Beauty Petal Celebrates Design and Imagination

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The Living Building Challenge (LBC) is composed of seven performance areas, or “Petals.” One of these, the Beauty Petal, recognizes “the need for beauty as a precursor to caring enough to preserve, conserve and serve the greater good.” 

Beauty petal of living building challenge

The Beauty Petal consists of two imperatives: Beauty + Spirit and Inspiration + Education. Since “beauty” is subjective to each individual, it is based merely on genuine efforts. LBC does not project its own aesthetic values on others, so each project has freedom to be creative with this Petal to make it unique to its facility.

We will discuss both components of the Beauty Petal and how the Brock Environmental Center will meet the requirements.

1. Beauty + Spirit

This imperative states that projects must have design features that are for human delight and the celebration of culture, spirit and place appropriate to its function.

The Brock Environmental Center design has incorporated the use of as many natural elements as possible to provide for an elevated human experience while at the Center.  The following are examples of such innovative design elements:

Natural light

Abundant natural light is made available at all times during the day through the use of strategically placed window systems. When weather conditions, like temperature and humidity, are appropriate, there is ample natural outside ventilation provided through the use of operable window systems.

Outdoor areas

Outside attached decks will be incorporated into the design to be used during a break, lunch or other special functions. The decks will provide direct views and exposure to the natural elements of the local environment adjacent to the Lynnhaven River and Chesapeake Bay.

The student education pavilion will be an outdoor venue covered by a high bay, curved zinc roof that will allow the students to learn about the Chesapeake Bay in an open and collaborative environment.

Office setting

The curved and “non-boxy” shape of the entire building exposes the occupants to a more natural and relaxing setting in which to work and study. The absence of repetitive office walls and typical low, acoustical ceilings create a calming, open-air feeling in the office areas of the facility.

These are just a few of the design features of the building that add to the appropriateness of the facilities intended function and increase the experience level for its occupants.

2. Inspiration + Education

This imperative requires that educational materials about the operation and performance of the project be provided to the public. This helps share the success of the project and motivate others to make change.

To meet this requirement, the Brock Environmental Center will provide regular web-based information on the operational efficiency of the facility via a building automation system that measures the water and power usage of all operating systems.  It will also provide updates on student activities and new initiatives by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation to “Save the Bay.”

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