Design Trends

Value engineering. Design-build. Green building. These are all trends affecting the way you plan and design projects. Turn to Masonry Design for latest developments on these concepts and many more.

Reducing the Impact of Building Envelopes

Lighting and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) are the two largest uses of energy throughout the commercial building sector. In fact, lighting alone accounts for nearly 35–50 percent of total electricity consumption. Within the building envelope, however, lies the opportunity to reduce the energy being consumed and decrease a building’s overall carbon footprint. Achieving sustainability within the building envelope starts with specifying the right products. Choosing eco-friendly products doesn’t just ensure lower energy costs; it can enhance occupant health and reduce any negative impact on the building itself, as well as the environment. …

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The Greenest Buildings: What Architects Should Know About Masonry Restoration and Preservation

Nothing says sustainability more than preserving, restoring and repurposing existing buildings. The greenest buildings today are those already built. Masonry is a sustainable, resilient material that can survive floods and fires. It is the oldest and most permanent building material, exuding a sense of permanence, longevity, quality, reliability and familiarity, yet it is forgiving and flexible. Many brick buildings that were built more than 100 years ago are continuing to fulfill their original purposes, while others have been adapted for new purposes.…

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Comfort Block: 90-Year-Old Maine Company Creates High-Performing Green Masonry Product

Masonry, one of the oldest and most beautiful trades, has been on a steady decline since the 1960s. Due to dramatic changes in the way today’s homes, chimneys, foundations and steps are being constructed, the industry is at its lowest point in 80 years. The average age of masonry professionals is increasing and the number entering apprenticeships is declining. In the northeast corner of the U.S., a Maine-based masonry company is quietly working to revive the declining industry through new product development and innovation.…

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Hardscaping and Landscape Architecture: Better Living Through Masonry

Everyone knows that Americans need to get outside and get active. Report after report shows that obesity and inactivity are making us sicker and shortening our lives. Despite all the studies and surveys, convincing us to shed our sedentary ways has proven to be a tough sell for health advocates. Masonry may be part of the solution, making the great outdoors a place where more of us want to be.…

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Hardscaping and Landscape Architecture: Ball State University’s Architecture Offering

While I was visiting Savannah, Ga., earlier this year, I was waiting to cross at an intersection when I spotted a girl wearing a t-shirt that said “architecture.” Being the inquisitive type, I asked her if she was studying architecture. She said that indeed she was, at Ball State University (BSU) in Muncie, Ind. Her mother, who was with her, explained that the young woman was studying landscape architecture and was in her first year. Because all of us were obviously on our way somewhere, I asked the student for her contact information so that I could ask some questions about her studies, and I gave her my business card.…

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Masonry Anchors Live/Work/Play Environments

Our buildings reflect our society, and as technology and other trends blur the traditional lines between work and home, the spaces where we live, work and play mirror these changes. Masonry often performs a big role in these multi-use facilities, creating a sense of place and setting a tone for these buildings and the spaces within them.…

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Age-Old Tuck-Pointing Technique Restores New Glory

With building restoration projects, you have few or no options other than to use existing materials to replicate an old building back to its former glory. But that is not always easy to do. Some buildings have major problems, from correcting structural issues to matching the aesthetic appeal of its original design. This work is not for the faint hearted because many times you won’t know what damage lies beneath the surface. …

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Iredale Mineral Cosmetics International Headquarters

Our firm, Croxton Collaborative Architects (CCA), a founder of the modern sustainability movement, recently completed the 21,000-square-foot international headquarters for Iredale Mineral Cosmetics (IMC)—manufacturers of jane iredale—in Great Barrington, Mass. A replacement for the company’s smaller home base nearby, the new structure represents the rehabilitation of the abandoned 1889 William Cullen Bryant School building (and its early 1900s addition), a Massachusetts Cultural Resource, as a 21st century center of operations.…

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Onsite Masonry Production from Diverted Excavation

Watershed Materials is teaming up with Westlake Urban and Alpha Group to explore a solution to a problem that real estate developers often face—excavation that has to be moved off a construction site to make way for new buildings. Rather than haul off the excavation spoils and then import thousands of concrete masonry units (CMUs) for use at the project, the developers and Watershed Materials are working together to repurpose native excavation material right at the job site to create the structural masonry blocks used in the development. Truckloads of offhaul and truckloads of imported building materials could be eliminated by using the excavation to make the structural block, adaptively reusing waste to produce onsite building materials.…

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New York Hospital Queens Astoria Primary Care Clinic

The design of most hospitals and other healthcare facilities often can look and feel cold or uninspired, but they don’t have to be. Amore inviting design can lead to a clinic that becomes part of a community rather than derided. Let’s face it: No one wants to go to the doctor, but when you need to, an aesthetically pleasing building (often referred to as patient-centered design) can improve outcomes.

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