A year ago I wrote about this Seattle building under the title "Smart Architect Builds Dumb Building." I meant it as a compliment; we need more dumb buildings that work like buildings used to, with natural light and ventilation, and without what Donovan Rypkema calls "green thingies"- expensive new technologies when older, simpler methods are more appropriate.
Now it is done, and it looks terrific. Not only that, they seem to be happy with it, and have even blogged about it. Results so far: it is still a work in progress, but they say "From the first week that we occupied the building, we noticed how the Terry Thomas affected the culture of our firm. While we are still collecting objective information, the general mood is clearly elevated. We attribute this to having proper levels of natural daylight, the ability to open windows and the louvers that automatically open and close as CO2 levels and the temperature rise and fall."
Love the courtyard at night!
Why do I like this so much? They say things like Less is more in Sustainable Design : "Sustainable design is not only the wiz-bang high-tech features of a green building. Simple solutions contribute to a sustainable design, too." They expose the structure and paint it white: "Not only does this tell the story of how the building works, the white paint enhances the light reflection for both daylight harvesting and indirect lighting of open office areas. The design of the beams also serves as a design aesthetic, informing other choices we made in the build-out of our office space."
Noise appears to be a bit of a problem: " We are tossing around ideas to mitigate the sound – white noise machines, additional homasote boards on blank walls – but one of our (unnamed) principals has come up with his own solution: a personal sound isolation booth."
However, it appears that the Terry Thomas building is, as they say on their blog, a breath of fresh air. It is what a green building should be: not just about energy, but about being healthy and happy as well. ::The Terry Thomas