Presenters & Programming 2020

Key To Course Track Designations:

D(esign) – Design topics include planning a project, either new building or existing, from concept design through design development and documentation.
P(ractice) – Practice topics includes processes, procedures, and policies involved in running a firm/project and creating a safe and sustainable built environment including project delivery systems, contracts and agreements and intellectual property, ethics, and risk management as they are practiced within firms, corporations, government agencies, and other organizations.
B(uilding Science) – Building Science focuses on systems integration, materials and methods, operations, and metrics of a viable building that contributes to a healthy work and living space.
L(eadership) – Leadership covers leadership knowledge that inspires changes and transformations in thinking and practice, including issues of society, community, firms, and organizational entities.

Session One: 9:15-10:45 AM 

AIA/MBA Joint Committee White Paper on Building Envelope – Practical Strategies   
1.5 HSW LU Hours  (D, B)


Presenters:
Jeff Light, AIA (DLA+), Eric Starkowicz, (Master Builders’ Association of Western PA), Brian A. DiPietro, AIA (WTW Architects), Tom Donoghue, AIA (Owners Representative)

Course Description:
This discussion of the Building Envelope White Paper created by the joint committee will be used to highlight the resources that are available in the Pittsburgh Region through the Master Builders’ Association of Western Pennsylvania, The American Institute of Architects of Pittsburgh and beyond. It will include information representing the perspectives of both architects and contractors, to explore the challenges and opportunities of collaboration for building envelopes by engaging in discussion of the general pieces in design and construction. The topic will focus on where envelopes are now and where they are trending. We will dive into the detailing of the two primary types of enclosure strategies for several building types. Balloon and skin strategies will be explored in detail.

As building enclosure systems are becoming more advanced, building and energy codes are becoming more stringent, and the need to conserve energy is more critical than ever, it has become increasingly important for architects, contractors, and owners to have a more thorough understanding of how the building envelope functions and how it can be designed and constructed to be more efficient and effective. Building codes and certification systems, including the International Codes, ASHRAE, LEED and other sustainable design rating systems provide detailed requirements for how building enclosure systems should be designed, constructed and evaluated. In addition, building owners now demand greater performance from their buildings and rely on advanced QA and QC testing practices that have become more prevalent and sophisticated. This session will focus on opening lines of communication between architects and contractors during the process.


Blueprint for Better Pittsburgh: Designing for Wellbeing
1.5 HSW LU Hours  (D, B, L)

Presenters:
Amanda Markovic, AIA (GBBN), Michelle Fanzo (AIA Pittsburgh), Jeff Murray, FAIA (Cannon Design)

Course Description:
Pittsburgh and the larger region are experiencing rapid change; many of the city’s most iconic neighborhoods are undergoing redevelopment at a scale not seen for many decades. What we choose to build today, and for whom, will shape Pittsburgh and our region for the next half century. This is an unprecedented opportunity for those in the architecture/design sector to influence the livability, sustainability, and equity of where we live. To do this, AIA Pittsburgh developed a new initiative – Blueprint for Better: Pittsburgh.

Well-designed structures and spaces project their value far beyond a building’s walls and can nurture or diminish a community. Architecture has been and will continue to be a foundational element in what kind of region we are and for whom. This session will focus on design for wellbeing, and why the built environment is a critical component. We will share findings to help design professionals take a more proactive role as local leaders and advocates for design that improves human wellbeing.


Integrating High-Performance Buildings In Your Practice
1.5 HSW LU Hours  (D, B)


Presenters: 
Laura Nettleton, AIA (Thoughtful Balance), Craig Stevenson (Auros Group)

Course Description:
Sustainability has been a cumbersome and often frustrating process to integrate into practice. The dizzying number of rating systems and the time and resources required to navigate them are overwhelming at best. In addition, building owners suffer from rating system fatigue. Architects are concerned with what the profession feels is a lack of appreciation for the value of our profession; manifesting itself in fee erosion, inability to establish priorities in projects, and a lack of recognition. Most architects when polled are very concerned with the climate crisis and most understand the connection between the built environment and this crisis and yet only a fraction of practitioners, less than one percent, make buildings that really address the issue. Why the disconnect? This presentation will include a brief presentation of measured performance in buildings, the strategy with the envelope used to get there, and the added benefits beyond energy in recent projects. The presentation will highlight how to market sustainability to your clients and how to select the ideal project candidate for doing so. By focusing on metrics and shifting away from rating systems, architects can reclaim the discussion and add value to building owners in terms of the bottom line and occupant health and performance. By reframing building performance in their practice, architects can restore perceived value in their projects. We want to engage the audience to understand “what are the barriers to starting a high-performance project?” …. right now. We hope to help your team to resolve those roadblocks.


Tall Timber | Steel City
1.5 HSW LU Hours  (D, B)


Presenters: 
Kirsten Clemens, AIA (Bohlin Cywinski Jackson), Jessica Hickman Fresch (Allegheny Mountain Hardwood Flooring)

Course Description:
In this pivotal moment as Pittsburgh is experiencing rapid development and change, design professionals have issued a call to carefully consider the impact of the built environment in our communities. Simultaneously, advances in mass timber construction technology and products awareness of material health and carbon impacts have led to sweeping change in the development of a new industry, state legislation, and the 2021 International Building Code provisions for tall timber structures. What is the alignment of these movements and what do they mean to Pittsburgh?

This session will review Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification forestry implications as a critical pathway for the national advancement of the mass timber industry. In the spirit of socially responsive design this industry has the potential to make an impact towards 2030 goals and reduce carbon emissions from our built environment. The IBC 2021 tall timber provisions have been early adopted in western USA where there is a concentration of the rising industry and access to resources. This session will broadly cover the new provisions focused on life safety as well as a review of the supply chain access to mass timber for this region, and uncover the opportunity for labor markets to help serve the rapid development of Pittsburgh in a meaningful way. By offering an alternate to taxed labor markets in this time of rapid development, Pittsburgh can layout a platform for the growth of the mass timber industry; creating a new local market with a new offering. Whether exposed or encapsulated, mass timber structures offer resiliency through flexibility of use as well as an inherent benefit to the occupants through biophilic design with the potential for exposed structure depending on typology. A series of existing planned, and conceptual project case studies will be reviewed demonstrating the potential of the new Type IV code sections, reviewing the offerings of mass timber as a structural solution beyond the aesthetic properties.

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

Emerging Liability Risks | Strong Risk Management Foundations Impacted by Shifting Sands of Liability
1.5 LU Hours  (P, L)

Presenters: 
Michael Cremonese (Burke Cromer Cremonese, LLC), Paula Selvaggio (Oswald Companies)

Course Description:
The changing world presents new risks. Are design professionals prepared for emerging risks arising from evolving technology, new materials, changing climate, and work force issues as they impact projects and the built environment? Participants will learn the emerging risks facing design professionals today and how to mitigate the risks through contracts, insurance, or other risk management techniques.


Between Architecture and Landscape Architecture: Creative Collaboration in Professional Practice
1.5 LU Hours  (D, P, L)

Presenters:
Matthew McMahon (Snøhetta), Terri Brightman, RLA, ASLA (Strada Architecture, LLC), Nina Chase, PLA, ASLA (Merritt Chase)

Course Description:
Recent cultural shifts have expanded the authorship of built work, moving from the hand of individual designers to the mix of players that emerge around projects. The public, contractor, client, engineers, specialty consultants, even the site, environment, and history, lay claims on what a given project may or may not be. In this complicated context, design collaboration is paramount. This panel will open a dialogue about collaboration from three designers actively balancing architecture and landscape architecture. In each of our practices, we have opened questions about architecture – how walls, roofs, property lines, and other traditional boundaries may inform design, but need not constrain it. To do so, we will present a set of recent projects where the dialect between architectural and landscape architectural disciplines was questioned. The willingness of the project teams to engage in this dialogue lead to project improvements and added value of the public realm, through the blurring of project and professional boundaries. We will not only provide a glimpse of our current work, but will also reveal the design collaboration behind it. Matthew McMahon (Snøhetta) will share the Central Library in Calgary, Alberta, Canada (completed 2018) Terrie Brightman (Strada) will present the Bakery Square Refresh in Pittsburgh, PA (under construction) Nina Chase (Merritt Chase) will discuss Bow Market in Somerville, MA (completed 2017).


How to Leverage Design Assist Strategies for Better Project Results | AIA/MBA Joint Committee
1.5 LU Hours  (D, P, L)

Presenters: 
Justin Hough (PJ Dick), Gretchen Kurzawa, AIA, NCARB (LGA Partners), Rocco Gallo, LEED (Karpinski Engineering), John Wattick (Mosites)

Course Description:
The local design and construction industry has the opportunity to provide a more integrated, collaborative process between the designer and contractor. Through the Design Assist process, the owner can gain the benefit of both design and construction expertise during the entire project, especially valuable during the pre-construction planning phase. Any Design Assist partner should become an integral active member of the team as early as possible. This early advanced expertise can include providing system design options, considering longevity of system components, performing cost analysis, determining means and methods, and that the proposed concepts work within the overall building type design. Learn best practice recommendations for integrating Design Assist strategies into your projects from the AIA/MBA Joint Committee designers and contractors.


Beneath the Surface: Testing & Analysis of Historic Building Materials
1.5 HSW LU Hours  (D, B)

Presenters: 
John Evans, AIA (MCF Architects), Jessica Stuck, AIA (MCF Architects), Chris Watt (MCF Architects)

Course Description:
This session will explore the various ways that testing and investigation can inform the renovation/restoration of historic buildings, using specific examples from MCF’s recent historic preservation work. Case studies will include: Paint analysis of historic finishes at Bentley Hall and Wilkinsburg Train Station, used to inform building chronology and finish selection; Detailed testing of paint removal methods for the historic brick exterior of Bentley Hall; X-ray examination of the historic wrought-iron cupola spire at Bentley Hall; Sample “probe” of lintel construction at Bentley hall and canopy supports at the Wilkinsburg Train Station; and analysis of steel structure at the Wilkinsburg Train station. These case studies will combine to demonstrate how historic buildings often require a “scientific” approach and detailed testing, in order to understand existing conditions and accurately predict costs.

Session Three: 2:15-3:15 PM

Civic and Community Engagement | Inspiration + Difference Making
1 HSW LU Hour  (D, B, L)

Moderator: Gwen Dakis, AIA (dragonARCH consulting, llc / Pittsburgh Foundation for Architecture)

Presenters: 
Alaina Bernstein, Assoc. AIA (Michael Baker International), Prerana Paliwal, Assoc. AIA (Desmone Architects)

Course Description:
Civic and community engagement can take many forms. It involves collaborative leadership and advocacy, creates meaningful conversation, and promotes healthier, more inclusive neighborhoods. In its broadest sense, civic engagement can empower many people with similar goals to achieve a profound and positive impact in their community. Architects are natural problem solvers – at many scales and with various constraints. This session will discuss how leaders in our field define engagement, explore the civic engagement spectrum, and share stories from our “boots on the ground” volunteers and attendees. Along with examples from The Pittsburgh Foundation for Architecture – whose mission includes the fostering of Architects’ civic engagement and leadership – attendees will brainstorm, sketch and discuss what they would do in specific neighborhoods.


Top 10 Toolkit | Framework for Design Excellence
1 HSW LU Hour  (D, P, B, L)

Presenter: Gunnar Hubbard, FAIA, LEED (Thornton Tomasetti)

Course Description:
Climate change is the fundamental design problem of our time, and architects need the skills to help make beautiful, resilient, high performing buildings. However, limited access to quality information that is both usable and concise is a major barrier to the universal adoption of sustainable design. The Framework for Design Excellence seeks to close this information gap and make sustainable design strategies accessible to all architects through a framework that can guide the design of all projects, large or small, with a budget high or low, located in Schenectady or San Diego. The Framework identifies patterns that emerge in projects that achieve both design excellence and exceptional performance, and includes a variety of high-impact, low-cost strategies that can elevate the quality and outcomes of any project.


Tree Pittsburgh HQ: Modular Construction + Net Positive Energy on a Brownfield Site
1 HSW LU Hour  (D, B)

Presenters: Matt Plecity (GBBN), Danielle Crumrine (Tree Pittsburgh)

Course Description:
Tree Pittsburgh’s mission is to protect and renew the urban forest through conservation, education, and planting. On the Allegheny Riverfront site of their new headquarters, they grow tens of thousands of trees. Like other nonprofits, their ability to raise funds for a first cost construction project is greater than generating funding for long-term maintenance and operations. Thus limiting future utility cost through sustainable practices and on-site energy generation align with their mission and their long-term financial model. Site challenges of limited access to utilities and remediation of the brownfield conditions of the former Tippin Steel Plant were additional drivers for unique construction methods and sustainability. Participants will learn how the design team met the state’s Department of Environmental Protection criteria for mitigating the site by adding clean fill, limiting soil disturbance, and documenting critical disturbance zones with soil testing. The presentation will demonstrate the drivers for pursuing modular construction and share the cost and environmental benefits of modular construction for this project such as: labor rate reduction, unitized panel efficiency, construction in a controlled environment, and limited construction waste and material theft. We will also examine how modular construction and the helical pier foundation system helped limit the disturbance of contaminated soil. Lastly, with construction complete and the first year of energy usage documented, we will report energy performance analytics and operational methods. Danielle Crumrine of Tree Pittsburgh will discuss how the building is contributing to the financial viability of their organization and the way they plan to use it in the future.


Repurposing Everyday Buildings: Extraordinary Renovations of Ordinary Structures
1 HSW LU Hour  (D)

Presenters: Eric N. Fisher, AIA LEED AP (Fisher ARCHitecture), Beatrice Spolidoro, AIA WELL AP, LEED Green Associate (Fisher ARCHitecture)

Course Description:
In the past, only large institutions could afford to completely renovate existing buildings, but private clients today are asking architects to radically renovate modest structures. This session will explore their motivations, from project budgets to communicating a progressive brand, and provide a sense of what the changing environment means for you.

Learn why architects are now expanding the use of adaptive reuse strategies to include buildings that would previously have been overlooked and demolished, review the history of adaptive reuse, and see examples of extraordinary renovations and additions to everyday buildings.

Session Four: 3:45-4:45 PM

Strategies for Spatial Empowerment: Youth Outreach and Architecture
1 LU Hour  (L)

Lead Facilitators: Nickie Cheung, Assoc. AIA (Rothschild Doyno Collaborative), Rebecca Baierwick (Rothschild Doyno Collaborative)

Panelists: Nina Barbuto (Assemble), Melanie Ngami, Assoc. AIA (GBBN Pittsburgh / NOMA PGH), Anastasia Dubnicay (ACE Mentor Program – Western PA)

Course Description:
This session will explore how architects can play a larger role in the education of the next generation. Pittsburgh has seen a surge of youth organizations led by architects and professionals in the building industry make an impact on the youth in the city. Whether it’s through digital fabrication and maker spaces, architectural workshops, or creative sculptural art pieces, Pittsburgh has many programs that empower youth to critically examine and imagine what the world could be, in turn opening the architectural profession to kids who otherwise, may never have explored it.

This course will serve as a crash course on how the next generation of designers is being inspired by architects beyond the limits of professional practice. As our profession begins to shine much needed light on the lack of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in our field, it has been raised to our attention that we cannot simply wait for youth to choose to be architects. Financial, social, and educational barriers exist that prevent architecture from being a viable professional trajectory. The question becomes, what is the role of the profession to inspire the next generation? How can Pittsburgh architecture firms support the education of those who will in habit the spaces we design in the years to come? It is through strong leadership and collective knowledge building that the professionals of Pittsburgh can begin building new avenues for our city’s youth.


Lighting and Wellness – Guidelines and Metrics for Circadian Lighting Design
1 HSW LU Hour  (D, B)

Presenters: Lindsay Stefans (Francis Krahe and Associates, Inc.)

Course Description:
The WELL Building Institute launched a guideline and metrics for Circadian Lighting Design. The aim is to reduce circadian phase disruption, improve sleep quality, and positively impact mood and productivity. Light is therefore a great regulator of the body’s time clock. This, in turn affects our sleep-wake behavior, or hormone secretion, gene expression, and our general mood. This seminar will review the basics of how light affects our biological and behavioral processes and also cover the latest research in the field of circadian lighting, health and buildings. A general overview of reducing phase disruption, improving sleep quality and positive mood impact as covered in the guidelines of the WELL Building Institute will be presented. These findings will be placed in the context of methods and metrics of light in the built environment and how practitioners can integrate these scientific findings into their work in implementing Circadian Lighting Design.


Two’s Company, Three’s a Cloud: A Case Study for Multi-Firm Collaboration
1 LU Hour  (D, P)

Presenters: Melanie Panutsos, AIA, NCARB, LEED GA, MBA (MCF Architects), Michael Finley, AIA, NCARB (MCF Architects), Kevin Kenna, AIA, LEED AP BD+C (Moshier Studio)

Course Description:
Maclachlan, Cornelius & Filoni Architects, together with Payette and Moshier Studio recently completed construction documents on a new 8 story, 150,000 SF addition and partial renovation for the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine at Scaife Hall in Oakland. This session will cover the implementation of Autodesk’s BIM 360 Team platform for cloud collaboration, which was utilized on the Scaife Hall project to enable all three architectural partners to design, model, and document their efforts simultaneously across several projects with varying phases. Utilizing the Scaife Hall Addition & Renovation as a case study, the presentation will cover the benefits and challenges in the production of deliverables utilizing this platform. Participants will learn the basic considerations of how to set up a project in BIM 360 Team including: file structure considerations, user access and control, collaboration protocol considerations, file maintenance recommendations, creation of hybrid solutions based on team makeup, and options for timing of implementation.


Pop-Up District: A Guide to Returning the Public Realm to the Public
1 LU Hour  (D, P)

Presenter: Carolyn Sponza, AIA (Gensler)

Course Description:
In recent years, the rise of pop-ups, tactical urbanism and creative placemaking has taken center stage in cities across the world.  DC’s Office of Planing recently published “District of Columbia Public Space Activation & Stewardship Guide,” one of the first of its kind in the US, which serves as a public resource to help stakeholders foster vital public spaces throughout the city.  This will be an interactive workshop demonstrating best practices and principles on how people can successfully activate a range of places to advance creativity, community, and culture.  Offering an engaging discussion to understand the different components of the public realm.

Pittsburgh has many examples of successful collaborations in the public realm.  This session will help connect best practices that cities can employ and discuss the role that architects play in space activation.  It will also showcase how real estate stakeholders (developers, architects, BIDs, community leaders, etc.) can partner with government agencies to embrace space activation and stewardship, as well as help communities use the spatial resources of their neighborhoods to improve quality of life, address issues of spatial equity and social justice, create a sense of identity, bring vitality to streets, and vocalize environmental sustainability.  The workshop will also share guidance around the regulatory process, as well as toolkits that will help inform users on spatial and cultural considerations.