In the building world, modern architecture typically takes precedence over the natural environment. This disregard for the environment, however, is slowly becoming a thing of the past as architects find innovative ways of incorporating or promoting the natural environment as much as the built.
A majority of the time, the built is still the main focus of the site but, while most developers tailor their surrounding landscapes to emphasise the beauty of a building, a more progressive movement sees the built catering to the organic.
A newly-released proposal that follows this ideology, Ecopscape, ‘integrates nature and architecture into a responsive system.’ The proposal for a site in the California Mountains in the US focuses on creating a building that responds to its surrounding environment while being completely self-sustaining.
Designed by Open Source Architecture, the building, which will function as a research centre, has been designed to both respond to and integrate the natural environment into its highly intelligent interface system. This is further explained by the designers as “a contemporary system led by a technological convergence of properties that generates its own natural paradigm.”
The building’s planned sustainable operation boils down to its highly efficient skin. Made completely from in-print photovoltaic cells, the skin will be monitored and controlled by a Computational Parametric Interface (CPI).
While solar will serve as the key energy source for the building, heating, even in the coldest of mountain top conditions, will occur naturally as result of passive design, including heavy insulation and a ‘tight’ design.
Cross-ventilation and operable windows will handle any cooling considerations during the warmer months. Natural ventilation will be used for cooling in the summer months. The width of the building in the north-south direction allows for easy cross-ventilation from low operable windows for air intake and high windows for exhaust, cooling the building during the day and, if needed, at night.
This is a clever design that asks little of its natural environment, using simply what it abundant and sustainable.