Reign In España 2011

2 Reasons To Celebrate

When Tile of Spain launched its inaugural "Reign In Spain A&D" Tour Program in 2009, it selected a group of four architects and interior designers who participated in a free, week-long architectural opportunity to visit Spain and Cevisama 2010 that would occur every February.

The 2011 edition will consist of six American journalists and the four Reign in Spain winners and coincides with Cevisama, the International Ceramic Tile and Bath Furnishings Show held in Valencia. The first half of the trip includes a few days exploring a region of Spain to immerse in the local culture, see notable sites and attractions that are of architectural and design significance and to gain a general understanding and appreciation for Spain. The latter half of the trip includes visiting Cevisama, factory and booth tours and a press conference. - Tile of Spain

So how does one win in the Reign In Spain? "Odds of winning depend on the number and quality of applications received. Participants are selected based on the information provided in the application and not by a random drawing or other element of chance." For the 2011 Edition, the search for four architects and interior designers began on November 1, 2010 until December 1, 2010. I was notified on December 10, 2010 as one of the winners and was told to pack my bags because they're sending me to the cities of Zaragoza, Teruel, and Valencia.

What did I do upon learning that I will be going to Spain? Like any self-respecting architect who's about to embark on a trip where Bullfighting is a national spectacle, I bought a ticket to the nearby Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago and watched Spanish culture--in this case the film, Antonio Gaudi, by Hiroshi Teshigahara. That was a good refresher course on Spanish culture. My conversational Spanish is rusty so I will rely on my fellow winners and the rest in the Reign In Spain groupie. I can already tell that this trip is going to be a blast as I hang out with the other winners who seem interesting and accomplished architects and interior designers. Don't believe me? Then read what one of them has to say about this in Life Of An Architect.

In case I get hit by a charging bull, here are the rest of the people in this Spain groupie:

Reign in Spain A&D Winners
· Bob Borson, associate principal and architect at Bernbaum Magadini Architects in Dallas, Texas. He also writes and maintains www.lifeofanarchitect.com and can be followed on Twitter @bobborson and www.facebook.com/lifeofanarchitect.
· Andie Day, principal of Andie Day LLC, Boston, MA. Andie maintains an active blog http://www.andieday.com/blog/ and can be followed on Facebook and on Twitter @AndieDay.
· Scott Knudson is vice president of design for Wiencek + Associates Architects + Planners PC, Washington, DC.
· Lira Luis, principal architect, Atelier Lira Luis, LLC. in Chicago, maintains a blog and can be followed on Twitter @liraluis and Facebook

Media Junket
· Mike Chino, Inhabitat.com (Twitter @MikeChino)
· Arpi Nalbandian, Tile Magazine (@TileMagazine, @TileEditor)
· Megan Mazzocco, Architectural Products
· Jean Dimeo, Hanley Wood Business Media (@JeanDimeo)
· Paul Anater, Kitchen & Residential Design blog (@Paul_Anater)

And the complete Reign In Spain group:

As I go celebrate in "España" on February 4-12, 2011, there is another type of celebration happening concurrently and coincidentally in another "España". The University of Santo Tomas (UST) in Manila will turn 400 years old, located in a main thoroughfare called "España", named after the Spanish name of Spain, the Philippines' colonial power for 333 years. UST was where I earned my Bachelor of Science in Architecture before going for graduate studies at the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. For 2011, we will reign in España--a true celebration on both accounts. Viva España!

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Sustainability Starts At The Skin

What you wear determines your comfort. With the changing of seasons, so does our clothing change. The same is true for building envelopes. These provide more than enclosures to interior spaces. They act as transitions from the exterior to the interior. Conditions from the outside determine our intended comfort conditions for the inside space.

The building skin, just like clothes, play an important role in regulating our comfort level. It is critical for architects and designers to understand how the selection of materials, its life cycle cost, and how it performs with the rest of the systems will impact the operations of a building.

The advent of Building Information Modeling aids us in determining the feasibility of a structure. Add to this a new systems-thinking where architects and designers can pre-determine its performance in conjunction with the rest like the mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and even structural systems, and we have the "Path to NetZeroTM" as a result.

I was recently introduced to Kingspan's Path to NetZeroTM during the Greenbuild 2010 Conference in Chicago. "It's a unique tool that will simulate the process of achieving high performance and net zero energy buildings," as described in Kingspan's microsite. The application, which will be made available as a free application for the iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, and Android mobile devices, was produced as a result of a white paper from the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) industries about the goal of achieving net zero energy buildings by 2025.

I had the opportunity to test drive the app prior to its launch date during Greenbuild. Some of my observations include:

  • There is a good selection of standard wall composites typically used in office, warehouse, and school building types. (EIFS, split-faced block, tilt-up, and single skin with batt insulation, insulated metal panels)
  • The geographic location, which affects the climate conditions surrounding the building, is limited to major cities at the moment.
  • The results allow you to compare the energy savings at 30%, 50%, 70%, and 100%.
  • The ease of use of this app allows you to switch from one wall composite to another with a tap on the touch screen.
As an architect, will I have a use for this app? Here are some ways I can think of that this tool will help me in my practice:

  • I can use this app during schematic and design development phases of a project. I see it as a handy tool to streamline the exploration of the differences in cost between one type of wall composite versus another type.
  • It can be a useful tool to help a building owner make decisions on where to allocate resources, whether it is for purchasing a bigger equipment, or achieving an airtight building envelope that will help reduce equipment size.
  • It can be a quick and cost-effective way to have an overview of the effects of exterior material selection early on in the project without having to go through a detailed cost estimate.
  • It's a handy tool in conjunction with BIM.
Download and check it out in January 2011.
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