Sunday, June 8, 2008

Nouvel's "Green Blade"

10,000 Santa Monica is Jean Nouvel's new sleek green design and promises to add some chlorophyll to the concrete jungle of LA. Winner of the 2008 winner of the Pritzker Prize, Nouvel's design calls for a 45 story tall tower with a width of only 50 feet. 177 residential units will be housed in the "Green Blade" and construction is projected to cost a cool $400 million. The vegetation in Nouvel's tower is planned to be native to California on the south side, and lush and tropical on the north side.

In the context of the surrounding area, the tower promises to promote quick commute times to the surrounding area, minimize the local area heat effect through plant evapotransipiration, and add some much needed greenery to the City of Angels.

However, I'm a bit skeptical about the tower with regards to the water and energy needed to sustain the proposed living environment. Having a glass tower only 50 feet wide with the majority of the surface area oriented North/South is going to have a huge solar gain heating load component and poor envelope insulation. Aggressive window glazing techniques will be able to offset some of the solar gain and increase the insulation properties but at substantial cost. Native flora on the south side of the tower will help reduce some of the solar gain and require less water to maintain than generic landscaping, but I'm curious to see how much water the tropical north side landscape will require.

Hopefully the tower will have some form of a mix mode (natural ventilation + mechanical) cooling system to reduce the energy consumption required to offset the greenhouse properties of the tower. With California's strict Title-24 energy code, obtaining LEED energy efficiency credits are going to be very tricky. Since the project is aiming for LEED Silver, maybe energy efficiency credits are not being considered, given the large cost to offset the building's natural characteristics.

Overall a very interesting design that promises to add some much needed green to LA.

Via AIArchitect and Inhabitat

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