Living Building Challenge projects

An important part of any architect's education is to visit buildings in the flesh and see what they are really like. The opportunity to visit a number of Living Building Challenge projects was very much a part of this trip. Following are the 4 that I was able to see.

Phipps Center for Sustainable Landscapes

On the wayt to Falling Water, we stopped by the Phipps Center for Sustainable Landscapes, located at the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. It has been designed using the Living Building Challenge Framework and demonstrates some great approaches to sustainable design. I was also incredibly taken with the Dale Chihuli sculptures in the BOtanical Gardens section - true dedication to beauty!

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From the website:

"Sustainable architecture and landscape design are taking giant steps forward at Phipps with the new Center for Sustainable Landscapes: an innovative model of sustainability for architects, scientists, planners and anyone interested in greener living. In generating all of its own energy, and treating and reusing all of water captured on site, this dynamic education, research and administration facility is expected to operate as efficiently as a flower. And, designed and built by Pennsylvanians to meet or exceed the world's three highest green standards-the Living Building Challenge, LEED® Platinum and Sustainable Sites Initiative SITES™ certification for landscapes-this addition is now part of our guest experience."

Bertschi Living Building Science Wing, Seattle WA

Joining with some of the New Zealand contigent, we spent some of the first afternoon on a site visit to this gem of a school building in Seattle. I was very interested to hear how the team had got themselves together to do a project and approached the school to see if they would be interested in this for their next piece of work. The school took them on - a great testament to people really wanting to teach their children well.

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From the Living Futures website:

"Bertschi School Living Science Building, located in Seattle's Capitol Hill Neighborhood, was one of the first projects in the world to pursue the Living Building Challenge v2.0 criteria and the first to achieve it. This non‐profit elementary school science wing was collaboratively designed with the students and designed pro‐bono by the entire design team. A 20‐kilowatt PV system produces all of the electricity for the building and allows students to participate in real‐time monitoring of the building's energy use and solar power production. All the water needed for the building is collected and treated on site. This is done through a variety of methods including cisterns for storage, an interior green wall of tropical plants which treats grey water and a composting toilet to treat black water. The most important aspect of the project is that all sustainable features are visible and functional to students to learn ecological concepts that can become intrinsic values for future generations."

UniverCity ChildCare, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby BC

With a morning to spend before getting on our boat to Alaska, I thought it would be good to hire a car and visit two LBC projects at the Universities at either end of Vancouver. First up was UniverCity ChildCare at SFU. I had met the architect at both Portland and Seattle, so was interested to see the building. Set on the top of the hill, near new housing and mix used development, it seems well placed. The design has addressed the slope of the site well and manages the public inferface well. The colours and materials are great - robust and simple.

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From the website:

"The UniverCity Childcare Centre opened its doors on April 2, 2012. The revolutionary facility, with space for 50 three- to five-year-olds, is expected to be the first building in Canada to meet the Living Building Challenge™, which means it will have to generate as much energy as it uses, collect or recycle more water than it consumes, and be built and operated using non-toxic materials, sourced as locally as possible. The centre cost 15 to 20 per cent less than other childcare facilities being built in the region, without the green features.

Operated by the SFU Childcare Society, it is the first childcare centre in the world to integrate the most advanced environmental design and the renowned Reggio Emilia childcare program. SFU Faculty of Education faculty and student researchers also use the setting to investigate optimal ways to provoke and sustain learning in Reggio-inspired classrooms and how this holistic approach effects social development and learning interactions within the classroom community.

The Reggio Emilia model emphasizes three "teachers": the educator, the environment, and the broader community in which the children live. The childcare facility itself becomes a laboratory for self-directed learning. The UniverCity Childcare facility will provide unique opportunities both indoors and out for the children to explore water, light, air, gravity, vegetation, and seasonal change."

Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability, University of British Columbia, Vancouver BC

We were excited to go back to UBC after our last trip in 2010. We saw the CIRS under construction then, and were pleased to see it complete and still aiming to achieve its incredibly high ambitions. While we were not able to get access on this Saturday morning, it was worthwhile having a look around the outside. I especially liked the glassed in sewerage treatment plant at the front door, alongside all the bicycle parking!

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From the website:

"The Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability (CIRS) was developed in response to the challenge of creating a more sustainable society. Its intention is to be an internationally recognized research institution that accelerates the adoption of sustainable building technologies and sustainable urban development practices in society. CIRS was designed to be the most innovative and high performance building in North America at the time of its construction. Integrated building systems, comprehensively monitored and centrally controlled, are designed to meet goals of zero carbon emissions, water self-sufficiency, net-positive energy performance and zero waste.

The ongoing research agenda at CIRS investigates the interactions of building inhabitants with a comprehensive high-performance building and the integration of education, community outreach, applied research and market-based replication. The building itself acts as a "living laboratory" that allows research and investigation of current and future sustainable building technologies, as well as the impact of inhabitant's actions and engagement with the systems. Research on effective policies, civic engagement and group decision-making combined with advanced visualization and simulation technologies capable of communicating data through various means aid outreach efforts that encourage individuals and communities to explore a more sustainable future. Partners from private, public, and non-government organization sectors share the research facility, working with dedicated CIRS researchers to identify areas for innovation in sustainable technologies and practices and to create a springboard for their development and widespread implementation."

1 comment for “Living Building Challenge projects”

Posted Monday, July 22, 2013 at 1:40:30 PM

The designs of buildings are great and it really looks like a builder has constructed them with a lot of attention and care.

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