An office building, a private home and a port of entry – these structures in Seattle, Austin and Minnesota make a big impact within a small environmental footprint.
1 Bullitt Center by The Miller Hull Partnership
Touted as the “greenest office building in the world,” this Seattle structure runs on renewable energy produced onsite, largely through the array of photovoltaic panels on its overhanging roof – a nod to the regional vernacular. The interior is naturally day-lit and ventilated, with a glassed-in staircase positioned to provide breathtaking views of the city, thus encouraging its use over that of the elevator. The building’s heavy timber construction is made with local materials and designed to last 250 years.
Since opening in mid-2013, the Bullitt Center has already earned a number of awards for its ecological design, including World Architecture News’s Sustainable Building of the Year Award, and others from the American Institute of Architecture, the Architzer Awards and Metal Architecture Magazine.
2 Edgeland House by Bercy Chen Studio
This small residence, located near Town Lake in Austin, Texas, is tucked over two metres into the earth, in a hole left by the Chevron pipeline that once ran through the property. The earth surrounding the walls and green roof contributes to thermal performance by holding in warmth during the winter and keeping it out in summer. The pool provides additional thermal mass that ties into the geothermal and cooling system. To further “green” the former brownfield site, 40 native species of wildflowers and plants were added to the roof and landscaping.
The project just won the 2014 Architizer A+ Award Jury & Popular Winner in the Sustainability category and Fast Company’s House of the year award for 2013.
3 Van Buren U.S. Point of Entry by Snow Kreilich Architect
A gentle intervention on a wetlands site in Minnesota, along the Manitoba border, this border control building features a number of sustainable measures, many of them out of necessity. Located on a remote site, the structure had be as easy as possible to maintain, so the simplicity of natural ventilation and daylight harvesting (coupled with occupancy sensors for the nighttime hours of this building, which operates 24/7) made an ideal choice. A ground-coupled heat pump reduces off-site energy resource demands and an evacuated tube heats hot water with solar power.
Recently named a Top Ten Award winner by the American Institute of Architects and its Committee on the Environment, among other recognitions the project also earned a Holcim Bronze award in its conceptual stages in 2011.