Pines Calyx: Britain's New Ultra-Green Conference Center

In October, the Pines Calyx, a new "healthy & sustainable cliff top conference venue," opened on the Kent shore, about 90 miles from London. The building's rammed-chalk walls, built from materials harvested near the construction site, provide a visitor's first hint that this is a green building, but, as the BBC reports, that's only one feature of this complex that it's promoters are describing not as green, but as "nutritious":

Alistair Gould, from the St Margaret's Bay Trust [which owns the center], said the building was a working combination of the old and the new.

"What we have is a wonderful 3,000-year-old building technique - rammed earth, or in this case, rammed chalk.

"We also have some latest 21st Century technology, with a lighting system which can be controlled at the touch of a button to change the colour depending on the time of day."

Builder James Bellamy said the chalk was complemented by other eco-friendly materials, like the building's roof of insulated soil and locally sourced fired-clay tiles.

Heating and cooling are provided by a combination of high-tech ventilation and a heat exchange unit that "eradicates extremes in internal temperature and maintains a comfortable working environment." Organically-managed gardens surround the building, and its design allows it to blend in with the landscape. If the meetings held at the Pines Calyx center leave visitors less than awed, it looks like the building itself should make up for that. ::Pines Calyx Center via pbresser at Hugg