Chartwell, Seaside, California

With a goal of achieving net-zero electrical usage (grid neutral), Chartwell is the 1st LEED platinum K-12 campus and a role model for the State of California´s ambitious initiative to mandate grid neutral schools by 2010.

Founded in 1983 to advance the education of dyslexic children, Chartwell had limited resources when, 20 years later, the need for the creation of a living laboratory that would illuminate how buildings are assembled and make the most of the schools, was born.

Gladly that wasn’t an issue for EHDD architects who worked on Chartwell’s campus and managed to include the best-known practices for energy efficiency and created an optimal learning environment.

So, lets see what makes Chartwell one of the Top Green Projects for 2009:

- Daylighting/lighting controls – incorporates natural light to save electricity, reduce HVAC equipment, and contribute to an enhanced learning environment.- 32kW photovoltaic system – generates onsite electricity that cuts electric bills by more than half, and avoids 54,000 lbs of C02 annually.

- Water saving features – reduces campus water use by 60% by using waterless urinals, dual flush toilets, and an 8,700 gallon rainwater cistern.- Sustainable framing design – Twenty-four inch (rather than 16”) framing reduced wood use by 30%, and the majority of the wood purchased was certified for sustainability by the Forest Stewardship Council.

- Construction waste diversion – Eighty-two percent of construction waste was diverted from landfills and recycled.- Waste reutilization – inclusion of slag (iron-ore byproduct) improved concrete quality while reducing C02 emissions.- Improved indoor air quality - selection of paints, finishes, and furnishings with no VOC content reduced likelihood of irritating or toxic fumes that can trigger allergies or other negative health effects. Indoor CO2 monitors adjust ventilation rates.


Charles Hostler Student Center, Beirut

Following our recent post on the AIA’s Top Green Projects for 2009 and your comments regarding what makes each and every one of them unique, we decided to write a series of articles presenting each project separately. After all they do deserve it!

So, enjoy your “eco” ride, starting with The Charles Hostler Student Center in Beirut

Charles W. Hostler Student Center was designed by James Associate Architects (JAA) and opened its facilities for use on May 23, 2008.

According to AIA the center's architectural design was recognized for its "non-hierarchical synthesis of architecture and landscape to create a set of richly varied and environmentally diverse spaces for people to gather at all hours".

Facilities include health and fitness rooms, an indoor 25-meter long swimming pool, a multi-use gymnasium, three basketball courts, in-door soccer and handball courts, two squash courts, student activity rooms, a refurbished track and Green Field, a 280-seat auditorium, a cafe, an internet room, and an underground parking area for around 200 cars.

The Center's complex, is entirely smoke-free and possesses an environment-friendly design that minimizes heat and cooling needs by recycling water, and employing energy-efficient lighting.

In more detail here is what makes the Charles W. Hostler Student Center one of the Top Green Projects for 2009:

- Roof integrated solar collectors for hot water and swimming pool heating
- Building volume-distribution creating local microclimate
- Standby rain water collection system

- High efficiency chilled water generation plant using sea water wells for system cooling
- High efficiency air handling units with Heat Recovery systems
- Conservation of energy through digital building management system

- High building insulation on all external walls and ceilings
- Conservation of energy through digital building management system
- External radiant and evaporative cooling by Water Walls

- Natural wind forced ventilation
- Energy efficient light fixtures
- Grey water collection, treatment and reuse in the same project
- Use of non-potable water for toilet flushing and urinals

- No use of high Ozone Depleting and/or Global Warming potential refrigerants as per Montreal Protocol and LEED requirements
- Maximized open spaces
- No use of any toxic construction materials

Hung on for more details on all Top Green Projects 2009.


AIA's top green projects 2009

The American Institute of Architects has announced its top ten green projects for 2009, all of which protect and enhance the environment through sustainable architecture and green design solutions.

All top ten projects make a positive contribution to their communities, improve comfort for building occupants and reduce environmental impacts through strategies such as reuse of existing structures, connection to transit systems, low-impact and regenerative site development, energy and water conservation, use of sustainable or renewable construction materials, and design that improves indoor air quality.

The projects will be honored at the AIA 2009 National Convention and Design Exposition.

Charles Hostler Student Center, Beirut, Lebanon – VJAA Chartwell, Seaside, CA – EHDD Architecture Gish
Apartments, San Jose, CA - OJK Architecture and Planning
Great River Energy Corporate Headquarters, Maple Grove, Minnesota - Perkins+Will Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation (JRC), Evanston, Illinois - Ross Barney Architects
Portola Valley Town Center, Portola Valley, CA - Siegel & Strain Architects
Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center, Orange, Texas - Lake|Flato Architects
Synergy at Dockside Green, Victoria, British Colombia - Busby Perkins+Will Architects Co
The Terry Thomas, Seattle, WA – Weber Thompson
World Headquarters for the International Fund for Animal Welfare, Yarmouth Port, MA – DesignLAB Architects


Gas Station Design - The Future

We just run into an article in Web Urbanist, and were intrigued and couldn’t agree more with Steph’s introduction on the subject, “Gasoline is on its last legs. It’s a commodity we’ll soon be saying goodbye to as renewable energy takes over. Most gas stations are unremarkable or even ugly, but the following quirky gas station designs will certainly find another use, whether as roadside attractions, shops, restaurants or service stations.”

These were our favorite designs. Read the full article on Web Urbanist.

The Jack Colker Union 96 gas station on Crescent Drive in Beverly Hills, California has a roof that looks like it was designed for some other kind of building – and it was. The curved, triangular structure was originally meant to be a part of the LAX airport, but when it wasn’t needed, it was installed at the gas station.

On the other side of the spectrum is this stark yet beautiful minimalist gas station design in Copenhagen, Denmark. Designed by Arne Jacobsen in 1937, this gas station is still functioning - and still gorgeous -–after all these years.

Some people have called it "the poshest gas station in Los Angeles". Others think it's a futuristic eyesore. Seemingly influenced by architect Frank Gehry, this geometric metallic behemoth on the corner of Olympic & Robertson replaced a dingy, decaying gas station. It's an improvement for sure and has become something of an attraction in itself.

The Vintage Orbit gast station in Sacramento, California is another example of 'Googie' architecture. Its unusual shape makes it look like some sort of alien aircraft that just landed. There are a number of vintage Orbit gas stations all over the country but few are still operational, or as well kept as this one is.


Architectural Branding - The future

Architectural Branding has become the new buzz word of the architectural industry during the last decades and rightfully so, since architecture becomes an expression of the newly developed experiential brands. So, for those of you that never pictured architecture walking hand n hand with marketing… well… think again.Despite our increasingly virtual world, we still need physical buildings to establish personal relationships with brands and architecture plays a vital role in this equation by not only confine customer experience, but also define it.
Architectural branding adds significant value when the building is in line with the other aspects of branding, making the overall effect greater than the sum of its parts.

Architecture—the exterior design of buildings—has to, and can, mirror brand values such as high-tech orientation, openness, competitiveness, sportiness, etc. These are in a way timeless, says Gernot Brauer, editor of Architecture as Brand Communication: Dynaform + Cube.One thing is for sure, the use of architecture to complement brand personality will only become stronger during the following years.


The London Aquatics Centre by Zaha Hadid

Pritzker Prize winning architect Zaha Hadid, has designed the London Aquatics Centre, an indoor facility with two 50 metre swimming pools and a 25 metre diving pool, which will become one of the main venues of the London 2012 Summer Olympics.

The centre is located in the Olympic Park at Stratford in East London and its distinctive architecture and curved roof will be the first venue visitors see upon entering the Olympic Park.

The aquatics centre is one of the most controversial buildings on the Olympic site. It was originally costed at £73 million. The current bill is £303 million.

Despite the cost increases, the centre should be completed within 2011 and is a good bet for becoming one of London’s new iconic images.

As expected the impact of the building on the environment will be reduced by the use of renewable energy, sustainably sourced building materials, reuse of pool water to flush the toilets etc.

More Zaha Hadid in Future Architecture:

Regium Waterfront Museum, Italy

Antwerp Port House