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ASU college campus selected for top green award

Case Studies, Exteriors | May 9, 2012 | By:

AIA announces the 2012 Top 10 Green Projects

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and its Committee on the Environment (COTE) have selected the top 10 examples of sustainable architecture and green design solutions that protect and enhance the environment. Projects showcase excellence in sustainable design principles and reduced energy consumption.

One of the top 10 awarded projects is the Arizona State University (ASU) Polytechnic Academic District, Mesa, Ariz., designed by RSP Architects and Lake Flato Architects, which features fabric shading elements as one of the designers’ palette of strategies for reducing energy use and promoting sustainability.

Project design team leader for RSP, Beau Dromiack, described the thinking behind their use of specialty fabrics for shading a key portion of the campus buildings: “For the most prominent building of a trio of academic buildings, the highest balcony of the tallest building has a wall of translucent fabric that shades the open air student space and actually makes it habitable during the hottest time of the Arizona year.” This promenade is integrated with a latticework of glass and PV modules that feed energy back into the college electrical grid. Also helping the overall carbon footprint is the attachment of vertical fabric scrims between windows on the facades of the classrooms and offices facing east and west.

The design for the Polytechnic Academic District transformed a decommissioned airbase into an inviting pedestrian campus that includes five high-performance LEED Gold rated buildings. The design for the new campus creates a new identity that responds to its desert climate and context by using a dense network of linear buildings that maximizes shade and creates a vibrant pedestrian environment. The building typology grew from the same objective by extroverting the circulation which also served to minimize the air-conditioned square footage and electricity for lighting.

All 10 of the projects will be honored at the AIA 2012 National Convention and Design Exposition in Washington, D.C. later this month.

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