Principals in Charge/Lead Designers: Ursula Twombly, Principal in Charge of Clock Shadow Project; Daniel Beyer, Lead Designer of Clock Shadow Project
Date Founded: 1996
Company Size: 14 people
Little-known fact: We have a yearly summer party at a cabin outside of Crivitz, Wisconsin (30 miles north of Green Bay on Lake Michigan).
What was the biggest lesson you learned from the award-winning Clock Shadow Building project?
There are too many to mention. One of the biggest was this project really strengthened our collaborative process. From the outset, the developer wanted a “radically sustainable" building that could be built on a speculative building's budget. With that, we looked at many different strategies for sustainable features, but ultimately these different components were reviewed, discussed, promoted, dismissed, and passionately reasoned by the team to determine if their benefit was justifiable to be included in the "accepted column" of the project's budget spreadsheet.
What insights from this and other sustainable projects would you share with other professionals?
We really believe that using salvaged materials is a cost-effective way to accomplish a wide range of sustainable issues. Salvaged materials save energy and water by eliminating the production of new materials, remove the possibility of these materials ending up in a landfill, are typically from local sources so they both reduce transportation costs as well as support the local economy, and really impart a wonderful familiarity and integrity to the look and feel of the building.
What is your firm's philosophy on sustainable design?
We believe that sustainable design is part of design. We don't see it as a separate issue, but rather as something that goes hand in hand with good design.
What kinds of sustainable solutions are non-negotiable for your firm? What are the baseline standards your firm aims to meet with every project?
We don't create "red lines" for issues in our projects. We believe that all projects, regardless of size, use or location, can and should include sustainable design.
What are the top energy-saving features you put in your projects?
We really like to use passive strategies. Designing for daylighting, with correct orientation and large windows with appropriate sun control, can really be effective with minimal cost impact to a project. We also are a proponent of geothermal systems since they are a proven strategy that can provide an acceptable payback from the upfront cost.
How do you think these types of innovative green solutions, products, and strategies might become standard?
We think that our clients are really demanding high-performing buildings that are designed to work in concert with our environment. This type of demand is the best way to ensure the standardization of sustainable design practices.