Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture Releases ebook,

Chicago, December 18, 2018 – Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture (AS+GG) is pleased to announce the release of RESIDENSITY: A CARBON ANALYSIS OF RESIDENTIAL TYPOLOGIES, now out through their new digital publishing platform ASGGe. The book is the culmination of a five-year study that analyzes nine building typologies to develop a deeper understanding of the relationships between different building densities and the amount of land and infrastructure required to support them. The book investigates how much carbon – both embodied and consumed – is used in each typology and how it affects density and open space from the viewpoint of sustainability, carbon emissions, and carbon sequestration. The study factors each condition to determine which building typology is the most sustainable on a comparative basis.

The book was first conceived in 2012 as an internal study that asked several density related questions: What if we could build a mile high? What would it be like to live there? How much energy would it take to build such a building and where would the energy come from? What drives people to think about building higher and more importantly, is it even the right thing to do? Alternatively, why do some people live in houses in the suburbs? How do their choices of habitat impact the environment?

“We wanted to know, what is the ideal residential density?” says AS+GG Partner Adrian Smith, FAIA. “How can we promote and balance the best quality of life at the lowest carbon footprint? Is there a limit to how much density is appropriate, and what determines that? We thought, just because we can build a building that is a mile high, what is it that informs us whether we should?”

AS+GG designed nine prototypical buildings – Megatall, Supertall, High-Rise, Mid-Rise, Low-rise, Courtyard, Three-Flat, Urban Single-Family, and Suburban Single-Family – set within nine prototypical communities, instead of taking measurements from existing buildings and communities. Because there is no “typical” housing size for an apartment, condominium, or a single-family home, the study designates an archetypal residential community of 2,000 units with an average unit size of 150 m2, or 1,614 sf, as a reasonable and representative cross section of different housing typologies.

“There is a surprising lack of empirical information that either confirms or refutes the perceived beneficial relationship between urban density and environmental parameters,” says AS+GG Partner Gordon Gill, FAIA. “The key here is that the study does not intend to conclude with a preferred residential typology, but instead aims to put the attributes of different typologies into perspective, allowing the reader to assess which attributes are most important.”

The book achieves several goals by comparing densities and their relative environmental impacts. The first was to establish a baseline against which sustainable design assessments could be compared and evaluated. The second was to establish a consistent measurement and reporting methodology that could be tested further in the future. The third was to understand the connection between urban patterns and resource consumption.

“RESIDENSITY explores what is the ideal sustainable built environment through a data-driven analysis,” says AS+GG Partner Robert Forest, FAIA. “The study evaluates the prototypes through a standard lens, creating a detailed matrix that can be used by developers, builders, architects, and planners as a guideline to design and develop low-carbon environments that will work to meet people’s needs now and in the future.”

RESIDENSITY is now available!




Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture established ASGGe in 2018 as a digital publishing platform to support internally produced publications. Look out for upcoming ebooks in 2019 including titles on supertall towers, high-performance facades, and cultural arts + performing spaces offered on store at