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Winners of the 2011 Metropolis Next Generation Design Competition
Posted: Friday, May 13, 2011 |

An ambitious zero-energy retrofit proposal for a downtown Los Angeles federal building has just won the first prize of the 8th Annual Next Generation Design Competition, presented by Metropolis magazine in partnership with the General Services Administration. The brief of the competition's 2011 edition asked architects and planners to design a Zero Environmental Footprint for this 1,172,746 sqft, eight-story, 1960s energy-guzzling federal building, considering any scale of intervention—from windows to light fixtures to interior spaces to building envelope to urban context. The jury praised the innovative approach of the winning entry “Process Zero: Retrofit Resolution.”

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The Retrofit Resolution proposal combines an array of proven renewable strategies with something unheard of in architecture: energy-producing microalgae. Scott Walzak, lead exterior designer on the project says: “It’s never been done in a building, but it’s practical technology in a new way.” Biomimicry emerged as the team's core—and maybe winning—principle. “It was no longer about countering energy use; it was going back to the beginning,” says team member John Jackson.

The multidisciplinary winning team is composed of architects and engineers, many of whom working in the Washington, D.C. offices of HOK and Vanderweil: Brandon Harwick, Anica Landreau, Alesia Call, Jarek Bieda, Colin Benson, Patrick Murphy, Antony Yen, Scott Walzak, Sean Quinn, John Jackson, Monika Kumor, Ming Hu, Sean Williams, Iyabo Lawal, and Stephen Lahti.

The Winning Idea A Retrofit Solution Energy-Production Envelope Systems: The dominant features of the Process Zero retrofit are apparent on the skin: solar arrays on the roof and built into the facade would power electric and thermal heating systems, while panels of microalgae in thin glass tubes would serve as a photobioreactor, adding up to 9 percent of the building’s power supply.

Click above image to view slideshow
The Winning Idea A Retrofit Solution Energy-Production Envelope Systems: The dominant features of the Process Zero retrofit are apparent on the skin: solar arrays on the roof and built into the facade would power electric and thermal heating systems, while panels of microalgae in thin glass tubes would serve as a photobioreactor, adding up to 9 percent of the building’s power supply.

Closeup of the facade systems.

Click above image to view slideshow
Closeup of the facade systems.

Building Systems Fresh air enters through the skin and is exhaled into the atria and out through louvers in the roof. A geothermal system cools water for chilled beams, while phase-changing materials in the ceiling naturally maintain optimum temperature.

Click above image to view slideshow
Building Systems Fresh air enters through the skin and is exhaled into the atria and out through louvers in the roof. A geothermal system cools water for chilled beams, while phase-changing materials in the ceiling naturally maintain optimum temperature.

Algae Panel 25 percent open

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Algae Panel 25 percent open

The jury also announced four runners-up:

  • FINDING HARMONY IN NATURE (Dallas Felder / Cary D’Alo Place / Jonathan LaRocca)
  • COMFORT ON DEMAND (Nash Hurley / Taylor Keep / Beau Trincia)
  • ZERO DISTRICT (Mathew Albores / Brian Court /Adam Loughry / Shawn Kemna / Jake LaBarre / Maaike Post / Adam Amsel)
  • LIVE WORK GROW GENERATE (David Cole / Keegan Brochu / Eduardo Meza / Nick Hammer)

Comfort on Demand A BUILDING CAN ONLY GET YOU SO FAR:  According to this proposal, even the most efficient, state-of-the-art systems can reduce energy use only by about 75 percent. The proposal achieves the remaining 25 percent energy savings by using digital technology to create individually controlled work environments.

Click above image to view slideshow
Comfort on Demand A BUILDING CAN ONLY GET YOU SO FAR: According to this proposal, even the most efficient, state-of-the-art systems can reduce energy use only by about 75 percent. The proposal achieves the remaining 25 percent energy savings by using digital technology to create individually controlled work environments.

Zero District NET-ZERO ENERGY & WATER: The facade is opened up to the surrounding neighborhood, and rainwater collected from adjacent buildings is filtered and stored in cisterns underneath.

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Zero District NET-ZERO ENERGY & WATER: The facade is opened up to the surrounding neighborhood, and rainwater collected from adjacent buildings is filtered and stored in cisterns underneath.

Live Work Grow Generate PROPOSED SOLUTION TOTALS

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Live Work Grow Generate PROPOSED SOLUTION TOTALS

Images via Metropolis.



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