August 1, 2008
  Aquatics Center Opens at LA School
Brentwood School’s new Caruso Watt Aquatics Center combines sustainable, dramatic elements
Culver City, Calif.-based Parallax Associates designed the new Caruso Watt Aquatics Center for the Brentwood School in West Los Angeles. The aquatics center opened in May and features a contemporary 25-meter by 25-yard, 10-lane competition swimming pool and a 5,100-square-foot aquatics building. The building is built into a hillside and composed of stacked, sand-colored, eight-inch-thick masonry to resemble stone blocks and reduce interior heat gain. Sustainable elements also include rooftop solar panels, drought-tolerant plants, two 12-foot-high retaining walls on the top of the hill, and a poolside façade of cedar piers that combine with a trellis to create shade while acting as a theatrical curtain to reveal student competitors to bleacher spectators.

Increased Lighting Levels May Slow Dementia, New Study Says
Research indicates another way architects can improve people’s quality of life
A Dutch study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association demonstrated that by increasing the amount of light in assisted living faculties by 50 percent, subjects experienced reductions in cognitive and physical decline and depression, and slept better as well, suggesting that architects and lighting designers should incorporate high amounts of light into their designs for senior and assisted living faculties. These improvements are competitive with the best drug therapies available.

Do You Need a Second Opinion?
Architects and clients can both benefit from an outsider’s perspective on design, budget, and communication issues
Noushin Ehsan, AIA, of New York-based 2nd Opinion Design, provides architects and clients with guidelines of second opinions by evaluating project issues that include design schematics, the budget, communication between architects and clients, construction concerns, and ways to create uplifting spaces. The firm is based on her background in architecture and her international lectures on “The Spirit of Space.” Ehsan launched 2nd Opinion Design formally in November 2007.

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Welcome to the Practice Zone
This is the home of the weekly Best Practices column, news of tips and tools that you can use in your day-to-day practice and case studies illustrating “how-tos” and “lessons learned” for all stages of practice. The Practice Zone also features reports of research in architecture and related fields.