September 23, 2011 on 12:20 am | In Green, Solutions, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

By Jodi Summers

Bravo to local architect Lawrence Scarpa, two of his buildings have been selected among the top ten examples of sustainable architecture and green design solutions that protect and enhance the environment by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and its Committee on the Environment (COTE).

Local architect Lawrence Scarpa is known for the creative use of conventional materials in unique and unexpected ways. He is also considered a pioneer and leader in the field of sustainable design. Green fundamentals are integrated with design to create a holistic structure. Since 2001 Mr. Scarpa’s firm’s Brooks + Scarpa (formerly Pugh + Scarpa) has received over fifty major design awards.

Around Santa Monica, Scarpa is known for affordable housing like the award winning Step Up on Fifty and Pico Place, as well as and the 3,500 sq. ft. expansion and remodel to the existing 4,000 sq. ft. campus bookstore at Santa Monica College…not to mention a green parking garage or two…

The COTE Top Ten Green Projects program is architecture’s best known recognition program for sustainable design excellence.

The brief summary of the honored projects is courtesy of the American Institute of Architects:

Step Up on 5th, Santa Monica, CA

BROOKS + SCARPA (formerly Pugh + Scarpa)

Santa Monica’s downtown mixed-use project provides 46 studio apartments of permanent affordable housing and supportive services for the homeless and mentally disabled. The density of the project is 258 dwelling units/acre, which exceeds the average density of the Manhattan borough of New York City by more than 10%. The building is located in a transit-oriented location, down the block from the new light rail, with easy access to community resources and services. Based on California Title 24-2005 published by USGBC on this building is nearly 50% more efficient than a conventionally designed structure of this type.


Cherokee Studios, Los Angeles

BROOKS + SCARPA (formerly Pugh + Scarpa)

This urban infill, mixed-use, market-rate housing project was designed to incorporate green design as a way of marketing a green lifestyle. The design maximizes the mild, Southern California climate with a passive cooling strategy. A blend high-efficiency LED and electric lighting, photo and occupancy sensors, and natural day lighting to minimize energy use. 100% of the total regularly occupied building area is day lit and can be ventilated with operable windows. A combination of cool roof covered in solar panels, green roof, and blown-in cellulose insulation complete an efficient building shell exceeding California Title 24 by 47%.


First Unitarian Society Meeting House, Madison, WI

The Kubala Washatko Architects, Inc.

This elegant 20,000-square-foot addition to the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed national historic landmark Meeting House is approximately 40% more efficient than a comparable base case facility. The landmark addition features recycled-content, locally-sourced materials and a vegetated roof. CO2 sensors trigger a ventilation system that provides energy savings when spaces are unoccupied. 91% of regularly occupied areas are daylit though Individual lighting controls in all building areas.


Kiowa County K-12 Schools, Greensburg, KS

BNIM Architects

Following the devastating tornado that destroyed their town and schools, USD 422 chose a bold strategy to combine their schools into a single K-12 facility that would align with the town’s sustainable comprehensive master plan. The facilities design optimizes day lighting and natural ventilation in all classrooms, which increases student academic performance/potential and focus. A 50-kilowatt wind turbine provides a portion of the electricity needs while the remaining power is generated at the wind farm located outside of town.


High Tech High Chula Vista, Chula Vista, CA

Studio E Architects

This public charter school serving 550 students in grades 9-12 with an approach rooted in project-based learning uses a building management system which integrates a weather station, and monitors and controls the lighting and mechanical systems of the facilities, in addition to the irrigation and domestic water systems.


LIVESTRONG Foundation, Austin, TX

Lake|Flato Architects

The adaptive reuse of a 1950′s built warehouse transformed the concrete tilt-wall building to provide a multi-functional office space for the staff of 62. 88% of the materials from the demolition of the dilapidated warehouse were recycled and used in the new design. Achieving LEED Gold certification, the project reflects the LiveStrong mission “to inspire and empower people affected by cancer.”


LOTT Clean Water Alliance, Olympia, WA

The Miller | Hull Partnership

The LOTT Clean Water Alliance Regional Service Center is perhaps the most aesthetic sewage treatment plant in the United States. Methane generated from the plant’s waste treatment process is used in a cogeneration plant to generate electricity and heat. The heat is used directly in the building through a low temperature water loop connected to water source heat pumps, thus eliminating the need for a boiler, cooling tower, or geothermal field.


OS House, Racine, WI

Johnsen Schmaling Architects

Occupying a narrow infill lot in an old city neighborhood at the edge of Lake Michigan, this LEED Platinum home demonstrates how a small residence built with a moderate budget can become a confident, new urban constituent…not unlike Frank Lloyd Wright did so many decades ago.


Research Support Facility (RSF) at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory

(NREL), Golden, CO

RNL Design

This is the largest commercial net-zero energy structure in the country, designed to serve as a blueprint for a net-zero energy future. NREL and Department of Energy’s goal is to transform innovative research in renewable energy and energy efficiency into market-viable technologies and practices. Notable innovations include an open office plan resulted in a higher density workplace reducing the building footprint per person.


Vancouver Convention Centre West, Vancouver, British Columbia

Design Architect: LMN Architects, Prime Architects: DA/MCM

As the world’s first LEED Platinum convention center, the Vancouver Convention Centre West is designed to bring together the complex ecology, vibrant local culture and urban environment. The living roof, at 6 acres, is the largest in Canada, hosting some 400,000 indigenous plants. The heating and cooling is provided by very high efficiency, sea water heat pumps powered by renewable hydro electricity.

For over 150 years, members of the American Institute of Architects have worked with each other and their communities to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings and cityscapes.








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  1. Scarpa’s work also emphasizes the experience of making. The object is important but the experience also has a profound impact and leaves something that lasts well beyond the mere physical and visual formation. Surprising discoveries occur more frequently when the process of discovery takes precedence, emphasizing the exploration. Because of this, he employs a process that is open ended: experimental and exploratory.

    Comment by Art Slant — May 12, 2011 #

  2. Oh…I wish I had something smart to say about Mr. Scarpa…but…all I can say is I like the buildings he designs….

    Comment by Bag Culture — May 19, 2011 #

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