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NexGen Smart Buildings

Updated: Sep 16

The 2 Hundred Year Great-Leap in Architecture

OpDes Architecture Smart Buildings
OpDes Architecture - Cobra II (TX-II) Smart Building

Architecture Advances Technology

If American cities are to return to their prowess, their obsolete buildings need to be replaced, so that cities can attract both residents and industry and offer the same level of comfort and security of the suburbs.

In the last hundred years buildings have seen incremental technical advancement, from the invention of the Elevator, then later the Thermostat, the next great leap in architecture has not yet materialized but is in the works for the coming decentralized world.

The modern thermostat, which is used for controlling heating and cooling systems in buildings, was invented by Warren S. Johnson in 1883.

Johnson, an American inventor, and entrepreneur created the first electric room thermostat while working on a temperature control system for a school in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His invention allowed for more precise control of indoor temperatures and became the basis for the development of modern HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) systems. Johnson later founded the Johnson Controls company, which became a major player in the HVAC industry.

Image of thermostat
Modern thermostat design by Warren S. Johnson in 1883

In addition to Warren S. Johnson's thermostat, the elevator was the next major invention that shaped architecture and the built environment and is attributed to Elisha Otis, also an American inventor and entrepreneur.

Elisha Otis is best known for inventing the safety elevator in 1852, which featured a mechanism to prevent the elevator from falling if the hoisting cable broke. This invention was a significant breakthrough because it addressed one of the major safety concerns associated with early elevator designs.

Otis's safety elevator laid the foundation for the development of modern passenger elevators, which are essential in tall buildings and skyscrapers. His invention revolutionized vertical transportation and contributed to the construction of taller and more efficient buildings in urban areas.

Otis elevator
E. Otis invention of the safety elevator in 1852

For the 21st century, OpDes Architecture has been focused on the integration of our current technologies for the development of our Smart Buildings.

The heart of our Smart Buildings is its BMS (Building Management System), also known as BACnet systems.

BACnet is a widely used open communication protocol specifically developed for building automation and control systems. BACnet was developed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) and is an ANSI and ISO standard.

BACnet is designed to allow various building automation and control devices and systems, such as HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems, lighting controls, access control systems, and more, to communicate with each other regardless of the manufacturer or type of equipment. It enables interoperability and integration of different building systems, making it easier to manage and control building functions.

Overall, BACnet plays a crucial role in modern building automation and smart building solutions, enabling efficient and integrated control of various building systems for improved energy efficiency, comfort, and security.

However, the next generation BACnet will entail HMI (Human Machine Interface) beyond that which is used today. This will enable an interface that is virtual, with machine learning capabilities. In additional Blockchain/DLT technologies can provide a robust and secure system which can also enable Proof of Work support as a supplement to excess sustainable energy generation.

Building Automation with Sustainable Technologies
OpDes Architecture BACnet Integrated Smart Buildings Systems

The NexGen Smart Buildings that we are designing today will shape the Smart Cities of tomorrow. With the integration of automation, virtual reality, robotics and other yet to be released technologies, our buildings will become decentralized, fragile proof, self-sustaining eco-systems.

Moreover, with automation, NexGen Smart Buildings will have zero human maintenance and self-cleaning capabilities, and aerodynamic profile improvement modifications.

OpDes Architecture Smart Buildings
OpDes Architecture - Cobra II (TX-II) Smart Building

OpDes Architecture has spent several years developing Cobra (TX-IV). It is a mixed-use, adaptable Residential + Commercial High-rise intended to provide both high density and spacious consideration within an ultra-modern system powered by SGET (Self Generating Energy Technologies). Its most compelling feature is that it is an energy independent system that provides surplus energy exceeding the high usage demands of its occupants.

The unique design of Cobra is the development of systems that maximize the quality of life for its occupants whilst meeting the complex programmatic needs of its “living” systems. Including a multitude of amenities with interior spaces, it is designed to be adaptable with a customizable cellular system to maximize the flexibility of its versatile program. Built completely from the ground up to be energy independent, Cobra was created to perform and win in regions with consistent wind vectors throughout the year.

Compellingly, it is drawn from the symbolic characteristics of a cobra in repose. The genesis of its design is a vision to create a slender aerodynamic profile that effectively meets the wind conditions of the site whilst providing adequate floor plate area to remain economically feasible. The design is based on OpDes Architecture’s modeling system and design methodology that has greatly enhanced its overall design and development stage and facilitated its integration and coordination of both mechanical and electrical systems.

Cobra is designed to operate in selected climatic zones with moderate wind speeds with a view to provide access to constant wind patterns. The fundamental massing geometry is aerodynamically shaped that accentuates airflow and increases the wind operating efficiency of the entire facility. It is ideally suited for moderately populated areas in both coastal and inland regions.

Cobra is primarily a steel and concrete structure with an exoskeleton that helps increase the net-to-gross ratio of modern interior spaces.

Systems and Technologies:

  • Proprietary


  • Height - 596 ft

  • Floors - 49

  • Green Gross Area - 182,764 ft^2

  • Residential Gross Area - 24,116,964 ft^2

  • Retail Gross Area - 656,207 ft^2

OpDes Architecture specializes in designing Smart Buildings.

Smart Buildings are the newest building type to come into existence since the last industrial revolution. The 21st century's industrial revolution has arrived, with an emphasis on a decentralized world, our Smart Buildings are bringing a better way of living to people and cities around the globe.


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Mark Lafond

Senior Board Member & Contributing Writer

Mark Lafond is a Registered Architect in New York and specializes in construction and sustainable design. He attended Columbia University, Harvard and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He is also a veteran of the US Armed Forces.

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