Building actively and passively adapts to changing conditions.

Warren and Mahoney Limited architects designed the Upper Riccarton Community and School Library located in Christchurch, New Zealand. The library was completed in 2006. The library enclosure is passively ventilated, and uses environmentally sustainable design principles to minimise requirements for air-conditioning and its associated energy use. The architects incorporated several mechanisms that allow the building’s fabric to monitor climatic changes and reconfigure itself to accommodate them on a continuous basis. These include the following: Motorized operable windows at high and low levels to generate cross ventilation with high-level extraction over the summer months. Passive ventilation augmented by roof-mounted extract fans at times of peak temperature. Full-height motorized vertical louvers (automatically tracking with the sun) screen east and west-facing glazing. A raised floor slab incorporates a highly efficient pump-driven waterborne heating/cooling matrix, which responds to seasonal temperature requirements. Solar water heating, low energy lighting, double glazing, higher-than-code insulation levels and strategically placed thermal mass complete the environmental design strategy. Stormwater collection, and reuse, from the roof and asphalt areas.

Biomimicry Story

The library's design meets several of Life's Principles. The passive ventilation is locally attuned and responsive, adjusting according to temperatures and sunlight. It also is resource efficient by incorporating low-energy processes like low-flow toilets, low energy lighting, double glazing, higher-than-code insulation levels, and strategically placed thermal mass.Sources: Warren and Mahoney Limited's website and an article in Architectural Record.