The 505 Townhomes: Urban Experiment with Modern + Sustainable Design (Houston)

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The instant I saw The 505, I knew there was something about it that needed blogging.  This Houston, Texas four-unit townhouse development is extremely striking and innovative–it has that modern swagger that many of us would like to call home.  The goal of this project was to "be financially successful and to make responsible use of land, incorporate sustainable design principles, enhance community sensibilities, and possess an architectural identity." 

Like a lot of green-built projects, The 505 incorporates Terrazzo granite floors and Interface carpet.  The windows were carefully designed and placed to provide views and natural light and still provide a modicum of privacy.  Lots of modern + green homes seem like nothing more than glass houses with metal roofs, but this place manages to negotiate the importance of natural light/shading and privacy. 

Extra Links:
The 505 [Texas Architect]
Collaborative Designworks
Texas Society of Architects 2006 Design Award Winner

The_505_living_room_1_2 The_505_dining_2

Michael Jantzen + Environmental, Architectural Eye Candy

Wind_shaped_pavilion Well, I’ve decided to hit my readers with a little environmental, architectural eye candy.  I like to get political every now and then, but I really like to throw in some skyscrapers, prefabs, or dream houses here at Jetson Green (check the category cloud on the left).  Of course, everything has a sustainable approach to it.  Today’s post is a little different, if not impractical, but it’s deceptively time consuming–when you go to this website, you’ll find yourself gazing at all the different projects and fighting within as to whether such structures can actually work.  I did for about 45 minutes and the only thing that stopped me was the sound of Colbert’s voice.  Here it goes::  enter Michael Jantzen and his Portfolio

He’s really into wind, if you can’t tell:  wind shaped pavilion, wind shade roof, wind turbine observation tower, + wind tunnel footbridge.  That’s good, though, because buildings that integrate environmental design into the structure can be effective.  If you haven’t heard, such a building was designed to be zero energy by SOM called the Pearl River Tower (China).  So these Jantzen renderings should, at a minimum, get us thinking about design, sustainability, and the endless possibilities. 

Wind_shade_roof_1 Wind_tunnel_footbridge

The wind shaped pavilion, pictured top, is a large fabric structure with six slowly rotating segments that can be used as a public or private pavilion.  <I’m thinking wedding bells, maybe?>  Each segment’s rotation generates electricity for nighttime illumination.  And logically, the shape and design lends itself to natural light and ventilation.  Having the ability to rotate segments provides the convenience of optimizing shade when the sun starts to beat down.  I think this type of creative design is necessary so people can have living and working spaces that are nimble, comfortable, healthy, and effective. 

Intellicenter USA + Koll Development: "Developing for the [Green] Future"

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Now this is what I’m talking about.  Sexy green skyscrapers and platinum green prefabs are cool, but now we’re moving into a new realm of green real estate development.  Dallas-based Koll Development Company (KDC) is speculating on a new generation of buildings.  Actually, they’re going to be LEED CS (Core + Shell) certified, but they’re also going to be modern and tech-savvy.  I noticed the construction of one on the way back from DFW airport in Irving, at the southwest corner of Beltline and LBJ.  KDC’s new product will be called the "Intellicenter" and they’re "Developing for the Future."

Here’s the thing that will really knock your socks off:  click here to go see a webcam view of the progress.  Keep watching because in about December 2006, this thing will be complete. 

Intellicenters will feature raised floor design and energy efficiency all around.  Individual workstations will have HVAC controls.  The lobby will feature Terrazzo recycled glass and natural stone flooring. The green features list could go on and on.  But KDC is also thinking of the bottom line and the necessary benefits to companies; their buildings aim for the following:  (1)  higher performance systems, (2) reduced operating expenses, (3) maximum design efficiencies, (4) increased flexibility for technological advances, and (5) environmental stewardship.  For LEED design, these buildings command a premium of $2-3 more per square foot (on construction cost), which comes out to around 25 cents per square foot on a lease rate.  Not bad.  Customers will get that back in energy savings, increased employee productivity, and other intangibles.

In addition to this Dallas Intellicenter, KDC has Intellicenter’s under construction in Houston, Atlanta, Riverside (CA), and Charlotte.  They’ve teamed up with Prudential Real Estate Investors to offer 2 million square feet of office space valued at around $200-250 million (each building will be about 150,000-200,000 sq. ft).  Interestingly, each building will be almost entirely the same, which allows the developer to minimize costs (as opposed to reinventing the wheel at each location).  KDC enlisted Forum Studio Inc. and Gensler for the design aspects.

Jetson Green prediction: 
Not only will these office buildings be green but going forward, medical facilities, mixed-use condo developments, office condo parks, trailer home parks, educational facilities, government buildings, skyscrapers, houses, etc., will be green.  You name it, it’s all going dark green. 

Extra Links:
Going Green Saves Green for Corporate Clients [Texas Construction]
KDC’s Informative Video on the Intellicenter-USA [.wmv]
Koll Development Company Website

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