When Kappe+Du Architects was founded in 1996, the practice of sustainable construction was just beginning. While architects have always been concerned with the impact of their designs, a new generation of design principles has ushered in an era of increased environmental awareness. Sixteen years after our founding, Kappe+Du Architects continues to create quality architecture centered on aesthetic and environmental values. We believe that sustainable architecture and design excellence go hand in hand, and are not separate matters to be reconciled.
Kappe+Du collaborates with the natural world, and makes design decisions that prioritize efficiency and moderation, without sacrificing aesthetic qualities. While some may see sustainable construction and green building design as a limiting process, we view this as a unique opportunity to think creatively about new ways to approach the design and construction process.
Today, promoting sustainability is now a goal for many companies and cities across the world. As plastic use continues to rise, we are beginning to understand the negative impacts that single-use plastic bags have on our ocean ecosystems. Thousands of people daily choose reusable cloth bags over plastic or paper bags in an effort to minimize our dependence on plastic. Additionally, cities across California are initiating local policies to ban plastic bags, while companies promptly begin rethinking what it means to carry groceries home from the store.
The reusable bag tells an important story — it shows that a paradigm shift has occurred in our thinking and attitude towards the environment. Recognizing the importance of this shift in thinking, we embrace a new generation of design principles that choose materials and designs that will support the environment.
As we embark on the new year, we reflect on our 2011 projects, as well as goals for the future. In 2011, we completed the first phase of the Town of Truckee Service Center and Animal Shelter to a standard of LEED Silver. This is a two-phase construction that, when fully built, will provide a campus of 95,000 S.F. of buildings for the Town of Truckee. Such sustainable features as roof mounted photovoltaic panels, a ground source heat pump system, rain water/snow melt capture and re-use, high efficiency HVAC systems, low VOC interior products to reduce off-gassing and site bioswales are an integral part of this project’s design.
Since the U.S. Green Building Council introduced the LEED certification process in 2000, nearly 9 billion square feet of building space have participated in the rating system. The future of architecture will be based around the creation of excellent and innovative sustainable facilities.
Everyday we are faced with decisions that impact our environment. In 2012, let us remember that sustainability can be both convenient and attractive. Like the reusable bag, we are rethinking conventional design methods. In our architecture, we love fusing the indoors with the outdoors. We are inspired by nature and conservation efforts, and our designs reflect that thinking.
Here’s to a Greener 2012!