front lines of community resilience and climate adaptation. Ann Kosmal, FAIA, guides the General Services Administration team charged with managing climate risks for all federal buildings. She sat down with friend and colleague Allison Anderson, FAIA, to talk about the GSA’s efforts to prepare buildings for rising climate risks.  Alison Anderson: Ann, you are an architect, LEED-Accredited Professional, and certified Passive House consultant, but you also guide the GSA efforts to manage climate risks. The GSA is responsible for more than 371 million square feet of real estate for the federal government, with many locations at risk from climate hazards. How is the GSA advancing the deployment and adoption of climate-ready buildings?    Ann Kosmal: The Biden-Harris administration is taking a whole-of-government approach to climate adaptation. Many professionals in various disciplines contribute to the administration’s climate change risk management efforts. For GSA, this work starts with the agency’s policies and procedures to manage these risks in GSA’s capital investments, asset management, and compliance with the Facilities Standards for the Public Buildings Service (P-100). As a project moves through delivery, I support project managers across the country to determine the common understanding of the extreme weather and incremental climate-related risks for the lifetime of the building. I also develop and provide a climate profile for the project, which informs the statement of work and deliverables.    AA: How do you guide architects to design for climate conditions which vary widely across the nation? What actions should architects take on every project to improve climate change mitigation and adaptation, wherever they are? AK: For architects, look at Key Message 2 of Chapter 11 of NCA 4 on the Built Environment. On every project, architects need to be familiar with the observed and expected changes over the intended service life of the project and use forward-looking information. There are resources available such as the National Climate Assessment and the U.S.Climate Resilience Toolkit - Climate Explorer.   Once an architect takes these steps to familiarize themselves with these factors, they need to be clear about due diligence in design and determine the relevancy to their client’s personal risk appetite and tolerance, as well as their professional risk appetite and tolerance. Because architects are not working alone, this needs to be done in consultation with engineers and others.   AA: You worked with the Executive Office of the President to support resilience and adaptation planning. Can you tell us a little about what this work entailed?  AK: I was on a 221-day detail to the Executive Office of the President (EOP). The detail was solely focused on climate adaptation and resilience to reinstate and advance federal agency climate adaptation planning and implementation, as directed by Executive Order 14008 on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad.  Implementation is a key aspect of the Executive Order, as managing climate risks is a known high fiscal risk to the U.S. government. There is a dire need to advance beyond where this risk management work was prior to 2017, and part of my detail work addressed this need. This effort is about large-scale organizational adaptation. Updating agency climate adaptation plans was a necessary first step, as the existential threat from climate change remains.   Along with other EOP duties, my detail entailed ramping up agency adaptation planning and implementation up through the public roll out of agencies’ 2021 Federal Climate Adaptation Plans on October 7, 2021.   AA: You reviewed the adaptation plans for every federal agency. Do you see new opportunities for architects to participate in climate change mitigation and adaptation?  AK: Climate risks are not new but because they are prioritized by the current administration, when there are capital projects, I anticipate that architects will not only have opportunities but will be asked to design climate adaptation measures into projects that they design not only for GSA but for many federal clients.  I did not review the Federal Climate Adaptation Plans alone. Let’s remember that in climate adaptation, the pronouns are we, us, ours — we are all adapting together. A diligent and dedicated team selected from across the executive branch reviewed the plans. The team worked in close coordination with the agency examiners from the Office of Management and Budget to review the priority adaptation actions based on the statutory mission of the agency and their authorities.    AA: How do these adaptation plans address environmental justice?  AK: I think a really good question to keep top of mind is: Resilience — for whom? The 2021 Federal Climate Adaptation Plans were the first in more than four years and there is wide variation in the ways and extent to which agencies have integrated environmental justice, depending on the agency mission. Executive Order 14008 asks agencies to make achieving environmental justice part of their missions. As a result, plans include criteria and requirements for sites, facilities, and supply chain and explain how that criteria advances equitable distribution of environmental risks and benefits, and avoids maladaptation — projects that have the unintended outcome of creating more rather than less vulnerability to climate change.   Ann Kosmal is an architect for the Office of Federal High Performance Buildings at the U.S. General Services Administration.   She is a co-author of the United States’ Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA) built environment chapter and forthcoming fifth NCA.  She is a Fellow of the AIA, a Certified Passive House Consultant, and a Certified Permaculture Designer.   Allison Anderson, FAIA, is a principal at unabridged Architecture in Bay St Louis, Mississippi. She was the 2019 chair of the AIA Resilience and Adaptation Advisory Group and serves on the Committee for Climate Action and Design Excellence (CCADE), whose charge is to advise the Board on key issues in support of AIA’s Climate Action Plan.  ...
Architects + Artisans Blog (12/21/2021) - In Gulfport, Restoring an Icon of African American History Michael Welton, December 15, 2021 A small building with a checkered past in the Turkey Creek neighborhood of Gulfport, Miss. has been restored meticulously by unabridged Architects of Bay St. Louis. It started out as a paymaster’s station for the Turkey Creek Phoenix Naval Stores at the turn of the 20th century. There, in a large plant, lumber was treated to yield creosote, pine-tar resin and turpentine. The treatment itself was sketchy at best. “The manufacturer who developed the wholescale process used boiling gasoline to extract elements from the pine trees,” says John Anderson, co-founder of unabridged Architecture. “This site was in between forests where they were shipping the product out.” The plant employed a huge number of African Americans from the Turkey Creek neighborhood. “In1889 the state had established that each family there would receive a 40-acre parcel of land,” adds Allison Anderson, also a co-founder at unabridged. “They were the industrial workers for the plant.” It was a segregated operation and a symbol of systemic racism well into the 20th century. Inside the paymaster’s station, Caucasian management ruled. Outside, African Americans lined up to be paid at the paymaster’s window. Even vintage photographs of management and workers were segregated. Eventually, the inevitable occurred. “In 1943 the plant exploded, and one building, the paymaster’s office, remained intact,” she says. “It was built of wood and sheathed in concrete an inch thick, with a metal roof.” The plant closed, and the little fireproofed building designed to house all the plant’s records was moved 1,000 feet down the street and turned it into a residence. It stayed that way for decades, until it was abandoned and eventually disintegrated. “It had slumped about two feet into ground,” she says. “Plaster was falling off and there were no floors and no ceilings.” By 2015 owner/activist Derrick Evans, great-grandson of the man who moved the building in the 1940s, teamed up with the Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain. Together they wrote a grant proposal for restoring the building as a symbol of African American forest industry workers. The National Park Service awarded them a half-million dollars. The Land Trust served as administrator for the grant. And unabridged Architecture got to work. Theirs was no easy task. “There was only one picture of the building – and it was of the giant plant mostly and our building was out of focus in back, and hidden,” John says. “It was a simple building: square with four rooms, and it had a porch wrapped around it.” It may have been a tiny, 925-square-foot building, but much was missing. “We established the position of each board of wood,” Allison says. “We recovered everything we could and kept it intact as much as possible.” There were no windows and only one door; but because the framing had been treated with creosote, water and termite damage was minimal. “We had to speculate about the windows,” John says. “The framing was falling in and the rotting foundation was sunken.” Luckily, Derrick’s cousin was a concrete finisher with a stellar reputation in the community – and took on the project as general contractor. “It was a good grounding for him to do this wood reconstruction,” Allison says. “He had to figure out a way to lift the building out of the mud – and it was a painstaking process.” The little building’s days as paymaster’s station and residence are now officially over. Today it’s known as the Turkey Creek Phoenix Naval Stores Community Center, and it serves as an exhibition space and interpretive center for the African American forest industry workers. “Eleven people died in the explosion, and it was good and bad what going on there,” John says. It’s also a community center for the African American neighborhood. “There’s a lot of community interest in the collection of things to engage the neighborhood,” Allison says. And it’s earned the recognition it’s due. “It earned a “Best in the South” Award from the Southeast Society of Architectural Historians,” she says. That’s a big honor for a tiny building – but it’s earned every bit of it. ...
Eampact: The Black and White Beach House (12/9/2021) - Published 2021-12-02 by Revi Sagee: https://www.eampact.com/blogDetails/The-Black-and-White-Beach-House Homeowners in the U.S can build and improve their homes to be more resilient to increasing climate extremes. We aim to educate homeowners with relevant climate risks and solutions to reduce potential damage to homes and save lives. In this series of blogs, we share stories of climate-resilient homes. Not only homes that were designed to be resilient, but homes that proved their resilience by withstanding extreme weather events. The Black and White Beach House is such an example. The residential property was designed by unabridged Architecture. It was completed in 2019 and already managed to withstand Hurricane Zeta in 2020, Hurricane Ida in 2021, and smaller tropical disturbances. The project was designed primarily to address the climate risk of hurricanes and associated storm surge and flooding. The site is located along the northern Gulf of Mexico, on the waterfront. This is the location where Hurricane Katrina damaged many houses and claimed lives. The project’s site sits along a sandy coastal ridge, with the beach at the front, and a bayou in the back. Both the beach and the bayou pose a risk of flooding in the event of intense rainfall or coastal surge. In hot, humid Mississippi, another risk to keep in mind is the threat of high temperatures for prolonged periods. unabridged Architecture: “We have been building along the Gulf Coast since 1995 and have experienced the devastating effects of hurricanes on our community. In 2005 we had just completed two new projects – a 22-room retreat center and a new house. One was completely lost while the other was just slightly damaged. Both were designed to be sustainable, but it was a wake-up call that sustainability isn’t equivalent to resilience”. Allison and John Anderson, unabridged Architecture, see a growing market demand for climate adaptation. “Many of our clients come to us specifically looking for ways to reduce vulnerability, especially if they have been through a prior event. Communities, too, are looking for solutions, and since we work at many scales, we can show them how to build in multiple benefits for their residents and visitors”. Climate Resilience Strategies: To address the mentioned risks in the location of the property, unabridged Architecture incorporated the following climate adaptation strategies to minimize damage to the house and to protect its occupants: Hurricanes The metal roof includes extra hurricane clips to prevent lifting in high winds. An ice and water shield was installed beneath the roof surface. All windows are impact-resistant. The Shear Walls provide lateral bracing against wind loads. The Shear walls and tie-downs provide continuous load paths. Simpson Z-Max strapping with clips connects the wood framing. The clips have extra zinc to resist saltwater. Floods Floor elevation: the finished floor level was set above the current Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) requirements. To achieve the desired floor level, the house was built on pilings on the highest ground within the site, further away from the coastal edge. Dry flooding design: to further protect the property from flooding, a landscape chain wall with a limited amount of fill was built in the front of the house to deflect waterborne debris. Along the back of the house, where the outbuildings are located, a retaining wall was used to protect from the bayou and its steep slope. Most of the landscape area is permeable, which helps absorb stormwater in extreme storms and rain events. Wood was used for the interior finish instead of Drywall. Wood can be dried after a short immersion and treated to prevent mold. The walls were designed with a gap between the siding and the wrap for moisture/water drainage to help water drain quickly and efficiently. Heat Waves A large shaded wrap-around porch reduces sun glazing indoors. Window screening on the east and west sides to prevent low sun rays from entering through into the house. Covered arcades are linking the outbuildings to create areas of shade. A 400-year old live oak tree on the site has persisted through many storms. This tree formed the central design element and unabridged Architecture worked around it. Preserving the tree protects a part of the ecosystem on-site, allowing the tree to keep sequestering carbon emissions while providing additional shading. High insulation above code requirements (see below) Climate Zone Adaptation Strategies Materials for the coastal environment: a concrete masonry chain wall foundation was finished with white marble tile. It increases durability and longevity by protecting from salt-laden winds while contributing to the aesthetics of the design. The cypress siding on the main house is traditional in Mississippi but the close grain structure has extended life against insects and water. The accessory structures are wrapped in Shou Sugi Ban by Delta Millworks. These products claim to repel insects and water due to the process of wood burning. The company’s exterior products are all sustainably sourced and certified by the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC). All of their Accoya wood products hold Cradle to Cradle (C2C) gold certification. Building Codes: The city in which the property stands has adopted the ICC building codes. The project was designed above code for greater longevity in the following areas: Higher elevation to protect from flooding: Freeboard one foot above FEMA’s Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM). Freeboard is a safety factor usually expressed in feet above a flood level to compensate for the unknown factors that could contribute to higher flood levels than calculated. Higher insulation to maintain the indoor temperature and withstand heat/cold waves: double R-value of insulation to almost R-40 in walls, and R-60 in the roof. Voluntary Third Party Standards/Certifications: Allison and John Anderson were the first LEED Accredited Professionals in Louisiana and Mississippi. They designed the Black and White Beach House to meet FORTIFIED Gold but did not go through the process of certification. unabridged Architecture’s previous experience building FORTIFIED certified houses enlightened them on the low demand for private homes certifications in that area.  Mississippi’s insurance program doesn’t provide a standardized discount for certification. Third-party certifications provide an… ...
EcoTech Park awarded Honor Citation from AIA Mississippi (10/15/2021) - unabridged Architecture was awarded an Honor Citation from the American Institute of Architects, Mississippi Chapter, for EcoTech Park in Hancock County, Mississippi. The innovative master plan links economic development with environmental stewardship and illustrates a sustainable and resilient vision for the future of these industrial parks. The Master Plan, prepared for the Hancock County Port & Harbor Commission, had three goals: use GIS-based spatial analysis to identify the optimal expansion sites at Port Bienville and Stennis International Airport; establish sustainable and resilient design guidelines for site and building development; and illustrate an innovative vision for high-performance industrial parks. Consumers are demanding more sustainably sourced and processed products and corporate social responsibility efforts are increasing. However, little attention has been paid to design within the industrial zones where products are manufactured, even though they occupy large tracts which often include environmentally sensitive lands. Restoring the ecology of industrial zones establishes the conditions necessary for intensification of industrial development and this master plan expands the developable area within strict environmental limits addressing ecosystems, climate, and human health. The proposed new structures are characterized by low-carbon materials, energy and water efficiency, daylighting and views to the landscape.  The project’s success positions these industrial parks as sites with innovative standards and the capacity to meet exceptional building-performance standards. The jury cited “a convincing master plan that rigorously attempts the difficult balance of economic development with environmental stewardship.  The scope of this plan goes far beyond the conventional idea of architecture and the jury believed it merited recognition for its analysis of a large tract of the county’s land in a serious and thorough exploration to identify the best sites for industrial development when considering such crucial factors as native habitat, climate resilience, and sustainability.” Multiple stakeholders were consulted during the master planning process as an opportunity to share concerns about growth, improve the project guidelines, and reconnect industry to the community. Stakeholders included state regulators, cities, and county leadership as well as current tenants, public utility boards, the Citizen’s Climate Lobby, Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain, Gulf Regional Planning Commission, Hancock Chamber of Commerce, NASA John C. Stennis Space Center, and Pearl River Community College. In addition to unabridged Architecture, Master Planning consultants included NVision Solutions for GIS analysis, Compton Engineering for civil and environmental engineering, and Depiction Illustration for the aerial rendering. ...
Black and White Beach House employs climate-ready architecture (10/15/2021) - Inhabitat, October 11, 2021. By Dawn Hammon. With construction earning the unwanted title of a top-ranking dirty industry, architecture focused on energy efficiency, natural materials and durability even in the face of natural disasters is a win for the environment and the home or business owner. In consideration of the increased number of hurricanes connected to the effects of climate change in coastal communities, Unabridged Architecture developed the Black and White Beach House to address these issues. The family complex sits in an area heavily impacted by storm activity, in a historic Gulf of Mexico beach town. In fact, the previous house on the site was lost during Hurricane Katrina. In its place, Black and White Beach House has already endured two substantial hurricanes with its climate-ready design. Unabridged Architecture co-principal Allison Anderson said, "Built on the site of a home lost in Katrina, creating architecture to last requires a willingness to experiment with form and material to meet climate challenges." Developers placed the dual homes at the highest point of land, supported by a plinth to bring it above the flood zone. The move away from the water also preserved a grove of historic oak trees that have survived at least 300 years of coastal storms. The main home pays homage to traditional southern architecture with a white exterior and wraparound porch, while the next-door additional family home and outbuildings are clad in shou sugi ban, charred Accoya wood. Between the buildings, a terraced garden provides a gathering space, and crushed limestone paths connect the areas. The natural material selection provides a durable and functional walkway that naturally allows stormwater to permeate the surface. Throughout the landscape, walls are built using travertine tiles, and terraces are reinforced with steel edging. The invasive species that had taken over the lot following Hurricane Katrina were replaced with native plants that grow well with few water requirements. The native habitat is also salt-tolerant and attracts a variety of animals. Architects also addressed energy efficiency with deep overhangs, an airtight building envelope, and comprehensive insulation. As stated in a press release, Unabridged Architecture is "rooted deeply in building for the future. Their mission is to produce sustainable, resilient design, specializing in architectural responses to climate challenges. Most notably their substantial role in rebuilding Mississippi towns post-Katrina and winning a COTE "Top Ten" award for their Marine Education Center at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory project." ...
How severe weather is shaping home design (10/15/2021) - Business of Home Weekly Feature, October 13, 2021. By Haley Chouinard. The pandemic gave literal meaning to the idea that our homes are a refuge, a place to eek shelter during uncertain and unsafe times. Its a concept that designers and architects worldwide are taking more seriously than ever-not just in the event of another pandemic, but also because of climate change. On a global scale, severe weather is becoming more of an issue. Wildfires, floods, hurricanes and winter storms are getting more frequent and more devastating. Sea levels continue to rise, posing threats to coastal prope1ties around the world. A report released by the United Nations in August found that even if countries were to drastically reduce their emissions tomorrow, the total lobal temperature is likely to rise around 1.5 degree Celsius (34.7 F) within the next two decade , all but ensuring an increase in severe weather events. So, how are designers and architects-particularly those working in vulnerable regions - taking these issues into account when designing homes meant to last for generations? Coastal homes present their own challenges: Designers and architects are forced to consider the possibility of both flooding and wind damage. Allison Anderson and John Anderson, principals of Bay St. Louis, Mississippi-based unabridged Architecture, check not on]y the history of storm damage around a waterfront property but also the climate projections for the area, as the potential sea-level rise can vary widely. "We ask our clients about their expectations for service life - is it 50 years? 100 years? - and plan accordingly to maintain habitability for that period," say John Anderson. "We ask about their tolerance for risk, as well. When a hurricane is coming, will they board up and evacuate? Do they expect to return quickly after a storm? These considerations are factored into the earliest vision for the project and help us decide on the materials, forms, and orientation on the site." When it comes to addressing the potential for flooding and severe rainfall, the Andersons like to work at the intersection of architecture and landscape design. "We have limited ways to prevent flooding: Avoid the possibility by setting the house back from the water or elevating it; accommodate water by creating spaces that can flood safely and be cleaned easily after an event; or resist water through floodproofing," says Allison Anderson. They often use a combination of such features to offer client as much protection as possible. On a recent project on the Gulf Coast, unabridged Architecture elevated the house 5 feet above grade by using two terraces, a low retaining wall that deflects waves, and a chain-wall foundation to raise the house above the required base flood elevation. Inside, the interior finishes were chosen to prevent mold growth, an important consideration in a humid climate. There is no drywall, and the walls and ceilings are all wood. "Ultimately, the decisions we make today have a tremendous financial and functional impact for our clients," says John Anderson. «we do everything we can to ensure their investment is durable, resilient, and ready for the future." ...
A Declaration on Climate Adaptation (9/23/2021) - Climate is the force which most directly shapes architecture but we are reckoning with a destabilized climate system, altered by mankind through epoch-shattering consumption. We acknowledge a future marked by more frequent and more severe events; the current built environment will fail to shelter occupants and protect investments. Architects participate in creating the built environment but we need to create a future that is more resilient, more just, and more sustainable. unabridged promotes adaptation to the future through the following principles: We adapt by assessing hazards and designing to mitigate risk and consequence. We adapt by avoiding sites of future inundation or elevating above foreseeable floods. We adapt by creating multiple lines of defence within the landscape and at the building edge. We adapt by armouring critical facilities to the highest level of protection. We adapt by designing for an extended service life for new buildings and the reuse of existing buildings. We adapt by choosing materials to combat environmental conditions. We adapt by considering embodied and operational carbon in our buildings. We adapt by restoring the complex ecosystems that can better accommodate disturbance. We adapt by creating beloved places that serve the community. Our projects inspire a deeper look at architecture and the forces that shape the built environment. We seek to discover the uniqueness inherent in each place and amplify it. Our projects cross boundaries: building and landscape, site and community, vernacular and modern. How can we help you adapt to the future? ...
Beyond the shotgun shack: How architects are rethinking Southern buildings for the 21st century (9/7/2021) - in Fast Company by Nate Berg Due to its history, its culture, and especially its climate, the American South has a unique architectural style. Too often, though, the buildings of the South are boiled down to stereotypes. "It can either be the sharecropper shacks that were valorized by Walker Evans and James Agee or the white columned plantation mansions that are valorized in Gone With the Wind," says Peter MacKeith, dean of the Fay Jones School of Architecture + Design at the University of Arkansas. To broaden the perception of architecture in the South, particularly recent architecture, MacKeith has curated "A South Forty." The new exhibition focuses on the work of dozens of architecture firms based in and working in a region not often associated with top-shelf contemporary architecture. But as the South faces increasing threats from extreme weather, sea level rise, and climate change, architects there are setting new standards for how architecture can help even small communities build for an uncertain future. Developed through a collaboration with the Oxford American and now on display at the Venice Architecture Biennale, “A South Forty” features about 40 firms working since the 1990s along and near the Interstate 40 corridor that runs from North Carolina to Oklahoma. Featured firms include bigger practices like EskewDumezRipple; renowned firms like Marlon Blackwell Architects, recent winner of the American Institute of Architect’s Gold Medal; and community-focused projects like Auburn University’s Rural Studio. With an emphasis on civic projects that respond to local conditions and local needs, the exhibition expands the language of Southern architecture beyond the gabled roof and wide front porch. Still, these elements are also part of the story, MacKeith says. “We’re moving beyond stereotypes, and at the same time, acknowledging that there is a history of architecture embedded in the region that is about climate response. The shotgun house as a form is itself a response to climate. The porch in all of its manifestations is very much a response to climate,” he says. What distinguishes the architecture of recent decades is how much that climate is changing. Extreme heat, hurricanes, flooding, and sea level rise are increasingly influencing the designs and types of projects architects produce. These are challenges known well to unabridged Architecture, one of the firms included in the exhibition. Founded by Allison Anderson in 1995 and based in the small town of Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, the firm was personally hit hard by 2005’s Hurricane Katrina. Anderson and her husband, now firm partner John Anderson, had recently moved into a house they designed when the storm struck. Despite being a thousand feet inland, on high ground, and in a place that hadn’t flooded in 300 years, the storm left 8 feet of water in their house. "It was a very strong awakening," Allison Anderson says. "We adopted this much more forensic approach to architecture, thinking very critically about the places that people are asking us to build. We're really challenging all of our clients to think about the future, and to think about climate change in a way that they're maybe not used to doing." Now, in projects ranging from private residences to university buildings and historic restorations, unabridged Architecture is using its designs to help parts of the South be more resilient in the face of extreme and sometimes deadly climate events. Not all of unabridged Architecture's projects are about environmental collapse, though. One current project now under construction is an adaptation of a former hardware store and lumber yard in downtown Bay St. Louis that the firm has turned into a 15-unit apartment building with retail and restaurant space. It's a modest mixed-use project that might not stand out in a bigger city, but it represents a major shift in the thinking about what types of buildings Southern towns want and need in the 21st century. "That kind of thing can really have a meaningful impact on a small town like this," says John Anderson. This kind of civic engagement is a recurring theme among the architecture firms included in the exhibition. MacKeith says many of them have eschewed bigger commissions and urban locales for smaller projects that actually serve the communities in which they live. The firm deLeon and Primmer Architecture Workshop, for example, has been exploring innovative timber- and bamboo-based designs in Kentucky, and the Jackson, Mississippi, firm Duvall Decker has a deep portfolio of public building projects across the state. “I think these are people who are doing everyday acts of heroism on behalf of their communities, not even intending to do that,” he says. “That’s my rhetoric, not theirs.” Though the exhibition features about 40 firms, per the name, MacKeith says there’s a growing number of firms engaging with the South that embody this new approach to the region’s climate and needs—focus areas that will continue to have greater relevance as the climate changes around the world. “It’s ongoing,” MacKeith says of firms pushing Southern architecture in new directions. “What they’re doing is of the South, but reaches beyond the South.” ...
How is a Pandemic like a Hurricane? (4/26/2020) -   People had (a little) time to prepare, and all the same grocery staples disappeared from the shelves: bread, toilet paper, and bottled water. There may be no good reason for this save habit and practice, but it turns out that the return of these essentials to the shelf takes an equally long time due to the global supply chain woes, and perhaps a lingering need to hoard supplies. The weather afterwards is spectacular… and there is no place to go. After a storm the humidity is low, the sun shines, and all the places to go for a distraction are closed. Our pandemic weather has been a near-uninterrupted stretch of sunshine and low humidity, making us feel as if a storm has come through. We want to be outside – the difference is now we can’t be with our neighbors. This is the reason people are spending time and money in their backyards and balconies, restoring the neglected corners, bringing order to their own patch of ground. It establishes a marker in our lives and a way of measuring time. For gulf coast residents, there is pre-Katrina and post-Katrina; now there is pre-Covid and post-Covid. In each of these events many of our friends lost everything. From each of these events we will spend years making up the losses. Katrina damaged buildings, infrastructure, history, the forest canopy, and 1,833 lives. Covid is affecting savings, retirement, jobs, productivity, and 203,670 lives to date, with many more to come. The recovery won’t be straightforward. After a hurricane, people must navigate new regulations for flood zones, elevation, and zoning; getting back to “normal” after Covid will not be a clear, linear sequence of measures. The government is as untutored at managing a response to this crisis as George Bush’s FEMA was unprepared for Katrina. We can expect a series of starts and stops, resources that are slow to arrive, highly-touted pathways to a cure discarded, economic “stimulus” an ineffective panacea. The regional Katrina recovery took ten years – will the recovery of the entire global economy take less? ...
There is Nothing Like a Pandemic to Change the World (3/28/2020) - In times of peril, people need a feeling of security, camaraderie, and the sense that things will be all right, that “we are in it together.” It is for that reason that thousands of people slept in Tube stations, requisitioned buildings, and damp basements during World War II, and why we take shelter in communal facilities today. It’s not because it is the safest place but because we need the comfort of people around us. That is what makes this pandemic so difficult. It is a time of fear and uncertainty when our need for reassurance is strong. The timing is equally challenging – that we are confined in springtime, at the end of our seasonal hibernation, seems particularly cruel. Our efforts to exert a measure of control over our environment lead us to do what we can in our personal space. We are cleaning out cabinets, closets, and junk drawers. We are sprucing up backyards, porches, planters. The parking lots of home improvement stores resemble the Christmas rush as we take on “essential” household repairs. How will this experience change our demands upon the urban realm when we do emerge from our soft confinement?  Will we want more/different spaces for social interaction or improve the ones we have? Will moving the homeless into housing for the duration of the pandemic improve their lives and inspire us to find permanent measures? Will we finally recognize the toll we have placed on the environment and take strides to reduce our destruction of natural resources? Will this extended period in our houses and apartments alter our conception of the ideal home? Will it be cleaner, greener, have more ventilation and more storage? Will we choose to live in expanded family groups after missing our children or parents in this enforced isolation? We will be changed by this event, in ways that are unimaginable right now but will emerge over the next decade. Let’s use the recovery to build the physical environment we want and a better future for everyone. ...
Adapting Together: How the GSA is thinking about adaptation (for its vast real estate portfolio) (1/12/2022) - AIA Committee on the Environment Newsletter, January/February 2022 By Allison H. Anderson FAIA  Architects are working on the front lines of community resilience and climate adaptation. Ann Kosmal, FAIA, guides the General Services Administration team charged with managing climate risks for all federal buildings. She sat down with friend and colleague Allison Anderson, FAIA, to talk about the GSA’s efforts to prepare buildings for rising climate risks.  Alison Anderson: Ann, you are an architect, LEED-Accredited Professional, and certified Passive House consultant, but you also guide the GSA efforts to manage climate risks. The GSA is responsible for more than 371 million square feet of real estate for the federal government, with many locations at risk from climate hazards. How is the… ...
Architects + Artisans Blog (12/21/2021) - In Gulfport, Restoring an Icon of African American History Michael Welton, December 15, 2021 A small building with a checkered past in the Turkey Creek neighborhood of Gulfport, Miss. has been restored meticulously by unabridged Architects of Bay St. Louis. It started out as a paymaster’s station for the Turkey Creek Phoenix Naval Stores at the turn of the 20th century. There, in a large plant, lumber was treated to yield creosote, pine-tar resin and turpentine. The treatment itself was sketchy at best. “The manufacturer who developed the wholescale process used boiling gasoline to extract elements from the pine trees,” says John Anderson, co-founder of unabridged Architecture. “This site was in between forests where they were shipping the product out.”… ...
Eampact: The Black and White Beach House (12/9/2021) - Published 2021-12-02 by Revi Sagee: https://www.eampact.com/blogDetails/The-Black-and-White-Beach-House Homeowners in the U.S can build and improve their homes to be more resilient to increasing climate extremes. We aim to educate homeowners with relevant climate risks and solutions to reduce potential damage to homes and save lives. In this series of blogs, we share stories of climate-resilient homes. Not only homes that were designed to be resilient, but homes that proved their resilience by withstanding extreme weather events. The Black and White Beach House is such an example. The residential property was designed by unabridged Architecture. It was completed in 2019 and already managed to withstand Hurricane Zeta in 2020, Hurricane Ida in 2021, and smaller tropical disturbances. The project was designed primarily… ...
EcoTech Park awarded Honor Citation from AIA Mississippi (10/15/2021) - unabridged Architecture was awarded an Honor Citation from the American Institute of Architects, Mississippi Chapter, for EcoTech Park in Hancock County, Mississippi. The innovative master plan links economic development with environmental stewardship and illustrates a sustainable and resilient vision for the future of these industrial parks. The Master Plan, prepared for the Hancock County Port & Harbor Commission, had three goals: use GIS-based spatial analysis to identify the optimal expansion sites at Port Bienville and Stennis International Airport; establish sustainable and resilient design guidelines for site and building development; and illustrate an innovative vision for high-performance industrial parks. Consumers are demanding more sustainably sourced and processed products and corporate social responsibility efforts are increasing. However, little attention has been paid… ...
Black and White Beach House employs climate-ready architecture (10/15/2021) - Inhabitat, October 11, 2021. By Dawn Hammon. With construction earning the unwanted title of a top-ranking dirty industry, architecture focused on energy efficiency, natural materials and durability even in the face of natural disasters is a win for the environment and the home or business owner. In consideration of the increased number of hurricanes connected to the effects of climate change in coastal communities, Unabridged Architecture developed the Black and White Beach House to address these issues. The family complex sits in an area heavily impacted by storm activity, in a historic Gulf of Mexico beach town. In fact, the previous house on the site was lost during Hurricane Katrina. In its place, Black and White Beach House has already… ...
How severe weather is shaping home design (10/15/2021) - Business of Home Weekly Feature, October 13, 2021. By Haley Chouinard. The pandemic gave literal meaning to the idea that our homes are a refuge, a place to eek shelter during uncertain and unsafe times. Its a concept that designers and architects worldwide are taking more seriously than ever-not just in the event of another pandemic, but also because of climate change. On a global scale, severe weather is becoming more of an issue. Wildfires, floods, hurricanes and winter storms are getting more frequent and more devastating. Sea levels continue to rise, posing threats to coastal prope1ties around the world. A report released by the United Nations in August found that even if countries were to drastically reduce their emissions… ...
A Declaration on Climate Adaptation (9/23/2021) - Climate is the force which most directly shapes architecture but we are reckoning with a destabilized climate system, altered by mankind through epoch-shattering consumption. We acknowledge a future marked by more frequent and more severe events; the current built environment will fail to shelter occupants and protect investments. Architects participate in creating the built environment but we need to create a future that is more resilient, more just, and more sustainable. unabridged promotes adaptation to the future through the following principles: We adapt by assessing hazards and designing to mitigate risk and consequence. We adapt by avoiding sites of future inundation or elevating above foreseeable floods. We adapt by creating multiple lines of defence within the landscape and at the… ...
Beyond the shotgun shack: How architects are rethinking Southern buildings for the 21st century (9/7/2021) - in Fast Company by Nate Berg Due to its history, its culture, and especially its climate, the American South has a unique architectural style. Too often, though, the buildings of the South are boiled down to stereotypes. "It can either be the sharecropper shacks that were valorized by Walker Evans and James Agee or the white columned plantation mansions that are valorized in Gone With the Wind," says Peter MacKeith, dean of the Fay Jones School of Architecture + Design at the University of Arkansas. To broaden the perception of architecture in the South, particularly recent architecture, MacKeith has curated "A South Forty." The new exhibition focuses on the work of dozens of architecture firms based in and working in… ...
How is a Pandemic like a Hurricane? (4/26/2020) -   People had (a little) time to prepare, and all the same grocery staples disappeared from the shelves: bread, toilet paper, and bottled water. There may be no good reason for this save habit and practice, but it turns out that the return of these essentials to the shelf takes an equally long time due to the global supply chain woes, and perhaps a lingering need to hoard supplies. The weather afterwards is spectacular… and there is no place to go. After a storm the humidity is low, the sun shines, and all the places to go for a distraction are closed. Our pandemic weather has been a near-uninterrupted stretch of sunshine and low humidity, making us feel as if… ...
There is Nothing Like a Pandemic to Change the World (3/28/2020) - In times of peril, people need a feeling of security, camaraderie, and the sense that things will be all right, that “we are in it together.” It is for that reason that thousands of people slept in Tube stations, requisitioned buildings, and damp basements during World War II, and why we take shelter in communal facilities today. It’s not because it is the safest place but because we need the comfort of people around us. That is what makes this pandemic so difficult. It is a time of fear and uncertainty when our need for reassurance is strong. The timing is equally challenging – that we are confined in springtime, at the end of our seasonal hibernation, seems particularly cruel.… ...