Strategic design and financial development for individual projects, large developments anywhere in the world.

Shale = Shame

Posted: January 15th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: energy policy | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

As New York City’s premier green architectural firm, we are very concerned about energy use in the country. In order to save our children and planet, we must undergo a 90% improvement in energy use. That way, we would save 5.4 trillion a year with CURRENT energy prices in US spending. However, because of shale discovery, we have once again turned away of   effective programs to change or habits in resource usage . If we follow on the path we’re currently on, improvement is completely out of the question and destruction glaringly apparent.

green architecture

Around 2006, we saw a nice increase in oil prices, continuing to 2008 and then it finally hit us: we thought of conservation, energy savings the smarter way. Now, it seems that we are above it all! However, despite this aspect, our consumption is normal, and no one seems to think of why we use 90% or more energy than the current state of the art thinking and technology would require. Shale fog, optimism, andeuphoria. What do our children use after shale is gone? We are burning through it like never before – in cars, houses and factories.

This last resource of easy energy should have been a reserve for our kids, not a fun filled ‘keep doing the old thing – and be a gas guzzler’ thing. EACH of us in US uses 312 million British thermal units (Btu) in a year (1,000,000 BTU is 293 kW-hrs. At 20¢ per, that is $59×319 million per person =18.000 dollars a year). $18000 x 319 million persons = 6000 billion = 6 trillion a year – so 90% improvement would be 5.4 trillion savings!

Nevertheless, the federal government spends less than $5 billion a year on energy research and development, not counting one-time stimulus projects. About $30 billion is spent annually on health research and more than $80 billion on military R & D – wars that kill and destroy even more than we can imagine – the entire planet.

Like in medicine, prevention has no money in it, so we do not promote effective prevention, but spend $8.200 a year per person. All the current ENERGY SAVING programs that we are doing – like NYSEDRA is on average 20% improvement, but with same amount  of thinking, we can do a 90% improvement.

All the wars in the past have been about resources, to have more or to just have enough. The next one will be no different, with the planet doubling the population in mid century. By adding 7% to each project, we would indeed save 90% on energy and related resources, and that would really help the people, air, global warming, and resouces – and create a safer politically motivated world.

There are only 314 million of us, but right now, 2 billion harder working competitors out there in the world. They are likely the ones to call the shots soon enough. Information is a click away for them too. No more boundaries for us or other developed nations to stay in our cozy ivory tower.

If architecture – or architects – were educated, supported by proper incentives and used properly, 3/4 of the energy usage would be eliminated. We might even be called professional, and paid a living professional wage.

If you have any questions about this, or any of our wonderful, energy-efficient projects, contact NY Super Studio Architects today.

Regards,
Tapani Talo, AIA


Reimagining America’s Buildings Starts at the University Level

Posted: December 23rd, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: green building | Tags: , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

As one of the premier zero energy architectural firms in the country, we know a thing or two about good long-term buildings at NY Super Studio Architects. Unfortunately, most of the country doesn’t follow this mindset and it all starts with the Universities in this country.

MIT, Harvard, Yale, Princeton and other universities – as a reflection of our society – cradles the USA’s complacency integrating healthy attitude to competitiveness.

If one would paint a picture of USA by walking through our universities, it would be very hard to believe that we are in 21st century; the setting is far too antiquated in look and feel.

Yet all the buildings are used by the Universities 24/7 for what seems like the foreseeable eternity. There are no buildings that are 100% passive (or even 90%) and capable of being used without external power source, WHICH is very easy to do with our current knowledge. Why aren’t we then?

Thus, we train our best to think that this Colonial 1932 or older aesthetic is the norm, and the fashionable ‘cool’ thing to do. A perfect example of those 1930 colonial look (and feel) buildings that operate alike is Scarsdale in Westchester, NY.

Scarsdale is amongst the wealthiest towns in USA, just as our Ivy League Universities are. Building review boards often want that 1932 Colonial look, because it is the ‘safe’ look for property values and neighborhood character. The idea that architects could do something contemporary and good is NOT EVEN CONTEMPLATED. In Scarsdale, it is impossible to do smart buildings either; it’s all about the look and square foot amount. Even solar panels are considered eyesores. Skylights in the deep (in plain dimension) Mac Mansions would make the interiors little lighter and happier without constant lights. Unfortunately, they are forbidden too. Construction follows the cheapest norm, and as an average new home sells around 3 million, a smart PASSIVE construction would barely register in cost, nor would it change the look in any of them. So, what is the problem here?

In my recent visit to all of these Ivy League campuses, I felt embarrassment just looking at the buildings as well as the architecture schools products. All surface and style in student presentations, and in none did I see buildings that were attempting to be GOOD long term buildings filled with sensible views and light using latest R-13 and R-20 glass. Building construction was always esoteric, and my colleges and I could never hire a student from an American University without totally retraining them. To be expected, that is an expensive proposition in today’s climate where fees are cut to the bone in buildings that are normally extremely tightly budgeted.

If Universities cannot or are unwilling to invest in GOOD buildings, how do we expect the rest of the country to do so? I mean, with all the complexities of developers needing instant return on capital, getting no aid to do passive and green for the good of our country and simply not giving a damn about the fact that the tenant will be paying for the lousy short-sighted old fashioned office/apartment building ((which translates to the entire US economy), the country will never invest in GOOD buildings. They simply cannot AFFORD to be sensible. Our society still does not believe in the fact that we are running out of cheap energy and that completion around the world is turning us into dust.

Hurricane Sandy showed us in NYC that when the power is out, we are too. Nobody climbs 70 floors to an unheated office, nor do people live in the 70th floor that has no heat, water or other services. This is a gigantic problem that we have to deal with now. The sooner, the better. However, even without such an environmental conflict, when energy costs double from present (and they will), it will create a political situation that WILL lead to a BIG and GLOBAL war. Then a Sandy-like scenario will happen over all over the developed world. We’re not ready for this. None of us is. We could have been if we had listened Jimmy Carter.

If you have any questions regarding NYC architecture or construction, or curious about zero energy architecture, contact NY Super Studio Architects today! Project by project, we will help build up this nation in a POSITIVE and GREEN way.

Regards,
Tapani Talo, AIA


DOE, Energy Waste, Taxes and Average American Pocket Book – Now and In Long Term

Posted: December 5th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: architecture, green building, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

50 years ago John F. Kennedy said: Don’t think what government can do to you, but what you can do for your country – to save our children’s future. This kind of thinking fuels green architecture and planning, especially in and around New York City. NY Super Studio Architects lives by such a philosophy. If only other institutions did the same, such as the DOE (Department of Energy).

If DOE would change its front page for residential (On the commercial built environment side, the same applies ) recommendation to match 2013 knowledge and capabilities, our nation would be on the way to save Trillion dollars a year avoiding wasted energy alone. Plus avoid a catastrophic set of climate and geopolitical events that are gathering pace within a decade.

But that’s not all.

  1. Each of us would earn more than our general life time earnings by cutting mortgage payments as we know it! Most of the cost of our purchase price goes to interest. If energy savings income is funneled to paying principal, ones saves the amount of mortgage in 20 years. No that is REAL income towards retirement. Not only income but being able to live in an incredibly comfortable house or office building that can operate without the grid power when done right.
  2. Our military presence in many parts of the world is based on our energy on our energy insecurity. It is lot cheaper to make our own country operate smartly and better, as then we are not creating more enemies by playing shifting political games around the world.
  3. Maybe Universities would produce students that understood that focusing on Wall Street careers only will ‘burn this earth’ and if actually living smartly and making money at the same time would save them…and their children.

On the residential AND commercial sector we ask builders and developers to build cheaply, but WE (the people) are the ones who pay each day, month and year enormous wasted utility costs, TAXED BY the building owners for supplying it, much like banks charge us for CREDIT cards. By and large we STILL build largely the way it would have been state of the art BEFORE the oil embargo 1973. This isn’t very green, isn’t it? Nor is it very smart!

We complain about taxes and big government, but if most of us understood how much each of us would save if our bright government agencies hired the best brains AND allow them to do what is done in other countries. For instance, NOAA’s chief scientist and head of the Earth Space Research Lab, Dr. Sandy MacDonald – has made it possible through a five-year project to save our country from an energy crisis by making our power network 93% efficient with mere 150 billion. This allows us to connect not only existing power providers, but also wind and solar power ACROSS the country anywhere. This – if implemented – could almost reverse our planetary carbon increase in the atmosphere (particularly if China did the same). This would give us time to implement 90% reduction in energy losses in buildings (and hopefully in transportation too).

Somehow we trust corporate leaders, with a grain of salt, banking leaders bit less as we have paid ENORMOUS taxes to bail them out. WE have more universities than any other country, but we don’t seem to be able to teach common sense and how to make smart collective decisions. In numerous historical phases in the past, one thing stands out: we either pull the same rope (think what is good and smart bottom line in LONG term for the country) or perish. Particularly in the USA, each state, city and school district seem to have a different agenda and pulling a DIFFERENT ROPE.

50 years ago John F. Kennedy said: Don’t think what government can do to you, but what you can do for your country. As a people, we must embrace that ideology once again. If green architects can do it, why can’t the nation as a whole?

For more information on this topic, the below books are a good place to start.

If you have any questions regarding NYC architecture or construction, or curious about zero energy architecture, contact NY Super Studio Architects today!

Regards,
Tapani Talo, AIA


Toll Brothers and Trump vs. Greener USA as a Nation

Posted: November 9th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: architecture, energy policy, green building, New York | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Toll Brothers housing and Trump Towers are synonymous in US of ‘quality, power and prestige’.

But neither have energy savings to talk about. Because it does not translate to IMMEDIATE income for them. The energy losses and costs are passed on to the purchaser, so why bother to go and help them or USA as a nation?? 90% improvement with 7% extra cost hurts Mr. Trump and Mr. Toll. And we cannot blame them. We can only blame our own shortsightedness for this and pay trillion dollars a year in WASTED energy, and 1/3rd larger than our US military budget or our annual Healthcare and transportation expenditure.

Until we have financial tools and incentives that Toll Brothers and Trump will use, we do NOT have the right approach.

And we architects are measured how cheaply we can make the building and still make it seem prestigious and thus sell. If we try and talk to them while designing, they find another architect who does his work without comments.

Romney (and the GOP in general) spoke constantly about drill drill drill bay, instead of let’s use our brains and knowledge.
We have known for TWO generations how to make buildings zero energy, now it is even easier with new technologies that are lighter and smarter.

It’s time that the common man and woman has right to be proud being professional, give them proper financial SIMPLE tools and use our ingenuity to produce the best and least energy hungry products. And I wish the best to our newly voted president to handle the congress in this respect.

Obama had a great speech in his first inauguration 4 years ago, except for one paragraph. He said that our way of life is our right. I challenge that our way of life before WW2 was right because we knew the value of prudence with less waste and making sure future generation can enjoy fruits of our sincerest work that leaves the planet hopefully in a healthier place rather than the current – let’s spend the resources first and worry about the results later.

Regards,
Tapani Talo, AIA


US Energy savings bill – architect’s re wording of first paragraph

Posted: August 17th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: architecture, energy policy, green building, New York | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Energy Savings bill
First paragraph:
The secretary shall support the development of national model building energy codes, including the updating of ASRAE and IECC model building energy codes and standards.

An example:

A couple came to me for help.

They had their house designed and foundations poured, but realized that it had very little insulation. Their contractor and architect had said to them, that’s ok. They said that it meets the code, but it was far from it. In their area there are no inspectors, and thus they do what they feel is expedient.

The wife wanted to fix the insulation and make it low energy and comfortable for future! Her husband doubled the incoming power and wanted to add electrical floor heat – the most expensive and wasteful method imaginable.

I have found that men are inclined to love BIG motors of all kinds. HVAC, Cars, Boats, Planes, nuclear plants… and rarely (not a statistical number) think the other way around, how to get from A to B efficiently.

Surely it is more fun to commute in a Lamborghini than an electrical car. But there is HUGE series of material, gas and labor involved in producing and maintaining a Lamborghini or most other cars, equipment, fine roads, houses, services.

In the next decade we will have 1 billion more people and if each of them use just one 60 watt light bulb for 4 hours, the world needs 50 some power stations to do the task. Just count how to multiply our standard of living and one starts to sense HOW much energy and material we are consuming (twice the Europeans alone and WHY?), and why there will be a catastrophic pressure in the world to provide for them and us. Just 2 years ago there were riots in populous parts of the world when food prices went up, and like in the past world history when this happened, nations and rulers collapsed.

The very point of this is that US energy Bill 1000 now in congress does not start with right premise. – First paragraph: The secretary shall support the development of national model building energy codes, including the updating of ASRAE and IECC model building energy codes and standards.

It should start with: NO NORMAL BUILDING (designed hopefully by professional architect) should be allowed to compensate poor old fashioned design with EQUIPMENT that requires use of energy from national grid unless deemed impossible without and if the national grid goes down, any of these buildings should be able to function in minimum way, with power source no further than nearest school or hospital – which powered by solar and wind energy, or other renewable sources, could avoid taxing our energy supply.

Good buildings and other man made items these days have no reason to be healthy, well lit, comfortable and extremely economical to run. The fact that we nuclear power stations is embarrassing. Just one of them melting in an earthquake like in Japan would wipe out huge section of United States. There is no price tag big enough to cover this sort of event, and we have 56 or so of them.

What this would do to our country would be energy security that would withstand catastrophic environmental events, or worldwide, large conflicts of any kind.

We HAVE this ability, and had it for the past 30 years, but our national economy direction is to build bigger and more, rather than smarter.

Nearly 100 years ago Holland and Germany made sure that canals were not silted over and made sure rail roads were serving every nook of their territories. Each pound of material transported with these means save the nation 90% over one done on road transport. So in a century this saving is HUGE.

The same in medical field, early detection in general and taking care of children at early age (same as well-designed building at early stage) save huge amounts in medical expenses, Canada and Europe has proven it with longer life expectancy than we have, for ½ the price.

Architecture, like all other professions can be useful, but at the moment, the way we educate architects, engineers and other consultants for building industry, is in its infancy at best in terms of helping our nation in the long term.
We architects have to please the way developers and builders operate, build as cheaply as possible now (others – our children will fix our problems later) -.

And yet we spend a fortune in university education…. What is it that we teach?

Regards,
Tapani Talo, AIA


Ideal Green building pre-requisite

Posted: August 17th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: architecture, energy policy, green building, New York | No Comments »

Ideal Green Building is possible ONLY if CODE insists on ONE EXTRA FOOT for wall thickness past zoning envelope:, and excluded from rentable or buildable foot print’ as long as wall thickness reduces usable area for tenants, no sensible building can be built in USA.

Ideal Green Building, whether it’s high, middle, low rise or a house, would not look much different from current buildings if local zoning tax credits allowed them to be ‘smart’ without penalty to the owner. The construction industry is still a generation behind being truly able to apply current technical products and thus design innovations. Innovation is thought to add to costs due to changed thinking and procedures, and thus creating some initial procedures inconvenient to all parties. It takes a special client like Durst in NY City to be in meetings himself and make sure everybody plays their part correctly. But the end product can be up to 90% more efficient, 90% healthier and thus not only saving energy and related costs forever, but keep occupants healthier – which in studies save companies many times over the cost of building healthier. Daylight is truly number one, comfort in (fresh) air and heat and cool second.

I, for instance, could redesign the Philip Johnson’s ‘Glass House’ in New Canaan to be a zero carbon one with new details and new glass products that are on the market close to same look if I had a client for it. And it would be as comfortable temperature wise as any other building. But it is very difficult to renovate masonry buildings, or classic highly detailed Shingle style buildings of any kind to be state of the art without adding a new skin hiding the masonry or other ornate materials that conducts cold and heat like electricity.

So where is the difference and what should – could be done?

The current weakest link is the windows with R-3 to R-5 at best in every building type. In the South, shading is best initially combined with insulation that has a reflecting surface, along with glass that is R=13 or better (coming on the market shortly) combined with heavy insulation + masonry exterior. R-13 glass has been around for 15 years, but it is still considered an oddity.

In the Northern U.S windows for residential lowrise should be a combination of low-E GLASS shutters over low-E regular windows (R= 13 with film also in between glass panes) or better (like mine that is R-12+ which is 4 times better than best normal residential windows today). Northern climates benefit from R=40 and R= 60 to R-80 roof insulation most.

In office buildings double curtain walls are a must, but we do not have domestic manufacturers and thus a price point to make this possible without appropriate tax incentives. This would be a huge market for US industry if we allowed it to happen.

For existing buildings in general, zoning almost never allows for a thicker NEW outer wall, as the house or (commercial) building is already built to its maximum outline. And so we need ENERGY allowances for zoning for this to happen in houses, as well as in High Rise buildings. This outer wall would also stop the rusting of existing steel, and thus prolong the life of the building tremendously. Imagine the savings of being able to reuse structure these days with steel prices going through the roof.

Each building should have a ONE FOOT + curtain wall that is not calculated as part of the rentable or zoning area. Without this, the USA cannot advance. Southern USA should be able to shade the windows without zoning penalties — for instance, with a wrap-around porch or something similar to cut down the solar heat that creates most cooling needs.

This one foot extra thickness in commercial buildings of any kind would allow them to have internal shading between glass and curtain wall inner and outer planes planes and thus create proper insulation at the edge of the slab – which is the WEAKEST link in any current commercial or, especially, residential high rise project. By eliminating the thermal bridge, a building becomes almost indestructible! The integrity of any curtain wall in current buildings will fail within 3 decades. Sad indeed. The glass seals are currently designed to last 15 to 20 years, which with proper double wall construction can be doubled.

In houses, we can make them thermally active as well as properly insulated, as mentioned above. Between solar and geo, an emergency wood burning fireplace, and with a heat wheel ventilator one can survive a total electrical blackout for weeks or months, whether they are in the Southern or Northern U.S.

Apart from the fact that Geo heating and cooling are very quiet, they are also comfortable enough to grow orchids and collect art and antiques year round without the additional cost of mechanical heating, humidifying and cooling. One is also able to walk around the house with Adam’s dress even in zero degree weather!

This kind of comfort can be described best in car terms: it is like driving the best car on the market, whether it’s a Bentley, MB, or Ferrari for speed – but for very little cost!

Green building should be safe too. In the South, in tornado areas, by using insulated concrete blocks, green buildings become shelters, with an additional secondary shell preferably at ground level and surrounding the kitchen, bath and bedroom(s).

In the Northern U.S, the same rooms should be double insulated with fire-proof separation for safety, as well as sound. This way, in extreme loss of power, one barely needs a candle or two to keep living comfortably at key areas, and a single fireplace or equal keeps the house comfortable.

Sadly the weakest link in America is not in our building industry, but in our Senate and House

of Representatives. By not supporting tax and zoning as incentives that make truly innovations and practical building possible, we will keep trotting like Neanderthals.

THE WAY and infrastructure energy suppliers in their quest to give us more energy instead

of making us use 90% less, we cannot use our ingenuity, industry and energy to change our

Country for the better. And if we don’t, we will have to fight for our share of oil in the manner that

Mankind has done for too long in our history, manual fighting and losing our boys in vain.

Regards,

Tapani Talo, AIA


Energy Savings Bill

Posted: August 17th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: architecture, energy policy, green building, Senate energy bill | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

Energy Savings bill
First paragraph:
The secretary shall support the development of national model building energy codes, including the updating of ASRAE and IECC model building energy codes and standards.

An example:

A couple came to me for help.

They had their house designed and foundations poured, but realized that it had very little insulation. Their contractor and architect had said to them, that’s ok. They said that it meets the code, but it was far from it. In their area there are no inspectors, and thus they do what they feel is expedient.

The wife wanted to fix the insulation and make it low energy and comfortable for future! Her husband doubled the incoming power and wanted to add electrical floor heat – the most expensive and wasteful method imaginable.

I have found that men are inclined to love BIG motors of all kinds. HVAC, Cars, Boats, Planes, nuclear plants… and rarely (not a statistical number) think the other way around, how to get from A to B efficiently.

Surely it is more fun to commute in a Lamborghini than an electrical car. But there is HUGE series of material, gas and labor involved in producing and maintaining a Lamborghini or most other cars, equipment, fine roads, houses, services.

In the next decade we will have 1 billion more people and if each of them use just one 60 watt light bulb for 4 hours, the world needs 50 some power stations to do the task. Just count how to multiply our standard of living and one starts to sense HOW much energy and material we are consuming (twice the Europeans alone and WHY?), and why there will be a catastrophic pressure in the world to provide for them and us. Just 2 years ago there were riots in populous parts of the world when food prices went up, and like in the past world history when this happened, nations and rulers collapsed.

The very point of this is that US energy Bill 1000 now in congress does not start with right premise. – First paragraph: The secretary shall support the development of national model building energy codes, including the updating of ASRAE and IECC model building energy codes and standards.

It should start with: NO NORMAL BUILDING (designed hopefully by professional architect) should be allowed to compensate poor old fashioned design with EQUIPMENT that requires use of energy from national grid unless deemed impossible without and if the national grid goes down, any of these buildings should be able to function in minimum way, with power source no further than nearest school or hospital – which powered by solar and wind energy, or other renewable sources, could avoid taxing our energy supply.

Good buildings and other man made items these days have no reason to be healthy, well lit, comfortable and extremely economical to run. The fact that we nuclear power stations is embarrassing. Just one of them melting in an earthquake like in Japan would wipe out huge section of United States. There is no price tag big enough to cover this sort of event, and we have 56 or so of them.

What this would do to our country would be energy security that would withstand catastrophic environmental events, or worldwide, large conflicts of any kind.

We HAVE this ability, and had it for the past 30 years, but our national economy direction is to build bigger and more, rather than smarter.

Nearly 100 years ago Holland and Germany made sure that canals were not silted over and made sure rail roads were serving every nook of their territories. Each pound of material transported with these means save the nation 90% over one done on road transport. So in a century this saving is HUGE.

The same in medical field, early detection in general and taking care of children at early age (same as well-designed building at early stage) save huge amounts in medical expenses, Canada and Europe has proven it with longer life expectancy than we have, for ½ the price.

Architecture, like all other professions can be useful, but at the moment, the way we educate architects, engineers and other consultants for building industry, is in its infancy at best in terms of helping our nation in the long term.
We architects have to please the way developers and builders operate, build as cheaply as possible now (others – our children will fix our problems later) -.

And yet we spend a fortune in university education…. What is it that we teach?

Countries should be like corporations, focus on changing to better habits, but how can we do it when media pumps the opposite and instant gratification???

Regards,
Tapani Talo, AIA


US Congress and Senate has the key for Green prosperity – worth 1/2 billion + each year on fuel savings

Posted: July 19th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: architecture, energy policy, green building, Senate energy bill | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

I’d like to reiterate something I mentioned to Congressman John Tierney the other night at North East Geo Professional association meeting in Boston: We do not support long term savings in building or infrastructure projects, and instead rely on instant gratification.

1. Buildings are built and developed to make income instantly at the LOWEST possible cost. However, it takes only 7% more upfront spending to produce 90% more efficient energy use in a building, and thus would save half a billion annually from borrowing each year if applied across the board.

2. Greater energy efficiency would provide a huge number of new jobs -both in construction and engineering and product services, especially if the current stock were to be retrofitted. Retrofitting can and should strive for 75 to 90% efficiency, instead of the standard 15 to 20%, as it takes almost the same amount of effort for both of them.

3. As an example, every time each roof is replaced, by adding three to ten dollars worth of insulation, depending on building type, the roof insulation values can be increased from average R=10 to R=60. This alone would reduce heating and cooling loads enormously – by a factor of 10 or so, across the entire US, as most buildings are low-rise in our country.

4. Our walls and windows are still in infancy compared to our present common sense technical knowledge. Windows – Glass and shading is again the cheapest solution. If our rental or zoning calculations were not measured to the exterior face of the building, we could actually BEGIN to see potential state of the art exterior walls. The new current Green solutions in New York City are already a reality. This allows 6″ thicker wall without penalty to the owner. This in turn gives owners the ability to build an extra new surface or new GOOD state of the art wall. This extends the building life by 50 to 100 years, as exterior wall then protect the framing and slab edge, the two most vulnerable parts of building leading to eventual demolishing. Roofs are the other elements where separate layer gives protection and ENERGY efficiency.

5. If combining new wall / window glass, proper wall protecting the building frame (and giving new found beauty to the property) – + coupling the building with solar panels, geothermal, and hopefully local windmills in the neighborhood – like at each school, or university or hospital complex, (and using LED lights inside), the entire power grid load would nearly disappear, and thus nuclear plants could be dismantled.

6. My own house, as well as my latest clients’ houses are 80% or more efficient than they were 20 years ago. The next final step for my own house is solar panels, geothermal heating and cooling, a low profile horizontal wind generator for power, and then I am free from utility grid.

7. Since the 70’s my primary curtain wall supplier, Germany-based Gartner, has shown that buildings can be made 80% more efficient through proper exterior wall, day-lighting, and now with LED lighting and solar and wind power. What are needed are the proper tax incentives, and new building codes that support efficiency and not the Utilities and equipment suppliers. We need new training of engineers, architects, contractors in EVERY BUILDING department in US. There is an appalling lack of knowledge in each of these categories. Young professionals are forced to follow old fashioned approaches in each project, and by the time they are in charge, we have lost their (possible) fresh new knowledge from universities (as most education is still not facing reality and demanding that each building should be considered ZERO carbon, zero utility at the start each project). If every building had a mandate to do this, with tax penalty increasing when building moves away from the goal, then US ingenuity would start to raise its head, and we would see the miracle or our spirit. Buildings currently use 70% or more of our energy, currently only helping to make our planet bit warmer by the day, but as usual we don’t worry about it, as we think our children will fix this (just as we did)

Regards,

Tapani Talo, AIA
Principal


Summary of Architecture Career at 61: An Introduction to My Career in the Online Visual History of Architecture

Posted: January 17th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: architecture | No Comments »

Our career is one that most definitely has no set pattern to one’s success.

Zaha Hadid came to visit us when I was working in Philip Johnson’s office. Philip said to her, “Build something, even a dog shed in your back yard.” She had won the Peak competition, but had no built work, and this recommendation started her career as a true architect.

Edward Barnes, my first employer in New York City, told us a story during his 60th Birthday lunch. He said that he almost gave up around the age of 50, until a small addition to the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis could not be done due to poor foundations in the old building. Because of this, Barnes was commissioned to build an entirely new museum. This was his first major success, and caused him to be catapulted to the I.M.Pei / Philip Johnson league.

 

NYC Architecture

NYC Architecture

 

Philip Johnson, my 3rd employer, got a start from a quiet residential architect when Mies needed an office in New York City for Seagram, to a high rise master with full spectrum class A clients. His part in MOMA architecture department and donations also kept him well exposed to media giving him all important intellectual insight to what ever was going on every minute.

Steven Holl, with whom I had the pleasure to help creating Kiasma in Finland, had a long story to tell. Like most of us, he had almost given up when a student’s parents chose him to do REAL architecture… and live like a monk in order to afford living and designing, as he was one without parental trust fund to survive, unlike Johnson and some others.
It was Philip Johnson who picked up the design of Piano + Rogers for the Pompidu Center in Paris. Rogers was biking bare-footed to teach when he found out about their success.  Eero Saarinen picked up the floor design of the Sidney Opera House. This proposal had been rejected by others.

Architects have gotten their major commissions from attending a game at a baseball park (Peter Eisenman), or being in an elevator at the right time with Donald Trump (Costas Kondylis). A visiting Japanese gentleman said to James Polshek, “Why not come to Japan and build some nice buildings?”  The rest is history.

So how did I get started?

At age 5 I loved Japanese images of structures and temple gates.

At the age of 11 I fell in love with the images of F. L. Wrights Taliesin East, which I found in a Life Magazine article.

At 14 my art teacher wanted us to draw a perspective study. I said I wanted to design a house. Her architect husband had a collection of JA (Japan Architect) and Detail Magazines from Germany. After couple of months I did my design, and her husband said to me, “That will be your career.”

 

Architecture in NYC

My House at 14

 

Throughout my teens, I lived at Alvar Aalto’s designed university Campus at the Technical University. I loved the way each building sat beautifully, forming comfortable and ever-changing vistas.

I worked all hours that could while I was a teen. My jobs ranged from being a press photographer and congress technician/sound engineer, managing student cubs and being a DJ. As a consequence, my grades were not good enough, as my department was the MOST difficult of all University departments.

My second love, apart from painting and photography, was music and sound engineering. I thought it would support me better than painting in a small country like Finland. But I had managed to get international recognition in photography by doing an album cover for John Mayall. Through this, I met people in music who wanted me to continue to learn sound engineering in London’s Apple Road studios. This included a conversation with Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant telling me how they made their music sound so different. From there I was recommended to study at George Martin’s AIR Studio at Oxford Circus, London. Eight weeks later an opening for Rolling Stones Mobile came up while I was visiting their office to see if I could join them in recording the Black Sabbath European tour – and I got the job (after one week trial).

 

Green Architecture NYC

Jimmy Robert

The 24/7 music world and associated travel allowed me to compare environments. I was attending live recordings for acts like Traffic, Deep Purple, Bad Company and others. On the way back from one such trip in London City, I looked over Hammersmith overpass and said to myself, “there has to be a better way,” just as I had said about photography and music before.

And thus my search for how to study architecture was reignited. A year later I found myself at NELP Department of Architecture, though still continuing to do special recordings with the Stones in Germany and others in Stones Mobile Studio. The combination of being able to travel and study projects around Europe while also designing school projects was a blast. I particularly enjoyed my 3rd year thesis about art museums. It allowed me to see dozens of museums is short succession while doing research and thinking of design. My findings from the thesis still apply after some 35 years.

 

Finnish Embassy for Australia

Finnish Embassy for Australia

 

I applied for an internship at Aalto’s office, but a few days later he passed away. So my plans shifted. I went to Central Europe, but they didn’t seem to like British education. My professors suggested that I go to United States…

And this is where the practical and philosophical comparisons between Europe and US start in this book, including earnest and ‘not just fun’ pictures from the rock and roll period, and architecture travel images from European architecture.

Also:

Tips for 1. ‘Pre’ architecture phase, 2. For each year in architecture program, 3. And perhaps the most important one: how to choose the all important first job, as this sets the stage, THE foundation for entire career.

And as we don’t have any more professional fee structure as it was until middle of 1970’s based on the difficulty of the project, how can one protect and still grow to become solid professional him/herself from endless hiring firing due to fluctuations in project flow in the office.

 


Best Protection From Storms, Winter, and Natural Disasters: Extra Insulation and Fixed Windows

Posted: November 17th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: architecture, green building, New York | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

 

The other day I was driving from New York to Boston while listening to news about the freak storm that hit the North East 10 or so days ago.  The complaints were about how long it took to get power back after the storm.  And yet, North America is the location of the cheapest power in the world.  As a NYC commercial architect, this surprised me.

This reminds me of the relationship between citizens and their government; we want everything our way, but never want to pay for the staff and services that make the system more robust.

One simple solution for the best protection from storms is having twice the code insulationCode insulation is a generation behind what is useful now and in the future.  Therefore, insulation that is merely up-to-code is less than ideal.

Solar panels, wind generators – local or school district-based ones – geothermal heat and cooling, heat and AC recovery ventilators for fresh air are all important.  This is especially true for Westchester NY.

With the proper insulation, a NYC home could come across any storm or natural disaster without any loss of comfort at home.  An NYC office is the same way. Transportation is another issue, but at least it’s an issue that does not cause us to freeze in the winter and boil in the summer.

Lighting in NYC homes can now be LED lighting, therefore directly fed from batterys or PV solar panels.

Geothermal Architect NYC

Try putting extra insulation in place along with a few primarily fixed windows (there is only a need for so many operable windows). Fixed windows are much more efficient and do not leak air.  The placement of these windows in your NYC home can lead to a great decrease in the loss of heat or AC.

Geothermal heating and cooling–which uses the free energy from the earth’s crust–coupled with solar electricity, has been around for decades (most people gasp at this due to amazement) .  The technology can be compared to that of a hybrid car.  Yet, it is the least utilized technology, as normal NYC architects, contractors, heating and cooling engineers, and suppliers do not want to change.

The end result is that a small wood burning fire place in the winter will suffice for heat and some cooking when all else fails. In the South, solar panels take care of electricity and hot water 90% of the days, providing cooling and hot showers – both of which are the most expensive items on the utility bill.

Welcome to the 21st century in style!

Tapani Talo, AIA

Principal

11 Heatherbloom Road, White Plains,

New York 10605, USA. Tel: 1- 914 – 645 2940,

Fax; 1-914-313-1641

 Email: NYsuperstudio@gmail.com

www.NYSUPERSTUDIOARCHITECTS.com