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Archive for January, 2014


Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

The passionate author of six books discusses green certification, the importance of implementing sustainable design, and the thrill of a double platinum.

Michelle Cotrell

With noteworthy projects around the country and numerous industry awards, this young LEED expert is leading the way for world class sustainability documentation. But helping clients find the balance between environmental, social and economic factors remains a daunting challenge.  StoryTrack sat down with Michelle Cottrell to unravel this integrated process.

StoryTrack: Often LEED certification can feel like checking boxes, why does it make sense for an owner and developer?

Michelle Cottrell: Without trying to oversell LEED, the reason it’s so successful is because it’s a holistic rating system. Sure, it’s a tool in which to measure performance. But we don’t just measure the performance in isolation. We look at many different aspects in tandem—we look at the development site, how water is used, how the mechanical system coordinates with the lighting system. We examine the construction materials, the indoor environment in terms of air quality and the exterior environment. And that’s just a start!

ST: Tell us about the potential savings.

MC: One project is saving over $500,000 a year in comparison to a conventionally built structure in a similar corporate setting. Those are substantial dollars. That project was designed with a narrow footprint and we were able to incorporate a lot of natural light into the space, all the way to the core. Because of that we incorporated a daylight harvesting strategy.  We’re using what’s naturally available and therefore save on energy.

ST: One of your recent success involved a LEED double platinum ratings, is that unusual?



Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

The principal of Forum Studio talks about the future of office design, invisible architecture and collaborative design principals.

Chris_Cedergreen_Forum_StudioAs the St. Louis based Forum Studio looks forward to 2014, its president, Chris Cedergreen contemplates the future of design. His approach to a diverse range of high-profile architecture and design projects, among them the Express Scripts and Flour Corporation headquarters, is passionate and nuanced. StoryTrack CEO, Lori Dowd, sat down for a conversation with Cedergreen.

StoryTrack: What will be the defining issues for the office buildings of the future?

Chris Cedergreen: Buildings have to be designed for the future so they have a future.  The design must actually anticipate change because it’s inevitable, and arriving at bullet train speed.  Office space needs to be very flexible, almost laboratory like space. As organizations return to profitability and growth, they want to control costs but they don’t want to sacrifice efficiency and creativity.

ST: In your experience, what is the design process driven by?

CC: The design process is ultimately driven by the people that are going to use the space. How can we affect people’s lives in a very positive way. It’s the enhancement of our built environment and the natural environment. How we combine those two and make the experience of life more positive.

ST: You’ve talked about this idea of “invisible architecture,” can you describe this?

CC: Invisible architecture is the way the design influences what you feel in a space or in the spaces in-between.  What matters most is what transcends the workspace:  productivity, interaction, collaboration, creativity, innovation.


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