Since 1968, SERA Architects, one of the industry’s leading architecture firms, has been dedicated to the principles of urban revitalization and sustainable design. Located in Portland, Oregon, SERA was “green” before the term was fashionable, focusing much of their efforts on urban infill, redevelopment, and the reusing of existing structures and materials. Their extensive experience in adaptive re-use and building recycling is what led SERA to become not only a major innovator in sustainable design, but also to provide guidance and expertise in a wide range of environmental issues that extend well beyond green building. For example, SERA’s in-house Sustainability Resources Group (SuRG) offers an array of sustainable design services including: LEED consulting, early energy analysis and programming, day lighting design and modeling, efficient lighting design, water efficiency and re-use analysis and calculations, building envelope analysis, and a variety of digital performance analyses. SERA is also involved with several projects that go beyond LEED in pursuit of the Living Building Challenge (LBC). SERA has participated in the development of numerous green building policies, maintaining that, “a ‘whole building’ design process that applies sound strategies of construction and planning will yield long-term economic benefits, healthier communities and environmentally sound solutions.”
In keeping with their mantra to remain on the cutting edge of architectural design, SERA takes advantage of the practice known as Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) which involves early collaboration through building information modeling, (BIM). IPD helps exceed client demands by easing and integrating the collaborative efforts of owners, architects, engineers, construction managers, fabricators, and end operators at the earliest possible stages of a project. This increased visibility enables all project team members to stay coordinated, improve accuracy, reduce waste, and make informed decisions earlier in the process, thereby ensuring the project’s success.
SERA is currently involved in two IPD projects which perfectly encapsulate what this leading architecture firm is all about. The first is the stimulus funded $133 million renovation of the Edith Green – Wendall Wyatt Federal Building (EGWW), the federal government’s Portland, Oregon flagship building comprised of an eighteen-story office tower, which occupies one full city block and two levels of basement and parking areas. Opened in 1975 and named for two former Oregon congressional members, the building is operated by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), the largest landlord in the world.
The second is the Oregon Sustainability Center (OSC), slated to be the world’s greenest office building, serving both as a technological model and as a hub for sustainable practices, policy, education, research and entrepreneurship. Located on the edge of the Portland State University ampus in downtown Portland, the center will represent the pinnacle of 21st century Oregon sustainability architecture.
Integrated Project Delivery
The major players involved in any project consist of the principal in charge, who has the ultimate responsibility, the project manager, who oversees the timeline and budget, the project architect, who is the actual designer, and the job captain, the individual in charge of production. Projects at SERA also include a BIM manager to maximize the function of these roles. On both EGWW and the OSC the BIM Manager is Russell Holzinger. An enthusiastic advocate of Integrated Project Delivery, Holzinger is quick to point out its benefits.