Our World is Changing And We Need to Change Also

We recently received a sobering reminder that our world has changed forever, and that fact has far-reaching implications for our industries that build our cities, towns, and the systems that sustain our way of life.

The National Climate Assessment report sums it up clearly. “The nation’s economy, security, and culture all depend on the resilience of urban infrastructure systems.”

In the Pacific Northwest catastrophic disasters from floods, wildfires, and periods of bitter cold will be the new realities driving the need for adaptation, notes the climate report.

A Pacific Northwest Building Resilience Coalition article co-authored by Bill Larson, CalPortland’s Vice-President for Marketing, notes this means we need to change how we build, what we build with, where we build, and we must ensure that our buildings and communities are more resilient, more efficient, and more livable.

These are profound challenges for industries already grappling with severe economic and social pressures.

The article points out that changing policies and planning measures such as building codes, zoning regulations, land-use plans, water supply management, green infrastructure initiatives, health care planning, and disaster mitigation efforts, are all actions that can support adaptation.

Integrating disaster preparedness and resiliency planning into on-going public policy processes is a low cost, no regrets approach that allows us to use existing funding sources for climate adaptation.

But to be successful, these adaptation efforts require that private sector players and governments must come together in common cause, notes Larson.

“Only by working together can we reduce our exposure to climate-related stresses and strengthen ability to adapt to changing conditions. We can do it. We must do it.  There is too much at stake for inaction on our part.”

Read the full article here on the PNBRC website.

Concrete Masonry Designs: Uptown Gig Harbor

Uptown Gig Harbor was always meant to be more than an ordinary shopping center. The retail project includes 165,000 square feet of shopping space configured in 14 structures that house retail stores, restaurants, and a 2,500 seat cinema. Shoppers at Uptown Gig Harbor enjoy pedestrian walkways, outdoor seating, lush landscaping and water features that offer a comfortable respite from the big box retail of the last decade.

CM Designs: Uptown Gig Harbor

The design/build team of Hansen, Hansen & Johnson Architects and HHJ Construction Inc., transformed a wooded, 30-acre site into a modern shopping center that is, in essence, an “anti-mall.” Uptown Gig Harbor deliberately avoids the predictable “Disneyland” look, says architect Robert H. Kleven, AIA, by creating more of a lifestyle commercial center “built with a tapestry of unique concrete masonry structures that allow businesses like Panera Bread, Chico’s, and Borders to each retain their own distinct identity, while retaining the unity of the entire project.”

“This project is overwhelmingly built with concrete masonry,” says Kleven. “We gave the exterior of these buildings their own unique identity by using a variety of CMU, including split-face, ground-face, full block and half-high block. We also used a variety of stacking techniques—some double stacked and some aligned.” This variety is all part of the design goal to give the development a “constructed over time” look—similar to a community that retains a unique richness as it expands through the years—which helps add an authenticity to these commercial structures. “What we didn’t want was to have one humongous parking lot surrounded by retail structures that all look alike. Instead we wanted to create an understated, elegant façade with a feeling of permanence, and CMU does all of that,” Kleven states.

“We chose concrete masonry because it is very easy to work with and it gave us that sense of quality and permanence that we were looking for,” asserts Mr. Kleven.

“We could have designed these structures with steel or wood stud construction with a veneer overlay, or we could go with CMU. When we compared the cost between those two options, the concrete masonry was the clear winner.”

The project developer, John Hogan, managing partner, Gateway Capital LLC agrees, “The use of concrete masonry allowed us to use a common, traditional construction source, and by varying the type of CMU, we achieved a ‘built over time’ look, which is very hard to create with other common materials.”

Click Here for More about Uptown Gig Harbor and Other CM Designs