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Minimalist Architecture Featured
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Minimalist Architecture

Minimalist Architecture - First

Minimalism is a design principle that emphasizes simplicity and clarity. In architecture, it means creating buildings with clean, uncluttered lines, and a focus on functionality rather than ornamentation. Minimalist architecture emerged in the 1960s and 1970s as a reaction against the ornate, decorative style of the preceding era. Today, it remains a popular style for both commercial and residential buildings.

What is Minimalist Architecture?

Minimalist architecture is a style that emphasizes simplicity, with a focus on creating buildings that are functional, efficient, and unadorned. The basic principles of minimalism can be seen in many aspects of the design, including:

Simple lines and forms: Minimalist buildings feature clean, uncluttered lines and a focus on geometry. Rectangles, squares, and circles are common shapes, and there is an emphasis on symmetry and balance.

Neutral colors: Minimalist buildings often use a limited palette of neutral colors, such as white, black, and gray. This helps to create a sense of calm and simplicity.

Use of natural materials: Many minimalist buildings use natural materials such as wood, stone, and glass. These materials help to create a sense of warmth and connection to the environment.

Functionality: Minimalist architecture is all about creating spaces that are functional and efficient. There is a focus on getting the most out of every square foot, with no wasted space or unnecessary ornamentation.

Why Choose Minimalist Architecture?

Minimalist architecture is a popular choice for many reasons. Here are a few of the benefits:

Simplicity: Minimalist buildings are simple and uncluttered, which can create a sense of calm and serenity. This can be especially appealing in a world that can often feel chaotic and overwhelming.

Efficiency: Minimalist buildings are designed to be efficient and functional. This means that they can often be built more quickly and cost-effectively than more ornate designs.

Timelessness: Minimalist buildings have a timeless quality that can help them to stand the test of time. They are not tied to a specific era or style, and can be appreciated for their simplicity and beauty for years to come.

Examples of Minimalist Architecture

Some of the most iconic examples of minimalist architecture include:

Minimalist Architecture

The Farnsworth House: Built in 1951, this house is a classic example of minimalist architecture. It features a simple rectangular shape, with large windows that provide a connection to the surrounding nature.

Minimalist Architecture

The Barcelona Pavilion: Built in 1929, this pavilion is considered one of the most important examples of modernist architecture. It features a minimalist design with a focus on geometry and symmetry.

Minimalist architecture is a design style that emphasizes simplicity, efficiency, and functionality. It has become a popular choice for both commercial and residential buildings, with many famous examples around the world. By choosing a minimalist design, you can create a space that is both beautiful and functional, with a timeless quality that will last for years to come.

Indoor-air-quality-ventilation-by Russell and Dawson Inc
AEC Blogs

Facility Management for Indoor Air Quality

Digital Twin by Russell and Dawson

The term Facility Management is mostly associated with commercial buildings because there are various aspects that need to be looked upon. Facility managers are responsible for maintaining buildings that include different challenges and priorities. Digitalization has helped managers to achieve sustainability, the comfort of occupants, productivity, and security. But there are changes seen in the management as and when new methods are introduced. The recent pandemic is one of the major factors which has forced managers to consider new protocols. The new protocols focus on indoor air quality, space utilization, contact tracing, and people tracking. We face various risks in our everyday life and one major risk is related to our health. An increase in usage of vehicles, recreational activities, and exposing ourselves to environmental pollutants are reasons behind health issues. Some of these risks are simply unavoidable, however, some risks are controllable to an extent such as Indoor Air Quality.

The meaning of the term Indoor Air Quality is the quality of air within and around building structures which relates directly to the health and comfort of inhabitants. The surprising fact is that we usually believe pollution is connected to outdoor activities. But the truth is pollutant sources are present inside a structure which can harm the occupants. There are different factors responsible for air quality inside any building and it is also affected by outside activities near the building.

Scientific research indicates that air within houses and other structures can become more polluted than the air outdoors. People spend the maximum amount of time with family in their own homes which accelerate health issues if the indoor air quality is poor. Groups of young people, elders, and chronically ill with respiratory and cardiovascular diseases are at high risk than other groups.

Outdoor Air Entering Building

The circulation of air is a continuous and obvious process. It travels from outside to inside and vice versa. The air passing through any structure takes place through mechanical ventilation, infiltration, and natural ventilation. Mechanical ventilation helps to remove air from single spaces like washrooms periodically. Air handling systems like outdoor vented fans remove indoor air and distribute filtered outdoor air throughout the homes. Infiltration is outdoor air flowing into buildings through cracks in walls, joints, and openings. Natural ventilation is air moving through doors and windows. The process of natural ventilation and infiltration takes place when there is a difference in outdoor and indoor temperatures. I knew the rate at which indoor air is replaced by outdoor air as the air exchange rate. A low air exchange rate increases pollutant levels.

Sources of Indoor Air Quality

Common Strategies

Ventilation Improvements: The ventilation system of any structure plays a vital role in the circulation of air. As per weather conditions, opening windows and doors increase outdoor ventilation. Exhaust fans in spaces like kitchens and washrooms remove toxic air substances and outdoor ventilation goes up. The advanced structural design services includes a mechanical system that allows outdoor air into the house.

Air cleaners: There are various types of air cleaners available but the most effective is the one that collects pollutants from indoor air through a filtering element. They are not responsible for removing gas elements in the air. Air cleaner that has a good strength of pollution source is effective.

Source Control: Another basic way to improve indoor air quality is to reduce the emissions level of an individual source of pollution. Gas stoves are one good example to decrease emissions. Source control is cost-efficient in comparison with other options like ventilation.

Digital Twin

The meaning of digital twin is a virtual replica of a physical product, asset or system. In the context of commercials, the digital twin will include building, assets, people, and space. Digital twin integrates all systems into one application. Twin is formed on mainly two concepts – Data and Visualization. Data is included in the twin and it helps in the digital visualization of assets. These assets can include access control, spaces, HVAC etc. They can be connected through the Internet of Things. The sensors record all the activities and gather data which is used for simulations to produce a holistic viewpoint of space and its life cycle. The end result of data and visualization helps the facility managers to monitor the building and surrounding health. Artificial Intelligence helps to cut the unimportant noises around and catches the priority alarms to respond to priority activities in the building.

Preventive Management Models

The digital twin system has enabled the facility managers to use it as a preventive model for decision-making. Past information related to assets, present information in real-time, and predicting the future conditions of the building is derived from the digital twin. A digital twin is known to improve productivity by 20%, space utilization by 15%, optimization by 35%, and sustainability by 50%. Facility managers can hesitate at first for such investments but the digital twin is beneficial in the long run because it collects data from different assets and simulates it for use. Artificial Intelligence and IoT equipment help in connecting the assets. The outcome will not be noticed over the night. The building will function on its own once the digital twin operates on the data collected. On the other hand, facility managers will be able to focus on emergencies and different priorities.

First Use

The first use of a digital twin by any facility manager can be confusing in terms of priorities. They can filter it out with the help of the building and its occupant needs. Post quarantine needs to play a vital role in the priorities of a building. These priorities include ventilation, and HVAC to keep the air clean. Digital twin helps in predicting air heating, cooling, and flow of clean air which is based on space utilization in real-time through occupant counting sensors. Physical-logical security determines an employee’s presence by using their badges. The person present in one building physically should not be allowed to log in from another location because of cyber security. Possessing a digital records of people counting sensors helps to identify the spaces which are utilized and vacant. So this helps in organizing space utilization of different spaces like labs, storage, meeting room etc. The facility managers can use technology to identify which space has occupancy at what time so they can heat or cool spaces as per the trends through equipment.

Connecting Digital Fabric

There are different solutions like IoT, cloud to cloud integration, and partner ecosystem which gives strength to the digital twin system. IoT includes different sensors to provide metadata for intelligence. They receive information from sensors that monitor asset performance in the building. After the collection of data, IoT adds events received from sensors into a digital graph through a cloud component. The partner ecosystem brings solutions together. The combination of solutions helps to access the real-time data and facility managers can perform the activities effectively. A company providing system and digital solutions associates with a technology partner and 3D BIM experts to connect data flowing in the system.

Shifting from Reactive to Proactive self-healing

Facility management can be conducted smoothly through this system and smart buildings can be created which stay alert for emergencies and build data sets for self-healing structures. When the digital data is connected it results in intelligence. This intelligence can play a major role player in decision-making for accurate predictions, quick decisions, and improve efficiency. The whole facility management will become autonomous on the basic data collected and its usage by the integrated system. Digital twin allows facility managers to shift focus to critical areas. A Digital twin system produces data from the past, and present and helps to predict future alerts of a structure.

Facility managers become competent for future emergencies. A smart and sustainable future can be met through this system.

Indoor Cooling by Russell and Dawson
Warehouse Design by Russell and Dawson inc for Hampshire Companies
AEC Blogs

The rise of warehouses in North America

Extra Space Storage Design in Hartford by Russell and Dawson Inc

The goods are stored at each point of the value chain and are made available to end clients as and when required. Distribution centers can commonly be divided into three arrangements, including general warehousing, agricultural warehousing, and refrigerated warehousing. Online shopping has become common and a go-to choice for essentially all client types, intensifying the demand for warehousing spaces. America’s distribution space demand is floated by the increased speed of e-commerce businesses.

The North American warehousing and storage market is presently being driven by a few elements. The interest for warehousing outsourcing administrations has been developing from manufacturing firms catalyzed by their productional and functional extensions. This has prompted an increased logistics need for the storage of raw materials, parts, and finished products for retailers and merchants.

The North American warehousing and logistics market have kept on experiencing strong demand in 2021. Nonetheless, pandemic-related supply chain issues keep on compounding a more extensive demand and supply issue inside the North American warehouse construction sector.

Projects presently under development are encountering schedule delays while planned constructions are being affected by rising material expenses, making gaps for the acceptance of tender prices shrivel.

Labor shortages across the construction sectors, large numbers of which represented an issue before the pandemic, add a further layer of intricacy to the point of getting back to pre-pandemic levels of activity, with numerous contractors facing issues to recruit skilled workmen.

From the owner’s perspective, two approaches have arisen with investment both inside metro regions and near nodal points, where expressways and ports unite. There has likewise been a new pattern for the redevelopment of “zombie shopping centers” and box stores that have seen a significant decrease in pedestrian activity as e-commerce business keeps on acquiring pieces of the pie.

Another technique is moving distribution centers into existing metropolitan regions, utilizing brownfield land which can’t be utilized for private or corporate uses. While being found a lot closer to clients, these sites actually represent a challenge since they will be smaller and would require twofold stacking to make sufficient room for stock, increasing building costs. Dense metropolitan areas additionally make high-frequency truck traffic harder to accommodate.

Despite these difficulties, the extra expense and exertion expected to make these strategies work are progressively turning out to be more acceptable as demand keeps on soaring.

Acceleration of e-commerce entails the rise of warehouses in North America

$1 billion increase in online business sales brings about 1.25 million square feet of distribution center space need. Subsequently, net absorption is projected to reach more than 250 million square feet in 2021. It’s intriguing to take note that this figure far surpasses the past five-year yearly normal of 211 million square feet.

This takes us to the fact that retail structures are relied upon to see a flood in adaptive reuse for industrial occupiers in a few years. The truth of the matter is that America has far overbuilt retail space. For this reason, it seems like you see “for lease” signs all over. Adaptive reuse permits developers to take a structure that no longer serves the community and adjust it to higher and better use.

Russell and Dawson – An Architecture and Engineering Design firm has also designed for adaptive reuse of existing abandoned buildings for the extension of the warehouse facility. Located on Park St, Hartford, The Extra Space Storage Units for The Hampshire Companies is a fine example of Russell and Dawson’s ability to design the historical exterior of a building, preserving the town’s aesthetic values. It consisted of 360+ storage units with a 50,300 SQFT area.

In one of the most tumultuous times in world history, the warehousing industry is progressing.

The land is valuable for the growing US economy right now.  There are 11,000 existing warehouses in North America equaling over 4.7 sq ft of industrial space as of 2020. Another 190 million sq ft of warehousing space was under construction in 2020. The U.S. will use over 1 billion square feet of storage space this year, compared to 800 million last year. And there are already 500 million square feet of storage in development. 45% of warehouses under construction are already leased. Warehouse vacancy in the country has reached 3.6%, a record low, at 3.6%, these warehouses are operating beyond their available capacity to even function properly.

Thus, an extraordinary expansion in the e-commerce business indicates requirements for new design features by Warehouse Design Firms. From heights of ceilings to mezzanine floors, a few contemplations must be calculated if the warehousing business aspires to boost net absorption aggregates in the foreseeable future.

Reducing Carbon emissions through insulations
AEC Blogs

How can we reduce carbon emissions during winter?

How can we reduce carbon emissions during winter?

You may either rely on combustion or electricity to heat a building during winter, and every choice has its advantages and disadvantages. Combustion heating is a lucrative choice for some structures, yet this implies you have to burn fossil fuels directly and release emissions. On the other hand, electric heating frameworks can possibly work with clean power. However, electric resistance heaters are costly to work because of their high wattage, while electric heat pumps have lower running expenses but higher upfront expenses.

A dependable space heating framework is needed during winter, particularly in places that see extremely low temperatures. Though, heating systems have a significant carbon impression when they don’t work efficiently. Boilers and furnaces will consume more fuel when a structure can’t hold the heat inside adequately. The older units tend to consume more fuel if their maintenance is not done regularly. An electric heating system relying on the power grid which uses fossil fuels for generating power will also release high emissions. Thus, most of the old buildings are increasingly investing in their HVAC Systems upgrade to reduce the consumption of fuels.

On December 16, 2021 Governor Lamont Signs Executive Order Directing Connecticut State Agencies to Implement Actions That Reduce Carbon Emissions and Adapt to Climate Crisis.

Connecticut is progressively encountering the impacts of the changing climate, and precious little time remains to make a move to moderate the effects the state will face in future. The state’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report shows that outflows from the transportation and building areas are expanding and that the state isn’t on target to meet its interim 2030 objective. Governor Lamont said the state should make a forceful move to decrease carbon emissions by directing the whole of government to approach EO 21-3.

Here, let’s talk about certain procedures to give more affordable warming and cooling for inhabitants and organizations, lessen carbon emissions from private and business structures and industrial processes, and work on the strength of the state’s energy area to outrageous climate conditions, fuel price spikes, and other disruptions.

Insulation and Air Sealing

Having an efficient building envelope is incredible since you save energy the entire year. Heat is kept inside more efficiently during winter when you really want it, while outside heat is caught up during summer when you don’t. This implies a proficient building envelope diminishes your space warming expenses, yet in addition your cooling costs.

There are two significant prerequisites for an ideal building envelope: insulation and air sealing. This lessens heat flow through your walls, windows, rooftop and floor slabs. For instance, assuming a building envelope redesign decreases the heat loss by 100,000 BTU/hour, that sum is deducted from the workload of your space heating framework. To envision what this would mean for your emissions, see the below example.

  • For instance, you have a gas heating system that is 80% productive. To deliver those 100,000 BTU/hour, it needs a contribution of 125,000 BTU/hour.
  • On account of flammable gas, Local Law 97 of 2019 applies a discharges component of 0.00005311 tCO2-eq per KTBU. When saving 125 KTBU/hour, you’re likewise saving 6.64 kg of CO2 each hour.
  • Assuming this heating system runs 4,000 hours each year, the building envelope redesign is saving you 26.56 metric tons of carbon emissions.

For an exact estimation of your energy reserve and avoided emissions with a building envelope update, you want expert energy modeling to be executed. Every one of the BTUs saved by air-sealing and insulations are deducted from your heating bills, and this likewise cuts your yearly outflows.

Thermostat Settings

You can likewise decrease your space heating emissions by setting your indoor regulator appropriately. There is an exceptionally helpful guideline from the US Department of Energy: by setting your indoor regulator 7°F to 10°F during 8 hours out of every day, you can set aside to 10% in cooling and space heating.

Since building outflows rely upon energy utilization, you can likewise lessen them by setting your thermostat appropriately. Assuming the gas utilization of your space heating system is cut by 10%, the related emissions will likewise drop by 10%. Simply remember that the importance of “setting your thermostat” changes relying on the season.

You save energy by reducing the temperature setting during winter and increasing it during summer. If not, you will accomplish the contrary impact: a higher energy utilization, more discharges, and over-cooling and overheating.

HVAC Systems Upgrade

HVAC systems represent the biggest portion of energy utilization in private and business structures. By completing a profound energy retrofit that includes a HVAC system upgrade, you might be able to cut down your utilization and emissions by more than half. In any case, a structure retrofit is a complex project that requires cautious preparation and significant capital which implies proficient MEP Engineering Design Firms are critical.


Buildings are accountable for both operational and embodied carbon emissions, and various techniques are required to combat each kind of emission. However, there is less opportunity to decrease embodied carbon as the building opens, these discharges have already been released.

Operational carbon emissions can be resolved with a mix of energy efficiency measures, transformation to cleaner sources, and on-site renewable generation. Embodied emissions should be limited during the plan and development process while reusing the materials would be prudent.

Winners of Olympics in Architectural Field
AEC Blogs

Architecture and Olympics – Bygone times

Architecture in Olympics_by russell and dawson

A rare combination which should be commonly known.

The word architecture is derived from the Greek word ‘architekton’ which means the chief carpenter. In ancient times, the one who designed the work in a good way was termed as an engineer, designer, or architect. The concept like training never existed as there were no formal guidelines or standards given.

Architecture as a profession evolved in different regions and countries gradually. In the USA, it was the year 1857 when the profession was accepted as a licensed one. Currently, there are numerous Architectural Design Firms providing design services with advanced technologies in this field. There has been a lot of advancement with respect to architecture as a business.

This organization of games took place every four years at the place called Olympia and the difference of time duration was known as Olympiad. So this way the contest was named as Olympic Games. The exact date when the games started is still unknown. But it is perceived as a part of history.

It is hard to believe that architecture was considered a sport in ancient times! But this is a reality one cannot ignore. Moreover, it was not only limited to participating but also rewarding to deserving participants.

There was a time in Greece when two prominent professions today – art and sports were parallel to each other as people used to think that exercising body and mind both were equally important in life. This combination was something unique in itself. Keeping the point in mind, the father of modern Olympics Pierre de Coubertin felt that the mixture of athletes and artists needs to be involved again in the sports contests. Art Competitions that focus on sports were included in the Olympics and Architecture was considered a major game contest.

De Coubertin shared the idea with the Olympic congress in 1906 and made it public. However, the implementation was not done in the 1908 Olympics game. After changing the format of sports which required proper structure, Architecture acquired a place in the 1912 Olympics which was held in Stockholm. The big decision was criticized at the initial stage but eventually, it got its place in the game.

Since there were no formal training programs, knowledgeable sources, expertise, and experience, the field of architecture could not be developed at that time. So categories in architecture competition were town planning, built work, and speculative designs. The judges had to consider the only projects related to or which had some link with sports and consider them for awards.

Winners at Olympics in Architectural Field_by Russell and Dawson

There were 33 participants in the art competition in the 1912 Olympics. The art competition got less response in the year 1920 at Antwerp and this affected architecture competition. But in 1924 it drew the attention again the same way it received in the initial stage. This continued even in the 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam where items of art competition were exhibited at the municipal museum.

Not only there was huge participation but the best work was awarded medals in the field of architecture. Some notable achievements are Walter Winans from the USA who was a champion in the sculpture. A participant from Hungary named Alfred Hajos won a silver medal in architecture in the early 19’s. In the 1928 Olympics, France participant Paul Landowski won gold for a boxer sculpture. His remarkable work is a statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro.

This way different art competitions like architecture were an eminent part of sports contests till 1948. International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1949 decided to drop the art competition because there was no significant difference at the Olympics. In 1952, the decision of dropping the art was re-evaluated, but was rejected again due to committee opinions. So rather than giving a zero appearance, they decided to substitute the competition with art exhibitions.

We can say that history repeated itself because in ancient Greece the architecture competition was put aside and it was again noticeable in the 20th century. The reason is the evolution of new techniques, methods, and ideology with time. There are some buildings which are still standing today which makes it a remarkable achievement. In 1936, Hermann Kutschera of Austria won a gold medal for Skiing stadium design but it was not built.

Green Roof Designs by Russell and Dawson inc
AEC Blogs

Green Building. Green Architecture. Green Roofs.

Green Roof Cut Section of Danbury Proton Therapy by Russell and Dawson

Green Roof at new Danbury Proton Therapy Centre in Connecticut.

Green” anything these days is an intriguing matter and a trendy expression, sometimes wholeheartedly embraced, or politically charged, in some cases even scoffed at. However, the design adjective of any Architectural or Engineering Design firm ought to be acknowledged as a common-sense approach and a sign of regard for both our natural and built environments.

But what establishes “building green,” and what does sustainability mean in the context of building design? In the United States, the Office of the Federal Environmental Executive characterizes green structure as “the act of increasing the efficiency with which structures and their sites use energy, water, and materials, and lessening building impacts on human wellbeing and the environment, through better siting, plan, development, activity, maintenance, and expulsion, the complete building life cycle.”

Green rooftops are growing up increasingly more on structures around the world, from private homes and schools to recreational and commercial buildings. Made with assortments of succulents, grasses, wildflowers, and herbs on a few primary layers—including a waterproof membrane and levels for waste, protection, and filtration—these self-supporting living design elements can bring beauty to metropolitan structures or associate rural structures to their encompassing landscapes. The sky-high gardens additionally have a wide range of environmental advantages, like the ability to absorb carbon dioxide, lessen stormwater runoff, limit heat absorption, and provide habitats to insects, birds, and other wildlife. Factor in lower heating and cooling costs, extended roof life, and tax incentives (contingent upon the city). Thus, it is quite visible that the green roof trends are continuing to grow these days.

Green Roofs can:

  • Heat mitigation, Air quality improvement, erosion and Sedimentation control
  • Help purify the air and stormwater management;
  • Utilize local and reused materials;
  • Extend the existence of the roof;
  • Improve aesthetics;
  • Increased points in LEED rating system
  • Increased building marketability
  • Emerging synergy with solar power
  • Create greenspace for people and wildlife while giving a mental and physical break from urban surroundings
  • Wildlife habitat creation, conservation, and restoration
  • Economic benefits
  • Reduced Energy consumption and costs
  • Increased developable space
  • Reduced local impact fees and increased incentives
  • Appealing to Biophilia
  • Making employees happier
  • Fostering a sense of community

As Architectural designers, and local area and business pioneers, we can pick to mitigate the many adverse consequences of a structure’s footprints by incorporating various green design principles. As an option in contrast to forcing our constructed structures onto the land disregarding the capacity of under-utilized rooftop surfaces (beyond waterproofing), we can incorporate green roof engineering as a way of designing with nature to evoke displaced landscapes and re-establish a measure of green space.

Imagine seeing down from a plane with a 10,000-foot perspective. Instead of seeing immense regions of concrete or dark tar rooftops, you see moving stands of flowering, multi-hued plants.

These situations are technically possible, and green roofs do not require special high-tech designs. However, these are engineered frameworks comprising of different material layers which must work in tandem to perform effectively.

Green Roof Types: Extensive and Intensive

Extensive Green Roofs:

Extensive green roofs utilize less and more slender build-up layers and thus are lighter and more affordable. They are utilized when the owner primarily desires a biological rooftop cover with restricted or no entrance for recreation. Less growth media is utilized, and the proper plants are low-developing, solid Alpine types.

Plants for extensive green roofs should be tolerant to high heat, drought, wind, and snow. They should likewise be self-regenerative in nature and have low maintenance necessities overall.

Media depths range from one inch up to around six inches. A popular misconception is that a flat rooftop is great, however, they present drainage issues. Ideally, a rooftop ought to have a delicate incline of at minimum 1.5 – 2% to allow for regular drainage properties. For the most part, extensive green roofs can be installed on inclines of up to 30°, despite the fact that there are green roofs with 40° slopes. Reinforcement will be vital at more extreme pitches utilizing cross secures or underlying matrix designs to hold the plants and designed soil in place, as well as to manage wind shear.

Roofs with solid breeze elevate or with slants 15° and higher ought to be protected during foundation with an erosion control net as jute or other regular biodegradable fiber. The roofs are suitable for low-sloped residential roofs and retrofits. Mostly desert grasses and succulent plants are used which does not require watering after a year. The annual spring weeding of tree seedlings and weeds is bought in by birds and winds.

Intensive Green Roofs:

Intensive green roofs look more like a customary rooftop garden. They can incorporate a lot more extensive assortment of plants (like blooming bushes, vegetables, and even trees). Depths start at around six inches up to 15 feet.

The primary distinction between a rooftop garden and an escalated green roof is that a green roofing system is applied on top of the whole rooftop deck surface, allowing unrestricted drainage and weight distribution over the whole roof.

Architectural accents like cascades, lakes, seating regions, can be essential for a concentrated green roof framework. Such rooftops can provide recreation regions where individuals can associate with nature and with one another. These frameworks can utilize the neglected rooftop space by making dynamic regions for contemplation and play. The rooftops are fully landscaped and require regular maintenance similar to any garden.

Green Roofs_At Danbury Proton Therapy Center_Designed by Russell and Dawson

Russell and Dawson provided Green Roof plans for the new Danbury Proton Therapy in Connecticut with a 6” green roof fully adhered to TPO roofing membrane as shown in the image above.


With green roofs, we can make a choice to design with nature, instead of against her. Green roofs can assist with moderating a portion of our most pressing urban development issues, while likewise permitting us to receive financial rewards through reducing different structure-related expenses and advancing a growing design and construction industry. The natural green roof design can really help restore the health of the Earth’s environment.

Net Zero Buildings_by Russell and Dawson
AEC Blogs

Net Zero Buildings

Net Zero Buildings_by Russell and Dawson

The Biden administrations submitted a long-term strategy to the UNFCCC in November 2021, officially committing the USA to net zero emissions by 2050 latest.

A large portion of the structures today utilize a great amount of energy-to keep lights on, cool the air, heat water, and power individual gadgets. In any event, installing solar systems won’t altogether counter the substantial energy loads. However, there are a few buildings that strike a balance, or even top the scales the alternate way! They are called Zero Energy Buildings. They deal with the feat by being extremely energy effective by saving 50-70% more energy than ordinary structures. In these ultra-high-performance buildings, the amount of energy utilized can be totally balanced by renewable energy generated on and around the building. At the point when conditions are not reasonable for energy generation, the structure will draw energy from the electrical grid to address its issues. And when conditions improve, the on-site renewable energy system will cover the building’s energy need and send the excess energy back into the grid to make the equilibrium. Throughout the year the structure offers back as much energy as it takes. At the point when zero energy ideas are applied to group of buildings, the advantages are shared and multiplied within that zero-energy community. These structures are likewise more solid, reasonable to construct and work and better for the environment. While these might appear as “buildings of the future,” new technologies are continually arising that make zero energy simpler and easier to accomplish today by the Architectural Design Firms. More than 100 organizations and associations have endorsed the World Green Building Council’s Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment, which looks to decarbonize the buildings sector by 2050 and get most of the way there by 2030. That would reduce the almost 40% of worldwide CO2 discharges presently contributed by the building structures. By becoming super-efficient and offering back as much energy as they consume, zero energy structures will have a significant impact in making a more competitive, energy-secure future.

Zero energy structures consolidate energy efficiency and renewable energy generation to burn through just as much energy as can be delivered on-site through renewable resources throughout a predetermined time span. Accomplishing zero energy is an ambitious yet progressively attainable objective that is gaining momentum across geographic districts and markets. Private business land owners have a developing interest in creating zero energy structures to meet their corporate objectives, and because of administrative commands, national government organizations and many state governments are starting to push toward zero energy building targets.

Advanced Energy Design Guides for Zero Energy Buildings – This series of guides, made through the industry collaboration with ASHRAE and other market pioneers, gives easy direction to accomplishing a zero-energy execution in different structure types. They incorporate arrangements of energy execution targets for all climate zones. Approaches to accomplish these energy targets are given all through and comprises quantifiable objectives, employing MEP design groups focused on that objective, utilizing energy simulation all through the plan and development process, monitoring what process choices affect energy use. The target group for this incorporates architects, plan engineers, energy modelers, contractors, office directors, building activities staff and facilities planning staff.

With sustainability and ESG (Environmental, social and corporate governance) factors being progressively significant for being competitive, net-zero carbon responsibilities are arising as “must-have” for large proprietors and administrators looking for finance, decrease risk and draw in first class representatives, occupants and customers.

How can Net Zero be Achieved?

At the point when the objective is net-zero energy, there are four main considerations during development: design, location, orientation, and the utilization of renewable energy.

Location: To build a net-zero building, several location factors such as climate, sun, wind patterns, temperature, rain patterns, etc. should be taken into consideration by architecture and engineering design firms.

Orientation: Factors that preserve energy are additionally significant. Other than harnessing the sun’s energy, you can preserve it by orienting your structure to maximize the advantage of the shade. In warm environments, this implies you’ll have to utilize the cooling less to keep your structure cool.

You can likewise situate your building to take advantage of natural winds. Utilizing natural resources to control your structure’s energy systems and diminish energy necessities, will conserve resources simultaneously.

Design: During the design phase of a net-zero building, it is important to select the best insulating materials so that the building is able to conserve as much energy as possible. Windows that are dual or triple pane effectively sealed can be a major factor in conserving energy.

Insulation is additionally an important factor to be considered as well which is rated in R-values. The higher the R-value, the better. Insulations such as fiberglass, wool, foam boards, cellulose, polystyrene, polyurethane, etc. provide an extra barrier between the interior and exterior of a building. Also, ventilation is particularly important in tropical climates.

ASHRAE, or the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers, has created standards that apply to building design.

Utilization of Renewable energy: Active strategies such as photovoltaics, wind power, hydroelectric power, biomass, geothermal power, solar power, and solar thermal helps in reducing energy consumption during the building process. Net-zero energy structures respond in different ways to their nearby power grid.

Factors to be considered while planning for Net Zero Buildings_Russell and Dawson

There are two primary plan procedures for net-zero structures – active and passive. Active processes center around the development of energy, which is normally refined by incorporating renewable energy systems. Solar systems and wind turbines are normal ways of counterbalancing the energy needs during both development and operation.

Passive process, center around diminishing energy use. Prudent design strategies, like expanding natural light and keeping up with consistent temperatures, are at the core of the aloof plan. With the scope of environments found across the world, proper insulation is a key design highlight. Ensuring precise air seals is critical to making an energy-tight structure.

The building’s location and direction are additionally critical net-zero variables. Structures in regions inclined to overcast skies will have restricted solar energy potential. In like manner, building oriented to utilize natural light can require 25% less energy. Furthermore, solar systems work best when pointing toward the south or west. All in all, structures in Aspen will have different specifications in comparison to those in Pueblo. Renewable energy sources offset structures’ energy use. In some cases, a few areas will not create an adequate sum to address the issue. This is the place where grid connections come in.

Connecting buildings to the grid

Colorado positions are seventh in wind generating capacity. However, all the areas of the state cannot produce renewable energy. That is the reason all structures equipped for creating renewable energy should expect to deliver more than they devour. The abundance can be channeled once again into the grid. Then, at that point, it helps power different structures and the encompassing regions. This assists with ensuring structures and networks stay powered regardless of changing nearby conditions. Net-zero structures are the future. To save the planet, the whole idea of building design should change. Energy conservation and renewal are critical to making the U.S a leader in net-zero.

5 ways to retrofit your buildings to make progress towards a net zero goal_Russell and Dawson


The challenges are huge, however, the techniques for meeting and conquering them are known. We absolutely need to speed up the strategies and make them cooperate to boost energy efficiency. If we do this for new and existing structures, we can meet the objectives we’ve set for 2030 and 2040. We can even meet those for 2050, as we work to identify new, longer-term objectives.

Challenges the design team face while handling projects_by Russell and Dawson
AEC Blogs

Challenges the design team face while handling projects.

Russell and Dawson Inc discussing project

Any architect, be it a newbie or a well-established architect work on projects which are unique facing new challenges and difficulties. While it may be true that some of the projects still share common grounds on the challenges the architect faces. Some of these issues are unavoidable, irrespective of the type of project we’re discussing.

The employment of architects is expected to grow by 8% by 2028 as many individuals are starting to show interest in this profession. The most ideal way of deciding if this profession fits the best for you is by analyzing the pros and the cons while working on any architectural project. Along these lines, the challenges faced by the architects while working on any project are given below.

Monitoring the Team

An architect can never work alone, particularly not when they’re dealing with a bigger project. There are various designers involved in a single project such as Engineering Design Firms including structural engineers, mechanical engineers, plumbing engineers, and other architects specializing in other parts of the project. Tasks are delegated, and the colleagues will each have to play their particular parts. Usually, this is the way where the project can come to life.

Obviously, you can’t just distribute the tasks and let them be on their own. You need to keep open lines of correspondence to guarantee a positive outcome. Each person involved needs to provide details regarding their advancement, and you should monitor their work and ensure that everybody is fulfilling their time constraints. Monitoring the group is made simpler with the collaboration tools available, yet it’s one of the principal challenges that most architects face.

Language Differences between Clients and Architect

One of the most amazing parts of working in the architectural field is getting an opportunity to team up and work with customers from around the world. While this can be an informative and remunerating experience, it accompanies some inimitable difficulties too. The language obstruction among architects and customers can mess up the project or even bring the project to halt.

Conquering the language obstruction is significantly more troublesome than it appears. It isn’t simply an issue of deciphering sentences starting with one language then onto the next; it’s guaranteeing that the ideas of the client coordinate with yours. In this, the Architectural Renderings can come in very convenient. Utilizing 3D rendering to foster your thoughts can offer many advantages and guarantee that you and your customer truly agree.

Client Communication

Regardless of whether you and your customer both communicate in the same language, you can in any case experience issues with conveying thoughts. Maybe the customer isn’t totally certain of how they’d want the outcome to resemble, possibly they’re vague, or can’t think of the words to portray their thoughts. 3D visualization is as yet the best answer for this.

Even with 3D visualization, there can be a great deal of to and fro among you and your customer. To guarantee that everything is going streamlined and that your work coordinates with the customer’s assumptions, you ought to speak with them consistently. Try not to be reluctant to pose inquiries and propose your suggestions and experiences, and check with your customer before you roll out any improvements to the project.

Managing Deadlines and Staying on Budget

While a great many people will in general accept that they can function well under pressure, this is seldom the situation. More than 41% of stressed individuals say that pressure causes a loss in productivity, and this can be extremely hindering. In case you’re working on a project with severe cutoff schedules and an extremely limited financial budget, there’s no getting away from the tension and the pressure.

The most ideal way of managing this is to remain coordinated. Monitor the group, watch out for the cutoff times and discover arrangements that will assist you in remaining reasonably affordable. In case you are unable to fulfill the time constraints and budget, you should communicate it with your client. There are many software and tools such as RS Means and others to help you stay on budget and on schedule. These tools and software can be used from the beginning of the projects.

Rejuvenating the Project

Most of the clients tend to hire an Architectural Design Firm for renovations or new construction projects. The clients’ requests for visually appealing designs, and afterward leave the project incomplete. The explanations for this would vary eventually posing a challenge to the architect to see their creation come to life.

The best way to fight this issue is to guarantee that the plan wows everybody. Designers can do this better by using 3D visualization plans to show the client. 3D perception is the best way to lure the crowds. Putting time and exertion into making a 3D visualization of your plan can be your most critical selling point as a designer. It will exhibit your abilities and talents, and it will help the customers see what the outcomes will resemble. This can give them the additional push they need to conclude the project and send it to development.

Guaranteeing Good Design and Good Construction

The fundamental job of the designer is to come up with an architectural plan that will wow customers and draw consideration from the general public. However, what happens when the plan is awesome, yet the development of it is a long way from the ideal?

This is the reason architects need to convey to the clients that a great plan is reliant upon legitimate development. Stay in contact with your customers, let them in on which materials you’ve had in mind while designing the project, and convey the impact poor construction can have on the design plan, the structure style, and its general allure.

Managing Errors in Design

Mistakes in the structural plan can severely affect the project in case they’re neglected. Errors in computations can become unsafe in the development cycle, inadequately positioned electrical installations can turn into a blemish, and some unacceptable settings of the doors, windows, and walls will make the design comical. This is the reason to go over your project cautiously. The architect ought to look at each plan for slip-ups and blunders. Here, implementation of BIM Modeling can be effective from the beginning of the designing stage where it helps to solve clashes and produce a clash-free model.

Being Informed about New Hardware and Software

Many software and tools are available to architects to make their job easier. However, very few architects are able to use those technologies in their projects. There are tools to remove clashes, provide cost estimations, and precise measurements, etc.

These tools expect you to have an incredible machine to run them too, so you generally should be keeping watch for new hardware assuming you need to remain competitive and productive.

Architects face several challenges daily and learning from these problems is the biggest asset to them. If you want to design great buildings and incorporate innovative ideas, you ought to know the challenges a design team face while working on building projects.

Architecture Design as per climate reality designed by Russell and Dawson
AEC Blogs

How can Architectural Designers battle climate reality like flooding?

Architecture Design Services as per Climate Reality_by Russell and Dawson

Flooding has for long been a major challenge for several properties. Changing climate conditions, typhoons, other outrageous climate occurrences, ocean level ascent, excessive flooding, king tides, and continuing advancement in floodplains are the reasons for flooding. Flooding is occurring at expanded recurrence and size. Some properties that have never been exposed to this danger, and those that flooded inconsistently in the past may experience more instances of flooding or of water clogging at more elevated levels than before.

Climate change is making urban communities more susceptible to flooding. As indicated by a recent report, worldwide ocean levels are expected to ascend somewhere in the range of two and seven feet throughout the century; by 2100, which is 190 million individuals could be living in regions underneath the projected high-tide line.

Coastal communities worldwide should brace themselves for considerably more difficult future than presently expected.

The danger of flooding is changing the manner in which urban communities are constructed, and Architectural Design Firms are adjusting their plans to another environment reality. Utilizing sustainable materials and creative strategies could be progressively significant in a future where flooding is widespread. Architectural Designers are taking several protective measures that could combat the changing climatic conditions and save lives and architecture.

Below are some steps which could be considered by Architecture Design Firms before designing any building structure.

1. Identify the area

Firstly, the architects should identify whether the building is being designed in a flood-prone area. Flood maps are easily available online as well as by U.S Federal Emergency Management Agency. Post analysis of the area, the client or the architect can relocate the project location or move ahead with the same location with some protective measures.

2. Build above the flood levels

To begin, architects and engineers should construct the design above the flood level to limit the damages if a flood occurs. The flood level elevations for particular regions can be found out online (Estimated Base Flood Elevation Viewer run by FEMA). With this data, designers can observe how high to raise the structure and with what technique they ought to do so. One usual method of lifting is by building the construction on sections or stilts. Another way would be building a solid foundation a little higher.  For more explicit data on what to do, architects ought to evaluate the environment and flood history of the specific region and counsel data accessible online.

3. Work with Flood Resistant Material

Flood-resistant materials are those which can stand the rising waters for no less than 72 hours without critical damage. Flood water can be both hydrostatic (standing water) and hydrodynamic (streaming water), and most of the time result in damaging foundation walls, collapsing structures, floating gas tanks, scouring, etc., Significant or extensive damage are those which require more than cosmetic restorative repair such as painting. To forestall these damages, flood-resistant materials should be tough and impervious to inordinate moistness such as concrete, coated block, closed-cell and foam insulations, steel equipment, pressure-treated and marine-grade plywood, ceramic tile, water-safe glue, polyester epoxy paint, etc.

4. Apply Coatings or use Waterproof Veneer

There exist two unique sorts of flood proofing: dry and wet. Dry floodproofing forestall the entry of streaming waters, though wet flood proofing permits rising waters to go into the house. Coatings, sealants, and waterproof veneers are used in dry flood proofing wherein they keep water away from entering inside. A waterproof veneer can comprise a layer of brick upheld by a waterproof membrane, concealing the outside walls against water penetration. For the inside walls, the architects should use washable closed-cell foam insulation for areas below the flood level.

Essentially, coatings and sealants might be applied to the foundation, walls, windows, and entryways to forestall rising water from going into the house through cracks, as these openings are hardly intended to be watertight or resist flood loads as they are.

5. Lift or waterproof HVAC Equipment

Placing service equipment above the flood level is the most ideal approach to prevent it from any damages. Such equipment includes HVAC systems, plumbing fixtures, duct systems, switchboards, meters, and other service panels. If these parts are immersed in floodwater for even a brief timeframe, they can be widely damaged and should be supplanted. Electrical equipment has the potential to cause a short circuit. It is best that these parts are raised over the flood level, however, they may also be designed to prevent damage from flooding by waterproof enclosures, protective coatings, or other methods. Engineering Design Firms should consult municipal codes for the same.

6. Anchor Fuel Tanks

Unanchored fuel tanks are simply moved by rising waters, which could drive the tank into walls, harm other property, and cause contamination, and can fill the water with oil. Indeed, even buried tanks can be pushed to the surface because of buoyancy. This it is essential that gas tanks are secured, either by connecting them to the substantial concrete slab that is sufficiently heavy enough to resist rising water or by running tides over them and affixing them to ground anchors.

7. Install Foundation Vents

An illustration of wet flood proofing is to introduce foundation vents, which permit rising water to move through the home instead of pooling around it. While this arrangement might appear like an unreasonable one because of the harm it could do to the inside of the property, it really gives an outlet to the rising water and mitigates the harmful pressure that rising water puts on the windows and walls. In the interior generally a subgrade cellar – is designed utilizing flood-safe materials, hydrostatic openings, and protective equipment, the damage can be restricted, although post-flood cleanup will be essential. Essentially, a sump pump is a sort of hardware that draws off the water out of cellars where flooding happens consistently. Sump pumps with battery backup are highly prescribed to permit them to keep working when the power goes out.

8. Develop Permanent Barriers

Setting a permanent barrier around the given structure can forestall rising waters from reaching it. Floodwalls can be constructed around which are generally made on concrete or masonry. While this arrangement might seem like the least complex, both floodwalls and levees need heavy maintenance. Moreover, the levees require a great amount of land and usable soil materials to be constructed.

9. Introduce Backflow Valves for Sewage Systems

Sewer backflow valves forestall overflowing sewage systems from backing up into a home. In certain flood-prone regions, this issue is common and can cause harm that is both hard to fix and perilous to inhabitants’ wellbeing. However, gate valves are preferable over flap valves since they give a superior seal against flood pressure.

10. Grade the Lawn Away from the House

One last technique that designers can use to moderate the damages from flooding is to grade the lawn away from the house. In the circumstances when the lawn leans toward the house, water will pool around the home. Conversely, shifting it outward coordinates water away. To this end, the lawn should utilize soil that contains clay substance and sand, permitting the surface runoff to discharge into a more suitable spot like a road drain.

Architectural Project Approach for Design-Bid-Build Project by Russell and Dawson
AEC Blogs

Project Approach for Design-Bid-Build Public and Private Projects

Project Approach for Design-Bid-Build Project_By Russell and Dawson

Stage 1: Interview and starting conversations

The client interviews with typically three to four individual architects or Architectural Design Firms to figure out if it’s a solid match with each other. Sometimes based on recommendations and prior work experience, the clients skip the interview round and directly start with a particular arrangement they have in their mind. Usually, this happens in privately bid projects wherein the decision lies in the sole discretion of the client. For public projects, more emphasis is given on past experience and qualification of the applicant firm or individual to win the project.

Stage 2: Information gathering (Emphasis on Analysis)

The client’s objectives, necessities, and prerequisites are discussed before the start of any project. The architects visit the site to conduct an on-site examination of the project site determining the existing condition and take as-built measurements of the existing structure. A set of as-built plans are made and duplicates are given to the client for their records. These are basic floor plans and exterior elevations–an insignificant set appearance that presently exists nearby. A surveyor is usually contacted at this stage wherein they do a site survey which is eventually incorporated in the as-built documents. The architects visit the city/county building division to audit relevant records which may consist of as-built drawings of the existing structure, previous surveys, public records, and other details of a property. The architects assemble data from state and city offices in regards to explicit land use and construction law necessities just as pre-submittal and pre-license strategies. They also carry out an assessment of building code and zoning requirements/constraints for the approved site plan and floor plan. The architects additionally make a work schedule to determine what will be done and by when.

Stage 3: Schematic Design and Feasibility (Emphasis on Design)

The modelers create 2-3 preliminary plans using the information gathered in stage 2. At this stage, the architects are likewise bringing plan ideas to the table. Perhaps there was a particular site highlight that could be upgraded with the new architecture or opportunities within the project which was not examined previously. The designers investigate the sequence of how you approach the structure and travel through the structure. The focal point of the structure is identified and worked upon. The overall areas of the functions inside the structure are thought of and graphically addressed in chart structure. The designs, outlines, and illustrations are simply charts at this stage – it’s not engineering yet. Elements like windows might be added schematically. Simple plans and elevations are sketched to address connections among spaces and to get the fundamental envelope shape. Material alternatives begin to turn out to be important for the conversation and a target spending plan is set up/affirmed for the overall project. At this stage, the number of meetings held is the maximum wherein the owner/client has a discussion with the architect to finalize one plan from different schematic alternatives.

Stage 4: Design Development and Permit Documents (Emphasis on Decision Making)

As choices keep on being made, the architects form the schematic drawings into permit documents. The designs develop from graphs to real engineering at this progression. The drawings are refined with respect to subtleties and methods. Materials are settled on and the modelers sort out how everything fits together (how does the floor meet the wall: base trim, flush trim, no trim). Window openings are additionally characterized by mullions and opening areas. Data from different specialists like a structural engineer, MEP engineers, is created and facilitated with the plan drawings. Determinations for materials, installations/machines, gathering subtleties, and significant code data are incorporated into the project. Recommendations from suppliers, subcontractors, and manufacturers are added to the drawing set. The client keeps on settling on choices at a more explicit degree of detail.

After approval and acceptance of the schematic design, develop the design in greater detail. Create detailed plans for building elevations, material selections, mechanical, plumbing, and electrical / control systems. Prepare a final design plan based on the input received from the owner(s), stakeholders, and any applicable government agencies responsible for the project approvals. In this phase, usually, the following plans are delivered; floor plans with a proposed basis of design openings and plumbing fixtures; overall dimensions; structural grid dimensions; interior wall dimensions; exterior elevations with a proposed basis of design openings and finishes; additional building sections; wall sections at all typical conditions; additional details to establish basis of design products.

Stage 5: Construction Documents and Permit Acquisition

A bunch of permit drawings is a simplified version of the construction set. The permit documents are utilized to submit, arrange, and get the building permit from the city or region. The city/county/town doesn’t normally audit every single detail of a structure however they simply need to ensure your meeting state, city, and local codes and standards. It is normally an effective utilization of time to turn in a permit document set, covering the prerequisites, to get the ball rolling with the city while the architects keep on working at a more intensive drawing set needed for construction. These drawings keep on creating down to the absolute last subtleties.

Stage 6: Bidding and Selecting a Subcontractor

This stage is typical for a public project wherein after the architectural plans are made, the designers prepare the bidding documents and run background checks for the proposals received. The general contractors are interviewed and a good fit is established. However, for private projects, the clients usually have few subcontractors in mind to execute the plan.

Stage 7: Construction Administration

The documents and drawings for the projects are complete and construction begins. The architect is usually retained during the construction phase to answer the questions raised by the contractors. Architects are able to give clarifications and administer the revisions if necessary. The architect also reviews the costing and overall scheduling of the project.

The construction administration services includes the following activities such as observe construction, inform the progress of work to the owner(s); ensure that all contractor(s) have obtained necessary construction permits; guard the owner against defects and deficiencies; review and approve shop drawings, mockups, and other submittals; prepare change orders, if required; assure technical compliance of construction in accordance with design documents and specifications; review correspondence between the owner and the contractor and take action if required; assure conformance to project construction schedule; prepare certificates of payment; inspect construction punch list at the project completion; and review and handover all the construction documents to owner at the project completion.