2016 Project Guidelines


The emphases of the competition are the development and integration of innovative and original solutions to the design challenge, collaboration, and peer review. Teams should concentrate on communicating the design decisions and solutions made by the team and provide the calculations and details of these elements to support these decisions.

The building shall be designed to integrate and optimize on a life cycle basis all major high performance attributes, including energy conservation, environment, safety, building security, structural and material durability, accessibility, cost-benefit, productivity, sustainability, functionality and operational considerations.

The competition project consists of a 17-story mixed use infill building located on Boylston Street in Boston, Massachusetts consisting of approximately 450,000 total square feet of space the facility includes about 36,000 square feet of retail. Various occupancies exist within the tower including a large public lobby, three floors of retail space, 14 floors of office occupancy, a multi-level parking garage, connection to a multi-level upscale restaurant and cafe eatery and an adjacent new public entry to an extensive existing shopping center. A small portion of the site is located above an underground section of Interstate 90.

The building locates new office space in a dense urban location with a multitude of amenities within walking distance. Arcade level restaurant and retail spaces directly connect to the adjacent retail and restaurant spaces within the shopping center. In addition, the site includes a new multi-use street level plaza area in front that provides a new entrance / front door to the Prudential Center office complex and the Shops at the Prudential Center and replaces the existing, two-level plaza. The new plaza will provide access to multiple uses including the office lobby, the Shops at the Prudential Center, first floor retail, and the food hall. The plaza will include pedestrian friendly amenities such as moveable seating, fountains, planting and lighting.

The submittals should address the following challenges:
1. Sustainable design and construction
2. Provide resiliency with respect to local environmental considerations
3. Consider integration and impact on adjoining structures and public ways.

As a part of their overall submissions, teams are asked to address overall building system design issues and describe how the engineered systems work with and compliment the other engineering disciplines and architecture. The submittals shall address the high value areas including the lobby area, retail floors, typical tenant floor, and the Public Plaza. Each submission shall include a detailed integrated design of the architectural and engineering systems for the lobby area, retail space or food court located on level 2 of the building area, building facade and storefront, and one of the typical floors of the building including drawing and model documentation as appropriate. Additional detailing may be provided as necessary to explain overall building design solutions and concepts.

For the purposes of the competition design, analysis and documentation, students are permitted to assume that all office floors are similar in size, layout and function. Teams should indicate which floor of the actual building they used as the typical floor.

Sustainability and energy efficiency are key goals of the project. As such, the building enclosure and facade system is likely to play a major role. All submittals should consider the aspects of the enclosure or facade system from a design and integration perspective, including structural support, daylighting analysis and controls, energy considerations and aesthetics. A representative example is acceptable for the submission. It is not necessary to demonstrate all the different facade conditions that may be necessary for a building of this type.

The structural design submittals for the building should include design and sizing of the building lateral force resisting system, gravity members that are part of the primary load path and the foundations. Plans, sections and elevations should be provided as required to depict the locations of the structural systems. Representative details of connections and components should be included that convey the student's concept and understanding of the system. Floor framing should be designed and sized for applicable loads and serviceability conditions including the spaces included for the retail and public lobby sections, the parking garage and a typical office floor. It is not expected that all office floors be designed and sized and it is not necessary for students to design minor variations in floor framing that may occur on the office section of the building.

The mechanical design submittals should address potential solutions for the many different occupancy types of the building. The mechanical systems should work with and compliment the other engineering disciplines and architecture. The mechanical design should provide, for the entire building, a level of detail demonstrating the basic design intent for HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems, plumbing design (including storm water design), fire suppression systems, and potential renewable energy sources. The economic impacts of the major mechanical design decisions should be evaluated throughout the design to stay in line with the design intent and the team's construction budget.

The mechanical design submittals should include a description of the mechanical systems that will serve the entire building, and include a detailed analysis of the typical office floor, the main public lobby, retail space, and parking garage. Plans of main mechanical spaces (e.g. mechanical rooms) and any other areas the team feels are justified to illustrate the mechanical solutions. The design team should consider the location of mechanical spaces and vertical transportation of all MEP systems in the building as well as their effects on both the architecture and engineering.

The electrical design submittals should be developed to a level of detail similar to the other building systems. Electrical design should be developed enough to show basic building power distribution, lighting design, fire alarm system infrastructure, and data/security infrastructure. Drawings could include but, would not be limited to, power and special systems infrastructure diagrams, and power, lighting, and special system plans. A detailed analysis of the typical office floor, the main public lobby, retail space, and parking garage with plans of main electrical spaces should be included as well. Electrical power systems and associated infrastructure shall be sized to support the expected tenant and operational needs in the building.

Innovation and sustainability shall be taken into account in the electrical design. Critical IT/Data loads associated with the building tenant's critical loads shall have UPS power and a MEP system capable of additional degrees of redundancy as appropriate with delivering reliable power to critical IT loads for a high end financial firm tenant. An economically viable life-cycle cost and other pertinent justification should be given for innovative and sustainable design features included in the electrical system.

A high-rise building requires great attention to the details of construction. In the construction submittals, teams should consider and discuss a strategy to address the safety, constructability concerns, site management, and jurisdictional requirements that are specific to vertical construction in this location. Project delivery methods, site logistics planning, project phasing, scheduling, and sequencing are all critical components of this project. Submittals should demonstrate the life-cycle cost justifications especially as they relate to cost impacts in selecting systems, materials, etc. Note that there is no available space immediately adjacent to the building site for staging. All site logistics issues should be accommodated remotely off site or directly on the building property shown on the provided site plan.

In the construction submittals, teams should identify key constructability challenges and address how the team would address these challenges in their submittals. Given the site congestion, teams should submit a project-specific site utilization plan as well as a site and building safety plan. Additionally, teams should incorporate concepts of lean construction into their planning, identifying and demonstrating which lean applications would provide the most benefit to this project and why. Teams should provide a budget for the project focusing on both the short term and lifetime cost-benefits of the design solution.

For the purpose of the competition, design teams will be preparing written reports and presenting to a jury of professionals who will review the submissions from the perspective of representing a building owner, design team and important stakeholders

To the extent that the existing building systems designs are known or discovered by the competition teams, students should not submit a design that is the same as, or a minor variation of, the majority of the existing systems without the inclusion of substantial analyses of other possible solutions and written justifications for keeping the original solution.

Some representative space programming for the new building is shown on the plans that will be provided to registered teams. The supplied plans, models and program information may be modified based on the concepts of the design submittal. The intent of the architectural programming as shown in the drawings shall not be modified by eliminating spaces. Square footage must be maintained however spaces may be shifted in location if justified by the engineering and construction analysis executed by the student teams. The exact final dimensions of the building shall be determined by the competition team within the limitations discussed above. Actual zoning requirements for the site must be followed.

The architecture, including the facade configuration, may be modified and the floor plan can be slightly rearranged, but the gross square footage should be maintained as noted above. For any room size changes and significant plan changes, teams shall provide appropriate rationale and justification combined with sensitivity to the program and architecture of the provided design documents issued as a part of this competition.

Teams will be forwarded pdf-format electronic drawings, site information, and a geotechnical report upon registration. Also included will be an electronic building model. Note that these drawings and models may have been modified from the actual project specifically for the purpose of the competition and do not necessarily reflect all aspects of the original project. Additional information may be provided to all registered teams during the project.

During the competition, the student design teams are asked to submit RFI's to the competition website and not to contact the development owners and consultants directly.

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The competition is open to both graduate and undergraduate students enrolled in the accredited architectural engineering programs and programs actively seeking accreditation by EAC/ABET. Each team shall be supervised and advised by faculty advisors. Students that are not enrolled in an accredited architectural engineering program or programs actively seeking accreditation by EAC/ABET may be members of the team but may not be the team leader. Teams from architectural engineering programs that are not accredited will be allowed to partner with students in an accredited architectural engineering program.

It is anticipated that teams will consist of 2-3 students per category and teams may include a maximum of ten participants. A team leader shall be designated as the point-of-contact for the purposes of the competition and shall be responsible for all correspondence and submittals. The team leader shall be a graduate or undergraduate student in an ABET-accredited architectural engineering program. In addition, each team leader must be a member of an AEI student chapter in good standing. In order to be in good standing, the AEI student chapter must provide current contact information and submit a chapter report as required by the AEI Student Bylaws. The other members of the team may be graduate or undergraduate students in other departments, schools, programs or universities. Participants are limited to competing on only one team and teams are prohibited from using help from students not officially listed on the team.

All team members shall have student memberships in AEI. There is no cost for AEI student memberships and applications are available at: AEI Student Membership Application.

There is no limit to the number of teams that each program may register and have participating in the competition process. There is no cost to register a team. However, each program is required to limit the number of teams submitting final reports and projects for the competition to two (2) teams. If a school has more than two teams registered, the determination of which two teams will submit their final reports and projects for the competition is at the discretion of each individual school program and the associated faculty advisors. Each team submitting a project to the competition must be working on their own unique design solution. The team project submittal must include the integration category and one or more additional categories, as described in the required submittals section.

The official list of team participants shall be submitted at the time of registration, confirmed at the time of the electronic submittal and prior to finalist presentations. Any changes to the team composition, at any point in the competition, must be justified, submitted in advance of the registration for the finalist presentations in writing, and approved by the AEI competition committee.

Faculty/Professional Responsibility

The entries are expected to be the students' own work under faculty supervision and advisement. Faculty and/or professional consultants shall not directly participate in the design work. The extent of faculty and/or professional consultant involvement shall be limited to answering questions, providing references, general guidance, and providing general feedback, as would be expected for a capstone design project.

Individual schools and/or programs may offer course credit for participation in the competition.

It is anticipated that the teams will have meetings on a regular basis with their faculty advisor starting as soon as the beginning of the fall semester of the university's academic year. Teams should have several key submittals to their faculty advisors and peers throughout the project. It is anticipated that the student teams will work on preliminary designs in the fall semester and present their preliminary designs for peer review to their faculty and fellow students prior to the electronic submittal. It is recommended that finalist teams present their projects to their faculty advisors and peers prior to the finalist presentations to the judges.

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