Presenters & Programming 2018

Educational Tracks

Building Performance focuses on systems integration, materials and methods, operations, and metrics of a viable building that contributes to a healthy work and living space.

 topics include project planning, either new building or existing, from concept design through design development and documentation.

 is knowledge that inspires changes and transformations in thinking and practice, in regard to issues of society, firms, and organizational entities

 topics address processes, procedures, and policies involved in running a firm and/or managing projects, and may include discussions regarding safe and sustainable built environments, project delivery systems, contracts and agreements, intellectual property, ethics, and risk management as they are practiced within firms, corporations, government agencies, and other organizations.

Presenters & Programming


Session One: 9:15-10:45 AM 

Morningside Crossings Case Study: Passive House in a Large-Scale Retrofit
1.5 LU/HSW Hours *TOUR to Follow Date TBD* 

Presenters: Phil Ford, Sota Construction Services; Laura Nettleton, AIA, Thoughtful Balance; and Brandon Nicholson, AIA, NK Architects

Course Description:
This class will be a case study of Morningside Crossings, a project that was born from the needs and interests of the neighborhood and one that pushes the envelope for sustainability in a low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) project. The case study looks at a broad spectrum of issues, including wellness, integration into the community, innovative stormwater management, air quality monitoring, and energy efficiency. Morningside Crossings is a 46-unit affordable senior housing project that is the adaptive reuse of a school, as well as a new addition that is located over on-site parking. A Neighborhood Community Center will be located on the commercial end of the site in an addition from the 1940s and includes a plaza that will be used by the Center, the residents of the building, and the neighbors as well.

Morningside Crossings is the second large-scale multi-family retrofit in the country built to Passive House standards and is a unique demonstration of three approaches to Passive House detailing and construction. The project utilizes three different wall sections in the Community Center, the new construction addition, and the retrofit of the school. It also will capture 100% of its stormwater on site and monitor the indoor air-quality in contrast to the outdoor air.

The case study will begin with a five-minute refresher of the fundamentals of Passive House standards and will include a discussion on construction detailing in three different wall sections, the challenges of blower-door testing, and the construction schedule. Presenters also will address the influence of Passive House standards on the budget and its effect on indoor air quality, in addition to some of the particular challenges of the project.

An intermediate to advanced level of information will be presented; therefore, a preliminary understanding of Passive House is advised.

Matters of Materiality
1.5 LU Hours

Presenters: Joshua Bard, Carnegie Mellon University; Jeremy Ficca, AIA, Carnegie Mellon University; and Dario Giandomenico, Centria

Course Description:
Evolving modes of representation and communication continue to redefine the flow of information between designer, fabricator, and manufacturer, while nimble fabrication methods recalibrate customization and considerations of craft. As various types and scales of design practice reveal, opportunities for strategic collaboration between designer and fabricator abound. This session’s presenters from academia and industry will share ongoing research that recasts notions of craft within the contemporary context of digital fabrication and robotics to explore highly articulated architectural surfaces rendered through plaster and aluminum. The presented projects will explore the architectural affordances of robotically manipulated common materials to offer novel approaches to the architectural surface while referencing historical craft practices.

Equity and Ethics in Practice
1.5 LU/HSW Hours

Moderator: Michael Cremonese, Esq., Burke Cromer Cremonese

Panelists: Patricia Culley, AIA, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson; Erica Cochran Hameen, PhD, Carnegie Mellon University; and Mimi Raygorodetsky, Langan Engineering

Course Description:
How does firm culture affect behavior within the workplace? What are the best practices to ensure equitable and ethical behavior within your firm? Join this session to hear how to create an inclusive and rich ethical culture within your practice.

The session will begin with three short presentations and then shift to a moderated panel discussion. Presenters will include statistics on national trends in the gender/racial diversity of architects from internship to retirement; compare and contrast how firm culture affects ethical behavior, focusing a conversation around the (often greater) disparity in gender/racial equality in the engineering field; and explore programs promoting diversity and ethical behavior targeted toward young professionals within our region.

Creating Permanently Affordable Owner-Occupied Housing with Community Land Trusts
1.5 LU Hours

Panelists: Peter Brewton, Oakland Planning and Development Corporation; Ed Nusser, Lawrenceville Corporation; and Wanda Wilson, Oakland Planning and Development Corporation

Course Description:
For more than 40 years, communities have organized Community Land Trusts (CLTs) to create and preserve affordable owner-occupied housing. CLTs acquire residential land and retain ownership of the land in perpetuity. CLTs then sell the homes on the land at affordable prices to low- and moderate-income (LMI) households and lease the land to those households. The terms of the ground lease include a resale formula that restricts future sale prices of the house to an affordable level while preserving the opportunity for the owner to build equity through price appreciation and mortgage amortization.

This panel will share lessons learned from local organizations that have established or are in the process of launching a CLT. Panelists will discuss why they chose a CLT as a tool, what they hope to achieve, and how they have implemented their CLT strategy. 

Session Two: 11:00 AM-12:30 PM

The WELL Building Standard and the Psychology of Space
1.5 LU/HSW Hours

Presenters: Christine Mondor, AIA, evolveEA; Anna Rosenblum, evolveEA; and Stuart Shell, ME Group

Course Description:
This course will first address the basics of the WELL Standard program and its seven core concept areas. The presenters will then focus on the last concept, Mind, and how the built environment can support the psycho-social and spiritual needs of the occupants. The WELL Building Standard for Mind requires design, technology, and treatment strategies to provide a physical environment that optimizes cognitive and emotional health. A successfully designed space can produce measurable positive effects on occupant performance and outcomes.

Attendees will learn how to design stimulating spaces and implement policies to increase wellness awareness. The course will focus on integrative design, adaptable spaces, and biophilic design principles. A portion of the presentation will also review the concept of alliesthesia and how designing for options allows people to have a more pleasant experience with the built environment. Lastly, the presenters will discuss a case study, which recently earned a WELL Building Standard certification, to support the theory presented.

Neighborhood-Scale Green Infrastructure: New Water-First Design Paradigm
1.5 LU/HSW Hours

Presenters: Barton Kirk, Ethos, and Damon Weiss, Ethos 

Course Description:
A new paradigm of “water-first” design has substantial implications for architects, designers, and buildings developed in the Pittsburgh region in the next decade.

Under a long-term Consent Decree to reduce combined and sanitary sewer overflows to our streams and rivers, the City of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority, ALCOSAN, and numerous regional partners are presently in a state of substantial strategic transition. Whereas past efforts have focused on exploring green infrastructure as a series of pilot installations to assess general feasibility and performance of rain gardens, porous pavement, bioswales, and green roofs on a case-by-case basis, recent efforts are finally moving towards watershed-scale and neighborhood-scale implementation, with significant investment in green infrastructure solutions planned over the next five to ten years.

In addition to identifying these City-wide trends, the presenters will discuss this transition from green infrastructure as pilot projects to green infrastructure as de facto stormwater “infrastructure.” This new water-first design paradigm requires newfound consideration of and respect for historical and preferential drainage patterns, both at the site scale and at the more holistic neighborhood scale. With these new design principles also comes new opportunity for collaboration, cost sharing, new financing tools by the City and sewer authorities, and potential efficiencies between developers, the City and its agencies, the sewer authorities, utility companies, and the community at large.

Architect-Led Integrated Project Delivery: An Opportunity for More Collaboration
1.5 LU/HSW Hours

Presenters: Michael Cremonese, Esq., Burke Cromer Cremonese; Ron Dellaria, AIA, Collaborative Construction Consultants; and Paula Selvaggio, Oswald Companies

Course Description:
Collaboration: The construction industry recognizes the benefits of having a collaborative design and construction process, and tools are available to make that process efficient. However, collaborative teams still need leaders.   This course will examine ways for the architect, through the Integrated Project Delivery system, to lead the collaborative construction effort.

Join this presentation to learn how to establish a collaborative team, fairly allocate the risk/benefit amongst the team, manage team collaboration, and document the legal rights and responsibilities for the project.

Big Box Upcycle
1.5 LU/HSW Hours

Presenters: Rob Aumer, AIA, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson; Matthew Huber, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson; and Phillip Wilkinson, AE7

Course Description:
Once a predominantly suburban phenomenon, the big box store has become a pervasive feature of the American landscape, increasingly proliferating in urban, exurban, and rural communities alike. As a building type, they are amongst the most formulaic, the most generic, and the least responsive to the contingencies of place. Yet, as they proliferate, so too do their vacant remnants. Expansion and contraction in the market, demand for evermore vast contiguities of retail floor plate, and the evolution of business models and brand strategies all contribute. What does this mean for the communities that inherit these empty big boxes?

This session examines three facets of this question by first looking at global, contemporary trends in retail and mall development as well as planning in the context of potential vacancy, then examining the ecological and stormwater ramifications of big box and shopping center site planning. Lastly, this session will highlight a case study of the adaptive reuse of a former big box store into a creative workplace for an athletic apparel company. The case study will feature strategies for capitalizing on the advantages of the space type, especially its height, while overcoming the lack of site specificity. It will also offer prototypical material and assembly techniques that can densify occupancy and increase thermal performance in a cost-effective manner.

Session Three: 2:15-3:15 PM

The Union Trust Building: From Sheriff’s Sale to Class A Building
1 LU Hour *TOUR to Follow Date TBD*

Presenters: Matt Dilla, CJL Engineering; Chris Lasky, The Davis Companies; Michael Renna, Mascaro Construction Company, LP; and Kevin Wagstaff, AIA, Perfido Weiskopf Wagstaff + Goettel

Course Description:
This course will review the history of the Union Trust Building (UTB) through the most recent renovation. The presenters will discuss the initial studies and formulation of a strategy to revitalize the building and make it attractive to new office and restaurant tenants. Key design and construction challenges, such as façade restoration, systems replacement, elevator upgrades, and two levels of subsurface parking, will be addressed. During this session, presenters will review successful communication strategies across the multidisciplinary team and share some lessons learned. At the end of the course, attendees will have a better understanding of how to successfully approach a complex project, and with a large and diverse team of professionals.

Being Your Client’s Trusted Partner: Building Client Relations, Managing Expectations, and Advocating for Design
1 LU Hour

Presenters: Adele Beaves, Civil & Environmental Consultants, Inc.; Eric Fisher, AIA, Eric Fisher Architecture; Jeff Murray, FAIA, Jacobs; and Tami Greene, ikm Architecture

Course Description:

Recognizing that we cannot control the decisions that make for great projects, but only influence them, we know that building client relations, communicating design values and benefits, and managing client expectations are all critical to a project’s success and, ultimately, to a design firm’s long-term viability. This panel discussion offers the insights of four successful firm leaders from a variety of perspectives including those of large, small, and medium-sized firms, as well as E consulting and A/E and A practices. Each presenter also brings experience with diverse client types—from single-family residential to healthcare to global corporate.

Each presenter will discuss his or her approach and tools for success, identify the dos and don’ts for effective communication, and share both success stories and not-so-successful stories. These presentations will be followed by a lively panel discussion and interaction with the audience.

Improve Communications Across Professions
1 LU Hour

Presenters: Susan Faigen, SLFStrategies, Inc., and John Schneider, P.E., Gateway Engineers

Course Description:
Do you ever find you feel like everyone on your project team is talking a different language? Do you find it hard to solve design and construction problems because you feel like you don’t have the right information? This course will provide attendees with effective techniques to better communicate with the project team, which includes architects, engineers, consultants, contractors, and owners.

Working with Underserved Communities
1 LU/HSW Hour

Presenters: Karen Abrams, The Heinz Endowments; Christian Pegher, AIA, MacLachlan Cornelius & Filoni, Inc.; Brittany Reno, Sharpsburg Neighborhood Organization; and Patrick Shattuck, Mon Valley Initiative

Course Description:
The United States is seeing a resurgence in urban population. Many communities in and around Pittsburgh are seeing a renewed interest in old housing stock or tracts of land, and architects can play a large role in their responsible redevelopment.

This course will focus on ways that architects can provide expertise to underserved communities. Presenters will explore examples of programs that have been developed to help distressed communities turn the corner, maintain their existing population, and plan for growth. Lastly, the presenters will discuss ways to provide for a diverse population, help develop a community’s assets, and set goals for implementation.

Session Four: 3:45-4:45 PM

Architects & Contractors: Rather Than Talk About Each Other, Let’s Talk to Each Other
1 LU Hour

Presenters: Rick Avon, AIA, Avon Graf Architects, LLC; Rob Sklarsky, RJS Construction Consulting, LLC; and Eric Starkowicz, Master Builders’ Association of Western PA

Course Description:
This panel discussion, representing the perspectives of both architects and contractors, will explore the challenges and opportunities of collaboration by engaging in a transparent conversation about issues commonly experienced through the design and construction process. Panelists will begin by describing their own respective roles and their perception of the other. The course will cover milestones throughout the typical design and construction phases where both parties interact and/or should interact, including design,pre-bid, bidding, scope review, and construction. Construction will be further explored with areas of interest for both parties, such as schedule, scope changes, and responsibilities. Both architects and contractors will present their perspectives and then expand the discussion with solutions, suggestions, resolutions, alternative approaches, and/or compromises.

Execution without design or design without execution falls short of what could have been! Simply put, we need each other and should want to help each other succeed. The discussion will encourage participants to rise above the challenges that divide us, while encouraging empathy towards our respective professions, reinforcing that architecture is the result of both design and execution, and suggesting improved collaborative processes.

Serendipity Is Not an Accident: Finding Meaning in Placemaking
1 LU Hour 

Presenter: Peter Quintanilla, Urban Design Studio Lead, Michael Baker International

Course Description:
This course will explore the concept of Placemaking, discussing the attributes of the value of Placemaking using a series of images depicting local and international examples. Participants will engage in a discussion of what makes these places “places” by exploring three examples—one historical, one conventional, and one new concept—and deconstruct them to identify what makes them successful or unsuccessful. The presenter will explore what makes a place authentic, memorable, engaging, and nurturing, or pastiche, boring, and hostile to arrive at an understanding of the elements that can be used to create valuable places. At the conclusion, the presenter will showcase several recent examples that demonstrate the ways in which Placemaking is being put into practice.

Out of the Furnace: Activating Braddock into the Future
1 LU/HSW Hour *TOUR to Follow Date TBD*

Moderator: Ken Doyno, AIA, Rothschild Doyno Collaborative

Presenters: Tina Doose, Braddock Borough Council; Gregg Kander, Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC; and Patrick Shattock, Mon Valley Initiative 

Course Description:
Despite being left behind by commercial activity, threatened with a limited access thruway, and losing 90% of its peak population, the community of Braddock, PA, has decided to foster growth and encourage and welcome new development. This course will review the recent history of Braddock to include a focus on the leaders, investors, tools, and examples critical to the restoration of hope in this urban context.

Presenters will describe the principles, challenges, and methods upon which this revitalization has relied. The resiliency of Braddock’s community in crafting a welcoming vision for its future required developers interested in good design and a community welcoming incremental investment. At the end of the course, attendees will be more knowledgeable about ways to improve communities that have lacked reinvestment for decades. The course will be followed by a tour of Braddock in the upcoming months led by some of the panel participants.

Made with Modular: How Off-Site Construction Is Shaping the Built Environment
1 LU/HSW Hour

Presenters: Elliot Fabri, Jr., EcoCraft Homes, and Brian Gaudio, Assoc. AIA, Module

Course Description:
Can off-site construction techniques improve building performance and reduce construction timelines? Join us for a deep dive into various off-site building technologies and how they are being used to modernize the design and construction process in Pittsburgh and across the country. The presenters will give an overview of different off-site construction techniques and explain how the process works through several local case studies. From a mobile demo unit to an affordable housing community-development project to Pittsburgh’s first commercial modular building, these case studies will demonstrate the process and products associated with off-site construction.