The concept of “sustainability” is an issue of growing importance both here at Cripe and in the world at large. Driven by a desire to conserve resources, it is primarily achieved through an increase in energy efficiency, whether that means the energy used to create the building materials, and building itself, or an ongoing energy efficiency as the building consumes resources once occupied. For more in-depth information on this topic, see Jennifer Lasch’s recent post here:
Our Energy & Facilities department serves clients to save money on the ongoing long-term costs of building operations. The Solar Decathlon is an initiative by the U.S. Department of Energy to encourage research and development in the academic world regarding both efficient usage of materials and also ongoing energy consumption by a building. Many fantastic new building methods, materials usages, and energy management strategies/technologies have arisen out of this competition that is still in its infancy.
I recently discovered an article about the winner of the 2010 Solar Decathlon, and was amazed at the scope/scale of the project coming out of an architecture program, and also pleased to see that it came from the relatively modest school where I had the fantastic opportunity to study abroad for a semester in 2009- The Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia, or IaaC, in Barcelona. Even the fact that its name is in English speaks to its intent to be an international program, and they draw students from around the world.
The 2010 winner, FabLab House, is well documented from inception to full-scale construction in Madrid, on the official blog for the house. It’s worth a look, and an impressive project to come out of a very small architecture program in Barcelona’s gentrifying former light-industry Poblenou neighborhood. The project also received many nice writeups on various architecture blogs and publications (credit pernell). It’s important for us in the practicing world to stay in tune with what is happening in academia, because it can inform our future work in many practical and useful ways- and keep us excited about Architecture!