The Triple bottom line is a common term used when talking about sustainable buildings. This is also known as “people, planet, profit.” While the Environmental and Economic aspects of a project are first very real factors influencing our roles as architects, it is the social aspect that is so often left out of our job description or considered to be the role of others. The Living Room aimed to balance all three of the triple bottom line elements, people, planet and profit.
Important issues such as building orientation, material choices, life cost analysis of materials and the building physical performance were issues that the students researched and together with the design team, made decisions on.
The role of the students was key to this project and took us as Architects out of our “traditional role” giving us the opportunity to look at the project from a different perspective. The Environmental Elective Students at Hukanui are led under the inspiration and passionate leadership of Michelle White, who has been a very key figure in the success of The Living Room. The name came from the student working party group, appropriately named as the aim of this building is to provide a living laboratory, which enables students to understand building environments, passive systems and how to modify these systems to achieve a healthy and comfortable space.
The classroom is orientated towards north with a pergola to the north and west faces. The angle of the pergola “slats” was designed to allow low-level winter sun to reach the building, but block higher level summer sun. The floor of The Living Room is polished recycled aggregate concrete floor. This finish allows the sun’s heat to be absorbed into the floor which evens out the difference between day and night temperatures.
No treated timber has been used in the building. Poplar and plywood line the inside whilst macracapa “reverse” board and batten clads the exterior. All window and door joinery is timber with a paint finish to the exterior and an oil finish to the interior. Off cuts of the plywood wall lining have been used to form the skirting, making use of potentially waste material on site.
The Living Room had its opening ceremony on Friday 11 December 2009.
In the true spirit of the project the opening ribbon was cut by a past, present and a future student.
NZIA Awards 2010
This groundbreaking project, appropriately named The Living Room, is firmly focused on sustainability. Designed by the students, with guidance from experts engaged to help them, the project embraces a variety of environmental strategies and construction methodologies. The building was opened in 2009 and is a living laboratory that enables students to understand building environments, passive systems and how these systems can be modified to achieve a healthy and comfortable space.