COR – Green Building that Stands Out

Two online portals – ShareAEC and AECCafe – jointly organised a Sustainable Architecture Challenge some time ago. The competition’s aim was to find innovative ways for sustainable architecture. Of all the submitted works, one entry stood out from others: COR – a multi-purpose complex. It mesmerized the jury with its original and well-thought design as sustainability is integrated into COR’s design – not a last-minute add-on.

COR will be a mixed-use condominium complex located in the Design District of Miami, Florida. The area has recently regained its fame as art galleries, bars and boutiques have gradually taken over old run-down warehouses and turned them into retail spaces. COR is a response to the lack of housing in the design district area but also provides commercial, fitness and office spaces for the area.

Not only is COR an impressive looking building – it is also a remarkable example how great design can be achieved by combining architecture, engineering and ecology. COR is designed by Oppenheim, a Miami-based architecture office who are fond of sustainable designs. The starting point for the design was to develop a highly-efficient building that integrates solar properties, such as thermal mass for insulation and shading for natural cooling, while simultaneously providing openings for glazing, terraces and loggias for the ground floor.

COR will be located in the Design District of Miami, Florida. The area has recently regained its fame as art galleries, bars and boutiques have taken over old warehouses and turned them into retail spaces.

To achieve a sustainable design, much research took place before the final blueprints for the building were determined. Research was required in order to develop a cohesive design, integrating the various environmental design techniques with an efficient rational building system. Oppenheim hired Buro Hapold as Energy Consultants for the project. Before the structural design began, Buro Hapold carried out a complete site analysis in order to understand the sun, wind and temperature characteristics of the site. Some ideas already existed so different design concepts were given to consultants to test the ideas’ sustainability. Designs were exported from ArchiCAD with the DWG Translator and distributed to the consultants as 2D information. The intensive research paid off as COR makes the most of its environment and is almost self-sufficient – it uses wind and solar power gathered from the surroundings of the building.

Location Determined the Form of the Building

Oppenheim wanted to introduce high-rise buildings to this area of Miami as this creates density and safeness in the downtown area. Furthermore, expanding Miami city up rather than out means that the surrounding areas, such as the Everglades National Park, are not built upon. For this reason, COR stands at a height of 400 feet (121 metres) from street level.

As Oppenheim wanted to aim for internationally recognised LEED certification for the building, there were several things to consider in the design. For example, all ‘green buildings’ in the Miami area must have solar shading for energy conservation – and for convenience purposes, too. Naturally, COR incorporates shading for natural cooling – the south and west facades also have dark, reflective glazing to reduce solar gains.

Miami is a seaside city so it enjoys an ocean breeze – something COR will get a fair share of as it towers above the surrounding buildings. The architects decided to exploit this natural phenomenon by placing wind turbines on top of the building – but rather than just bolting the turbines on the roof they wanted to somehow integrate the turbines into the design. The solution was found in COR’s protective external shell which provides insulation and shading and, by chance, a convenient place to install the turbines. Thus the wind turbines and fenestration create a seamless ‘spotty’ pattern on the shell.

The architects decided to exploit this natural phenomenon by placing wind turbines on top of the building

High-tech Building

Numerous new technologies and ideas have been integrated into COR – such as the wind turbines. Miami’s warm climate enables COR to use solar panels for heating water. The solar panels will save in electricity bills and are also a green option for producing energy. Renewable energy is also absorbed by photovoltaics placed on COR’s facade. As COR is a tall building, its facade covers a large area and thus a significant amount of energy can be absorbed to generate energy for the building.

COR also incorporates a green roof, which protects the building from solar heat gains and the urban heat island effect. A green roof also provides garden areas for the apartments which enhances the residents’ contentment. In addition, COR’s grey water is collected to water the exterior plants and the green roof’s plantations. All in all, COR makes the most of hi-tech technology and the pleasant climate of Miami.

A green roof also provides garden areas

This article was published in the 1/2012 issue of ArchiMAG in March 2012. Get your copy of ArchiMAG from App Store!

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