Midwest Sustainable Conference at GRCC: Restorative Design

Midwest Sustainable Conference at GRCC: Restorative Design


>>So we’re ready to get
going with our next speaker and I’d like to introduce
Matt Van Sweden. He is from Integrated
Architecture, and he is going to
be talking about the Saginaw Chippewa
Tribal College– a Living Learning
Laboratory. So I think you are
in for a wonderful, both visual experience,
and looking and listening to what Matt has to say,
so welcome, Matt.>>Thank you,
Charlotte. (applause) I’m here fresh from a
improv class at Kendall, so… with that in mind, I’m
gonna not do any of this, and just start talking to you
about whatever, if that’s okay. Okay, that was a joke– I’m
not really gonna do that. (audience laughing)
So… this project is an exciting
project for me personally but also for, I think,
our community, ’cause it really is
demonstrating a path to a different sort
of built environment. Before I kinda
get into it, I wanted to start with a quote
from one of my favorite authors and thinkers–
he’s pretty local. Well, national anyway–
he’s from Ohio. He works in
Oberlin College, and… I read this quote
about 10 years ago and it really inspired
me, really impacted me to kind of refocus
my passions, what I’m devoting
my energy into, and to really–
to put it really simple– and I’ll just read it
’cause it’s pretty powerful. “The plain fact is, is the
planet does not need more “successful people, but
it does desperately need “more peacemakers,
healers, restorers, “storytellers, and
lovers of every kind. “It needs people who live
well in their places. “It needs people of
moral courage willing “to join the fight
to make the world “a more habitable
and humane. “And these qualities have
little to do with success “as we’ve defined it.” Has anybody read David Orr,
has seen this quote? Awesome– I’m not alone,
that’s good. I would encourage all of you,
if you take nothing else in from today, to go buy
some of his books and start reading him. He is incredibly
insightful, empowering, and
just brilliant. So with that in mind, I
wanna tell you a story, ’cause we need more
story tellers. I’m gonna give you
a brief introduction to the Living
Building Challenge, can tell you some history
of the project we worked on, and then I’m gonna kinda
break it down by imperative and you may know more
about that later. And kind of this
project’s approach to each to
the 20 things that require to achieve
a Living Building. So Living Building– it’s inspirational,
it’s aspirational, but it’s really… just beautiful in the way
in its simple approach. It’s based off
two rules. All imperatives are mandatory,
so you have to meet all the imperatives and
there’s 20 of ’em, as I said. And there’s not a percentage–
you just need to get ’em all. And they’re pretty straight
forward and elegant in their approach,
as you’ll see, but that’s the foundation is
that you have to meet ’em all. And then, it’s based
off actual performance not prescriptive
performance or prescriptive approaches
in the design process. You have to demonstrate
you’ve met them by showing that you
actually done the thing that you said you
were gonna do. And then… kind of built under
those two rules– it’s changed a little bit since
we attempted the version of the Living Building
Challenge at the time, but four main typologies
or four main uses for the challenge and
it covers everything from buildings to neighborhoods
down to like parks and interior fit-outs– mall
commercial, interior fit-outs. Then, six transects–
so transects are if
you cut a city– cut a plane
through the city and you kind of step back
and you see the cross-section, and it kind of associates
with different densities as you kind of approach
an urban core. And the Living Building
Challenge recognizes that each density
or each transect has different appropriate
solutions or requirements for these 20 imperatives, so that’s why it’s
important to understand that we’re in the village
or campus zone so the transect 3
there, and that has just varying,
slightly different requirements, as you go through this
and you may pick up on some of that as I go
through each imperative. And here they are–
the 20 imperatives. So along the left,
you see the petals, the categories that these
20 imperatives are aligned into. On the top, you see
the different scales, the typologies. Then, on the right,
the 20 imperatives that we’ll be going through
in a fair amount of detail. Deeply inherent in this
Living Building Challenge is the metaphor
for the flower, so it thinks that nature
should be our measuring stick on how we
gauge success. So, you’ll kinda see the
categories are called “petals.” Their logo
is a flower. So it’s pretty integral
in that ecological literacy that David Orr
speaks to, but also the kind of
understanding that nature is already doing what
we are trying to do– alls we gotta do is
try to mimic it or try to figure out how
it’s doing what it’s doing. This slide is
not propaganda, although it kind
of is a little bit. But this is the main
thing of the presentation. It wasn’t me– I didn’t
solve this problem, I didn’t solve
this challenge. It wasn’t Integrated
Architecture– it was a team. And the thing I
wanna leave you with is the challenges
that we have to face aren’t challenges
we can do alone, we have to do
’em together, and crucial to the success of
this project was this team. Not that it was this team
but it was a team. And it was a team of individuals
that were like-minded, that we’re all kinda working
towards the same goal, had the same
goal in mind. And so, we
had not just– in the conceptual-design
world of architecture, typically, you have an
architect, designer, and owner. And that’s about it–
sometimes, you’ll bring in mechanical engineers,
civil landscapers, but in the conceptual phase,
it’s usually just a design team working with
a client. We kind of went
away from that and we engaged a whole
group of individuals from the start, so
we had hydrologists– people who understand how
water flows in around a site. We had native landscapers,
we had a farmer, which you’ll hear more from
later– Levi– he’s a great guy. We had commissioning agents
helping us develop what the owner of the project
requirement should be. We had a team
of engineers and material
research folks. So from three different firms,
all focusing different parts of the material aspect of the
Living Building Challenge. But then, we also
had Integrated– we were there. And Rockford Construction helped
with pre-construction services. So I’m staying on this
for a little bit just ’cause I don’t
wanna belittle this or beat a
dead horse, but it was pretty
integral to the project, so all these team members were
working together on all parts– almost all parts of
Living Building Challenge. It wasn’t just one group
working just on one thing. We were all constantly
engaging each other and working with
each other. And to kind of
illustrate that, on the top right here,
you’ll see those little dots. Those kind of represent–
and you’ll see it, per imperative grower–
I’ll kind of come back– the amount of collaboration
that this graphic took, right? So the first imperative
is the Limits to Growth. And that’s pretty familiar–
we’re familiar with LEED, so you can’t develop
on prime farmland, you can’t develop
within the floodplain, you can’t develop on previously
undeveloped greenfield sites so we mapped out all
those different things and the gray area–
if I can do this… nope. Oops. The gray area
represents… the buildable land
per the challenge. So we kind of talked with
our civil engineers, and we got an idea,
using some survey data to figure out where
we could build, and the gray area is
where we have identified that where
we can build. And ultimately, the project
landed down here, as you can by some
of the graphics. Urban Agriculture– this
started out as just a line item in the Living Building
Challenge, right? You have to grow some
of your own food. But what that meant for our
team grew exponentially as we kinda dove into that and
really explored what that means. We need 35% of our campus
dedicated to growing food. We when you have 46 acres,
that’s a lot of land to be dedicated
to growing food. That’s not 20 raised beds,
that’s not an orchard– that’s significant
infrastructure. And so, with some foresight,
I asked a farmer friend to come help us
understand that. And this whole portion of
the project, this backside, is our agriculture component–
it’s about 10 acres. So we had to think
about a barn. We had implements we needed,
we had grain storage, we wanted a classroom
in that barn space that we could educate
and engage students with this
agriculture experience. We needed a place for our
laborers to spend the night, ’cause our farmer said, if
you’re not close to your farm, you’re not gonna get
access to it enough, that the farm
would require. So we built in
all the stuff into the program while
discovering what it meant for this Living
Building Challenge. The next site imperative
is Habitat Exchange. So this is pretty
straightforward. You know, they say you can’t
build on green fields, which is understandable. But they also
then say, “If you’re developing on
previously developed land, “you need to set aside
an equitable size “into perpetuity
in a land trust, “so that future generations
can have access to wilderness, “to forest, to the natural
beauty that is around us.” And remember, we’re already
developing on land that’s already
previously developed, so this is the
restorative mindset, this is taking something,
reclaiming it, making it better, but then also taking
some additional space and saving that
for the future, too. So the project budget
included about $100,000 to put some land
in some trust. Car-Free Living– this is the
next and the last imperative, of the Site petal– it requires
us to look for opportunities to encourage
car-free living. It’s pretty implied
in the title. There’s two main ways
of doing this. You have to look at the
region in its context and try to figure out how you
get people to and from your site without needs of
transportation. But we’re in kind
of a smaller city, without a whole lot
of infrastructure, but there was this
pink-magenta path that’s a future planned,
non-motorized trail network, that goes all around
Mount Pleasant that bisects our site,
so you realized that, and we wanted to encourage
and incorporate that into our final plan, but it
also requires each project not to tip the scale of
a type of development. So they didn’t want
all residential houses in a catchment area, which
is the larger context of the project
that it sits in. They didn’t want a
single-use to occupy and demand all of the resources
that are in that catchment area, so it required teams
to kinda make sure that they weren’t
tipping that scale and in the technical
manual for the challenge, it kinda demonstrates
what percentages they are but we were
pretty safe. There aren’t a whole
lot of academic buildings in the region, so
we were pretty safe. But kinda taking that
methodology, that mindset, we really explored, “How
do people get to the site?” How do they
get around? We really
kind of… the vehicular-transportation
infrastructure is actually secondary
to non-motorized. So separated bike paths,
pedestrian lanes, lots of pauses. The hierarchy of
getting around this is geared towards
the pedestrian. And you can see, here’s
that non-motorized path that’s gonna come
through our site. Some of these aren’t
graphically stimulating– they’re kinda boring
to look at– but they’re exciting
to think about. This is one of ’em–
this is the net water– Net-Positive Water
requirement. So the imperative is, you
have to capture and use, for your needs, recycled,
treated, or fallen rainwater. And so, that focused
our attention on lowering the demand,
so what we can do? We use composting toilets,
really low-flow urinals, we’re collecting
rainwater off the roof, we’re storing it in
cisterns that are sized to meet our needs based
off our annual rainfall. We have a reclamation
system that’s capturing and treating our effluents,
our blackwater, and reincorporating it
into the water system. We have a whole-building
water system, water-filtration
system, so it really was
integral to the project. And then, when you
think about agriculture and the demands of irrigation,
what do you do with that? So we actually had
a daylighting– or sorry we had a county drain
running through the site, and if I go back
a slide– so this– there’s a county drain, it’s
about 52 inches in diameter that goes through
the site. It’s buried– our
solution was to dam it, to daylight it, which means
we’re gonna dig up that pipe and we’re gonna break it up
and we’re gonna incorporate a naturalized stream
to the site. And the pond is
actually gonna help us with our
agriculture needs. And so, we’re
taking a system that is pretty
straightforward, right? It moves water from
one place to another, and we’re kind of pausing it,
we’re using, utilizing it, but then we’re also, downstream,
we’re making it cleaner than it would
have normally been, because we’re incorporating
infiltration. So a lot of the soils
and the strata that the water will fall
into recharge the aquifer is gonna be cleaning
the water as well as acting as
a container for it. And then, the second requirement
for the water petal is we had to match
the historical and naturalized
water flows of the site. So we had to look
at topography, we had to understand how
water flowed to the site– we couldn’t disrupt that and we
couldn’t discharge more water than historically would’ve been,
so when we think about… the kinda vegetation that
was here, pre-colonialism, we had to match that, so
we had to understand that, and then, we had to design a
system which you saw here, that emulates that. And here’s the infrastructure
that is providing that, so we’re taking
storm water, we’re capturing it, and putting
rain water in cisterns. It just kind of–
this is, again, not a very exciting graphic
but it demonstrates the complexity of our
system, water system, to make sure that we’re
emulating the natural hydrology of pre-development
events. The next one is sometimes the
most exciting to talk about because there is
a lot into this, and it seems like the Energy
petal– kind of feel bad for it, It’s only got one imperative…
but it’s a big one. Net-Zero Energy. And right from
the beginning, our engineers said,
“Here’s the hierarchy “that we need to utilize
when we’re thinking about “getting to net-zero–
we can’t just buy a bunch of infrastructure
and create an energy that is producing
as much energy as kind of business
as usual. We had to really
think about low demand so we need to get that off
the base and then prevent it, and then once we cut out all
the unnecessarily expenses, the vampire wattages from
our electronics and devices, and things like that,
we had to think about high-efficiency systems
and equipment. And only then, once
we kind of built– took out of the
demand side, and we built in
high-efficiency, could we think about
approaching net-zero from a production
standpoint. So what do we do? We started challenging
assumptions about, “Do we need
conditioned air all the time?” Can we utilize
natural ventilation? So that’s what we did– we
found about 20% of the day– 20% of the year can be met
with just natural ventilation. So we’re gonna use that to
lower our demand for energy. And then, we looked at
indigenous knowledge. How did the indigenous peoples
condition their spaces? What was their– what knowledge base
did they have? And this was so
impactful to the design that it warrants
a full slide, I promise. What they did is they have
a skin that’s adaptive to the climate– you know,
we’re in Michigan, they were in Michigan, it was
the same Michigan weather. They did the same things we
try to do with our buildings. So how could we
emulate that? What was really interesting
is they used thermal mass. They buried rocks
underneath their fireplace, over top of reeds
that were buried and they brought in air to
create the chimney effect that you see, so when–
it allows oxygen to get in and evacuate while
storing that, that heat in
the rocks below. And then, they would sleep
on top of those warmed rocks. The east entry is referencing
that the predominant wind out of the west– and that actually has
some religious context associated as well, but it’s mostly a practical
thing– they don’t want wind blowing right into
their dwelling units. So on the left, you see
the preliminary study of how we could
emulate that. So we have a roof that kind
of comes down, becomes a wall. We have a base that
kind of rises up. And we’re using thermal storage
and thermal distribution, and a radiant system– a
radiant floor slab system. Before we went there,
we wanted to study it to make sure it
was appropriate. We didn’t want to just
jump to where we thought the most appropriate
solution would be. We wanted to make sure
we did all the analysis that we could, so we looked
at different orientations, different shapes,
different massings, each giving a different
kind of what we refer to as a “EUI”– “energy
use intensity.” It’s a measurement– kilo BTUs
per square foot per year. And the lower we can go–
and 20 was our target. Most buildings are
between 80 and 100, so a building that’s
using about a quarter of what is traditional
or typical was our goal. And so, we did a lot
of energy analysis. We did a bunch of
different systems. We did these eight– again,
that’s kinda where we landed. Associated with
each of these, we performed
thermal-comfort analysis, which system provided
the most thermal– the tightest
thermal range of comfort that we could provide and
at the lowest energy use. And it ended up being the
radiant floor system. Here, we’re looking at all
these different systems. Different options,
different mechanical systems, different fenestration
options, different kind of
envelope-thermal performance. All giving us
different EUI numbers, slightly so, but they all have
some variant of difference, and you can see they’re all
right around that 20, right? And this was the ultimate
one we went with, which is 19.1. And these are some
massing studies. We looked at
separating some uses– the gym, the more
higher-functioning spaces, apart from the
main academic space. Different kind of
clustering, orientations. This one was the one we
ultimately went with. The long, skinny
rectangle. And this was
ultimately our solution. So we have a
geothermal storage paired with–
excuse me– PV on the roof,
we have solar– or it’s not solar, we have
solar-thermal collectors and we have
wind turbines. Then, we’re using
active chilled beams and radiant floor
heat distribution. And then, the air–
the VAV-AHU– which is to maintain the outside
air requirements, per code. And here was
just the study of where we’re gonna
put our turbines. How big are they, what do
they look like in context? We kind of associated–
both hinting at some of the farmland
preservation activities. Yes, David?>>You’re putting
wind turbines on this?>>Yes.>>(indistinct).>>It’s not the greatest,
but it wasn’t just because it was the most economical
way of doing it. There’s a couple
reasons why we did it. Both from a
advocacy standpoint– why not have this
conversation? And we needed to get high, so we
didn’t do the shallower ones, the 30-foot– we went
100 feet in the air, right? And that’s where the
most constant wind is. So we’re not the best performer
but we’re also not the worst. We’re kinda right
in the middle. And so, it did
hurt our efficiency but not significantly so. But we also
looked to Germany, because Germany has some of
the most, highest percentages of renewable
energy production, and their climate is
actually more cloudy and colder than ours,
so if they can do it, the assumption is,
so can we. And they kinda matched wind
turbines with photovoltaics because they
compliment each other. So in the winter time,
wind turbines peak, and then, in the summer
time, they kinda dip. And they peak up
in the winter again. Solar collection has
actually the inverse, it declines significantly
in the winter and it peaks
in the summer, so with those divergent peaks at
different parts of the season, we have actually a better,
year-round production, so we could lower
our battery capacity and actually have more reliant
and resilient energy production. And as I was saying,
farmland preservation is often times with–
often paired with wind turbines because you can’t develop in the
fall range of these turbines, and so we thought if we’re
gonna put farmland up, we might as well make sure
that they can’t develop it, into the future, so why don’t
we put turbines up there, to protect that
into perpetuity? So the next series… this is the
Health petal, and this is one of the most
prescriptive requirements associated, so they’re
not all that fascinating. Civilized environments
just require humane spaces to work in,
essentially, but their kinda
technical requirement is that each
occupiable space needs to have access
to operable windows. In figuring out the
solution to that, we recognized or realized
we needed to incorporate a courtyard so that both
sides of this faculty space could have access
to operable windows. And so,
how did that– I mean, that’s obviously
increasing our envelope, surface area,
so it’s increasing how much
thermal loss we get and thermal heat we get
in winter and summer. So how can we
optimize that? And we explored
covering that courtyard, treating it as a greenhouse
to really both enhance how natural ventilation works
by creating a super-heated space at the top to draw air through
it, utilizing a stack effect, to also then close it
in the winter time to semi-heat
that space, so the difference
between that courtyard and the adjacent spaces is
less than the outside space. And so, we were able to
reduce the curtain wall in that courtyard
to a double-pane down from a
triple-pane that’s around the
entire other perimeter which is a
cost-saving endeavor and this also reduced
the energy production or energy needed
by about 10%. So it’s just one of those
solutions to be explored to figure how to meet all these
different competing imperatives in a comprehensive
solution. And this one, by far,
is the most boring slide. Sorry, not only are you looking
at a really gross filter, but the imperative is
the most prescriptive. It just says you need
to do air testing, and you have to have adequate
filtration in your systems. It’s more akin to what you’re
probably familiar with– IEQ Credit 5 in the
LEED rating system. So it just kinda sets out,
“These are the things “you need to do, and here’s
how you need to do ’em.” So there isn’t a whole lot
of excitement going around on performing that, but we
did make sure we met it. This one, though– Biophillia–
speaking to David Orr earlier, right, ecological
literacy. This is pretty
crucial to the design. And what it required is
every 20,000 square feet, you needed to have
one of each of the six biophillic design elements
incorporated into your design. So we’re north of 60,000,
so we needed three of each. So total of 18 biophillic
design elements incorporated
into our design. And we didn’t get to the
point where we were– we knew exactly
what we were doing. We were just looking
for inspiration. So what we did is
we put together a kind of a mood board,
if you will, of different inspiring, or
motives, that we were looking at per each biophillic
design principle. Do we– I guess I should ask–
do we know what biophillia is? All right, great–
some of you know. Biophillia is the
philosophy that… says that we, as humans,
are inherently drawn towards nature, and that we have a bio-physical
reaction to that, so we heal faster,
we learn better, we can infer
non-verbals better between humans, so
basically it’s saying we are our healthiest,
most vibrant selves when we’re in close
proximity to nature. So the built environment is
kind of doing us disservice ’cause it’s putting
up barriers, putting us in boxes,
essentially, and we’re kinda seeing some of
the psychological ramifications of that throughout the course
of our, kind of, history. So this is requiring the
opposite end of that, incorporating more nature into
these conditions, spaces. We’re just looking at– and
I’m gonna go through these, pretty quickly but– visually,
the idea is that we want to get some of these–
some environmental features. In bold, here,
you see the ones that we’re actually
trying to engage with. Both because we thought
it was appropriate for this particular client–
fire being a pretty significant cultural, iconic, sort of,
idea for the tribe. And just ’cause it
was also interesting. So the six design principles
are, like I said, environmental features,
natural shapes and forms, natural patterns
and processes, kind of playing
with light and space, evolved human-nature
relationships, and then place-based
relationships. This was a really
fun exercise, ’cause you’re not
often able to explore biophillic design
principles in some of our more
commercial designs. So we looked at this and said,
“Well, what can we celebrate?” How can we do things on
the site, on the building, differently than
we would have, and how can we celebrate
this connection that we have as humans to
the natural environment? Then, the next petal is
the Materials petal. And again, these aren’t
all that exciting, but there is an incredible
amount of thought that went into
this ’cause… this is kinda dubbed the
hardest, most difficult petal of all the
challenge. ‘Cause the industry that
produces the materials that we build our
buildings out of, is not transparent
at all. So getting at
the information, finding the information that we
need was incredibly difficult. That’s why we kinda
hired three teams to kinda tackle these
five imperatives. The first imperative
is Red List. So it has a list of
19 chemical families, representing I think
about 800 different types of actual chemicals that
you can’t incorporate into your building. That’s very difficult
’cause most– when you call up the phone and,
“Hey, do you have any…” something? “What’s that?
No, I don’t know what that is.” And so, the opaque market
is really the imperative. Or the main impetus to adapting
this Red List challenge. But it is a good thought
process to think about the toxicity of
these chemicals and how they negatively
affect us, as people.>>(indistinct).>>Yeah, so there’s the
declare– product page, where some products have
gone through that process, some manufacturers have
said and gone through this, this vetting process and
done some of the research, but because this is such a
kind of advanced rating system, there aren’t a
whole lot of– not every product manufacturer
has done that. And it’s hardly
comprehensive. It’s pretty limited
at this point. But the idea is you’re engaging
in a pretty sizable industry in requiring
transparency. That’s one of the main
pieces of this requirement. The next one is
Embodied Carbon Footprint. So we had to think
about the life cycle of all the products
that we use. And we had to think about
proximity to the site. ‘Cause obviously the
heavier, more dense things that are further away, take
more energy to get to the site so we had to think of what
materials can we utilize that have the lowest
embodied carbon footprint? Then, at the end of
the construction, after it’s all done, you have
to do a life cycle analysis of the entire process
from start to finish, and offset your carbon
emissions for that. So our budget based
off some averages of other Living Building
teams that they’ve seen, we established about almost
a quarter-million dollars to have a one-time offset
of our construction and design-related
carbon offset– er, carbon emissions. Responsible Industry– I think
a lot of us are familiar with FSC-certified wood. There are other sort
of industry-specific
certification tools that are
out there, and this is just
requiring project teams to engage and utilize
products from industries that have these standards,
and if they don’t, we have to advocate that
they do and create them. Appropriate Sourcing– this was fun and an
interesting imperative, ’cause it’s all
about local economy and making sure
you’re doing– you’re building with what
you have available to you. So we had this huge
30-foot dirt pile that was basically–
the casino was up here, and when they were
excavating that site, they just dumped
all their dirt here. And we thought,
“That’s interesting. “Not only is that ugly, but
what can we do with that?” We were thinking of
ways we can mine that. And so, we were including a
rammed-earth wall in our design, and we’re using
pressed-earth blocks for structural components
for load-bearing walls, on the inside
of the building. And the idea is that those both
things are gonna be mined, in part or to great extent,
from that dirt pile. Then, we also looked
at salvage shops. So we created a map of all
the different salvage shops in the country,
or in the state, and figured out
what they had and we didn’t get
to the point where we were calling
them and buying stuff, but we created
a database and what they have for the
project team to utilize into the future,
if this goes forward. Then, Conservation, Reuse– so not only do we have to
think about construction waste, but we also have to think about
design for deconstruction. Is anybody familiar
with that term– “design for
deconstruction”? It’s designing in a way
that makes a thing easier to take apart
once the usable function of the product
is done. So think screws
versus glues… just things that when
you put it together you can take it apart easier
and then you’re not damaging that product– you can take it
and reuse it somewhere else. So you’re thinking of
the whole life cycle of the product and
trying to get at ways that you can maximize
the value of a product you buy initially
for a project. I have a few slides on how
we approach this particular series of petals
or imperatives, because it
took a team. There was three disparate
teams working together, so they created a– what they
call a “material principles.” We wanted to look at products
that had multiple benefits, so it wasn’t just a wall,
like a dry wall, that you have to paint,
coat, etcetera. It was something can
put up and be utilized for structure but also
kinda left unfinished and be beautiful
in its own right. We wanted materials
that were of the earth. As I said, kind of playing
off the first one– simplify, limit finishes,
utilize natural materials, and utilize salvaged
materials where possible. This was a
flow diagram of all the different
five-material imperatives and how to
get at– so we didn’t want to have
every product selection filtered through
an entity. We wanted to equip the team
on ways that get them to make the most appropriate
selection. Then, we have a whole
kind of guidance document that was a part
of the project, that kind of asks
specific questions that, like I said, equip
a team to get at what’s the most
appropriate solution. The next two– the
last two imperatives are really interesting
because they’re fairly unique. This has to do
with equity, so social equity, democracy,
things of that nature, and then the last
one is beauty. And those are hard to quantify,
hard to put into a standard. And that we
understood that but– so there’s some gray
area on how to best approach these different, kind of,
intangible goals. But the first one is Human Scale
and Humane Places, kinda pairing off the
civilized environment one. It requires project teams
to think about the human that’s gonna be
experiencing that. And maybe that’s inherent in
some of the design processes that some architects
go through, but not so much in
the engineering side, so we had to think about
the appropriate width of a driveway and how much
parking you can cluster together before you need to break
it with vegetation. You need to think about
the building itself. How much of a blank,
opaque wall surface can you have before you need to
break it apart with fenestration and getting some
transparency within the shell
of the building? Think about many functional
uses you can have apart from how far
are they apart. Just to get at how do you
humans use the facility? How are they– what’s the
most appropriate scale? And so, there’s just some
metrics that our team worked through to make sure
that we hit all of those. And here’s some
cross-sections of the site to get at the scale of
the different solutions in their relationship
to each other and how they scale to how
a human experiences it. Democracy and
Social Justice. This basically says you can’t
design any part of the site that can’t be
enjoyed by all users, all people
at all times. So no gated communities,
no homeless spikes, to get people to not
lay in the street. And thinking about
ADA accessibility. So our site was pretty
flat but we’re very sure that our grades were
designed in such a way that people in wheelchairs
and in crutches and– they were designed not just for
the physically healthy people but all of the whole range
of the human condition. And onto that point, one of the
things that is most limiting to people when you
think about walk-ability even in urban
environments, is a diversity of
seating options. So when you’re young, you
may not worry about walking a mile and a half,
two miles, three miles, but if you have impairments
or you’re elderly, or maybe you’re not in
that great of shape. Maybe you don’t
want to go two miles before you
can sit down. So they won’t even
go on those journeys because they don’t know
if they can make it. So we’re very clear and
it was a conscious choice to make sure that we have
lots of touch points. Lots of places just to sit
and be within the site, in the hope that– and
research will confirm this– that that site will
then be more utilized by more people because
it is more inclusive. And then,
Rights to Nature. We have a pond on site,
we’re daylighting a stream, we’re naturalizing
the landscape. We’re really,
in a lot of ways, making this a very
pleasant, beautiful space. This imperative requires
that you can’t limit access to nature by design either
through not making a ramp that’s accessible
by wheelchair or… limiting daylight… so access to sun on
adjacent properties and this one wasn’t so
big for this context but if you think in
urban environments, the idea is you can’t
just block the sky, you can’t block the sun
from your neighbors. And so, with this, we just
made sure that our whole site is inclusive and provides
equal opportunity for everybody
to enjoy, kind of in dovetail with
the previous imperative. And the last two– Beauty and Spirit. Thinking about–
challenging the assumption that everything has to
be utit– uti– utittle– my goodness.
>>Utilitarian.>>Yes, thank you. Everything has to be utilized
to its greatest potential. The inherent in
this imperative is that there has to be
something in the site that’s designed specifically
for human delight. It can’t serve
no other function– it just has to be there
just because it’s beautiful. And that’s it– and
what it is, how it is, don’t even get me started
on the objectivity of and subjectivity of
what is beautiful, but we try to
design something that was just there to
experience in delight. The last one–
Inspiration, Education. This is an
educational facility for the Saginaw
Chippewa Indian tribe. Their kind of community college,
their tribal college. So how fitting is it that
the imperative requires us to inspire
education. And I have the guiding
principles the team developed early in the process,
as a way of navigating through all the challenges
of the Living Building. And… this was pretty crucial
to the project because it was
more restrictive than the Living Building
Challenge was itself. It’s based off their history,
their creation story. The seven grandfathers are
what you see on the left. And I’m not even gonna
attempt to say their names ’cause…
I’m not going to. But what the rough translation
is on the right of that line– wisdom, love, respect, bravery,
honesty, humility, and truth. That’s what we had to design–
that’s how we approached it. And so, not every
available design option fits within
that construct. So it was a really good way
of weeding out bad things that weren’t
appropriate. But it also was incredibly
challenging to the design team to try to figure out solutions
that met all of those. And on the far right, what
you see are tag lines that kind of
emerge out of this guiding principle
session that we had. That was the first thing
we did as a design team. We got a history lesson from
the tribe, tribal historians, and then we established
these guiding principles. And so, what the team
decided we needed to do, is we needed to
inspire learning, we needed to serve the
7th generation, so our great, great, great, great, great,
great grandkids, right? Think about that– 20 years
roughly to a generation. That’s 140 years from now–
thinking about the impact of this building, this
project, this location has in 120,
140 years. Be restorative, earn the
right to occupy the land. That kind of is born out
of a indigenous feeling that we don’t
own this land, we’re just occupying
it for a time, we’re just
borrowing it. So there’s kind of this
dignity and honor of earning that right to be
here, to occupy this land, to take resources
for our benefit. Be authentic, take
only what you need… and then kind of
really understand that everything is connected–
we don’t live in isolation. We live in connection in
a lot of different ways. So we tried to do that
as best we could. And that’s it, guys–
that’s all 20 imperatives. And I think I tried to leave
some time for questions, if there are any. Yes?
>>(indistinct).>>Yeah, this isn’t probably the
best client to talk about– I mean, it is
and it isn’t, right? So we were never
tasked with a budget. We just said, “We want
you to design a concept “that meets the Living
Building Challenge.” So professionally, we
were obviously aware of budget impacts of
different solutions but we weren’t ever charged
or put to task, I guess. We just kinda developed a
solution that they wanted, they asked for. And this is a tribe that’s
associated with a casino and that’s kinda
how they operate, that is their
funding mechanism. But they’re trying
to get away from that, so how do you get into
a living economy where the tribe is resilient
and self-supporting? And this is kind of a way
that they see of doing that, of getting their tribal
youth into an education that kind of inspires
a deeper learning, deeper understanding,
investing into the future. Job training,
etcetera. So this project was about
$370 per square foot, but you have to understand,
we’re impacting 46 acres, we’re developing about a
$5 million farm, 10-acre farm. We’re doing lots of things
that aren’t always required per the Living Building
Challenge. So it’s a little bit more
on the expensive end. But the goal wasn’t to design
a cost-effective solution. It was to design the most
appropriate solution. That’s a great
question and it was a point of great
conflict with our design team, and mostly me, because I
like to push boundaries, but you’re right, we have
far less parking spaces than would be
required by code. But the tribe, being
a sovereign nation, isn’t really–
it doesn’t impact them. So we had to push the case
that how we designed the parking spaces, the number we came up with,
why that’s appropriate. How do you get
people to the site, how do you share
resources, how do you encourage
more car-free living? And so, that was a very
lively conversation. Per the Living Building
Challenge, we were only technically
around about 26 parking spaces. So we pushed that
institution– I mean, the Living
Building Challenge is inherently an
advocacy tool, so we were not only
advocating into the community, we were advocating back to
the authors of this challenge, saying what’s really appropriate
in this rule setting for a tribal college. Clearly, we need more
than 20 parking spaces but maybe we
don’t need 300. So we’re trying to
find that balance and how do we get people
to visit the site without their cars? And again,
long-term visioning– do we need to develop
travel infrastructure, alternate
transportation options, ways of getting people
car-sharing, etcetera, to the site, that
doesn’t require them to drive their unique
vehicles to the site. Did I answer
your question? Okay. I took out a slide in the
hopes of saving some time. But it’s still in
conceptual development. They had– there’s politics
in tribal organizations as much as there are in European
organizations such as ours… so we had to wait
on some resolution, and we’re still working on
getting the project approved. We had a meeting with
the new tribal council, that was elected last fall–
this being in this year. So we’re working on
ways in which we can either phase it, do some
cost-saving exercises, or invite other tribal programs
to be a part of the project so they can plug in to
kind of reduce the burden, per program, if
that makes sense. So it’s not built– we
through design exercise, but we’re still working on
it, we’re still optimistic, that it’s gonna
move forward, and we’re gonna build
a Living Building. It’s a good question–
it’s a tricky question. They exempt FF&E from that
particular requirement, because they recognize
a lot of the chairs, a lot of the lighting fixtures
are– they have PVC in ’em. So until the industry
provides solutions that don’t have PVC, that
exception will remain there, but from a core, structural,
material component, none of your components
can contain PVC. None of your wall finishings,
none of your floor finishings, trim– that can
all be PVC-free. So it’s kind of like…
yes, both. It’s not
gonna have any and it’s probably
gonna have a little bit. So, a lot of our tubing,
we’d have to explore options that didn’t have PVC
in them so… HDPE, other sort of
alternatives to the PVC. It took four months
from when we first met to when we– or five months–
to when we developed a kind of a– it was
about a 50% DD package. If you’re familiar
with that. What schematic design is,
it’s usually just elevations, plans, and site,
so we did sections, we did a lot of additional,
mechanical designs. It was a little bit
more involved than that but from start to finish,
took about five months. Which was a lot–
it was very compressed. We had that initial
full-day, kick-off meeting. We had the whole
SCTC building committee, we had the board
of regents there, we had student group
liaisons there. And so, we also did,
before we launched this, part of the exercise
was a program exercise, to figure out what sort of
spaces we need to include in the design. So that had work sessions
with student groups, faculty, tribal members, from our team, just kind
of getting their feedback. But throughout
the process, one of the things they
said in the initial meeting was we have to
design by consensus. So we couldn’t do anything
unless we made the case, and the tribal
council said, “Yes, we are
comfortable with this.” So we had a series
of meetings with them to check in with the
team, have progress. We had like a 50% petal
check-in meeting over the course
of two days where we just kind of went
through our whole process and progress
to date. We– our firm had regular
about monthly touch points with the clients
saying what we’re doing, you know,
we explored options. It was actually– I mean, I’m
showing you the end result. The process to get there
was sizable, as well. But there was intentional
points where we needed to connect ’cause designing
by consensus isn’t easy. It’s the most inefficient
way of doing things so… to do that in a
four-month time frame was a challenge. But it goes back
to the team. I mean, that’s– the
whole team stepped up and we didn’t really have to
make a whole lot of hard sells to the client, ’cause a lot of
the methodology, the research, the professional
best practices were kind of leading
us to what would be the most appropriate
solution. So I think… maybe one more
question? It was a very typical
project, delivering. So the tribal college put out
an RFP, we responded to it. At the time, they wanted a
net-zero capable building. Our team reached
out to them, kind of courted them
as you would typically– interviewed,
we got selected. Part of the proposal was
to provide a day charrette on how to achieve net-zero,
and instead of that, we invited them to
a day work session on the Living Building
Challenge. And since that,
they kinda said, “Well, we just wanted
net-zero because we thought “that was the best we could do,
but this is obviously more.” So, it was a very typical
delivery mechanism, and we were just fortunate
that the stars aligned and we got the right client
and cast the right vision. Thank you
very much. (crowd claps)


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