We’ve arrived at another inflection point, a paradigm-shift in our relationship to invention, energy and growth. Seattle's Bullitt Center, the world's greenest commercial office building, forecasts this change. It is a shift in outlook from the idea of buildings as machines for living to the concept of buildings as living systems; from buildings utterly dependent on energy intensive machinery for environmental control to climate responsive integrated systems powered by renewable energy.
To create this building the multi-disciplinary team of architects, environmental scientists, engineers, botanists, builders, software designers and hydrologists gathered, shared and applied information in entirely different ways than before. Information was shared and data was continuously transferred through building information models. Every material in the building was vetted through a science-driven cradle-to-cradle process to assess their impacts on human and environmental health. And models were used during design to optimize building performance and now meter the nega-watts it generates.
The Bullitt Center is a living laboratory meant to inform how we will design and build in the 21st Century. It is serving as a vehicle to steer changes in public policy, challenging rules and codes that make living buildings illegal in most places. It is a test bed for emerging technology and a case study in data-driven design and decision-making.