Metropolis magazine announced that the winner of the eighth-annual Next Generation Design Competition is the team that "got the Feds to zero": a Washington, DC-based, 15-member team of HOK architects and Vanderweil engineers.
This year's contest challenged young designers to propose ideas on retrofitting a circa-1965 Los Angeles Federal building to attain a net zero energy status. The theme dovetails with President Barack Obama's mandate that Federal agencies lower their greenhouse gas emissions, prompting the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) to set a 30% reduction goal for its federally-owned buildings by 2020.
Lead by sustainability expert Sean Quinn of HOK, the team's Process Zero: Retrofit Resolution addressed every aspect of the building's design and systems. In its plan, the building's proposed new facade features 35,000 square feet of photovoltaic film, as well as a 25,000-square-foot microalgae bioreactor system generating approximately 9% of the renovated building's energy needs. Three atria and eight light wells provide daylight in all workspaces, and integrated louvers assist natural ventilation. Office equipment energy use is reduced 80% by migrating to a cloud computing system, solar powered equipment, and other strategies. The plan also envisions 30,000 square feet of rooftop solar collectors circulating water through floors for interior climate control, made more efficient by phase-changing insulation material in ceilings.
"What is particularly remarkable about this solution was how a large, interdisciplinary team collaborated on a comprehensive plan that not only achieves net-zero, but also deploys its design and technical solutions in a humanistic and contextually integrated way," says Metropolis Editor-in-Chief Susan S. Szenasy. "It is not simply a series of bolt-on retrofits."
GSA Chief Architect Leslie Shepherd says he and his fellow jurors were impressed by "the sophistication of the winning entry, and of the many other inventive submissions. With appropriate testing and validation, certain Next Generation strategies could be replicated across a wider swath of our Great Society-era buildings."
The winning team will be honored at the annual Metropolis Conference on Monday, May 16, at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair in New York. Team members will present their project in the ICFF Theatre following an introduction by GSA Public Buildings Service Chief Greening Officer Eleni Reed, who will describe the agency's sustainability goals.
The winning team is reinvesting its $10,000 prize to further research the development of its proposed renewable energy technologies.
Competition runners up, whose proposals are also featured in Metropolis's May issue, include: David Cole, Kling Stubbins, Raleigh; Dallas Felder and students, Houston; Mat Albores, The Miller Hull Partnership, Seattle; and Nash Hurley and Taylor Keep, Vital Environments, San Francisco.
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- In Print