Living Building Challenge Grange Building


New grange and maker space building for Sonoma Academy.  It is a completely collaborative cross disciplinary project with WRNS Architects and Sherwood Design Engineers.  The building is seeking the highest level of green design – the living building challenge.

4 thoughts on “Living Building Challenge Grange Building

  1. The talk on the BID committee’s work is really quite inspiring. To be able to work so freely without “real” clients allows for so much design creativity. The Winter Walk project is such a simple solution, yet had such an impact on so many people. I am glad that it has convinced the city to keep that area as a permanent pedestrian street. Hopefully the Campton Place project also take on that kind of momentum and longevity.

    I really appreciate having a look at the construction documents of RHAA. I had no idea how in-depth and complicated the planting schedule can be. I do wonder what happens to the soil if it is used for productive planning all year round (does it not need resting time as well? Or fertilizers balance it out?).

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  2. I love the idea of giving the space back to the public during the holiday season. In fact I was in the Union Square area when it was turned into a pedestrian heaven for the first time. I remember being very amazed by it. Now as I learned more about the idea and process behind it, I am glad that the City has decided to make it into a permanent pedestrian zone. The only concern I have right now is the traffic for vehicles. Traffic has always been an issue in the area, even before construction started. With the major blocks turned into pedestrian streets, I wonder how much it will affect the automobile users. The Campton place back street project is also very interesting. A lot of these back streets in downtown San Francisco are wasted spaces that have the potential to be occupied and transformed into useful spaces for different functions. I think sculptures and installation are not enough, the incorporation of people and surrounding businesses and key to make sure the spaces are being used. For example the installation could be designed to encourage people’s interaction with it, or it could be designed to be made by the general public. Also, a lot of times these back streets are very dark, therefore adequate lighting is very important. I believe the Campton Place pilot project will enlivens the area and I hope to see more of these back streets to come alive.

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  3. Manuela’s presentation offered some important insight into the inner-workings of design offices. I particularly enjoyed how she included information on construction details; she was right in highlighting how this is not often part of the education of a landscape architect. It’s an important reminder that–after the conceptual and imaginative moves we make in studio–there is perhaps even a longer process to figure out how that design will work in reality. Though, as I’ve heard from others, she made a good point that you still need to stick with that original conception throughout the construction process in order to produce the best design.

    It was also interesting to hear about how their team entered into design competitions in order to test new ideas and offer opportunities to more openly approach landscape problems. It seems to be a very good practice of keeping fresh energy and creativity into the design practice.

    Finally, I also liked hearing about the history of RHAA in terms of its leadership, or how the firm’s leaders decided they always wanted to be involved in the design process and therefore intentionally kept the design team small. Even though I’m perhaps many years away from this point, it’s also something that I’ve thought about as a practitioner in the field.

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  4. It was great that Manuela brought in the construction drawings for the Sonoma school project, being able to see the reality of the design process and how that then needs to be converted into a thorough set of CD’s really sheds light on process of professional practice. It is one thing to design on a site and something completely different to think about how it will actually be built and then conveying that to the contractors. This was juxtaposed by their actual design process that embraced more of hand drafted style for their plans to help clients believe that the design was not hard-lined and they could make suggestions to alter the design.

    Our studio classes often put an emphasis on a greater resolution when making plans in order to force us to understand what decisions we need to make such as material choices, and that is probably part learning process. So it was interesting to see that when it comes to actually dealing with a client it may in fact be better to keep our conceptual development loose to encourage the idea of change, so that the designer themselves can be more free to envision alternative approaches. I am sure that designing in an analog fashion makes it easier to generate alternative designs, but that may be my opinion because I am still more comfortable with a pencil than a mouse.

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