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A Luxurious Building with Sustainable Practices

Discuss abou the Green Building Design and Delivery.

Walker Art Center located in USA is an architectural marvel by Herzog & de Meuron. The center is located on a huge urban campus, which is 17 acres in area. The Walker Art Centre is eight story building with an approximate area of 260,000 square feet (Giannachi and Westerman 2017). This shows the structure is luxurious in nature. However, further investigation must be applied to check whether the structure is sustainable or not. Sustainable structures are mostly identified by the amount of resources that these buildings require to keep these structures at an optimum functioning state. The more resources that a building consumes, the less sustainable it is. Therefore from the analysis it can be identified that a sustainable building must consume less resources and yet function at an optimum level. Considerations are sometimes even made on the materials that are used to make the building. Sustainable buildings are therefore nor only made from environment friendly materials, these materials cost less (Ching 2014). The art center can be termed as a sustainable and yet is luxurious due to the structure parameters. A luxurious building is primarily defined by the lifestyle that the building supports. A luxurious building is generally displayed with a highly artistic approach that focuses more on implementing the most recent technologies that would support the extravagant lifestyle of the residents. These buildings consume a huge amount of resources and the residents due to having such a lifestyle, they pay for it without any consideration. However, a sustainable approach is different. It will incorporate only the basics of the necessities that are primarily needed to survive. Such is the definition of a sustainable practice. However, the Walker Art Centre is termed as a sustainable yet luxurious building as the building hosts almost all the state of the art technologies that is typically wanted in a building such as a centralized air-conditioner and many more of such technologies. However, there are certain factors that separates this structure from the usual luxurious ones. This building has a huge portion of its exterior made out of glass. This shows that during the daytime, this building has self-sufficient lighting and does not require any additional artificial lights in the interior of the building. Such a technique to use the sunlight definitely aid in making the sustainable building approaches that consume less resources. The building is also not made out of materials that have a high carbon footprint. Carbon footprint is the amount of carbon dioxide that is released as a result of various activities. The low amount of carbon foot print also suggests that such buildings emit the least amount of carbon dioxide. Utilizing sustainable practice automatically reduces the amount of carbon foot print. However, such is the most practical application of sustainable approach to buildings. There are certainly other buildings that offer more sustainable approach, nevertheless such buildings will not be luxurious. Maintaining the luxurious status of a building will consume resources no matter the technology that has been used. The design of the building can also provide the luxurious effect that visually implicates it to the users. The Walker Art Centre is nevertheless not only luxurious in its design, it is partially sustainable due to the factors mentioned in the previous parts of this section.

Creating a Sustainable Building

The original aim was to design a building for administrative purposes. However, the architect wanted to do more with the land area. It was the transformed into a library and a center for senior citizens. The area was therefore transformed into one that served the needs of the pubic as well as create a landmark for the society. A transformation of this magnitude is required for positively affecting the society. The design of the library is luxurious and sustainable. The inner courtyard is open for the public use and a library was created at the same time to create the most value out of the land. The design has been made such that the inner library is located in between with courtyard on both sides. This exposes both sides of the library to the natural light that gives this structure the sustainable approach that is being analyzed in this literature review. Sustainable buildings aim at reducing the amount of resources required. Therefore, these designs trigger different methods through which the use of resources such as fresh water and fossil fuels can be minimized (Kibert 2016). Using sunlight as a source of light to reduce the use of electricity is one of the most used design feature of sustainable buildings. Previously skylights were used to provide natural light into the rooms. However, with the growth of multi-storey buildings, the use of skylights diminished while the use of artificial lights for indoor purposes increased rapidly. Architects had struggled in the past to increase the amount of sunlight that can be naturally brought into the living rooms of the residents where they did not want to open the windows. The architects then started to make the entire windows out of glass. This has created a sustainable approach to buildings where artificial lights were predominantly used. This approach had reduced the use artificial lights during the day time. However, this raised a question of privacy as the rooms were clearly visible from the outside. With the growing concern for sustainable approach this was creating a problem for the architects. Then with the advent of single side reflective glass, this problem was solved to a huge extent. This is because now light could enter, however nothing of the inside was visible to the outside world. This protected the privacy of the residents. The glass windows gave a luxurious look to the buildings while maintaining a sustainable approach. The similar concept was used for the library as well. The glass panels on both the sides created a doorway of light for the readers to enjoy the natural light while they read their favorite books. The architect Sant Antoni had created a marvel through carefully applying the most recent trends related to building designs while making it acceptable to the society in terms of design and usability. The courtyard resembles as an extension to the library reading rooms. This signifies the enlightened ideas that the architect had that in relation to the design of the library and the utilization of the space for benefitting the society. The center for senior citizens is located at an interior section of the building. The architect has therefore created a secluded area in the building where the elderly people can relax and spend some time doing their favorite activities.

Luxurious Design for Sustainable Living

Ripoll had lost one of its iconic buildings, the La Lira Theatre. The building not only symbolized as a landmark to the people it also presented itself as a form of entertainment. Therefore reviving the structure was necessary. The RCR Arquitectes had endeavored to design a landmark that was luxurious yet sustainable and provided a value for the society to enjoy. However, designing such a structure meant that the structure must be appealing and must have a purpose too. This was a challenge to the architects to make a building that would be beneficial for the people living in the area. Therefore, a new structure was designed based on the old theatre design while keeping the sustainability approach in mind. Importance was given to the need for a town square where the people can unwind at the end of the day by performing various leisurely activities. The final design that was created was based on the need for such a square as well as to capture the essence of the old La Lira Theatre. The result was a luxurious square that was created for different activities and a space on the outdoor that can be used by the resident of the area. The entire structure including the footbridge was made from the weathering steel. The entire structure can be considered sustainable due to the building material that was used to make it. Weathering steel is a particular type of steel where a coating of rust is formed on the outside. This protects the interior section of the steel from any external weather condition. This is therefore a sustainable approach to the requirements. An examination of the other structures would show that paint coatings must be applied periodically to protect the structure from external factors such as abrupt weather conditions which can sometimes even prove to be corrosive. This has created a new sense of making a sustainable approach to designing and making buildings. Usually, a sustainable building is one where the building consumes minimal resources while consuming as low amounts of resources as possible. Therefore that stereotypical approach can be bypassed using this building as an example where the building materials have formed the most acceptable form of sustainable approach (Medineckiene et al. 2015). The maintenance cost had been drastically reduced due to using such a material as a base. There would be no requirement of any paint or any form of external agents to protect the structure. Various study results have pointed to the fact that paint can have adverse effects on health due to various harmful chemicals in its constituents. Therefore, not having to use paint provides an added advantage to different buildings whose designs cannot be altered to make it sustainable. Less resources are being consumed to maintain the structure and hence it can be branded as a sustainable structure with a low amount of carbon footprint. The structure is an open space where people can do various activities and hence no need for any excess energy utilization. The underground facility will consume some power. However, it cannot be avoided as the underground room will require additional artificial lights and cooling system that would facilitate the use of the area. An underground facility, however is the optimum and sustainable utilization of the land.

The Transformation of the Walker Art Center


The castle from the thirteenth century was designated to get a cultural upgrade using a design by the RCR. The design was focused on cuisine and arts. The design is an extension to the castle and the structure has been created by keeping the old castle in the center. The inner courtyard had been utilized to structure the educational rooms, exhibition and the kitchen. An exquisite design was obtained where the performers, the artists and the students can participate in various workshops. The approach is such that the new areas get merged with the old building while clearly showing the difference between the old and the new. Very few materials have been used to create the entire additional structure. Glass and steel were the most commonly used material in the construction of the art center. The new and the old structures were connected internally, hence the architects used less amount of materials to complete the whole task. Such sustainable approaches to building structures have been discussed in the previous part of this literature review. This kind of approach is usually underestimated, as the most accepted form of sustainable building design is given to the fact that the building saves critical resources during its operation period. The architects used commonly available cheap resources that is most commonly used in every construction. The low amount of materials should generally mean a weak structure. However, the old and the new structures were merged in such a way that no substantial weakness was discovered after the structure erected (Palliyaguru and Susan 2018). It is therefore evident that the architects not only had an aptitude to create luxurious structures, these structures have a sustainable approach to them as well. The huge glass windows are also evidence of sustainability as the impact of natural light reduce the use artificial light in the various areas of the art center. Therefore, the design and the material used for building compensates for the lack of other form of sustainable design approaches that are generally expected from such a structure.

Conclusion

Architects throughout the history have strived to achieve some very specific milestones in their designs (CASADEVALL 2016). These milestones included building designs that would make the structure look luxurious for the patrons to live and cherish. However, such structures could not be maintained in the modern world as they consume a huge amount or resources which are already depleting and is scarce in many regions of the world. Therefore, such structural designs started to become obsolete as the demand shifted from being luxurious to being sustainable. There are various political and environmental aspects involved when a structure is created. The laws have made it mandatory to make these structures as open and as sustainable as possible. The patrons or the investors however want a luxurious structure that they want to invest in. Therefore, the architects had to brainstorm to come to a compromise between luxurious and sustainable. The structures mentioned in the previous parts of this literature review were all made by the same Pritzker Prize winners. This prize is the highest honor that can be awarded to any architect. Therefore, it is certain that these architects have created something that is something beyond every expectation. The structures designed by these architects are sustainable yet luxurious making the designs prize worthy. There are various other Pritzker Prize winners who have not been discussed in this literature review due to the fact that their designs either fall into the category of luxurious or sustainable. The structures that have been discussed exhibits a balance between luxurious and sustainability.

Reference List

CASADEVALL, GEMMA DOMÈNECH. "ARCHITECTURAL CONVERSION AND LOSS OF MEANING: THE CASE OF CATALONIA GEMMA DOMÈNECH CASADEVALL1." The Importance of Place: Values and Building Practices in the Historic Urban Landscape (2016): 181.

Ching, Francis DK. Building construction illustrated. John Wiley & Sons, 2014.

Giannachi, Gabriella, and Jonah Westerman. "Walker Art Center, Minneapolis." In Histories of Performance Documentation, pp. 64-69. Routledge, 2017.

Kibert, Charles J. Sustainable construction: green building design and delivery. John Wiley & Sons, 2016..

Kolarevic, Branko, and Vera Parlac, eds. Building dynamics: Exploring architecture of change. Routledge, 2015.

Medineckiene, Milena, E. K. Zavadskas, Folke Björk, and Z. Turskis. "Multi-criteria decision-making system for sustainable building assessment/certification." Archives of Civil and Mechanical Engineering 15, no. 1 (2015): 11-18.

Palliyaguru, R., G. Karunasena, and Susan Ang. "Review on Sustainable Building Design and Construction in the Rural Context: The Case of Building Ampara, Sri Lanka." In Sustainable Development Research in the Asia-Pacific Region, pp. 493-507. Springer, Cham, 2018.

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