Contract - Michielli + Wyetzner Architects Designs Lean & Green

design - features - green design



Michielli + Wyetzner Architects Designs Lean & Green

19 April, 2010

-By Jean Nayar



Convincing people to invest in green design is easier when they’re already committed to it. Take, for example, the recently completed New York office of AECOM, an international transportation, facilities, environmental, and energy conglomerate dedicated to the use of sustainable principles. When New York-based Michielli + Wyetzner Architects, the designers of the new office, proposed bringing in an abundance of natural light to the top-floor space by carving a large hole in the roof and topping it with a solar-controlled skylight, the client agreed, but not without hesitation.

“All design elements are much debated when you’re on a tight budget,” says Sara Haga, vice president and managing principal at AECOM. And the skylight was one of them. “But the architects are strong proponents of sustainable design,” says Haga. “So they really promoted the feature, not only as an eco-friendly way to bring in light, but also for the excitement and ‘wow’ factor it would generate as soon as the elevator doors open to the space. If you have to pick where to put your money, the designers focused it in the right place.”

Designed, built, and furnished at a cost of $1.6 million, AECOM’s new office houses an interdisciplinary team of 69 urban planners, landscape architects, and engineers, who came together when AECOM merged with EDAW, a global urban planning and landscape firm, in 2007.

Occupying the entire 9,000-sq.-ft. top floor of a landmarked 12-story, 1910 building on the West Side of Manhattan, the footprint is long and narrow, with windows on the short north and south sides. “The skylight is a way to bring in natural light and improve the quality of the work environment for everyone,” says Michael Wyetzner, principal of Michielli + Wyetzner Architects. “It also dovetails with the space’s flexible, reconfigurable conference room,” says Frank Michielli, Michielli + Wyetzner’s other principal.

Crowned by the 10-ft. by 10-ft. skylight, the reconfigurable conference room is the centerpiece of the open plan design, both functionally and aesthetically. “When we started the project, AECOM’s London-based COO, Bill Haney, expressed the company’s goal of establishing an elevated, recognizable design quality in all its offices around the world,” says Michielli. “They also wanted to create a space that was highly collaborative and comfortable for clients to hang out in.” Not only does the conference room set a design tone for other offices around the globe, but it also signals AECOM’s commitment to both high design and sustainability to its clients the instant they enter the space.

Another top priority for the client was flexibility, and the conference room plays a pivotal role in achieving that, too. Defined by a series of movable, custom-designed, steel-framed glass panels, the room easily can be reconfigured to serve as a small or large central meeting space. And thanks to the innovative truss structure that supports the panels, it also can morph into a gallery/exhibition area, an assembly hall, or an event space in any number of configurations to suit different functions. “It really works,” says Haga. “We use it every day for meetings between four to eight people, and the other night we accommodated a film screening for a group of 100 with nominal set-up time.” The clear panels also double as display walls for site plans and drawings of the firm’s work.

Flexibility was essential in the workspace areas. “We wanted the employees to have a sense of place, but we also wanted to be able to move people around to work in different teams in about 30 minutes to an hour,” says Haga. To create a fluid yet supportive work area, the architects developed a series of 15-ft.-long worktables and benches using Knoll’s Autostrada system. “The client wanted to use space efficiently, but didn’t want the benches to be too long or have work areas feel like a factory,” says Michielli, “so we limited the number of people working at each table to six and used a frosted-glass, 18-in.-high divider along the length of the table to separate employees from the person sitting across from them. We also created custom millwork shelves made from sustainable-grade plywood at the end of each unit for each group to share.”$0 While adapting to the acoustical distraction of a wide-open office has been a challenge for some of the employees, acknowledges Haga, custom touches, such as the shelves and breakout areas, elevate the overall ambience and create “a sense of place” that enriches the work environment Awarded LEED Gold rating, the office incorporates a wide range of additional sustainable design features and materials, including a new energy-efficient mechanical system on the roof, low-VOC paints, a composting and recycling center, motion-activated light controls, and work surfaces made from recycled materials among other elements. “It’s important for both our employees and our clients to feel that our space connects with our values and our work. Balancing good design and flexibility against sustainability and comfort is a challenge,” says Haga. “And we feel the designers created a space that’s a 100 percent home run.”

Convincing people to invest in green design is easier when they’re already committed to it. Take, for example, the recently completed New York office of AECOM, an international transportation, facilities, environmental, and energy conglomerate dedicated to the use of sustainable principles. When New York-based Michielli + Wyetzner Architects, the designers of the new office, proposed bringing in an abundance of natural light to the top-floor space by carving a large hole in the roof and topping it with a solar-controlled skylight, the client agreed, but not without hesitation.

“All design elements are much debated when you’re on a tight budget,” says Sara Haga, vice president and managing principal at AECOM. And the skylight was one of them. “But the architects are strong proponents of sustainable design,” says Haga. “So they really promoted the feature, not only as an eco-friendly way to bring in light, but also for the excitement and ‘wow’ factor it would generate as soon as the elevator doors open to the space. If you have to pick where to put your money, the designers focused it in the right place.”

Designed, built, and furnished at a cost of $1.6 million, AECOM’s new office houses an interdisciplinary team of 69 urban planners, landscape architects, and engineers, who came together when AECOM merged with EDAW, a global urban planning and landscape firm, in 2007.

Occupying the entire 9,000-sq.-ft. top floor of a landmarked 12-story, 1910 building on the West Side of Manhattan, the footprint is long and narrow, with windows on the short north and south sides. “The skylight is a way to bring in natural light and improve the quality of the work environment for everyone,” says Michael Wyetzner, principal of Michielli + Wyetzner Architects. “It also dovetails with the space’s flexible, reconfigurable conference room,” says Frank Michielli, Michielli + Wyetzner’s other principal.

Crowned by the 10-ft. by 10-ft. skylight, the reconfigurable conference room is the centerpiece of the open plan design, both functionally and aesthetically. “When we started the project, AECOM’s London-based COO, Bill Haney, expressed the company’s goal of establishing an elevated, recognizable design quality in all its offices around the world,” says Michielli. “They also wanted to create a space that was highly collaborative and comfortable for clients to hang out in.” Not only does the conference room set a design tone for other offices around the globe, but it also signals AECOM’s commitment to both high design and sustainability to its clients the instant they enter the space.

Another top priority for the client was flexibility, and the conference room plays a pivotal role in achieving that, too. Defined by a series of movable, custom-designed, steel-framed glass panels, the room easily can be reconfigured to serve as a small or large central meeting space. And thanks to the innovative truss structure that supports the panels, it also can morph into a gallery/exhibition area, an assembly hall, or an event space in any number of configurations to suit different functions. “It really works,” says Haga. “We use it every day for meetings between four to eight people, and the other night we accommodated a film screening for a group of 100 with nominal set-up time.” The clear panels also double as display walls for site plans and drawings of the firm’s work.

Flexibility was essential in the workspace areas. “We wanted the employees to have a sense of place, but we also wanted to be able to move people around to work in different teams in about 30 minutes to an hour,” says Haga. To create a fluid yet supportive work area, the architects developed a series of 15-ft.-long worktables and benches using Knoll’s Autostrada system. “The client wanted to use space efficiently, but didn’t want the benches to be too long or have work areas feel like a factory,” says Michielli, “so we limited the number of people working at each table to six and used a frosted-glass, 18-in.-high divider along the length of the table to separate employees from the person sitting across from them. We also created custom millwork shelves made from sustainable-grade plywood at the end of each unit for each group to share.”$0 While adapting to the acoustical distraction of a wide-open office has been a challenge for some of the employees, acknowledges Haga, custom touches, such as the shelves and breakout areas, elevate the overall ambience and create “a sense of place” that enriches the work environment.

Awarded LEED Gold rating, the office incorporates a wide range of additional sustainable design features and materials, including a new energy-efficient mechanical system on the roof, low-VOC paints, a composting and recycling center, motion-activated light controls, and work surfaces made from recycled materials among other elements. “It’s important for both our employees and our clients to feel that our space connects with our values and our work. Balancing good design and flexibility against sustainability and comfort is a challenge,” says Haga. “And we feel the designers created a space that’s a 100 percent home run.”


Michielli + Wyetzner Architects Designs Lean & Green

19 April, 2010


Razum Media

Convincing people to invest in green design is easier when they’re already committed to it. Take, for example, the recently completed New York office of AECOM, an international transportation, facilities, environmental, and energy conglomerate dedicated to the use of sustainable principles. When New York-based Michielli + Wyetzner Architects, the designers of the new office, proposed bringing in an abundance of natural light to the top-floor space by carving a large hole in the roof and topping it with a solar-controlled skylight, the client agreed, but not without hesitation.

“All design elements are much debated when you’re on a tight budget,” says Sara Haga, vice president and managing principal at AECOM. And the skylight was one of them. “But the architects are strong proponents of sustainable design,” says Haga. “So they really promoted the feature, not only as an eco-friendly way to bring in light, but also for the excitement and ‘wow’ factor it would generate as soon as the elevator doors open to the space. If you have to pick where to put your money, the designers focused it in the right place.”

Designed, built, and furnished at a cost of $1.6 million, AECOM’s new office houses an interdisciplinary team of 69 urban planners, landscape architects, and engineers, who came together when AECOM merged with EDAW, a global urban planning and landscape firm, in 2007.

Occupying the entire 9,000-sq.-ft. top floor of a landmarked 12-story, 1910 building on the West Side of Manhattan, the footprint is long and narrow, with windows on the short north and south sides. “The skylight is a way to bring in natural light and improve the quality of the work environment for everyone,” says Michael Wyetzner, principal of Michielli + Wyetzner Architects. “It also dovetails with the space’s flexible, reconfigurable conference room,” says Frank Michielli, Michielli + Wyetzner’s other principal.

Crowned by the 10-ft. by 10-ft. skylight, the reconfigurable conference room is the centerpiece of the open plan design, both functionally and aesthetically. “When we started the project, AECOM’s London-based COO, Bill Haney, expressed the company’s goal of establishing an elevated, recognizable design quality in all its offices around the world,” says Michielli. “They also wanted to create a space that was highly collaborative and comfortable for clients to hang out in.” Not only does the conference room set a design tone for other offices around the globe, but it also signals AECOM’s commitment to both high design and sustainability to its clients the instant they enter the space.

Another top priority for the client was flexibility, and the conference room plays a pivotal role in achieving that, too. Defined by a series of movable, custom-designed, steel-framed glass panels, the room easily can be reconfigured to serve as a small or large central meeting space. And thanks to the innovative truss structure that supports the panels, it also can morph into a gallery/exhibition area, an assembly hall, or an event space in any number of configurations to suit different functions. “It really works,” says Haga. “We use it every day for meetings between four to eight people, and the other night we accommodated a film screening for a group of 100 with nominal set-up time.” The clear panels also double as display walls for site plans and drawings of the firm’s work.

Flexibility was essential in the workspace areas. “We wanted the employees to have a sense of place, but we also wanted to be able to move people around to work in different teams in about 30 minutes to an hour,” says Haga. To create a fluid yet supportive work area, the architects developed a series of 15-ft.-long worktables and benches using Knoll’s Autostrada system. “The client wanted to use space efficiently, but didn’t want the benches to be too long or have work areas feel like a factory,” says Michielli, “so we limited the number of people working at each table to six and used a frosted-glass, 18-in.-high divider along the length of the table to separate employees from the person sitting across from them. We also created custom millwork shelves made from sustainable-grade plywood at the end of each unit for each group to share.”$0 While adapting to the acoustical distraction of a wide-open office has been a challenge for some of the employees, acknowledges Haga, custom touches, such as the shelves and breakout areas, elevate the overall ambience and create “a sense of place” that enriches the work environment Awarded LEED Gold rating, the office incorporates a wide range of additional sustainable design features and materials, including a new energy-efficient mechanical system on the roof, low-VOC paints, a composting and recycling center, motion-activated light controls, and work surfaces made from recycled materials among other elements. “It’s important for both our employees and our clients to feel that our space connects with our values and our work. Balancing good design and flexibility against sustainability and comfort is a challenge,” says Haga. “And we feel the designers created a space that’s a 100 percent home run.”

Convincing people to invest in green design is easier when they’re already committed to it. Take, for example, the recently completed New York office of AECOM, an international transportation, facilities, environmental, and energy conglomerate dedicated to the use of sustainable principles. When New York-based Michielli + Wyetzner Architects, the designers of the new office, proposed bringing in an abundance of natural light to the top-floor space by carving a large hole in the roof and topping it with a solar-controlled skylight, the client agreed, but not without hesitation.

“All design elements are much debated when you’re on a tight budget,” says Sara Haga, vice president and managing principal at AECOM. And the skylight was one of them. “But the architects are strong proponents of sustainable design,” says Haga. “So they really promoted the feature, not only as an eco-friendly way to bring in light, but also for the excitement and ‘wow’ factor it would generate as soon as the elevator doors open to the space. If you have to pick where to put your money, the designers focused it in the right place.”

Designed, built, and furnished at a cost of $1.6 million, AECOM’s new office houses an interdisciplinary team of 69 urban planners, landscape architects, and engineers, who came together when AECOM merged with EDAW, a global urban planning and landscape firm, in 2007.

Occupying the entire 9,000-sq.-ft. top floor of a landmarked 12-story, 1910 building on the West Side of Manhattan, the footprint is long and narrow, with windows on the short north and south sides. “The skylight is a way to bring in natural light and improve the quality of the work environment for everyone,” says Michael Wyetzner, principal of Michielli + Wyetzner Architects. “It also dovetails with the space’s flexible, reconfigurable conference room,” says Frank Michielli, Michielli + Wyetzner’s other principal.

Crowned by the 10-ft. by 10-ft. skylight, the reconfigurable conference room is the centerpiece of the open plan design, both functionally and aesthetically. “When we started the project, AECOM’s London-based COO, Bill Haney, expressed the company’s goal of establishing an elevated, recognizable design quality in all its offices around the world,” says Michielli. “They also wanted to create a space that was highly collaborative and comfortable for clients to hang out in.” Not only does the conference room set a design tone for other offices around the globe, but it also signals AECOM’s commitment to both high design and sustainability to its clients the instant they enter the space.

Another top priority for the client was flexibility, and the conference room plays a pivotal role in achieving that, too. Defined by a series of movable, custom-designed, steel-framed glass panels, the room easily can be reconfigured to serve as a small or large central meeting space. And thanks to the innovative truss structure that supports the panels, it also can morph into a gallery/exhibition area, an assembly hall, or an event space in any number of configurations to suit different functions. “It really works,” says Haga. “We use it every day for meetings between four to eight people, and the other night we accommodated a film screening for a group of 100 with nominal set-up time.” The clear panels also double as display walls for site plans and drawings of the firm’s work.

Flexibility was essential in the workspace areas. “We wanted the employees to have a sense of place, but we also wanted to be able to move people around to work in different teams in about 30 minutes to an hour,” says Haga. To create a fluid yet supportive work area, the architects developed a series of 15-ft.-long worktables and benches using Knoll’s Autostrada system. “The client wanted to use space efficiently, but didn’t want the benches to be too long or have work areas feel like a factory,” says Michielli, “so we limited the number of people working at each table to six and used a frosted-glass, 18-in.-high divider along the length of the table to separate employees from the person sitting across from them. We also created custom millwork shelves made from sustainable-grade plywood at the end of each unit for each group to share.”$0 While adapting to the acoustical distraction of a wide-open office has been a challenge for some of the employees, acknowledges Haga, custom touches, such as the shelves and breakout areas, elevate the overall ambience and create “a sense of place” that enriches the work environment.

Awarded LEED Gold rating, the office incorporates a wide range of additional sustainable design features and materials, including a new energy-efficient mechanical system on the roof, low-VOC paints, a composting and recycling center, motion-activated light controls, and work surfaces made from recycled materials among other elements. “It’s important for both our employees and our clients to feel that our space connects with our values and our work. Balancing good design and flexibility against sustainability and comfort is a challenge,” says Haga. “And we feel the designers created a space that’s a 100 percent home run.”
 


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