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Looking down, not up?

Looking down, not up? Today, we are celebrating an award to our structural engineer, Ehlert & Bryan, specifically to principal, Jason Sparrow.  Jason’s approach to this project has been singled out by the Structural Engineering Association of Metropolitan Washington for their creative solution to some dicey conditions.  See their award at  https://seamw.org/projects-2019 .  An early decision by both owners,  Riverside Church and developer PN Hoffmann, placed the new church at the prominent corner of Maine Avenue SW and 7th Street SW directly across from PN Hoffmann’s signature Wharf.  Normally designing sacred spaces we are focused upward seeking inspiration from the heavens.  For this unique project we had to start looking below – below the ground.   The WMATA Green Line passes directly under the corner of the lot.  The location presented design issues but the elevation of the tunnel was even more challenging.  With the top of the tunnel a mere 30 feet...

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Kresge REimagined

For the past two years, GBR Architects has been working with Dr. Jo Allen, president, and facilities staff at Meredith College to realize improvements to their 1974 Kresge Auditorium.  The Meredith example is one of numerous such campus facilities sprinkled over the US higher ed landscape by the Kresge Foundation, under the leadership of Sebastian S. Kresge, an American retail icon, who supported the arts on a large scale.  Perhaps the most famous of these is the MIT version, designed by Eero Saarinen which opened in 1955. Meredith’s version is part of the Cate Student Center, designed by local Raleigh architect Valand Benzing Associates.   Under Dr. Allen’s leadership the project goals sought to completely transform the original space by creating a warm and friendly atmosphere unlike the previous version, improve accessibility and sightlines, update A/V and student connectivity while enlarging the performance area to support a variety of uses.  By all...

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Postcard from Living Product Expo 2018

Last fall I attended the Living Product Expo in Pittsburg, PA, put on by the International Living Future Institute (ILFI).  I was curious about what type of products would be exhibited and how they would vary from the ‘sustainable’ products that I have been specifying for years.  I also wanted to find out what manufacturers are stepping up to the plate to be leaders in the development of healthier building products.  The International Living Future Institute has a rating system called the Living Building Challenge (LBC) (similar to how USGBC has the LEED rating system).  My quick definition of the Living Building Challenge is ‘LEED on steroids’.  It not only incorporates LEED standards but goes beyond their requirements and requires testing of the building performance during a twelve-month period after occupation.  I’ll back up a little for those who aren’t familiar with the Living Building Challenge.    The Living Building Challenge...

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Designing for Extremes: Building a Resilient City

As weather patterns continue to fluctuate at a dramatic rate, those involved in the design of the built environment are looking for ways to adapt structures to the inevitable consequences of climate change.   I attended the seminar Designing for Extremes: Building a Resilient City at the District Architecture Center on February 7th where speakers with backgrounds in meteorology, development, architecture and planning addressed issues of a warming climate and it's impact on our infrastructure. The days of avoiding climate change are over, as it's already here. While D.C. has not experienced a natural disaster on the scale of Hurricane Katrina or Sandy, the District is still recovering from the Federal Triangle Flash Flood of 2006 while also having the wettest year to date in 2018. Not to mention the increase of days above 95 degrees Fahrenheit year after year with decreases in average snowfall.   Efforts to mitigate the damage from rising temperatures...

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Riverside Baptist Church featured on WUSA9

Last Friday, WUSA9 ran a segment on the recently completed Riverside Baptist Church at The Wharf in Southwest DC. The segment captures a great deal of information in a short video.  Not only does it illustrate the character of the space and the attention to detail, it also talks to the history of the church and the development opportunity that led Riverside to a new building on its own site.   The video can be viewed here:  Riverside Baptist Church is renewed.   For several years before GBR was formally engaged in 2013, Riverside had been exploring options on how to best utilize their real estate assets to overcome mounting maintenance issues.  At that time, the church was poised to move forward with PN Hoffman with a Letter of Intent to redevelop their site and replace the building that had been their home since 1967.  While not an uncommon solution for an urban church...

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GBR Sketchers Club

It all started on a sunny day in October.  A weekly exercise led by Gabe Romero, the GBR Sketchers have been out sharpening their skills in seeing and communicating architecture through freehand sketching. While we all love to use the latest 3d software and gee-whiz techniques to illustrate and animate our design presentations, there is no replacement for putting an HB pencil to paper. (Ok, for some it’s putting an Apple Pencil to iPad, but the judges have ruled and determined that does not qualify as cheating).   Old Town Alexandria is full of great buildings and there are many opportunities within a short walk of the office for an afternoon sketch break – especially on pleasant Fall day. As of today though, we officially have a dedicated group. After the first snow and slush storm of the winter season, the sketchers went out and worked on their craft.  Well done!   The weekly...

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St. Aloysius Roof: The Wind and the Metal

Earlier this month, we were pleasantly surprised to see the roof replacement at St. Aloysius Church featured in Metal Architecture magazine (link to article). Naturally, the article focuses on the metalwork but there was much more to the project than the “double-locked, brush-rolled stainless steel roof panels”.   The need for the roof replacement was the result strong storms in early April 2017.  Heavy winds caused extensive damage in the DC area.  Twisted metal, scattered wood decking, and exposed trusses made for dramatic images of destruction at St Al’s that were featured on numerous local news outlets (WTOP Photos and  WUSA9 Video).   Based on GBR’s long relationship with Gonzaga College High School, we were brought in shortly after the winds subsided to begin work on designing the roof replacement. It quickly became apparent that additional structural repairs would be necessary.  The winds of the storm had taken hold of an improperly attached metal gutter and used...

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Mazel Tov to Milton!

The GBR team was thrilled to join the Milton Gottesman Jewish Day School yesterday at the Ribbon-Cutting celebration for their newly renovated and expanded north campus in northwest DC. We have included some of our photos below. For more images, follow this link to the school's facebook post: Milton Ribbon Cutting Ceremony & Celebration. We particularly like the photos of students finding creative ways to use the space.[qodef_separator position="center"][vc_row][vc_column][qodef_image_gallery type="slider" autoplay="3" pretty_photo="no" navigation="yes" pagination="yes" images="4931,4938,4937,4936,4935,4934,4933,4932" image_size="large"][/vc_column][/vc_row]...

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Welcome to the new gbrarch.com

The time has come to stop hiding behind our retro flash-based website and launch the new and improved gbrarch.com.  We are excited with the new format and the possibilities it presents.  Over the next few weeks we’ll be continuing to migrate content from the old site while adding in our current work and sharing our thoughts in the News section.   The long overdue update is here!...

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