This project aims to renovate an existing GSA building in Los Angeles to reach net zero energy. The architects identified the existing problems of the site and function and sought practical and expressive solutions to last for the next fifty years. Like reconstructive surgery, this application addresses the core issues of an unhealthy building and seeks to revitalise the site into a vibrant part of society.
Design Proposal First, the design removes the existing centre core and lifts the skin. With telecommuting woven into new business models, the designers are able to reduce the area within the core to provide energy savings at a 1:1 ratio. Obsolete offices are replaced by cloud computing servers, allowing employees to work from home, the park, the beach or anywhere. This area reduction substantially mitigates the environmental impact of commuter automobile traffic. It also allows for a slimmer office footprint to reduce cooling load and bring more daylight into the building.
Next, the skin is opened to allow prevailing breezes into the core and provide a welcomed pedestrian entry. The roof rises to become an occupied solar lens, harnessing solar energy for the building's use and creating an active green roof, physically bending upward and toward the incoming sunlight at the location of highest solar exposure. Finally, the sustainable systems are made visible to all.
The core of the atrium hosts the mechanical systems, exposed and celebrated as a functional sculpture within the building. This gesture displays the ‘motherboard’ of the building to educate occupants citizens and visitors as to how their sustainable systems are working for them. Among these systems are living machines incorporated into the landscape and an operable ETFE panelised cover embedded with Building Integrated Photovoltaics. By revamping and revealing the building’s elements, we offer an environment in which members of the community can fully understand and enjoy the rewards of a thriving and sustainable workplace.