Sustainable Design in Architecture

In 2008 the California Academy of Science building opened. It was designed by architect Renzo Piano and has a living roof. This roof is covered in plants and has two distinctive domes on the roof.

In sustainable design terms “The Academy is now the largest public Platinum-rated building in the world, and also the world’s greenest museum with a total score of 54 points.”

“One-sixth of all electricity consumed in the U.S. goes to cool buildings. The Academy’s green rooftop keeps the building’s interior an average of 10 degrees cooler than a standard roof would. The plants also transform carbon dioxide into oxygen, capture rainwater, and reduce energy needs for heating and cooling.”

When it opened the NY Times architecture described it like this.

“Two enormous 90-foot-tall spheres — one housing a planetarium, the other a rain forest — beckon from either side of the lobby. They are the most solid forms in the building, yet seem to hover in the space. The base of the planetarium sphere floats in a pool; a broad ramp snakes around the rain-forest sphere. Enveloped in gnarled branches, the ramp seems to have been swallowed up by the jungle landscape over millenniums.

Once you reach this point, the genius of the green roof’s design becomes apparent. The mounds of earth visible on the exterior turn out to be hollow: their forms, punctured by round skylights, bulge upward to make room for the giant spheres underneath. It’s as if a lush protective rug has been gently draped over the entire building.”

Here are some photos I took today on location.