Here you will likely find the most up-to-date information, especially about the legacy projects of the previous president, Donald Trump. The Biden administration laid forth its strategy to hasten and complete Donald Trump’s hallmark project. Meanwhile, a Chicago high-rise under construction or in the planning stages will be among the most recent in the United States to use the carbon-sequestering building material. More than 90% of the annual 600 million tons of construction garbage is generated as a result of building destruction, and in the United States alone, hundreds of thousands of homes are demolished every year. By 2025, experts predict that this figure will have increased to 2.2 billion tons globally. Additionally, the Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts in Little Rock, United States, will reopen to the public after extensive renovations on April 22, 2023. The new visual identity of the Museum, a collaboration between Studio Gang, Polk Stanley Wilcox, and SCAPE, reflects the Museum’s aim to be the premier art museum in the region.

Biden restarts border wall construction

Original Source: Border Wall Construction Resumes Under President Joe Biden

M. Traphagen, He didn’t need a government presentation to tell him border wall building was picking up. On a recent trip to the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge and Coronado National Forest near Sasabe, Arizona, he saw everything he needed.

As Wildlands Network’s borderlands coordinator, Traphagen had been there several times. It was among the areas he investigated in a July assessment on the environmental impact of President Trump’s border wall extension. President Joe Biden halted the building immediately after his inauguration.

Traphagen saw a staging area and water tanks being built. On the wall were new placards referencing an Arizona trespassing ordinance. He was told the building had been reopened by a security officer. The Border Patrol told him to depart later.

“It feels like Trump’s border wall,” Traphagen told The Intercept. I hadn’t felt that on the border in a year and a half; suddenly it’s like, oh shoot, there we go again.

Six days after Traphagen’s visit, Customs and Border Protection verified that work on Trump’s border wall is continuing under Biden. In an online presentation, CBP, the largest branch of DHS and home to the Border Patrol, highlighted plans to mitigate environmental damage caused by the former president’s major campaign promise and confirmed that the wall will be a permanent fixture of the Southwest for centuries to come.

The resumed operations will include mending gates and roads and filling wall gaps left by Biden’s January 2021 hiatus. The wall’s environmental effects are particularly evident in southern Arizona, where CBP utilized explosives to blow into protected terrain, including sacred Native American burial places and unique wildlife habitats.

Next month, contractors will return to Arizona’s Sonoran Desert to continue wall construction, CBP officials said in a webinar. Since Biden’s halt, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has approved many border wall remediation projects. CBP’s first proposal for public comment was in Tucson, the Border Patrol’s largest area of operations and the site of Trump’s most dramatic and controversial border wall building.

Early in 2020, Border Patrol and DOD officers blew up the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument south of Tucson to make way for Trump’s wall. The show followed months of demonstrations as the authorities tapped a rare desert aquifer that supports Quitobaquito Springs, a holy oasis for the Hia-Ced O’odham.

Two Hia-Ced O’odham women were arrested after praying and protesting at the construction site. Amber Ortega was found not guilty this year after a court concluded the prosecution violated her rights under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Construction in federally designated wilderness was allowed under the Real ID Act. In the wake of September 11, the legislation allows DHS the ability to waive any law, including those meant to protect the environment and cultural sites, to build border barriers for national security.

When CBP collected public comment on its plans earlier this year, most focused on Arizona, with most addressing the wall’s impact on wildlife movement and flood risks. CBP observed in a summary report on Tucson Sector feedback that several comments mentioned the Mexican gray wolf, jaguar, Sonoran Desert pronghorn, bighorn sheep, ocelot, javelina, mountain lion, bear, and other wildlife. “Some commentators recommended lowering barriers and opening flood gates to mitigate impacts.”

Last Monday, CBP announced it would finish drainage and low-water crossings in southern Arizona and reengineer border wall designs to allow for water flow. The two contracts have been awarded for work in Arizona, the DHS said, and it would include fixing “small gaps” in the border wall after Biden’s pause. The CBP described similar actions in other states.

When asked if it envisioned removing the barricades, CBP responded “no.”

Shelly Barnes, the Border Patrol’s environmental planning lead, said there are no plans to remove sections of the barrier right now.

Mass timber construction is returning 150 years after the Great Chicago Fire

Original Source: 150 years after the Great Chicago Fire, mass timber buildings are making a comeback

Soon, a Chicago high-rise will join more than 1,500 mass-timber buildings in the U.S.

Natural wood construction initiatives have increased in recent years. According to WoodWorks—Wood Products Council, the number of mass timber building projects in the U.S. surged by 63% between June 2020 and June 2022.

Mass wood appeals to architects, developers, and sustainability advocates because it has a low carbon footprint and sequesters carbon over its lifetime. Mass timber products are made of nailed or bonded wood panels for strength and stability.

“Wood has a softer footprint on the earth” than steel or concrete, says Paul Alessandro of Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture, which designed the nine-story Chicago skyscraper.

According to Alessandro, building using mass timber has several benefits beyond reducing carbon emissions. Wood is a natural draw for people. warmer “It reduces noise.”

And mass-timber buildings can be recycled. You may disassemble and reuse its parts.

Julie Goudie, director of communications for project developer Sterling Bay, says the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 made the city wary of wood.

Goudie added that advances in fire-resistant technologies make this a good moment to reevaluate. “Mass timber constructions are safe, sustainable, and beautiful. Wood is renewable worldwide and can be easily collected and managed to ensure regrowth and replenishment.

Wood reduces a building’s carbon impact in two ways, says WoodWorks’ Ricky McLain.

First, McLain said, “Forest trees store carbon.” It stores CO2 as it grows. It loses no carbon when cut down. As a panel, it stores carbon. “These buildings store carbon, not release it into the environment.”

Second, wood products demand less “embodied energy” than other building materials. It refers to the energy used in building procedures.

McLain added. Life cycle assessment studies suggest timber buildings have a reduced embodied carbon footprint. You can quantify it. Steel and concrete are similar. “Wood’s carbon footprint is lower.”

The Journal of Building Engineering revealed that replacing concrete and steel with mass timber can reduce global warming potential by 26.5%.

McLain noted that mass-timber structures are “focused around ‘wood baskets’—areas with a lot of timber framing like the Northeast or harvesting and manufacturing in the Southeast and Northwest.”

All 50 states have projects, according to the council. The Ascent in Milwaukee is the world’s tallest mass-timber building at 25 stories.

Where mass-timber structures can be built depends on codes. According to Kenneth Bland, retired vice president of building codes and standards for the American Wood Council, U.S. construction laws are “piecemeal.”

States and municipalities proposing taller mass-timber buildings may adopt the 2021 International Building Code. Bland, a consultant, said Western states were early adopters of new construction rules.

In Chicago, “they were using the 1940s building code,” stated Bland. In April 2019, Chicago revised its IBC. Building rules require all building systems to be safe, regardless of material, said Bland.

All of our testing over the previous five years has proved mass-fire timber’s resistance. Bland said it will perform like any high-rise.

Demolition and reuse are worthwhile

Original Source: Worth it: Building demolition and reuse

My grandmother’s 1941 home was demolished in 2016. While sad to my family, its demolition was not uncommon for new buildings.

Hundreds of thousands of homes in the U.S. are demolished each year, and building demolition accounts for more than 90% of the 600 million tonnes of construction-related garbage generated in the country each year.

Given my vocation, it’s not surprising that I found trashing my grandmother’s house, my mother’s childhood home, unattractive. As a recycler, I recognised reclamation potential.

After communicating with the new homeowner who commissioned the breakdown, I learned that tax incentives prompted the gift of home materials. My carpenter brother and I were also allowed to take more components. A few hours with hammers and pry bars yielded old-home treasures. Twelve solid-oak doors stand out. We didn’t need these woodworking treasures immediately, but we saw their significance and stored them for later.

This year, nearly seven years after salvaging it, I renovated my 1894 Portland, Maine apartment. Finally, a reason to repurpose old doors! Thrilled.

Reusing obsolete materials is difficult.

Reclamation’s intricacy (and cost)

My contractor told me I was choosing the more expensive way after seeing my salvaged doors. Retrofitting antique doors to my apartment’s frames would require new door jambs, a carpentry project. The doors had peeling paint, rusty hinges, and other damage from seven years without temperature-controlled storage.

Buying new, ready-to-hang doors was cheaper and faster than saving on materials. I was disappointed. “Saved” doesn’t always mean “savings,” I realized.

Deconstruction instead of demolition can send 85% less debris to landfills, but is 80% more expensive due to added effort.

A patchwork of reuse organizations around the country streamlines and cost-effectively serves consumers. Karen Jayne, CEO of Stardust, told me at the Northeast Recycling Council’s Material Reuse Forum that construction material reuse is a tough industry.

Deconstruction obstacles

As a culture, we often prioritize the new above the old, neglecting the value of existing materials and doing nothing to decrease reuse barriers. Buildings prove this.

Deconstruction and reuse are crucial since building materials will account for 50% of global building emissions by 2050. How can complexity be reduced and deconstruction and reuse promoted? I’d like to see more of the following:

  • Deconstruction-friendly policies might require reuse and reduce red tape. Cities from Baltimore to San Jose are enacting deconstruction policies.
  • Distributed deconstruction and reuse companies could broaden the market’s offerings and boost local economic activity.
  • More private sector and consumer knowledge and engagement could boost demand for reused materials.
  • Building design should prioritize reusable materials and deconstructible buildings.
  • More understanding of materials’ intrinsic prices, carbon, and resources would boost their worth. By ignoring the environmental impacts of “new” purchases, we enable a wasteful system.

The doors?

My inner reuser ultimately won out, and I went with the more expensive but (in my opinion) more beautiful reclaimed doors. I removed paint and scraped for hours before hiring a carpenter to install it.

I’m privileged to be able to afford the extra fees and do some of the work myself. When I consider the greenhouse gas emissions in these doors—and my dislike of cheaper, composite materials with a shorter life span and emissions—the extra time, energy, and budget feel worth it.

Studio Gang’s redesigned Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts opens in Little Rock, US

Original Source: Studio Gang’s Redesigned Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts in Little Rock, US, is Set to Open to the Public

Little Rock’s Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts will reopen on April 22, 2023. The Museum’s new architectural identity was designed by Studio Gang, Polk Stanley Wilcox, and SCAPE to reflect its status as a premier cultural institution in the region. The folding plate roof is fully complete. The building’s new roofline connects the new construction and refurbished sections to create a coherent architectural character.

Studio Gang studied the original 1937 building and its eight expansions to begin the design process. The studio wanted to create unity and consistency between buildings, building systems, and programs while highlighting historical characteristics. This was accomplished by building a new central spine that connects the programming spaces and the surrounding areas. This new feature lets in natural light and widens sightlines, enabling additional engagement and discovery opportunities for museum visitors. This new addition’s pleated ceiling provides the museum a unique look.

Studio Gang envisioned “a museum in a park” from the beginning, realizing that improved circulation across the building and into the park would rejuvenate and grow the museum. In the 2010s, museum additions needed for its growing collection cut it off from the neighborhood and park. The designers re-established these vital links. The new facility is surrounded by 11 acres of Arkansas-inspired landscape created by SCAPE.

Studio Gang’s design for the new Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts excavates the old Art Deco façade to become the north entrance. The 1937 structure was created by architect H. Ray Burks and has two carved relief figures, Painting and Sculpture. The new building’s façade hasn’t been seen since 1982. Studio Gang’s design reuses and adapts old buildings and materials while restoring existing spaces to accommodate the museum’s programming.

Studio Gang is led by Jeanne Gang and has offices in Chicago, New York, San Francisco, and Paris. Studio Gang is planning cultural and civic projects across the Americas, including an expansion to the American Museum of Natural History in New York, a new center in Paris for the University of Chicago, and a new U.S. Embassy in Brasilia.

Summary of today’s construction news

In today’s construction news, the resumed operations of border wall construction will include mending gates and roads and filling wall gaps left by Biden’s January 2021 hiatus. The wall’s environmental effects are particularly evident in southern Arizona, where CBP utilized explosives to blow into protected terrain, including sacred Native American burial places and unique wildlife habitats.

Additionally, more than 1,500 mass-timber buildings already exist in the United States, and a Chicago skyscraper will soon join them. Our five years of testing have shown that mass-fire timber is extremely resistant to fire. Bland asserted that it will function like any other skyscraper.

As a society, we have a tendency to put new things ahead of old ones, overlooking the potential of already existing materials and doing little to remove obstacles to their subsequent reuse. Construction attests to this fact. By 2050, emissions from buildings worldwide are expected to account for half of all emissions, making deconstruction and reuse all the more important.

On top of that, Studio Gang’s original concept for the museum was “a museum in a park,” with the idea being that revitalizing and expanding the institution could be achieved by increasing foot traffic both within and outside the building. The museum had to build new wings in the 2010s to accommodate its expanding collection. These wings isolated the museum from its surrounding community and park.