“How could a building be more like a tree?”
The starting point for this building’s design was simple and nontechnical, yet full of possibility. Of course, the path to achieving this vision was filled with complex challenges and constraints – technical and otherwise.
As this vision was transformed into an architectural plan, a kinship emerged with several of the natural laws expounded by Paul Hawken in The Ecology of Commerce: A Declaration of Sustainability (Collins Business Essentials). The design of the AJLC mirrored these characteristics of the natural world:
- Nature runs off of current solar income;
- Nature depends on diversity, thrives on diversity, and perishes in the imbalance of uniformity. Biodiversity trumps homogeneity at every turn;
- waste equals food. Ecologically, all waste has value to other modes of production; and
- ecosystems utilize feedback to govern decision making.
Combining “state-of-the-shelf” technology with state-of-the-art design to generate a laboratory for the emerging field of ecological design at Oberlin and beyond.AJLC Design Process
Researchers, designers, architects, and engineers joined forces to create this first-of-its-kind building.AJLC Design Partners