Architype Dialogue presents
What was the most difficult issue about working on this building or the most unexpected challenge that may have influenced new thought in your project?
One of the most challenging aspects of this project was both designing and constructing on and around wetlands. The 13 acre site is a large wetland bog that flows into the Lake of the Woods. The site required soil remediation, wetland credit purchasing, surcharging and extensive water filtration/drainage design to accommodate a large area of hard surface needed for Land Port of Entry operations. Additionally the building was designed with a structural slab/grade beam and steel friction piles to eliminate settlement issues. This challenge also presented an opportunity to capitalize on a sustainable energy source, the heating and cooling capability of the earth. Due to the high water saturation of the soils, we were able to utilize a deep-well ground-coupled heat pump system.
Did this project expand or evolve your role as an architect in any way? In general, do you feel that the role of the architect is changing on current projects?
As the project designer on this project I found myself leading the advocacy for sustainable design solutions, often times pushing our mechanical engineers to explore less conventional strategies such as geothermal ground source system through the use of Life cycle Cost Analysis and lots of research to meet both the clients goal of LEED certification and our firms commitment to sustainable design.
How is your building possible today in a way that it may not have been before and how have trends in sustainability and technology inspired new thought and solutions?
Our firm is constantly researching and exploring new technologies in building envelope and building performance. On this particular project we had a highly sophisticated client that supported and pushed us to constantly strive for design excellence across all measures.
What advice or lessons learned would you give to another designer or client pursuing a similar type of sustainable project?
Sustainability should not be a separate part of our vocabulary but something that is part of the ethics of our profession.
In the context of this project, how is your office and design process being influenced by current trends in academic curricula and young architects? In turn, how are current projects and processes guiding the ongoing reformulation and development of academic curricula?
The success (especially in terms of sustainable/high performance building) of this project is primarily due to our ability to manage inter-disciplinary coordination. As a smaller design firm, we excel at bringing the right team of consultants to a project, and demanding an understanding of goals and design concepts across the board, from the design team to the owner to the contractors. The trend toward inter-disciplinary projects in current academia is crucial to building this sort of leadership.
What unique or different sustainable practices or sustainable materials played a key role in this building and in your firm’s overall body of work?
Integrating sustainable building systems and sustainable building envelope strategies were critical to this project and is a consistent approach to all of our work. The LPOE in Warroad utilized Geothermal Ground Source technology, rain water capture, heat recovery, zoned and sensored lighting as well as a plethora of sustainable building materials including FSB certified cedar siding for the exterior cladding of the building. The siding was installed in a back ventilated cavity assembly to maximize the products life and reduce mold growth within the wall cavity. Working with the contractor we were able to use all the cut-offs from the project to construct the interior millwork, reducing waste and maximizing the products contribution to the project.
What books are you currently reading….or would like to be reading?
7. BIM and Integrated Design: Strategies for Architectural Practice by Randy Deutsch
Sprawl Repair Manual by Galina Tachieva (Paperback)
Architype Review thanks Matt Kreilich for his interview and for contributing to this collection of Architype Dialogue.