smART Design: the intersection of art, architecture and sustainability at Gulf Coast Green
Kirksey participated in the 2016 Gulf Coast Green conference, held Thursday, April 28, at the Midtown Arts and Theater Center Houston (MATCH). Hailed as the best one yet, this year’s conference explored how art and the principles of sustainable design can enrich the classic architectural qualities as described by the ancient Roman architect Vitruvius: firmitas, utilitas, and venustas (durability, utility and beauty). Founded by Kirksey 11 years ago, Gulf Coast Green features local and international speakers focused on sustainable design, bringing together like-minded green-building professionals to share creative concepts, knowledge and sustainable building solutions. This year’s keynote speakers were Kai-Uwe Bergmann of BIG Architects out of Copenhagen, Denmark, and Jimmy DiResta, a designer and master maker who has starred on several DIY shows on channels such as HGTV, FX Network and Discovery.
This year’s outstanding lineup of session speakers included a member of Kirksey’s PK-12 Education Team. Nicola Springer, AIA, LEED AP, and Education PK-12 Team Leader at Kirksey, discussed Place Making by Painting: Art as a Catalyst for Change, a topic centered around a juvenile rehabilitation center and the painted mural that brought both the artist and students together, resulting in a beautiful group effort and focal point for the building.
Members of Kirksey’s EcoServices and Education teams heavily participated in this year’s conference:
- Colley Hodges, AIA, LEED AP, WELL AP, was vice-chair of the conference and co-chair of the speaker committee.
- Julie Hendricks, AIA, LEED AP, director of EcoServices at Kirksey served as speaker co-chair.
- Katherine Ruiz, AIA, LEED AP, led the Artist Exhibition, a new component to compliment the art theme for this year, guiding and organizing the exhibition from the beginning. The open call for artists asked them to submit work for a pop-up exhibition that focused on recycled materials, energy efficiency, non-toxic materials and materials reuse.
- Valeriya Bowker, LEED AP, led and organized the Green Product Showcase, the conference’s vendor exhibit that featured products and systems that turn design ideas into sustainable places to live, work and learn. She also co-organized a competition that awarded a prize to the person who visited the most vendor exhibits.
- Alfonso Hernandez, LEED AP, co-chaired the Student Competition, a sustainable competition focused on the 5R’s (recycle/reuse/reclaim/restore/repurpose). The student competition had one of its best showings in recent years, with 12 teams competing representing three local schools: the University of Houston, Prairie View A&M, and the Art Institute.
- Christina Miller, LEED AP, led the Green Event effort, helping to ensure that our event was abiding by zero-waste principles and co-organized the Green Product Expo competition.
Kirksey Wins “Best in Show” at Architectural Fashion Event That Gives Back to Community
Rubber flooring and seating textiles were carefully hand-stitched together to create this year’s winning dress for the annual IIDA Product Runway fashion show, held at the Revention Music Center on Friday, April 22.
Coming together to raise money for a good cause, Houston’s architecture and interior design professionals create fashion from everyday industry materials for artistic runway pieces that help raise funds for the Houston Furniture Bank, a non-profit organization that provides furniture and home goods for families in need.
First Place with an Artistic Interpretation
Kirksey Architecture took home Best in Show for their take on this year’s “Avant Art” theme. The Kirksey team was assigned Modernism with Georgia O’Keefe as the inspiration artist for their category, and created a colorful dress, reminiscent of the painter’s abstraction of flowers.
“We started with an original sketch and worked more than 150 man-hours around-the-clock in just three weeks to create the dress,” said Laura Vargas, a member of Kirksey’s Science & Technology team. “We are so proud of our entire team – it was definitely a group project.”
The dress, weighing in at 50 pounds, was created using over 800 rubber tiles donated by Expanko rubber flooring that were individually hand-cut and hand-sewn. The fabric, provided by Humanscale, was originally white vinyl, but was hand-dyed to achieve the exact, desired color.
The collar of the dress was made entirely of rubber flooring and lined with 6-gauge copper wire to provide structure and form. More than 120 triangles had to be cut and sewn to create the blue cone shapes on the skirt of the dress.
“We are so lucky that Kirksey is committed to design in such a way that we’re able to give back to the community and contribute our design efforts for a good cause,” said Michelle Old, a member of Kirksey’s design team.
Fun Facts About the Dress
• Over 800 rubber tiles were individually hand-cut and hand-sewn to the dress.
• The fabric was originally white vinyl and was hand-dyed to the exact, desired color.
• The collar is made entirely of rubber flooring and lined with 6-gauge copper wire to give it structure and form.
• 120 triangles had to be cut and sewn to create the blue cone shapes on the skirt of the dress.
• It took approximately 7 minutes to sew on each tile.
• The dress weighs 50 pounds.
• Over 150 man-hours working around-the-clock in just three weeks were spent making the dress.
Kirksey is proud to present at the recently re-named A4LE (formerly CEFPI) regional conference in Houston on Saturday, April 16, 2016.
The Association for Learning Environments (A4LE) holds a regional conference every year. The non-profit organization strives to improve the places where children learn and serves as a resource for effective educational facilities. This year’s conference, IMPACT: Great Schools | Successful Students | Strong Communities, will be held at the JW Marriot in Houston and features four Kirksey speakers who are passionate about designing 21st century PK-12 learning environments.
Kirksey’s speakers include:
Nicola Springer, AIA, LEED AP
Vice President at Kirksey
PK-12 Education Team Leader
Nicola is passionate about education design and has made it the focus of her career for the past 15 years. Committed to designing schools that create healthy, positive environments, Nicola is a resource to Kirksey for 21st century learning and on the forefront of educational design. She has received several AIA Houston Chapter Design awards for her education projects and was the 2009 recipient of the AIA Houston Ben Brewer Young Architect of the Year Award.
Julie Hendricks, AIA, LEED AP BD+C
Vice President at Kirksey
EcoServices Team Leader
As Kirksey’s EcoServices Team Leader, Julie is on the forefront of sustainable design. She has managed the LEED process for over 50 projects, totaling more than 5 million square feet. In 2012, she was the recipient of the AIA Houston Ben Brewer Young Architect of the Year Award. She has worked on indoor air quality and sustainable site-related issues for more than ten years. She currently serves on the USGBC Sustainable Sites Technical Advisory Committee.
Colley has administered the LEED certification of more than 2.5 million square feet for Kirksey’s diverse portfolio. He is a co-facilitator of Kirksey’s post-occupancy evaluations, a survey process Kirksey uses to determine the efficiency and effectiveness of a building once it’s finished and occupied. Colley regularly publishes and delivers presentations on topics such as climate-responsive design, building performance, and material health. His work in achieving Pilot Credit 45: Site Assessment is featured on the USGBC’s website as a guide to assist teams in achieving the LEED v4 Site Assessment credit, and most notably, he recently became one of the first WELL Accredited Professionals in the country.
Jody brings more than 15 years of experience to Kirksey’s PK-12 education design, and has assisted on over 1 million square feet of education design in the greater Houston area. In 2011, she was named a Houston Green Hero by the USGBC and has spoken nationally on the benefits of “green” schools. Her passion for education design and 21st century learning is evident in the projects she manages – she is inspired to design facilities so that every child has a healthy and sustainable learning environment.
The topics Kirksey will present on include:
Better Than Platinum – The Healing Power of Play
- Nicola Springer, PK-12 Education Team Leader
- Jody Henry, PK-12 Education Team Associate
Summary: The Construction of a gymnasium building brings together a diversity of groups with a shared focus, with a mission to provide a building that teaches, inspires, one that is smart, that is healthy and has the potential to transform. This presentation will review the process of designing and building a multipurpose gym for a juvenile probation department. It shows the process and the importance of engaging the stakeholders at the early stages of design, and illustrates how these ideas were incorporated into the design solution. The building is seeking LEED platinum, and it will show the elements and the strategies incorporated to achieve that rating. The presentation will also show how volunteer programs are incorporated into the design as a part of the therapy for the young men, and how maximum security does not have to mean minimum design.
Demystifying Integrated Site Design
- Julie Hendricks, EcoServices Team Leader
- Nicola Springer, PK-12 Education Team Leader
- Colley Hodges, EcoServices Team Member
Summary: Though integrated design is often discussed, it is implemented far more rarely. LEED v4, the green building rating system’s newest version, aims to ensure integrated site design through the collection of comprehensive site information during early design. What difference will that make? In this presentation, Kirksey will answer this question by presenting case studies, identifying helpful tools, and using iterative design charrettes.
Kirksey had a very successful turnout for this year’s Michael G. Meyers student workshop with more than 90 high school students in attendance from all around the greater Houston area. We sat down with Natasha Shamshiri, one of Kirksey’s Commercial team members and this year’s chair for the AIA MGMC event to get all the details.
What is the Michael G. Meyers Student Workshop?
Every year, the AIA organizes the Michael G. Meyers Design & Scholarship Competition for high school students to engage in architectural design through the use of an ideas based project. Before the competition, AIA sponsors a student workshop to kick off the event. The past few years, Kirksey has hosted the student workshop to give students a quick lesson on the basics of architecture and work in teams with volunteers to discuss and further develop those skills through the use of precedent/case studies. At the end of the workshop, each team presents their case study along with their sketches and models. Finally, the program and guidelines for the year’s competition is revealed.
What is this year’s competition?
Animal House! An Animal Shelter for Dogs and Cats in EaDo (East Downtown Houston).
How long do the students get to work on the project?
Students work on their projects for almost two months. This year’s deadline is April 29.
What’s it like working with the students?
Working with the students is always an exciting opportunity. It’s always really fun to see their ideas and creativity come to life.
What surprises you year after year?
While many of the competition entries are surprising, I would say what most surprises me is the impact that this competition seems to have on the students. I have met several professionals in the industry who participated in this competition when they were in high school and have now returned as volunteers for the committee.
Stay tuned for more MGMC updates as this year’s competition is off to the great start!
For more information about the competition, visit the AIA Houston website.
All photography by Shau Lin / Slyworks Photography