The American Institute of Architects has a special award for green buildings, but it is getting hard to tell it apart from its Housing Awards; this year there are quite a few that are seriously green, and six of which we have shown on TreeHugger for exactly that reason. It's really exciting to see the choices they made this year; it's almost as if sustainability is now a major criterion. They're all lookers too. Wonderful stuff.
Sol Duc Cabin by Olson Kundig ArchitectsI should start with a social housing project instead of a bomb-proof fishing cabin, but I love this thing, one of my favorite buildings from one of my favorite architects, Tom Kundig. It's solid, resilient, built on stilts and small at 350 square feet. From Architect Magazine:
On TreeHugger: Built on Stilts: Tom Kundig's Sol Duc Cabin
The steel-clad, 350-square-foot cabin is composed of two levels, with the entry, dining, and kitchen areas on the lower floor and a sleeping loft above. The floor of the sleeping loft is crated from leftover dimensional lumber that was destined to become waste. The majority of the cabin was prefabricated off-site to reduce on-site waste and site disruption and the raised structure, which is perched on four steel columns, provides safety from occasional floods of a nearby river. The cantilevered roof provides solar shading and protection from western storms, and the building's operable shutters can be adjusted as needed to regulate exposure.
Park Passive by NK Architects
Seattle's first Passive House, this 2,710-square-foot home's ability to capture and retain heat gives endows it with passive survivability capabilities in the instance of power outages during the winter. The house requires only the amount of heat provided by a hairdryer to heat the structure, thanks to extensive air sealing, high levels of insulation, and high-performance windows.
This has been on TreeHugger twice. The story behind the window design is particularly interesting; they are necessarily small to hit the Passivhaus numbers, but look bigger because of that framing. Read "Passivhaus is a team sport"- the idea is simple, the execution is a bit tougher and Passive House movement gets noticed by the New York Times
Cherokee Studios by Brooks + Scarpa
The building distinguishes itself from most conventionally developed projects in that it incorporates energy efficient measures that exceed standard practice, optimize building performance, and ensure reduced energy use during all phases of construction and occupancy. The planning and design of Cherokee Lofts emerged from close consideration and employment of passive design strategies. These strategies alone make this building more than 40% more efficient than California Title 24 and a conventionally designed similar structure.
I really like the fact that it is open in the middle, that there is the possibility of cross-ventilation through the units. This is the kind of design that is key to using less air conditioning. It is a great example of using old technologies that keep you cool without fossil fuels:
-Operable windows and shutters, a sophisticated method of getting security, shade and privacy;
-Courtyards; Tropical and humid environments have effectively been using courtyards for millennia to ventilate, heat and cool buildings.
Merritt Crossing Senior Apartments by Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects.
I have called this the greenest home in America, in response to yet another one of those articles about giant green homes in the country.
This is, in my opinion, the real definition of the green home. It's dense, it is urban, it is helping members of what has been called the Greatest Generation live dignified lives.
The AIA writes:
The layered facade on the building's southern six provide controls solar exposure and mitigates acoustics from a nearby freeway. High-performance systems include high-efficiency water heating, a rooftop solar hot water system, and a rooftop PV array.
More at the AIA and TreeHugger: Merritt Crossing In Oakland Might Well Be The Greenest Home in America
1221 Broadway by Lake|Flato Architects
This is one of the most important rehab projects of this century for so many reasons. I wrote:
This is such a powerful example of how buildings can be saved, reused and reinterpreted if you have a good architect and you don't load the project down with emotional baggage.
Since 2004, a vacant and heavily vandalized building shell occupied a high-profile site at the convergence of Interstates 35 and 37. Often referred to as “Ghost Town,” and described by locals as “the biggest homeless shelter run by the homeless,” the complex had become a site of criminal activity, ranging from theft and vandalism to burglary and assault.
More on TreeHugger: Lake|Flato Architects turn ghost buildings to gorgeous in urban revitalization
Those are the projects we have shown on TreeHugger; More on the others shortly, or see them all here