For the Ruth Mandle, AIA, principal of the Brooklyn, N.Y.–based Co Adaptive Architecture, sustainability is a very holistic endeavor. She believes that the more design professionals learn about sustainable practices, the more they will consider not only the source and manufacturing of materials, but also the people involved and the lifecycle of a given material.

“Although architects may believe that with what they build is permanent, it's not,”Mandl says. “How can we already plan for this impermanence now such that in the future, these buildings are easier to adapt and they're easier to take apart and reuse the components elsewhere.”

In this On Demand CEU, ARCHITECT editor-in-chief Paul Makovsky will explore the work of two firms, Co Adaptive and Lord Aeck Sargent in Atlanta, diving into their use of wood in sustainable ways. Panelists Ruth Mandl and Joshua R. Gassman will provide a unique look into the reasons why wood was chosen and how it supports each of the architect’s project needs and goals. Learners will have an opportunity to explore how each project utilized wood in a unique way — through adaptive reuse, low-carbon design, and sustainability, and as an educational experience. This recorded presentation is the first of a two-part continuing education series on advances in wood construction through the lens of sustainability and innovation.

The Mercury Store in Brooklyn, N.Y., by Co Adaptive Architecture, is the first project in New York City to use mass timber to transform an adaptive reuse building.
Naho Kubota The Mercury Store in Brooklyn, N.Y., by Co Adaptive Architecture, is the first project in New York City to use mass timber to transform an adaptive reuse building.

Mandl examines the Mercury Store,a 12,700-square-foot former metal foundry in New York which CO Adaptive transformed into a light-filled theater incubator using cross-laminated timber and reconstituted longleaf pine timber.As the first project in New York City to use mass timber to transform an adaptive reuse building, The Mercury Store exemplifies the capacity of mass timber to simultaneously reduce our embodied carbon and reinvigorate our aging building stock.

Also in this CEU, Gassman, sustainable design director at Lord Aeck Sargent, examines how the 2021 COTE award-winning mass-timber Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design—realized in collaboration with design architect The Miller Hull Partnership and made with salvaged materials such as recycled masonry and wood from discarded movie sets—was conceived as both a learning center and a teaching tool to educate students of Atlanta’s Georgia Institute of Technology about sustainable design.

Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design in Atlanta
Justin Chan Photography, Lord Aeck Sargent, and Miller Hull Partnership Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design in Atlanta

Show Notes

This CEU is underwritten by Think Wood.

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Ruth Mandl
Donilee McGinnis Ruth Mandl

Ruth Mandl, AIA, is a principal of CO Adaptive and a licensed architect, registered in New York and Massachusetts. In 2011, she co-founded with Bobby Johnston, AIA, CO Adaptive, a process-oriented architectural practice focused on retrofitting existing building stock to create energy efficient, climate resilient and spatially beautiful environments. Mandl completed her M.Arch at the Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation at Columbia University in 2010. Prior to co-founding CO Adaptive, Mandl’s experience within architecture ranges from working on large cultural institutions for Eisenman Architect and Coop Himmelblau; to small residential and restaurant projects for Richard Lewis Architect. She has been a guest critic at Columbia University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Montana State University. Mandl received her BA in Interior Architecture from Kingston University in London in 2005, which started her enthusiasm for adaptive reuse, and her thinking that in it lies the key to the growth of our cities. She grew up in Vienna, Austria and has now lived in New York City for 16 years. She is passionate about the space where beauty and functionality intersect, and strives to find that in all of her work.

Joshua R. Gassman
courtesy Joshua R. Gassman Joshua R. Gassman

Joshua R. Gassman, is the sustainable design director at Lord Aeck Sargent, an Atlanta-headquartered design and planning firm. He leads large, multi-faceted design teams focused on sustainable design. During his career he has managed and designed a broad spectrum of projects, ranging from large research labs for major universities to interpretive and education centers. He has worked extensively on projects involving challenging performance criteria, including net positive water, net positive energy and net positive waste projects. Gassman holds degrees from Washington University in St. Louis and Arizona State University.

This CEU was produced by Paul Makovsky, Jennifer Boal, Shannon Stahl, and Shawn Gilliam.