KS2.1 Data-Driven Design [of the World's Greenest Building] (Invited Presentation)

Wednesday, 25 January 2017: 9:00 AM
Conference Center: Chelan 5 (Washington State Convention Center )
Robert Pena, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

The early 20th century marked an inflection point in the design and development of the built environment. The industrial revolution and breathtakingly cheap energy transformed our cities with the automobile and machinery in our buildings for heating, cooling, ventilation and lighting. These machines freed architects from the constraints of climate and facilitated a remarkable transformation of building form, scale, and utility. Architects thought of themselves as artists, sculpting crisp, modern forms in steel and glass, and facilitated suburban utopias for autonomous drivers. Each profession in the design and construction chain drew from narrow, discipline-specific information to create habitations conceived as "machines for living."

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.

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