HMC Architects designs a 'paradigm for sustainable living practices and iconic architecture for the community'
As the region’s top-rated high performance building, this 14,200 sq ft LEED® Platinum certified demonstration building is dedicated to educating the community in sustainable living practices. The project is a public initiative demonstrating how inviting and engaging architecture can foster community awareness and create functional spaces for community forums, school field trips, lectures, public tours, and vendor exhibits showcasing environmentally friendly products.
The architecture strives to go beyond the norm of sustainable buildings as merely machines of green technologies by combining architectural and ecological design principles as equal forces in the formation of the building. The design parti is a concentric layering of wall shells and spaces. The outer shell, constructed of insulated concrete forms, acts as thermal mass. The second shell is a cast in place concrete wall that provides lateral structural integrity. The third shell, a north facing curtain-wall, maximises diffused daylight to interior. The inner shell is made of redwood planks salvaged from wine vats from a local winery and shades the south facing wall of the office / conference wing. All these frame the xeriscape garden at the centre of the site that acts as a bioswale with cistern to collect all storm water within the site.
The indoor environment is regulated by the passive evaporative cooling system during the hot and dry seasons. Two solar chimneys - combined with a centralised cool tower - act as the respiratory system of the building.
Interior spaces are light-filled showcases of architectural materials. The main exhibition hall is open and fluid, maximizing flexibility and interconnectivity for ventilation and daylight. Expanses of glass create a constant visual link to the natural environment outside.
Completed in October 2009, the building has fulfilled its mission and established itself as a paradigm for sustainable living practices and iconic architecture to the community.