February 17, 2017
by Canadian Architect
Nexus. Image courtesy of DIALOG.
DIALOG has won two awards for its net-zero energy designs.
The first is from the Architect at Zero Challenge, a competition that called on entrants to plan and design a theoretical student housing site-map for San Francisco State University. DIALOG’s futuristic and thoroughly thoughtful design for SFSU received the Award of Merit, the highest achievement of Architecture at Zero’s professional category, outshining 62 entries from all over the world. The winning entry, ‘NEXUS’, demonstrates the mutual benefits when architecture considers the complex climate and social systems of a place and its people. It succeeded in following a net positive approach to design by generating electricity with solar pv, wind, and domestic hot water heating with aerobic compost digestion.
The 260,000 sq.ft triangular site had 870,000 sq.ft of housing and amenities located above 100,000 sq.ft of a terraced parking podium. Net positive energy was achieved by reducing the EUI to 16 kBTU/sq.ft (from 35 as is standard with ASHRAE 90.1) and generating electricity with solar pv, wind, and domestic hot water heating with aerobic compost digestion, envelope performance, shading strategies, HVAC systems, and more.
A zero output of energy is no small feat and in DIALOG fashion, from genesis to completion, the design was a team effort; with collaboration between architecture, urban planning, and mechanical engineering.
GROWhouse. Image courtesy of DIALOG.
DIALOG’s second win was in the Hammer & Hand Competition, and the First Award for Rethinking The Future Sustainability Competition. Hammer & Hand called for recent graduates and young intern architects to design a Net-Zero mixed-use, Multifamily building for Seattle’s Rainer Beach neighbourhood.
DIALOG’s Green Team developed key concepts around sustainable strategy in its relationship to design that were tested and validated through energy modelling. The information gained was used to produce a project that was both architecturally beautiful and that was high performance net-zero energy architecture. Submissions were judged on resourcefulness, replicability, beauty, adaptability and community response.
The winning project, GROWhouse, is a a net-zero, mixed-use building intimately informed by the community of Rainer beach, Seattle. The project site is at the institutional heart of the community, near schools, community centres and other institutions and is also in a hotspot for urban farming. GROWhouse embodies this local spirit with net-zero architecture built around food production, a residential program mixed with community-centric social enterprise, and a sustainable building practice.
Beyond nurturing these families, the food produced supports ground level social enterprise, while offsetting the energy consumption associated with industrial farming and food transportation. Additionally, the greenhouse itself is tied into the building’s energy strategies as a ventilation and domestic hot water preheat source.