AIA Puerto Rico presents his last Newsletter of the year. Inside you will find great information about our chapter and upcoming events.
We also present the winners of the AIA HONOR AWARDS 2013, AIA PUERTO RICO PHOTOGRAPHY CONTEST and AIA PUERTO RICO SCHOLARSHIP. Ous featured article is by past-president Jaime Sobrino, AIA. We invite our membership to participate in all the events we are coordinating for you.
Emmanuel Ramirez, AIA
Gracias al ingeniero Jose M. Izquierdo por compartir con la membresía del AIA Puerto Rico su ponencia presentada en POSIBILIDADES: Convención Anual 2013 AIA Puerto Rico.
Greetings to all,
AIA Puerto Rico presents his third (and biggest) Newsletter of the year. Inside you will find great information about our 2013 Convention on September 26-28, 2013 at Hotel El Convento, Old San Juan. Also, we present you the upcoming events and a very special article by Beatriz del Cueto, FAIA, FAAR titled Mother Nature versus Puerto Rican Building Technologies. Hope you will enjoy it.
What is it? What is it good for and why is it important in the discussion of sustainable architecture issues?
Even with little or no knowledge of Architecture, many of us know what we mean when we refer to the facades of a building. In their simplest expression these are the faces that the building presents to the public eye.
In historic areas like Old San Juan, buildings are normally separated by a party wall leaving no side yards. No front setbacks are required, affecting the urban perception of the street as a whole. The difference between one building and the next is accomplished by the surface treatment and particular design in each of them. Having just one public face, we refer to these buildings as “Painting Buildings” (like in a work of art hanging on a wall). This particular condition is common among residential and commercial structures in many historic city centers in Europe and cities like Old San Juan, Puerto Rico where the Spanish influence is evident in its colonial architecture.
On the other hand we have “Sculpture Buildings” where all their faces are exposed to the public view. These “Sculpture Buildings” are normally destined to Institutional, Government, Public and Religious uses. These are given more prominence in the urban fabric of the city and as such can be seen from different points of view, showing various public faces or facades.
Facades are characterized by their urban prominence and placing in the building. The most important, elaborate and articulate facades are the ones where you normally find the building entrance. Facades respond to multiple criteria. Climatic aspects related to the sun, wind, rains, surrounding vegetation, prevailing breezes, topography and material considerations are the easiest ones to identify within the sustainability discourse.
Building type and context are also taken into account as they relate to the surrounding environment. Design, construction and budget constraints along with desired project image are additional considerations, among others. It will be clear and easy to understand why an office-‐building facade has a design vocabulary substantially different from a hospital or a church.
Recent research and development technologies are being applied to the design of roofs in buildings. Historically speaking this has been the most neglected façade of our buildings. Until very recently, roofs were essentially remnant spaces where air conditioning equipment, emergency generators, TV antennae, and water tanks were located in an almost random fashion.
Roofs have acquired significant additional importance when it comes to sustainability. It is in this neglected façade where important design strategies, that affect their use in a fundamental way, can be developed. This Façade to the Sky is arguably the most important one when considering the many sustainable possibilities that it inherently has. It is here where we can develop green roofs to mitigate solar heat gains, bring wildlife into the city, reduce and control storm water runoff, practice urban agriculture, have nice water ponds for our contemplation or for growing edible fish, wooden decks to enjoy the sun, or the possibility to indulge under the shade of a strategically located gazebo. We can also implement rainwater harvesting and generate electric energy through the use of photovoltaic systems making possible buildings, with water and energy independence. Communications hubs and receptors, solar water heaters, storage areas, fire escape routes and other supplementary structures are some of the many possibilities that we have not yet fully explored, of the Façade to the Sky.
In yesteryears, when you requested directions to a place, you would have been referred to a map, or alternatively given a rough freehand (abstract) one line diagram showing you: streets, traffic lights and other reference points in the environment to act as directional cues to get to that place. If you request directions to a place nowadays, you will most probably get an email with a Google Map image showing in detail the Façade to the Sky of your destination and the surrounding environment making it easier to identify and relate to your environment in a more coherent way.
Roofs are the new important sustainability façades that we need to research and develop in order to design a viable sustainable building. If you take all the roof structures and think of them as a network of different facades, their importance becomes more apparent, with synergistic possibilities for “that second level” of the built environment.
Roofs, our Façades to the Sky, are a rediscovered component to be employed in the sustainable design of our buildings, communities, cities and other human-‐made environments.
The author is a practicing architect and regarded as the Father of the Green Building Movement in Puerto Rico. His office is located in a 200 year-‐old building in the historic district of San Juan. He is the founding past president of the Caribbean Chapter of the US Green Building Council.
Greetings to all,
AIA Puerto Rico presents his second Newsletter of the year. Inside you will find great information about our chapter, upcoming events, featured article by FAIA member Arch. Fernando Abruña and service to the membership among others. We invite our membership to participate in all the events we are coordinating for you.
por: Benjamin Vargas, FAIA
edición por: Anect Rivas
El arquitecto Benjamín Vargas, FAIA, está organizando la producción y presentación de la publicación titulada “La Vereda Tropical/Down Where the Trade winds Blow”. Esta publicación presentará el rico acervo arquitectónico de Puerto Rico producido desde 1954 al 1984, enfocándose en su valor adquirido a través del tiempo y promoverá la discusión de este campo particular de la historia arquitectónica puertorriqueña. Los documentos a usarse surgen del archivo de la competencia “Test of Time Award Program” que es organizada por la AIA nacional cada año y por el Capítulo de Puerto Rico cada tres años. El libro se enfoca en los trabajos presentados durante 1994 al 2009, mientras la competencia era coordinada por el Arq. Vargas.
El público podrá disfrutar de reconocidos proyectos arquitectónicos que han estado en uso de 25 a 50 años, que se mantienen en buenas condiciones sin remodelarse y con el uso original para el que fue diseñado. Además, su concepto estético y ejecución muestra lecciones arquitectónicas que aún hoy son relevantes: diseños que han sobrevivido “la prueba del tiempo”. La publicación, creará interés en un período de nuestra arquitectura que no ha sido investigado todavía. El programa generó un gran cuerpo de información. Como valor añadido se incluye un mapa de recorrido con información de geo-localización (coordenadas) para que los interesados puedan visitar y disfrutar en vivo de estas interesantes obras arquitectónicas. Debido a la gran cantidad de información generada por este programa/ competencia (dibujos, fotos, testimonios de los clientes, testimonios de los diseñadores y las deliberaciones de los distintos jurados) también se estará desarrollando un portal cibernético el cual abundara/ ampliará el valor y alcance valorativo del libro.
Esta publicación sabemos será una pieza de referencia importante para los profesionales relacionados al campo de la construcción ya que brinda una mirada única del diseño arquitectónico, de los arquitectos y de sus prácticas que nutre la documentación histórica general de la arquitectura en Puerto Rico y el Caribe de la segunda mitad del siglo XX.
El AIA Puerto Rico les presenta nuestro primer "newsletter" del año 2013. En el encontraras valiosa información sobre la visión de Junta, eventos, articulos originales y servicios a la membresia entre otros.