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ArchiTeam logo seeed is proud to announce that it has been accepted as a team member of ArchiTeam. Established in 1992, ArchiTeam is a membership based organisation committed to supporting and showcasing SME architectural practices and sole practitioners. ArchiTeam provides the general public with the information to select the right architect for your next project.

EMS Icon

Today we’re announcing our new Environmental Management System that gathers together a variety of corporate guidelines and policy with the aim of drastically reducing the impact Seeed has on the environment.

We’re in pursuit of AS/NZS ISO 14001, the standard for environmental performance in Australia.

The environment is of critical importance to us. As a firm that specializes in architecture and feasibility planning, we need to take this seriously and lead Australia forward.

Top To Bottom, We’re Green

Our Environmental Management System targets all aspects of our company. Everything from supply to waste disposal is affected. Purchasing plays a critical role in this process. The majority of resources consumed by our firm have to do with our direct inputs and outputs. On this note we’re changing our focus to purchase from green suppliers wherever necessary and will implement a shipping policy based on consolidation and bulk shipments.

Green Power website

green power website

On the other end is our outputs. We have strived to reduce and eliminate toxic emissions and are actively promoting recycling internally.

A major part of our plan is a switch to green power. Seeed is now 100% run by sustainable energy. By utilising the services provided by GreenPower we’ve flipped the proverbial switch to a system that no longer draws upon fossil fuels or other non-renewable resources.

Read our previous news on Greenpower here.

To learn more about GreenPower click this link

Even Our Website Is Green

Green Hosting

As announced on our blog, even our website is running green.

We changed over to a carbon neutral provider and reached full certification. You can view the certification here

For The Things We Cannot Eliminate…

One highlight of the plan is the inclusion of an accredited program that will offset the greenhouse gas emissions generated by our company’s activities. For the times when we cannot eliminate all of our impact we will offset the remainder through carbon trading.

We couldn’t be more proud of the direction we have taken our company. Thank you for coming along for the ride.

Negative Shadowing

Reading of the £200M Walkie Talkie skyscraper in London which is nearing completion is creating a ‘Negative Shadow’ ; it’s concave façade has the right design parameters to focus sun light on to an area of the street where the local council has closed parking on after a light was strong enough to melt the exterior of a car parked on the street.

Graphic showing the focusing of the sun

Graphic showing the focusing of the sun

Focused sun light uncomfortable for passes by

Focused sun light uncomfortable for passes by

After hearing this I did some quick investigations and discovered this design (flaw) has occurred several times before;

MARRIOTT HOTEL INDIANAPOLIS;

The curved façade has the same issue, however not as serious,

Non focused reflections

Non focused reflections

focus sun light

focus sun light

VDARA HOTEL; LAS VEGAS

More serious than the Marriott, there has been complaints that because of an architectural flaw, the sun’s rays are being magnified and reflected onto an area of the pool, causing severe burns. There have been reports that even plastic has melted from the heat.  This flaw has even had a spoof trailer has been made regarding the issue [youtube link].

 

IS THIS A RARE COINCIDENT OR DESIGN ERROR?

I guess we won’t really know (is there a difference?); however as it is claimed that “reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions has been the primary environmental aim“ of the building (Hagon, 2013), it needs discussion of the role by which buildings brief is cited.  Should the buildings pursuit of improved environmental performance be one without consideration of the effect that it has on the surrounding environment?  Arguably a pursuit in environmental awareness is to play a role in the surrounding community.  Yes reducing CO2 is a global issue, but the intention should be driven from a community outcome.  An example of this community perspective is the provision of reward points within the GBCA Green Star where a project is awarded points for returning land back to the original vegetation state (credit Eco-4) which has already been developed on the site.

Graphic of theXXX

Graphic of the Vdara

HOW COULD THIS BE USED TO ADVANTAGE?

A developer in Melbourne has proposed to use something similar (however reason for the concept is to aid in development approval and creation of light shafts, not environment), (Perkins, 2012).To see initiative and designs that take advantage of designs that reflect ‘controlled’ light into regions (that are public gardens and parks) which are shadowed by other buildings would be great.

OTHER DESIGN CHARACTERISTICS THAT EFFECT THEIR MICRO-ENVIRONMENTS

–    Bird safe designs:- San Francisco planning department has developed design standards [link];

–    Wind:- the shape of the building has effect of winds, enhancing or dissipating winds tunnels,

–    Artificial lighting:- lights at night disturb nocturnal animals & insects natural patterns.

References

Google, 2013. Google Maps. [Online]
Available at: www.maps.google.com
[Accessed 04 September 2013].
Hagon, T., 2013. Sun reflecting from skyscraper ‘melts’ parked Jaguar. [Online]
Available at: http://news.drive.com.au/drive/motor-news/sun-reflecting-from-skyscraper-melts-parked-jaguar-20130903-2t1om.html
[Accessed 04 September 2013].
Maimon, A. & Whitely, J., 2010. Vdara visitor: ‘Death ray’ scorched hair. [Online]
Available at:http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/vdara-visitor-death-ray-scorched-hair
[Accessed 04 September 2013].
Perkins, M., 2012. Developer wants to let the sunshine in and it will all be done with mirrors. [Online]
Available at: http://theage.domain.com.au/developer-wants-to-let-the-sunshine-in-and-it-will-all-be-done-with-mirrors-20121031-28kc0.html
[Accessed 04 September 2013].
San Francisco Planning Department, 2011. Standards for Bird-Safe Buildings. [Online]
Available at: http://www.sf-planning.org/index.aspx?page=2506
[Accessed 04 September 2013].
Whipple, T., 2013. How London’s burning in the glare of great glass tower the Walkie Talkie. [Online]
Available at: http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/science/article3858974.ece
[Accessed 04 September 2013].

We’ve been transforming our company into one that is carbon neutral and environmentally friendly. Part of this switch is a transformation to green power.By working with  GreenPower, an accredited renewable energy program in Australia, we have officially made the switch to running on completely sustainable energy. At Seeed we’ve really put a focus on the environment. After all, if we don’t look after it today it’s not going to be around tomorrow.

Green Energy - Origin

Green Energy – Origin

100% Green Power

100% Green Power

Commercial office accommodation can yield dramatic workplace changes that often cause employees to resist, thus generating a project that is ultimately unsuccessful. The following case study will demonstrate the importance of employee involvement and how engagement can dramatically shift project outcomes.

19 Martin Place

© corevision.com.au

When an organisation undertakes a project of its commercial office accommodation, there are a number of measurable by which the project will be measured;

    • Was it on Budget? Did it meet operational costs?
    • Did it improve workplace safety?
    • Did improve productivity?
    • Does the final design reflect the values of the organisation?

Keep these questions in mind as we go through the case study.

The project undertaken by GPT group at its head office (19 Martin Place, Sydney) is a prime example how stakeholder inclusion within the project provided superior measurable outcomes. The project brief encompassed the recent workspace philosophy of flexibility, moving away from the existing traditional fixed and allocated workstations.

Noting that a workplace change as dramatic as this may cause some resistance from employees, GPT acknowledged that staff were an important stakeholder within the project.  There was a decisive involvement of staff which was genuine and across all organisational levels.

Rosemary Kirkby, GPT’s head of sustainability, stated, “If you don’t leave enough room for people to personalise the new environment you won’t be able to release its full value and future potential. People must understand this is just the starting point. Too often we don’t leave enough room for people to personalise spaces”. (1)

Hero-image-copy-617x285

courtesy of fmmagazine.com.au

An early inclusion activity undertaken was to survey employees on the existing work environment. The resulting feedback was then implemented into the design brief to focus on details that mattered to employees.  The benefits that this process provided were:

  • Acknowledgement of employee value
  • Employees having some ownership in project
  • Reduction of employee resistance
  • Project brief receiving greater detail
  • Possible ‘out of the box’ ideas
  • Discovery of possible misalignment of organisation values and employee beliefs.

With a workplace cultural change on the horizon GPT didn’t wait until the fit out was complete and moved the employees in early. The goal of this early move was to minimize employee resistance.

A program was established to facilitate the cultural change which ran for 12 months and targeted four main areas:

  • Paper reduction (paperless office)
  • Technology training
  • Introduction to new protocols and practices
  • Behavioural training (managers in how to lead in the new environment)
GPT-Sydney-7-copy-617x285

courtesy of fmmagazine.com.au

To ensure participation and the competency of employees, the program combined a passport system where a participant’s involvement was recorded with competitions within the organisation.

The inclusion of a non-formal approach (the competitions) permitted the activities to become personalised with employees and strengthened their ownership in the project.

In addition a ‘non’ IT team was formed where members were employees from across the organisation (none were from the IT department) and their task was to test and evaluate the new technology to identify any possible bugs prior to the systems becoming live.

The benefits this initiative provided were:

  • Reduced loss of productivity from employees frustrated with a system not built for them
  • Real world testing by employees that will use the system,
    • Identified possible communication blocks where the system authors believed the process is correct but doesn’t match projected usage
    • Identified possible bugs
    • Evaluated the interaction of users with the system
  • Increased ownership by employees
  • Reduced demand on the IT department when system went live
  • De-facto trainers were already distributed through the organisation.

The resulting effect of the program undertaken by GPT is to have a workplace where the employees have the highest satisfaction rating compared to any other office measured in Australia (2).  The success of this project is fully realised with the following measurable results:

  • Consolidation from 5 floors down to 3 floors
  • Reduction of desks by 17% while retaining 20% daily vacancy (indication of mobile workforce)
  • 75% reduction in paper use and 90% reduction in paper storage
  • 98% of employees said the new workplace reflects the organisations values
  • 76% would not go back to the old way of working
MLC-hero-002

© corevision.com.au

If GPT didn’t embark on the engagement and inclusion of its employees on this project it would not have achieved the high results that it did and the project may not have been a success.

To drive the best possible outcomes with your own projects ensure that you have the provisions for the correct engagement of stakeholders.

With each project having its own particular characteristics, defining stakeholders and appropriate engagement can be confusing. With direct experience across a broad range of projects (public, commercial, industrial and institutional), Seeed has the expertise to manage your project from conception while facilitating the identification of stakeholders with appropriate management.

The above case study has focused on improving project outcomes through the involvement of stakeholders within projects however this project had many other successful attributes including the achievement of a Six Star Green Star rating for Office Interiors (3).

 

To read more about this project The Fifth Estate has an in-depth case study covering all aspects of the project.

5th-Estate-GPT-cover-1-380x379

An in-depth case study by The Fifth Estate

 

 

 

 

 

Acknowledges & References

All images are property of GPT group

(1) The Fifth State
(2) FM Magazine
(3) Green Building Council Fact Sheet
GPT Press Release

 

Client| Programmed + City of Casey

Circumstance

The newest sport to be added to the expanding the range of sporting facilities at Casey Fields is Rugby. With existing pre-set design elements continuality through the pavilions within the precent, the client requested a pavilion which was distinctive from the others, however retained the character of the precent through such design elements. In addition the project was constraint by tight time frames.
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seeed’s brand new green initiative has been leaving its mark on all aspects of our company. The latest part to get overhauled is our website. www.seeed.com.au is now hosted at a Carbon Neutral provider and has been certified green – click the image below to see our certification.

This is only the latest of our green initiatives. We’re transforming our entire company from how we purchase supplies to how we dispose of waste.

Client| Programmed + City of Casey

Circumstance

With the main Athletics pavilion nearing completion, the client requested additional Entry Box building. With the tight time frames seeed was engaged to explore possible designs and react to the project program.

seeed’s Response

Using 3D modelling seeed investigated several design options, which was forward through to the client, where a preferred design was chosen. With the preferred design locked in seeed proceeded to finalize the design to gain client sign off. Design Sign Off was archived in a period of 48 hrs from the initial engagement; this was only possible with the use of 3D designing and proactive collaborative virtual relationship with the client.

The project underwent Contract Documentation and issued for tender within a week. This enable to client to tender to project and award in accordance with it’s corporate government responsibilities; with the construction works completed without causing any delay to the external landscape works under a separate contract.

Client| Programmed + City of Casey

Circumstance

Increasing demand upon a simple pavilion; City of Casey flag the requirement for additional expansion; moving from a double change room  with a store, to compliant change rooms with umpires, accessible spectator toilet facilities and canteen.  The constraint upon the project was the the client had a ‘return on investment’; thus the project had a relative low budget for the scope.

seeed’s Response

Responding to a tight budget, seeed approached the project utilizing simplicity and driving a design solution through this simplicity.  With an large gum tree adjacent to the pavilion, seeed also acknowledged the need to enable an ease of maintenance.   The end design provided clean lines, subtle plays in the brick work and large covered area for game spectators, while designating the canteen area with roof levels.

Even though the project size was small, seeed approach it with the same methodology as it uses on even the largest projects.

Client| Programmed + City of Casey

Circumstance

The positive growth of female soccer in the Casey area has drawn the need for facility expansion.  Reema Reserve was identified for expansion to help services this increase demand.  The form and functionality of the existing facility was identified as working well; with the respect for the need for expansion of facilities which will bring with it greater public present during operational times.

seeed’s Response

seeed approached  the project from two fronts;

  1. An architectural response to match the existing form and function, and
  2. Align the asset inline with the use; removing urinals and replacing with pans and providing multi sex public areas
The final design successfully delivered an asset which seamlessly marries with the existing building, providing a practical & minimal  maintenance internal outcome and a design which allows for natural light to fill occupied spaces, while maintaining a secured facility.