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Transparency

Posted by on 3/5/13 at 12:46pm
Lake|Flato Dunning Residence

The Merriam Webster dictionary defines transparent as having the property of transmitting light…so that bodies lying beyond are seen clearly. These days, transparency is getting a lot of attention in the built environment, specifically in relation to materials. The International Living Future Institute has raised the bar and our awareness with its Living Building Challenge, a certification program that uses petals of a flower to designate its categories.

Its Material Petal focuses on a list of chemicals that are forbidden from being present in any product or material. What exactly makes up the materials we specify and use on our projects, products that surround us on a daily basis? Until now, the ability to acquire this information has been more than challenging. Russell Perry from Smith Group recently published this announcement, highlighting their commitment to sharing resources and research, avoiding the duplication of many hours of effort attempting to uncover this information.

Josey_Dogrun

Lake|Flato Josey Pavilion

Lake|Flato is excited to join this commitment with our first Living Building Project, we hope it will be the first in Texas. The Dixon Water Foundation approached Lake|Flato to design an education and meeting facility focused on promoting healthy watersheds through sustainable land and grazing management. The Foundation had never heard of the Living Building Challenge, but they embraced the idea of creating a building that spoke directly to their mission of resource conservation and watershed protection: a fully restorative building that is informed by its bio-regions characteristics, operates efficiently, generates all of its own energy with renewable sources, and captures and treats all of its water. Still in its early stages, we have already learned so much. As we progress, we will be compiling our material research and lessons learned. We will share our findings, with the hope of transmitting more light, enabling future project teams and building inhabitants to see things more clearly.