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Harley Ellis Devereaux hires 10 as it expands architecture work

In 2014, national architecture firm Harley Ellis Devereaux experienced solid growth in Michigan.

The Southfield office of the company has grown its revenue by 10 percent over the last year, allowing it to hire 10 people. Its staff now stands at 120 employees and three interns. The new jobs include architects, engineers, and technical staff. Harley Ellis Devereaux is also looking to hire a mechanical engineer and an electrical engineer.

The company's leadership expects to grow at that pace again in 2015 by focusing on its core competencies. "We continue to be focused on the areas where we can best leverage our expertise," says Michael Cooper, managing principal of Harley Ellis Devereaux.

The 106-year-old firm and offers a wide variety of services, including planning, architecture, and engineering. It services clients in a number of different industries, from healthcare to advanced manufacturing to higher education.

"Those markets have been doing well here," Cooper says. "As a result our opportunities for new work have also been doing well."

Source: Michael Cooper, managing principal of Harley Ellis Devereaux
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

SA+A Architects takes on more design work, expands client base

SA+A Architects, which is short for Stephen Auger + Associates Architects, worked its way through the lean times of the Great Recession and is now starting to reap the benefits of the recovery.

The Lake Orion-based architecture firm has hired two people over the last few weeks, including a project architect and an industrial designer. The 19-year-old company has a staff of a dozen employees and two summer interns handling a growing amount of work.

"We landed some big projects," says Steve Auger, president of SA+A Architects. "We struggled through the downturn like everyone else. We had some nice projects on the bench, and a couple of those came alive."

A lot of the new work is coming from faith-based organizations, specifically churches. SA+A Architects projects include an expansion of the Clarkston United Methodist Church and the building of a new mega church in Cincinnati called Rivers Crossing Community Church.

"That's converting a movie theater to a 1,500-seat church," Auger says.

SA+A Architects also got the green light from Oakland County to serve as one of its preferred contractors for architecture work. The approval puts the firm on the short list for architecture firms to do work on designing schools and other government buildings.

"We just won a blanket contract with Oakland County," Auger says. "We want to do some more government work. We want to be more diversified."

Source: Steve Auger, president of SA+A Architects
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Harley Ellis Devereaux expands team in Southfield

Harley Ellis Devereaux is growing its team at all levels at its Metro Detroit office in Southfield.

The national architecture firm has hired nine people over the last year, expanding its staff to 120 employees and one intern. It is also looking to hire four people, including engineers, project managers and a higher education studio lead. The firm has already hired a variety of engineers, architects and project managers, along with a new principal for the office.

"There is nothing like new people to improve our talent pool," says Michael Cooper, managing principal of Harley Ellis Devereaux's Metro Detroit office. "It also boosts the morale of the office."

Cooper credits the firm's growth to a number of factors, ranging from the customer satisfaction with the firm’s work to the improving national economy.

"The economy is cooperating," Cooper says. "It's getting stronger. Our clients are more active."

Harley Ellis Devereaux is 106 years old. The firm offers a wide variety of services, ranging from planning, architecture, engineering, landscape architecture, interior design, and construction services. It has offices in Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco.

Source: Michael Cooper, managing principal of Harley Ellis Devereaux's Metro Detroit office
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Harley Ellis Devereaux adds 40 people to workforce

Slow and steady isn't just wining the race for Harley Ellis Devereaux, it's leading to some prolonged growth for the architecture and engineering firm.

The company has hired 40 people over the last year, bringing its overall staff to 226 employees and a couple of summer interns. The business has offices in California and Chicago but the lion's share of its employees are in its Southfield headquarters, a number that has been expanding thanks to new work in areas like corporate business and K-12 education.

"It's ramping up," says Michael Cooper, managing principal of Harley Ellis Devereaux. "It's been slow growth but it has been steady growth." He adds that he expects that streak to continue over the next year in all of the firm's offices. "People are feeling a bit more confident in what is happening," Cooper says.

Harley Ellis Devereaux has been winning some awards from the Construction Association of Michigan over the last year. It recently shared "Green Project of the Year" with Turner Construction for its sustainable design and buildout of  the Community Health and Social Services Center, a LEED Silver certified building, in southwest Detroit. Harley Ellis Devereaux and DeMaria Building Co were also recognized for  one of the "Most Outstanding Projects of 2012" for its work on Wayne State University’s Chemistry Building renovations and expansion.

"It's always nice when the industry and your peers recognize your work," Cooper says, adding that the awards have helped with the firm's public relations and recruiting efforts.

Source: Michael Cooper, managing principal of Harley Ellis Devereaux
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Harley Ellis Devereaux hires 12 on strength of Midwest markets

An expanding workload from the midwest is driving growth for Harley Ellis Devereaux, allowing the architecture/ engineering firm to hire a dozen people over the last year.

"There is growth in the rest of the country but it's not as fast as the Midwest this year," says Michael Cooper, managing principal of Harley Ellis Devereaux. "We're seeing growth everywhere but it seems nationally that the Midwest is leading."

The Southfield-based businesses revenue is up 15 percent over 2011. That has allowed the company to hire a dozen people and it has another half a dozen job openings right now. Cooper is "cautiously optimistic" about future growth and expects to keep hiring.

"We try to grow as quickly as we can but in a responsible manner," Cooper says.

Driving this growth is an increase in work from the corporate/commercial, K-12 education, higher education and health-care sectors, among others. "We anticipate there will be more opportunities and more growth," Cooper says.

Source: Michael Cooper, managing principal of Harley Ellis Devereaux
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Design Evolution Workshop opens in Detroit's Burtonplex

A trio of young architects are trying to change the game in Detroit's newest small business incubator - the Burton-Plex.

Patrick Jones (27), Derek Roberts (32), and James Willer (35) opened Design Evolution Workshop in January after spending a year working on the concept. The firm's ethos revolves around allowing architects to become true leaders in the built environment so they can have more influence when it comes to making the best long-term decisions.

"Instead of being leaders in the built environment we have been set on the back burner," says Willer, the firm's CFO. He adds that he has seen more than his fair share of architects left cowering in coffee shop corners after being lectured by developers, but his firm will empower them to have a stronger voice when it comes to making people recognize the long-term accountability of what they build.

Design Evolution Workshop does that with social-media oriented software. This allows developers to run project ideas past a community of architects and stakeholders. The end result is a range of choices of how best to proceed and what the short- and long-term consequences will be for the project.

"This competitive process is community vetted so the best project rises to the top," Willer says.

Design Evolution Workshop is also working with the city of Detroit to involve more younger architects in the deconstruction of the Motor City's neglected building stock. The idea is to utilize the region's out-of-work architects (Willer and Roberts have both been laid off recently as the architecture world contracts) and give younger ones a better appreciation for the existing built environment.

"We're potentially losing a whole generation of young architects because they can't get their accreditation hours," Willer says.

Source: James Willer, CFO of Design Evolution Workshop
Writer: Jon Zemke

GREEN SPACE: MISource launched to connect municipalities with local, green-savvy designers

The good news is that there is $80 million worth of federal government stimulus money earmarked for green community initiatives in Michigan. The bad news? Many municipalities do not know how to find an architect, engineer, or landscape architect that is local and qualified, let alone how to appropriately craft their RFPs.

Because of this, a Brighton-based company named Michigan Resource (MiSource) has launched a resource service to connect Michigan-based companies that offer green building technologies -- including solar, wind and geothermal -- with municipalities looking to capitalize on some of the stimulus funds. The goal: keeping jobs and dollars in the state, maximizing resource allocations, and rewarding members who implement green strategies.

Founder Angela Matthews, an environmental graphic designer, was motivated to connect design professionals with one another and potential clients after seeing too many notable jobs go to out-of-state firms. "As designers and planners and engineers and manufacturers, we choose to live here," she says. "Instead of (them) flying in, planning our communities and flying away, we're the ones who live here and use it every day."

Another way of looking at it is the reduced carbon footprint that results from using a local firm. In consideration of the implementation, "How is a project green if it's flying someone in from out of state?" Matthews asks. "If we make park benches in Michigan from aluminum made in Detroit, we close the circle. Sourcing locally makes the carbon footprint much smaller."

As for anyone thinking that the talent to satisfy the demand for sustainable projects isn't here, Matthews points out that there are 330 Michigan members of the American Society of Landscape Engineers. "There is a misconception (that firms) have to be from somewhere else to be better," she says. "That's a myth we are looking to dispel -- we have amazing universities that foster so much talent."

Bottom line for MiSource, as Matthews puts it, is creating a place that "pulls (together) everyone that can implement, that is already here, and connecting them with people ready to implement."

Among the resources MiSource offers its member constituents:
· RFQ/RFP notification and distribution;
· RFQ/RFP development, drafting and assessment;
· web-based forums;
· job bank; and
· one-on-one sourcing services.

Membership in MiSource is free to municipalities and costs $275 a year for Michigan designers, engineers, and manufacturers. For more information, call 877-322-MICH (6424) or visit www.misource.org.

Source: Angela Matthews, MiSource
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh

Cornerstone Architects sets up office in St. Clair Shores

Another link is appearing between Detroit and Grand Rapids, now that Cornerstone Architects is expanding to Metro Detroit.

The Grand Rapids-based firm also has an office in Traverse City. It employs 13 in all of its locations, including one employee in St. Clair Shores. The plan is to grow that branch to 2-3 people within the next year.

"We're testing things out right now," says Jennifer Sutton, manager of the Detroit office for Cornerstone Architects. "Our hope is to expand and find office space here."

The 20-year-old architecture firm has a lot of experience with historic preservation projects. Rehabs on its resume include the DA Blodgett building just outside of downtown Grand Rapids.

Source: Jennifer Sutton, manager of the Detroit office for Cornerstone Architects
Writer: Jon Zemke

Northville's inFORM studio hires intern, wins AIA award

The buildings that come out of inFORM studio look like structures that would be designed by an architecture firm. They emphasize what's today (and tomorrow) with strong, innovative features that tend to make jaws drop open and the "Wow" to fall out.

"We try to approach these things with a real fresh eye," says Cory Lavigne, design director for inFORM studio. "We don't try to regurgitate things over and over again."

There is an exception to that statement, sort of. The downtown Northville-based firm took many of the dying ash trees on the land where Ann Arbor's Traverwood Library sits and used them for its structural columns, flooring, and walls. The design helped the firm win a design award from the Michigan chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

That award comes on top of growth at the transitioning firm. It started as the Van Tine Guthrie Studio in 2000 before it merged with a South Carolina firm and became inFORM studio in 2007.

It now has 11 employees in offices in Northville, Myrtle Beach and New York City. Seven of those are in Metro Detroit. The firm also recently hired a University of Michigan graduate student that had recently interned with the studio.

"It's been pretty good, all things considered," Lavigne says.

Source: Cory Lavigne, design director for inFORM studio
Writer: Jon Zemke

Damian Farrell Design plans to hire more in Ann Arbor

Damian Farrell loves entrepreneurship so much, he won't let anything get in the way of his pursuit of it.


Damian Farrell wanted to become his own boss so badly he did it twice. The owner of Damian Farrell Design Group started the company in 1992, sold it after a couple of heart attacks and went to work for someone else in 2002 before restarting again last summer.

"I had always wanted to be on my own," Farrell says. "I really wanted to focus on the type of architecture that interests me."

He restarted with two full-time employees and a part-timer last July. Today the downtown Ann Arbor-based company employs five people and two independent contractors. It just hired a former intern that graduated from college and expects to hire another person within the next six months.

Read the rest of the story here.

GREEN SPACE: Greening the Heartland conference set for May 31 to June 2 in Detroit

In a short couple of weeks, one of the country's largest and most successful conferences on green initiatives is coming to Detroit for the first time. The Greening the Heartland Conference, hosted and co-sponsored by the Engineering Society of Detroit and the U.S. Green Building Council Detroit Chapter, will be held from May 31 to June 2 at Cobo Center.

One of the highlights of the conference is a keynote speech by David Suzuki, world-renowned environmental activist and science broadcaster, who will address the topic of "Economics, Energy and Ecology: Putting them Back Together." 

The conference will have four tracks:

  • Economic Revitalization
  • Public Policy & Resource Management
  • Regional Best Management Practices
  • Transportation & Technology

Its theme is "ABILITY" -- by illustrating sustainability practices that lead to multiple benefits. Industries represented will include green building, architecture, engineering, automotive, planning, landscape design, contracting, urban design, energy generation and transmission, agricultural production, interior design, building operations, and government offices.

Some of the stand-out sessions with a local angle include: "The Greenest Building Is...The One That is Already Built" (Amen!) by Quinn Evans principal Carl Elefante; "Growing Solar in Michigan: Ann Arbor's Solar America Cities Partnership" by Andre Brix of Ann Arbor's energy programs; and "Brown is the New Green" by Michael Momenee of Mannik & Smith -- a talk on brownfields opportunities.

The conference also offers attendees the chance to tour the Kresge Foundation's Platinum LEED facility and the Ford Rouge Center.

Organizers are expecting approximately 1,000 attendees.

Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh

Centric Design Studio turns layoffs into new business

Saundra Little, Damon Thomas, and Christopher Bruner didn't wince when they heard the word layoffs cast in their direction. Instead they used a couple of layoffs as an opportunity to start their own firm - Centric Design Studio.

The Southfield-based company actually started in 2002 as a part-time gig for the three friends while they worked away at their day jobs in architecture. They jumped into it full-time after receiving pink slips last November.

"We felt it was direction for us," says Little, COO of Centric Design Studio. "When we were both laid off at the same time, we thought this must be it."

The minority-owned start-up is composed of the three partners and four independent contractors. They specialize in sustainable architecture and green building practices. They also have a graphic design component.

The three principals are all Lawrence Technological University graduates and have a combined 21 years of experience in architecture. The company plans to fine tune its business model in its first years and then look at adding people as necessary further down the road.

Source: Saundra Little, COO of Centric Design Studio
Writer: Jon Zemke

Rizzolo Brown + Novak Architects goes for green in Ann Arbor

Green architecture is growing at Ann Arbor's Rizzolo Brown + Novack Architects.


The girls behind Rizzolo Brown + Novak Architects may have started their company because of the current economy, but they see the situation as an opportunity.

Celeste Alen Novak and Connie Rizzolo Brown founded their downtown Ann Arbor-based firm last year by focusing on design that incorporates things as eclectic as art and as essential as sustainability. They now have one more employee/intern and two consultants as they continue to take on more work.

"I think things are challenging but exciting," Rizzolo Brown says. "It breeds a new ways of looking at design and energy issues and containing costs."

Read the rest of story here.

GREEN SPACE: An A2 ranch goes zero-carbon

A ranch house in the Geddes Heights area of Ann Arbor is being renovated in such a manner that its net energy usage will be equal to the amount of energy it generates via solar and geothermal production.

The Nautilus House, as it has been dubbed, is attacking the energy problem from all sides and, in so doing, a striking home is emerging.

The architect, Michael Klement of Architectural Resource and the builder, Doug Selby of Meadowlark Builders, found a creative and inspiring client in sculptor and homeowner Claudette Stern. Stern was interested in sustainability, not afraid of bold design and, in terms of cost, was willing to forego a new kitchen if it meant she could afford a more energy-efficient design.

In the expansion of the one-story north end of the home, a curvilinear roof was designed, which will accomplish many things: it maximizes the solar opportunity for the site, will aid in rainwater gathering and will act as a natural vent, instrumental in heating and cooling the home.

Other green aspects of the home will include geothermal heating and cooling; the use of structural panels and advanced framing techniques in construction, which will both minimize material usage and maximize the amount of insulation that can be used; and the reuse of materials such as windows.

The home will be Platinum LEED-certified as a remodel; the sixth in the nation and second in Michigan to be so recognized.

You might recall the first in Michigan: it was a home on Fourth Street that Selby and Klement collaborated on and that Green Space toured. Check out this article to learn more about it.

The home will be open to the public for a weekend in January for a "Behind the Drywall" tour; watch this space for details.

Source: Michael Klement, Architectural Resource
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh

Albert Kahn Family of Companies grows revenue and employees by 10 percent

Albert Kahn is staying synonymous with Detroit as it continues to grow in the Motor City.


Albert Kahn is one of those names that is forever entwined in Detroit and the company he founded still finds success in the Motor City 113 years later.

Of the 270 employees at Albert Kahn Family of Companies, 220 of them are based out of its offices in New Center. The firm, which bills itself as a family of companies, also has operations in Alabama, Mexico and Brazil.

Read the rest of the story here.

GREEN SPACE: Building green for the rest of us

Reading an issue of Dwell or Metropolis might lead you to believe that sustainable architecture and design is the domain of the well-to-do that can afford installing a geothermal heating-and-cooling system, solar panels and dual-flush toilets. And that may be true to a degree.

But non-profit developers, architects and builders are finding ways to bring energy efficiency to low- and moderate-income housing. It all makes sense: an initial higher cost -- which can, sometimes, be offset by government and industry grants -- ultimately leads to lower utility cost over many, many years.

Seeing that rising utility costs can be the straw that breaks the elephant's back when it comes to the working class, energy efficient homes are awesome on many levels: for the environment, the stability of a neighborhood and a family's pocketbook.

Here are a few examples of such projects in Detroit proper:

There's the 38-unit Nailah Commons in Midtown, near the College for Creative Studies. Its units range from $105,000 to $135,000 and there will be a geothermal heating and cooling system. Developer Julio Bateau of Nailah LLC hopes to break ground next month.

Both Bagley Housing Association and and Greater Corktown Development Corp. have developed dozens of units of infill housing in their historic neighborhoods -- which is an urban -- and thus, sustainable -- act in itself. But both groups are kicking that commitment up a notch with their next development phases. The affordable housing will feature Energy Star appliances and have received consultation from WARM Training toward other elements of green building. Grandmont Rosedale Development Corp. and Habitat for Humanity are also now incorporating Energy Star appliances into their housing.

Another cool project planned for Detroit, called Exceptional Green Living on Rosa Parks, proposes using stacked shipping containers to create dense urban housing with a reasonable price-tag, starting at $100,000. The units will boast tank-less water heaters and exterior paint that increases insulation by reflecting or retaining heat. The financing for this project is being assembled; read more about it here.

Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh

GREEN SPACE: Baby Boomers, Gen X-ers meet Generation G

For an entire week in April, a group of 22 students at Cass Technical High School in Detroit were immersed in the minutia of sustainability. The program, dubbed Generation G by its designers and implementers, NORR LLC inspired the students to form a Generation G Society at the school in order to implement some of the concepts they learned about.

How it went down is that architects, planners and engineers from Detroit-based NORR created a curriculum complete with lessons, demonstrations, art projects and field trips. We're not talking about planting a sunflower in a cup, but rather building two varieties of green roofs, exploring green career choices and even enduring an end-of the-week test on all the stuff they learned.

The kids scored an average of 90%, so apparently info was retained.

By all accounts, the program was a smash hit. The kids formed a group, the Generation G Society, to take their learning into the coming year and already plans are being made for another week-long session next year. And NORR has already expanded the program, conducting a condensed three-day version of the program at Burton International Elementary School just last month.

But don't take my word from. Read a letter from one of the students themselves:

Dear my friendly NORR associates,
This is Molly Brown, a senior from Cass Tech and the appointed President of Generation G.  I wanted to give you a report on how things are going for our first ever Generation G Society! First of all, we'd really like to thank everyone again for creating an outstanding organization at our school. Things have been rather busy the last few weeks of school and therefore our first official meeting was this morning. School will be letting out very soon and teachers and students are preparing for finals. The meeting held this morning covered planning for next year. Malcolm, the vice president, and I, went over a few things we thought fit for ideas for next year, as well as, a mission statement to run by. Though NORR created a statement we still felt the need to take it into our own words to use as a device for recruiting new members. Our mission statement is as follows:
Generation G is an environmental design group that uses educational awareness of eco-friendly architecture, sustainability, and energy efficiency to create a greener environment for our school.
I am planning for next year and sending our ideas to you if you'd like to see it. I have great faith that next year will be successful and fantastic! Our green roof is doing well!  Hope to hear from you soon.
Molly Brown

Um, sounds pretty great from where I'm sitting.

Source: Elaine Taylor, NORR
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh

GREEN SPACE: Summer refresher course on being green

Summer, summer, summertime...time to sit back and unwind. (With apologies to Kool & the Gang.)

It's also time to evaluate your warm weather habits and see if they can't be greened up a bit.

Here are a few habits that you might be able to work on this summer.

Think about starting a compost pile. It is a major waste-reducer first of all, and secondly, it is an amazing food to replenish the dirt your garden. It seems like a tough thing to get started, but a passive pile only requires your (non-meat) food waste and yard waste in a pile and wait. That's it, seriously.

An earlier edition of Green Space went into the topic in much greater detail. Check it here.

Shop locally. That phrase has almost become a mantra at this point, but it is one of the best ways an individual can impact their carbon footprint. Food transported over long distances = bad. A simple equation.

Luckily, summertime means farmers markets. And there are loads of them abounding, with Eastern Market being the grand-daddy of them all. This metromode feature explores all of them, from big to small -- so read up and shop up!

Now that you have your food, you're probably ready to fire up the grill. Propane and natural gas grills, while not as awesome as those that are solar-powered, actually use less resources than a stove.

You can find out more about all types of grills here.

Lastly, lawns. Those that look like green carpets are just. not. worth it. Period. They drain water and require nasty pesticides and fertilizer. So mow less, mow high and embrace the brown.

Read more about alternatives to pesticides and other tips here.

Two last quick things. This week's Crain's reported on some pretty amazing things happening in the area.

First off, Deloitte is centering its company-wide sustainability drive right here in Detroit. And a Lansing building designed by Detroit-based SmithGroup became the first in the world to receive LEED certification for both its interior and exterior.

Great news on both counts for the Southeastern Michigan region.

Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh

GREEN SPACE: MOCAD exhibit spotlights architectural design and sustainability

"Good design still happens in Detroit," says architect Brian Hurttienne. "We are up on sustainable design...it's part of our culture."

Hurttienne and his cohorts on the Urban Priorities Committee of the American Institute of Architects Detroit express that sentiment in a new exhibit that recently opened at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD) entitled "Considering Architecture: Sustainable Designs by Detroit Architects."

In collaboration with the Urban Land Institute and US Green Building Council, the group has put up a show that explores seven projects -- urban and suburban, residential and institutional, large and small, proposed and built -- designed by local firms.

Projects showcased include:
  • Hamilton Anderson Associate's Detroit International Wildlife Refuge Gateway, which will serve as the entry point to a county park in the Humbug Marsh area. The Gateway makes use of water turbines as an energy source.
  • The Traverwood Library in Ann Arbor, designed by inForm, which integrates reclaimed ash trees into its bold design.
  • A private residence in Bloomfield Township, which makes use of structurally insulated panels and illuminates how eco-friendly building practices led to the selection of materials that give the home a unique aesthetic. Hue Projects was the architect for the home.
  • Rossetti shared its gifts with Denver in the development of a mixed-use transit-oriented development (TOD) that is significant in its acceptance to the LEED neighborhood development pilot program.
  • Steven C. Flum, Inc. has designed an innovative multi-family housing project for Midtown Detroit that uses discarded shipping containers as the basis of its design.
  • Indian Springs Metropark Environmental Discovery Center, designed by SmithGroup, makes use of Mother Nature for climate control.
  • Housing Operative built a small single-family home in Detroit as a theoretical study in sustainability that has implications socially and economically as well.
The exhibit is multi-media and runs through July 27. In June, there will be several events that delve into details of the individual projects.

Source: Brian Hurttienne, AIA Detroit UPC
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh

Lawrence Tech makes better bridges

The metaphorical challenge to any business is finding a way to build a better mousetrap. Lawrence Technological University, on the other hand, is winning awards for developing a stronger, longer-lasting bridge.

The Michigan Department of Transportation recently recognized the Civil Engineering Department at Lawrence Tech as a Center of Excellence for Sustainable Infrastructure & Structural Testing. Simply said, the state told Lawrence Tech that it develops some of the best bridges in the country --lasting twice as long as standard-issue bridges-- and wants them to create more.

"Research is happening right here in Michigan at Lawrence Technological University that isn't happening anywhere else in the country," says MDOT Director Kirk T. Steudle. "Lawrence Tech's Center for Innovative Materials Research is doing research on carbon reinforcement and testing that ultimately will result in bridge structures that will last longer than ever before."

The university's Center for Innovative Materials Research will continue its work to improve the structural integrity and longevity of concrete bridges commonly used in highways and other roads. The hope now is to make that longevity cost competitive.

To do this Lawrence Tech's new bridges use non-corrosive carbon, glass and aramid fiber reinforced polymer to replace steel-reinforcement bars in traditional bridge construction. This helps eliminate the rust and corrosion that typically undermines the concrete's strength.

On a national scale, building a longer-lasting bridges could save hundreds of millions if not billions in maintenance and replacement costs.

A bridge in Southfield, built in 2001, uses this technology and the city plans to use it again on a Beech Road bridge construction next year and on three more bridges over the Southfield Freeway in 2010.

Source: Eric Pope, spokesman for Lawrence Technological University
Writer: Jon Zemke

Green Space: Tour Michigan's greenest house

A nineteenth century Ann Arbor home on Fourth Ave. is undergoing a total gut rehab and, in the process, becoming so green that it will likely receive LEED platinum certification. In every element of the home, sustainability has been considered in a manner that is as inspiring as it is daunting. Come along with Green Space for a tour.

One of the most important basic principles employed in the remodel -- which included the construction of an addition -- was Not-So-Big design strategies. This concept looks at things like lighting and sight lines to make smaller spaces feel more expansive. Think of it as the anti-McMansion philosophy.

Another basic tenet of the work is the utilization of a technique known as Advanced Framing Technique (AFT), which can use 20 to 30% less lumber than traditional framing methods. It also leaves that much more room for insulation, a major factor in the home's efficiency.

Water-saving techniques include the use of low flow fixtures, dual flush toilets and natural landscaping that requires less care than a grass lawn.

Windows are, of course, double-paned and insulated, and all wood trim is reclaimed. All finishes and paints will be low VOC and LED and compact fluorescent lightbulbs will be used.

Under the addition, the concrete foundation is highly insulated. A geothermal heating and cooling system will be used, as will a tankless hot water heater.

It is remarkable to see the level of thought put into the project by its team, which includes Michael Klement of Architectural Resource and Doug Selby of Meadowlark Builders. To them, taking the steps to achieve LEED platinum certification is worth the extra organization and coordination required. "In a few years the rating system will mean even more, it will be something almost expected," says Selby.

The home grew from 1,330 square feet to 1,859. Selby estimates that such a deep green remodel can cost from $200 to $235 per square foot, depending on the price of finishes. The Fourth Ave. home fell in the middle of that range.

The higher construction cost will be offset by energy savings; Selby estimates a payoff in as little as three to eight years.

The house in its completed state will be featured in a tour later this year. Watch this space for details, and your chance to see the future of home building up close and personal.

Source: Michael Klement, Architectural Resource and Doug Selby, Meadowlark Builders
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh

Kraemer Design preparing to grow from 19 to 30

Despite a sluggish economy, Kraemer Design Group is growing. The downtown Detroit-based architecture and interior design firm currently has 19 employees in its eleventh year, but is moving to a new 10,000-square foot office that will house up to 30 -- enough space for room to grow into the future.

Recent KDG design work includes the Watermark and Griswold -- both of which are unfortunately off to a slow to start in light of the local condo market -- as well as Google's offices in Ann Arbor and Birmingham.

The company does not stick to one particular design style, instead working to meet their client's needs and wishes. "The Griswold is a traditional design, the Watermark is contemporary," says principal Bob Kraemer. "Google's offices are another extreme altogether."

Kraemer has traditionally employed graduates from University of Detroit Mercy and Lawrence Technological University. That net has widened of late, with recent hires coming from University of Michigan and University of Ohio. "We're starting to see more national candidates," says Kraemer. "We're tending to hire through monster.com as opposed to the traditional paper method."

Kraemer attributes his firm's success to the ability to retain clients as repeat customers and its flexibility. "We followed the dot-com boom, the contemporary office boom," he says. "We're not sure what's around the corner, but entertainment and housing seem to be the main focus of downtown."

Whatever the trend, Kraemer will be ready to adapt -- but one thing will remain the same: "We pride ourselves on high quality work, both in design and the quality of our construction drawings," he says.

KDG will take occupancy of its new offices, located on Broadway in the Opera House Retail Center, on April 1.

Source: Bob Kraemer, KDG
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh

Ann Arbor architecture firm hiring in '08

You may not know the name Quinn Evans Architects, but you know their buildings – the Wayne County Courthouse restoration, the Motown Museum, the Graphic Arts Building restoration and the Inn on Ferry Street restoration are just a few of the firm’s high-visibility projects.

With a full slate of new projects lined up for 2008, the firm is growing, says Ken Clein, a principal in Ann Arbor-based Quinn Evans.

"We’re doing a large project for the city of Ann Arbor, a couple of projects in Detroit and we’re doing a large project for Zingerman's Delicatessen," Clein says. "We found ourselves at a point needed to hire."

Since Nov. 1, the firm has hired three staff members for a total of 31, Clein says, and are hiring up to two more in the near future.

Most of the firm’s open positions are architectural jobs.

The growth, Clein says, is "basically to handle our current workload for next 12 to 18 months, which is about as good as it gets in architecture – it’s a very volatile profession."

Source: Ken Clein, Quinn Evans Architects
Writer: Nancy Kaffer

SmithGroup taps local universities to keep talent pool deep

SmithGroup has learned that in today's economy sometimes it pays to think local.

A national architecture and engineering firm with 800 employees, 150 of them housed at their Detroit office, the company has bolstered its profile with work on a number of prominent local projects, including the MGM complex, the DIA expansion, the renovation of the Cranbrook Art Museum and the Boll Family YMCA in downtown Detroit.

In the green scene, the company designed the new Science and Media Building at Madonna University (pictured) and the Visteon Village corporate head-quarters. Both projects are seeking Silver LEED certification.

SmithGroup actively recruits talent from University of Detroit Mercy, Lawrence Technological University and the University of Michigan to meet its staffing needs. SmithGroup also sustains an active internship program that not only gives students real world experience, but exposes students to the social network of downtown Detroit. A full 50% of interns become full-time hires.

Even younger future architects and engineers are developed through Exploring Post, sponsored by the Boy Scouts of America. In this program, co-ed students are exposed to these careers through hands-on training activities.

Building Design+Construction named SmithGroup as one of the "Best AEC Firms to Work For." While the internship and mentoring programs surely contributed to the nod, the company mandates 8.5 hour workdays and 42.5 hour work weeks -- which adds up to 15 Fridays off a year.

Source: Camille Thompson, SmithGroup
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh

Hamilton Anderson Architects leverages work on MGM Grand into national exposure

MGM Grand took a gamble on a small local firm when it opened its temporary Detroit casino back in 1999. Ever since, its relationship with Hamilton Anderson Associates has escalated to the point where the architecture firm has grown to 130 employees and has opened an office in Las Vegas. Now, the little firm that could is hard at work on CityCenter, a 76-acre mixed-use Vegas development billed as the largest privately financed development in the country.

HAA was founded in 1994 by architect Rainy Hamilton and landscape architect Kent Anderson. They moved from Hamilton's house into a Harmonie Park office that same year, where the firm has remained ever since. Their first move in 13 years is set for next spring, when they will relocate to the First National Building. The new office will be 10,000 square feet larger than their current 25,000-square feet digs and occupy the second and third floors of the office tower.

HAA had a growth spurt in the mid-1990's to about 50 employees, big enough to get noticed by MGM. It was hired as a "sub- sub-contractor" on the casino's build-out of its temporary Detroit location, remembers Hamilton. That work pumped the firm's numbers up to about 90.

By the time MGM was ready to begin work on the permanent casino, they felt comfortable enough with HAA to award them the lead role in a joint design partnership -- with SmithGroup -- for the $800 million complex. That, along with the CityCenter and other various MGM jobs in Sin City, has boosted the ranks to the 130 figure that exists today. "Our work has really blossomed," says Hamilton. "MGM has been a great client for us."

But don't think for a moment that MGM is HAA's only client. They've won awards from the National Association of Minority Architects for the last three years in a row, for the Detroit School of Fine and Performing Arts, Youthville and the Southwest Public Safety Center.

Although it's too soon to tell how the MGM Grand campus will impact the amount of work that HAA lands locally, the firm is optimistic. "I would say that, because it has been such a departure for what exists in Detroit, that it's raised the bar and raised expectations for entertainment and hospitality projects," says vice president Tom Sherry. "We were in a leadership role in that project, which certainly caught people's attention. People look at us a little bit differently."

Sources: Rainy Hamilton, Tom Sherry and Heather Thomas, Hamilton Anderson Associates
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh

Crain's looks at cool places to work in Southeast Michigan

In a special section, Crain's Detroit Business names 60 Cool Places to Work in Southeast Michigan and also examines what exactly does make an employee feel valued and challenged.


According to Kevin Marrs, director of survey services at ASE, there were some surprises.

He explained that with the uncertain economy, companies would normally be concentrating their efforts on "maintaining" their employees rather than offering incentives to attract new employees. But he noted an increase in certain recruitment incentives, such as higher starting salaries, higher premiums for additional skills and an increase in signing bonuses.

"There also was a good increase in group or team incentives. More companies are using variable incentives for compensation," he said.

Read an overview of the survey and ranking criteria here and read a list of the 60 companies here. More detail about what each company does uniquely is here.

Locally, green buildings on the rise

MetroTimes profiles several local green buildings, including the Student Services Center at Lawrence Technological University, Affirmations in Ferndale and the Kresge Foundation's Troy headquarters.


Green planners like [Jim] Newman are hoping to convince municipalities to change their codes to require or at least reward environmentally conscious building projects. He's working with Birmingham, Rochester Hills and Auburn Hills for starters.

"That's something we're looking at as a city," says Vincent Nathan, director of the Detroit Department of Environmental Affairs.

The Kresge Foundation, for its part in the private sector, launched its Green Buildings Initiative in 2003 and has since awarded 101 planning grants totaling $6.2 million to nonprofits to design sustainable buildings. Funds totaling about $7.2 million are committed to 42 nonprofit organizations that will be awarded when they become LEED certified, says Kresge spokeswoman Cynthia Shaw. Affirmations received such money for design and construction of the Ferndale site.

Read the entire article here.

U-M designed solar home might become commercially available

A University of Michigan collaboration that has designed and built a solar home has it on display at the Matthei Botanical Gardens. The hope is to refine the modular home and eventually see it manufactured commercially.


Ultimately, it's important to create a flexible system that gives consumers choices so it will appeal to a variety of sectors, Giles said, similar to how automobiles are marketed.
Modules could even be bought and sold on E-Bay, he said.

Added [professor Harry] Giles: "Our concept is set to revolutionize the housing industry in a financially positive and environmentally sustainable way."

Read the entire article here.

SmithGroup and Visteon Village rack up design awards

Detroit-based SmithGroup architecture firm continues to rake in awards for its work on Visteon Village, the headquarters for auto-supplier Visteon. Winning nine for itself and one --the CREW Detroit Impact Award-- for its client last week.

SmithGroup's Lighting Design team received the award from the Michigan Illuminating Engineering Society of North America for the Van Buren Township structure's recognition of sustainable design features. The building has also won awards for construction and design, along with technology.

Between 2006 and 2007, SmithGroup has received 25 design awards from groups such as the American Institute of Architects, Engineering Society of Detroit and the Michigan Historic Preservation Network.

Source: SmithGroup

Cranbrook Academy Appoints New Dean

Effective September 1, 2007, Reed Kroloff will become director of Cranbrook Academy of Art and Art Museum, succeeding Gerhardt Knodel, who is retiring following more than 30 years of service for the Academy. 

Currently Dean of the Tulane University School of Architecture, former editor-in-chief of "Architecture" magazine, Kroloff was chosen following a seven-month national search.

Having arrived at Tulane a year prior to Hurricane Katrina, Kroloff had a significant impact, spearheading the recovery and prominence in the post-storm environment of the school. Kroloff helped raise a record # million in gifts and research grants, retained 97% of the school’s students and 100% of the faculty following the storm. 

During his tenure as the Editor-in-Chief of Architecture, the magazine received more awards for editorial and design excellence than any other publication of its kind.

Prior, Kroloff was a tenured professor and the assistant dean at Arizona State University, where he received the first-ever "Award for Academic Excellence" from the Arizona chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

Cranbrook Academy of Art is a preeminent graduate level school of art, design and architecture. For more information, visit cranbrook.edu.
Source: Cranbrook Academy of Art and Art Museum

Ypsi airport planning firm sees 400% growth in five years, to add positions

Jacobsen/Daniels Associates (JDA) just signed a contract with Cleveland International Airport to provide on-call planning. It's just the latest success for the Ypsilanti-based firm which has seen 400% revenue growth in the last five years.

From concept and planning through design and construction to facility management and operation, JDA client list includes some of the largest and busiest airports in the world, with projects around the country that have a total value of $3 billion dollars.

Since incorporating in 2001, Bradley Jacobsen and Darryl Daniels  have grown from an office of two to a firm 20 strong. The firm has an active internship program that has hired 8 of the 40 interns they've had over the last six years and since January they've added three fulltime positions. By the end of 2008 JDA hopes to bring in another 6-8 hires.

"We're at the stage where we need to invest if we want to grow to $5-10 million in the next 5 years," sas founding partner Bradley Jacobsen. JDA's revenues for 2007 are expected to reach $2.4 million.
"We read all the news about MIchigan's economy and we think it's small businesses like ours that are going make the difference. Along with local talen we've actually brought in four or five people and had them relocate from other states."

Source: Bradley Jaconsen, Jacobsen/Daniels Associates

Win a $10,000 home energy makeover

Ypsilanti-based Clean Energy Coalition (CEC), along with the energy offices from Ann Arbor and the State of Michigan, are holding a contest from which 28 Michigan residents will win up to $10,000 in energy improvements to their homes.

One grand prize winner will win $10,000 in energy-related home improvements as well as access to the Environmental Protection Agency's Home Energy Rating System (HERS)  and the Energy Star program. This will assist the homeowner in maximizing the impact of their improvements.

Four first prize winners will receive energy analyses of their homes along with specific recommendations on how to lower their utility costs, and 23 second prize winners will receive $25 Home Depot gift cards.

In the contest announcement, CEC Executive Director Sean Reed said, “Our goal with this contest is to show how a one-time investment in energy efficiency improvements can save homeowner’s money every month for as long as they own their home. Given the fact that the cost of energy has been increasing most every year, it doesn’t take too long for this to add up to big savings.”

To enter, go to www.cec-mi.org/contest, where you will be asked to enter your utility usage over the last 12 months, by May 11.

Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh

$1.3 million in job training awarded to 36 companies in SE Michigan

Governor Jennifer Granholm announced that MEDC will award $1.3 million in Economic Development Job Training grants to provide cutting-edge training in advanced automotive and manufacturing applications for 2,180 workers (and 251 new hires) in Southeast Michigan.

The funding is provided by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) as part of the Manufacturing Competitiveness Program (MCP), an initiative to encourage collaboration between regional employers. This joint effort will help streamline industry-specific training and make the best use of state funding.

Five grants were created  to support training through four academic institutions --Oakland University, Wshtenaw Copmmunity College, Schoolcraft College and Macomb Community College-- and Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center, a manufacturing training and consulting service.

The grants are as follows:

$449,995 will be used to upgrade the skills of 569 current workers and 31 new hires at four companies in Oakland and Macomb counties through Oakland University. The companies include:

  1. Benteler Automotive in Auburn Hills - 70 current employees, 10 new hires
  2. Cadillac Products Automotive in Troy - 19 current employees, one new hire
  3. EDS in Troy, which specializes in computer and Internet training - 330 current employees
  4. General Dynamics Land Systems in Sterling Heights, which designs, manufactures and supports land and amphibious combat systems for the U.S. Army - 150 current employees, 20 new hires. 

$335,274 will be used to upgrade the skills of 410 current workers and 90 new hires at five companies in Wayne County through Schoolcraft College. The companies include:

  1. Ghafari Associates, an architectural and engineering firm in Dearborn - 85 current employees
  2. G-Tech Professional Staffing in Dearborn - 139 current employees, 50 new hires
  3. Yazaki North America in Canton, which develops automotive electronics - 88 current employees, 30 new hires
  4. ZF Group NAO in Northville, which develops driveline and chassis technology - 89 current employees, 10 new hires
  5. MJ Industries, which develops automitive assembly equipment in Livonia - 9 current employees

$181,138 will be used to upgrade the skills of 379 current workers and 19 new hires at nine companies in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and St. Clair counties through Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center. The companies are:

  1. Advanced Accessory Systems in Shelby Township - 23 current employees
  2. CBS Boring & Machine in Fraser, 59 current employees - 10 new hires;
  3. JAC Products, which designs & manufactures roofracks in Pontiac - 45 current employees
  4. Mueller Brass in Marysville - 28 current employees, one new hire
  5. Mueller Impact in Marysville - 28 current employees, one new hires
  6. Ralco Industries, which specializes in metal stamping in Auburn Hills - 53 current employees
  7. Total Door in Pontiac - 30 current employee;
  8. Industrial Control Repair, a robotics company in Warren - 43 current employees, three new hires
  9. U.S. Farathane in Plymouth, which develops pastics for the auto industry - 70 current employees, four new hires.

$177,297 will be used to upgrade the skills of 448 current workers and 86 new hires at nine companies in Livingston and Washtenaw counties through Washtenaw Community College. The companies are:

  1. Micro Gauge in Brighton - 28 current employees, one new hire
  2. Liebherr Aerospace Saline in Saline - 65 current employees, 10 new hires
  3. Saline Metal Systems in Saline - 20 current employees, 41 new hires
  4. Control Gaging in Ann Arbor - 35 current employees
  5. Milan Cast Metal in Milan - 19 current employees, two new hires
  6. L3 Communications EO Tech, which develops holographic weapons systems in Ann Arbor - 97 current employees, three new hires
  7. Recellular* in Dexter, which recycles & refurbishes cell phones - 120 current employees, 15 new hires
  8. Adaptive Materials in Ann Arbor, which develops portable fuel cell technology - 22 current employees, six new hires
  9. International Specialty Tube in Detroit - 42 current employees, eight new hires

$148,978 will be used to upgrade the skills of 123 current workers and 25 new hires at nine companies in Oakland and Macomb counties through Macomb Community College. The companies include:

  1. Aerotek in Southfield, which specializes in technical staffing - three current employees, 12 new hires
  2. Brose North America in Auburn Hills, which manufactures auto seating - eight current employees
  3. Cadence Innovation in Troy, which manufactures instrument panels - 10 current employees
  4. Cooper-Standard Automotive in Novi - 10 current employees, four new hires
  5. Graph-Tec in Pontiac - 8 current employees, two new hires
  6. Magna Steyr, which develops auto body shells in Troy - 51 current employees
  7. RLE International, which specializes in auto engineering in Hazel Park - five current employees, five new hires
  8. Utica Enterprises in Shelby Township - 18 current employees
  9. RCO Engineering in Roseville - 10 current employees, two new hires

Since 1994, MEDC has awarded more than $339 million in EDJT grants, providing and upgrading the skills of 610,000 Michigan workers.

Source: MEDC


 *Recellular was profiled in the metromode article: ReCellular Rings Green

Krieger Associates moves to new digs in downtown Ferndale, to add staff

The architectural firm Krieger Associates has moved to a new office in downtown Ferndale and is looking to expand its staff later this year.
The three-person firm moved from Royal Oak to 23150 Woodward Ave. above the Toast restaurant.

The firm will hold a public open house at its new offices at 4 p.m. Thursday. The new 400-square-foot office is bigger than its former space in Royal Oak. The firm is also expecting to hire a new position this summer.
"Basically, I think Ferndale is the place to be for new aggressive entrepreneurs," said Jason Krieger, architect with Krieger Associates. "It’s an exciting area."
For information on the open house, visit ferndalechamber.com or call (248) 542-2160

Why build green when you can remodel green?

Remodel Green Midwest will inform local builders and architects about techniques and materials to use in green renovation projects. The event, sponsored by Recycle Ann Arbor, National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) of Southeast Michigan, AIA Huron Valley and the State Energy Office, will be held March 16-17 at The Inn at St. John’s in Plymouth.

The keynote speaker for Remodel Green Midwest will be David Johnston, author of Remodeling Green: Changing the World One Room at a Time. Johnson is regarded as a national expert on the subject and has worked closely with NARI in the development of a certification program for green remodeling. Information about this certification program will be available at the event, as the program will be offered by NARI of Southeast Michigan in the near future, according to Jason Bing of Recycle Ann Arbor.

While Bing acknowledges that certifications like LEED and Energy Star have made energy efficiency in new homes more common, he points out, "There is a critical mass of homes already here—building new can’t necessarily be the answer. We want to put that message out there."

Bing estimates that Remodel Green Midwest will attract 100-200 attendees. Pre-registrants have mostly been from the Ann Arbor area, but he says, "There’s a pretty decent group from Detroit and some even from Grand Rapids and Traverse City."

For more information, visit www.remodelgreen.com. Registration is available by contacting Bing at register@recycleannarbor.org or 734.662.6288.

Source: Jason Bing, Recycle Ann Arbor

Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh

UDM architecture lecture series starts Jan. 31

(Please note: The date for the first lecture of
University of Detroit Mercy’s architecture series has been changed to 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 31. The event had been scheduled for Jan. 24.)

The University of Detroit Mercy’s architecture series features lectures from four leading architects in the first quarter of 2007.

The first lecture, entitled “Stillpoint,” will take place on Jan. 31 at 6:30 p.m. and will be given by Los Angeles architect Michael Rotondi.

Rotondi first gained prominence in firm Morphosis with partner Thom Mayne. In his own firm, Roto, he began to “gear his practice [towards] social justice and social good” according to Julie Kim, UDM architecture professor and curator of the lecture series.

To this end, Kim says that Rotondi often focuses on “working with non-profits and trying to basically open up the field of architecture to clients like that.” One of his 1990’s projects was the design of a new campus for Sinte Gleska University, the oldest tribal college in the United States and he has since designed the Oglala Lakota Fine Arts Center, both in South Dakota.

Kim was interested in the shift in his work “from glitzy, sexy projects” and hopes that “students and local practitioners will share this enthusiasm for his work.”

Rotondi has been on faculty at Southern California Institute of Architecture since the early 1970’s. Kim says, “He has maintained teaching as one of the layers of what he does.”

Future lectures include:
  • Dan Hoffman, professor at Arizona State University and former head of architecture at Cranbrook – Feb. 23, 5 p.m.
  • Renée Daoust Lestage from Montreal, Canada – Mar. 14, 6:30 p.m.
  • David Adjaye from London, England – Mar. 26, 6:30 p.m.
The lectures will be held at the Warren Loranger Architecture Building at UDM. More information about each of the speakers can be found at the Architecture School’s website.

Source: Julie Kim, UDM
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh

Newsradio WWJ launches Michigan Future blog

WWJ has launched Michigan Future, a blog that reports on the culture of innovation in Michigan.

Check out the blog here.

Lawrence Tech promotes green architecture

Lawrence Technological University’s Center for Sustainability was created 1-½ years ago in order to “create educational opportunities in our curriculum associated with the topic of sustainability,” says its director Joseph Veryser. Veryser, who is also the associate dean of LTU’s College of Architecture and Design, has been involved with the development of such curriculum and the implementation of “green” architecture in university construction.

The university’s quadrangle, once a grass and concrete rectangle, is now a landscaped space lit gently at night by solar-powered columns. A main focus of the quad is a bioswale, an oval-shaped area designed to capture rainwater runoff. The roots of the bioswale’s plants not only limit runoff, but also filter water prior to its outlet to the Rouge River. LTU has also announced its plans to plant the quad and elsewhere around campus with 30-70 Champion trees—so called because they are cloned from the nation’s oldest and largest trees.

The school’s newest building, the A. Alfred Taubman Student Services Center, boasts a 10,000 square-foot green roof, geothermal heating, and utilizes wood such as bamboo—which can replenish itself in as quickly as six weeks. The roots of the sedum planted on the filters any rainwater that is not evaporated back into the atmosphere is filtered by the roof’s sedum roots before running into the Rouge River. Some of the water, however, is captured in a cistern so that it can be used to flush the building’s toilets.

The green roof is being used in a study directed by engineering professor Dr. Don Carpenter in which rainwater quality is measured and compared to the quality of water after being filtered by the green roof. Water run-off from two other conventional roofs at the university—one that is asphalt, one that is aggregate-covered asphalt—will also be compared in the study.

Other examples of sustainability in the classroom at LTU include the development of a cross-disciplinary junior-level elective that will look at the policy, politics and sociology of sustainability. In the College of Architecture and Design, one of every student’s required eight semesters of design “focuses entirely on sustainability,” says Veryser. The college also offers a certificate program in sustainability for architects “that have their degrees and want to get a specialization.”

An aspect of the center that Veryser sees as of the utmost importance is its cross-disciplinary nature. He likens the individual colleges to silos and that rarely interact. But the Center for Sustainability involves all four of the university’s colleges, necessary because “sustainability is such a broad topic.”
Source: Joseph Veryser, LTU
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh

Modern architecture enlivening Southeast Michigan's landscape

Environmentally sensitive, beautifully detailed innovative modern design is sprouting up all over Southeast Michigan.

Projects of interest include the The Kresge Foundation headquarters on Big Beaver in Troy, designed by Valerio Dewalt Train Associates of Chicago; the new Lear Corp. headquarters on Telegraph in Southfield, designed by Detroit-based Albert Kahn Associates; and the Mexicantown International Welcome Center and Mercado in southwest Detroit, designed by Teng & Associates of Chicago.


Southeast Michigan is seeing more and more examples of a thoughtful modernism enlivening its landscape. No longer is the Detroit landscape bound to the brick-and-stone historical styles that produced winners in the distant past but seem out of step with vibrant new design ideas.

Click here for the full story.

GR-based Greenbuilt Michigan expands services statewide

Grand Rapids-based Greenbuilt Michigan has extended its services statewide — and has events planned already for Southeast Michigan  This means that construction professionals across the state will be able to access training sessions that Greenbuilt's executive director Christopher Hall hopes, "will enable as many builders as possible to build green."

Greenbuilt's classes aim to teach builders to "make the average home more efficient and sustainable," says Hall, by putting basic green building techniques—such as considering energy efficiency, appliance purchases and stormwater treatment—into their hands. They also demonstrate that the construction of a green home can be cost effective.

Hall believes that the homes that people live in are "not just a conglomeration of lumber and asphalt. They actually contribute to the environment that we live in. We want builders looking at a house as a system—it breathes. Homes and commercial building produce more carbon dioxide than any automobile. It makes such an impact when you do it the right way."

Currently, Greenbuilt's programs are aimed at mainstream builders of new construction although Hall foresees them targeting renovation projects in the future.

Classes begin in Ann Arbor and Brighton in January, with a Detroit class being planned for late winter or early spring. Click for a schedule.

Source: Christopher Hall, Greenbuilt Michigan
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh

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