Architecture at Zero Competition: An Award for HOK San Francisco!

Talk about ending the year on a high note!

2011 has been a great year for HOK’s competitive spirit – what with a major competition win in the Metropolis Net Zero competition followed by our latest award:

A Jury Recognition Award for HOK San Francisco’s entry to the Architecture at Zero International Competition, sponsored by the AIA San Francisco and PG&E!

HOK’s Entry Board for the Architecture at Zero Competition (Click to enlarge)

The project brief was to create a mixed-use building or set of buildings that includes housing, retail space and a new library branch on an industrial urban infill site in Emeryville, California. More importantly, the crux of the competition was the mandate that the buildings and site had to meet the criteria for zero net energy.

With the overarching idea of a Battery Park, the HOK team investigated a net positive approach to urban development. The idea, simply stated, is that new dense net zero housing may be paired with “generative landscapes.”  These interconnected landscapes act more or less as urban batteries; positive places that exploit readily available renewables and waste to create energy toward a balanced community. In the words of the team: “Existing building stock is not going away any time soon, therefore we must find a way to bolster performance and more quickly reduce our dependence on environmentally detrimental energy sources.”

(Team pictured seated from left to right: Nazila Duran, Charles Lee, Alan Bright, Scott Price; Standing from left to right: Sandeep Kathuria, Chris Gardini, Brian Campbell, , Seth Orgain, Justin Kelly, Olivier Santoni-Costantini, Kyle Prenzlow, Russell Simpkins, Scott Dunlap, Lindsay Steffes and Sean Gallivan. Not pictured: Elvira Dayel, Esmeralda Marquez, William Ogle, and Matthew Smith.)

The team focused on strategies organized around density, load reduction and renewable energy, supplementing this with capturing waste energy to push site energy generation into a ‘net positive’ system. Through the use of a functional landscape, the team was able to draw waste sources from the larger community and turn this waste into a resource. Water, electricity, heating and cooling are provided by the landscape infrastructure.

In an article in the San Francisco Chronicle, John King noted HOK SF’s “..out-of-the-box thinking”, with Susan Szenasy of Metropolis magazine calling the idea “..really cool and really provocative”.

Congratulations to the team, and here’s hoping for many more such wins for HOK!

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