At this point, it’s fairly uncontroversial to say that the Earth is under siege. From us, from our resource-consuming ways, ultimately, from our thoughtlessness. Green Design is not just a catch-phrase, but a mindset. As Architects, implementing the principles of Green Design means putting thoughtfulness back into our actions, conscientiously considering our built environment, and reversing the havoc we have wreaked on our resources. To do that, we need to know what Green Design means, and be able to evaluate what it is and isn’t. Using Earth Day as our excuse then, let’s examine the single most influential factor on the future of Green Design: LEED. To its credit, LEED has moved a mountain: it has taken the “mysticism” out of Green Design and made Big Business realize its financial benefits, incentivizing and legitimizing it on a grand scale. But as LEED gains popularity, its strength becomes its weakness; it’s becoming dangerously close to creating a blind numbers game, one that, instead of inspiring innovative, forward-looking design, will freeze us in the past. Read the 10 Pros & Cons of LEED, after the break…
Understanding that environmental responsibility is an integral part of design excellence, Perkins + Will’s new Atlantic office, known as 1315 Peachtree, serves as an example on how current technologies can be used to achieve LEED Platinum Certification, meet the 2030 Challenge and help reduce toxic materials from our building products. 1315 Peachtree is an adaptive reuse of a 1985 office structure transformed into a high performance civic-focused building. Located in the heart of Midtown Atlanta across from the High Museum of Art, the new building continues to house the Peachtree Branch of the Atlanta-Fulton County Public Library and introduces a new street-level tenant space occupied by the Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA). The Perkins+Will Atlanta office occupies the top four floors with office space for up to 240 employees. Continue reading for more information on the highest LEED score building in the Northern Hemisphere.
The Y.S Sun Green Building Research Center at National Kung University in Taiwan has recently been awarded top honors by the USGBC, in addition to receiving the Taiwan Ecology, Waste Reduction and Health Diamond Certification from the Ministry of Interior. The three-story 4800 square meter building utilizes 13 different sustainable building techniques in order to achieve a 65% energy savings and a 50% water savings over typical office buildings.
Arizona State University’s new Interdisciplinary Science and Technology Building 4 (ISTB 4) was designed to be a progressive home for ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration (SESE) and some departments from the Fulton Schools of Engineering (FSE). At 294,000 sq.-ft., this seven-story “smart” structure will be the largest research facility in the history of the university. In addition to cutting-edge laboratories and research offices, ISTB 4 will house extensive public outreach and K-12 education spaces designed to engage the Greater Phoenix community in earth and space exploration. Ehrlich Architects’ new Arizona State University School of Earth and Space Exploration is a clearly organized laboratory building that will enhance the research, science and educational programs housed within.
The U.S. Green Building Council recently announced that more than 10,000 homes across the USA have earned LEED certification. “Reaching this milestone signifies the continued transformation of the home building industry towards high-performing, healthy homes that save home owners money,” said Nate Kredich, Vice President of Residential Market Development, U.S. Green Building Council. “Market leaders across the production, multifamily, affordable and custom home segments have recognized that there are green homes, and then there are LEED Homes, and they are acting accordingly.” The Ross Street House by RWH Design received its LEED for Homes Platinum rating in July 2009, the first of Wisconsin. The home has captured the attention of green enthusiasts throughout the country for far exceeding the requirements to achieve the highest LEED rating of Platinum. More following the break.
Richard Meier’s office recently shared with us renderings and drawings for his latest work – two new W Hotels. These projects mark a first for Meier within the hospitality industry in Latin-America, which are located in Mexico City and on the Riviera Maya with completion dates scheduled for 2013 and 2014. The hotels, W Santa Fe and the W Retreat Kanai, are the first collaboration between Starwood and Meier who will be assisted by Migdal Arquitectos. Further details, drawings, and renderings following the break.
Where does your State rank among the USGBC’s Top 10? Comparing LEED-certified commercial and institutional green buildings per capita within the United States the District of Columbia turned in the highest per capita/per person ratio of 25.15 square feet. Commercial office type and for-profit organization owner type where the most common, as was Chicago and Washington DC for the most represented cities on the list. Following are the top ten LEED states per capita: 1. Nevada: 10.92 sf 2. New Mexico: 6.35 sf 3. New Hampshire: 4.49 sf 4. Oregon: 4.07 sf 5. South Carolina: 3.19 sf 6. Washington: 3.16 sf 7. Illinois: 3.09 sf 8. Arkansas: 2.9 sf 9.Colorado: 2.85 sf 10. Minnesota: 2.77 sf “Using per capita, versus the more traditional numbers of projects, or pure square footage, is a reminder to all of us that the people who live and work, learn and play in buildings should be what we care about most. 2010 was a difficult year for most of the building industry, but in many areas, the hunger for sustainable development kept the markets moving,” shared Scot Horst, USGBC SVP of LEED. For the full report click here.
In ArchDaily, we have been featuring some really great projects with LEED certification, like the Grand Rapids Art Museum, Renzo Piano’s California Academy of Sciences, AMD’s Lone Star Campus, and the City Center of Las Vegas. More recently, we had an excellent discussion on an article featuring an interview of the Chicago Tribune with Frank Gehry, where he basically dismissed LEED and its efforts to make our built environment more eco-friendly. Now we may continue with the discussion, after a new study released by Environment and Human Health, Inc. says that the voluntary rating system falsely presents its projects as bastions of health and safety, when it actually allows for all sorts of harmful stuff, whether pesticides in tap water or formaldehyde-laden particleboard. You can read the complete article at Fast Company and of course, share your opinion with us.
With over 16,797,000 square feet (1,560,500 m2), the recently opened City Center Las Vegas has become one of the largest LEED certified projects in the world. The project included some of the world’s largest firms: Pelli Clarke Pelli, Kohn Pedersen Fox, Helmut Jahn, RV Architecture LLC led by Rafael Viñoly, Foster + Partners, Studio Daniel Libeskind, David Rockwell and Rockwell Group, and Gensler.
Inside the complex we find several towers, with hotels, casino and residences, from which the Mandarin Oriental, ARIA Resort’s hotel tower, ARIA’s convention center and theater, Vdara Hotel & Spa, Crystals and Veer towers have received LEED Gold certification. More photos and information about each building after the break.
Over the past decade, sustainable design has been transformed from a fringe movement to big business. However, given the sheer scale of the environmental damage caused by the built environment, it’s clear that far more must be done. To prevent future catastrophes, the industry must both scale up its green initiatives and increase their effectiveness. On the quantity front, the entity most responsible for the explosion of green building is LEED. Developed in 2000 by the US Green Building Council (USGBC), the voluntary project rating system has won over the industry by providing both a convenient set of guidelines for sustainable practices and a clear marketing incentive for designers and firms to go green (or at least appear to).