Twizzle down the wind

Sian
Tuesday 17 Aug 2010

HOK completes the Windy City’s first green parking garage with integrated wind turbines

Almost every new build these days incorporates multiple ‘green’ elements as the need to protect our surroundings grows stronger day by day. Environmentally-friendly builds aren’t just confined to residential and commercial projects however, as HOK have exemplified with their latest Chicago build – the Greenway Self-Park.

The 24-hour public parking garage in the River North neighbourhood of the Windy City features wind turbines, rain water collection systems and electric car plug-in stations. A way-finding system has also been implemented at each elevator lobby to educate Chicagoans on how to live more sustainably and better protect the environment.

Standing at 11 stories high, the energy-efficient garage is currently pursuing LEED Certification from the US Green Building Council. Shimmering down the southwest corner of the garage is a 12-paired array of vertical turbines, clearly visible to the passer-by, to harvest the wind to power the exterior wall lighting of the facility. A reversible meter has also been installed to measure and return power to the city’s grid throughout the year.

Todd Halamka, Director of Design for HOK’s Chicago office, commented: “Clients across a wide range of sectors have been asking us for architectural solutions that push the sustainable envelope. For this assignment, Friedman Properties gave us the opportunity to collaboratively envision what a ‘green’ parking garage could be. Our design is sustainably astute and sets a new standard for this building type.”

In contrast to the classic closed-exterior wall design of many parking garages, HOK have installed a naturally ventilated external wall complete with glazed screen that completely eliminates the need for a mechanical system. This unique glazed screen is comprised of a visually layered fabric of breathable glass channels that progressively reveal the inner concrete super-structure of the building.

Sian Disson
News Editor

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