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Brooks+Scarpa - Cherokee Studio in Los Angeles, CA Print E-mail
Wednesday, 11 May 2011 09:03

RelatedBrooks + Scarpa Step Up on Fifth in Santa Monica, California Brooks + Scarpa Step Up on Fifth in Santa Monica, California
Step Up on 5th is a bright new spot in downtown Santa Monica. The new building provides a home, support services and rehabilitation for the homeless an...

As promised when we introduced the winners of the 2011 COTE Top Ten Green Projects by the American Institute of Architects, we will be posting individual stories about each project. The projects have already been featured in more details on AIA’s web site.

brooks-scarpa-cherokee-studio-06Photograph ⓒ John Linden

We start with by Brooks+Scarpa’s Cherokee Studio in LA, an urban infill, mixed-use, market-rate housing project designed to incorporate green design as a way of marketing a green lifestyle. The project is pending LEED Platinum certification. The design maximizes the opportunities of the mild Southern California climate with a passive cooling strategy using cross-ventilation and thermal convection while taking advantage of the abundantly sunny location. A commitment to minimizing the project's ecological footprint informed all aspects of the design.

The main architectural feature of this project is the building's owner-controlled double-façade system. The occupant is able to adjust the operable screens of the building façade as necessary for privacy, views, shading, and thermal comfort. As a result, the facade is virtually redesigned "live" from within, responding to the occupants of the building in real time. The façade also enhances the existing streetscape and promotes a lively pedestrian environment. By visually breaking up the façade into smaller, articulated moving elements, the building appears to move with the passing cars and people. Like many features of the building, the façade is multivalent and rich with meaning, performing several roles for formal, functional, and experiential effect.

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brooks-scarpa-cherokee-studio-07Photograph ⓒ John LindenA early design decision to make the units smaller than normal allowed the client to serve a more diverse population and include retail space on the street level while increasing density. This also included an analysis that would conserve building resources, saving time and money.

brooks-scarpa-cherokee-studio-11

brooks-scarpa-cherokee-studio-09Photographs ⓒ John Linden

 

brooks-scarpa-cherokee-studio-03Photograph ⓒ John Linden

During the planning stages, numerous environmental considerations were incorporated within the project. The architects and energy consultant collaborated from the outset to minimize energy use and utilize natural features such as the sun and prevailing winds. Engineering design criteria and over-conservative engineering factors were analyzed to reduce "over-designing" the building and therefore wasting precious material. This alone saves miles of electrical wiring, thousands of feet of plumbing pipe, and tons of steel reinforcing and concrete.


The orientation and shape of the building and the placement of windows maximized natural daylighting and natural ventilation and provided shading where needed. The building’s design and technologies were tested and verified in the design process using simulated 3D computer modeling.

Land Use & Community

The building is at the crossroads of Fairfax Boulevard and the famous Melrose Avenue and within a half mile of the Sunset Strip and many other popular cultural and entertainment attractions. The location ranks a “Walker’s Paradise” on Walkscore.com (95 out of 100) because of its proximity to restaurants and entertainment, schools, shopping, grocery stores, and other essentials.

Retail space invigorates the formerly vacant streetscape and encourages pedestrian traffic. As such, the project benefits its occupants and the environment by promoting a walkable community that minimizes dependence on the automobile and thus reduces pollution and congestion.

brooks-scarpa-cherokee-studio-08Photograph ⓒ John Linden


A shared-use parking analysis was performed to show that combining residential and commercial parking was possible and could reduce the need for additional parking, thereby conserving valuable resources.

Environmental Aspects

Passive Strategies:

The passive strategies alone make this building nearly 50% more efficient than similar conventionally designed structures.

The perforated aluminum panels of the building create an ever-changing screen, providing shade to cool the building, reducing noise, and enhancing privacy while still allowing for spectacular views, natural light, and ventilation from ocean breezes that pass through its millions of perforations even when all panels are fully closed.
Passive design strategies include locating and orienting the building to control solar cooling loads, shaping and orienting the building for exposure to prevailing winds, shaping the building to induce buoyancy for natural ventilation, designing windows to maximize daylighting, shading south-facing windows and minimizing west-facing glazing, designing windows to maximize natural ventilation, utilizing low-flow fixtures and storm water management, and shaping and planning the interior to enhance daylight and natural airflow distribution. The building is designed to incorporate passive and active energy-efficient measures and optimize building performance.

brooks-scarpa-cherokee-studio-04Photograph ⓒ John Linden

The project was designed to significantly reduce operation and maintenance costs. An O&M program has been designed, and an operation manual has been provided to the owner. All systems are currently being monitored for performance. It is important to coordinate rebate requirements with actual product and installation warranties.

Material:

Materials such as formaldehyde-free fiberboard, concrete, natural stone, and natural solid woods were used. Material with natural finishes throughout the thickness of the material were specified so that when the material suffers from abuse, it shows less wear and therefore lasts longer.

Recycled and locally procured materials were preferred and used throughout. Interior finishes were selected for their high levels of recycled content, low chemical emissions, and use of rapidly renewable materials.
Exterior finishes are naturally pigmented stucco, recycled steel, and recycled, powder-coated aluminum and concrete; the exterior requires no painting or other refinishing. To date, the building has required no maintenance other than adjusting and tuning pumps and irrigation systems (and cleaning gutters).

The building has facilities to sort, collect, and recycle paper, plastic and metal products. Because of the very low power demand of the building, thousands of feet of wire were saved.
More than 80% of all construction waste was recycled. Waste haulers picked up commingled waste and provided a report detailing the amount of waste that went to the landfill vs. the amount of waste that was recycled.

brooks-scarpa-cherokee-studio-01Photograph ⓒ John Linden

 

Water Conservation:

100% of storm water is captured on site. Most of the water is captured by the green roof and is returned to the groundwater after being cleaned of pollutants. All other storm water is collected in a subsurface infiltration system.
This infiltration system is one of the most unique features of the building, because it was the first privately funded stormwater mitigation system ever built in the public right-of-way in Los Angeles. The system enables most Southern California storms to replenish the local groundwater rather than running off, picking up trash, and polluting the ocean.

To further reduce the building’s impact on the water cycle, 100% of the water-using fixtures are low-flow, the toilets are dual-flush, and the plants are native and drought tolerant with drip irrigation. Appliances are Energy Star or better and were chosen for both energy efficiency and water conservation. Clothes washers use less water than traditional models.

brooks-scarpa-cherokee-studio-12Photograph ⓒ John Linden

Bioclimatic Design

The most important climatic issue to address for a building in this climate is mild heating in the winter. Air conditioning is generally not needed, but it is important to have good passive solar orientation and shading to take advantage of natural ventilation. The breezes from the coast, from the southwest and northwest, are fairly constant and predictable. On most days, passive natural ventilation will provide sufficient cooling for the residential spaces. The building is designed with a private exterior courtyard to induce airflow and provide maximum natural light and privacy.

brooks-scarpa-cherokee-studio-13Photograph ⓒ John Linden


High-efficiency LED and electric lighting, photo and occupancy sensors, and natural daylighting minimize energy use. Solar-ventilation chimneys, operable windows, and ceiling fans minimize the need for mechanical cooling. A decorative metal screen at east-, west-, and south-facing glazed areas help to control and regulate summer and winter heat gain.

Operable windows are strategically placed so that as hot air rises, it passes through and out of each unit. The rooms are kept cool with a combination of window placement for cross ventilation; double-glazed low-e windows; and increased insulation that boosts thermal values 50% above a conventional wood-framed building.

Indoor Environment

brooks-scarpa-cherokee-studio-15Photograph ⓒ John Linden

The building’s exterior metal screens function as a light filter and shading device but also play a very important role in creating a much-needed sense of visual and acoustic privacy for its location in a dense urban environment. Like many of the features of this project, they perform several roles for functional, formal, and experiential effect. 100% of the regularly occupied building area is daylit and can be ventilated with operable windows.

One of the team's primary objectives was to enhance the quality of living for each resident by surpassing standards found in conventional market-rate housing projects. All living units have 11" ceilings, ceiling fans, and large windows with lots of natural light and abundant cross-ventilation. Indoor air quality was emphasized by minimizing offgassing (evaporation of volatile chemicals). Formaldehyde-free cabinetry, low-VOC paints, natural stone, and fluorescent lighting with low mercury content were used to minimize pollution from materials. These details, coupled with the qualities and character found throughout the building, distinguish this project from similar projects and benefit not only each individual resident but also the community at large.

brooks-scarpa-cherokee-studio-14Photograph ⓒ John Linden

 

Project Credits :

Architecture: BROOKS + SCARPA (formerly Pugh + Scarpa) Santa Monica, California
Structural engineer: John Pao,  Broad Pao, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada;
Mechanical engineer: Albert Bicol, Cobalt Engineering, Los Angeles, California
Interior design: Lawrence Scarpa, BROOKS + SCARPA (formerly Pugh + Scarpa)
Electrical engineer: Albert Bicol, Cobalt Engineering
Energy consultant: Albert Bicol, Cobalt Engineering


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