A cup of coffee. Can’t imagine life without it right? According to Calestous Juma, professor at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, initially people made claims that it could make you sterile or cause you to fall into a hysterical state.1 The opposition to changing your regular ‘bevi’ to this new concoction, first notably relied upon by imams who needed to stay alert to call for prayers, was formidable2.

Professor Juma posits that many people oppose an innovation even when adopting it is in their own best interest.3 That resistance knows no time boundaries. In 1877, builders in Harrodsburg, Kentucky completed the first cantilever bridge carrying the Cincinnati Southern, the first operational railroad in the U.S. across the Kentucky River. It was originally built without reinforced concrete which didn’t come on the scene until 18894. It took until 1904 for the first skyscraper to be built with it.5 Glad the early adopters won?

Building Envelope Advances Beckon

Even if something benefits us we resist its adoption in favor of something that benefits us less. In building design and construction, hanging on to the status quo is a case in point. But advances like the ones to follow, are becoming catalysts for even the most entrenched, because the benefits are so compelling.

In the building envelope, the time soaking process of applying a separate weather and air barrier is giving way to integrated sheathing — combining the sheathing and the WRB-AB together. Architect Ryan Lutz, of Mason Dale Architects P.C., was the architect on the Greeley City Center project. “Early in the design, we were approached by our drywall contractor, Phase 2 Company Inc., with an idea on how we could save money on our WRB-AB installation.” Not having to install a separate WRB-AB saves money by saving time. “We researched the DensElement Barrier System and quickly determined that it could provide cost savings over traditional WRB-ABs.”

Using the barrier system removed common installation challenges. “The PROSOCO R-Guard FastFlash is definitely easier to use in cold weather,” Lutz pointed out. “Even when it was in the 40s here, it was easier to install the PROSOCO R-Guard FastFlash than on a warm, 70-degree day.”

Andrew Kryzsiekd, Zervas Group Architects, appreciated the time-savings this innovative integrated sheathing provided on the Puget Sound Energy Service Center in Bellingham, Wash. “In the original project schedule, 15 days were allocated to install DensGlass and a water-resistant barrier by two installers. The barrier system was installed in 10 days with just one installer.”

When you’re building a residence off the grid in rural North Carolina, you have unique moisture, fire and energy requirements. Just ask Chris Laumer-Giddens, Architect, LG Squared Inc. “The barrier system has three of four major control layers that we look for in a building assembly, and that’s water, air, and vapor. With the combination of that and FastFlash from PROSOCO, which is a liquid flashing, at the joints and the seams and all the corners and penetrations, it becomes one continuous and integrated system.”

A Renewed Focus on Fresh Air

The new Bloomberg LLP European headquarters in London embraced the future of applied sustainable development with intriguing innovation. “One of the key objectives was for it to be an exemplar of sustainability in every aspect of its design and operation,” says Michael Jones, a senior partner and project architect at Foster + Partners, who designed the facility.6

Among other impressive attributes, the building boasts a breathable façade. Bronze fins have panels on the face of the fins that open. When the outdoor temperature reaches a defined threshold, the panels open allowing fresh air from the outside inside. At the same time, the interior of the fins contain an acoustic lining which tempers city noise helping manage the influence of exterior sound on interior spaces. This innovation counters the issue open windows have caused in the past in noisy city environments7.

Change Your Space with Your Voice

Advances in interior space design are enabling small urban spaces to become what residents need when they need them. Ori Systems uses modular robotics controlled with a customizable application to transform spaces based on needs. Imagine telling your Ori Systems to change your room configuration into the “Lounge” setting. The robots go to work and hide your bed, condensing your ‘bedroom’ space and expanding your ‘living room’ space to get you ready for the party you’re hosting. With its Android and Apple apps, you can do it from anywhere.

"Urbanization is unstoppable. Cities are growing by leaps and bounds, so we better come up with new solutions to make them smarter, because that's where people work and where they want to live," said Hasier Larrea, the chief executive and brains behind Ori. "We have to rethink how we fit more people in, and how we organize the spaces they live and work in."8

And, Ori Systems integrates with third party smart home ecosystems, like Alexa, so all you have to do is say you want to hit the rack and boom, your bed appears.



1. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/innovations/wp/2016/07/21/humans-once-opposed-coffee-and-refrigeration-heres-why-we-often-hate-new-stuff/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.52fd021f13e3

2. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/innovations/wp/2016/07/21/humans-once-opposed-coffee-and-refrigeration-heres-why-we-often-hate-new-stuff/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.52fd021f13e3

3. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/innovations/wp/2016/07/21/humans-once-opposed-coffee-and-refrigeration-heres-why-we-often-hate-new-stuff/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.52fd021f13e3

4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gustav_Lindenthal

5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ingalls_Building

6. https://www.curbed.com/2017/10/18/16496990/bloomberg-london-office-sustainable-design

7. https://www.fosterandpartners.com/news/archive/2017/10/bloomberg-s-new-european-headquarters-launched-in-the-city-of-london/

8. https://www.washingtonpost.com/realestate/turn-a-bedroom-into-a-living-room-at-the-touch-of-a-button/2017/12/04/8f3713d0-c619-11e7-aae0-cb18a8c29c65_story.html?utm_term=.1ac3e165e674