Portola Valley Town Center
The contractor also tracked down other salvaged resources, such as lumber from old water towers and bridges in the region, which became the exterior siding.
From the Ground Up
According to Strain, who grew up in Portola Valley, the town's strong interest in sustainability enabled the sometimes labor-intensive measures undertaken by the building team. "It would be difficult to do this on a commercial project if you don't have a commitment from the client," he says.
Local involvement extended to a variety of areas, such as insisting on using only one-tenth the recommended lighting level for site lighting. A dark parking lot at night was the tradeoff for energy savings.
Late in the project, when the buildings were already framed, town residents "daylighted" a 100-feet (30-meter) segment of Sausal Creek that had previously been diverted in an underground culvert on the site. Volunteers then planted the banks with native riparian flora specified by landscape architect Ron Lutsko.
The Portola Valley Town Center illustrates a team approach to paring back responsibly while replacing outdated buildings — going beyond LEED criteria in its reuse and recycling of materials, modesty of size, design sensitivity, and ultimately, beauty.
Lauri Puchall lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she works for Turk Kauffman Architecture and writes about architecture and the environment. More by Lauri Puchall
Project: Portola Valley Town Center, Portola Valley, California
Co-architects: Siegel & Strain Architects and Goring & Straja Architects
Contractor (Construction Manager): TBI Construction and Construction Management, Inc.
Interior Designers: Staprans Design and Pivot Interiors
Landscape Architects: Lutsko Associates and Carducci & Associates
Civil Engineer: NKF Engineers
Structural Engineer: Forell/ Elsesser Engineers
Mechanical (Plumbing) Engineer: Rumsey Engineers, Inc.
Electrical Engineer: Integrated Design Associates, Inc.
Lighting Designers: David Nelson & Associates, LLC
Acoustics: Ewart Wetherill
Energy Consultant: High Sun Engineering
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