Sustainability Gets a Lift
The ability to see new uses for obsolete things is an important part of a sustainable approach to design. It’s what architects do especially well. Here’s a great, over-the-top — literally! — example of creative recycling from a friend, Santa Monica, California architect David Hertz. He’s designing a house for a client in the mountains behind Malibu that uses one wing of a decomissioned Boeing 747 for its roof.
The main “wing” of the house overlooks the pool. Now this is what I call recycling! Here’s what David says: “The wing of a 747, at over 2,500 sq. ft., became an ideal configuration to maximize the views and provide a self supporting roof with minimal additional structural support needed.” He’s using the 747′s other components for other structures on the property, which is, as he says, “like how the Native American Indians used every part of the buffalo.” Such a project also takes a remarkable client: one who’s willing to provide a runway for the architectural imagination. Bravo and Welcome Aboard to both! The expected completion date is next spring.
Other Eco-oriented Roofs
The new glass canopy surrounding the planted roofscape of the San Francisco Academy of Sciences contains 60,000 photovoltaic cells producing 213,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity resulting in a 5% to 10% savings of electricity, according to the Academy’s website. You’ve probably seen this now famous image of the entire roof with the planted hills in the middle and the glass around the edge, like a vast magic eco-tablecloth. I was just given an early tour and it is a genuinely thrilling design visually, structurally, and functionally. Every element — from upswept living roof to carved-out coral reef, from glass walls facing the Park to lens-like windows into the deep — serves to teach and enthrall.
The building was designed by the renowned architect Renzo Piano, whose ladder-like new New York Times Building in Manhattan is giving new meaning to the term “social climbers.” The Academy opens in September (the image is from Wired magazine).
A similar but more modestly scaled canopy rings Margarido House.
This inventive new home in the Oakland hills of Northern California was designed and built as a green idea showcase by brothers Mike and Tim McDonald and a team of green building experts with contributions by eco-friendly manufacturers. Mike is the president of McDonald Construction & Development, Inc. in Oakland, and Tim is an architect and the principal of Plumbob, LLC in Philadelphia. The home is full of green materials and products, including recyled kiln tiles from Heath Ceramics, which hosted the open house I attended. According to the owner-builder it’s the first house in the country to be both LEED-H certified and Green Point Rated. The photograph is from Heath. I’ll show other ideas from this house in future postings.