This residence??s owners undertook a whole-house remodel, with the following goals in mind: upgrading their 50-year-old home to reflect their environmental concerns, providing a suitable space to display their collection of art and sculpture, and creating a personal sanctuary for themselves and their pets. In the past, architects have looked to the green marketplace mainly for nontoxic and sustainable materials. But more and more, it is becoming a source for truly innovative and beautiful products. As a result, the Scott residence transcends the designation of ??environmentally responsible house?? to become something more like a large-scale art project. Each component serves a functional need and contributes to the goal of 100 percent sustainability, all while creating a pure sense of delight. Architect: Nest Architecture Inc.
Credit: Bill Simone
Credit: Bill Simone
The pool house design is a three-level affair (two stories above grade and one below) and features an 18-by-40-foot ellipse pool, spa, children's pool, and sauna as well as a full array of cooking, dining, and entertainment amenities. The clamshell that opens over the swim channel between the indoor and outdoor pools has become the project's icon. The custom tile mosaic depicts the flowing form of a chiffon scarf draped across the steps and down into the elliptical pool. The outdoor pool includes a mosaic reef on the floor of the pool as well as a curving vanishing-edge feature that flows to a lower level patio. Architect: Platinum Poolcare/Hollander Architects
Credit: Linda Oyama Byran
This 21-unit, mixed-income condominium building is part of Phase I within a 33-acre, four phase development that will encompass more than 1,300 housing units when complete. The overall plan provides replacement housing for the Chicago Housing Authority's Stateway Gardens. Building facades reflect the diverse architectural nature of the surrounding Bronzeville neighborhood and IIT campus. Long facades are modulated through a variety of materials and their subtle variation. Brick is deployed in various color combinations. Metal balconies, canopies, and copings adopt both ribbed and smooth articulation. Architect: UrbanWorks Ltd.
Credit: James Steinkamp
Prospect House is the result of celebrating a stunning Seattle panorama while accommodating a modest budget and a family with two young children. The house honors the owner's desire for a domestic refuge while maximizing the experience of its location. The project began with the domestic and the planting of two gabled, bearing-wall "houses" deep into the hillside. These contain rooms requiring enclosure, and they give the house the conventional street fa§ade that the neighborhood deserves. The steel-framed "glass box" occupies the view fa§ade and sews the houses together. These simple parts, simply combined, create complex social and spatial relationships within the house. The budget required basic construction usingoff-the-shelf parts. The greatest technical effort went into the design of the two-story window wall: residential wood windows assembled as a true curtain wall. Architect: Janof/Hald Architecture
Credit: Benjamin Benschneider
There’s clearly a demand growing all across the country for green schools. That means different things in different jurisdictions, considering the politics of green. But everyone wants a healthy environment for their kids, and there’s greater recognition that high-performance buildings produce high-performance students.
Unfortunately, a lot of facilities in this country don’t meet basic needs. People often say they don’t have the resources to “go green.” Does it cost more to build green? No, you can build green at any price point. There’s a lot of simple, low-hanging fruit. A top priority of a sustainable school is indoor air quality and light, something that can be achieved at any price point. At Manassas Park Elementary School, in Virginia [a Title 1 school that earned an AIA 2010 COTE Award], we made use of Solatubes, which were very inexpensive and haven’t leaked, despite record snowfalls. They provide light all day because of their unique parabolic shape.
Generally speaking, there are three dimensions to a green school. There’s a healthy school, which is about making sure it’s nontoxic. There’s a high-performance school that conserves energy and water (and money). The third aspect is building-as-teaching-tool.
The building itself can become a lesson plan, providing endless possibilities to our talented teachers. The way Manassas Park Elementary works is what you might expect from a high school. The kids don’t stay in one room all day and they change classes frequently so there’s a lot of movement in the building. There are three outdoor classrooms—two courtyards oriented to get full southern sun and a main outdoor classroom that doubles as a bioretention area. There was a large stormwater pipe running through the site and we decided to daylight it so that when there’s a big storm, the teacher can take a class out there and see firsthand how drainage works.
Almost everyone learns better by doing. If the building becomes a teachable place, students can see the impact of their actions firsthand. Manassas Park has three academic “houses,” or wings. A dashboard tracks energy use for each house but was giving faulty data for one house, causing its energy use to appear abnormally higher than the others. When the principal challenged those students to do better, a fourth grader responded, “It’s not fair—we’re the southernmost building and we’re getting more solar heat gain than the others!” I think his response speaks volumes to how engaged our kids can be.
If a school doesn’t actively promote stewardship of the world around it, I’m not sure it counts as a green school. Law schools and medical schools produce lawyers and doctors, so what should it mean to graduate from a green school? As told to William Richards.
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