AIA Green Building Awards 2008
But this park pavilion, designed by The Miller Hull Partnership, also meets a program requirement of providing adaptable interior exhibit space in a building that can be disassembled, moved, and reconnected.
"For most buildings, we should be building for longevity," commented juror Gail Brager. "But there are a variety of circumstances where we really do need temporary buildings, and in those cases the building should be designed and built for disassembly and reuse and why not make it a visible and obvious part of the design?"
The building comprises four modules, each 40 feet (12 meters) wide and 73 feet (22 meters) long, separable at three disconnect joints. Narrow aluminum closure plates cover joints in the floor and wall surfaces, communicating the building's demountability to the public.
Suspended above the terrain on short concrete piers, the modular structure treads lightly on its site, allowing vegetation to run uninterrupted beneath. The modularity also allowed for shop-fabrication prior to site work.
"Instead of merely saying that the building is modular and 'can be' relocated, this building's beauty will most likely promote bidding wars over who gets to have it next," lauded juror Rebecca Henn.
The Lavin-Bernick Center for University Life at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana, also includes flexible interior space, but in building designed to hold its ground. In fact, this university center designed by VJAA sustained little exterior damage when Hurricane Katrina flooded the half-built project in two feet (0.6 meters) of water.
The building reuses the concrete structure of its predecessor, producing substantial savings in cost, material waste, and embodied energy. The new center expands on the old by one-third, and replaces full, year-round mechanical cooling with passive cooling systems for five months out of the year.
The project team combined regionally appropriate passive strategies with technology for tempering climate. Elements of the New Orleans building vernacular such as balconies, canopies, shading systems, and courtyards provide daylighting, shading, and ventilation, as well as encouraging social mixing. Innovative active systems include extensive radiant cooled surfaces, customized ventilation systems, and systems for creating variable shade.
Marvin Malecha spoke for the jury, saying, "We found this project to be elegant, sophisticated, and convincing."
To address frequent flooding, all open areas around the center were designed to manage stormwater with porous paving or drainage systems. Hurricane-resistant glazing systems protected the partially built structure during Katrina.
The inclusion of local vernacular elements for climate-responsiveness is a particular valuable example during a time of accelerated rebuilding in New Orleans since Katrina.
"This building challenges the norms of the South's addition to air-conditioning, commented Brager. "It is a rarity in a hot-humid climate: a large mixed-mode building that utilizes natural ventilation and radiant cooling, in a seamless, layered integration of envelope and system design. Particularly innovative is how chilled water walls are used to dehumidify."
The only residential project included in this year's Top Ten was the Macallen Building Condominiums in Boston, Massachusetts. Designed by Burt Hill with Office dA, this LEED Gold-rated project also recently received a 2008 AIA Housing Award.
Like both the Discovery Center and the Lavine-Bernick Center, the Macallen Building design recognizes the value of adaptive reuse. In this case, a staggered truss structural system unusual in residential buildings allows for large, high-ceilinged, open-plan spaces that will be easy to adapt for different residential configurations or for future nonresidential uses. The truss system also uses steel very efficiently.
Subtle design decisions, such as neutral finishes and multiple switched outlets instead of pendant lighting, also reduced the need for occupant modifications to the condominium interiors.
Sustainable materials include rapidly renewable resources, such as wheatboard; Forest Stewardship Council-certified wood for 75 percent of the wood in the project; and recycled-content materials, such as concrete and aluminum siding.
The project features a green roof and a large terrace, and was awarded a LEED innovation point for the use of a chemical-free system for treating cooling tower blowdown water for irrigation use.
Culture of Water
In an approach befitting a public garden, BKSK Architects used water to unify building and landscape at the Queens Botanical Garden Visitor & Administration Center.
Located on a 39-acre (16-hectare) site in Flushing, New York in a county of extreme ethnic diversity the center includes a reception area, auditorium, garden store, gallery space, meeting rooms, administrative offices, and a mechanical room.
The water focus arose from a community-driven planning process, which emphasized the importance of water to all cultures. Extensive bioswales and a green roof on the auditorium allow the project to manage all stormwater on site.
On rainy days, water runs off the canopy roof and into a channel flowing between the main building and auditorium. The rainwater moves through bioswales filled with gravel and native wetland species that cleanse the rainwater before it is piped underground. The water then reemerges at the entry plaza fountain, moves through the landscape via a meandering stream, and returns to the bioswale to begin the cycle again.
Inside the building, water is conserved by waterless urinals and composting toilets. Reuse of graywater for flushing toilets reduces the project's potable-water consumption by 55 percent.
Other sustainable features include extensive daylighting and efficient artificial lighting, operable windows for natural ventilation, photovoltaic panels, and a ground-source heat pump.
Juror Susan Rodriguez commented, "They cleverly reduced the profile and scale by making it appear more landscape than architecture."
"This was a really elegant solution effectively rendered," lauded juror Marvin Malecha.
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