Innovative clusters

first_imgA few visitors got a first glimpse of how Old Quincy House will look after the completion of the renewal process next year, thanks to a tour of a full-scale mockup of the soon-to-be-renovated accommodations. The model, constructed at One Western Ave. by Harvard Planning and Project Management (HPPM), showcases improvements and upgrades to rooms on a typical Old Quincy corridor.“The mockup is an example of a modernized, upgraded space that faithfully preserves the historic character of Old Quincy House,” said Dean Michael D. Smith of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS). “It allows us to test designs and configurations before we move into construction late this spring. Just as the test project is designed to inform a future House renewal effort, the model is designed to inform the test project, and it seems we have a combination of elements that really excites people.”“The general approach is to keep as much of the old building material as possible, if it’s still serviceable and if it will last,” said Mark Johnson (left), Harvard’s vice president for capital planning and project management. Johnson was joined by Steve Needham, HPPM’s senior director of project management, during the tour.The mockup — which consists of a bathroom, a common room, and two bedrooms — represents a cluster community, one of the project’s key components. Although half of the rooms in Old Quincy will continue to be suites of bedrooms and a common room, the rest will come in clusters, featuring a common room shared by 10 to 16 students, who live in single or double bedrooms. Students in the suites and clusters will share hall baths. A small number of the suites will be two-story duplexes with baths.  The primary hall bath configuration will consist of two toilets, two showers, and two sinks in stalls with a high level of privacy that will be shared by 8 to 10 students. Single unisex baths will also be provided for additional privacy and convenience.Harvard College Dean Evelynn M. Hammonds said that the new configuration will enable significant improvements in residential life.Two model bedrooms were also featured, both a single and a double (pictured). The renovation maximizes the number of singles available to residents.“The Old Quincy test project is the result of a long conversation with students and faculty about how to renew the House,” Hammonds said. “The cluster arrangement will allow us to eliminate walk-throughs, maximize the number of single rooms, and transform the lower level into common space, all of which will boost quality of life for the House’s undergraduate residents.”Enhanced tutor communities, an important element in Old Quincy’s renewal not included in the mockup, will provide additional cohesion to the clusters. Each tutor will have a similar number of students and live in an apartment that is physically central to his or her  community. Each will have a common room with a fireplace that is a visual center for his or her group.“Tutors reinforce the values and strengths of House life,” Hammonds said. “The test project will improve the clarity and boundaries of their communities, which are a critical component of the learning experience at the College.”Steve Needham, HPPM’s senior director of project management, and Merle Bicknell, assistant dean for FAS physical resources, began their tour in a cluster bathroom. The space included two showers, two sinks, and two toilets with stall doors that ran nearly from floor to ceiling to maximize privacy. The room also sported cubbies for residents’ toiletries.“The cubbies are actually a request of students who participated in the feedback committee we convened,” Bicknell explained. “They won’t be locked, but will give the students a chance to leave their things here. That way, they don’t have to carry wet or soapy items back to their rooms, or leave them lying around the common bathroom space.”The bathrooms include cubbies for toiletries, which was a request made by students.Next door was a model of a cluster common room with large, comfortable chairs and an ornamental fireplace. When the test project is complete, wireless Internet access will flow through the space, and flat-screen TVs will be mounted above mantelpieces, wired for easy connection with students’ Xboxes and PlayStations. Architect Steve Kieran said that these rooms will be the hubs of smaller communities throughout the House.“Each cluster is centered on a shared commons with a fireplace, wall-mounted television, and comfortable lounge furnishings,” Kieran said. “There will be artwork and other things that represent the cluster both here and in the halls.”Just down from the common space were two model bedrooms, a single and a double. Both included sturdy oak dressers, desks, and beds. The single was compact, but not cramped. With both beds on the floor, the double still felt roomy and, with the beds bunked, would be positively spacious. Best of all, Needham said, the rooms’ size and configurations would maximize the number of singles available to residents.“All the seniors and half the juniors will have the opportunity for a single, if they choose,” he said.Sustainability is prominent in the renewal plan, which aims for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The entire building envelope will be insulated, and the windows replaced to increase conservation and comfort. Mark Johnson, Harvard’s vice president for capital planning and project management, said that the Old Quincy Renewal will also emphasize recycling and reuse. Wood floors will be re-sanded and refinished, rather than replaced. Doors will be resized to fit new entrances. Even the rain that falls on Old Quincy will be captured and used to supply wastewater.“The general approach is to keep as much of the old building material as possible, if it’s still serviceable and if it will last,” said Johnson. “The most sustainable option is always to use existing materials. To the extent that we use new materials, they will be subject to rigorous sustainability review.”Needham said that the improvements to Old Quincy are also sustainable in a different way: They are designed to last. The bathroom finishes and other renovations should be good for 50 to 75 years and should serve generations of students well.“Over time, you’ll change things like the fixtures, faucets, etc.,” Needham said. “But I think that the materials we’ve chosen are very durable. They’re easy to maintain and should stand up to undergraduate use.”Quincy House Co-Masters Lee and Deborah Gehrke came away from the tour feeling excited about the impending renewal project. Although they were impressed with the updates and improvements, they were most pleased that the model still felt like home.“The renewed space had the unmistakable look and feel of Old Quincy,” said Lee Gehrke. “It was very reassuring, and increased our excitement about the project.  We’re looking forward to the ground-breaking ceremony in May!”last_img read more

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Property software + new media: surf’s up for commercial sales

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How the low interest rate is benefiting Gold Coast borrowers

first_img Video Player is loading.Play VideoPlayNext playlist itemMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:29Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:29 Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedQuality Levels720p720pHD540p540p360p360p270p270pAutoA, selectedAudio Tracken (Main), selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.This is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.Close Modal DialogThis is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.PlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:00Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:00 Playback Rate1xFullscreenWays to get into the property market for less00:29 He said it had already given a much-needed confidence boost to the local market.“It’s been positive for real estate as there’s been more people out and about,” he said.“It gives them the confidence to get out there and buy.“There’s a lot of sold signs up out there.” The cash rate is expected to be cut at least one more time before the end of the year.More from news02:37International architect Desmond Brooks selling luxury beach villa10 hours ago02:37Gold Coast property: Sovereign Islands mega mansion hits market with $16m price tag1 day agoHowever, Mr Henderson said changes to lending criteria, more buyer confidence post federal election and tax cuts for low income earners had also contributed to the improved market conditions. In a move to further strengthen the market, low rates were tipped to stay. “Lower interest rates will be more of the norm for our lifetime,” he said. “Whether they stay this low, that’s probably not feasible.” CoreLogic head of research Tim Lawless backed his comments, explaining all the changes were collectively helping slower markets across the country bounce back.“The pause in the cutting cycle will give the RBA time to assess the effects of earlier rate cuts on the economy and consumer spending,” he said. The Reserve Bank decided to keep the official interest rate on hold.PROPERTY experts believe another interest rate cut is in sight despite the Reserve Bank deciding to hold tight.It came as no surprise that the official interest rate would remain at its current record low of 1 per cent following cuts in June and July but another was expected before the end of the year.Real Estate Institute of Queensland Gold Coast zone chairman Andrew Henderson said the RBA would likely wait to see how the economy reacted to previous cuts before making another. RELATED: Rates set to hold until November “However, there is a strong likelihood of at least one more cut later this year.”“With mortgage rates set to remain low for an extended period of time … and potentially move even lower later this year, we are expecting to see the housing market move into a gradual recovery.“However, with credit policies remaining tight and economic uncertainty still elevated, we aren’t expecting a material acceleration in housing activity or housing values.”According to comparison site Finder’s RBA Cash Rate Survey, experts and economists predicted property values would rise across the nation by August next year.last_img read more

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