Locations: Phoenix, San Diego, and Mumbai
What was the biggest lesson you learned from your COTE Top Ten winner, Arizona State University's Student Health Services Building?
Ashley Mulhall, AIA: The biggest lesson learned this year is that the level of success depends on asking the right questions during design, construction, and post-occupancy. At the end of design we had a project that was very good from an energy and sustainability perspective. We took that project from good to great by continuing to ask questions, push the envelope and connect with the client, ASU, in new ways. ASU is a large public university with a wide variety of amazing programs and initiatives working towards net-zero energy and transportation. No one person or department had all the answers. Most of the solutions we found for the project to achieve success were already existing, we just had to assemble the puzzle pieces and apply them to this project.
What insights from this and other sustainable projects would you share with other professionals?
High performance in energy and sustainability is a marathon, not a sprint, and not the responsibility of one individual. It takes a commitment from everyone involved in the process to achieve excellence.
What is your firm’s philosophy on sustainable design?
- Sustainability and the triple bottom line are rooted in our overall design philosophy
- Architecture transcends building.
- Celebrating and elevating the human spirit, we design memorable experiences to inspire people.
- Architecture fulfills a purpose.
- Fusing art and science, we design beautiful spaces well suited for their intended use.
- Architecture respects location.
Drawing inspiration from the local and global environment, we design places responsibly rooted in their context.
What kinds of sustainable solutions are non-negotiable for your firm? What are the baseline standards your firm aims to meet with every project?
Orcutt|Winslow is committed to the 2030 Challenge so energy is a high priority and much effort is spent on ensuring we are maximizing energy efficiency. In addition our firm has always been focused on creating buildings that our clients love so spaces that can meet the needs of the occupants now and in the future are critical.
What are the tip energy-saving features you put into your projects?
As an architecture firm rooted in the harsh desert climate of Phoenix, shading is important to us. Shade is a component of every building we design.
How do you think these types of solutions and products might become standard?
Automated and/or smart shade technology has come a long way in recent years but is still a cost challenge for most of our projects. Widespread use of this technology and competition in the marketplace to reduce costs will help but there are also so many ways to make this technology simpler and more beautiful. We see new solutions for shade every day—it is only a matter of time.