GROUP A’s 10 Eco Tips

by Lolke Ket on November 7, 2011

GROUP A has been invited to contribute to a Spanish publication by Loft Publications on ‘1000 tips by 100 Eco Architects’. The selected Eco-tips have all been inspired by our experiences and fascinations in recent projects, processes, and team collaborations.

 01] – Do Think Ahead | HQ AkzoNobel Amsterdam

Essential to the early stages of planning and designing a green build, is to think ahead to environmental impact, orientation, site embedding, existing surrounding qualities, technical practicalities, social- and cultural cohesian, selected materials & finishes, the design- and construction process, the long term sustainable ‘value’, maintenance, education of end-users, and future change in expectations & demands.

 02] – Do Reconsider | Harbour Island Rotterdam

Even before considering any physical preparation and building activities on site, parties involved in the planning should make sure that actual building is really well-considered at all. It should be absolutely clear to everyone that the envisaged build has social-, cultural-, environmental-, and economical relevance, for now and in the future. Reconsidering should always be part of any planning process.

 03] – Do the R’s | Living Evangelic Church

The classic R’s can’t of course be missed in any Top-10: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. When reducing, savings are both economic and sustainable. Explore reduction before deploying reuse and recycling. Reuse (Adaptive Reuse) can happen on a big scale and often results in significant savings and environmental benefits, but takes planning. All selected building materials, -components and -parts, should be recyclable.

Tip 1:HQ AkzoNobel Amsterdam | Tip 2: Harbour Island Rotterdam | Tip 3: LEG

04] – Go New World of Work | Interior HQ Sabic Sittard

Consider in the early stages of design also the actual space end users believe they require. Discuss for example office’s real occupancy rates, the potential of multi-functional spaces, the value of team tables, and open plan activities. Develop together with users a more compact office environment with less fixed workspaces, anticipating realistic occupancy rates. Prepare for New World of Work.

05] – Go Compact | Exterior HQ Sabic Sittard

If finally decided proceeding with building activities, and all stages of reflection and appropriate sustainable considerations have been completed, it is certainly an additional ‘green’ asset to build as compact as possible. Smart urban growth, clever higher densities, expanding vertically rather than horizontally, minimising circulation distances, atrium embracing floors, and New World of Work concepts, all contribute to this ambition.

06] – Go Underground | BP Rotterdam Refinery

By deploying relatively ‘low tech’ means, building performance can improve substantially. Exposed internal concrete structures for example allow its mass to inhibit temperature fluctuations. The natural steady temperature reduces energy consumption and requires smaller plant facilities. But wouldn’t it be even more effective minimising the external impact of extremes in temperature all together by going underground, and introducing ‘green’ roofs?

Tip 4: Interior HQ Sabic Sittard | Tip 5: Exterior HQ Sabic Sittard | Tip 6: BP Rotterdam Refinery

07] – Be Receptive | GROUP A Schoolprojects

Planning, designing and building is teamwork, its success often depending on the willingness of parties being receptive to each others’ opinions. Open up and get inspired by cooperating disciplines. Start listening more with your heart and your intuition, instead of your mind. Get rid off the habit of ‘being heard’ to be able to really contribute to innovation and sustainability.

Tip 7: School Projects GROUP A

08] – Be Natural | Dudelange Luxembourg

Vital to any build environment is the resulting impact it has on people’s physical and mental well-being. The natural quality and performance of building materials, internal climate, daylight, and interaction with the outside, are key to the ambition providing a healthy sustainable build environment. Choices should therefore be inspired by the ultimate balance and principles, as they apply in nature.

09] – Be Inspired | GROUP A office

Acting ‘eco’ can only be considered succesfull, when the final product fits the user, fullfills his expectations, and creates an atmoshere that motivates and inspires him. Reference to this objective in GROUP A designs, is our own studio. Although the 1930 monument still shows shortcomings, the building has contributed highly to the creative process and solid social cohesion amongst staff.

Tip 8: Masterplan Dudelange Luxembourg | Tip 9: Office GROUP A

10] – Do Love | ONO Charity Chair

Unconditional love for our profession – designer, creative architect, educator, communicator, value adder, social- cultural worker, urban planner, motivator, initiator, team member – is the ultimate motivation in the way we live up to our principles. Only with this mentality and passion we can start inspiring other people and processes to be eco-ware, and ready to implement a 1000 Eco-Tips.

Tip 10: ONO Charity Chair

The book, which will be coedited by Page One, will be distributed worldwide in a few months.

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