Design Wire November 2019

Rendering: CWS Architects

A new housing complex in Portland’s East Bayside neighborhood will help address Maine’s housing shortage. The six-story, 55-unit at 58 BOYD STREET will have 25 efficiency units, five 1-bedroom units, six 2-bedroom units, and nine 3-bedroom units. The apartments will be priced for moderate- to low-income families and will be managed by the PORTLAND HOUSING AUTHORITY. The PORTLAND HOUSING DEVELOPMENT CORP. is developing the project along with WRIGHT-RYAN CONSTRUCTION, based on plans drawn by CWS ARCHITECTS. In total, the new construction is expected to cost $11.2 million; it will include amenities such as meeting rooms, office space, laundry facilities, bike parking, a trash/recycling area, and a tele-medicine room.

Photo: MIT

Engineers at MIT have created the world’s “blackest black” material. “Our material is ten times blacker than anything that’s ever been reported,” says Brian Wardle, professor of aeronautics and astronautics at MIT. The substance is made from carbon nanotubes (CNT)—microscopic carbon filaments—that were grown on the surface of chlorine-etched aluminum, which captures roughly 99.995 percent of incoming light, according to the MIT News website. The blackest black has cloak-like qualities: The research team coated a 16.78-carat yellow diamond from LJ West Diamonds in the new material, and the luminous gem instantly turned into a flat, black void. The material could be useful in reducing wanted glare in space telescopes and satellites, and the new CNT process will be available to artists for use in noncommercial projects.

“Sitting around a campfire is a rare occasion,” says designer LUCY KURREIN. That was the starting point for her newest creation: THE OTTO SEATING SYSTEM. Designed in collaboration with furniture maker MOLINARI, Otto (which means “eight” in Italian) curves inward for easy geniality in the home and daily routines. Otto is made up of equal octagonal sections on a steel frame and is filled with foam, feather, and polyester wadding. The flexible frame can be configured and combined in a number of ways, and it is produced in standalone pieces, too: an armchair, a straight two-seat sofa, and an angled two-seat sofa. Debuted at the London Design Fair, Otto is the perfect way to create an environment built around conversation.

Most of our clothing is made from synthetic material that takes hundreds of years to
decompose. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 10.5 million tons of textiles are thrown away each year. Clothing brand VOLLEBAK has created a solution: a sustainable, compostable T-shirt made from wood and algae called the PLANT AND ALGAE T-SHIRT. The fabric is made from wood pulp—chipped eucalyptus, beech, and spruce—and certified by the FORESTRY STEWARDSHIP COUNCIL as sustainable. Bury the shirt in the ground when you’re done with it, and it will be fully decomposed in 12 weeks, turning into worm food in the process.

Maine’s largest lobster processing plant opened in early September. On 40 acres along Route 1 in Saco, READY SEAFOOD’s new 52,000-square-foot facility is a $15 million investment that will have on-site storage, state-of-the-art technology, and a research center. While Maine is a top producer of lobster, the catch is often processed in Canada or other states. In opening the plant, Ready Seafood is looking to change that. According to its website, Ready Seafood buys and sells more than 15 million pounds of live and processed lobster annually. With the plant now open, the company is looking to hire 50 new full-time employees.

A new behavioral health unit is under construction at the SANFORD MEDICAL CENTER OF SOUTHERN MAINE HEALTH CARE. Opening in the early half of 2020, the project is in response to a large increase in behavioral health cases—more than 250 cases were reported each month at Biddeford and Saco emergency departments in 2018—leading to a drastic increase in wait times and a lack of short-stay beds. The unit will be operated by MAINE BEHAVIORAL HEALTHCARE and will accommodate up to 42 patients in private and semi-private rooms. The project is expected to cost $11 million and will generate more than 50 jobs, while providing critical care to York County patients who are experiencing depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and substance use disorders.

The U.S. FOREST SERVICE has granted $100,000 to both BOWDOIN COLLEGE and the UNIVERSITY OF MAINE to conduct research and construct mass timber buildings on their campuses. “Mass timber” refers to new ways of using timber for construction. The two institutions will use the grant money to construct new buildings that will highlight the variety of potential uses for mass timber. The grant will help Bowdoin fund the construction of Barry Mills Hall, a new event and state-of-the-art academic space, and the Center for Arctic Studies as a new home for the Peary–MacMillan Arctic Museum. The University of Maine plans to construct a laboratory addition on its Orono campus, which will be used to host the world’s largest 3-D printer.

After a yearlong restoration, GORHAM SAVINGS BANK has opened its newest branch in a historic Yarmouth train station. Located at 288 Main Street, the building dates back to 1906 and is on the NATIONAL REGISTER OF HISTORIC PLACES. The project was done in collaboration with Gorham Savings Bank and owner FORD REICHE, along with interior design firm BOWERBIRD DESIGN COLLECTIVE, architect JD DESIGN ASSOCIATES, contractor CAP SERVICES, the YARMOUTH VILLAGE IMPROVEMENT SOCIETY, and landscape architect SARAH WITTE, who helped improve the greenery, pathways, lighting, and public spaces around the building. The branch also includes a drive-up video teller machine that allows customers to access and deposit funds via ATM and speak with tellers in Gorham via video link.

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