Sustainable and Ecological: OFFICE 52 strives to create sublime places and buildings with the goal of using the most ecologically sound approach to the resources that we claim for design and construction in our work. We believe that sustainable design is essential to this goal since it is about creating transformative experiences in people’s daily lives. In all of our projects, we work to create a timeless physical and poetic connection between the building and the surrounding natural environment. We work to maximize energy efficiency, conserve water, and minimize carbon production. We incorporate natural daylight, environmentally sound materials, thermal comfort, and natural ventilation. To us, sustainability is as much about site planning, building configuration, light, and materials, as it about energy, carbon and water.
Over the past decade, the Principals of OFFICE 52 have been involved in multiple LEED Platinum, LEED Gold, and net-zero energy projects. On each project, we utilize the research and technical knowledge we have gained from this experience to inform all of our design work across all disciplines. We have led integrated design teams and worked with some of the most progressive clients, technically advanced consultants, and sophisticated contractors to create buildings that have set new standards for integrated design and sustainable building performance. We have designed buildings that generate significant percentages of their own power, buildings that naturally cool themselves, and buildings that use 90% less potable water than conventional standards. With each project, we have assisted our clients with making sound decisions that reflective our belief that a building must be economically viable and usable for the long term to attain true sustainability.
Current OFFICE 52 LEED projects include the 109,000 square-foot Sherman and Joyce Bowie Scott Hall at Carnegie Mellon University, which is targeting LEED Gold. Isaac Campbell’s previous LEED project experience includes:
Our current built environment is understood in a global context of limited resources and limited natural capacity. Research has shown that between 40% and 50% of all the greenhouse gases produced globally are the result of buildings. This places an enormous responsibility on architects, designers, builders and developers when considering how we achieve a truly sustainability built environment. While building performance is generally improving, we still have far too go. Ultimately, we need to move beyond common sustainability metrics and checklists toward a built environment that has no impact, or better yet, is even restorative of the natural environment. This must be our long term goal, and it will require paradigm shifts in how we use energy, water, land and air, and how we think about cities, transportation, economies and markets. It will require systems and technologies that are just being developed and approaches that are not yet market ready. It will require changes in building codes, zoning and land-use. And while these things will take time, they are already happening faster than expected.
Our role as designers is to provide inspiration and innovative design approaches that incorporate natural systems and structures. The models for a truly sustainable built environment are all around us in the networks of our natural environment. We are beginning to see this in the very limited number of “living buildings’ that have been completed. The very stringent standards to create these buildings are difficult to achieve now, but they will become easier as we modify how we design and build. This will not be easy, and it will be incremental, but we are optimistic that the 21st century will see us re-vision our cities, our food systems, our modes of transportation, how we build, how we re-use and how we conserve.
Image shown: Scott Hall at Carnegie Mellon University, OFFICE 52 Design Architect, Photograph by Jeremy Bittermann.