Today as I researched a variety of topics I came across a firm and an architect that made me feel a range of emotions.
At first as I read about Chad Oppenheim, a 34-year-old practicing architect, and his firm Oppenheim Architecture + Design I was jealous: Jealous, that I am not at that level, yet. I had to remind myself that yet is the optimal word in this sentence. I have to believe that I will be there someday, whether designing buildings that are to the same caliber as Oppenheim’s designs or just bridging a gap between what is being designed now and what future designs will uphold.
The stronger emotion I embraced was love. I fell in love with not only the buildings that Oppenheim is designing but with all the attributes and concepts that are incorporated into each unique space.
I will highlight three incredible buildings here and hope that you will go and look for more designs that can contend at Oppenheim’s level. The three are:
- Williamsburghotel in Brooklyn
- COR in Miami
- The Vault in Miami
Williamsburghotel is located adjacent to Williamsburg Bridge and to the historic Williamsburg Savings Bank. It is a platinum LEED certified hotel with three towers of varying heights, the tallest being 440 feet. This building has ever-changing views with the play on structure and continuously changing daylight. In an article in MORFAE, the building is discussed as,
“The slender building becomes a beacon upon entering Brooklyn via car or train, yet scales down towards the street. Like the bridge, the towers are a pure fusion of engineering and architecture, where both internal and external structural systems are expressed and celebrated in a dynamic yet functional pattern.”
Williamsburghotel is not just a structural and beautiful creation but a sustainable one. It uses geothermal, wind and solar power to operate.
Similarly, COR is a 22-story building. It is the first sustainable mixed-use high-rise condo building in Miami. It was designed with the use of greener, environmentally ergonomic planning in mind. It uses wind turbines, photovoltaics and solar hot water generation to operate.
Unique to this building is that COR’s exoskeleton provides the structure but also thermal mass for insulation, shading for natural cooling, terraces, the armatures for the wind turbines and space for ground level plazas all in one package.
My final example of Oppenheim’s creations is The Art Vault and Valuable Services, or “The Vault”, building, also located in Miami. It is a 140,000 square foot building designed to store art work in an art complex as an 11-story building.
The Vault building is precast concrete. It utilizes green passive and active systems to minimize its energy consumption. It is unique in its façade in that it is made up of revolving panels where visual images can be displayed.
As the images of these buildings were what gained my attention, the technology and substance of what actually makes up these structures was what has left me in awe.
No one can say why a person does what they do better than that person. Chad Oppenheim discusses his green designs by stating,
“I do it because I firmly believe I have to do it. To me it is a crime that we are reliant on fuels and subjected to the socio economic issues that arrive from importing oil etc.”
Our built environment becomes brighter when those developing it know what needs to be changed from past endeavors to future designs. Oppenheim Architecture + Design is one of many bright young firms leading the way to a beautiful and sustainable living/visiting/storing architectural world. It gives me hope and drive that perchance I will be part of one, also.