Page E1.2 . 13 July 2005                     
ArchitectureWeek - Environment Department
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  • Cradle to Cradle Winner
     
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  • Cool Colors: Cooler Roofs

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    QUIZ

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    Cradle to Cradle Winner

    continued

    The team re-envisioned a hearth based on the new principles. Our hearth, a tapered, two-story, chimney-like core, includes mechanisms for rainwater collection, black and gray water treatment, a heat sink, a ventilation stack, a skylight, and structural support for solar energy collection materials. The core consolidates these systems, which leverage the benefits of sun, wind, and water.

    Sun Plus Spinach

    "Energy is neither created nor destroyed. It is collected and returned," says team member Brendan Connolly, emphasizing the importance of balance between the natural and the human-made. While the house uses timeless passive solar strategies to deflect summer rays while absorbing the winter sun's heat, it also applies innovation to harness energy.

    The building core extends vertically, like a chimney, above the roof plane and serves as a louvered skylight and a temperature-stabilizing heat sink while supporting a revolutionary cladding: a super-conductive material that produces photosynthetic energy generated from the protein in spinach.

    Based on emerging technology and scientific research, cells of spinach protein, sandwiched between glass, have the potential to generate substantially more energy than regular photovoltaics, much more than the residents need.

    The additional energy may be fed to neighbors' homes, street lighting, or simply back to the power grid. Currently available photovoltaic panels may also be attached to the core, until phototropic, spinach-based cladding is technically feasible. The energy of a plant's chlorophyll gives back to the energy cycle, supporting our health and our ability to propagate. This interdependency is the crux of Cradle to Cradle, thinking beyond our own lifetimes and lifecycle.

    Water and Wind

    Systems for collecting and using rain create a design that blurs the line between house and landscape. A "green" roof absorbs and filters stormwater through its plants and soil while two large openings in the roof funnel rain to the building core. There, the rain is stored to support the site's subsurface irrigation needs, as well as household plumbing for flushing toilets and other household needs. Potable water is imported only for drinking, bathing, and cooking.

    A bio-filtration system for the house naturally breaks down and separates solid human waste from black water, then filters that black water under and alongside the house through a series of subsurface gravels and soils, from coarse to fine. The result is that the house does not require connection to a sewer system or septic tank.

    The house covers only one-third of its narrow site, one of four Roanoke, Virginia sites specified by the competition organizers. We selected an infill site because we thought it would present a greater, more typical challenge and help give life to our social and environmental concept of propagation.

    The remaining two-thirds of the long, sloping site feature a stormwater-irrigated community garden and outdoor space. This topography encourages the prevailing summer wind to sweep upward, into large eave vents. The air is then dispersed throughout the house and drawn up through the hearth, or stack, and released.

    Inside the house, a flexible floor plan consists of moveable partitions to create a space of three bedrooms, two bedrooms and a den, or other configurations. The house also features two bathrooms, a centralized food preparation area, a dining room, a living room, a patio, and an entry court.

    Our winning submission will be built in Roanoke. Partnerships between local builders, businesses, government and community groups, and university-sanctioned design teams will provide the framework for construction, as funding allows.

    Discuss this article in the Architecture Forum...

    The winning design team included Matthew Coates, Tim Meldrum, Ron van der Veen, Brendan Connolly, Julie Petersen, Kristine Kenney, and Richard Franko. The competition's jury included William McDonough, professor Alexander Garvin, and architects Daniel Liebeskind, Sarah Susanka, and Randall Stout.

     

    AW

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    SUBSCRIPTION SAMPLE

    The winning entry in the Cradle to Cradle Home Design and Construction Competition.
    Image: Matthew Coates and Tim Meldrum

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    Site diagram.
    Image: Matthew Coates and Tim Meldrum

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    Living space.
    Image: Matthew Coates and Tim Meldrum

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    Food preparation space.
    Image: Matthew Coates and Tim Meldrum

    ArchWeek Image

    Floor plan of the winning entry in the Cradle to Cradle Home Design and Construction Competition.
    Image: Matthew Coates and Tim Meldrum

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    The evolution of "hearth" with technology over time.
    Image: Matthew Coates and Tim Meldrum

     

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