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Green Build 2011 day 1

  
  
  
  
The USGBC 10th annual Green Build convention started today in Toronto with the International Summit and chapter leaders from around the county gathering for the the Chapter Forum. This is my 10th straight year to attend Green Build, since it all began in Austin, TX with about 2500. The closing plenary of the international summit wrapped up with representatives from many different countries from all over the planet giving a short update on their recent green building accomplishments. There was even a call for a consistent world wide green building standard. The trade show exhibit hall opened tonight and we just got a little taste of all the new products and ideas that are out there. It was great to visit the Interface booth, and see my good friend George Bandy there. There was definitely something missing there, with the passing of Ray Anderson a few months ago. You could always run into Ray at Green Build's past, and he would always have time to chat for awhile. The main conference and education sessions start on Wednesday. Goodnight from Toronto. Michael
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Design challenge: Creating a facility that symbolizes Hope

  
  
  
  
cancer support

The Cancer Support Community (formerly known as The Wellness Community) wanted a new facility that would be a place of healing and a beacon of Hope to those affected by cancer.  How does architecture convey a sense of Hope to the buildings user?

The design solution for the 11,000 SF facility was to create two structures connected together by a large arch that creates a covered courtyard.  The prominent arch stretching across the facility serves as an inspiring design element but also offers a compelling story of history and hope.  Known as the “Bridge of Hope”, the arch connects the 2 pavilions and is a tangible testament of hope to all who enter.  The abstract form allows for interpretation about what the symbol represents to each individual.   The arch is a traditional architectural design element signifying strength and permanence.  The shape of this particular arch is much like a rainbow in the landscape.  The rainbow is a timeless symbol of hope (think Noah). Visitors gain an empowering sense of comfort from the structural strength when walking beneath the arch.  The arch is supported by 8 pillars that are old Florida hard wood Pine tree trunks, from trees that were several hundred years old and were originally harvested over 100 years ago when Florida was first harvested for its timber.  During transport down Florida’s rivers, logs would frequently be lost along the way and sink to the bottom of the Suwannee River.  This environment actually preserved the timber until it could be reclaimed recently for this project.  These tree trunks were stripped of their bark, but left a bit rugged and scared, in their natural state.  They stand at the entry and in the courtyard as if they were old friends, there to provide a since of comfort and longevity.

The arch structure above the tree trunk columns is constructed of laminate wood beams and tongue-and-groove decking, both of which are Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified wood.

The Bridge of Hope clearly defines the main entry of the facility so users are comfortably orientated when they arrive at the facility.  While the arch for does dominate the image of the facility, the rest of the building is scaled down to be welcoming and easily approachable.  It is more of a residential scale with simple one-story forms and familiar, simple pitched-roof shapes.  The project is designed to avoid any sort of medical or institutional feel and is instead full of friendly warm materials and spaces to provide the user a peaceful and comfortable environment that reminds them of home.

The facility sits in the natural landscape adjacent to a wetland preserve.  The “Bridge of Hope” stands as a symbol for all who work in and visit the Cancer Support Community.

 
 

This article appears in SRQ magazine’s March 2011 issue titled “Design Dossier”

Function of the building: Healing Center to deliver optimum care in the areas of psychological and social support to people affected by cancer – those with the disease as well as their loved ones and caregivers.  

Written by: Michael Carlson, LEED AP, Carlson Studio Architecture

 

Alternative water technology at the LEED seeking Cancer Support Community

  
  
  
  

What do you do when your client doesn’t want to install water fountains in their project due to hygienic reasons? Well we dealt with this very issue on the LEED gold seeking Cancer Support Community’s (formerly The Wellness Community) Building Hope Project.

Early in the design phase the client made it very clear that people with compromised immune systems were uncomfortable with drinking out of typical water fountains. Of course the building code requires so many water fountains per person in any new construction project. The usual solution of avoiding water fountains is to provide a typical water cooler bottle service. But, being a green project and conscience about the environmental impact of shipping water bottles, we had find another solution.

Searching the internet we had little luck finding a suitable substitution, until we discovered UC Berkeley had recently installed “bottle fillers” called Hydration Stations on their campus. These bottle fillers are made by Haws Corp. a long time water fountain company, and were perfect for the Cancer Support Community. In order to meet Florida ADA code we add matching stainless cup holders besides the units to provide safe, clean water for the buildings occupants.

In addition to being hygienic we were also able to avoid exposing the cancer patients to harmful chemicals often leached out of plastic bottles. The units mount in or on the wall with full ADA clearance and access, saving valuable floor area and even have an LED light for illumination when in use.

From Haws Corp Website: “Daily, Americans use 60-million bottles of water, with only 2 out of every 10 bottles actually recycled.  By using the HydrationStationTM users will be able to utilize re-usable bottles and consequently reduce waste and its harmful effects on the environment. Several college campuses, including UC Berkeley, Georgian College in Ontario and Penn State, have already taken the initiative and supported a ban the bottle approach to water supply and have installed HydrationStations throughout their campuses.”

Visit www.stayhydrated.net for more information on the HydrationStation™ water delivery system.

hydration station
The Hydration Station installed

cancer support community
Cancer Support Community Gulfcoast, Building Hope

   

Three Tiers for Renovating Sustainably

  
  
  
  

TIER ONE - Business Operations – Conserving and Reducing

Operations

Purchasing supplies – evaluate which supplies can be purchased with recycled content

Printing - Provide policies to try and reduce in-office printing

Promoting alternative means of transportation - Car Pools; Mass Transportation; Fuel efficient vehicles; Bicycling

Institute a recycling program

Provide a designated smoking area away from building openings and/or institute a smoking policy that provides assistance in reducing smoking.

Institute a cleaning program with low or no VOC cleaning agents

Energy

Lamps – change incandescent to fluorescent

Implement a policy to turn lights off when not in use

Water

Low-flow aerators

Materials

Any new finishes to have recycled content and/or low or no VOC’s (ex. Paint)

Environment

Provide access to temperature controls with a policy for how to regulate control, especially while there are no occupants in the space

TIER TWO - Facility Upgrades – (all the pertinent above mentioned strategies plus those outlined below)

Energy

Upgrade lighting fi xtures

Purchase green power credits

Provide occupancy sensors to regulate lights

Water

Implement upgraded fi xtures for those that do not meet current code

Alternatively, upgrade all plumbing fixtures to low-fl ow

Materials

Any new finishes instituted to have recycled content and/or low or no VOC’s (ex. Paint).

Environment

Provide programmable temperature controls based on occupancy of space

TIER THREE - Major Renovation – (all the above mentioned strategies plus those outlined below)

Operations

Re-landscape with drought tolerant and native species for minimal irrigation use

Increase landscaped areas

Introduce building commissioning

Provide a designated recycling center

Provide detailed construction waste management and waste diversion plans

Energy

Upgrade roofi ng to highly refl ective material

Upgrade exterior lighting – timers/ light sensors

Upgrade HVAC equipment

Implement renewable energy technologies

Upgrade building envelope – Windows, doors and insulation

Reuse as much as building as possible

Water

Replace all fixtures to ultra low-fl ow

Evaluate use of reclaimed or cistern water

Materials

Any new finishes to have recycled content and/or low or no VOC’s (ex. Paint)

Use rapidly renewable materials in renovation where possible

Use regional materials in renovation where possible

Use certified products where possible

Environment

Increased ventilation – fresh air

Use only low emitting or no emitting VOC materials, adhesives, paints, carpets, composite woods

Provide lighting control

Provide temperature control

Provide programmable temperature control based on occupancy of space

Provide natural day-lighting and views for regularly occupied spaces

green renovation
   

The state of School design today: A case for Green design

  
  
  
  

The Sarasota Herald Tribune's Business Weekly section today (July 26, 2010) had an announcement that a local Sarasota Architect was recently awarded a new school project by the School Board of Polk County.  Congratulations to the architecture firm, BMK Architects Inc. 

That's not the purpose of this post.  What I found curious was how the press release was worded.  It said the school was "a 115,000 square foot elementary school in Mulberry.  The campus will be a secure environment for students and staff, with gated entrances providing controlled access and buildings sited to allow visual observation of the entire campus from the adminstration building." 

That was it.  Who decided that was the only thing to convey about the new school in this press release?  Is that the most important feature we are looking for in our school designs these days?  It sounds more like a prison than a school.  What if it said the new school would be full of natural daylighting and void of toxic chemicals?  It woule be a healthy place to learn and the new design would increase test scores in the students by 10%, and it would have lower electric and water bills saving taxpayers money.  What if it said all these claims will be verified by an indepentent third party.

What if the press release said the new school would seek LEED for Schools Certification from the US Green Building Council?

The trend in new public school design is safety at the sacrifice of everything else.  Safety of the students is important, but it is not the only important thing.  Students need the best possible enironment to learn in.  Teachers need the best possible environment to teach in.  We need to demand more from the buildings our kids spend so much time in.

 

new horizons 1 resized 600

Carlson Studio's design for a new green school in Las Vegas

 
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